Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Lady in Red

A bit of light entertainment last night with a simple 100 point X-Wing dogfight, it has been a wee while since I took to the stars so I was looking forward to a good fight. I was fighting Simon and Simon always has something new up his sleeve as he is a committed Star Wars fan and avid collector of X-Wing miniatures, he also likes to peruse the upgrade cards, usually along the lines of my hits or defence throws being cancelled.

The Imperials drop in.
Sure enough he had some new ships, a G-1A starfighter, a lovely looking little model, along with two Kihraxz fighters and an M3-A interceptor, Simon was pleased with them but I thought they were a little on the light side and only the G-1A had a decent complement of shields, but of course they all came with a number of upgrade cards. I had dug out a list I had made some time back as it allowed me to bring the Imperial Shuttle to the table, a ship which is not seen very often, but what is the point of having all these different models if you only ever use one or two. I also took Kath Scarlett in a Firespray along with two bog standard Tie fighters, the big ships were my attack dogs while I hoped to use the Ties to gang up on whichever enemy ship was nearest to them. I had a few upgrades but nothing spectacular or easily forgotten.

Scum and Villainy on the horizon.
My plan started well and the two big ships moved towards the enemy concentrating their fire on the G-1A, the Ties were not far away and duly opened up on whoever was closest. We had about three turns where the Shuttle and Simon's ships took damage but nothing particularly life threatening, it was around this time that I had to move the Firespray away from the Shuttle and then haul the latter back into the fray. I can't remember who went first but both the G-1A and the Shuttle tumbled out of the game.

Sadly the Ties were left on their own and although they dealt out some damage removing shields from the enemy they could not escape retribution, I hauled them away but Simon guessed right and ended up on their tails. Unlucky for him one of his ships had had to move over an asteroid twice in its haste to fire at the Ties and the damage suffered from this took it out, he did however still manage to knock out my two fighters. But Kath had now come back into the game and downed another enemy ship, we now had one each, the Firespray still had at least one, maybe two shields left and an unbreached hull, Simon's M3-A I believe only had two hull. It was the end of turn six and therefore the game, I had a lot more points left than the bad guys so victory went to the Empire. I tend to be much better at the club with this than Bolt Action.

Elsewhere the boardgame guys were playing First Ypres, there was a Great War game and a fantasy type board set up as well, one Bloodbowl league game and Julian and Ryan were playing the same but with the new boxed set. Bloodbowl is not my cup of tea but it looked good and the Ork team figures in the new box were simply magnificent sculpts. Not sure what I am doing next week.

The first of my goodies for the new army arrived today, seven pots of paint and varnish, my transfers have also been despatched. I noticed the painting guide turned up but the missus is keeping it hidden until my birthday in a couple of weeks or so, damn.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Black Monday

I have mentioned before that one of the things I like about the War and Conquest players I have met is their attention to detail, instead of plonking dice or whatever down next to units and generals they use small vignettes as rally points, Roman coins, monks, civilians or whatever suits the army as Strategy point markers and lately a nice mix of ideas for shieldwalls, I have shields held up against spears stuck in the ground. On my last outing I noticed Phil's, at least I think they were Phil's, markers for wounds to his generals and I liked them so much I have turned out some of my own.

As I await the tsunami of presents coming my way in December for birthday and christmas I have been tidying up odds and ends so that the decks are clear for the new army, no I can't do two things at once, I can't even read two books, it is one thing or another, no interruptions. I was given some palm trees a while back by Matt from the excellent Wargames Table blog and decided it was time to tart them up. I simply gave them a dry brush with a suitable colour in order to take off the plastic sheen and stuck them on to some bases I had in my bases bag, which up until recently was much larger than my lead mountain. Once dry I painted them desert yellow and glued some sharp sand to them, this is in keeping with the basing of my Romans, popped on some left over desert like tufts and hey presto. I was going to spray some matt varnish on the tops but decided to leave them as they were as they look lush and healthy.

I looked around on Friday to see if I could jump on the big sale price bandwagon and found nothing I wanted was discounted, so I spent some money today. I have topped up my paints, ordered metal spears and the figures for a Late Roman Auxilia unit from Footsore, this will be one of two, the shield transfers should be here shortly this only leaves the bases to get. In order for the missus not to give me grief I withdrew my royalties from the sale of my booklets this morning from Wargame Vault and they cover my purchases with a bit extra for more goodies.

