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Monday, 20 December 2010

Seleucid vs Galatian clash!

After a couple of weeks of no gaming due to weather and work commitments, Nick and I played a 2000pt WAB game using the excellent draft lists posted to Jeff Jonas's excellent website (now taken down by the 'evil empire' boo!)

I have long struggled to get a Seleucid army I like out of previous army lists, but I actually managed it from these lists. It was just the sort of army I like - mobile and looking to use missiles and open order troops to disrupt and run rings around my opponent. Nick rather surprisingly for him, went for a Galatian army. He's always wanted to use a Gallic army but they just haven't been up to facing a 'mainstream' army in WAB - the only chance they have is to maximise the number of characters in the army. The Galatians seem to offer something different.

The battlefield was pretty clear with two steep hills on my left flank and Nick's right flank. An area of rough ground was about halfway down the table on my right flank, Nick's left flank.

I deployed left to right: 13 javelin light infantry; 32 levy phalanx; 2 heavy bolt shooters; 32 levy phlanx with another 13 javelin skirmishers in front; 24 Babylonian archers; 11 Tarantine light cavalry; 11 horse archers; back up by 10 seleucid heavy cavalry and a unit of 17 Guardsmen deployed as open order peltasts led by the army standard bearer.

Nick deployed from right to left with a unit of javelinmen backed by one warband, then three other warbands with some javelinmen skirmishing in front; some skirmishers with slings and a unit of Gallic light cavalry in skirmish. In reserve was two scythed chariots and on the right a unit of Gallic heavy cavalry. The warbands were all imitation legionaries and as memory serves the centre two have heavy throwing spears; the other two just throwing spears. They all had at least one character in the front rank to give them more punch.

My plan was simple. Sit back with the levy pike and try and reduce the size of the warbands with the bolt shooters, while the right flank went around his left with the line hinged by the archers who can fire full effect in two ranks if stationary. Nick won the initiative and rushed forward as quickly as possible to get his warbands into combat before my shooting could have an impact.

In my turn I charged his centre javelinmen with my skirmishers but lost the combat and was run down. On the right the babylonians and tarantines peppered the slingers but they passed their morale. The horse archers fired inconclusively on the gallic light cavalry.

Turn two Nick brought a chariot to his left flank and the heavy cavalry also moved across the back of his line to support his hard pressed left. The rest of his line pushed forward as fast as possible with the now free javelinmen in the centre screening my bolt shooters (see here).

My turn, I shot away the slingers and the forced the light cavalry back allowing my guard infantry to push forward into the rough ground opposite the heavy cavalry and scythed chariot. My javelinmen charged his skirmishers on the right flank and beat them, but failed their morale and charged through into the warband behind.

Nick charged where he could on turn three with one warband charging home on the left flank phalanx; the heavy cavalry charged into the seleucid havy cavalry now in wedge who countercharged (see left); and the scythed chariot charged the guard who being drilled opened their ranks to let it harmlessly through. In the ensuing combat, the levy phalanx held up very well against the heavy throwing weaponed gallic warriors who only won by one. The Seleucid general was with 12 inches and so they passed the morale test.

Meanwhile the Gallic heavy cavalry, also led by a character diced awfully against the seleucid heavy cavalry. Despite the gauls being better weapon class, the Greeks had more figures and won the combat and broke the barbarians. But they outdistanced the pursuit. The scythed chariot which had gone through the guard then routed from seeing the cavalry battle! The seleucid skirmishers duly were destroyed by the warband they charged into on my left flank.

In my turn, the now uncommitted seleucid heavies pivoted and charge the left hand warband in the flank, but it passed its morale test for being charge to flank. In the combat the cavalry won without loss, but the Galatians simply fell back in good order leaving the cavalry unable to followup or risk recieving a charge from the other scythed chariot in the flank.

My remaining levy pike formation charged Nick's central skirmisher unit who ran, leaving the pike to crash into the warband behind - a good way to get levy to charge close order enemy! (See pictured left, note the warband pushed back by the seleucid heavy cavalry behind the phalanx)

In the combats that followed, my left flank pike formation, despite losing the momentum in the combat managed to beat the Gallic warriors but their morale held. Meanwhile the pike who hit the central warband managed to lose the first round, and despite the King being right there, their morale failed and they ran. But all my men nearby passed their morale thankfully.

And that was all we had time for - it was a very tight battle and it probably had another 3 turns to go before it was conclusive either way.

The levy phalanx showed as a large block they were very resilient against the warband and once they held the first found, they had every chance to beat the barbarian foot. Nick's light cavalry and slingers were always up against it against two BS4 light cavalry formations in my army, backed up by the fearsome babylonian archers! And what I wanted to do do actually happen. I pushed my way aorund Nick's left flank and was threatening to roll up his line. But his plan worked too with the warbands pushing through the centre and likely as not to defeat my two pikeblocks and bolters. The bolters were hopeless, only killing one skirmisher all game!

Still it was a fun game and I look forward to when we actually see the successor WAB lists finally hit the market after so long.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

VBCW Campaign gets underway

There wont be much wargaming in the coming weeks in the Flaming Pigs home garage in the next few weeks due to work commitments, and the coming Christmas period. But we have decided to kick off our Very British Civil War campaign around the Fall of Basingstoke with the first 'turn' orders due next week.

I say orders but our intention is not to have turns as such, as I will run things almost real time. I have deliberately left it vague as I want to see how Tom and Nick choose to interpret this free-form approach. Really I want them to think like a real commander would in the situation, and pretty much anything goes therefore.

I will also be developing personalities for the subordinates under their control and that will also colour how they react to independent command and actions.

I also plan - we'll see how real life permits this - to run an occasional newspaper - the Basingstoke Gazette - which will have snippets of news and rumours which might help - or distract Nick and Tom. The first edition is out you can download it here!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Warfare Reading

The boys spent the day at the excellent Warfare show in Reading.

It's always one our favourites as it combines location - handy for all of us to get to - and great traders. Plus of course it always coincides with the autumn rugby internationals!

Warfare is a great show - a good number of traders and some nice games. The boys were on VBCW frenzie and we all bought stuff for the campaign.

Personally I've never bought so many kits - I came away with a couple of cars; a couple of fuel trucks, some tanks and an armoured truck.

