Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Battle of Teutoberg Wald

I came across some old photos from last year on my computer of a game I took part in with the Bournemouth Warmaster Ancient's from "Rick's Warmaster". This was one of their periodic huge battles where we re-fight a historical battle with as many troops as can be mustered.

These games are great fun, and well organised by Jim and Gareth. You can read a narrative report of the game here

I've put the best photos below, but I can't remember exactly what was happening now!!

Forces deployed, the board is 14'x4'! Romans on the left bank of the river, Germans on the right. I commanded the 6 brigades from the river to the marsh in the centre.
Peace loving Germans survey the Roman column
The Romans attempt to reform out of column and secure the far bank. The Germans race forwards on the right, but stall a bit on the left.
Fearing the German advance the Roman Commander in Chief collapsed in his left flank around the village to secure his position, but effectively abandoned the commander on the extreme left

Roman Left Flank collapse into a defence position...
..but Jake's forces, including the lion's share of the Roman cavalry are boxed in on two sides by the Germans and are in danger of being cut off to their right.

German's press forwards in the centre. Note the Roman left flank has collapsed further
The Roman cavalry regroup towards the fort on their left flank, but with Germans now lapping around 3 sides and cut off from the next commander by over 4' now their fate is sealed
The view from the German right confirms the Roman's here are few and far between and there are waves and waves of Germans waiting to attack the hill the Romans collapsed their line onto (top left of photo)
The Germans attempt to force a crossing
Crucially at this point, although the head of the Roman column is lost the centre is holding the banks of the river, with a strong counter attack to the right of photo above pushing the Germans back and following them up. The tail of the column is in trouble, as they look potentially outflanked by bowmen, but as yet is holding.

We are not all aware of the victory conditions at this point (often they are not revealed until the end of the game by whoever is GM'ing the scenario), but the Germans will only categorically win if they can break the line and gain the far bank. This will cut the column in two and ensure the historical massacre will be repeated.

Another turn and the Roman line still holds the far bank and has beaten back the first wave of Germans comprehensively
The final turn and the base of the Roman column repels the German attacks and holds!
I was fortunate to still have a fair chunk of warband still left in the centre and so threw them all forwards to try and force a crossing at the last

The warbands throw themselves into the river again, all the commanders joining fighting units to add crucial attack dice.
In a wonderfully cinematic moment the centre combat was won by the Germans by a single wound! The German commander makes all the difference!
As I'm sure anyone familiar with WMA will know, once a warband is winning they are hard to stop! The Germans won the initial combat by just one wound, but following up they lapped around the Romans and butchered them to a man. The column was broken and the general cut off from retreat. The GM informed us that the commander of the base of the column (the only part not cut off) galloped home for Rome abandoning his troops and his report painted a very unflattering picture of the Roman C-in-C!

A great battle at Jim's place, really good fun and fantastic that such a massive battle essentially came down to a single combat in the last turn! I recommend reading Jim's report as well.

Roman Artillery

Continuing the Roman theme, these guys are my scorpion unit for my Imperial Roman army

Again they are Pendraken figures. I've not put them together right as I thought the little box was an ammo box so I mounted the bows on a piece of balsa wood, when in fact I've since found out the little box is supposed to be the weapon mount! These paint up quite nicely as the crew have nice definition in their scale armour so a wash and a quick pass with a drybrush really brings up the armour.

In the game they are pretty rubbish! The ability to ignore armour saves is useful against 5+ save units, but there aren't a lot of them around. Typically as well people will only line up their troops two deep, so the best their ability to penetrate ranks gives you is 4 shots (2 on the front rank and 2 penetrating through to the rear rank). They could be good against heavy cav which generally are 5+ save, but they can't stand and shoot so tend to get the worst of that. I haven't been able to find a decent use for them and generally don't take them, they are not as good as a unit of archers in my opinion.

Of all the rules in warmaster I think light artillery is the one which doesn't work. I know the Bournemouth guys who play a lot of the WMA and maintain Rick's site now have their eyes on updated pike phalanx rules and house rule it at the moment, but I think these need looking at.

Possibilities could be to increase them to 3 stands to give them an extra shot (for a modest pts increase), or giving them a rule in the roman army to reflect their combined arms usage in the legions. Some way of negating their penalty of being unable to retreat (and thus being wiped out if anyone basically contacts them)?

