Monday, 31 August 2009
So, bearing in mind that I have tried the Impetus rules and enjoyed them when Steve Kelly dropped by, I have downloaded the Basic Impetus rules and produced a couple of armies for them. Basic Impetus is the free 'light' version of Impetus and there are dozens of army lists available for the rules. Having tried Impetus, I think that BI can help me regain the joy of my early forays into DBA when it first came out. The armies comprise around 7-10 elements, so it is possible to collect large numbers of armies if you wish, or just enjoy the game cheaply, a must for a thrifty gamer!
I already had a few packets of Wars of the Roses figures before I began the Towton project. Ok, well, maybe I mean more than a few. Not all of these will be used in the Towton project because they represent troop types that were not present. I dug these out and added what I needed to the painting pile. As a result, in short order I had enough elements to field all of the options for Lancastrian and Yorkist armies. Each army consists of 8 elements, and each has 3 options that can be added in exchange for elements already in the army. The number of options in BI armies is not ridiculously large, like in the most recent DBA rules, but reflects the sensible nature of the first edition of DBA. Hooray for Dadi e Piombo, say I!
The armies below are arrayed with their core elements at the front. The three optional elements are arrayed separately to the rear. The figures are 6mm Baccus, based on 60mm x 30mm mdf bases from East Riding Miniatures using the Baccus Basing System.
The Yorkist Army (click the pictures for a larger version)
The Yorkist army consists of the retinues of Edward IV, Lord Hastings and Lord Berners.
The Lancastrian Army
The Lancastrian army consists of the retinues of Lord Grey of Codnor and Sir John Heron of the Ford. It also features the retinues of Viscount Bourchier and Lord Fitzwarin standing in as Lancastrians until I actually get some more Lancastrian running dog lackeys painted.
Friday, 28 August 2009
Shiva is a human that has been infected with the spores released by the Koralon (greebly aliens) when they invaded. She is a character figure for the Urban War game from Urban Mammoth. Steve and I both really like Urban War but we play it all too infrequently, because we keep getting distracted by other projects. It's a shame really because it is a game that is well worth playing.
Looking at Shiva, I think she may well appear in our Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures games. She would make a great minor demon figure, as would a lot of the other Koralon I have. Now, where can I find these figures in 6mm for our Warrior Heroes games too?
My forces are based around the Shastapshian army in the Space: 1889 rules. Their army is organised into 'flags'. Each flag is a combined arms battalion comprising two warbands of infantry, one artillery battery and one cavalry warband. My ultimate goal is to be able to field three or four of these flags with supporting walkers and sky galleons.
A Red Flag Warband
These new infantry are the first warband for the second flag that I am producing.
Small Bird Class Screw Galley
This is my first air support unit. The Small Bird is normally used to support troops in siege situations by providing high level bombing. I am hoping that its sweeper guns and aerial mobility can also level the playing field against the British machine-guns.
Storch Mk2 Walker
This light recon walker is armed with a 0.5" Gatling gun instead of the more usual two-pounder that the Prussian Storch walker carries. Prussian renegades have provided the Shastapshians with three of these walkers so I had better buy and paint the other two as well. Let us hope that they prove resiliant enough to deal with the British steam tanks that I have heard are in production.
Shastaphsian forces march on Syrtis Major.
This is all of my painted Martians so far. I need to add some cavalry to complete the Black Flag. They are currently sitting undercoated by the painting table awaiting their turn.
In the near future, I plan to complete the Red Flag by adding an infantry warband with melee weapons, because the Black Flag is the only flag whose troops all have rifles. They will also need the cavalry and artillery, so I shall have to buy these at some point in the future. I have also printed out another Small Bird and plan to build it shortly. I think I would like a squadron of three of them and it would be nice to have crew figures for the Small Birds, so I shall print and build another at some point.
In the longer term I plan to expand the army to three or four flags, as mentioned above, and add the extra two walkers. After that, who knows? I am tempted to add an allied Piedmontese mercenary battalion to the Shastapshian forces, with the Piedmontese taking the role of the Fenians and Prussians in the rulebook. Whaddya mean you never heard of the Piedmontese space effort or their holdings on Mars? Well, you will ...
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
I finally got around to painting some of my 'nefs last week. Now I just need to paint the rest. Click the pictures for larger versions.