Plus I ordered some 20mm resistance figures from SHQ which I am looking forward to painting up.

Overall a good day - especially with England winning in the rugby too!

Friday, 19 November 2010

2nd Battle of Broadwater

Last night we played a second game of Very British Civil War using the Warhammer Great War rules. In truth it was a very inconclusive affair as Tom - playing the local Basingstoke Defence Force - took a very cautious approach to the battle.

The objective for Tom was to destroy the bridge over the river before BUF reinforcements could destroy them. To do this, he had two infantry companies, with a HMG and a couple of light mortars. Also he had another company of infantry mounted in trucks and some improvised armoured cars - trucks with armour plate and MGs. Another company of infantry, an assault platoon and the engineers with the explosives were due to arrive later.

In defence, Nick had a couple of companies of fascist militia, a light mortar and HMG. He was waiting on the BUF Legion and an armoured car arriving later in the game.

Tom chose to delay his motorised company initially and moved his foot companies through and around the woods on the left flank. This was about as far as possible from the objective. He did so as he was worried about the casualties he'd suffer attacking the village directly, but in doing so, he fell into a carefully constructed defence Nick had formed. In this picture you can see Tom's militia in the wood caught in the crossfire from the large building at the bottom, the barn, and the hedged field at the top. The HMG was also in the barn at the top of the picture.

In the face of all this fire, there wasn't much Tom could do so he brought the motorised infantry and armed trucks along the extreme left flank to try and skirt around the defences. The extra infantry battalion was also used as a sacrificial attack to try and capture the large building and distract the defenders.

Then the vagaries of the chance cards struck. Drawing a random card, both commanders were found to be mortal enemies and all units - except support weapons - had to charge towards their enemies unless they threw a 5 or 6 on a d6...... At the same time, the BUF Legion arrived on the table in force and it was all looking grim for Tom and the Basingstoke militia!

To the left you can see Nick's troops storming forward into the face of Tom's forces - they managed to capture the wood and destroy two platoons in the process before being destroyed themselves. The other fascist platoon in the big building on the right flank which had been holding up well against the largely ineffective fire, then also charged out and destroyed another of Tom's platoons before it too was destroyed.

At this point, the Basingstoke Defence Force had lost 5 platoons and the BUF were firmly holding the village with the Legion troops now holding the bridge. Their losses were considerably lower - just 2 platoons and an HQ section - so at that point Tom decided to pull back and the Fascists celebrated another victory!

Pictured here you can see the BUF Legion troops arriving on the front line in their trucks. The Fascist militia are surging forward to get hold for their foe!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The table for tonights game - complete with smouldering armoured car from the game last week.

Second Battle of Broadwater

Tonight we should be fighting the second Battle of Broadwater as a precursor to the planned Very British Civil War campaign I have been working on.

Primarily this is so we can get to grips with the rules and get a feel for how the games play before jumping in on a full blown campaign. Nick and I played last week and despite having used the Warhammer Great War rules before on several occasions, we still got some things wrong.

Both Nick and Tom should be over tonight so I have developed a new game to follow on from last weeks battle. This time the BUF having successfully captured the critical bridge, are now having to defend against a local counterattack.

Nick's force is largely based around Fascist sympathisers with a few BUF Legion troops arriving later in the game. Tom's force will be lots of militia and the hope is that numbers will enable him to swamp Nick before the quality of the BUF Legion turn up. Nick's objective is to blow the bridge, not necessarily defeat the BUF, so we'll see if he can keep to the objective or get side tracked!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Mini clearout time!

Time to have a mini clearout from the figures cabinet. These are all figures which I bought at sometime - usually as a job lot with other figures I wanted and I've painted them, or tarted them up a little. They look pretty good if I say so myself and hopefully will bring in some funds for the Very British Civil War campaign.

Here's an Officer of the Fleet for the Imperial Guard 40k armies. Nice figure and the touchup went pretty well I think.

Here's another Imperial Guard HQ figures - an Astropath - again I picked this up in a batch of Imperial Guards and I already had one in my 40k army soI painted it up and its going spare.

This figures if definitely in the category of - picked up somewhere - its somesort of Space Marine although I don't really know what type as I've never played them. I picked it up at a show somewhere and have painted it up. I think it looks pretty good really.

Last but no means least, are two squadrons of lovely 28mm Napoleonic cavalry - I believe Perry Miniatures plastic figures.

There is a squadron of 7 French Cuirassiers .

and a very nice unit of 7 French Carabiniers.

I bought both on eBay some time ago already painted to a reasonable standard and I've touched them up and I think the effect is great, but there is no way I'm going to get into 28mm Napoleonics.... we have thousands of 15mm Napoleonics already!

Friday, 12 November 2010

VBCW - Battle of Broadwater

War came to the area north of Basingstoke yesterday with a British Union of Fascist Legion motorised column out of Reading attempting to capture a vital bridge over the River Loddon around the area of Broadwater just south of Stratfield Saye.

The Basingstoke defence committee were well informed of the threat and were in the process of gathering their forces to resist the BUF attack. The 1st Local Defence Company was the core of the defence supported by a company from the Territorial Army. The terrain was typical of this area of Hampshire with lots of fields and hedges, along with some woodland and the village/hamlet on the river itself. The river could be crossed by infantry at half speed and as well as a bridge, there was a ford over the river.

The local defence force deployed one platoon of local militia to their left flank in a small barn in a series of plowed fields. The remaining platoon deployed in a building close to the bridge with one of the TA platoons deployed in the other building to the right of the bridge. A TA HMG was deloyed slightly back in the village with a reasonable view of the bridge and able to redeploy to the left side of the building to cover the left flank fields (in hindsight a poor location, but located to try and cover the weak left flank as well as the bridge). The remaining TA platoon, and the HQ for the TA and militia were deployed in other buildings in the village as a second line. The Battalion HQ deployed further back still where the Colonel's morale could help bolster the morale of the defenders. The few defence forces were therefore deployed mainly in the village and centralised, with just one platoon holding the left flank and the small force of landlord and his retainers, holding his manor house on the right flank. The defence was designed to hold the core village and hope that reinforcements would arrive soon enough to support the flanks if the BUF attacked heavily that way.

