Friday, November 23, 2012

4th November, Manchester

Northern Doubles League - Round 5.

A quick return to playing Field of Glory for this event (before the trip to Glasgow's annual Armati event!)

This is a great series of events with a nice crowd.   I enjoy playing doubles, and two games of FoG suits me well enough for a wargames trip.   The League offers FoG-R and DBMM as well (and single entries are accepted - but shout around if you are short of a partner ... the social experience of the doubles game is best shared).

Chris and I took my trusty Late 12th Century Spanish and crossed our fingers that we would get some suitable opposition to charge into ...

(Spanish adventure: Game One)

Well, we struggled against the well-organised and practiced Han Chinese ... MFs with heavy weapons and portable obstacles which they pick up and drop down more easily than modern soldiers can do trenches and barbed wire (translate MFs anyway you like!).   A good-natured and challenging game in which we could make no progress at all.

(Spanish adventure: Game Two)

Our second game was against more plausible Euro/Mediterranean opposition: an Ottoman army which, despite its radio-controlled Janissaries, has some similarities with the Moslem armies that were historical foes for our Spanish.

This game didn't go at all well for quite some time, but after some sparkling die rolling by Chris (I wish I could say that every game ...)... we came close to a decisive win inside the distance.

Around the tables, there was a familiar array of old friends and the usual display of big and beautifully turned out wargames armies ...  Doubles events certainly fill up the table spaces.  I particularly liked ...

 (Assyrians vs Mycenneans ... a big battle)

(Romans bullying unarmoured natives ... don't they ever stop?)

And, presumably a big army swansong ... the biggest army I have ever seen used in a tournament ...

(Ruddock's huge Andalusian army swarms around the Swiss)

Those Andalusians would have made very good period opposition for us, but I'm sort of pleased we avoided being swamped by a swarm!   Anyway, I enjoyed the games we did get.

So, one 'getting nowhere' defeat and one 'nearly cracked it' lucky victory ... no trophies for us this time.  Others did better ..

Well done to the winners (some of whom are, shall we say, familiar? with the victor's rostrum) who were rewarded with trophies and a warm handshake from Colin Betts. 

That's the last double game for me until Usk next year.  And the last FoG (time to rummage around for my Armati rule book) ... I'm beginning to look at Big Battle DBA, you know ...

2013 will be the last year for the Northern League under the current seamless management  (Betts/PearsonGoss) ... a big thankyou to them, and here's to giving them a good farewell turnout next year.

Friday, November 2, 2012

DBA Special: Anglo Saxons and some baggage.

DBA III 24 617 - 700 AD Middle Anglo-Saxon ... Wb Gen + 1xWb; 8x Sp; 1xCv; 1xPs.

I generally post some army profile pictures shortly after the DBA Open.   Although I went with the Gepids at the Open, I used these Angles at Eastern Front and against Ian the other day.  They are mostly Spear with a general and fanatical bodyguard rated as Warband.  This can be a lethal unit in an infantry fight but is very brittle in front of Knights (who'd want to be Anglo-Saxon if there's a Norman army at large?)

8 x Spears; Warband General; 1 x Warband: the Anglo line of battle ...

Figures are New Era Donnington, Gladiator, Essex and Chariot (about evenly matched) with one or two Museum, Tabletop, Two Dragons, Lurkio, A Touller, Outpost, Lancashire and Thistle & Rose mixed in for variety.  Not a bad collection for a 12 element army!

The general and personal retinue: the general's element and splendid standard are all New Era Donnington, the Warband are (L to R) Touller, Gladiator and Two Dragons.

I think the ranges mix well together.  I was particularly concerned that I'd not get away with the Two Dragons figures (which I pretty much bought by mistake) but they just about fit in.

I used 3 figures on the Warband element to make it more obvious alongside the Spears.  The general's element is obvious enough - but as usual I have clipped the back corners off.

 A Cavalry and a Psiloi ... are the eyes, ears, legs and wellies for the army ...

Chariot cavalry, the Psiloi being an Essex and a Gladiator ...

Camp Follower and Barker Marker ...

The Camp Follower is a Donnington model painted as some sort of indigenous painted warrior ('Woad Kill' as the English say ... and the Marker has an obvious mythical significance - the figures beside the rock are a super little vignette, I believe, by Thistle & Rose) ...

I have used my Longship Baggage with this army.   It has seen service right around the Medieval world over the years!


Just to complete this 'eye-candy' post, I'd like to share some pictures of two recent baggage projects.

Gothic/Gepid Wagon Laager camp

This is just tidying up the Gladiator Miniatures wagon circle I have been using for some time.  I have put them on size-compliant base, and added a removable Camp Follower (the CF is that splendid little vignette from Essex) .. the left over wagons are available as singles to but up to these when I use the baggage for other games.

Roman Warship camp

This is the baggage for my coming Marian Roman army.  It will oppose the Spartacus Slave Revolt army, so plays to the 'who's bought up all the ships?' narrative ...

It is that old Heller model loaded with Irregular Miniatures barrels.  I have put a 10mm figure on the ship, a 15mm youth in the water and 15mm figures on the detachable CF element to try to scale some depth into the vignette.  I am pretty pleased with the resulting illusion.

