Thursday, 14 December 2017

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever you are..............

As you know I didn't make it to the club last week so Rob kindly put off his Muskets and Tomahawks game until this week, he didn't make it either, we had a lot of members AWOL last week it would seem.

Anyway I dragged myself from my sick bed and found myself in charge of a blood curdling mob of Woodland Indians, all beautifully painted by Rob and Stuart, I still feel like jumping into this period every time I see them. The premise was I had just completed a raid on a village and burned it to the ground, those who had survived my depredations had fled into the nearby woods, I now had to scour said woods to find them. Simon on the other hand with a hastily put together rescue party also had to make his way through the woods but this time to find and succour the fugitives.

The whole table was covered in trees and difficult ground, scattered around were lots of little markers, these markers once approached were diced for and may be nothing, or one or two of the fugitives. I had the choice of butchering them or taking them prisoner, Simon of course had to protect them and get them safely back to a holding area, game on.

I came upon several fleeing women, servant types and duly killed them, I then ran into two who could obviously handle themselves as they shot one of my braves and caused the others in his party to run. I picked up from some of the things Rob said that these two were the women from 'Last of the Mohicans' and if I killed or captured them I would have Hawkeye and his mates after me so I reluctantly let them go on their merry way. The Gods next rewarded me with a high ranking British officer, he was not going under the knife and he was led to the rear.

It was now that both sides were fairly close to each other and most of the civilians had been killed, captured or rescued, a stand of Colours had been spied but had got away only to be shot down, this looked like a high value target to both of us. I tried to get into a position to make an assault but the terrain was against me as was my shooting, after some time I had to give up and the flag disappeared back through the forest. I did manage in the last minutes of the game to bag a small party by killing the two soldiers protecting it. Simon also did not have things all his own way, he rescued a senior officer who immediately demanded to be in charge and for a time confused his men (I was given charge of this character if I beat a die roll). He also found a child who slowed his men down and a fight broke out when a drunken lout was flushed out of hiding and set about his rescuers.

At the end the scores on the doors showed a win for Simon, I could have done much better if I had not killed so many of the fugitives and merely captured them, but hey, I was in character. It was a great idea and once again showed how flexible these rules can be and how you can let your imagination run riot, with this and other scenarios I think Rob should get them published.

My next set of figures are being primed in the outhouse as we speak, I used the recommended super-superglue by someone on Facebook only to find it works no better than other super glues, he obviously has not tried to glue Aventine figures. I went back to using Bicarb as a setting agent and hey presto, job done.

It is Birthday Eve here in the Anderson household, a new holiday I have instigated as King of the Andersons and High Heid Yin of the Clan, it only pertains to the leader of course and means that I should be shown due deference as befits my position and upcoming big day.

We have our club Christmas Game next week, I am not sure what it is yet as it is under wraps, Julian, our star baker will once again be spoiling us with his mince pies. I have already let it be known that this year there should be a more equitable sharing of the goods as last year I only managed to grab one, I think my pleas have fell on deaf ears.

Monday, 11 December 2017

With no games on and suffering from manflu for the best part of a week and a half, still not over it, things have been fairly dismal recently, much like the weather. We came back from my grandson's birthday tea on Saturday having managed to travel to Northumberland and back fairly safely despite the dire warnings, with his birthday so close to Christmas this is the beginning of a few weeks of indulgence for him, with my birthday so close to Christmas I used to get a stick.

I have managed to finish my first phalanx for the Seleucids, it hasn't taken as long as I thought but I am not 100% happy with it. The shield transfers I chose were a red star on white, well not quite white, so I mixed up something to blend it in with the outer rim of the shield, then once varnish was applied this stood out so I had to go over it again with a light wash of white. I don't like painting the linen armour and the pteruges and nearly every figure has them, I have tried giving them a wash then a drybrush over the top, it works to a certain degree. I also possibly made a mistake using so much white with this unit, white is a swine to paint, it always seems to need two or three coats.

Next up is the Guard phalanx, I intend to use far more colour with this one, especially purple, this should be easier to wash than the white. I have also taken delivery of super-superglue as used in model ship building and, according to a gent on FB, should stick instantly even the awkward Aventine Miniatures metal, we shall see.