The BUF Legion arrived pushing aggressively in two columns down the two roads into the area. The right column was led by an armoured car (see the picture above - note the infantry are not deployed as they are in the lorries!). The defenders looked on in horror as the armoured car spend down the road, crossing the ford over the River Loddon without incident and at speed. Meanwhile several of the trucks in the centre, also swung towards the right flank apparently indicating that the Fascists were planning to rush the lone militia platoon on that flank and get across the river at speed.

However, the fascist luck changed, with Colonel Brown losing the initiative and in effect giving the defenders a double move. Turn 2 and the New Massagainians arrived on trucks and immediately deployed its AT gun on the left flank.

The 'double' turn allowed the gunners to unlimber and fire before the AC could react and bang there went the fascist car in a ball of smoke. One platoon of New Massagainians debused from their truck and deployed on the left flank to support the lone militia platoon (see the picture left), the remaining platoon (see below) and the HQ headed over to the centre of the table and into the village to support the defenders there.

So by turn three the fascists had lost their lone armoured car - meaning they could only achieve a minor victory at best according to the scenario victory conditions. Also a platoon of the legion had been hit by accurate rifle fire from the river defenders and lost half their numbers forcing them to fall back.

But soon the BUF superior firepower started to take effect.
The BUF seeing their prize car burning swung back towards the centre of the table using their lorries to great effect. In the centre the BUF scouts debused from their lorry (see below - the scouts are hidden by the building and the defenders are actually in that building!) and stormed across the river to the left of the bridge supported by the machine guns mounted on their truck. They survived the largely ineffective fire from the TA platoon in the building opposite them and stormed into the building in a blaze of fire and bayonets. But their luck failed, despite outnumbering the TA platoon, the melee was inconclusive.
Next turn the 2nd TA formation moved forward at the double and moved into the contested building containing their comrades and in the melee the TA numbers swung the battle wiping out the fascist scouts. (Picture below left sees them waiting for the inevitable counterattack having destroyed the scouts and their MG mounted truck)

The fascist response was devastating with fire from several platoons over the river destroying the militia platoon covering the river from the other building and the BUF HMG and light mortar deploying to support a crossing.

Over the next couple of turns the BUF platoons started to move across the river using their trucks and the now empty building on the river as cover from much of the defensive fire. The mortar, using the battalion HQ as an observer, was making it increasingly dangerous for the defenders to leave their defensive positions and attempt to deploy elsewhere.
The BUF firebase across the river destroyed the TA platoon by the bridge and that allowed the fascists to move across the bridge without fear. By now much of the defenders were dead and the second line was composed of a couple of platoons down to 25% strength and the various HQ formations. The HMG was still intact, but couldn't get a clear line of fire of the fascists to be very effective.
(Picture right - the BUF having cleared the red roofed building begin to cross the river using it as cover. Meanwhile two trucks loaded with men, head towards the now undefended bridge.)
Now it was only a matter of time for the defenders and sure enough a platoon of fascists (see here)
finished off the remaining TA and the buildings to the right of the bridge had all fallen.
Next they cleared the remaining building on the left side of the bridge assaulting the building and wiping out the HQ sections and locking the defender's HMG in combat (see below).
With that, the defenders decided the game was up, they only had remaining the battalion HQ; a platoon of militia who had been holding the left flank all game; the landlord's 'forces' who hadn't been engaged at all; and a number of trucks and the anti-tank gun and crew. The rest were dead, surrendered, or in the case of the HMG were locked in hand to hand combat.
But the fascist forces had paid a heavy price for the bridge. They had lost the armoured car; armed truck; two platoons and the scouts and another platoon was at half strength. So it was a minor fascist victory but Colonel Brown had found a new respect for the defenders of Basingstoke.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Battle of Broadwater continued

This is the briefing for Nick's forces at the Battle of Broadwater playing the dastardly Fascists out of Reading... boo hiss....

Briefing for Colonel Brown of the British Union of Fascists Legion – Reading Corps

The leader Mosley has been in power in England for several months now, and you and your men have been kept busy confirming his rule in the Thames Valley against socialists and church interest groups who refuse to acknowledge King Edward. Resting up in the Government stronghold of Reading, word has reached you of worrying developments in Basingstoke.

Basingstoke was always earmarked as a target for your men to move to as it houses the vital Thornycroft lorry factory – a site the Government is keen to get hold of. After a period of quiet from the town when the local council and local dignitaries have seemed to have tried to steer a course of some independence, the past few weeks have seen them side very much against the legitimate Government.

It seems that the local BUF committee decided to try and take control of the vital factory without outside backing, and as the struggle escalated into open fighting with the workforce, and a number of Fascist members were killed and the rest fled for their lives to Reading.

Since then it has been inevitable that the BUF Legion will move south to quieten this rebellion and take control of the Thornycroft factory and the town itself. As a precursor for this attempt, your forces as a small advanced guard has been ordered to capture a crossing over the River Broadwater, south of Stratfield Saye.

You know that your departure has probably not gone without being noticed but you are confident that your men – all trained veterans of the Great War – can push aside whatever rag tag defenders the local population can gather together.

Losses are not important although you cannot afford to lose the armoured car you have been entrusted with as there simply is not enough armour in the Thames Valley.

Victory conditions:
Major Victory:
Hold the bridge over the River Broadwater by the end of turn 10 and don’t lose the armoured car
Minor Victory: Hold the bridge over the River Broadwater by the end of turn 10 but lose the armoured car
Anything else is a defeat.



Colonel Brown with SMG and 4 men with rifles and grenades. All Stubborn and one with the legion flag.

2 companies of Legion troops, each with a HQ of a Captain with 4 soldiers with rifles and grenades and three platoons of 8 men with rifles and grenades. Each of the 1st platoons have a LMG. All the Legion companies are treated as fanatical.

Support is provided by a scout platoon of 10 men with rifles and pistols who have scout and infiltration ability. Also a HMG and 3 crew and a light mortar with 3 crew. In addition there is a Lanchester Armoured car with twin turreted MGs.

Everything is carried in a truck or car.

Battle of Broadwater Crossing

This Thursday we should be playing our first game of a Very British Civil War using the Warhammer Great War rule adaptions posted on the excellent Gentlemen's Wargames Parlour. I've set out our stall 'covering' the war in and around Basingstoke which is the area Tom lives in and close to both Nick and I. Also it seems to be an area little covered so far by those making up the history of this war apart from one small mention in the Southern Source Book of Basingstoke being independent in the early days of the war, and then being captured by a column of government troops from Reading.