More good news is that I have finished a 60 map project for a book called 'Lost Opportunity' dealing with the southern front in 1914 where the French Third and Fourth armies met the German Fourth and Fifth. I am now back on the Eastern Front in WWII with ten maps for an area I am unsure of as I have yet to look at the translations from the original Russian.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Roman in the Gloamin' .......

I have crossed the line in the sand, No.1 son asked what I would like for my birthday and having nearly everything I want or need I decided to kickstart the new army, so I promptly gave him the website and a list of figures for my first unit.

When I first looked at doing a large army I wanted a Late Roman army, it just looked fantastic, the figures available were lovely and they would scratch that 'Roman Army' itch all wargamers worth their salt have. However, instead I enlarged my Romano-British army, mostly the same figures to be honest and then added their enemies the Saxons for the second army, before building Legio XII to get rid of the itch, but I still hankered for that Late Roman stuff.

The original inspiration for wanting Late Romans from Glasgow Mini Blog.
Late Romans, like winter WWII and the Dark Ages overall have come into their own over the past few years and manufacturers have spoiled us with figures, the great thing for them of course is that the models can suit many different armies covering several hundred years not just Romans so it is a win win for all of us. I believe you can now choose an army to cover the complete Roman period from early wars with the Hill Peoples through the Republic to the early, mid and late Imperial periods and now of course the fall of the West before moving onto the Byzantines who remain the poor relations at the moment.

I have come up against three different Western Patrician Roman (420-480AD) armies over the last year at gaming days or weekends and each looked very nice and have beaten me twice, not that they are a super army but they do have a nice range of troop types to choose from and can be used in different fighting styles. I also just like that name.

So I decided to do some research into the army and again was disappointed by the t'internet, you can find plenty of colour plates etc. and read about campaigns but you don't get that nitty gritty info which keeps us wargamers happy, you only get generalisations of organisation etc. Sure you get fancy latin unit names thrown at you but nothing really concrete. I do have one scholarly book on the Late Roman Army, it can tell you the pay grades but not much on the actual make up of the army. I will therefore take the easy way out and simply base my army on the current list used in War and Conquest and rely on author Andy Hawes' knowledge of the period which is extensive.

I have also been inspired by the level of artistry employed on the armies I see at the gaming events, these armies are a joy to look at and play against. I think I am a slightly above average painter but my worst trait is impatience, I want to get the unit done as quickly as possible and get it based and ready for the off, I do use washes but don't tend to highlight much apart from characters etc. I did start off well with my Romano-British but kind of depended more on washes with the Saxons, the Romans had lots of armour so not a great deal to do there. This time I am going to make time and slow down, I have a year before they will turn up at a competition, as I have to miss the May event, so I have persuaded the missus to get me a painting guide for my birthday, I probably know a lot of it and ignore a lot as well but I am going to look anew at the tips and techniques and see if I can do my boys justice.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Magnificent Five

We decided late on to do Dead Man's Hand last night, I told Simon that I was very busy and would not be able to give much thought to a scenario so it might just be a shoot-out, so he offered to put something together if he found the time.

He took inspiration from the Magnificent Seven movie and we chatted about it in the car on the way, we came up with a town which had sent for the hired guns to clean out the outlaws and desperado's who had made it their home. We thought seven gunslingers would be too much so the townsfolk came up with enough money for four including the young greenhorn who went to fetch them, he is the one who is left standing after all his new mates have died in a hail of lead, leaving him the hero of the hour, and of course he always gets the girl. I always wanted to be that guy.

Before the storm.

The Magnificent four+1.
The bad guys lounging around town were uninspiring and contained no one too handy with a gun, some were positively unhandy, but they had numbers on their side, almost three to one. The good guys decided to enter town near the Red Dog Saloon where they crept up to the rear and shot into the crowded bar, the first of the bad guys went down to be followed by another shortly after. Damn, these guys are good I thought and wondered if three to one was going to be enough. The shots alerted the rest of the gang and they began to make their way along Main Street towards the Red Dog, riflemen climbed on to nearby roofs, bullets flew.

