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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Ptolemaic Machimoi

Here are a few photos of two units of Ptolemaic Machimoi which I've finished recently. The first unit is from the Gripping Beast Polemarch range and the second is from the 1st Corps Successors range.
I really like both ranges and was hoping Steve from LBM would make some eagle and thunderbolt shield designs. This design was common on Ptolemaic coins and he has already designed a fantastic banner on the LBM Aventine Hellenistic banner sheet which I'm saving for Ptolemy Philopator's standard bearer!

The 1st Corps figures look like Egyptian marines from the Early Achaemenid Persian army and have an eagle and snake design on their shields. The machimoi were a native Egyptian military caste who although untried, won the day for Ptolemy at Raphia in 217 BC. After returning to Egypt they then went on to cause him no end of trouble as rebels for many years.

Peter Green in Alexander to Actium (p.290) is pretty scathing in his assessment of their leader, 'Ptolemy IV, despite recent attempts to credit him with an active foreign policy, was clearly an indolent character, dominated to a great extent by his advisers and womenfolk...' and ' his concern for family affairs also extended acquiescence in the murder of most of his close relatives, including his mother.'

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Vikings versus Saxons

Josh and Bern take it easy before the game

View from the other end of the table

Traitorous Mercenary Viking scum on the Saxon side

Saxon Thegns

On Sunday at the Vikings Club Craig, Bern, Gary, Josh and I played a 330 point (3-4 divisions a side) Saxon versus Vikings game. I forgot to take photos towards the end of the game but the Saxons had no luck with the dice gods and the game ended in defeat. Thanks to everyone in our game as well as all the players in the other games for another fun Sunday's gaming.

Saxon centre

Saxon right flank

Valiant Mercenary Viking warriors on theVikings side

The Saxon Eorl exhorts his army

Mounted Thegns drive the Vikings back

View of the centre

The Viking left flank holds firm

Mercenary Vikings pass their break test - the dice do not lie

Mounted Thegns rally for another charge

Here are a few photos of some of the other games at the club. Apart from our game there was Alan's Vikings vs Normans Saga game, Greg's Ancient Britons vs Early Imperial Romans Hail Caesar game, Doug and Doc's Black Powder game and David's DBA games plus a bring and buy stall for second hand figures, books and games.

Alan's Vikings and Saga Game

Ancient Britons in Greg's Hail Caesar game

Early Imperial Romans 

Briton chariots retreat

The Romans advance

Doug and Doc's Black Powder game

Friday, 12 April 2013

Rome's Dacian Wars - A Review

In this post I thought I would do a brief review of the recently released Warlord Games’ Hail Caesar supplement Rome’s Dacian Wars written by Craig Woodfield. In the interests of transparency and full disclosure I should mention that I was part of a play test group for this supplement, know the author and also contributed a few photos for the book. In other words, don’t expect a balanced review, if you have even the slightest interest in Imperial Rome and the Dacians, you really owe to yourself to buy it!

Seriously this is a very attractive sixty four page, soft cover book with the usual Warlord high production values. It is lavishly illustrated with photos, illustrations by Peter Dennis and maps and it is worth the price of purchase alone on visual appeal . There is eye candy and painting inspiration on virtually every page and my personal favourite is the double page spread (pp.54-55) of Paul Daniels’ superb Dacian army. 

Ancient gamers are often wary of rule specific supplements - one person’s preference in rule sets is often another person’s poison. However the scenarios and ideas for games in this supplement can be easily applied to most other rules and the text, including quotes from ancient authors, has general appeal and is both informative and entertaining.

The supplement follows the familiar Warlord format with overviews of the Empire under Trajan, the Dacian and Sarmatian tribes; rule additions; army lists; scenarios; campaign ideas for the invasion of Dacia; information on Trajan's Legions and shield designs; basing and unit size; and further reading. The scenarios have maps, orders of battle and then a description of how it played in an actual game. Needless to say, the player who was Trajan on more than one occasion, didn't actually know what he was doing! 

There are differences with the army lists here to the Hail Caesar Army Lists: Biblical and Classical for the Dacians (p.73) and Imperial Rome (pp.76-77) but nothing major. If you are a Dacian player you might feel the original clash value for falx armed infantry of 10 is only fair and accurate but if you're Roman player this might make you a bit nervous! One of the great strengths of Hail Caesar and this supplement is that it is not really prescriptive but up to you and your opponent to reach agreement on lists and scenarios and adapt or modify as you see fit. 

In summary this is an excellent supplement and resource that is well worth buying even if you don't play Hail Caesar. Apparently there are two further Hail Caesar supplements currently in the works, dealing with the wars of Imperial Rome. One covers the invasion of Britain and the other Germanic Wars. I can't wait!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Warlord Caesarian Romans

Here are some photos and a short review of the new Warlord plastic Late Republican Romans (Caesar's Legions). These figures are armed with gladius rather than pilum and you get twenty four figures in each box, regardless, including command. 

Only the head, right arm and scutum has to be glued to the torso, so assembly is very straightforward. There is also an option on the arms for sling rather than gladius, if that appeals. The only tricky part in putting these together is cutting out the hilt, grip and pommel of the gladius from the scabbard and some care needs to be taken when doing this to avoid injury! 

I've used LBM shield transfers sized for Foundry figures that I already had and these were a perfect fit on the Warlord figures. Looking at the comparison shots below, all on the same bases, you can see that that they're surprisingly compatible height wise with the Foundry figures being just a tad beefier. In summary another great plastic set from Warlord that is compatible with the best existing metal ranges like Foundry and Companion.

L to R Wargames Factory, Companion, Foundry, Warlord & Foundry

Side view of the same figures

Warlord figure R in a Foundry cohort (Cornicen is Gripping Beast)