The Italian Fleet leaves Scapa Flow with the newly purchased Stingray Torpedo 'Nefs:
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Friday, 14 August 2009
He managed to find my house eventually, after a dreadful journey down past York. One brew later and we set up for the first game. Steve had mentioned Impetus on his blog before and I have been reading reports by other people too, like JET on Geektactica. These all made the game sound interesting. I had also downloaded Basic Impetus, a free DBA-esque version of the rules from the website, which had whetted my appetite for the game. It looked interesting, and I was not wrong. Steve had mentioned on the phone earlier in the week that he had some reservations about the rules after his first game, so I was wondering if they would live up to my expectations. We set up the game. I took a Lancastrian Wars of the Roses force and Steve took the Yorkists. Both armies were Steve's.
We deployed roughly opposite each other and commenced the archery duel, which was not particularly decisive but did disorder my archers fairly quickly. Our mounted units charged towards each other on my left flank, while the rest of the troops tried to remove disorder and advance. As we closed the archery became more furious and units started to really get hurt, with Steve's men taking the brunt of it. Meanwhile the mounted knights were in a ding-dong battle that raged back and forth across the field. My knights got the worst of it in that melee and were quickly reduced to a strength of 1. Ouch. However, despite, or possibly because of, being outnumbered they rallied and fought back even harder. Meanwhile, my archers had destroyed a couple of Steve's archer units and my melee troops stormed into the combat. Very soon the battle was over and the Yorkists were fleeing for their lives.
This was a great fun game. I don't think we used all the rules in the Impetus rulebook, but it flowed well and was thoroughly enjoyable. I liked the idea of selecting which body of troops you wished to move and dicing for their initiative versus your opponent rather than rolling initiative for the whole side. That keeps both players more involved in the game all the time and adds a layer of interesting decision-making to the game. I also really liked the fact that melee continues until one side is destroyed or has fallen back beyond the pursuit range of the other side. This makes melee quite deadly really but also led to a real back and forth battle between our knights. The quality of the rulebook is also exceptional. It has thick glossy pages that feel like they will last well. The illustrations are inspiring and there appear to be plenty of examples too. Overall, I have to say "thumbs up" for Impetus and it is now on my shopping list. Oh, and Steve's reservations about the rules? Well, it turns out that he had drunk rather a lot of alcohol before he even began that first game ...
We broke for lunch and then set up a game of FutureWarsCommander. I have had these rules for a while and it is on my regular opponent Steve's and my list to play. Yes, my regular opponent is called Steve too. That makes it rather confusing but I shall not mention him again so any references to Steve will henceforth refer to Steve of 'steves blog'. So, as I was saying, I have had these rules for a while and have been really keen to try them out. I painted up my Scandinavian Union force a while back, as regular readers of this blog will know, and had previously only used it for Dirtside 2. Steve used an Andrayadan force from Dark Realm Miniatures for this game. We picked 2000 points of troops and set up a quick encounter battle so that we could get rolling dice asap.
It all started so well. I discovered that my troops had firepower and range over Steve's force. Brilliant. In the first four turns and almost completely annihilated one wing of his army as it tried to advance on me and had reduced Steve to one point from his breakpoint. My own casualties were minimal so far. At this time I was feeling rather guilty. After all, I had won the first game and it would be rude to win the second game in such a manner. Then on Turn 5 both my HQ and my CO failed their first command rolls. My troops stood there like lemons while Steve's advanced. I started to take more casualties. On the following turn my CO again failed to activate anything while my HQ was trying to manoeuvre his wing over to the other side of the table. And that's when it happened. Steve's troops activated and activated and fired and fired and my troops started falling like flies. In the space of one turn the whole game was turned on its head and suddenly my troops reached their breakpoint. I now had to roll every turn to see if the commander would order a withdrawal. He passed the first time but the troops took so many casualties on that turn that there was only a minimal chance of succeeding at the withdrawal roll on the following turn. I rolled. I failed. My troops fled the field. Victory to Steve!
This game was brilliant. The command system is very neat and offers all kinds of possibilities for problems and amazing successes. The game flowed really well and there were no problems. We did spend a bit of time looking things up, but that was because neither of us was particularly familiar with the rules. I can't wait to get another game of this in and am even wondering whether I should collect a new army for it. The question is, which army?
So, a big thank you to Steve for an excellent day's gaming.
Monday, 10 August 2009
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
The whole army for Helsingborg using Polemos order of battle:
The army is now based on 60mm x 30mm stands. Originally, when I first conceived of the Helsinborg project, I envisaged using Koenig Krieg to refight the battle. However, further experience of Koenig Krieg suggested to me that those rules might not suit my schedule and available gaming time. Therefore the project stalled with both armies painted and stuck to KK bases. Then along came Polemos. I decided to rebase to that standard. I figured that I could then use the armies with Volley and Bayonet too. I like Volley and Bayonet, although some find them a little simplistic. I also think that Volley and Bayonet may well suit my available gaming time better, although I intend to try both out.