I swallowed the hype for "Six Minutes in May" which is supposed to be about the bungled Norway Campaign and Churchill's part in it at the beginning of WWII, it is in fact more a political book than a military one but I wanted the latter not the former. I also ended up with two pristine, hardback copies, I tried to send one back but the seller has ignored me, so if anyone wants to send me the postage you can have a copy.

On my return from China, where the Opium War was mentioned more than a couple of times, I bought a book on it, but again it is mainly from the political view, and interesting as it is now that I have put it down I cannot pick it up again.

I jumped in once more last week and to cheer myself up I bought "Rome: A history in seven sackings" I had no sooner read the first page than I knew I had a winner, about time.

 I have just finished another few map projects and have been contacted to work on The Spanish-American War for the beginning of 2018 and the the Franco-Prussian War later in the year, both with an author I have already worked with, there is also some work to do on a tome about the Saxon army 1721-1815 and perhaps a start on the AWI Atlas. I have two which I hope to finish the year off with in the next week or so, Gallipoli and Iran-Iraq, the former awaits the authors OK and the other is 50% done. Looking good.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Man Flu

No club this week, I am suffering from the mother of all flu's, I am like a bear with a sore head. It would seem a few of us have fallen by the wayside this week and I made the decision earlier not to go, for starters I felt lousy and secondly I did not want to spread this horror. Rob has kindly put the Muskets and Tomahawks game back until next week, hopefully I will be back to normal by then, I didn't even manage to get any maps drawn today either, I only just managed to put a smile on for my customers.

Anyway I have bravely sat through some TV and managed to finish the Skythian horse archers and get a bit further with my first pike phalanx. I have not got to grips yet with the long pikes and keep catching them and knocking figures over or on to the floor, I can forsee problems on the battlefield and fingers like pin cushions coming up. The missus has bought the other three phalanxes for me, one I have now and the other two I shall get at Christmas, I don't see me finishing this one before Christmas as I have quite a few map projects in the wings.

I got Netflix recently and so far have enjoyed what I see, I am almost finished the second season of Stranger Things, finished Narcos and the superb Godless (which I highly recommend) and have now started on Mindhunter. I bought John Douglas' book when it first came out years ago, he was one of the first profilers for the FBI, and the book was a great read if obviously horrendous in parts as it deals with serial killers. The jury is out on the show at the moment, I like it but am not yet willing to give it my seal of approval, I do wonder, again, why they have introduced a pointless gay relationship when the woman being portrayed thus is actually happily married with a family. After the success of Godless I tried Frontier, about the Hudson Bay Company, it really is at the other end of the scale, dreadful, bad acting, bad accents and an unbelievably ridiculous story.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Volo dicere ad Goth.

Once again things were left to the last minute for the club, maps to draw, customers to serve etc. Simon got in touch and suggested a War and Conquest game I know he likes Romans so it was an opportunity to get my Patricians on to the field of battle, these, like the Twelfth have a fearsome reputation and during their outings earlier this year destroyed their opposition. I really like this army. I decided however to go out on a limb, after all what is the point of having all sorts of troop types if you just use the same ones all the time? I decided to rely heavily, as they did, on Foederati for my strike force while the solid Roman infantry held the line, so to this end I took two units of Alan cavalry, expensive in a 2,000 point army but why not, I also took my Goth nobles on foot with a Goth general commanding my allied troops. The Romans consisted of three Legions and some skirmishers, I did not have a lot of missile troops as I was hoping the Alans would help here as they had bows along with a host of other weapons.

Simon had the Twelfth and took four cohorts, a large number of Auxiliary light infantry, massed archers and some cavalry. As we deployed I put my strike force on my left, the cavalry I was hoping would catch the enemy flank as they worked with the Goth foot, I hoped their archery would cause problems for the enemy. My Legions would simply hold their ground unless an opportunity arose to go forward, I was a little concerned about my right flank as Simon had the numbers there, but I would retire if I had to to give time to the left and centre.

Patricians on the left, Thunderbolts on the right.

