Monday, March 21, 2016

Land Wasters and Raven Feeders


Tried Dan Mersey's own Arthurian/Dark Age Britain variant of Lion Rampant.  Same rules, just some units renamed, some not available.  We set up 24 points per side, "Britons" (a mix of Welsh and Romano-British figs) vs. Saxons.  Each side has 2 units foot Companions ("men-at-arms" in Lion Rampant) , 2 units Warriors ("fierce foot" from LR), and 2 units of skirmishers ("Bidowers").  Scenario was "Hold on Tight" from LR, which I assumed would move us to a quick conclusion.



The central piece of terrain each side was trying to hold was the rock-strewn ford of the river.


I was playing the Saxon dogs and was perhaps to hesitant.  I could have easily dropped a unit of companions on the crossing early on but instead tried to set up a situation where my warriors could stream across either on their own or via wild charges.





Instead what happened is the Briton companions got there first. And then the Saxon warriors who were all in position to attack those British companions got shot to pieces by British skirmishers and broke and ran.


On the other flank British and Saxon warrior wild charged each other in the river and both units broke and limped off home to lick their wounds.


The British Companions, meanwhile, were racking up the five points necessary to win the scenario by just always starting their turn at the crossing.  The Saxon warlord and his personal bodyguard (the other unit of companions) risked an assault, and were repelled, the fifth and final point went to the Britons.


This game was ridiculously fast.  Somewhere between and hour and 90 minutes long.  Recommend!

Monday, March 14, 2016

English Civil War - Lion Rampant Variant

Put together a play-test on Friday of a English Civil War Lion Rampant variant.  Each side had 28 points, giving each two units of muskets (12 figures each), a unit of pike (12 figures), two units of cavalry ("trotters" or "gallopers", 6 figures per unit), and a light gun.  Unit profiles used are at the bottom of this post (they themselves draw from the ECW and Elizabethan variants I found on the LR forums).  We used endgame criteria and set-up as in Scenario A of the Lion Rampant rulebook.


Below is the whole set-up at the start with the Parliament musket unit at the bottom having just moved.  We successfully played the entire game start to (a surprisingly decisive) finish in under two hours, including a brief introduction to activating units in Lion Rampant and set-up.





In the above photo you can see the Parliament Trotters advancing.  



Above: Royalist foot on the advance. Below: opening shots as both sides come into range.




Above: Royalist light gun crew.   Below: Royalist foot advances.



Above: behind Parliament lines.  Below: the turning point in the game. At the top you can see Parliament horse threatening the Royalist gun.  At the bottom you see the Parliament and Royalist horse units that have both been reduced to 3 of 6 figures per unit.


Now below you can see the outcome. All the Parliament horse has been routed on both left and right at little to no cost to the Royalists.  On the Royalist left gallopers (lead by thier fearless leader!) are now preparing to charge the Parliament musketeers...


...whom are also routed. The Royalist horse then whip around and take out the Parliament gun.  The Royalist center foot take out the Parliament pike block.  The Parliament army has been completely run off the field.  With the exception of its light gun, all Royalist units are still intact and on the board.


The "x factor" of this playtest was the performance of the Parliament "trotter" horse.  In multiple charges they attempted to use the "stand to receive" rule and let loose a volley of pistol fire at their attackers. Almost always the end result was the charge still hit and the resultant melee was loss or a draw.  A whole unit of Parliament muskets also became stalled near the village and perhaps fired one volley the entire game.

For future tinkering: Shotte shooting range of 18" is fine on a small playing space but on a larger one range should probably be increased to 24".  A "first fire" rule for shotte might be effective without being unbalanced: very first volley of game for each shotte unit is at shoot value 3+, or just easier to activate the very first time to shoot because the unit has all muskets already loaded and ready to go?

We did not use the 'Bang!' light gun rule as described in its profile and that was a mistake.  Both guns connected on hits but both failed to remove a single figure during the course of the game.

The speed of the this game is of note, and I thought it had the an accurate-enough feel to it (outcome of the battle of the horse basically determining the whole game).  As always, felt reassured that Royalists stuck to period-tactics and carried the day while Parliament sort of floundered around, with its foot not concentrated very well, and was swept from the field.

All figures are either Old Glory Miniatures or Warlord Games plastic miniatures.

