Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Photos from SAGA game, Danes v. Danes

The last game of 2014. Kyle brought his Anglo-Dane warband over and mixed it up against my Anglo-Danes. Kyles figures are all Grippig Beast, I think.

Kyle won.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Battle to Be Joined!

After over a year in the making, we'll finally be wargaming in the 1640s come Friday night. The rules will be Pike & Shotte and I am supplying both Parliament and Royalist armies (consisting of Old Glory, Warlord Games, and old Garrison figures). T'will be a smallish affair since much plodding rule checking is to be expected. Unsure at this juncture whether I'll get to talk like a lisping Cavalier or not...

Here's my prep notes:

Royalist v. Parliament.

Crafting this to be an engagement in the 'early war' style (c.1642). Royalists have cavalry that is reckless but adequately led (many royalist commanders fought with the Swedes in the 30 Years War), Parliament has cautious cavalry but poorly led (older commanders using out-dated tactics). Both sides have many raw recruits.

Each side gets the following units and special rules.

One 'battalia of horse' consisting of 3 units cavalry (6 figs each) with a commander (rating 8 for royalist, rating 7 for parliament). All cavalry (both sides) get the 'marauder' rule (see below for quick summary of special rules noted).
One 'battalia of foot' consisting of 2 units musketeers (8 figs each) and 1 unit of pike (12 figs) with a commander (rating 8 both sides). All muskets (both sides) get 'first fire' and all pike get 'hedgehog' and 'pikes'.
One light cannon (a 'falconet') with crew to be attached to one of the two battalias.
Designate one commander as C-in-C and roll d6: 1: rating 7; 2-5: rating 8; 6: rating 9.

Special Unit Rules.

Royalist: All cavalry units 'galloper' rule. Cavalier cavalry was notoriously reckless.
Parliament. All cavalry get the 'caracole' rule. Roundhead cavalry was equally known as hesitant and old fashioned.

Special unit rules to be assigned.

Both sides must designate 2 units of their choice as having the 'freshly raised'. These represent raw recruits or conscripted troops.
Both sides must designate 2 units as 'steady'. These are better trained/inspired troops or troops with some experience.
Exclude the artillery unit from these assignations.
(Note: Out of six units, only three are 'normal' and not steady or freshly raised).


Dice for who is attacker/defender. Higher roll gets to pick. Defender then lays out 4-8 buildings or terrain pieces on 6'x6' table. Any stretch of continuous fence or hedgerow counts as one "piece" of terrain. Be sure to note any rules regarding any terrain.  Attacker then decides which board edge they will enter from.  Defender deploys gun and infantry on opposite side. Attacker deploys gun and infantry. Defender deploys cavalry  Attacker deploys cavalry. Attacker goes first.

Ending the Game.

When a battalia loses more than half its units (so two out of three) it hits its "break point" and begins moving off table (the artillery piece does not count for this calculation).  When one battalia breaks the whole army breaks. Play out one full turn after this because sometimes an army can pull off a draw via a "fighting retreat".  So each battalia can lose a unit and keep fighting no problem. This might make for a game that ends rather suddenly but if we factor in about an hour for set-up and actual figure movement/dice rolling, and an hour for rule comprehension I think this is a price we must pay.  My understanding is that games of P&S/HC/BP tend to consist of a 'first half' where both sides maneuver and make initial clashes and a 'second half' where the units get close enough to basically go on "autopilot" just slug it out. I'm hoping/predicting about a two-and-a-half-hour game set-up to conclusion. After this 'learning game' we could go again with more figures.

Special Rules.

Marauder – Ignore distance modifiers for command (p90).
First Fire - +1 dice on first shot (p88).
Hedgehog – defensive pike & musket formation (p80-81).
Pikes – Form hedgehog. No combat bonuses for attacking cavalry. Double combat value vs. charging cavalry (p91).
Galloper – Must countercharge if able to. Standard move of 12" as if light cavalry. Always engage enemy on sweeping advance if possible (p89).

Caracole – Cannot countercharge enemy cavalry (p87).
Freshly Raised – On 1st shoot or first melee, roll d6. 1: Terror! 2-3: Panic! 4-5: Sterling Job! 6: Huzzah! (p88).
Steady – Automatically passes first break test (p92).

Monday, March 09, 2015

Raid! (Song of Arthur & Merlin)

Played a game of Song of Arthur & Merlin the other night with Sebastian. This an Athurian skirmish game using Ganesha Games' Song of Blades & Heroes engine.  This consists of rolling one to three dice against a figure's "Quality" score (usally 3+).  Every success result gives you an action to spend (move, shoot, attack in melee, etc).  However, if you roll two failures, it is a turnover, and you turn ends immediately and your opponent may begin making activation rolls.  This flip-flopping turn structure is the heart of the game, as that if you roll only one dice to activate, you will not get a turnover, but will have less actions to spend. 

We were playing the "Raid" scenario, where each side tries to obtain and get away with herds or treasure tokens.  I had acquired some plastic sheet and based them two-to-a-base, so we were stealin' sheep.  Each side had a 300 point roster consisting of five basic warriors, a champion, and a leader. I was playing axe-wielding  Irish, and Sebastian fielded Saxons.  All figures are by Old Glory. The sheep are by Ertl.

The game took about an hour and a half, which was probably uncommonly long due to explanations and some rule searching by me (mainly regarding the control of sheep). There were six herds of sheep, and the Saxons had obsconded with three and the Irish with two. Sebastian killed one of my Irish warriors, but my chieftain slew his warlord, which in turn triggered a warband-wide morale check which caused his champion and a warrior to flee the field. This left him with one warrior on the table (three Saxon warriors and two Irish had already left the table with thier stolen sheep). At this point I was still trying to get one sheep herd off the table. The lone Saxon made a dash and, for a second, did actually wrest control of the sheep to himself. But the Irish snagged them back and made good their getaway.

Each sheep marker is worth 3 VP. So 9 to 9. Figures are 1 VP for every 50 points they cost. The slain Irish warrior costs 32 points or thereabouts, so that nets 0 VP. The Saxon warlord was like 70 points, so that gives the Irish the narrow win with 10 to 9 VPs.


I think we'll try it again. Probably use a bridge scenario called "None Shall Pass" and up the warbands from 300 to 400-500 points (basically add 3-6 more warriors per side). Maybe try some world-building, too. Make a little cartoony map and show where the sheep raid took place. Then add where the bridge is and say that the bridge battle is one of side trying to cut off the escaping sheep raiders. The campaign system in the book has dice rolls to determine whether slain figures were really slain or just wounded and can recover and play in the next game, so we could do that too…

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Great Urinals of the Pacific Northwest

Oregon Zoo.
Was almost positive these were already part of the collection, but I couldn't find them anywhere.