Things looked really good as the battle began, the Roman cavalry got cold feet but instead of retiring took the opportunity to run along the length of my army and then throw themselves at some skirmishers who promptly ran away and exposed the cavalry to a charge by one of my Legions. Simon had started his reserve cohort on a march to his right, this didn't unduly worry me as I thought one of the cavalry units will catch it in the flank, another cohort came close enough for me to charge in the Goths, I stood back well satisfied. My right was under a bit of pressure but the Roman lights got tied up trying to run down my skirmishers so that left a straight unit for unit fight in the centre.

My shooting up until now had been dismal, and now my combat rolls went the same way, despite everything going for them the Goths failed to dent the enemy and spectacularly failed their morale test and legged it, the first time ever this unit has let me down. Worse was to come as both the Alan cavalry commands also failed their test and joined the rout, I did not have a left flank. Meanwhile on the right Quinta Macedonica were losing their combat, but they manfully stood their ground despite this, this gave my centre an opportunity to advance, the Anglevari hit a cohort while the Lanciarii Gallicani charged uphill into the archers who had been tormenting them all along.

Just before it all went wrong.

Oh dear.

Things got a little better as the Alans, under my withering gaze, decided to rally and ensure Simon could not ignore them and turn in and hit my centre. As the clock ticked away the Patricians got a slight win at the end of turn six, of the three combats still taking place I would have won two and Simon one, lest the dice gods saw fit otherwise, which they can do of course. If Simon's cavalry had not been so mad it would probably have ended a draw, I don't think he will try that again.

And 'Volo dicere ad Goth' is "I want a word with that Goth". I had some really dismal combat throws, Simon got no hits at one point until I reminded him he could reroll in the first round, he then promptly got three bloody kills! The Alan cavalry worked OK, I say worked but they didn't actually do much, I missed skirmishing horse archers, I think I will bring the Huns back next time.

So that is it for now, possibly another WAC game next Thursday against Kevin or maybe something else, Muskets and Tomahawks at the club, always good fun on Tuesday and during the week back to the new army and more furious painting.

I was looking at Gangs of Rome until I got so much rubbish I turned off notifications on Facebook, I wonder however if it will just be like all the other 'Gang' games but set in ancient Rome, I also do not succumb to the lore of size 10 supermodels with Herculean statistics killing everyone in sight, enough with the female characters, sheesh. The missus has just asked me what I want for Christmas and my birthday, guess .............. pikemen!

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Springtime for Seleucis

On the field of battle by early Spring is now becoming a reality as I plunge forward with my new army, the other night I finished my fifth unit out of a possible total of around sixteen for the full monty or bifter as we Scots say, or we do on the West Coast. I should definitely have enough to take a small selection to the club for a game, around 2,000 points.

In order to have something to paint over the festive season in case I finish the Skythians, which I should manage, I have ordered up a pike phalanx and some officers. I intend this phalanx to be a 'normal' phalanx so it will in the main have the linen armour with the front rank only in metal. I don't know a lot about these armies but from what I have read I tend towards the rear ranks not having armour, Aventine do have some unarmoured pikemen but the rest are so nice I have decided the guard/elite phalanxes will have mainly metal armour while the others will have mainly linen.

I have just added a unit of Thorakitai which will operate on the flanks of the phalanx, these were quite different to the phalanx but able to fight in a like manner if called upon, they were armoured and carried a large oval shield along with either javelins or a long spear or possibly both. Although wearing armour they were especially adept at exploiting rough terrain, they were very close to the Thureophoroi as a troop type, my plan is to use them along with Thracians and Thureophoroi with cavalry support to protect my flanks or possibly destroy enemy flanks. For the time being they are a small unit of sixteen, depending on my experience on the field they might be given the opportunity to upgrade to twenty-four.