Let me know your thoughts on light artillery

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Infinity Battle Report

I fought an Infinity game with my friend Harry this week at the Christchurch Crusaders club.

We played a 250pt game, Harry with his Haqqislam and me with Yu Jing.

GROUP 1 (Regs: 10/Irrs: 0):

GHULAM Lieutenant Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife (13)

NAFFATÛN Rifle + Heavy Flamethrower / Pistol, Knife (12)
GHULAM Doctor Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife (17)
2x GHULAM Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife (13)

MUYIB Rifle + Light Grenade Launcher (Normal and Smoke Ammo.) / Pistol, Knife (23 | 1)

DJANBAZAN Doctor Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, CCW (32)
DJANBAZAN HMG / Pistol, CCW (36 | 1.5)
JANISSARY Doctor AP Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, CCW (49)

RAGIK Hacker  Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, CCW (42 | 0.5)
250 Points | SWC: 3

ARMY CODE: [code]eNozMVQ1VbNQM6wxVAPCGlM1czBpACfNwOKGhmomEArMM1EzAlFGasZqhgDnkQ6L[/code] http://www.devilteam.com]Army Infinity v.3.0.

My list was  a bit different to last week, although there were some familiar faces.


 GROUP 1 (Regs: 8/Irrs: 2):

CELESTIAL GUARD Lieutenant Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife (13)

ZHANSHI Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife (11)

CELESTIAL GUARD MULTI Sniper Rifle / Pistol, Knife (27 | 1.5)

CELESTIAL GUARD Spitfire / Pistol, Knife (20 | 1)

ARAGOTO Spitfire / Pistol, Knife (29 | 1.5)

SHÀNG JÍ Combi Rifle + Light Flamethrower / Pistol, Shock CCW (42)

DÀOFĚI MULTI Rifle / Pistol, Shock CCW (60)

NINJA Combi Rifle / Pistol, EXP CCW (38)

2x SHAOLIN Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Shock CCW (5)

250 Points | SWC: 4


I've since realised this list is not legal as you can only take 2 celestial guards, so the list should have a Zhanshi lieutenant instead.

It was quite a treat this week as Harry jointly owns the Warmill terrain company was game testing some prototypes for some new terrain, so we were using one of the club's urban boards instead of the trench one from last week. This is a shot of deployment with markers indicating where we set up

My ninja has Thermo-Optical Camo, so deploys completely hidden from my opponent at the start of the game - he doesn't even know I have a ninja, let alone where it is!! The Daofei in the bottom left conversely is deployed as a marker saying "camo" my opponent knows there is something there, but not how hard it is (it could only be an anti-personal mine, but is in fact a hard-as-nails heavy infantry!)

We were playing a game someone else introduced me to, so I might have messed up all the rules, but basically there is a civie + 2 bodyguards in the middle of the table who will receive a data download at the end of turn 2. Both sides have to try and get this data. If there is any combat within civie's LOF he will spook and run. If this happens before end of turn 2 he will not get the data (so everyone loses!). Once spooked he moves towards the side of the table. Info can be got by synching, interogating (short skill WIP), or short skill WIP to remove his memory cube after death. Whoever gets the Info has to make it off own board edge. 6 turn limit.

Turn 1

Cagey movement was the order of the day, the Yu Jing spent most of the orders on the impetuous troops to get them far forward. The Celestial spitfire made a silly move-move order into the large hab unit on the right of the picture, the second move order revealing him to a Djanzaban for a long-range ARO*. One shot, one kill.

(* - An "automatic reaction order" lets your troops react to orders given to enemy troops in their own turn, its a little like "overwatch" in old versions of 40K, but everyone has it all of the time)

The second Djanzaban was taken unconscious by the rampaging Aragoto spitfire

View from the Haqq side of the board

 Celestial Sniper provides cover

In turn 2 the Haqq forces again moved into prime positions to intercept the courier and to provide covering fire, the Janissary doctor healing the Djanbazan who had got spitfired in turn 1. The Yu Jing impetuous troops again dashed forwards. The monk on the Yu Jing left got shot as he attempted to throw a smoke grenade, but the right flank exploded into life, the Aragoto went on a suicide run gunning down both Djanzabans and taking a wound off the Janissary doc without taking any return hits. Crucially though both Djanzanbans were only unconscious not dead...* The monk on this flank ran up to support and the ninja revealed himself as a marker and ran up to support as well, eventually being discovered by the Janissary as he closed in.