The base is half MDF, half clear acrylic, and the ship has been pulled up onto the beach.   The shields are scavenged from surplus Chariot Miniatures figures to match the Chariot Romans I have picked for the army, and the other baggage bits are Baueda.

The Marine is Chariot and the wealthy Roman, I think, Steve Barber ...

(viewed from seabord - all pictures enlarge if clicked on ...)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October 2012 Northamptonshire

Championship battles and local wargames

Of course, I'm sure I don't need to point out the irony in my post header ... as Will and I do battle using his collection of original Minifigs (strip) 15mm figures depicting armies of Late Bronze Age ...

We had agreed to play 2 back-to-back championship games with the same armies just swapping sides.   I understand Will had had a similar pair of games with Championship Organiser Barnsdale just previously.

Suffice to say that whilst the visitors lost the first pairing, I exacted revenge in the second.

(both armies Minifigs 15mm originally painted by Anthony Clipsom from Will Whyler's collection)

The first game was something of a smash and grab raid.  Will had over extended the somewhat more brittle Egyptian army, allowing me to make an attack with my right wing that had every chance to destroying the enemy before all his force could be brought to bear (Armati trans: the Egyptians were BP4, the Hittites BP5 ... from deployment, it was clear that the Egyptians had committed 4 BPs worth of key units on that flank, and without undue risk, I thought I could mount a pretty hefty attack on them without putting (all) five BPs of mine at risk.   As the Egyptians have many more bows in the army - and thus 'outshoot' me, I felt I needed to do this before the arrow storm took its toll) ...

(the marker indicates that the big bow block had 'reserve' status, ready to wheel as required)

Game Two was going to be a challenge ... I now took the Egyptians, which we had proved were the more brittle, and I had demonstrated that they could be taken out with a vigorous attack.   The sandal would now be on the other foot ...

I was determined to get the bow armed foot into play, and set up ready to range them in on where I expected the heart of the enemy force to be.    Meanwhile, varying my tactics, I set up a strong skirmishing force to soften up the Hittite wing on my right before any chariot clash could tangle me up.

(the Egyptian infantry - of whom I had great expectations ...)

On the left, I set up with an uncommitted division of chariots, correctly guessing that there might be some empty desert out there - and planning to ride around the open flank (general trans: we were using deployment screens, so some divination is required when setting up ... however, if there is some open space and you have troops able to respond to it, there can be tactical advantages that emerge).

(the chariot division with the green 'complex move' marker on it is Hittite and has just wiped out the end of the Egyptian infantry line - an enterprise from which they will not return: both units are now trapped as the Egyptian outflankers (top of picture) close in)

This game played pretty much to my script.  Nevertheless, with a lower Army Break Point, the Egyptians were always on the brink of sliding to defeat with every die roll.

The Hittite key units on the 'soften with skirmishers' wing were destroyed, and the two units caught in the flank trap made five.   The Egyptians, though rocking, were only two down, so the battle was won.  

The old warriors had fought well.   The vintage Minifigs didn't do too badly either!

A few days later, I put out a choice of Eastern Front armies for what I expected to be a couple of DBA games against Ian.   Actually, I had one of my very rare 'long' games ... which we played to a natural conclusion (we were level at 4:4, but Ian eventually won 5 [incl Gen]: 4).

(Sub Roman British: Gladiator and Peter Pig figures with the odd Essex and Chariot mixed in)

Ian chose the Sub Roman British - so I, somewhat rashly, chose, as their natural enemies, some near contemporary Middle Anglo-Saxons.   I say 'rashly' as these early English are somewhat embarrassed for cavalry, and the British Knight General looks fearsome indeed.

(several boat-loads of Angles, but just a single element with any horse power)

Some near centrally placed marshland meant Ian split his force into a 'spear' anvil and a flank raiding 'mounted' hammer.   His plan was to make me either break up my force so he could crush me with the Spears, or turn my flank should I try to keep together.

(seen from the British side)

Actually, I managed to foil the flank raiders and get them into a tangle in the tight corners between the wood, the marsh and the battlefield edge.

(seen from my side)

Although that had put me ahead, it did leave me slightly undergunned against the infantry unless/until I could get all the troops back in line.   Of course they are mostly infantry and the game was DBA - so that's a big ask.

The good news and the bad news with the Middle Anglo-Saxons is the Warband General and supporting element.  A very good chance of destroying Spearmen, but I could see Ian hovering behind the line with his Knight General.

(the crucial melee, general to general)

The inevitable could not be avoided: I had to put the general into combat to maintain the line.  He destroyed his opponents and followed up into the vulnerable gap ... and the British general then charged in and made the 'quick kill'.

Although I was still ahead at that point (so losing my general did not end the game) I could not get enough Pips to limp over the line and the rampaging British were able to mop the game up.   Appropriately, of course, this Dark Age confrontation was really settled by the two commanders in personal hand-to-hand combat - and you can't argue with that.

A very interesting game - and not the quick bash I was expecting.  We'll play the second game on another occasion.

It'll be Field of Glory before then, for me, however - at the Northern Doubles League ...

See the Society of Ancients at Warfare ...

Why not join in the Championship (it's just ancient warriors like us lot!): Society of Ancients Wargames Championship