Monday, 17 December 2012

Village Raid June 550AD

Ceolwulf was very aware that his men were on the point of desertion, he expected that if he didn't bring them food and gold he would find himself in a ditch with a dagger in his back.

Too often the British reverted to their shieldwalls, the Saxons might try something different this time. Their plan was a simple one, not to be distracted by the village and its loot but to hit the levy hard and drive them from the field.

The initial roll to see how far the Saxons started on the table, was poor, just one turn. To make it work the British arrive on the table between the raiders and the village, they would have to cover the whole table.

 The British levy enter the battle and form up as a shield wall on the edge of the hill as the Saxons advance. The Saxon archers exchange shots with their counterparts causing casualties.

The British almost form a continuous line along the hill, while the Saxon hearthguard manoeuvre around to the old Roman road.

The British split their forces while Ceolwulf advances against the levy. Their strong position bounces the Saxons.

Again the Saxons come forward.

The Saxon archers are killed, the heathguard move back, could they move quick enough to catch the levy in the flank?

The Saxons line up ready, but the British have spotted the ruse. They charge but the distance is too far, the Saxons turn and counter charge, without the shieldwall the British crumple, serious casualties are inflicted.

The British are forced to withdraw, the Saxons raid the defenceless village and gain a thief's horde in plunder.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

April 550AD - Cattle Raid

Ceolwulf's men were not happy, the promised riches had yet to appear. They were tired and hungry, coming across an isolated farm they stole the animals and made to take them back to their encampment. The animals were surely and hard to move, coming across a river they spent an age drinking and bathing.

The Britons arrive to retrieve their livestock.

The Britons quickly form their shieldwall, the saxon hearthguard charge and again bounce from the wall.

The animals move slowly across the table, while Britons and Saxons clash.

The Saxons take too many casualties and break, running for safety, leaving the animals and loot behind, it would take a couple of months before they have licked their wounds and are ready for another raid.

November Gaming

I've finally got my 6mm Napoleonic Austrians from the box for a run through General de Brigade, I should really add some more units to this army and generally freshen them up.

We cancelled a club this month for the Warfare show at Reading, many club members were there, I came back with the new Dystopian Legions Prussians from Spartan Games.

It was the 'dreadnought' like Armsmen that sold me on them, I also had a demo game with the Spartan team and saw the next wave of releases, these are going to get painted over the xmas holidays.

We have also being playing Zombiecide, a new board game in which players have to cooperate to defeat the game rather than win individually. I got eaten, twice.

Finally I went Cardiff, visited Firestorm Games, a great wargames shop with loads of stock and a gaming hall, I also found Rules of Play, a great board game shop near the castle.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Britain March 550 AD

Britannia, March 550 AD, A Wednesday, it's late and it's raining.

Ealfrith sighed, the rain was dripping down his helmet and on to his back. join the Civitas they said, help your king and country, see the world. All Ealfrith had seen was this watch tower, endlessly watching for the Saxons, who didn't come.

His helmet was too big, the rain had caused the leather chinstrap to stretch, the helmet would move, dropping over his eyes, the shield and spear were rough and heavy. Thunder rumbled in the distance, Ealfrith turned in the direction of the sound, turning his head too quickly, the helmet slipped over his eyes. He leaned his spear and shield against the tower and fumbled with his helmet.

Luck was with Ceolwulf and his small band of Saxons on that Wodensday, as they cross in to the lands of the cities of the south to seek plunder in the land of the Britains. Earlier that year Ceolwulf had crossed the North Sea, Ceolwulfs ambition was greater than his short and wiry frame yet he was wodenborn, his father was a cousin of King Theudowald, as a younger son, there would be no inheritance, it would be up to him to carve out his own kingdom.

Ceowulf collected around him a selection of friends, warriors and dispossessed, including his childhood friend Egbert, who would become his champion. Once in Britain Ceowulf made his way to Caer Sallog and from there met up with Redwald, another Saxon but tall and strong with an endless thirst for Ale, and Irminic, short and wiry as Ceowulf but lustful and born of peasant stock.

