Friday, 28 February 2014

Chaeronea 86BC dress rehearsal

I'm putting on weekend at the Wargames Holiday Centre, in late June, and have been rehearsing some of the games I intend to run there.  Chareronea 86BC is one of my favourite battles, and last night Dr. Simon, Ian, Jay and a new visitor, Steve, fought it to a bloody (and somewhat unexpected) conclusion, using the rules I am developing.

Below are the Pontic host; General Archelaus leads his xystophoroi bodyguard and Scythian heavies forward, whilst scythed chariots and archers screen the Brazen Shields and Slave phalanx.

Below, the Roman lne is drawn up, below the acropolis of Chaeronea.

Both sides advanced and battle was joined along the length of the line.  The greek allied cavalry on the Roman left did a sterling job throughout the game, resisting and eventually defeating twice their number of superior-quality Pontic cavalry.

Below, the pert buttocks of the Galatian garrison of Mons Thurium; these were surprised and destroyed by an attack from the rear!

The Romans advanced quickly, but were pushed back by the enemy phalanx.  On the Pontic left, their horse archers and thureophoroi, units which have never previously so much as scratched a Latin, managed to kill several cohorts and the course of the battle began to turn against the Romans. 

Eventually Pontic pressure all along the line told, and the Romans broke.  It was a close-run thing, though, as by this time, much of the Pontic phalanx was, itself, ready to break.  A little more Roman luck might have seen an entirely different result.  This re-fight was the best ever showing for the Pontics, who have previously been very roughly handled by the Romans.

If you'd like a chance to play this game (amongst others), please drop Mark Freeth at the Wargames Holiday Centre a line.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Did I mention that I hate painting celts?

At least the blighters are all blocked in, now.  I just need:-

  • one session to paint in details on shields and scabbards, and wash with ink
  • two sessions to finish and fit an additional 27 shields with LBMS transfers
  • one session to highlight metallics, and snagging
Hopefully I will be basing by this time next week.  I have something special in mind, for the basing....

Saturday, 22 February 2014

More celts...

More celts hit the painting table.  I really hate painting celts.  :-(

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Ruspina 46BC

I fought the battle of Ruspina 46BC, with mate Ian, tonight (all pics clickable).

Ruspina is a really interesting engagement, as the forces were asymmetric; Caesarian Roman legionaries fought against very large numbers of Numidian light troops, under Labienus, who encircled them on a featureless plain.  I wanted to see whether the rules I am developing would work with this unusual engagement, and they did, rather well.  I set up a relatively large table with open flanks and a complete lack of terrain.

Initially the Numidians moved forward, but a bit too fast; they were soon pushed back by Roman charges, and several units were caught and destroyed. It wasn't going at all well!

Later, however (as shown below), gaps emerged in the thin Roman line, and Numidian units penetrated through these, and lapped around its left flank. The consequent flank and rear charges, and Numidian superior numbers, told, and we judged Labienus and Petreius would have been victorious in a turn or two. 

Learning points were that the Caesarians need to be in a double line (rather than a single one), the next time we try it. Reading between the lines of the Caesar's Civil Wars text, I really do think that they must have been in a double line, on the day, rather than the single line suggested in my translation. 

'Twas an enjoyable game, which threw up a few ideas that I'll build into the rules, tomorrow.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Room 101

In the UK, we have a TV show called Room 101, where guests are invited to discuss their pet hates, and the host decided if they should be consigned to a fate worse than death, in Room 101.

I would like to propose Celtic wargaming armies for inclusion in Room 101, because:- 
  • Celts are ridiculously hard to paint.  Much of their clothing should be chequered, or tartan; both insanely hard to paint. Their shields can be painted in elaborate patterns. They can be covered with tattoos. No two Celts should look the same. This is an army seemingly designed to be hard to paint; perhaps the last revenge of a doomed culture
  • After spending many months painting a Celtic army, you put them on the battlefield. Do they win? Do they 'eck! All Celts ever do on the gaming table, is to perish in vast numbers, under a hail of pila, at the hands of different flavours of Romans
I think there is a clear case for consigning the Celtic warrior to the dustbin of (wargaming) history. 

What do you reckon?  Is there a wargaming army that you would like to see consigned to Room 101? If so please post a link to it in comments (if you have trouble posting because of Google+, please drop me an email at the address on my blog and I'll post it for you).

(I am currently painting Celtic miniatures for a game at Salute.  I cannot abide painting Celts, so it is deeply that I need to paint 70 or so more over the next month)  

Thursday, 13 February 2014

The saddle

This is the other hill (clickable) I made for my Scottish themed terrain.  It is based on a Javis model I picked up cheaply on eBay, but I customised it heavily, and repainted the rocks.  It is around 40cm wide.  The heather on the slopes is glued in place, but the heather on the top can be moved so that troops can be placed there, as shown above.  The peak can also be removed, to make the saddle wider.

Happily heather seems to be quite widespread across Europe, so I should be able to use this piece reasonably frequently.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Ben Muswell

I've finished the "Scottish" mountain I stated around 10 days ago.

It is boomerang shaped, perhaps 50cm long, by 12cm high.  I've included some sheep on the sheltered lower slopes, amidst the heather... mostly Gripping Beast Manx Langtons.

...whilst an old ram keeps watch (below).

There's a WIP shot of the mountain here.  We used it in a game last night for the first time; it is impassable terrain, and occupies 3 of the terrain boxes I use in my rules.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Bagging a Munro

A Munro is a mountain in Scotland that is at least 3,000 foot high; there are, apparently, 282 of them and more than 4,000 people have climbed the lot!

I decided that I need a smaller mountain for my own table, as it is likely that my Late Roman Field army will be campaigning north of the Wall.  This is a WIP shot of my own Monro (background), which is a lofty 5" tall, and build from some old model railway latex mountain pieces scavenged from the loft.  I have stuck them on top of an old polystyrene hill, and joined them together with grout and faith.  

I am also customizing a Javis ridge (foreground) that I bought cheaply on eBay, and some GW hills (not shown).  The 28mm figures are there to give an idea of scale.  We'll see how they come out after painting...

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Rome at War weekend

I'm teaming up with Mark Freeth, of the Wargames Holiday Centre, to put on a weekend of Roman wargaming from 27th to 29th June (not July as I posted incorrectly!).  We'll be using around 3,500 miniatures from my collection, and the "To the Strongest!" rule set that I've recently developed to play large games, quickly, in the WHC's excellent facilities near Basingstoke.

The games will include Second Chaoronea (above) and the Roman Civil War Cremona battle I'm planning for Partizan, which will be similar to the below.  

More details of the event can be found here, please contact Mark if you'd like to make a booking.