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Saturday, 28 February 2015

Victrix Republican Roman Principes

Here are a few photos of a small unit of Victrix Republican Roman Principes that I've just finished. Both the Victrix and Agema plastic Carthaginian sets should be out soon so I'll be interested to see these when released - the photos I've seen look excellent! No doubt these releases will motivate me to finish some of my Carthaginian units.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

More Saga in the Great Hall

Entrance to the Great Hall

Rear view

Alan's Foundry Viking Warriors

Another unit of Alan's Foundry Viking Warriors

Rival Viking warriors fighting in our first game

Alan's Vikings take control of a room 

On Saturday afternoon Alan, Craig and I played two games of Saga using scenarios for the Great Hall. Here are a few photos of our games. Craig has now finished the loft and roof of his 4 Ground Great Hall, not that these were used in our games. He reckons it took in total about 20 hours to put together! Apparently Gripping Beast are going to release a gaming mat of the Great Hall at some point, similar to the one they did for Jugula, so that should be more affordable for most.

In our fist game Alan and I played a scenario that was pretty much a Clash of Warlords in the Great Hall with two identical four point Viking warbands, while Craig was umpire. Alan pretty quickly got the upper hand in this game and it didn't take long before both my Hearthguard units and Warlord were slaughtered. In the second game the scenario involved a Saxon raid to kidnap the Viking Earl's daughter from the Great Hall. This was a pretty tough scenario for the attackers to win as even when the Earl's daughter was captured, the Saxon raiders had to escape the Great Hall and then faced with seriously depleted forces, a returning Viking Earl/Warlord and two Hearthguard units! Thanks to Craig and Alan for some fun games.

My Warlord and Hearthguard are looking vulnerable

Two warrior units are all that remain of my Vikings

Viking Warriors prepare for the Saxon Raiders' attack

The Earl's daughter looks distraught...or is it anticipation?

Saxon Raider's capture the Earl's daughter but can't escape

Thursday, 12 February 2015

First Game of Lion Rampant - Normans versus Normans

Rick's Norman retinue right flank

Rick's Norman retinue left flank

My Normans

View of the table

A straight road for a Bloodbath scenario!

Bidowers and Foot Yeoman advance

Crossbowmen and Foot Yeomen advance

Last Tuesday night I went over to Rick's place and we played our first game of Lion Rampant with two identical Norman retinues of 24 points. I had read the rules once while Rick hadn't so there was a quite a bit of consultation as we played but it seemed pretty straightforward to pick and after a few turns we were getting through our turns and unit activations fairly easily. The 2 D6 activations work in a similar manner to orders in Hail Caesar so that once you have failed your roll that is it for you turn and it is over to the other player. Certain activations are easier for different troop types, for example Mounted Men-at-Arms will attack on a roll of 5 but need a 7 just to move, while Foot Yeoman will move on a 5 but need a 6 to attack.

Rick advanced with his Foot Yeomen, Crossbowmen and Bidowers and after failing to do anything for the first couple of turns I finally managed to get my Mounted Men-at-Arms to attack them. Suffering casualties and failing their respective courage tests his Foot Yeomen and Crossbowmen beat a hasty retreat. Rick then attacked with his Mounted Men-at-Arms. If both sides suffered  casualties they had to take a courage test and the side which suffered the most had to retreat. If it was a draw the attacker retreated. I then issued a challenge to a duel for his leader which he accepted. This involved rolling 3 D6 with hits on 5 and 6 and the leader who scored the most hits was victorious and his opponent dead. Neither of us scored any hits so the duel was a draw and we resumed to slogging it out between the Mounted Men-at Arms.

At this stage my Mounted Men-at Arms units were getting whittled away and Rick issued a challenge to a duel to me.You can only issue a challenge once a game. My fearless leader accepted and was promptly killed which lead to a courage test and the remaining troops in the unit fleeing the table. My other unit of Mounted Men-at Arms was down to half strength and it was not long before they too fled the table. Thanks to Rick for a fun game which we both enjoyed despite muddling through with only a single set of the rules. First impressions of Lion Rampant is that it is a fast, fun set of rules that is easy to pick but that has a definite Medieval feel and rewards historical play.

My Mounted Men-at-Arms force his foot to retreat

Mounted Men-at-Arms attack

Leaders fight a duel which ends badly for me!