(* - In Infinity most models have 1 wound, when you lose that wound you go unconscious,and can be healed by doctors or some special skills. If you lose another wound while unconscious you die)

In the following Haqq turn the Naffatun ran forward and flame everyone, killing the monk and aragoto and burning the Thermo-Optically Camouflaged ninja who passed his armour roll (but lost his camo abilities due to the flames), he then attempted to flame again, but the ninja succeeded in his dodge roll and dodge into close combat with the janissary!

Things then got even more complex! A ghulam popped up from the central building and shot into the combat between the ninja and the janissary, the ninja electing to dodge. The ghulam missed by miles, but the ninja made his dodge. We then weren't quite sure what was supposed to happen as a dodge in CC seems to take you OUT of CC in the rules. This is the way we applied it, so the ninja dodged back, promptly got shot in the face by the janissary who then healed both Djanzanbans with his doctor skill!!

The suicide mission had cost a monk, a ninja and an aragoto for no Haqq losses! However it had cost all 7 of the Haqq orders this turn to deal with the threat.

Turns 4 & 5 - the Haqq Ragik dropped down at the back of the board to threaten the Yu Jing firebase (A ragik is a type of airborne deployment troop), but was taken out in the Yu Jing turn when the lone Zhanshi ducked behind the shipping crate and shot him.

The Janissary, Djanzabans and Naffatun made their way towards the target who was rapidly approaching the board edge.

Meanwhile the Daofei moved rapidly from left to right across the middle, driving ghulams back into cover, but not causing any wounds. The celestial sniper tried to pick off the Djanzaban HMG but was taken out in ARO instead!

The Haqq forces dispensed with subtlety as the clock ran down, the naffatun ran forward, round the right-hand crate and flamed the target, killing both bodyguards, the twice healed Djanzaban ran forward into cover and was promtly shot in ARO (unconscious #3).

The Daofei again ran to the right, taking out both the Djanzaban HMG and then last wound from the Janissary in consecutive turns, both to fully dead. He ended in touching distance of the target, with the Shang Ji in support.

The Naffatun ran forward and tried to flame the target and the Daofei who elected to stand and shoot, resulting in all 3 going unconscious. The Djanzanban regenerated, but was promptly shot with a critical ARO from the Shang Ji (unconsciousness #4!) he then regenerated a second time and attempted to reach the unconscious target and was again wounded in ARO! (unconsciousness #5!!)

In the Yu Jing turn the Shang Ji flamed the unconscious Naffatun and Djanzaban to put an end to his regenerating antics. The Muyib attempted to take him out with repeated speculative grenades* and although some were on target no wounds were caused, it also allowed the Shang Ji to move into full cover and into base-to-base with the unconscious target.

(* - troops with grenades can launch them parabolically to drop down on troops they can't see)

At the end of the Haqq turn we realised that Yu Jing didn't have enough orders to get the target's memory cube off the board (& were in retreat due to their losses) and Haqq were unable to retrieve the data so we declared a "winning draw/minor victory" for Yu Jing.

It was a cracking game with loads of fun little talking points, the Djanzaban regeneration/doctoring was great, real relentless intent. I found it pretty funny when my sniper who had spent the first few turns passing up ARO's and shots to avoid spooking the target finally got a clear shot on the HMG in the open, missed both double-action shots (special ammo) in their excitement and got killed by the ARO! The prototype Warmill buildings played really nicely, good balance between cover and "permeability". Hopefully a version of them will be available to buy in the near future.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Roman Heavy Cavalry

Thanks for the comments on the recent posts, very much appreciated!

These two units are again Pendraken Imperial Romans. And again a combination of one unit I got in the 1000pt starter army and another I picked up from a friend in a bag of unwanted Romans.

As with a lot of Pendraken packs there is just the one pose in there, which can make like a little boring, I have painted up one unit with red shields and one with blue so I can tell them apart. A lot of people tend to paint small blobs of paint on the rear edge of the base so they can see which stand belongs to which unit as they move them, however I always prefer wherever possible to make slight variations in the paint job so it is obvious.

