23 March, 2014
23 March, 2014
When I last wrote, I said the next project would be to paint seven 4Pk for my successor armies. Well, they’re over half done, but others have jumped the cue.
The biggest project has been to rebase all my old armies. I had started this before I went to Adelaide, and a lot of my HoTT elements were all but done, just waiting for the flock. The impetus to restart this project was a desire to see how knights and spears compared under DBA 3.0. This got me redoing my first two armies, the Normans and Anglo-Danish. I also flocked the HoTT elements while I was at it.
Next, I rebased the Welsh, Irish and Vikings. This has taken quite a while, and is now almost completed. I’ve innovated by using No More Gaps to hide the bases. It adds more time to the job, but is worth it.
In the process of rebasing I got enthused with my Dark Age armies and the potential to use them for HoTT. I’ve now got the Scots Isles and Highland army complete again (it was demobbed for SBH figures. This started with the plan to create a Thegn general for the Prefeudal Scots so that they could have a 4Wb general with rear rank support and flanked by pike, something that’s likely to tear holes in most lines of foot. When I learned that the Scots Isles and Highland army is going to have a lot more choice in DBA 3.0, I decided to paint up the four elements of 4Bd I needed to get this back on the table. I’ve also painted a few more archers in mail to make their 3Bw more imposing. I also repainted the 5Hd.
So that’s some of what’s been jumping the cue for painting. I’ve also done a few HoTT elements, some Prefeudal Scots and Irish Lurkers — skirmishers on a 40×30 base along with a dog each. Finally I did a Cleric element — three medieval monks. Magicians and Heroes will follow.
- Song of Blades and Heroes
I’ve also been painting a few figures for SBH, actually quite a few. I’ve now finished thirty foot, and three mounted knights and a Hippogriff rider are close to being done. Most of these are Essex early medieval figures, dismounted Norman knights and Norman spearmen and archers. This adds some useful variety to my SBH range, but also is a way of getting started on painting some of these figures for an Essex Norman army. The rest are six halflings, two mailed Highland archers and a Druid from the Tabletop range. I’ve got more figures from Tabletop’s fantasy range. They’re a little larger than most of my figures and are very much ‘adventurers’, as they all have backpacks and other equipment. The wizards won’t quite look right in HoTT, but will be useful for SBH.
The other big activity for SBH is making terrain. I made a river (or a stream) using No More Gaps on a T-shirt. I rounded this out with a small bridge and then added a few tokens for treasure — chests, barrels, etc. I’ve done a tent and a small hut. And I’ve also made some hedges using Scotch Brite on iceblock sticks. The next stage for SBH is really dungeon tiles when I get a chance.
Those seven elements of pike should be finished next. Then I suspect I’ll be working on HoTT stuff: heroes, wizards, but also a dwarf and an elf army. More fantasy SBH figures may get done as well. I’ve started putting together a 3Cv for my Welsh; the North Welsh can have a South Welsh ally, who has to include the general element. I find this a bit odd — Welsh with two 3Cv seems too much. I might also work on the Normans, but I reckon the elves and dwarves will be more attractive.
23 March, 2014
I’ve not kept up with reporting games I’ve played. Part of the reason for this is because I’ve only got a camera that is not all that satisfactory. I’ve taken better photos with my phone than with the small camera I’ve tried to use. The tripod is broken and can’t support the large camera I’d used for my gallery shots.
The other reason I’ve not been active on the blog is that I’ve been too busy painting (more in the next post). Anyway, I’ve played quite a lot recently, and had some very good luck. Here are some photos that aren’t too blurry.
- Battlecry, 16 Feb 2014
Last month I got along to Battlecry for a day of demo DBA games. We got a bit of interest and should be running a competition next year as a result of this. We played DBA 2.2, as noted earlier on MEDBAG.
My first game was against Joel, a historical matchup of my Early Seleucids against his Classical Indians.
I should have been in serious trouble as the Indians came around my left flank in large numbers. However, they were obviously unfamiliar with scythed chariots, as mine proceeded to tear them to pieces. I came away with a lucky victory.
Next I faced John, who’d just finished his Celtiberians. I used my Gauls.
I managed to meet his warband with my cavalry and used this to my advantage in a battle on a narrow frontage.