My granddaughter is here for the weekend and I was dragged into Lancaster for some Christmas shopping, not much as we have already got most of what we want online. It was dreadful, the car parks were like Wacky Races, it was cold, damp, crowded, not a nice way to spend an afternoon. So I decided to put a smile on my face slipped into Waterstones and got a new Batman novel, I know I could have got it online cheaper, but I feel now and again I have to support a bookshop, even Waterstones (the only one within 100 miles). I also OD'd on liquorice which is not good for me but I love, novelties, Zouts, and cartwheels along with some Nanny State 0.5% and very salty peanuts (also not good for me) for binging Netflix's The Punisher. The cartwheels in the market were 12 for £1 but so far I have had 15 in one pack and 13 in the other, result.

Kevin is busy this week so no Monday boardgame, our weekly game may also have to wait until next Saturday instead of Thursday. I should be at the club this Tuesday but no idea yet what I am doing. I have completed severalinteresting map projects and having got my feet dry I am once again off to the trenches for another sixteen maps.

Stony Point, also the template for an atlas with around 200 maps.

View From The Window

I was told a few weeks ago that negotiations on the sale of Washington House were underway, it would seem then they have come to naught as nothing more has been heard, I am told the price has been dropped considerably but I am not sure the sellers have a good idea of considerably.

I have had a large, glass corner cabinet in the shop now for at least a year, maybe two, and it has not moved, I have even tried to give it away to no avail, so with the new carpet tiles due I decided to once and for all get rid of it, so I phoned up 'Furniture Matters' a charity, to come and collect. Charlie and Fred arrived on the day and I watched as they entered the shop, stopped, and looked up and down at the cabinet rubbing their chins.

C&F: We can't take that mate.
Me: Why?
C&F: There's glass in it.
Me: Yes, it's a glass cabinet!
C&F: Is it safety glass?
Me: I don't know, I bought it when the world was not insane and you used safety glass on aeroplanes.
C&F: Our hands are tied, Health and Safety mate, innit.

I had of course known I was wasting my time, but there you go, confirmed. I then phoned a 'Man with a Van', can you get rid of a cabinet for me? No, can't do that, I would have to get a permit and then they would charge me at the tip, too much bother, that's why there is an upsurge in fly tipping you see, no, you don't say. As a last resort I phoned the St. Johns, no they didn't want it either, no call for dark wood these days, we'd just be left with it, better you are left with it, ta ra love. In a rage I broke it down and carefully packed the bits in the new car and took it to the tip, where I had to visit three different skips under the scrutiny of the Guardians of the Refuse in their luminous uniforms, in order to eventually rid myself of it.

Have you noticed now that the first thing a delivery guy and his mate do is find a reason not to deliver your goods, my new cooker from Curry's was a no no as my kitchen is, wait for it, up a set of stairs, could I vouch the stairs would hold the weight of the cooker, no, but the other one and the rest of the furniture managed to get up there no problem. We actually had to cancel the order as they would not attempt the stairs, the new outfit took theirs up no problem. The Openreach woman didn't want to put my fibre broadband in as she had to climb a ladder. The miserable so and so who came to put my new PO equipment in last week immediately said, no way, I can't get into that, it must have been put in and the counter built around it. No, the counter has been here at least 30 years, the PO equipment was put in eighteen years ago, mind you he said it as if I was someone who cared, it wouldn't be me for the highjump because the new equipment was not installed. Guess what, he did manage it once he actually tried.

My niece received a house recently and was waiting for an inspector to visit so that it could be made habitable for her, small problems if any could be fixed. She was seriously asked to sit outside the house for four weeks from 0800 to 1600 each day, excepting Saturday and Sunday of course, because the Council would not give her a time and date for an appointment. That is until my sister got in on the act, job sorted.

I was also maddened by having to deal with a banking problem this week, I phoned one bank to be told it was the other bank's problem, then I got the same from the second bank, I went too and fro at least three times. I also got to talk to people half way across the world who did not understand what I was on about. But what really took the biscuit was trying to tell the robot answering machine what my query related to in a Scottish accent which it quite obviously could not handle, it did pick up some words which were not meant for it and are universal, not Scottish. I managed to hold on to my sanity only because a kind lady pointed me in the right direction despite telling me she could not infringe the data protection act or financial regulations act to help me.

How have we turned into a nation of can't do rather than one of can do, how did we ever defeat Hitler or run an Empire, how did we turn the corner and run scared from a bunch of European nobodies whom we saved on two occasions.