Unit profiles used for this game were as follows:

Unit: SHOTTE
Points: 4
Attack
7+
Attack Value
6
Move
6+
Defense Value
5+
Shoot
6+
Shoot Value / Range
4+ / 18"
Courage
4+
Max. Move
6"
Armor
2
Special Rules
None
Models Per Unit:
12


Unit: PIKE
Points: 4
Attack
6+
Attack Value
5+
Move
5+
Defense Value
4+
Shoot
--
Shoot Value / Range
--
Courage
4+
Max. Move
6"
Armor
3
Special Rules
Pike Hedge: As per Schiltron, but may move 3"
Models Per Unit:
12


Unit: GALLOPER
Points: 6
Attack
5+
Attack Value
3+
Move
7+
Defense Value
5+
Shoot
--
Shoot Value / Range
--
Courage
3+
Max. Move
10"
Armor
3
Special Rules
Wild Charge; Counter-charge
Models Per Unit:
6


Unit: TROTTER
Points: 6
Attack
5+
Attack Value
4+
Move
5+
Defense Value
5+
Shoot
6+
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 6"
Courage
4+
Max. Move
10"
Armor
3
Special Rules
Counter-charge or Stand to Receive: If charged unit may fire a volley rather than counter-charging. Test same as counter-charge. Any casualties inflicted are removed and courage test taken by attacker prior to resolving the melee.
Models Per Unit:
6
  

Unit: LIGHT GUN
Points: 4
Attack
--
Attack Value
--
Move
6+
Defense Value
6+
Shoot
7+
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 24"
Courage
5+
Max. Move
6"
Armor
1
Special Rules
Light Gun: This gun can be moved at cost of not firing in a turn, or retrained in any direction at cost of half its shooting dice. 
Bang!  All targeted units count as Armor 1 (2 if in cover)
Models Per Unit:
One gun plus 3 crew. Use six dice for attacks, halved if only 1 crew remaining.
 

Monday, March 07, 2016

A Gentle Stroll

We played the "A Gentle Stroll" scenario from Lion Rampant last night using Hundred Years War figures by Old Glory.  The English (Gabe) had to move half of their units from the upper left hand corner of the below picture to the lower right.  The French (me) were deployed in the other two corners and needed to prevent at least half of the English from escaping.



To help move things along, we "house-ruled" that both sides' leaders had the "Commanding" skill, which allows a unit to re-roll one failed activation per turn if within 12" of the leader model.  As units were spread out this was sometimes useful and sometimes not.




Both leader units clashed early on in a knight vs knight melee.  The French got the worse of it.





But by the late stages of the game both leaders were out of the game and the large French force which had trouble moving early started to roll into action.



Things got a little touch-and-go for the English for a second but in the end the billmen and a unit of archers slipped away.  We're not really sure who actually one because half of English units escaped but half were also destroyed.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

1910 German Empire toy soldiers

Every once and awhile, a figure-painting project just really comes together.  I recently took advantage of a good sale at Armies in Plastic and in rather record setting time painted up a 54mm German Empire "army" of 36 infantry, 3 officers, a gun and 4 crew.  They are wearing the greenish version of "feldgrau" and pickelhaubs with tan covers which roughly corresponds to an early WW1 scheme.



The infantry all use only five colors: flesh, the "feldgrau" green, dark brown, tan, and bright green for the bases.  The figures were soaked in batches in a mason jar of SimpleGreen, then in a jar of white vinegar, then primed with white gesso.  After they were block painted, I did a "magic wash" of 3 parts water + 3 parts matte medium + one part light brown.  This gave the figures a little shading, especially around the face and hands. I then sealed with the figures by brushing on clear gloss polyurethane.



I am extremely satisfied with the end result.  The magic wash had darked the green of the unifoms a bit but the gloss coat lightened them back up again, I feel.



The gun crew were originally colonial British with pith helmets, but with the ol' exacto-knife, a few pins, and krazy glue I swapped the heads.



Since I had three boxes of infantry (60 figs) I was able to avoid using poses I wasn't very fond of (so no kneeling-shooting guys, and all the grenade throwing guys became head-swap donors for the artillery crew).   I also cut off all the bayonets since (a) they are the most bendy part of the figure and paint always chips/flakes there first, and (b) I think the figures look a little more "The Business" with out the bayonets than with.  Final count is 12 figs advancing at a walk, another 12 advancing at a run, and 12 standing/shooting.



Next up is a mirror opposing force of British with pre-1910 uniforms and pith helmets (khaki uniforms - no red tunics).  Envision using the Charge! rules and/or All the King's Men for mechanics but with a healthy dose of Wells' Little Wars for set-up and scenario design.  Also trying to decide if I want to deal with hassle of adding cavalry or not...