I then faced Mike, who used my Carthaginians. I took my Syracusans. As we are both littoral, this involved a waterway, which ended up to my back. Mike went for a littoral landing.
I hurried to advance to reduce the potential for the littoral landing party to make trouble. I was able to sack his camp (the crucified Syracusan was a provocation!) and used my longer line to outflank his elephants. Another victory.
I think we played some more games that I didn’t take pictures of. The last on my camera was my Syracusans against John’s Celtiberians. I don’t remember for sure if I won, but I think my luck was pretty strong, and I used my advantage in cavalry to compensate for the vulnerability of my spear to his warband.
Unrecorded is our final BBDBA game of Carthaginians and Celtiberians against Romans and Spanish. This was officially a draw, but I’m sure the Romans had the edge when we stopped.
- Auckland City Guard
Since then, I’ve mostly played DBA 3.0. Joel’s visited after work a few times, and I’ve got to the City Guard again. We’ve had a lot of fun trying out his Aztec hordes of doom, and we tried out a number of permutations of knights against spear.
From memory the time before last we played: Normans v. Anglo-Danish, Early Crusaders v. Comnenan Byzantines, Aztecs v. Prefeudal Scots and Vikings v. Anglo-Danish. I think there was an Aztec v. Early Crusaders too.
Last weekend I took some photos:
Our first game was his Aztecs against my North Welsh.
The South Welsh cavalry got in the way of his archers and the spearmen got flanked; however, the Welsh had been making progress against the important Aztec elements.
Next we played Ptolemy against Lysymachus. The Ptolemaic army was quite different from what I expected. I tried a littoral landing of three auxilia in a line with side edge contact with the waterway. It seemed legal and threw Lysimachus’ plans to meet this treat. I got a narrow victory in this battle.
We then tried Carthaginians against Gauls.
The Carthaginians won in a battle stacked in their favour (though elephants don’t quick kill warband any more). Our final battle was the Carthaginians against Aztecs. I didn’t take any pictures of this. The Carthaginians took only one elephant, I think. They were lucky in a battle between their two 2LH and the Aztecs two 2Ps. I killed both of them, but had I not, my back was to a wood, and I’d have been very much at a disadvantage.
28 July, 2010
Well, now that the first half of the CWC DBA competition is behind me it’s time to look at what I’ll field in the second half. I’m still going around in circles on what army to use, but I think I’m getting closer to a way forward. I like the idea of the Early Muslim North Africa and Sicily (III/33), and I’ve now learnt a lot more about them since I started looking at them. They remain a little light for a competition army and perhaps the Fanatic Berbers (III/74) would be better. They are similar geographically and temporally to the North Africans, and I can imagine creating an army that could morph into both of them and into the Andalusian army (III/34). However, I remain reluctant to buy more figures until I’ve painted some of the stack I’ve got.
Therefore, I reckon I’ll set to on the early feudal figures I’ve got from Essex. I’ve done a few and a relaxing way into this army might be to rebase these on MDF in the style I’m using now. I painted the Essex Normans that I’ve done in no time, so I may be able to do the same with the stuff remaining. Whether I use these figures as the Early Crusader (IV/7) army as I was thinking earlier or not, or as some other army that it can easily morph into, I can definitely use it as an opponent for whatever army I look to get next.
So that settles, hopefully, my next painting project. I’m coming back to going with the Komnenan Byzantines (IV/1a) as an army for the competition. I’ve got the figures already, from Outpost. However, my efforts to paint them hit a brick wall when my heart was really in painting some of the Corvus Belli figures I’d just got. On top of this I’d made a hash of replacing the spears of some of the cavalry. Anyway, I figure I could finish this army quite quickly and use it for practice and then look to sell it. As it is, it’s in limbo, some elements are done (six of the possible seventeen) and most of the rest are started. This would make it hard to sell as an unpainted army. It’d be better to paint it with a view to selling it than to leave it in this state.
The plan, then, is to finish the Komnenans after the feudals. Once I’ve done those two I can start seeing how the Komnenans fare as an army. I can consider buying one from Khurasan Miniatures and look to sell the Outpost one. The feudals would be useful as opponents for the Komnenans and should have the flexibility to model quite a few potential opponents from Books III and IV. This delays buying anything else until I’ve done some painting, which has to be a good thing, as I can see myself getting overwhelmed by unpainted lead and doing nothing!