For those of you who don't know the Very British Civil War - it is a fictitious war set in the interwar years in Britain where Edward does not abdicate to marry Mrs Simpson, but instead turns to the British Union of Fascists to support him. The country is turned upside down by this and in a scenario similar to the Spanish Civil War, war breaks out across the country with various factions and groups attempting their own agenda. The VBCW books do not give you a set of rules - you simply play with whatever set you like which are appropriate. Likewise, apart from the broad storyline to the war, it is up to you to determine what actually happens, and much of the 'history' of what is happening is being mapped out by clubs and wargamers around the country playing it out on the tabletop. Most of them are covering the areas they know and live in, researching the local areas in 1938, and putting colour into the books.

My aim is that we should start a campaign based on this period and covering the attempt by Mosley's men to capture Basingstoke. So as a pre-cursor to that campaign I decided to kick it off with a quick pre-campaign battle using my new terrain boards and to see how the rules work. My aim is that in someway the start of the campaign will be coloured by the outcome of this battle.....

So here's the briefing for Tom playing the Basingstoke Defence Force:

After a period of phony war, the relative peace of Basingstoke has been broken by rioting in the town between local elements of the British Union of Fascists and workers from the Thornycroft Factory. Rioting quickly escalated from fists; to clubs and sticks; to guns and in the last exchange a number of local children were caught up in the gunfire and killed and injured. The local people rose up and placed the blame for the atrocities at the door of the Fascists. Things quickly escalated with a number of BUF members killed and the rest fleeing the town north towards Reading.

Recently word has reached you that these local BUF sympathizers have persuaded the local BUF Legion commander to try to retake the town for the Government. As a precursor for this attempt, a small advanced guard of fascist troops has been reported leaving Reading heading south apparently to try and capture a crossing over the River Broadwater, south of Stratfield Saye. The local defence committee of Basingstoke has ordered that you stop this thrust and hold the bridge.

While you know that it is important to give the Fascists a bloody nose, you also know that it is important that you do not lose too many men from your command. In these early days of the war, unacceptably high losses are not something which will sit well with the local people and could be disastrous for the coming conflict and how likely it is that Basingstoke can remain independent.

The forces at your disposal include two platoons from the local Stratfield defence unit and a small unit from the local lord of the manor Lord Grey who has agreed to place his men at your disposal. Most importantly, you have two (hopefully) very effective platoons of Territorial Army troops and even a Vickers Heavy machinegun which you can count on. Rather more uncertain in quality are a couple of platoons of New Massagainians – units raised from the brewing industry and consequently somewhat temperamental….. but they have promised to come to your aid and are currently on rout in trucks as long as they don’t stop at too many pubs along the way. Also you have two roadblocks which can be placed anywhere on the table.

Victory conditions:
Major Victory:
Hold the bridge over the River Broadwater until the end of turn 10 and don’t suffer more than 25% losses
Minor Victory: Hold the bridge over the River Broadwater until the end of turn 10 but suffer 25-50% losses
Minor Victory: Inflict more than 50% loses to the Fascist forces attacking
Any other result is a defeat.

HQ - Colonel Cusack with a SMG and grenades and 4 soldiers with rifles and grenades - all stubborn. One man has the standard of the Basingstoke Defence Force.

Local Defence Company (Militia)
HQ of a Captain with 2 soldiers with pistol and rifles
2 Platoons of 8 men with rifles

Local TA Unit (treated as veterans):
HQ of a Captain and 4 men with rifles and grenades
2 platoons of 10 men with rifles and platoons
HMG and 4 crew.

Lord Grey and his household:
5 men with shotguns who gain a +2 morale if within 12 inches of their manor house.

A Company of New Massagainians (Militia)
HQ of a captain and 4 men with rifles
2 platoons of 10 men with rifles
AT gun and 4 crew
All in cars and trucks and entering from turn 2 onwards unless a 5 or 6 on a d6 is thrown in which case they are delayed a turn.

The Massagainians are a throwback to a period in Victorian Basingstoke where the local brewing interest rioted against the Salvation Army when they arrived in the town. The Riot Act was quite literally read in Basingstoke and to reflect their support for the brewing industry, I have formed this unit from those who work in and around the trade. However to reflect this, they have a special rule. On any turn when a Massagainian unit doesn't more, fire or fight, you must roll a d6 for the unit. On a roll of 6 they have cracked open the beers and are then considered Fanatical for the next three turns. If however, they throw two 6s in successive turns, they become insensible with drink and need to sober up - they are then nolonger fanatical and cannot move or fire next turn.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Norse steamroller the poor Welsh!

Thursday evening saw Nick and I return to a very mild (for early November) garage for a WAB 2.0 Shieldwall battle between my favourite army - the Hiberno-Norse, and Nick with a rather surprising (for him) Welsh army.

It was a good chance for us to see how the new rules influenced these armies and I was very keen to see how the new open order rules would help an already powerful Norse army. Ultimately it was an interesting, although not very competitive affair....

We diced for terrain and in the end pretty much all of it came down on Nick's side of the table. There were two rough patches in the flank sector of his right flank, another rought sector was just ahead of my deployment zone on my left of the central sector. Nick then had a low hill right in the centre of his side of the table and a steep hill in his left flank zone. He then took the Welsh option to deploy an additional piece of terrain to put a low hill also right in the centre of the table.
With this wall of hills and given that I knew Nick would have cavalry, forced me to deploy to my left aiming to cut through the rough as quickly as possible and get around Nick's right flank. From the picture left you can see that Nick's army was maxed out on allowable dogs of war units and on his left flank he had a unit of Breton heavy cavalry; a large unit of Viking pirates led by some slingers; then the Household welsh warband headed by the CinC and the army standard bearer; two more units of warband welsh - one headed by a priest and a warlord; the other with just a warlord. He had a unit of skirmishing bowmen, and finally holding his right flank some javelinmen complete with poisoned javelins!

Clearly Nick aimed to hold on the right and attack on the left; which was exactly what I planned to do too!

