Wednesday, 13 November 2013

El Cid WAB Day 2013

Ibn Coldir, may Allah grant him eternal life, turned back the flap of his tent and faced out over the plains of Iberia. Before him lay a country ripe for plundering, one that was waiting for the likes of him to bring wisdom and justice to their heathen and apostate ways. But first he must work alongside his less devout brethren, soft bellied, woolly thinking residents of Andalusia – obsessed with their bright coloured clothes and poetry, grown weak by their indulgence and tolerance. Well, let that be, he Ibn Coldir would lead them to victory and then, when the battles were won, turn on his so called brothers and bring them to heel under his iron willed rule…
But first, some breakfast.

And so on a bright and fresh November morning eighteen or so hardy (that’s hardy, not lardy) WAB fans descended on a Rugby Club on the outskirts of Mansfield to once more worship at the altar of the iconic El Cid supplement as yet again the sands of Spain would run red with the blood of Christian, Berber and Andalusian!

The initial details of the latest El Scrivs event can be found here. Each time there’s one of these I promise myself I’ll get my Christian army finished – and each time I end up digging out the Almoravids once again.
For this particular event I went with the following:

Ibn Coldir-Emir, light armour, large shield, javelins

Al Yusuf-Army Standard Bearer, light armour, large shield 

Abd Inuf-Sayid, horse, light armour, shield, throwing spear, javelins

22 Berber Spear and 8 Berber Archers
Large Shields, leader, standard and two drummers

24 Berber Spear and 8 Berber Archers
Large Shields, leader, standard and two drummers

21 Black Guard
Light Armour, leader, standard and two drummers

9 Berber cavalry
Shields, Throwing Spear, leader standard and musician

9 Tribal Skirmishers

10 Berber Archers

For most games in the last few years I've forsworn the Black Guard as they’re clearly not worth their points, but I really like the models and I gave them a nice paint job and what the heck. I wanted to try and go all Berber this time as I've been experimenting with allies quite a lot and something a bit more, well, fundamental appealed to me.

As Andalusians were a bit thin on the ground my Berbers were placed in the Al-Andalus faction to give them some much needed muscle. That, or be a human ball and chain, opinions within the faction varied.

So, introductions over, last minute drop outs encountered and a slight delay due to people from St Helens getting stuck in the Khyber Pass (I may have misheard) and we were off.

In the first game I was to play Pete who I’d never met before in a “battle for the pass” (along the length of the board) with a single central objective. Whoever controlled the cross at the end of the game would be the winner. Pete had a Christian Spanish army with a couple of tooled up units of Hidalgos who, experience has taught me, can make a nasty mess of units with their First Charge rule. Fortunately the narrow board and some terrain near my flanks would force Pete into channels against my spear blocks and I was hoping plenty of shooting would whittle his knights down to size. Sadly this was not to prove the case, but some canny manoeuvring on my flank kept one unit of knights tied up on my right.

Excuse me sarg, but is that flag the right way up?

A particularly arid part of Spain this.

Onwards to glory or death. Mostly death to be fair.

Who are ya, who are ya?

Fox hunting Iberian style

Eventually one of the Hidalgos thundered home. We mistakenly played it that they’d used the first charge on the skirmishers they’d scattered before, however a severe case of rubber lances and some good skills from the men in lack saw them bounce off and flee in terror.

Coming through!

 The grind begins

And there's more...

As the game drew to a close one of my spearblocks moved into contact with the objective and in the last turn Pete’s unit of Peones managed to do the same. We were heading for a draw, but some combats needed to be resolved first. We both had a unit of horsemen break and flee from combat and picked up the dice to see who else would turn tail. Given my usual luck I was confident my unit in contact with the objective would soon be on its way back toward the board edge, but to my surprise they held fast. Pete then rolled for his Peones and the dice came up a seven. One more than he needed and so they were the ones leaving me as uncontested holder of the objective. And with that single dice roll I went from draw to a Mighty Victory.

Pete was agent to play against and took his sudden turn around with very good grace (though I have to say I felt a bit of a fraud).  

Sarg, the flag, sarg!

In the second game I was paired with top fella and first ever follower of this Blog, Big Jim and his beautifully painted Andalusians. We were to attempt to exit five or so of our units from the far side of the board, which juts happened to be densely forested. It rapidly became apparent that the army of Ibn Coldir was really going to struggle, being made almost entirely of un-maneuverable big spear blocks. So the cunning plan we hatched was that i would march forward and fight the Christians while Jim attempted to scurry off around the edges. And so it played out. Apart from the fact that I didn't do much fighting and Jim didn't manage to get any models off the table the plan worked perfectly. As a result we suffered a minor loss, due to the failure of our opponents, including WAB 2 author Martin, to actually kill our general. Another good game against top chaps.
An altogether more verdant bit of the peninsular

Jim's lovely Andalusians

 Martins archers. Lurking.

The white clad horde trundles forward

Jinettes scamper past

Can we just squeeeze through...

And so at the end of two games I had won one and lost one - a better showing than Ibn Coldir usually manages.

In the last game I was again to play doubles and was paired with the other Berber in our faction, also called Tom. Pete from my first game was one of the players on the other side of the table, but Scrivs was deaf to my pleas to make it a Tom and Tom versus Pete and Pete affair.
We were playing the appellido scenario against Christians, which is probably favoured us from the outset. We deployed conservatively in a horseshoe around the objectives and settled down to whittle the knights with bowfire. On my flank some clever (even if I do say so myself) use of the cavalry combined with some terrain prevented the heathen Christians from committing their heavy cavalry, although some sneaky Andalusian allies did manage to sneak round behind the cordon and snaffle some sheep. It all got a bit nervy in the centre of our corral where Pete's two units of knights did their best to punch through. Fortunately the black guard held the initial charge and finally broke the knights on the last turn (though there were a few nervy moments between) which gave us a Minor victory at the death. Probably my favourite game of the day as it hung in the balance until the very end, and our opponents and my ally were all jolly nice chaps.

 Dawn breaks over a sea of mail...

 We will defend this assortment of barnyard creatures with our lives!

 Onwards to death. Again.

For Allah's sake hold!

With that the event came to an end. A raffle had raised £50 for the British legion and we'd had a minute's silence at 11am as well as a slap up feed provided by Scrivs. So another top day of WAB gaming concluded.
Already looking forward to the next one - hopefully an Age of Arthur event in the spring.

You can read Scrivs account of the day here


  1. Great figures and great games! I love the period.

  2. Great report and excellent pictures.

    Cheers, Ross

  3. Very inspiring pics and nice report. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Looks like a good time. Your army is nice.

  5. Your minis are really amazing! Very nice report and great looking pictures...

  6. When I grow up, I want to play toy soldiers at your house.


    1. Ypu'd be very welcome.
      Though the best way to get this kind of gaming fix would probably be to gather up an Age of Arthur army and come to the next event like this that Scrivs is organising in March:

  7. Thanks all for the nice comments.