Also, another reason for not buying yet is that I’ve yet to paint any of the Khurasan figures that I have, and before I buy more I plan to paint at least one element of their Normans. They’d be used initially for the Komnenans, but I can see myself getting an army of Khurasan feudals at some stage. Patience!
23 November, 2009
Last week I painted up three elements of 7Hd for the Battle of Hastings. I also finished all the figures I need for the King Magnus campaign.
These are all Essex figures, some of which I got by trade from Paul Potter. They are pretty primitive looking figures, some are armed with lumps of wood or crude stone clubs. They’ll be used in campaign games for emergency reinforcements. The middle element is made up of figures without trousers, so it’s particularly suitable for the Welsh and Pre-feudal Scots, who don’t hold with such fashion!
I also finished one 3Sp and two 3Bw for the Welsh (Feudal Castings, of course). Until I’m inspired to paint the early Welsh option (lots of 3Wb), that’s all of them for now, though I do have the figures for some more command elements, particularly another mounted one, but I think other projects will take priority.
And I’ve done some more Viking archers (also Feudal Castings), only to decided that if I make the Anglo-Norse huscarls immune to QK, they won’t need any more light troops. Still, I’ve now got enough archers for two Viking armies, and I’ve probably got the blades too, if I painted the rest; again I can’t see that being an immediate priority.
19 November, 2009
No sooner had Harold sent the Norwegians packing, after a hard fight, than he got news that William of Normandy had landed in the south. Without hesitating he marched his forces to meet this challenge to his sovereignty. He was able to recover one element of the fyrd he’d lost at Stamford and he brought his force up to strength with some hastily raised levies of dubious worth. Hi s force to face the Norman invader was, 3x4Bd (huscarls), 6x4Sp (fyrd), 1x2Ps (skirmishers) and 2x7Hd (fyrd dregs). The huscarls acquitted themselves so well at Stamford that I decided to give them a bonus; they can only be killed by knights if they’re doubled. This was a variant rule I saw in Slingshot 263 (“The Normans in Italy”). It seems eminently reasonable to make these elite troops the steadiest in the army against knights rather than some of the most vulnerable.
William had brought with him plenty of cavalry (7x3Kn and 1x2LH) with some spear (2x4Sp) and archers (2x2Ps). It was a toss-up whether to deploy the archers as skirmishers or in formation, as the formed-up archers could have a lot of fun with the hordes, but then so can the knights.
William had the first piece of luck as he was able to set the terrain, and he wasn’t about to play fair! He managed to meet Harold on a road with only a pair of small woods in opposite corners to break up the flatness. This was that flat bit on the way to Senlac Hill, which is clearly where Harold was heading! This is the battle of Hastings where Harold doesn’t get to that hill.
There was little to choose between the various edges, but Harold got the road running between them and the smallest hill on his left flank. William deployed with his spear on the road, hoping to use it to help them keep up with the knight. He them put his light horse and skirmishers on the right flank, hoping to move quickly to contest the wood with the Saxons. Otherwise his knights formed up either side of the spear.
Harold met this with a block of psiloi-supported spear flanked by himself and his huscarls and a two-deep block of spear on the right flank. He tried to give the hordes what little protection they could by placing them near the woods, hoping to delay the Norman light troops with them. He kept some fyrd in the camp in case the LH got through to it.
On his first turn Harold moved his horde out of the woods to stop the Norman light horse getting around it to the camp and he advanced the line (not needing 2 PIPs to move hordes on the first turn is handy!).
With 4 PIPs William opted to send his light troops forward quickly.
On the next turn Harold wheeled his line and brought the horde on the end out to anchor it. William with 6 PIPs got clever and advanced his spear along the road and broke up his knights as they chased along after.
Harold, excited to see the Normans in disarray, rushed forward, moving his horde around to ZOC the enemy skirmishers. William paid the price of his rashness with only a single PIP, which he used to try to get the spear across to face Harold’s spear.
Harold continued to advance. Now he had the enemy ZOCed. It would be harder for them to manoeuvre. William was still in a dither with only 2 PIPs. He used these to support his spear as best he could.
Harold didn’t hesitate and on the next turn attacked William’s left flank before it could properly deploy. He succeeded in destroying a conroi of Norman knights with spear that had overlap support (6-3) and drive back some knights with his huscarls.