I deployed left to right: a unit of 13 Viking pirates with armour, shields, javelins and 2 side arms in skirmish. Behind them was the two heavy hitter Hirdmen blocks - one led by the Jarl and standard bearer, with 2 berserkers and 16 hirdmen; the other with one warlord, two more berserkers and 17 hirdmen. Both formidible units. Then in the edge of the rough I depoyed 12 slingers with the Bondi warblock behind - these were led by a Godi who basically made them immune to all tests, and a warlord to take on any challengers. The 28 bondi were equipped with thursting spears and shields. Next came 15 bondi bowmen deployed in open order, behind them came a small unit of 15 hirdmen without any characters or berserkers but with javelins. And finally holding the right of the line, another 12 slingers.

Nick got the jump on me first turn and swiftly moved his units left aiming to get aorund my right flanks as quickly as possible. In the shooting phase, his archers peppered the bondi archers who were regretting not being in skirmish! They just saved having to take a test for 25% casualties from shooting on the first turn!

On my first turn I rushed forward with the pirates and hirdmen on the left (see the picture right) and the slingers and Godi led bondi trudged through the rough patch. The bondi archers took advantage of the new open order two free formation changes and did an about face and moved backwards then wheeled to get a long range shot on the dreaded Breton heavy cavalry. The dice gods were kind to me and I wounded 3 Bretons despite moving and firing at long range - Nick then only saved one. That one shot pretty well meant the Bretons didn't play much part in the game as from then on Nick ensured they were hidden away behind his slingers as much as possible. There they were safe from harm, but not much of a threat. Meanwhile I decided I had to trust to the Viking toughness and armour, and pushed the small Hirdman unit straight up the table towards the Welsh archers.

Next turn the hirdmen were peppered by arrows and slings, but due to their toughness and armour lost only lost two men. In the next turn, their opened out their formation and unleashed their javelins and with the slingers aid, took out 50% of the archers. They passed their waivre test but decided it wasnt the best place to be facing a load of hairy vikings and so doubled away.

Meanwhile on my right, the bondi archers and lowly thrall slingers were doing a pretty good job of holding up Nick's attack. The Godi led bondi block was wheeling in the rough to continue the Norse line and my slingers were taking holes out of the Welsh warbands. The Jarl led hirdmen had got out of the rough and were racing up towards the welsh swinging their axes!

Then disaster struck the Vikings. The welsh poisoned javelinmen and remaining archers stood to try and damage the pirates who were fast chasing them down. There shooting was inconclusive, and the pirates charged them in a wild rush - too wild it seems. The javelinmen failed their Fury of the Norse fear test and were virtually annihilated by the pirates swinging two hand weapons apiece. But in the pursuit, the Vikings threw a 12 on two dice and overran not only the welsh skirmishers but then smashed into the right end welsh warband.... sure enough, they failed to make enough impact and were defeated in the combat. Despite their 8 leadership, their failed the morale test and then ran all of 3 inches in rout, getting cut down for their troubles! Meanwhile on my right flank, the welsh slingers finally got a good shot on the bondi archers whose morale failed and they too ran. Then right slinger unit was hit by a wave of javelins from the Vikings on Nick's side and they also ran!

But that was to be the last good news for the Welsh as the Viking Hirdmen came into combat.

In this picture you can see the critical stage of the battle take place. Nick's veteran warband right in the centre failed its warband control test and charged the viking slingers in the centre. They stood, but were obviously defeated in the combat allowing the welsh to pursue into my Jarl-led hirdmen. In the next round though, the two berserkers in that unit ripped through the poor welsh, killing an amazing 9 before combat proper happened. They then failed their morale despite having the army CinC in their rankes and that was it as they ran taking most of Nick's army with them.

We could have played on but with Nick's centre gone, along with his best unit and army standard and CinC, and my three hirdmen blocks and large bondi virtually untouched, there wasn't much point - plus it was 11.30 at night so we called that a game.

Overall, Nick did all he could to deal with the Norse but they are so powerful and having lost his skirmishers in the centre, he couldnt try and get the berserkers to charge prematurely, so, when they did charge, they ripped through his best warrior unit. Apart from the Normans, I dont see many shieldwall armies have much of a chance against the Vikings which is slightly unsatisfying to be honest - although I still like the Hiberno-Norse!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Hiberno-Norse to make an appearance

Looks like we are up for Thursday night gaming again but Tom is not coming - he's having his wisdom teeth out poor soul, so it's just Nick and me. We've decided to leave the Very British Civil War game I had planned until Tom is back and Nick and I are playing a 2000pt WAB game from the Shieldwall supplement.

I must say I am looking forward to it. I know that Nick will as usual maximise the crossbowmen in whatever army he chooses - and try to shoot me down before combat, but I can't wait to try out the Shieldwall supplement under the new WAB 2.0 rules.

I've picked a long term favourite of mine - the Hiberno-Norse - one I've played with a lot and always enjoyed using as much!

2000pts gives me a small, but powerful army so we'll see how it does against whatever Nick picks - probably Norman.

The core of the army is a big 28 man Bondi unit armed with thrusting spears and led by a Hersir and a Godi. The Godi basically makes this unit immune from all morale tests while he lives and so they should have some staying power. The Hersir is there to take on any challenges Nick might make on the Godi. This block should give me something to hold ground with an allow me to operate around with the real battle winners of the Vikings - the Hirdmen.

The real strength of the army is two small blocks of 16 and 17 Hirdmen. These are really tough killers (WS4 and toughness 4) and one block is led by the Jarl army general with his standard bearer, and the other another Hersir. Both blocks also have two berserkers in them....

Supporting the killing machines I've got two small units of Bondi bowmen - they will deploy in open order which might be a risk, but means they can charge home if necessary, and ignore skirmishers who rout which is a rule I always fall foul of with my skirmishers!

Then there are two units of thrall skirmishers, armed with slings who are there to shield the Hirdmen and bondi to allow them to get to grips with the enemy without suffering too many missile loses.

Then finally are my two wild card units. I have decided on 2x12man Viking pirate units but will deploy them as skirmishers. Under the old rules I would have had one larger block of these tough killers but then they could form up from skirmish to fight in the front line. That option isn't allowed in WAB 2.0 so they are either skirmisher or Open Order from the start of the game.

