Tally Ho!

Sunday 21 April 2024

More Three Ages of Rome and some bonus content

We're continuing to test Three Ages of Rome and this week tried several tweaks:

  • Increasing the command radius to 30cm.
  • Restricting reforming so you must be 20cm from the enemy.
  • Making the Roman army smaller (26 AP vs 30AP for the barbarians)
All three changes seemed to work well and we started to see units breaking more often, making a result possible. We did nt play to break point but Romans had the edge in 2 games and the Gauls in 1. 

Next week we'll try a couple more tweaks. Firstly moving from 3 to 4 commands so its easier with 2 a side. This means commands minimum size will need to be 2 units. 

Secondly we found skirmishers to be too resilient and 2 units side-by-side certainly have a decent chance of defeating massed infantry. So we will trial a -1 on the saving throw in melee, which will balance the +1 saving throw for being shot.   


Bonus Content


As some bonus content I've started working though my Christmas purchases. First unit completed are some 28mm Camel Corps from Perry Miniatures

Camel Corps in 28mm  

Perry Miniatures 28mm Camel Corps in melee

Saturday 13 April 2024

Three Ages of Rome review

This week we have been learning a new set of rules slated for our next campaign - the Three Ages of Rome. As the name suggests the focus is on Republican, Imperial and Late Romans plus their enemies. The book runs to 160 pages - the rules are about a third of the book with the rest giving some historical intros, some basic wargames concepts and finally some lists and scenarios. Its basing agnostic but recommends 120mm frontage for 20/25mm and 80mm frontage for 6/10/15mm. 

The rules are very simplistic with relatively few troop types and simple mechanics needing no casualty removal or recording, unit morale instead moving up and down between 4 states depending on hits that turn. Units are organised into commands under a leader, usually 3 commands per army with 4-6 units in each.  Commands are issued orders (hold, attack, withdraw) with initiate done on a card system - one card per command with each drawn out in turn until all commands have activated in a random order.

Imperial Romans - Warlord games plastics

Melee and shooting work on the same system - roll for hits and then saves. Hits alter your morale status with units moving from good - disordered - disrupted - routed. There are rules for rallying which enable you to improve morale. Games end when sufficient units or commands are routed for the commanders will to break e.g. you fail an army moral test. 

For our games we did Imperial vs Dacian in modern 28mm and Imperial vs Gallic in "classic" 25mm.

Gallic hordes - classic minifigs and plastics

Dacians - warlord games plastics

Sarmatians vs Romans - more warlord games, metal this time

Ancient British panzer division rides again 

So how does the game play?

The simple mechanics and long moves (Cav = 30-40cm) means things progress quickly and its easy to get the concepts. Orders work well and movement is unfussy.  Shooting ranges are short (15cm for bows) but units can both shoot and possibly fight in a charge turn so that is less of an issue.

There are quite a few charts used for the different phases so the homemade QRS is 2 pages if you do these in readable font - the intent clearly being you play from the book. The biggest challenge is things are hard to kill - hits are hard to score and you can recover wounds on units in combat almost as easily as you inflict them. So we had lots of pushing back and not much routing.

Next week we are going to remove in-combat recovery and restrict it to units outside 20cm of the enemy. So hits should be more sticky and routs more common. We will also reduce the size of the Roman army a bit - their troops are superior to the barbarians but mostly at no additional cost.       


Friday 5 April 2024

Games night

 As our regular Monday night session fell just a few days after our all day game we decided to go for a "game night" format where people brought several games and we all played different things. So we had Perry's freebie Napoleonic rules, Mike's homebrew WWII and Starfleet Battles.

Valour and Fortitude

Nigel laid-on a splendid looking 20mm V&F game that was refight of the Raab scenario from the Easter Saturday. V&F is a pretty short set of rules with the main "twist" being that players each get a random hand of event cards to play - some are generic and some are based on national characteristics. It seems to be a pretty quick game from what I saw and they will likely play again. 

Mike's Home Brew WWII

I did nt see too much of this game but from playing last time the game is company level action with activation points used to boost actions and officer positioning a key element. 


Starfleet battles

This is based on an old (1970s) board game that has been updated over the years. Its basically two games in one; tactical combat and a resource management (engine powers) working side-by-side. It has an usual multi-phased turn sequence which has the effect giving faster ships more moves and more chances to act.    