Mounted Men-at Arms attack on the right 

Fighting at half strength things look bad!

My Mounted Men-at-Arms flee the table in rout

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Battle of Gaza 312 BC

View of the table

Opposite end

Ptolemy's army - caltrops clearly visible on right flank

Demetrius' army with elephants on left flank

Lycian and Pamphylian spearmen with Antigonid pike

Antigonids advance to the right

Kardakes as Lycian and Pamphylian spearmen

Armies advance in the centre 

Last Sunday at the Vikings Club in Lanyon, Garry (Mithridates) and I played a Hail Caesar re-fight of the Battle of Gaza 312 BC, from the Third War of the Diadochi. Diodorus Siculus describes the battle in Book 19 (81-85) of The Library of History:*.html

Below is Garry's report of our game:

We'd planned a re-fight of the Battle of Gaza, 312 BC, between Ptolemy - assisted by the fugitive Satrap from Babylon, Seleucus - and the son of Antigonus One-Eyed, Demetrius.

Despite hesitations by his advisers, the 'rash' Demetrius decided on battle, convinced his 43 elephants would make up for the disparity in numbers with Ptolemy's force. Ptolemy had marched from Egypt, encouraged by Seleucus, with his army composed of 18,000 phalangites (some Egyptian), 3,000 light troops and 4,000 cavalry. Demetrius fielded 11,000 phalangites, 2,500 light troops, 4,400 cavalry and 43 elephants. Ptolemy was wary of the elephants and had constructed anti-elephant obstacles made of nail studded planks held together with sturdy chains.

We followed the historical deployment - cavalry on the wings of respective phalanxes, Demetrius (Mike) deployed his elephants in the centre and on the left wing, supported by light troops. Ptolemy (Garry) placed the 'caltrops' on his right to block the elephants. We decided caltrops would cause casualties to any troops crossing them and had a 50% chance of inducing disorder. They could be carried by light troops and re-positioned, taking 2 moves. In the event the obstacles were more of a hindrance than a help as they blocked their own cavalry as well as the enemy!

Mike had the advantage during the game - his troops took full advantage of moving fast (ie, obeying orders) and was able to echelon rapidly to the right flank/centre, outmanoeuvring the clumsy Ptolemaics. He sacrificed his elephants but in so doing held up the bulk of Ptolemy's army, not helped by the slowness of the Egyptian cavalry to swing around their caltops. The Antigonids won the cavalry battle on their right and were swinging in behind the Ptolemaic centre. On the left cavalry honours were even.

At this stage dusk was falling and it was decided to call a halt - the outlook for Ptolemy was grim as 2 phalanxes had broken and others flanked - likely to go down like nine pins (phalanxes do not manoeuvre well) very soon. It seemed unlikely Seleucus would be restored to his former glory as Satrap in Babylon. Historically he did return to Babylon and established the Seleucid Empire, which later fought the Romans and survived until the mid-1st century BC.

As usual Hail Caesar provided an entertaining game, the Rules add an element of chance which on the day eluded the Ptolemaics but could just as easily swung the other way. Ptolemy assumed his larger phalanx would win and underestimated the aggressive tactics of the rash Demetrius - fortune did favour the bold!

Cavalry charge home on the Antigonid right flank

Demetrius' elephants suffered heavily this was the sole survivor

Ptolemy's cavalry are driven back

The pike close on the Antigonid right flank

View of the centre

Companions fight on the Antigonid left flank

Another Antigonid elephant and escort are broken

 Companions on both side break or are driven back

Monday, 2 February 2015

Sea People - Sherden Warband and Bodyguards

Here are a few photos of a bronze age Sherden warband for my Sea People army. The Sherden or Shardana were first recorded in the 14th century BC and some were later recruited into the New Kingdom army of Ramses II as bodyguards. Their distinctive armour and helmets can be seen in reliefs at Medinet Habu and other temples in Egypt. I posted some photos of Sea People chariots last year.

The unit below represents these Sherden bodyguards while the unit above are just raiders, the Vikings of the bronze age! There is a new Osprey book on the Sea People being published this month (February 2015) which I'm really looking forward to, as the only reference book I have is N K Sandars' The Sea Peoples. The figures are mainly the lovely Perry sculpts by Foundry but the bodyguards below also include quite a few Newline Design figures.