I'm going to try them as skirmishers and see if they are as effective. Even though formed bodies ignore skirmishers in their rear or flank - one unit has two hand weapons, the other throwing spears (to re-rolls misses) and with a WS4 and Toughness 4, they should still carve their way through even the toughest troops. The only challenge is that they fear formed bodies so need to take a morale test to charge them, but they are leadership 8 so hopefully should go in more than not! Famous last words.

Either way, these tough killers should destroy whatever skirmishers Nick has in his army and give my hirdmen a clear run in without losing too many men to missiles. We will see.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Campaigns - are you mad? Yes a little...

Gaming has been a little quiet for a week or so as my wife was in hospital for an operation on Wednesday and now can't drive or lift anything for a couple of weeks. Now she's over the worst we should be back in the drafty garage again this week hopefully!

The enforced layoff has prevented much work on the terrain boards - although I have managed to model some nice roads and fields on one board - let alone have time for painting figures. But the one good thing is that it has given me a little bit of brain time to think through a possible campaign idea which has been germinating.

The trouble with campaigns is that when there are just three of you, if one can't keep up or is too busy it quickly falls apart. Unfortunately that has been an all too common story in our campaigns. But when they work they are so much fun.

So the sucker for punishment that I am, I am going to run a quick campaign based on a Very British Civil War which is set around a throwaway comment in the southern source book which talks about Basingstoke being captured by a Government column coming out of Reading. For those of you who don't know the War - its a fictitious civil war set in 1938ish assuming that Edward didn't abdicate, and the political upheaval caused throws the country into a vicious civil war with the fascists taking power.

Tom lives in Basingstoke, and has somewhat leftish leanings and always jokes about the People's Republic of Basingstoke - so a campaign based around this Government attack on Basingstoke might hit the spot. Also if Tom is 'defending' and I play a neutral umpire role, with Nick as the 'evil' government, I think it might work. Again past experience suggests that over complicating campaigns is one of the reasons they fail, so this campaign will focus on the early stages of the Govt drive on Basingstoke and the attempt by the local militia to stop them. That way, if everyone enjoys it, we can expand it depending on what happens. So if the Govt gets a bloody nose then maybe the counterattack on Reading might happen.

So again to keep things simple. I'll develop army lists for the two main forces - Nick with the fascist column and Tom the 'free Bassy' group. While I'll also do some nice little 'neutral' forces which might play a part. Then it will be up to the boys to write some simple orders and place their forces at the start line and we are off. I will aim for the campaign to be one which runs continually until something happens. So independent columns will carry out their orders as best they - and I! - think they can. This allows of nice fog of war and for insubordination or other issues to arise which personally I love in a campaign.

We'll be using the Warhammer Great War rules which are pretty simple, with some modifications and amendments suggested by a very nice chap at the Gentleman's Wargames Parlour. The casualties will be handled by a simple system I read about in an old White Dwarf - any unit reduced to below half strength, recovers to full strength. Any unit destroyed is gone for ever. Any unit reduced to above half strength gets a d6 of troops back. Any unit which routs from the table in a game is returned at half strength on a 5-6 on a d6.

Reinforcements will not be available, although some of the initial army lists will arrive after the campaign actual starts.

My only real challenge is finding a suitable map. I could draw one myself, but they never seem right, and I like using a real map so the hunt is on to try and find one suitable. If anyone has any ideas please let me know!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Keeping busy

I was in town at the weekend and when looking around the local model shop I came across a large roll of railway/gaming grass matting and a bit of a light bulb went on in my head. Now I know Nick will suggest that I have far too much time on my hands - which I don't really - but I love a good project!

So it was off to Homebase where I managed to get hold of some very reasonable 6mm MDF boards which were cut into 2ftx2ft boards. I also picked up some very cheap brown floor tiles which will make nice fields and bases for forests.

So the project in the next few weeks will be to build some nice terrain boards which will provide the base for some of our games. Heaven knows where I'll be storing them, but the project will be fun. I'm now scouring eBay for cheap buildings and trees etc to use on the boards. The roads can be produced by gluing some flock etc to the board moulded with plaster etc.

If nothing else it will keep me busy I guess!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Back to the garage!

After gaming in the salubrious surroundings of Warhammer World in Nottingham it was back to the usual Flaming Pigs venue of my garage!

Nick and I picked two 2000pts WAB armies from the lists Tommy provided for the weekend and I went Oscans and Nick Early Macedonians.

My army was two 23 man Oscan hoplite blocks one with the army general, one with the army standard. I took 2 units of 13 javelin skirmishers, 1 unit of 12 moorish archers, 10 Numidians, 12 Campanian heavy cavalry, my now favourite 18 Bruttian warriors, and a unit of 23 Italian hill warriors (javelin, throwing spear and shield) led by a character. My plan - as ever to use the hoplites to fix the enemy and use the mobility of the Bruttians and the hill warriors to get around the flanks.

Nick went drilled mad. He took three units of pike - all drilled, two of them with half light armoured, and one was stubborn. He also had his companions led by the general (Philip?). He then had a unit of cretan archers, some slingers and some javelinmen. To support the cavalry he had a unit of Illyrian light cavalry, and two mule mounted light bolt shooters. Most worrying he had a unit of hypaspids equipped as thrusting spear and shield and again drilled!

We played on the usual 6x4 table and the terrain was sparse with two hills on the left, one in the corner of the table, one halfway up, and a wood between the hills - they played no part in the battle.

Nick deployed to his left with the illyrians and companions, then the pike and hypaspids led by the cretans, the slingers and javelinmen holding his right flank. Tom joined my army as consultant general! and we deployed with the Numidians, campanians and archers on our right. Then the two hoplites with some javelinmen in front, then the other javelinmen and the hill warriors and Bruttians in fast march column.

Tom and I got first move and swarmed forward on the left with the javelinmen, hill warriors and Bruttians moving at full speed forward. The hoplites wheeled slightly and moved up while the Numidians and archers looked to sell themselves dearly to delay the Macedonian army!

The next few turns saw Nick push forward on his left, while we did the same on our left. We were unable to do much shooting so in the end charged the Numidians into the cretans, and the Campanians into the Illyrians. The Illyrians fled and in the pursuit the Italian cavalry hit the companion wedge behind. Unable to respond to the charge and therefore receiving it to the halt, Macedonian's finest came out of wedge and looked to be in trouble. But the dice gods didn't see it that way and poor dicing meant the Campanians lost the combat when Nick put two oracle points into the result. Morale was good, but the Macedonians had momentum and next round the pike smashed into the cavalry! But again it was inconclusive and the Campanians lost on ranks and this time fled. Meanwhile the combat gods also failed the Numidians who failed to win against the cretans. Again this morale held, but they broke off.

