Monday 15 November 2010

El Cid Campaign Weekend: The bitter end!

Sorry for the delay.
Been busy and poorly and such like.
Anyway better get these pictures posted before I get old and die.

However before I do that realised on re-reading my last report that I'd got so excited about the success of my Camels that I forgot to say how much fun the game was and that Chris was a pleasure to play against. It was and he was. Sorry Chris.

So it was on to the final battle and for this game I was again paired with Lawrence against Jim and El Gary and once more I was on the outside of a walled city trying to get in.
As I was dead to Lawrence our planning process was hampered, but after eventually locating a Ouija Board and Derek Acora's phone number we came up with something. I was going to anchor one flank to the table edge and then run like billy-oh towards the gate. Lawrence was planning something altogether more sophisticated and I decided that it was probably for the best if I left him to it. This meant I was to face off against Jim's lovely Andalusians. Should be a breeze!

However before that we introduced a new phase to a game of WAB - the "Cor Doesn't that look bluddy brilliant" phase. This phase happens right after set-up and before you start the first turn.
To be honest I was happy just looking at the table and could cheerfully have gone to the bar for the afternoon, popping back at regular intervals to admire how splendid it all looked. The stick-in-the-mud traditionalists around me however claimed we should at least roll some dice - so I gave in and the game started.
Look at what follows and tell me I was wrong...

Onward the Kamel Korps!

And I don't, in all honesty, remember much of what happened.
The Kamel Korps reverted to type and died early
The newly painted, much vaunted Christian Knights of whom much was expected did finally earn a fraction of their points back by killing a few fellow infidels.
Jim discovered that Sayyids are quite tasty in close combat:
This actually ended surprisingly well...

And the New Plan(tm) of more marching less shooting meant I almost steamrollered my way through the gates of Valencia.
However Jim played very well and used his Andalusian horsemen to great effect to just deny Ibn Coldir glory. On the other half of the board Gary and Lawrence fought themselves to a standstill but somehow a unit of Christian (or possibly Andalusian) horsemen sneaked into Ibn Coldir's camp and pinched his favourite geese, resulting in a win for the Cid and his turncoat allies.

Stand still and fight dammit!

Something familiar about these walls, must have used the same architect as Marrakech.

A splendid game that simply looked fantastic - a proper wargame spectacle and again Jim and Gary were splendid and fun opponents.
And Lawrence bore the handicap of me as his ally with good humour.

With that the event drew to a close.
History had pretty much been emulated, loads of games and plenty of fun had been had by all.

There were even prizes and Khamu Karsai’s Kamel Korps won me a lovely blister of Artizan Almoravids for The Most Heroic Camel Charge!

I had a great time. And thanks to all the other guys who took part and especially to James for organising it all.
I can thoroughly recommend these events as a marvellous way to spend a weekend, roll on Age of Arthur in May!

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Some wee Saxons

Based these last night, at least partly because over on Jim's Wargames Workbench he's getting on with some early Saxons.
I now have three units finished!
Which is about 10 points or something.
So I've put another unit of these on the painting stick.
Pendraken Great Fyrd
Sprayed brown, random daubs of Foundation paint, Devlan Mud wash FTW.