 Two of the saviours with rifles took up a position outside the Red Dog behind some cover and started sniping, meanwhile a few of the more courageous baddies had rushed into the back room of the Red Dog and loosed off a shotgun blast at the enemy beside the window, down he went in a torrent of blood. The shouts of victory were short lived as the Rookie and the remaining gunslinger barged into the saloon and gunned down everyone inside, including Mexican Bob, a figure who is usually the butt of many jokes around the table. The body count was definitely in the gunfighters favour.
The baddies move on the Red Dog.
Wait for us Pedro!

We'll be back for you storekeep.
 The outlaw rifleman on the roof of Halloran's Place managed to gun down another gunfighter hiding behind his crates, his mate began to get nervous, a couple of desperado's had made it across the street to the Livery and were moving to get behind him, more of them were now within pistol shot of the Red Dog despite mounting casualties.


The game was almost up as the greenhorns friend dropped from a fusilade of shots from the back of the saloon leaving him alone inside, in true movie style he listened carefully and let loose through the thin wall of the building killing yet another desperado, but it was not enough, he was then rushed and gunned down without mercy, no girl for him. The last of the Magnificent bunch limped away from his hiding place behind the barrels but not fast enough, the town was once more under the thrall of the bad guys and they were going to get payback.

As an off the cuff game this turned out to be quite exciting, so much so that we missed a big nerve test for both sides which might have given the Rookie his chance to bathe in glory after all, or not. It needs further tweaking and I think we should have Seven, even if it means more baddies, but perhaps with a certain objective so that they cannot simply hunker down in a building. I look forward to trying this again. Simon had dearly wanted to play the card which allowed him his cinematic scene of blowing someone away behind a wall and it looked like I had trumped him, but in the end he did get to use it and spectacularly so.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Vortigern Triumphant, just....

Back to War and Conquest this past weekend, my son was unable to attend the Gaming Weekend and as his Carolingian army is now almost complete he was desperate to get a game in, so I obliged by heading over his way on Sunday, braving the snow on the A66, the area was carpeted but the road was no problem. I decided to take Vortigern and his boys again, they had come into their own on the last day of the Gaming Weekend with two victories so I felt lucky, I took the very same army.

As soon as I saw the Carolingians I thought I might have been rash, he matched me in infantry and outnumbered me in cavalry, my archers were expensive as they could form up or skirmish as suited them best, but in most cases they are better as skirmishers, so real skirmishers would have been cheaper but there you go. We deployed one unit at a time in March Order, each unit is numbered and it goes down in sequence, we also prefer Pitched Battle rather than choosing an Objective, it suits us and our armies.

I laid from left to right, with my Saxons on the left hoping to run them forward as fast as I could, they had the Comitatus on their right to bolster their attack and then the Milites and Pedyts would hold the right while my cavalry would be a mounted reserve, they generally are at a disadvantage against Carolingian horse. Stewart deployed with a strong left and his best infantry in the centre, his far right was weakly held by his worst troops, albeit looked like the rest of his army would do the job before they were tested.
The Geoguth about to go in on the left, and the Gedriht too close.

Stewart advanced slowly, only his left moving as far as possible, I threw my Saxons forward, the plan was now to defeat his Liberi and swing the victors around before taking on his main line, his Household Milites being very tough characters, if they failed then the game was up. The speed of the Geoguth surprised Stewart as they are light troops and they covered the ground with alacrity and crashed into his Liberi, I was thankful there were no missile troops on that flank or my unarmoured Saxons would have suffered. They didn't suffer and smashed their enemy routing them from the field in one fell swoop. I now halted my Gedriht and Comitatus to await the return of their mates, I had miscalculated however and the Gedriht began to suffer a storm of javelins from the Household Milites, I then let them down by forgetting the Geoguth for a whole turn, I was forced to retreat them but it was never far enough and they took even more casualties. By the time I did turn the Geoguth they too were now taking hits from enemy missiles as they tried to catch up, sadly they never did.

The battle favours the Carolingians.
Seemingly with the pendulum swinging in favour of the Carolingians Stewart launched his infantry at me, I had moved my Milites up to his battleline taking the chance that his Sergeants would take time to get around the wood, I sacrificed some archers to slow them even more, I now had a large hole in the line but moved my cavalry up. It didn't help, I lost the archers and the cavalry fled from his charge, my foot Milites also took this opportunity to rout, I looked around for a towel.