I have just been notified that part of my duties as a Subpostmaster is to be on the lookout for modern slavery and if I spy any I am to report it right away, this is in keeping with the Modern Slavery Guidance for Subpostmasters booklet I am to receive in the next few weeks. I didn't know when I signed up to this I was being recruited to watch for money launderers, financial irregularities and now white slavers. I am an upstanding member of the community and naval veteran but I am not Elliot Ness.

I started watching the BBC's Detectorists when it first came out and quite enjoyed the first season, it was easy watching and quite pleasant. The second season was not as good, it had its moments but something was going awry. I have now sat and watched the third episode of the new series and our two hero's have now morphed into a couple of gutless wonders afraid of their own shadows, I have never seen such pathetic looking men in my life, no, I tell a lie, the guy in Motherland beats even these two useless articles. But back to the originals, one looks like he is ready to burst into tears at a moments notice while the other does an excellent job as a doormat for everyone to walk over. One has a wife and the other a girlfriend, how did they manage that, what on earth would a woman see in these two?

Friday, 24 November 2017

There's Always One, err no, Two

In wargaming you must have come across that guy, the one who points out that the pattern on your Greek Hoplite shield is a modern one and there are no wall paintings or old vases which show what you have painted, or the brass button on your 6mm Hussar should in fact be silver just to ruin your day and make his. He turns up everywhere, you feel his presence before you see him, he is usually alone and has an intent look about him as he scours the tables looking for points to score.

Sadly the internet has now allowed this creature a whole new way to vent his spleen at what he sees as ruining his hobby. I have fallen foul several times in the past and have suffered the slings and arrows of his and his followers ire. I once casually mentioned that most battles before the age of gunpowder tended to be fought on fairly open ground, possibly with a hill somewhere, I was immediately deluged with the names of battles which supposedly proved me to be a raving lunatic. They did in fact rather prove my theory in most cases on closer inspection. I was also nearly strung up for having the temerity to point out that a certain wargame company, in contrast to nearly every other one I have dealt with in 50 odd years, treated me abominably because my denouncers had met the guy and he was very nice! I still pass him at shows and throw him my disgusted look.

What brought this on, well I'll tell you. Now and again I pop my battle reports on TMP, it brings more hits to my blog and hopefully some people will enjoy the write up as I do with many others. The first comment was simply "Imperial Romans v Punic Carthaginians?", and your point is? His point was obviously I was an idiot, they didn't fight Carthaginians, duh. But the second comment agreeing with the first took the biscuit, "there is no excuse". Why would I need an excuse to fight a wargame with a friend on a rainy afternoon with the armies we had available, was I to tell Kevin not to bother but come back in six months when my Republican army dated for two o'clock, Tuesday afternoon, February 260 BC will be ready.

"I just brought Imperial Romans"
 I learned many years ago that to wargame the Ancient or Medieval period it was best to stay 'in period' but this is not always possible, I would not fight any of Kevin's armies with my Patrician Romans because I think their cavalry is too good for the opposition to have a chance. I also do not allow the Twelfth to bring their cataphracts to a battle against Kevin for the same reason, but the troop types in the rest of the army are fine for a clash with Greeks, Carthaginians, Macedonians etc. One of my detractors has posted over 14,000 times on TMP, he must be fuming............

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Carthage Is The New Enemy

Terrible day outside, third day of atrocious weather so it was just as well I had organised a game. It was a War and Conquest bash and instead of Greeks Kevin had brought his Carthaginians minus elephants, for now. I wasn't quite sure what I would be up against as a Carthaginian commander has a lot of choice in what to bring to the battlefield.

In the event the army was a mix of different troops, Celts, Africans, Libyans etc. there was one warband and three phalanxes along with supporting troops. I had brought what is becoming my core forces for a 3,000 point battle, two normal cohorts, two green cohorts, one auxiliary cohort, supports and a unit of Contarii as I expected at least one half decent Carthaginian cavalry unit.

Thunderbolts on the left, Carthage on the right.

The Emperor surveys the scene.