Its definitely a complex game as you seek to balance your speed, shields and weapons all which looking to stay within power budgets and get the right orientation of your ship to attack the enemy. 

We played a classic encounter of a Federation Constitution class against a Klingon D9.  


Monday 1 April 2024

Armada - no not that one

For the second on my Easter games I popped over to Fishponds for a game of Mantic's Armada with my newly completed Salamander fleet - fire based lizards who reasons lost to time are named after amphibians. I was fighting Abyssal Dwarves (evil stunties) and  Twilight Kin (evil elves) in a three cornered scenario. Points are scored by being close to one of two vortexes in the centre but there is a risk you get sucked-in and destroyed. 

The rules are closely based on Warlord Games Black Seas Napoleonic naval rules and could easily be played that way by selecting the basic human faction for both sides and dropping all the magic. 

We each deployed in one of three starting zones, and the AD and Kin each rapidly hit the centre of the board to start scoring. Being less sure of the rules I got a bit tied up so was lagging after 2 turns and still not in the action.

Twilight Kin

Abyssal Dwarves

Plucky Salamanders

Balance of the Abyssal Dwarves 

Mid-game I rallied and managed to sink a couple of Dwarf ships that had been weakened by the Kin. I was then able to get into the centre and score a few points, helped by a couple of the Kin ships having taken a very long route to avoid the Dwarves.   

Abyssal Dwarves cross-the-T

Salamanders pound the Abyssal Dwarves  

Twilight Kin circumnavigating the island

By turn 5 I was in the lead but could have seen much of my fleet sucked into the vortex with some bad roles. Luck was with me an all my ships survived to make a break for it, and in turn 6 I had a  big enough lead to win.   

Prizes for all!

 A fun game and the ships certainly look the part. For scale the largest vessels we used were on 30mm x 100mm bases, so a pleasing size. 

Sunday 31 March 2024

Battle of Raab - sort of...

For this year's Easter game I decided to experiment and use AI (MS Co-pilot) to suggest a scenario for the French and Austrians. It spat-out a scenario I identified as the Battle of Raab (1809), which I reset for 1812 and added the Russians to reflect the figures available. 

In this game the French are on the attack. The Farm counts as hard cover with an additional -1 for the attackers in melee as it was fortified. Artillery can only cross the river on bridges and cavalry on the narrow section. The river is rough terrain and strips chargers of their bonus. We used a 5 foot deep table with the defenders up to half way (the river line) and the attackers 10" in.   

Both sides began with 3 Infantry Divisions (2 brigades) and 1 Cavalry Division (2 brigades) plus a few supporting units. About half the defenders were rated Inferior to represent the Landwehr (Russian figs). The attackers had a sprinkling of Veterans. We counted the village and cross roads as "2 skills" and the farm as "3 kills" for morale.      

The Allies deployed with both Russian divisions and the reserve artillery to the west of the farm. This left the Austrians more thinly spread as they covered the farm and the rest of the field. The French focused 2 Divisions at the farm with the third to their west covering the Russians, hoping they would be drawn into the centre and leave the village exposed. The French horse deployed opposite the Austrians.    

Russians in the west

Central Russian units 

Austrian horse

Austrians covering the farm

The farm

French 3rd division

French 2nd divsion

The French began the game by advancing towards the Farm with their flanks covered by the horse and third division. They opened up with the grand battery and began to wear down the Farm's defenders.   

French first division with bonus Swedes 

Swedes attack across the river

Seeing that the Austrian cavalry were not looking to block the river crossing, the French horse crossed on a turn the Austrians moved first. The heavies inspirational commander enabled them to cross and charge in a single turn, thus negating the disadvantage of the crossing. They ploughed into the Austrians and pushed them back across the line.    

Massed cavalry attack by the French

Centrally the Russians advanced to the river and with support from their guns did heavy damage to the French 2nd division. This was further compounded when some Russian Cuirassiers charged over the bridge and skittled through several units before being routed deep in enemy territory.      

Russians advance in the centre

French 3rd division makes it to the river

After lunch the French reinforcements arrived to stabilise 2nd Divisions position. By now the French cavalry had cleared their opponents and taken the crossroads in the east.  

French clear the farm's protection

The game ended in Turn 9 with the Allied forces hitting 50% after the sudden collapse of the Russian central position and attrition on the Austrians. We managed 9 turns of play over about 4.5 hours gaming with 7 players. The Farm remained in Austrian hands through-out the game.  

The French are close to victory