But wait, what's this, the Comitatus receiving a downhill charge from the Dismounted Milites held and beat them back, my foot Milites outdistanced pursuit and rallied, my cavalry decided they had run far enough and they too braced themselves, the Geoguth had now turned and were heading for the rear of Stewart's favoured Household, but still too far away. I had to make time and took a mad decision to throw my depleted Gedright uphill into the Household as a forlorn hope, if they could only hold for one turn. One turn be damned, the boys surged up and over the hill, trampling their foes into the dust and capturing the Carolingian leader, a cheer went up from the exhausted warriors.

The pendulum swings.
The Gedriht triumphant.
It's all over.

The battle had turned, my Milites, slammed in the flank by the Sergeants held fast, the Comitatus were about to rush down the hill on the flank of the Veteran Liberi and the Pedyts meanwhile had beaten off and ran down a Carolingian cavalry unit, I surreptitiously put the towel back under the table. Stewart was left with little of his army and in a bad position while Vortigern had troops to spare, an incredible change in fortunes.

The wargame, I had some bad die rolls for combat in the opening rounds but some incredible rolls to save wounds on at least two occasions, my Milites lost their first fight not being able to convert around nine hits to kills while the Veteran Liberi had only inflicted one, however morale failed me. Stewart's poorest troops need some skirmish protection or left in reserve as they are unlikely to stand up to such a ferocious assault as the Saxons can manage, luckily for me they were in the right place for such an attack. The turning point was the incredible charge by the Gedriht into an elite unit uphill of them and winning in the first round with about half the number of men, a result not expected by either one of us. Stewart's vaunted Household troops are beginning to show signs of combat fatigue while my Comitatus managed to win just as I grumbled about giving their standard to another unit, and I would have done. A cracker of a game and well worth the journey.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

View From The WIndow

It is early and cold, I can see snow on the hills through the gap off to the east, which is where I am heading in about twenty minutes. Washington House has scaffolding up so the chimney is now getting repaired so may in fact sell, but I doubt it, the houses on both sides of me are now on sale, have I upset anyone? The one to my left, a two bedroom cottage is £250,000, a ludicrous sum of money, the one on my right is £175,000 and is slightly smaller, the main difference is the expensive one has parking off road, but even so.

The road has now opened and I drove through it yesterday, I can't see what all the fuss has been about but it all looks fine now, although there are rumours that a traffic system will be employed at some point as they are not quite finished yet. Did you see the huge sinkhole which opened in the centre of a Japanese city, it would quite easily have swallowed both my house and Washington House, the Japs had it mended and back to normal in 48hrs, our man made hole has now been a problem since the middle of October and the saga is not over yet.

I have come to the conclusion that I have to give up on watching the BBC News, I am sick to the back teeth of having to correct the anchorman/woman/person to no avail as I shout at the box and bring the wrath of the missus down upon my head. I also hope that I am alive to witness the great gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands when someone in their right mind decides they should not get the licence fee any more.

Yes it is old, but you get the point.

I heard someone mention that the 'Chair' has to resign and be replaced in the ongoing child abuse enquiry, you know the one, it is going to try and beat all the records set by the Bloody Sunday enquiry, more expensive, more time and more pointless. Is it just me or is that a ridiculous phrase, why not chairman or if you feel that strongly about it it, chairwoman, for heavens sake I'll even go with chairperson to fit in, but 'Chair', come on.

The missus went to Glasgow last week, she was having a bad day as I found out on the phone when I innocently called to see how things were, all of a sudden I felt I had to apologise for her missing breakfast and that the workmen had not turned up, how do they do that? The upshot was that she would be getting a later train home and could I phone up and find out how much it would cost, simples, no. I had several attempts at getting a phone number for Virgin Trains, I got it and phoned up, using one of my lives to ask the question, what was my booking number, I did not have a booking number, I explained again I merely wanted to know the cost of rebooking on behalf of my wife. We need the number to book you on a train, no, I don't know which train she will be on, I only need to know the cost if indeed there is a cost, I don't need a train. This loop went on for far too long and having used up 7 of my 9 lives I put the phone down before I keeled over. I remember when I travelled up and down the country I arrived at Carstairs Junction, went to the ticket office and bought a ticket, if it was a return it was double the price of a single, I could get off and on again anywhere along the line without requiring a lawyer to plead my case, do you?