After we deployed, with Kevin again fearful of his flanks and putting terrain on both, I thought they were still vulnerable and I decided to go forward quickly with my right, my left I was not so sure about and wanted to use the hill to my advantage. I did not manage to snatch the initiative until the last two moves in the game, so my left was caught off guard as the large Celtic warband came storming forward towards my archers, they received a hail of arrows and failed their morale test spectacularly and bolted, I sighed with relief as my Lanciarii were not in position yet to harass the flank of the warband. My left was safe for the time being.

The warband flees.

Carthaginian centre advances.

Roman right races forward.

On the right my horse archers shielded the advance of my Contarii which I was sure would beat the Carthaginian cavalry given a chance, but they didn't do very much else except of course survive the enemy archery. My two green cohorts advanced swiftly and Cohors II hit the enemy to their front whil Cohors III manoeuvred for a flank charge. The enemy cavalry had decided to move to their right so things were looking very good here. Although my boys put the enemy to flight their support came through and gave me a hard time, holding up my victory here for a couple of moves.

Roman left stabilises.

In the centre I took the fight to the enemy centre rather than wait, the plan was for the flanking units to get behind the enemy while my legionaries bravely held up their opponents, I was fighting for time. I managed to win the first clash but lost the next round as numbers told against me, however I managed to stop both units from routing, it was going to be touch and go whether help would arrive in time.

Here they come!

Victory looks settled on the right.

Clash in the centre.

Meanwhile on my left the Auxiliaries had vanquished their foes and turned in to the centre, the large warband continued to suffer from missile fire but managed one last effort to take the hill, they failed in this and were swept away in the rout. I now lost both my centre units but they managed to outrun their pursuers so I might have had a chance to get them back, one at least. I smashed into the pursuers making them stop and turn back. My Contarii rode down one phalanx but I had asked too much of my Auxiliaries and they in turn were hit in the rear by the Carthaginian cavalry, it was too much and they dispersed. A look across the battlefield showed mainly Roman units closing in on what remained of the Carthaginian army, it was over.

Roman centre collapses.

Recovery and the end.
My Romans have to win the flank battles against these phalanx armies otherwise it is an uphill struggle, the Carthaginians proved a worthy foe and they can only become more dangerous, the Thunderbolts will have to be on their toes. I had a couple of turns where I could not inflict any casualties and Kevin had a few disastrous morale throws at the beginning but managed better later on, my horse archers couldn't hit a barn door but they stayed around as a shield so did their job. Cohors I had a hard time again but I cannot blame them against a phalanx, if they and the Praetorian's had held just one more turn....

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Royal Navy Loses Out

Miserable day again as I walked down to Kevin's for a shot at some naval warfare, it was a quick-play game of Napoleonic period combat entitled Master and Commander, of course it was. The game was fairly simple, a few hex sheets and some nice thick card counters, the only drawback with these is the colours chosen to represent both sides, they look quite similar if you haven't been to Specsavers and the ships can easily be confused. I don't bother much with 'quick-play' as I like to take my time with my games, however I do see the point, this game is very quick and the mechanics are fine if you are not too bothered about reality. The only real bug bear with both of us was that if you wanted to stop your ship instead of having a collision you simply let slip the anchor, but, if you are a naval veteran like me you know that does not bring you to a shuddering, instant halt. Perhaps we got that wrong, there were a few other things but in the interests of fast play you have to ignore them.

In the first conflict I was the Americans and had to escape the clutches of a British squadron, being an old tar I instead tried to engage the enemy, shades of Nelson there, but I failed miserably, you have to be very lucky to get a hit in this game, even if you can see the whites of their eyes. One down to the RN. In the second game I took command of a weak French squadron against a much better British one, we both thought the result would be a foregone conclusion but almost at once I captured one of the Brits and within a short time I had captured the rest of them apart from one I sent to the bottom. Despite having to half some of my crews to take over the captured vessels this had no detrimental effect on the parent ship nor the captive. We tried one more scenario but gave up as the British had no chance of catching the French before they escaped off the 'table'. This left the final action, we both had a decent little fleet and this time it was a fight to the death, the British had to wipe out the French and the Frogs had to counter this by causing more damage to the British. This was a grand little game and I pulled a victory out of the hat for the French.