The picture left shows the situation now. The Numidians and moorish archers have pulled back to the flank of the Oscan hoplites. The Campanian cavalry have rallied in a line, but next turn are charged from the table by the pikes and companions.

Meanwhile the Italian Hill Warriors and Bruttians had got around to flank and ultimately charged the middle pike block. Despite the pikes having no armour, they just managed to hold the warriors although the momentum was with the Italians.

And that was as far as we had time to play. The Bruttians and Italian warriors were about to be charged by another pike block and the campanians had fled the table. Nick had lost one of the bolt shooters - overrun by the Hill Warrior's charge, and his javelinmen and slingers.

The points would have been tight - the campanians were gone, and the Numidians were down to half strength, and one of the Italian skirmisher units were in rout. But Nick had lost two skirmisher units and we had two table quarters in our control, while the other two were contested, so maybe the Italians would have sniffed it..... a fun game though!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

A Very British Civil War

I can feel a new project coming on..... I have been very interested by all the articles I see from time to time in magazines about the Very British Civil War games and I have just made an impulse purchase to buy some of the source books.

I just know that Tom in particular will love the idea of being able to form a 'Camden Town Irish Free Corp' or something and Nick will probably love the Fascists of something. Not sure what I'll go for - maybe a Royalist faction or something.

The biggest challenge of playing outside of an official club is variety and the need to invest in lots of stuff just to try something new. In a club someone else might have the rules and we could 'try before we buy'. The good news is that actually we have quite a few 20mm WW1 and RCW figures from various earlier projects so I think we can try these out before the urge to buy lead takes over!

My main concern is about what rules work best with these supplements. The books are all source books apparently so don't have any rules in their at all. So you need to adapt some other rules. We've used Warhammer Great War before, but would these work well with VBCW?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Campaign Weekend - Game 4 against Carthaginians

So the final game of a very enjoyable weekend arrived on Sunday afternoon. Nick and I were very excited about this game as for the first time we would be fighting on the whole 8x6ft table, with no additional units, so it was a chance for us to try to play our army how we originally planned it to play. So to use the mobility and above all the speed of our army to defeat our opponents. The only issue was that the deployment zone was 24 inches again, which meant we couldn't pin our enemy back as we expected. No matter.

So next up was a fight against a combined Carthaginian army led by a father and son team - sorry I forget their names! They had 2000pts drawn from the 2nd Punic War in Italy and 2000 from the 2nd Punic War in Spain.

The battlefield was pretty clear with two woods, one just ahead of each sides left flanks.

While you couldn't have any extra units, you could use your territory cards so we played two - allowing the Bruttians again to have heavy throwing spears yet again; and then another nice card which enabled all our formed troops to be considered veteran and so to re-roll 1 set of combat dice per game.

The Carthaginians deployed right across the table with a mixture of warbands - Gallic and Celtiberian - and trained African spear units. In the centre was three carthaginian elephants and on the left some heavy cavalry, open order warbands and assorted skirmishers. To the right flank was a small unit of Gallic heavy cavalry.

We deployed with the plan of launching a right hook and my forces looking for a gap to get around the left flank.

The Carthaginians came forward at some speed as you would expect, but in the end it unravelled very quickly due to the warbands losing control. The open order spanish troops heading into the flank woods decided to charge Nick's skirmishing peltasts who were skirting through the same woods but they couldn't contact in the charge and ended up leaving their right flank exposed to a charge by Nick's Oscans led by a character. In the charge, the Carthaginians had no option but to flee or risk destruction. Next Nick charged the Bruttians into a unit of Gallic Veteran warriors alongside the wood. The heavy throwers the Bruttians carried for this game ripped through the proud Gallic warriors and routed them. In the ensuing panic tests, a unit of cavalry; and trained Africans also decided they had had enough.

Meanwhile in the centre. The Carthaginian elephants came forward bravely but my Moorish archers managed to wound one, who failed his morale and stampeded into a unit of Oscan Hoplites in the Carthaginian centre. They then spend the game pushing that unit to the baseline.

Meanwhile one of the other Carthaginian elephants was charged by our two Indian elephants, who beat it and it turned and hit a unit of Trained Africans. I therefore had the novel situation of dicing for two of my enemies elephants fighting his own troops through most of the game!

The remaining elephant charged our central pike block, but simply pushed it back.

Meanwhile on my left flank, the Gallic cavalry tried valiantly against the mass of Numidian cavalry they faced but ultimately were reduced to 3 figures and routed from the table. Meanwhile the lone Carthaginian skirmisher unit was destroyed exposing the warbands to whithering missile fire from my skirmishers. At least two Celtiberians were reduced to half strength by the end of the game and routed from the table.

Our opponents had no luck what so ever, and continually failed all their panic tests which enable Nick and I to pick up lone units one at a time, causing yet more panic tests and failures. Their centre was also gone and as the game finished I had pushed the Carthaginian veterans and a units of Oscan warriors right through the centre. On Nick's right, the combined companions, pike and Bruttians had largely routed the whole Carthaginian left wing. It was a rout.

The final result was a crushing victory for us, 2572 vs 100pts.... very satisfying as our army played pretty well the way we planned it back in my garage!

Flaming Pigs 4-0!

Campaign Weekend - Game 3 against Spartans!

Sunday morning dawned bright a cold and with Nick looking less grey than the Saturday morning the lightweight! The gaming started around 10am which was nice and first up we had a tough match up against a Spartan 4000pt army generaled by Malcolm.

The table was completely bare with just one low hill just ahead of the deployment zone on our left flank. The scenario dictated a 24inch deployment zone and now we could deploy right to the table edges, which wasn't exactly what we wanted given our light army and lots of cavalry against Malcolm's hoplites!

We decided to play three cards in this round. One the one which gave us an additional unit over the two; the card which gave the Bruttians heavy throwers and we made one of the pike blocks stubborn again. For our three extra units we took Nick's drilled hoplites again; the Punic cavalry and the trained Africans.