Another tax dodger.
  If you are thinking about learning another language, how about ditching Conversational French or German for Motherese? Another scientific fact is that if babies are cooed at, played with, hugged and generally loved they turn out better human beings than if the opposite is the case, all of that seemingly is Motherese.

Does your kitchen have old squeaky drawers which build muscles to close with a bang, a 70's cafetière, old, thumbed through recipe books you never use, or a giant metal box which heats the room but can't do you a decent frittata, a black cat walking over the worktops looking for mice, well if you don't you don't deserve to have friends and never invite them to eat. Willie, sorry, William Hanson a self centred, there I go again, self appointed etiquette expert has decided that if you want to be 'in' you need to have the kind of kitchen most of us ditched ten years ago or are suffering with until we can afford a new one. And these people coin it in!

Is that a sneer I see before me.......

I wonder when people like me are not going to be targetted as 'cultural appropriators' and the loons who get indignant about this are going to hound Japanese tourists in London for eating fish and chips, or Germans in Yorkshire for gulping down black pudding, or smiling Frenchies on the Royal Mile buying tartan scarves. They really haven't thought it through have they, what a terrible disappointment the real world must be to these snowflakes if they ever set foot out of their safety zones.
I wonder if that is a Swiss watch he is wearing...... god help us.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Konflict '47

A bit late for my usual club report but I have a very large map project on and want to be able to get it off to the author by the end of next week or shortly after if I can so no dilly dallying during the day.

I was offered a place in a Konflict '47 game by Stuart, it is a Weird WWII game taking Bolt Action to another level, the gist is that the war does not end in '45 of course but goes on and both sides now bring into action all sorts of weird and wonderful and supernatural things to win. I had a quick look at the background story and it read well, from what I gleaned Germany is fighting the usual forces, however Russia has now fallen out with the Western Allies and is fighting against them on a new Middle East front. The good guys have power armour, robots, walkers etc. while the evil Germans also have these along with werewolves, zombies and flying beasties, no doubt the Soviets have some dastardly stuff as well.

It is still Bolt Action though and the mechanics are mostly the same apart from new rules to cover the zombies etc. It does have some really nice figures and machines but I thought sticking some kind of energy weapon on the top of a Sherman hull a bit of a cop out, having said that Stuarts troops may not be Warlord as he has had them for some time, but they do look good.

We had three a side and Stuart umpired, things did not go quickly as a lot of the special rules for the odd ball stuff had to be checked, but on my side of the table we were the poor relatives, I had a walker and Ian zombies and flying beasties, so it was pretty straightforward. We were given carte blanche to continue without waiting on the rest of the table.

Look familiar?

I put my two squads, HMG and walker together in a couple of small woods and let the enemy come to me, which Ian did, more to test the rules than seriously beat me. As you would expect his zombies took a lot of fire as they slowly hobbled across the open ground and so by the time they got to me their assault was easily beaten off. The flying beasties were also shot up and as there were only two of them they were never going to really affect the game, having said that you could see the potential of having a much larger unit, not something you could easily ignore.
Walking Dead attack.

I am not sure how the game ended, I would happily play it again but having two normal Bolt Action forces and no interest in weird anything I would have to be stuck, kudos for Stuart bringing his stuff and organising the game nonetheless.

Have you seen the flashing light 'explosions' used in some games, you probably will have if you watch any YouTube wargaming videos, I looked online to see if I could buy them and came across a 'how to' tutorial. So about a week ago I got some flashing LED tealights and the missus dug out some old cotton wool type stuffing she had from her craft days. I teased out a rough square of the stuff, sprayed some contact adhesive I had lying about over it (this is great stuff for flocking large terrain pieces) then wrapped it around the light. This is a sod of a job and I ended up with paws rather than hands.

My hands looked similar when done.
 Once dry I tidied them up a bit with the scissors, teased a bit more and hey presto, done, so far my costs had been about £2.50 of real money, this rapidly jumped when I found I had no black primer left and had to buy a tin, £7! I could possibly have brushed some black wash over it but it is much easier with a spray, so I now have black primer for some project in the future. I gave them a light spray on the bottom and a darker one on top, I am pretty chuffed with them.