I've got another unit of the same to paint up, but as with yesterday's archers they are a 0-2 choice for Imperial Rome so the 3rd unit would only ever get use in a campaign or 2000pt scratch game, neither of which happen very often and even in a campaign the odds of getting a territory allowing you to select heavy cavalry is slim!

These guys were again quick to batch paint, but there are some routine casting errors on the horse's bridle that appear on a lot of the models which is a shame. I also think in hindsight they have a horsehair crest on top of their helmets? I've just painted it in silver...

I'm hopefully having a game of Infinity tonight, so if I can get any pictures I'll report back.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Roman Archers

I've got a fair few units of archers in my Roman force. You get one unit in the Pendraken 1000pt starter army, and I then picked up another 100 or so Pendraken figures from a friend who wasn't using them, which gave me a second unit. Finally I picked up a couple of packs of Pendraken greek archers at Colours one year. I thought with the addition of some Pendraken Roman command figures they would make great auxiliaries.

Unit 1 - "The Blues"

Both Roman auxiliary archer units

Greek/Cretan auxiliary/mercenary archers. For these I gave the command stand a complete first rank of Roman figures with the 3 command figures and a "1st archer". I wanted to make them stand out from the rest of the Roman force which is a bit homogeneous, hence the green tunics! I've still got one more unit to paint up, but to be honest as archers are a 0-2 choice in an Imperial Rome army for Warmaster Ancients I will only use the 3rd unit once in a blue moon for a 2000pt game, so it doesn't seem necessary at the moment!

The figures for both types from Pendraken are solid without being spectacular. Obviously only have one pose does make for a slightly boring job painting them, but on the flip side you can race through them batch painting. The tunics and hat brims on the greeks are nice, as there is enough recess that a base-wash-spot highlight really make them "pop".

Monday, 24 September 2012

German symmachiarii - Warmaster Ancients

Sticking with the Warmaster theme for now, these are some of my first 10mm figures, but I've never got round to taking pictures of them until now.

They are part of Pendraken's Imperial Roman starter army and are two units of German javelinmen symmachiari. I painted and based them before I had any rules or any idea, so the base size is a little too big (~45mmx20mm) and I've based them pretty densely for skirmishers. I could easily have got 4 units from these figures. I've never really been too bothered about re-basing them though. I don't tend to use them much really and I'd rather just buy some more skirmishers for Rome than rebase these.

They are nice little figures though, the pose is a little odd, below is a side on version from the Pendraken website:
But they paint up fairly quickly and Pendraken seem to use a much harder white metal mix than say Magister Militum, so the spears stay rigid and don't bend when you look at them! The main disadvantage is the single pose. However this can easily be got around with a bit of foresight. If I was going to do skirmishers (for pretty much any N/W/E European ancient's army), I'd buy one pack of each of the above mentioned Germans, the Dacian javelinmen (which I used as part of a mixed warband project) code:AD6

 & Greek javelinmen GRE10:
For £12 you would get 90 figures, in 4 different poses, all of which have javelins, bucklers and bare heads, so are pretty much indistinguishable. If you based them with 5 figures per stand (pretty normal for WMA) that is 6 units with a fair bit of variety.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Gauls - Warmaster Ancients

I'm hoping to get a bit more organised with my blogging in the future, I think I need to try and blog smaller and more often, but we'll see how it goes. I've been doing a lot of Infinity recently, but there is still a fair bit of Warmaster Ancients love around. These are my finished Gauls for my Carthage army. I'm hopeful eventually of expanding these out into an army in their own right, maybe Gauls, maybe ancient brits.

I have painted up 5 more units (15 stands) in total.

These guys are 2 units of Magister Militum gallic nobles, so in my Carthage army they are just standard warband, but if I field a full barbarian army they would be inner circle infantry with an armour save.

I've really gone to town on these and painted individual shield designs freehand, some of them have striped, or tartan effect cloaks, full works!

A super-close-up of the detail work.

I've also done a more basic job on 3 units of Pendraken Gallic warband that I picked up from the Colours wargame show for about £6 for the lot last year. Excellent bargin bin rummage!

All in all that gives me 10 units of allied gauls for Carthage, or 8 units of warband and 2 units of nobles for barbarians