William has better PIPs now (4) and starts to organize a response, but it’s not easy with the enemy already so close. His skirmishers attack the end of Harold’s line forcing the fyrd to turn to react, and William gets a better line to face Harold on his left.
Harold now throws his army into the attack before William can outflank it. It’s a disaster! Despite being two-deep, the spear on the right flank are routed (3-6). Any chance of an advantage against William with his huscarls is lost and they are forced to retire (had I not made them special it would have been game over!). The huscarls to the left of Harold seem disheartened too and are forced back, destroying any chance against the Norman spear, who are fought to a standstill.
William responds by flanking Harold’s huscarls and throwing everything he has against the Saxons. The hordes remain unfazed by the Norman light horse supported by skirmishers and throw them back. Elsewhere there are three stalemates, including the beleagured huscarls and the fight between the two commanders.
Harold can do little to put pressure on the Normans beyond straightening his battleline and fighting bravely. Sadly this was not to be a repeat of Stamford, and this time his huscarls are destroyed. Nevertheless, he throws back William’s attack on him, and his other huscarls, heartened by this, rout the knights in front of them (5-2).
William now gets 5 PIPs and flanks his rival for the throne. Clinically he straightens his line, extending the spear to cover for the lost knights. His skirmishers advance to ZOC the spear on his far right again. No heroics here, he’ll wait for English right flank to collapse under the weight of knights opposing it. He is victorious. Harold’s huscarls fight bravely, but flanked they go down in a close fight (4-4). Legend has it that Harold was killed in single combat with William, who was able to lift the crown of England from his head.
With their commander gone all resistance collapsed and the Norman cavalry was able to carry out a terrible pursuit. Only the hordes got away. They melted into the woods and claimed to be innocent truffle-collectors. The Normans, being partial to these, were surprisingly fooled!
There was no Senlac Hill for Harold, unlike at Stamford. For all that he gave the Normans some anxious moments. Had the right flank not folded, the odds against the rest of the knights there would have been in his favour. William was still really getting organized, and it could have got even worse. Surprisingly the hordes were not the weak link. Harold’s bold advance gave William no time to organize a real attack on them, and they performed their duty of guarding the left flank very well.
William would have been better to have moved his spear as part of his reaction to Harold’s set-up. If he could have got them opposite Harold’s psiloi-supported spear he would have been able to drive it back and attack the remaining spear with knights at even odds and a quick kill. That was his plan part way through his advance. They were certainly better against spear, but the manoeuvre threw his line into disorder. It was luck that brought down the Saxon’s right flank and gave him the battle. Harold’s plan was really as good as it could get in the circumstances. Waiting to be attacked would only have made the hordes a target and allowed the camp to be attacked.
The outcome of the battle:
Well, I can let out a sigh of relief. I was worried Harold might create another upset. And what if he wasn’t killed himself? What if his hordes and a few fyrd were destroyed? There might have been yet another battle!
With Harold dead, William set to securing the south of the kingdom. Harald got wind of this victory and returned to claim the north of England for himself. Neither were keen to attack the other that summer, and in the next season, when William advanced north he was met by Harald at Navenby and given a bloody nose.
The only battle remaining to be fought before the campaign can begin is the battle between Gruffudd ap Cynan and Gruffudd ap Rhys to see which represents the Welsh in this campaign.
I think I’ll give the same status to Harald’s huscarls that I gave to Harold’s. They certainly showed it at Navenby! This means that the Anglo-Norse will get 3x4Bd (huscarls), 1x3Kn (Norman adventurers), 7x4Sp (fyrd), 1x2Ps or 3Bw (archers). Now that I’ve finally painted enough archers for them to have more I’ve decided not to use them!
28 September, 2009
This weekend I finally finished the Picts, and what I need for their opponents, so it was time for them to get into training for the competition next month. I’ve decided that the Picts will be led by Bridei mac Máelchú. He was converted to Christianity by St. Columba in the 6th century. Not long later, as the story now goes, he decided to set out for Ireland for a spot of raiding, only to get sucked, along with his army into a peculiar temporal anomaly. Having heard rumours of voyages like that of St. Brendan, Bridei and his men were unfazed, deciding that perhaps they were having their faith tested.