I do wonder however that they may be slightly large for say a universal carrier or might not sit properly on a destroyed vehicle, but they will look nice spread around a battlefield or in ruined buildings.

I have come to a decision on my next army, it is going to be Western Patrician Roman, a complete U-turn from what I had been thinking about. I am going to finish off my Bolt Action forces and begin the new army on or around 1st January 2017, this should take about six months to complete to about 3,000 points for War and Conquest. I am looking forward to it already.

Monday, 14 November 2016

5th War and Conquest Gaming Weekend P2

We had our usual meet at the bar on Saturday night and there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth, you would have thought nobody had won their games as we all vied for the sympathy vote, a long interesting conversation on all aspects of wargaming with WAC followed, along with many tall tales. I was first to rout as it had been a long day and I wanted to be fresh for the challenge the next day. In the morning I fuelled up on bubble n squeak and hash browns and set off into the miserable weather, I arrived first but soon the rest of the troops turned up and to our delight someone had been in the hall before us and put the heating on, or maybe it was just me glad to be out of the cold and damp.

Tea's were made, armies reorganised and tables claimed. I was fighting Jenny who was using Phil's Western Patrician Romans, as I said I don't have a good record with either of them, I was expecting some heavy cavalry but Phil's set up was vastly different from Andy Hawes' army at Peterborough, this one was all infantry. It was in two parts, very large Roman units along with a large wing of Germans in not so large units. The Roman troops carry everything except the kitchen sink, large shields, armour, thrusting spears and darts if I remember correctly and they looked fierce, I took some advice and aimed to put pressure on the Germans, so that's where my best troops went. Jenny was going to try and outflank my left, she had one more battle formation than me so I needed to kill the Germans quickly while trying to slow her down with skirmishers.

Jenny on the left, me on the right.
Germans ahead.
My right with the Saxons bounded forward, I held the Comitatus back for a couple of moves as my slingers were doing a lot of damage to the German nobles and I wanted to give the Comitatus as much help as possible before they went in. Sure enough Jenny brought her extra unit around the small wood, I chased her skirmish line off and began to pelt them with arrows and slingshot as they approached. I had had no choice but to send my line forward to hold the Romans in place, however my cavalry now had a flank to their front, a charge would probably not stop the infantry but it would delay them, maybe long enough for me to save my Milites holding the left. My cavalry refused three times to form up and I lost the opportunity, the Milites were now facing elite Roman troops to their front commanded by their general and another lot had charged their flank, to my amazement and everyone else around the table my boys held.

On the other flank just before this we had cleared out the Germans, albeit one had routed my Geoguth but they came back, for a time at least before running again, but my Gedriht having seen off their opponents and been hit in the flank also stood their ground around their general. My Comitatus had destroyed the German nobles to their front and were now about to join another group to double up on Jenny's centre. I won the last advantage and called it a day, I was supposed to again capture the enemy general but that was a long shot even with my brave lads standing firm. The baying crowd ooh'd and aah'd and sucked in their breath (in good humour I must add) but I stalwartly defended my troops and as I surveyed the battlefield it looked like a win for Vortigern, sure enough the points swung my way with 24 to 14. My troops enjoyed a sumptuous lunch, with scraps for the cavalry.

After the break it was a return match with Michael Curtis, I had let myself down badly in our last game and he had fought well and took advantage of my dubious deployment, I duly remembered to do better this time. My luck had changed and I again won the dice down for deployment so Michael again set out his army, this time I had to knock out his two most expensive units. Now at times you are never quite sure which troops these are in an enemy line up but as his army was Romano-British and I have Romano-British I knew it was the two Communipulares or Comitatus units, one on horses and the other on foot, Michael put both of these on his right. I decided to go for it this time, I put a horde of skirmishers on my left to shoot his cavalry and then put my Gedriht against a unit beside his foot bodyguard and lined my Comitatus up opposite his, the rest of the army would hold and stay out of the fight as long as possible, but near enough to be a constant threat.

Me on the left, Michael on the right.