There really was just one option for deployment. Put all the skirmishers on the right where the battlefield was completely bare, and put all the best troops to the left where if the Spartans appeared, we might have an advantage with the hill.

Ultimately this was a game completely dictated by the deployment, with Malcolm deciding to put all of his army on his left flanks and leave the right - opposite Nicks forces, empty.

So the game was simply one where I tried to delay the Spartans coming down the right flank, while Nick moved his troops as quick as possible from the left flank. In the end there was little fighting and despite all our best efforts, we simply won the game based on holding our left flank table quarter, and having taken the Spartan right flank quarter and getting troops onto the Spartan left flank quarter of the table to deny that to him. We won 507-72!

Nick looks on concerned or is that confused? as his troops try to sweep around the Spartan right wing - he's standing on Malcolm's side of the table here!

Below our lights try and stop the Spartans - but with toughness 4 and a saving throw of 4+, it was a pretty tough call although you can see one phalanx has been cut down a little just in front of Malcolm's hand!

So we took Malcolm's remaining territory card which completely escaped me right now and it was: Flaming Pigs 3-0!

Campaign Weekend - Game 2 against Persians!

So to our second game of the weekend in Nottingham with an exciting clash with Persian mad Tim and a very pretty 4000pt army drawn from the Alexander supplement.

Now if there was one army we were more worried about our army standing up against than any other, it was a large shooty army like the Persians. When your army is lots of light cavalry and small 18man blocks, they can die very quickly against an army with lots of missile troops. Indeed against a Persian army Tom worked out and we played in our one serious practice game, we struggled and lost a lot of men to Mardians etc.

This game was fought on the same battlefield as we played on for the first game, so just a couple of hills, one on our right, and one on Tim's right centre deployment zone, and a small rocky area on our left. We reasoned that since Tim had lots of heavy cavalry which being massed and now very manoeuvrable, he would likely put them on his left where the rocks wouldn't disrupt him. So we deployed with a skirmishing wing on the right, and with the aim of attacking on the left and looking for a chance to get around the right with the lighter troops.

This time we took as extra units, the drilled hoplites again, plus from my army a unit of 24 trained African spearmen. We also decided to use two territory cards and so Nick's tarentine cavalry got light armour (giving them a 3+ save against missiles!) and the Bruttians got heavy throwing spears to replace their throwing spears.

As you can see from the first picture, from left to right we deployed: armoured Tarantine cavalry, backed by the upgraded Bruttians and companions (out of picture); then came the cretan archers backed up by the drilled pike and drilled hoplites; then the thracian slingers backed by two pike blocks. A third normal pike block was slightly refused with the Carthaginian veterans supporting them, and the two elephants pushed forwards covered by the peltasts and one of the Numidian infantry skirmishers. Then came one of the numidian cavalry skimishers, moorish archers, javelinmen and the last numidian cavalry block. In a second line alongside the pike and veterans, we put the 12 man numidian cavalry into skirmish rather than open order, the two oscan blocks and the trained africans anchoring the line. Tim deployed, as we hoped, with from left to right: skythian cavalry and infantry skirmishers; three big blocks of persian heavy cavalry in heavy armour and barding each with a character, then came a 48figure Mardian archer block, the Greek hoplites, one led by a character; three scythed chariots; the Great King in a chariot behind the centre; another 48 figure Mardian archer block; some Kardakes, a unit of apple bearers, some skirmishers and the Persian Kinsmen heavy cavalry - again in heavy armour with barding.

The game went pretty well to plan. Nick pushed forward on the left while I tried to slow the cavalry avalanche on the right. He managed to destroy two of the three chariots with missiles, and only let one chariot through which killed 6 figures out of one of the pike blocks. The Kinsmen charged the Bruttian warriors and were defeated. They burned their stubborn but were then destroyed in the followup when the companion cavalry charged in to support their Italian allies. That allowed the tarantine cavalry and companions around the rear of the Persian army and Nick systematically rolled up the line by charging frontally with his cavalry behind giving the Persians nowhere to run.

In the centre the Greek Hoplites in Persian employment came forward to support their cavalry and tried to take on the elephants. But their lack of unit standards cost them. One unit was routed and destroyed, another was pushed all the way back to the Persian baseline. Incredibly, the elephant in question lost all its crew and Mahout in the fighting, but passed a stampede test on a 4 and continued to push the Greeks backwards!

The Carthaginian veterans came forward and took on the third Greek hoplites and while losing the first round of combat, their stubbornness allowed them to hold until the spare elephant charged the Greeks in the rear, destroying them.

Meanwhile on of the 18 man Oscan units managed to get through the Persian centre and charged the 48 Mardian archer unit. While their dice were awful, they had the effect of holding the massed archer unit in combat and not firing for a good 3 turns.

On our right against the massed persian cavalry, I had a heck of a job dealing with the Sythian horse archers who brought one Numidian block down to just 5 men firing, routed another which only just stayed on the table. But in the end I managed to get it to flee down the table and that allowed me to try and run rings around the persian heavies while still giving ground. Towards the end of the game, Tim charged my Numidians with his light infantry skirmishers; I ran for it now wanting to risk a defeat and failed morale test, and in the follow-up his men hit my African spears who had moved across to the right flank to try and provide some sort of stability to all the light troops. Needless to say, the spear won and destroyed the skirmishers, but in pursuit hit one of the Persian cavalry blocks. Amazingly the Africans defeated the Persian and then cut them down in the pursuit! Tim had that sort of game!
At the end of the game we had a convincing win - see this picture to see the dead pile! In points we had a 2276 vs 399 victory. We took a territory card which would allow us to field three rather than two extra units in the next games which was also helpful!
2-0 to the Flaming Pigs!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Nick's pretty army

Now he's discovered I've got a blog, Nick's sent me pictures of his pretty Phyrric army so I suppose I should post them! He paints so well they probably deserve a viewing. Interestingly, some of these figures are over 30 years old and just go a little TLC for the weekends gaming.

So top to bottom:

The new Chaeonian Guard Phalanx.

Veteran Greek Hoplites.

2 Elephants with pikemen onboard.

Macedonian Phalanx

Mercenary Phalanx

30 year old Companions!

Greek mercenary Peltasts

Thracian slingers

30 year old Tarantine cavalry

Cretan archers.

Very nice - and after the weekend's performance, it seems they can fight too!