As an example of how the units look, here is a picture of the Guard infantry:
And here is a picture of Bulow's Ungarske Dragoon Regiment.
Just to show how truly geeky I am, here are the casualty markers that I put together for the original Koenig Krieg project. There is a full set for every regiment in the army, painted in regimental uniforms.
Some figures that are not needed for Helsingborg, but which I rebased anyway:
Following the rebasing, I also find myself with a lot of extra figures left over. The Koenig Kreig battalions are larger than the Polemos / Volley and Bayonet ones so I have the equivalent of half a dozen regiments of infantry spare, as well as some additional commanders and dismounted dragoons. The infantry will have their facings changed and will become regiments that fought at Gadebusch in 1712. These spare figures will need command figures adding to them too, but I have plenty in the lead pile so that is not a problem. I shall be assuming that most regiments had not received their new red uniforms by then, but if I need to begin afresh with some units then I shall paint them in the red uniforms.
These figures are Gripping Beast, I think. They were already painted by my brother as part of a 28mm Viking army for DBM or some similar system. I was not keen on the ink wash my brother had used. It was brown over the grey cloaks, so I repainted the main details on the figures and dipped them in a magic wash solution using dark grey paint as the pigment. Then I rebased them. It seems to have worked well enough. These figures are extras for our WHAA campaign so I did not really want to spend ages getting them perfect. As it is, they should not be too embarrassing to field.
The other mob that I have finished up is my Swedish Hussars for the Seven Years War. These are 6mm Baccus figures. Baccus does not produce a Swedish range for the Seven Years War, but it is perfectly feasible to use similarly accoutred figures from the Prussian and Austrian ranges. On the left we have the Yellow Hussars (Gul Husaren) and on the right the Blue Hussars (Bla Husaren).
The Blue Hussars were the original unit, formed in 1757. The Yellow Hussars were formed in 1761. They are the only hussar units in the whole Swedish army at this time so any Swedish army of this period will need to include them or do without light cavalry. Pengel and Hurt note that they cannot find any evidence for standards carried by the hussars. I have chosen to give them generic livfanor because I think that a hussar regiment really ought to have flags.
Until I paint the actual Swedish regiments of the Seven Years War, I plan to use my Great Northern War Swedes as stand-ins. The uniforms are close enough so it will not be glaringly obvious except to the most pernickety of people.
Sunday, 2 August 2009
So, on to the project. I have started a new blog to chronicle the project as it develops over the next year and a half. The new blog can be found HERE. I have recruited half a dozen other people to help with this project and we are planning to field armies comprising upwards of 8,500 figures with an ultimate goal of 25,000 figures on the table. That said, I am now wondering if 33,000 figures is a feasible goal now that I have received my first order (Edward IV's command).
We plan to take the Towton game round several shows in the UK in 2011, the 550th anniversary of the battle. I hope I shall see some of you there.
How can this be thrifty? Good question. We are being supported in this effort by Baccus and The Lance and Longbow Society. Baccus is giving us a hefty discount on the figures that we are buying for the project, which makes purchasing the higher numbers of figures more realistic. The Lance and Longbow Society/Freezywater produce a range of standards and banners for the Wars of the Roses and they have volunteered to give us all the 6mm flags we need for the project. I would like to thank both of them for their generosity. I really hope that our efforts repay that generosity.
The other aspect of thrift in this project is that I shall not be spending any money on it! Well, that is not strictly speaking true but I intend to make my spending on the project 'outlay neutral'. I have more than a few projects that have stalled and are never likely to be finished. These I propose to sell on ebay to fund the purchase of figures for the Towton project; my first purchase was funded by my recent ebay sales. I intend to repeat this process until I have all the figures I need to refight Towton. I shall also be begging all of my relatives to buy me the figures I need for my birthday and Christmas presents. With any luck, this will mean that I do not actually spend any money beyond what I can earn from my hobby on the project. Then all I need to do is get them painted. Wish me luck!
Saturday, 1 August 2009
We chose to fight a standard 3000 point encounter battle, with each of us setting out 3 objective markers. The markers were all drawn randomly from the pool of objective markers so we did not know what points values each of us had drawn. All of mine were worth one point each. Bah! I found out afterwards that Steve had drawn two 2s and a 3! One objective marker had to be placed in our rear areas (the third of the table closest to our base edge), while the remainder had to be placed in the centre third of the table (the main battle area). The red circles on the set-up picture below show their locations.
My force consisted of the HQ group, two tank troops, two armoured infantry platoons and a heavy SPG troop. Steve had, if I remember correctly, an HQ group, two heavy tank troops and an armoured infantry platoon. I outnumbered him significantly and, as I found out, he had taken a totally different approach from me to building his force. I bought small tanks with big guns and very few frills. Steve bought big tanks (his Scotia tanks were twice the size of mine, literally!) with smaller guns but loaded up with stealth options.