Ceowulf needed gold, to reward his men, attract more followers and pay his dues to his Lord, here in Britannia. Nearby where they had crossed past the watchtowers, was Caer Baddon there was a roman road, the British bought wagons up the road from Caer Ceri.

Ceowulf may have already used up his luck, as the wagon train appeared the Saxons blundered in to swampy ground, Ceowulf's lack of experience was telling. The British formed up in to their shieldwalls and despite the bravery of the Saxons they bounced off the Britons.

The British levies came out of the gatehouse, forming up in front of the Saxons, tempted by their lack of experience the Saxons rushed on, the ground slowed them down and they hit the Britons ineffectively. The laden wagon carts had moved on, behind the wood and in to Caer Ceri. The Saxons retired from the field.

This was the first game in our Dux Britanniarium campaign based around the river Severn and the cities of Caer Baddon (Bath), Caer Ceri (Cirencester) and Caer Glui (Gloucester). Both sides ended up with light losses and the Britons were able to collect a 'beggars bowl' of plunder.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Prelude to war

We will shortly be starting our Dux Britanniarum campaign here, we have had a couple of sessions playing through the rules. Here's some shots of what we have been doing;

I can never seem to escape the clutches of 40K, I am rereading the latest Gaunt's Ghost omnibus and had to paint some models.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Saga Day 15th September

Our club Wyvern Wargamers held a Saga tournament on Saturday, 22 players and prizes kindly donated by Gripping Beast. Saga had always been a casual game for me, something I could pick up now and again, as a result I hadn't taken the game as seriously as I should.

On the night before when I should have been reading up on the rules, I was looking at my copy of Deluxe General de Brigade I won on eBay. As a result I deserved the second to last place I got.

In truth, looking at the scores afterwards, I was unlucky as I did come close to winning the majority of my games, my dice luck was awful and I didn't have the knowledge of the game I needed. Everyone, including me, had a great time and this is certainly something we will do again - next time I will do better.

I did have some satisfaction in killing a warlord, a wiping out some other units, one of the highlights was one of my carts being charged twice by a warlord and forcing him back each time.

The day has also re-energised my enthusiasm for my many projects, my only problem is to keep focussed.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Mini Review - Renedra Wattle Fences

The Renedra wattle fencing has been out since last year, only recently had I managed to pick up a two spruce pack, these are really nicely detailed and didn't take too long to clean up, cutting the plastic bases probably too longer.

I glued the fences to the bases and gave them a quick coat of Halfords white primer. I buy cheap hobby paints for painting terrain, picking a light tan colour I popped some on a palette and thinned it with some water. The fences then got a quick coat all over and then they were left to dry.

Next up was some thick burnt umber bought in a big tube from "The Works", I squeezed a little out and thinned with just a little water, this was then painted all over, using a foam insert from a blister I wiped off the paint, leaving colour trapped in shadows, this is a great technique which is often used on horses.

Once painted, added some sand and gravel mix, painted and dry brushed. Flocked and tufted later and they are finished.

A great edition to my terrain collection usable in a wide selection of periods.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Dead dux!

We took a car down to Newbury racecourse this weekend for the Colours show, along with some essential gaming supplies the highlight of the day was getting to play Dux Britanniarum with Rich Clarke.

Ade and I played Saxons, raiding a Romano British villa for loot, I took a bunch of photos;

Here's a shot of the table before the figures go on, Rich umpiring rolls up for entry points, Saxons enter from photo right and the British from bottom left, in piecemeal.

As we came on first and had a turn of movement extra we surged forward. The plan was to block the British with the Hearthguard whilst the warriors sacked the villa, the archers would harass and hopefully drive off the slingers.

Some broken ground slowed down the Saxon warriors whilst the others raced to get to where they wanted to fight.

It is at this point the fickle gods looked elsewhere and the rubbish dice rolls started. The Saxon warriors failed to get to the villa. The Hearthguard formed themselves between the houses.