In due course they came to an island where another similarly confused time-traveller had already arrived. This was a Norman adventurer called Patricius, who’d used his name to claim some highly dubious connection with Ireland and one of its saints. Setting out from a similar place in Scotland to Bridei, he took with him an army of Norman knights and scouts along with some Islemen who were keen on the idea of loot. These Islemen, in turn were supported by a proportionately large number of Galwegians and Irish mercenaries. A dubious observer might comment that the combined force bore a peculiar resemblance in troop-mix to an Eastern Patrician Roman army!
Patricius was not about to share this island, and the two sides drew up their battlelines to contest control of it. He got off to an ominous start, rolling higher to be attacker, despite a lower aggression, and then getting the edge he wanted. Bridei was forced to deploy side on to the two low hills and with a small wood in the centre of his line.
Bridei deployed with two blocks of three spear elements each backed by an element of skirmishers on either side of the woods. He placed the other skirmishers in the woods and both his light horse on the the right flank. He himself deployed behind the spear on the right flank. He chose to ignore the hill on the left flank as likely only to cause his force to be split.
Patricius responded to this by deploying in a line with all his light horse on the left flank to meet their Pictish counterparts. He deployed in the centre with the Irish between him and the light horse. On the right flank he drew up his Islemen and Galwegians with skirmishers on the outer flank. Bridei didn’t alter his deployment.
Bridei started well, with enough PIPs to get ahead of the woods. There was some initial inconclusive skirmishing between the light horse. The Norman light horse then retired to the hill behind them and the rest of the Norman battle line had the opportunity to line up (after the cavalry and Irish had got ahead of the slower-moving foot). Bridei had moved himself to the centre of the line, linking the two blocks of spear. He then got high PIPs and decided to pull himself out to move to the right flank, where he hoped to overpower the enemy light horse. One of his own light horse had also decided to charge the Irish, who had been left exposed by their own light horse hanging back. He succeeded in destroying the Irish as they had no room to recoil because of the knights next to them.
The Normans responded by attacking the victorious light horse with the remaining Irish and flanking it with one of their own light horse. The Picts shrugged this attack off. Their other light horse was less fortunate, being attacked and doubled by the other Norman light horse.
Bridei had wheeled his left flank backwards in an attempt to gain time for his attack on the other flank. He himself attacked the victorious light horse, but without doing more than forcing it back. Meanwhile, the Normans finally attacked the left flank with overlaps on each flank and Islemen facing the centre spear element. The hope was for these to knock back the facing spear and remove the skirmisher support for the other two spear, as well as leaving them overlapping on both flanks. The spear they faced resisted them manfully, scotching this plan. With skirmisher support the spear to the right fought the knights opposing them to a standstill, but on the left the spear went down to a wild charge of double-deep Galwegians.
Bridei, in desperation, sidled the skirmisher support across to face the Galwegians, and brought the other skirmishers out of the woods to take their place. These skirmishers had the potential to really upset the Galwegians, who were overlapped through their advance, but the dice allowed them only to feebly push the Galwegians back. The spearmen locked in combat with the knights forced them back.
The Normans returned to the attack on the left flank. The spearmen were now overlapped by the Galwegians against the Islemen and were forced back. This left the spear facing the knights in a terrible position and they finally broke.
Bridei had good PIPs in a turn that would probably be his last, and returned to the attack on the light horse that he faced. He also peeled off an element of spear to give flank support in another attack by his light horse on the Irish. And in a desperate roll of the dice he sent the other two spear against the knights that had as yet not seen combat. The dice continued to scorn him and his light horse were destroyed by the Irish (2+1 v 1+6)! He continued the mediocre form of the Scots command element and only pushed back the Norman light horse. However, some pride was restored by the spear that had charged the knights succeeding in destroying one of them.
Bridei and his men took to their ships and found another island where their strength was miraculously restored, ready to continue their voyage.
Besides having a lot of bad luck in getting such an unfavourable location to set up in and then in the ensuing combats, Bridei should not have tried to redeploy himself, as he left a hole in the battleline, and there was not enough time before the Norman attack came for him to make the difference he was looking for. He hoped to win on the right flank, but short of getting lucky against the opposing light horse he had no special advantage there, and yet he had weakened the left flank to this end.