The Set-Up (click pic for larger version throughout)
One unit of Steve's tanks is missing from this picture (on the far right) because of the limitations of my photography expertise. The arrows show the approximate movements of the units throughout the game.
Steve began the game by advancing a unit of tanks down his left flank. I promptly proved that I had actually read the rules by declaring opportunity fire. Three hit rolls later, two tanks were in flames and one had suffered a catastrophic failure of all its systems and it had also lost its drive train. The systems could be brought back online but it would never move again.
On his right flank, Steve moved a heavy tank troop into the military industrial complex to seize the objective there. I responded by advancing my headquarters troop to try to drive him from it. Suddenly all the target training I had given my troops seemed to desert them. They were right up next to these tanks and could not hit a thing. Fortunately, Steve seemed to have forgotten to train his own troops in how to shoot too!
Meanwhile, in the centre of the battlefield, Steve advanced his infantry forward and I did the same. My green troops advanced into the woods in my rear area to seize that objective and never moved from there for the rest of the game. Did I mention that troop quality was determined by a chit draw? I drew 2 green units, 1 elite unit and the rest were average. Steve's troops were all average and mostly with average commanders, while my command ratings were all over the place. In the picture below you see me triumphantly moving my troops up to the edge of the middle woods, supported by an armoured troop, and loudly declaring, "Hah, this objective is mine!" I then realised that the objective was actually in the woods at the top of the picture and said, "Oh, bother!" Doh!
I did move my infantry up to the woods with the objective in later, and managed to hold it. Steve brought his infantry up to try to take it, but I countered with some devious tank movements to chase his APCs off. Meanwhile, I had managed to smoke two of his tanks in the industrial area, had finished off the third one on his left flank and had occupied five of the objectives. At that point I declared game end. Under the rules, once you control more than half the objectives, you can declare game end. That said, it had not been easy. I spent many turns failing to hit Steve's vehicles. Similarly, he failed to hit mine and the one time he did, he scored a firer systems failure; the gunner pulled the trigger and the blue screen of death showed up instead of brewing up my APC. Such was Steve's luck throughout the game.
The final situation with arrows to show approximate troop movements:
The game was great fun and we played it through in 1.5 hours despite never having played before. The rules worked smoothly and the only thing that spoiled the game was Steve's abysmal luck. I'm sure he will do better next time. From my own perspective, I got the impression that numbers will tell in DS2; the more shots you get off the more chance you have of hitting and hurting the enemy. Steve's lack of numbers was a contributory factor in losing the game. The stealth systems he had worked well though. I spent several turns firing everything I had at him and missing every single time! I do like the opposed die roll system for hitting. That works well and is fun. It also keeps both players involved all the time, as does the alternate activation mechanism, where each player alternates activating one unit at a time. All in all, DS2 s well worth trying if you like 6mm sci-fi and it is available free from the Ground Zero Games website.
Our next planned game will be FutureWarsCommander using the same figures. We shall also return to DS2 but with bigger forces and more variety of vehicles.
This does not mean that I shall be idle on the gaming front. I am currently clearing the decks for a rather large long term project, so I do have a bunch of figures to paint, but I am not going to pressure myself into completing them yet.
We expect to resume normal service in September though.
Unit of warriors led by a hero:
I had a spare shield, so I added it to the hero, because I already have one of this model in the warband, so I thought it would make him a little different.
The Stone Colossus is a creation that the harbinger of the warband can build when he gains enough Ka (equivalent to levels in an RPG or something like that anyway). It is a slow but tough juggernaut that can level buildings with its bare fists. I suspect that it will also be an arrow magnet in any game we play.
The whole warband:
This is the whole warband. It consists of:
- The harbinger (front centre)
- A master of words or magic-user (centre left)
- An artifex, who crafts items of power for selected characters in the warband (centre right)
- The Stone Colossus (rear)
- Two units of warriors, each led by a hero
The figures shown here weigh in at between 850 and 900 points, depending upon how I rate the heroes (they could be bought as champions or heroes). To bring it up to the starting warband default level of 1000 points, I would add a unit of Khemru slingers to give me some missile capability.
You will notice that the newer figures are a different colour from the older ones. This is because I tried a different painting technique on these ones. Instead of doing lots of highlighting, I just washed the figures in a stone colour and allowed the white undercoat and the wash to provide the shading. Then I dipped the figures to increase the contrast a bit. I think it worked quite well and I would not be too embarrassed to field these figures on the table.