Michael saw the trap and his cavalry moved behind the line to his left, I feinted with my cavalry but decided against it and pulled them back behind a shieldwall out of harms way, by now I didn't trust them but they did manage to form up. The two lines crashed together exactly where I wanted them and the enemy heavy cavalry now turned around seeing the danger and began to head back, my Gedriht smashed their opponents and routed them. Sadly, my Comitatus having won the first clash with everything on their side, general, two push backs and more men in the front rank, got beat (I threw 21 dice and killed no one!), they also could not run fast enough, were caught and dispersed. Bad as that was for me things got much worse for Michael, he began to throw dreadful scores for his morale and this set most of his units running for the table edge as the fear spread. It was now he charged downhill into the victorious Gedriht, I expected to get beat here but once again the mercenaries came through and the cavalry were first halted then destroyed. I was overjoyed of course, Michael less so.

With the demise of the cavalry that was one expensive unit gone, however the last one was way behind my lines on its own where I could not get at it for the last move and so I missed my objective but as this was the only viable enemy unit on the table I had won my battle and won it resoundingly. All was not over, Michael belatedly checked his objective and we found that he had inadvertently managed it as my Gedriht were a gnats hair on the wrong side of his deployment zone so instead of 32/12 it ended 34/32. For me my men had picked themselves up and delivered two good wins under my much improved generalship.

Michael's last unit surrounded.

On day one I had despaired of the Army of Vortigern, I had had my doubts before choosing it but wanted nonetheless to try something different, the first two battles seemed to confirm my prejudices. Now that the dust has settled and in the light of the second two battles overall the army held up well, despite my mistakes on day one. You have to do a bit of dancing with it and give your initial plan a bit more thought so that the mercenaries and the British core troops complement each other but it is definitely exciting to use.

Dave Howes won overall and Gary Stark again won the best painted army with his beautiful Pyrrhic force, there were a lot of lovely armies, Gary just happened to be the best of an excellent bunch and well deserved. Young Tom Poole picked up the Award for Outstanding Generalship, which of course is for the very opposite, he brought an overly large unit of archers to the field and shot an enemy general to death remembering at the last moment he had to capture the man not kill him. I finished in tenth place but for me it was two defeats and two wins and once again a great weekends wargaming, you can't beat it, next one is in May, I cannot recommend this event highly enough if you like good fun and fighting battles.

Saxons vs Normans.
Pyrrhic vs Selucid.
Western Patrician Romans vs Romano-British.
Gary's Pyrrhic army.
Saxons vs Saxons.

5th War and Conquest Gaming Weekend P1

I left the house at Noon on Friday thinking I would manage to get to the hotel at Lincoln in daylight by half three and get a little snooze before everyone turned up, I duly arrived in Lincoln at said time but didn't arrive at my hotel until 1700 hrs, a tale of woe for the View. I didn't manage my forty winks so ended up in the bar with a small select group who braved the Friday traffic, the rest of the players would be turning up on the morrow. After dinner we caught up with the football much to my chagrin where Scotland were embarrassing themselves playing rubbish and playing in pink, I retired gracefully suffering the slings and arrows etc. as I made for the door.

The troops muster.

Fortified by a full English, I do love hotel breakfasts, I arrived at Coddington Hall ready for a days wargaming, first up my Army of Vortigern was against Dave Howes' Romano-British, Dave is a tournament player and has beaten me twice, my story is that the second game went south due to a combination of some bad morale dice and Dave's tactics, he excels with small units. I wanted to do much better this time, Dave once again had a number of small units and two cavalry commands, we were both hemmed in by the deployment area and once the game started he pushed his left flank forward, I slowly moved to meet it. I wanted to launch my Saxon mercenaries at his line to punch a hole through, however we both took time to shake the lines out until he saw an opportunity to flank my battle line on my right, it became my opportunity as I swung my cavalry through a wood and got on his flank, a good charge here would sweep away a cavalry unit and possibly one of his skirmish units. I needed the strategic advantage to make the attack, I did not get it, his cavalry escaped, which now put mine in danger as his heavy cavalry were now coming for me.

Vortigern and his boys.
Dave's Romano-British

Both lines advance.