The British advanced stopping short of the pig pen and fields. Another group of Saxons have moved up to assist. The sneaky Brits charge the single group of brave Saxons killing nearly all the group leaving one figure and the big man remaining who retreated.

The Saxon Hearthguard are torn between charging forward in to the British or turning and hitting the British rear. The dice gods again look away as the Saxons struggle to get through the small fields. The British charge the archers who immediately decide that being somewhere else is a good idea.

More British charge and contact the Hearthguard, ripping nasty holes in their group, oddly taking little shock. They are pushed back. The Saxons are in the villa, but failing to find the loot.

The Heathguard groups split up with the right group pushed back.

Still no loot in the villa, more Hearthguard are pushed back. Dice are amazingly poor, oddly the British are rolling well now.

The Saxons outside the villa are now retreating towards the home edge.

With Saxons fleeing, the British move towards the Villa.

A group of Saxons is caught while retreating and lose a couple more figures, this only pushes them further towards their table edge.

Finally the outcome is more than obvious, still no loot and the British surround the villa. The Saxons prepare to "cross the bridge of swords". An excellent game and a great introduction to the rules.

A couple of other games caught my eye including this 15mm WW2 game with working lights.

A nice looking 6mm napoleonic game, perhaps spoiled by too many models on the table.

In all a great day out.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Mini review - PMC Dark Age buildings

PMC Games sell their ready painted buildings through their eBay store, I believe that these are painted to order which is why they can take a couple of weeks to arrive. The selection of buildings is large in a number of scales, I wanted more buildings for both Saga and Dux Brittanium so I bid on a village set.

I got six buildings for my money all well packed in two boxes surrounded in bubble wrap and poly chips. The largest could be an early church but as I have a church I will use it as chiefs house, then two larger houses, two medium and one small house.

Here they are with my Gripping Beast buildings for a comparison.

I think these buildings will have loads of uses, with similar buildings existing quite late in Europe especially in rural areas.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Carry on ACW

It had been a little while since we'd played a game in our Sharp Practice ACW campaign so we thought we drag the figures from our boxes and have a game.

This was going to be the fifth game in our ongoing campaign, the 79th had been reduced to 73 rank and file, more importantly Captain Cook was still recovering from a wound sustained in the last game.

After rolling up the scenario, Marching, the Confederates rolled and ended up having to march across the table and off for victory. Seemed simple, a few good rolls and it would all be in the bag. In the photo below, the Confederates were moving from left to right and the Union players, Dane and myself, choose to attack from the top.

We knew that the trees would give us plenty of cover, our blinds unhampered by the terrain could advance to the road quickly.

The leading bases of the Texas, had reached the junction, coming off their blind after being spotting by Dane's zoauves. The zouaves opened fire giving first blood to the Union.

The Union blinds continue to advance, cutting off the Confederates from their exit.

The first groups of the 79th reveal themselves as they prepare to open fire.

The Confederates will be in danger of being enfiladed. The Zouaves fire again.

After some desultory fire from the Texans, the New Yorkers return their fire creating such as black powder cloud that fire from anything but short range becomes near impossible.

Some of the Confederates are driven off routing whilst others take cover behind their countrymen.

During the exchange of fire Burnham is badly wounded and will play no part in the next game.

The remaining Union troops deploy from the blinds cutting the Confederates off from their table edge. The Union enfiladed the rebels and they began to retire to save their numbers for another day.

In the middle of the table the Confederate skirmishers are driven off and the zouaves draw themselves up for a tremendous volley.

Game six may see Cook returning (5+ roll) with 74 models after suffering 2 casualties (1D, 1BW) in this game with 3 models returning to service after being wounded in game four.

Carts are one of those things which can be expensive to buy in metal, the recent surge in laser cut models has let to a couple of companies making bases, templates and building. 4ground also make a number of differing carts from Ancient to Colonial.

This model probably took me no more than 30 minutes to assemble, ironically even though it's wood I will need to paint it.