So there we are, an afternoons fun once again, Kevin now has some 1/4800 ships and this will make the game look a lot better, it is a fine little game for a rainy afternoon but we might have to sort that emergency stop. He is getting a well recommended game for the war on the Eastern Front in WWII, a command and colours block type game, we may have that for next Monday.

I have just completed my two skirmish units, slingers and archers for the new army, I have put them on 25mm bases this time rather than 20mm as the latter slip on slopes, they are not only more stable but they look better. I am once again racing ahead rather than taking my time, I cannot help it, I started a lovely unit of Thorakitai yesterday and expect to finish them by the weekend. These are troops midway between Hoplites and Phalangites, they have armour and carry a long spear as well as javelins and have a large shield, they have not long been released by Aventine and they are lovely, especially the command figures, beautiful.

I am not going to the club tonight, I have some stuff to complete map wise and want to get it off the drawing board and away, I do have a game on Thursday afternoon, this time the Twelfth will be fighting Hannibal rather than the Greeks, I look forward to it.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Ecgfrith Turns the Tide of History

Home alone again as the missus has had to house sit down south to help my son, long story, so of course this afternoon was free for wargaming, I arranged with Kevin to refight the Battle of Nechtansmere which in reality took place somewhere north of the Tay in Angus. It involved the Picts and the Northumbrians of King Ecgfirth, it was a large raid in part to teach the Picts a lesson as they had been encroaching on Ecgfirth's territory, which back in those days took in a large part of southeastern Scotland. The Pictish king, Bridei Mac Bili, was an aggressive leader and an experienced warrior, he managed to ambush the Northumbrians and inflict a heavy defeat on them killing Ecgfirth.

Picts on the left, Northumbrians on the right, Forlorn Hope and Van up the top.

Kevin was Bridei and I was Ecgfirth. The Picts had the advantage for the first two game turns and their cavalry made a wide detour to come in on the flank of the Northumbrians as they faced the Picts on the nearby heights, the Pictish forlorn hope which had lured the enemy on now stopped and threw in a wild charge on their pursuers, things had started well for the wild men. As the cavalry maneuvered, the centre of the Pict line raced downhill and clashed with the Northumbrian right, Ecgfirth looked around in dismay as his hearthguard battled to their front.

The Picts advance.
Brutal combat.

Despite some of the Northumbrian cavalry being defeated and the second unit being forced into a death ride against Bridei's hearthguard the Northumbrian infantry began to get the upper hand. The Pict forlorn hope was held then routed in a surprise melee result while Ecgfirth's hearthguard beat and caught their opponents. The Pict cavalry and Bridei's companions defeated everything in front of them and opened a large gap between the Northumbrian van and the rest of the line, another Pict unit although losing bodies in the centre, simply refused to run.

Picts threaten the Northumbrian rear, but then pull back.

On the Northumbrian left the Picts were heavily defeated and put to rout which left several Northumbrian units to turn and advance on the centre, Bridei was losing the numbers game and as his army started to disappear over the hills he decided to pull back and reform, blocking the way home for the enemy. But first he had to destroy the Northumbrian van, despite all the odds this unit held the hearthguard then turned the tables and routed them, with their king and best fighters seen falling in the heather the Pictish cavalry could do nothing more than ride into the sunset.

Bridei and his hearthguard die in the centre.

The game was kept simple as I don't think there are army lists out there for the Picts and Northumbrians in 685AD, so both were typical of the period in that they were all unarmoured apart from the hearthguards and cavalry, we know there were armoured cavalry at Nechtansmere. All were armed with shield, spear and javelins and had average morale apart from the king's bodyguard. I only used two small skirmish units in each army as this was a stand up, brutal, Dark Age combat. Things played out well, the Picts took advantage of their opening moves and threw in several charges, sadly the infantry did not do as well as the cavalry, for the Northumbrians it was the opposite, their infantry fought extremely well while the cavalry were dispersed early on. I am glad it turned out a good game, I would like to fight Clontarf next but sadly do not have nor will be getting a pile of Vikings, but you never know.