Dave retreats and menaces my flank.
The infantry lines clashed, well the Saxons did, Dave could see his right was up against it as my larger units bore down on him and retired in front of me, this was very frustrating. The Saxon Gedriht did their job and smashed their opponents but his Welsh managed to hold the Geoguth and eventually rout them. A confused battle followed as I lost my right flank while Dave lost a couple of infantry units and no one could strike a killer blow, we fought to the last turn which took a while without any real change in the situation. Neither of us took our objectives but in the end Dave had a higher body count than me and the score was 17 to 28 in his favour, I cannot remember which objective I had been given but I knew it was never going to happen. Despite the objectives I fight a battle to defeat the enemy army, if I do that then sometimes this brings along the objective or on the other hand it will stop the enemy getting theirs, what I want is a good fight and I got it with this battle. I noticed a couple of things, I had not picked up on the fact that elite British cavalry can have heavy armour, that makes them very dangerous indeed for infantry as well as cavalry, I was also beginning to realise that although my Saxons could deal out a lot of punishment they were not great at saving themselves from the same which kind of negated their potential, especially the Geoguth. One thing that was noticeable in this clash was that Dave's shooting was lethal throughout while none of my people could hit a barn door.

Dave is also a bit of a comedian and had a herd of sheep accompanying his Welsh troops and an actual smoking dung heap near his watchtower.

My second game of the afternoon was against Michael Curtis who also had a Romano-British army, it had a couple of really big Pedyt units and some of the excellent cavalry along with quite a few skirmishers. I started well and won the dice off for deployment so Michael had to set out his army first, this was a great opportunity for me as I usually never win this dice off, it also showed as I made a mess of it, I really should have given it more thought. My objective was to capture the enemy general but Michael's was running free behind the line so I decided to launch my main attack against his right and see what happened, my right however now looked dangerously weak.

Me on the right, Michael on the left.

All was not lost however, I managed to get my own cavalry into a position to hit his small extreme left unit and even better I had managed to extend my ranks, I couldn't lose could I, this would mean that he would have to pull off his good cavalry as he couldn't take the chance of my guys wreaking havoc in his rear. Once again my cavalry let me down, shouting "we should have been in reserve" as they fled the field. I ended up with one infantry block defending my whole right flank, they bravely tried to resist but with only some skirmishers in support were overwhelmed by the enemy, they fled shouting something which sounded like "prat". My left got into a position to hopefully smash Michael's right but it was too little too late, I could not recover from the right flank disaster as my centre also went. Michael managed his objective and I was left with a poor score of 12/41.

Disaster on the right and centre.
Too little, too late.
I was pleased with my performance against Dave and the game went the full term and was on a knife edge right up to the last blows, his retiring from my battle line on the left won it for him, most of us would no doubt have simply stood or attacked but he did the right thing and I was left on the back foot. Michael played a good game helped by my disastrous deployment and slow advance on the left, I had not played well in that game.

How much of the blame could I put on Lady Luck, well probably quite a bit as usual, my shooting in both games was undeniably abysmal and therefore enemy skirmishers were more of a problem than they should have been. My generals also suffered from a tendency to attract wounds, I lost my Saxon leader in the first game and not many limped off the field without a dirty rag clutched to a sword cut. I also suffered from not getting the initiative at times when I needed it despite throwing in Strategic Initiative Points to get it, these were valuable resources of which I only had four, not my usual five and it did make a difference as I generally needed them to keep troops in the front line, so they were not available for the dice off. My Saxon Gedriht had done fairly well but their mates, the Geoguth, as I said above were too brittle, both units have bucklers which do not fend off shooting attacks but do have the chance of being lethal in the first round of combat due to a re-roll of hits, however once this is over they do not have a great chance of fending off blows so the enemy can quickly recover, so they have to be handled with care. My Romano-British elites once again proved less than keen, I can never trust them to do what I want.

So there you have it for the first day, two defeats, I think I was second bottom on the leader board, this is not something I worry about and it is there for a bit of fun, but still, as I said above I am there for four battles but nonetheless had started badly. The next day I was fighting Jenny who was commanding Western Patrician Romans, Jenny has beaten me twice and I fell to the Romans at Peterborough a few months ago, not good omens, in the afternoon it was victorious Michael again, oh dear.

Ancient Spanish

Western Patrician Romans vs Romano-British
Romano-British vs Romano-British

Pyrrhic elephants.