Thursday, 22 December 2011

More Lead - Spartan Hoplites

Or should that be plastic?

I've long been an admirer of the Immortal Miniatures range of 28mm classical greeks. The owner and creator of the figures had let the line slip a little over the past year, distribution had been transferred to North Star Military Figures and most of the metals were no longer available, so it was a welcome bit of news a couple of weeks ago to see that Warlord Games had bought the lines up and were going to start producing them again.

I'm a follower of North Star on facebook, where they often post news of limited bargain deals they are doing. This week they announced they were selling off their remaining Immortal stocks at knock-down prices. A box of 24 Spartan Hoplites for just £7.50.

Now these figures are cheap enough anyway (RRP £12), but I couldn't resist this deal so I decided to snap up 3 boxes for the princely sum of £22.50 for 72 figures! They arrived the next day, which was frankly incredible at this time of year, but when I opened them I quickly realised the Spartan frame was not an upgrade, but an additional frame to the basic 24 hoplites, with 8 bodies and various right arms and heads. This meant each box in total contained 32 bodies well over 50 right arms and heads, but only 24 shield arms.

I'm therefore planning to use Instantmold to make 18 additional shield arms from greenstuff, and then make 6 slingers using the remaining 6 spare bodies, making sure they are the ones in tunics and no armour.

I'll use these guys in Hail Caesar as units of 18, giving me 5 units of Hoplites and 1 small unit of skirmishers. I've had a long look at Hail Caesar and the unit sizes don't really work for me, so I've scaled them down, I'll detail it in a future post. I'll probably make up 2 as Spartan/Lacedaemonian elite hoplites and 2 as levy hoplites and maybe the last lot as allies. 96 figures and a 200pt HC army for £22.50.

Yet another project and a big pile of plastic, I've already got a pile of over 100 28mm celtic types to do something with...

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Narrative Game

Apologies for the time since the last post, I've got distracted with various projects, some of which I'll probably get round to showing on here. I've built up a ~6000pt Vampire army made up of ebay purchases and lots of Mantic's fabulous undead range. I've also been sculpting some of my own figures for a zombie survivor game (more to come soon on this).

I did get together with a couple of my good gaming friends last month though and finally managed to persuade them to have a game of Warmaster Ancients with me. I pretty much used all the figures I have, didn't worry about points values. It was Imperial Rome against Carthage, and I'd guess it was about 3000pts vs 2000pts respectively.

I came up with a quick narrative scenario that the Romans were on a patrol from a main camp and starting cutting up rough in a local village (OK it was a Dark Ages village, but we won't worry about that). The Carthaginians with a sizeable quota of Gallic allies appear on the scene and ambush the patrol, and the main Roman army then turns up to save the day.

6x4 board with the village about 8" square set up ~24" from the Roman board edge and 30" in from the left hand board edge (so roughly central just in the Carthage half of the board). The village is surrounded by a stone wall and so all units behind this count as defended.

The Romans deploy first with 1 unit of legion, 1 unit of archers and 2 units of auxilliaries and 1 leader. The rest of their army deploy as normal near their own board edge.

The Carthage forces deploy as normal.

The objective of the game is to control the village by having 1 or more core units inside it and no enemy units.

It is quite a challenging scenario tactically, because the both main armies need to decide whether to try capitalise on successful commands to try and get forces into the village (either to support or attack), or to try and advance as normal with a solid battle-line. The Carthaginians also have a difficult decision of how early to commit their best units 

In this battle I took command of the Carthaginian forces and Jon and Jan took command of the (evil) Romans.

As the initial ambushers Carthage moved first, but only the Numidians on the left flank moved at all! The Gallic centre and the Spanish light cavalry on the right wing stayed put. Not the start they needed to try and sieze the village before the bulk of the Romans could arrive.

In response Rome got one big legion brigade moving and in the village the commander sent the archers out to get a range on the gauls and moved the auxiliaries up to the wall.

Roman Archers looking a little exposed.

The middle period of the battle saw a lot of manoeuvring but no deceive combats. The archers frustrated the gauls by inflicted confusion on them and the Carthage skirmish screen began to lose odd stands to the main Roman force's artillery and archers.

The Gauls, strangely reluctant to move off their hill and get stuck in.

With the main Roman army now forming a solid battle line to either flank of the village and with their cavalry wing threatening to sweep through the Carthage left flank it was looking decidedly dodgy for them, even though at this stage it was still 0vps each.

As were playing to a time limit the final turn was predictably silly! I charged with most things that could into the village, but despite taking some stands off the Romans all the fights were lost and the Gauls pulled back, the Romans deciding to hold their ground. The Spanish light cavalry on the right managed to sweep right around the Roman's flank and attack their skirmishers in a rare moment of success.

In their last turn, as we knew it was time to call it a day Jon and Jan declared charges with anything that could! The Romans in the village leapt over the wall and charged the demoralised Gauls, while their cavalry on the Carthage left smashed into the Numidians. Both main wings of their battle line also piled in. The results were predictably devastating. Most of the Gauls were wiped out and there were break-through charges aplenty. The only real bright spot for Carthage was the Spanish cavalry chewing through the skirmishers on the hill at the back.

As an impenetrable mist descended onto the battle field the picture was far from clear cut. A count back showed a narrow Roman victory on VP by 85. However no-one was left in control of the village due to the hot headed leader of the patrol!

This was a fun game to play and it was a shame we had to call time on it when we did. I've played a lot of tournament/campaign games where the player going last almost always wins due to being able to call charges where they can wipe out a unit, but leave themselves horribly exposed, knowing there can be no counter-charge as they know it is the last turn.

In this game it was fun to do and I'm glad we got stuck in and rolled some serious dice, but it always feels a tiny bit unsatisfying when a game is nicely balanced and you don't get to see how it would have played out normally. I'm keen to try out a similar scenario in the future though, its good to play something a bit different as most of the games of WMA I play are 1250pt tournament style ones.