Monday 8 November 2010

El Cid Campaign Weekend: The Third of Battles

I followed a hard day's gaming by eating possibly the most revolting item ever to have attempted to pass itself off as pizza before heading off home. On arriving, tired and downtrodden after working my fingers to the bone pushing toy soldiers around I was greeted by the news that eldest child had over-enthusiastically bathed, resulting in a flooded kitchen.
Closer inspection revealed a small but regular drip in the kitchen ceiling. I sighed, but trusted that it would soon end and that appropriate telling-off had been carried out by my wife. When, however, it hadn't stopped a couple of hours after the incident I became more concerned - "just how much water did he spill?" I wanted to know. Beginning to fear for the integrity of the ceiling I made a whole with a six inch nail, got soundly wet and produced a pleasing drizzle of water. When this also hadn't stopped after a further hour or so I got really worried that we had a genuine leaking pipe and we began to face the hideous reality of calling an emergency plumber at 11.30 on a Saturday night. I was confidently expecting the phone to be answered with a sound like one of those large fruit machines at Vegas paying out and resounding cheers from the plumber on the other end. However before taking that drastic step I instead took the drastic step of enlarging the hole, figuring that at least we knew a decent builder who would be able to replace damaged plasterboard without wearing a bandana across his face and shouting "stand and deliver". Once again I got very wet but was able to establish no leaking pipes were involved and that my son had simply poured about 12 gallons of water directly through the floorboards for his own amusement.
Here's a picture of the hole for those who like to wallow in the misfortune of others.

However, you haven't come here to read about why my son will not be getting any pocket money until he's about 45 - on to the next battle!

On my drive into WW on the Sunday morning, not quite as refreshed as I'd intended to be, I formulated a new plan™. I'd noticed that shooting at stuff (especially heavily armoured knights) was both ineffective and stopped my spearmen getting into fights nice and quick, where generally they did ok. I therefore decided to abandon all shooting and march forward as fast as possible to inevitable glory (or death - either way I'd be in the bar earlier).

The third game was to be a single match-up as Ibn Coldir was sent off (without much hope on behalf of the Almoravid Senior Management Team) to bring some recalcitrant Christians back in to line. My opponent was Chris who I played in the first round of James El Cid event at Newark a year or so ago. We set up the board, drew maps and were off!

Chris' battle line takes shape

Up this hill, lads, camels are bred for hills!

Loadsa Knights

Remember, lads - shooting bad, marching good!

A rural idyll, soon to be shattered!

For a change my Christian mercenaries passed their test and moved on the first turn. However normal service was soon resumed when they charged, failed to beat and then ran from some Peons with sticks. In the centre the new "fast advance strategy” meant the big spear blocks go into combat much sooner and were generally more successful. The Black Guard lost to some First Charging knights but Stubborn and Give Ground were in their favour. (At this point I have to say I don't like how this - Stubborn v First Charge - works, really. In two games on the roll of a single dice on a 4+ they're safe, anything else they run away - and will inevitably be wiped out. As it happened both rolls went in my favour, but it just seems a bit arbitrary. I understand its two conflicting mechanisms, so maybe a single roll is fairest, but I didn't like it.)

However on the right was a tale of true glory as the Kamel Korps charged, beat and eventually destroyed a unit of jinettes! Finally vindication for Khamu Karzai and his men!
Shortly after this point we ran out of time with just three turns played (lunch was calling and we wanted the afternoon big games to start on time).

It all kicks off down the middle!

On adding up the points it transpired that apart from a few skirmishers the only casualties on ether side were Chris' jinettes and so I squeaked a narrow victory thanks to the heroic exploits of Khamu Karsai's Kamel Korps!!

Coming soon the final battle (with loads pics)!

Friday 5 November 2010

El Cid Campaign Weekend: Battle the Second

So, in the campaign wrap-up after the first battle I was unsurprised to learn that Ibn Coldir had not shinned up the greasy pole of Almoravid power and was instead to be dispatched to a far corner of Spain to further the aims of other, better generals.
In my quest I was to be aided by some local Andalusians as we united to rid the land of infidel Christians. My fellow general was Lawrence, a man brimming with plans, ideas and dreams of glory. Sadly for him (and indeed the hopes of the Muslim cause as a whole) Ibn Coldir was appointed supreme commander and Lawrence was destined to play Toshack to my Keegan, Rodney to my Del Boy or, more realistically, Ernie to my Eric.*
Facing us across the table were some turncoats from the true faith in the shape of Jim's Andalusians allied with the Infidel in Chief - El Cid - in the persona of Gary.
I concocted a plan brilliant in both simplicity and elegance (elegant for Lawrence, simple for me - play to your strengths I say), one that both Lawrence and I agreed would bring us success, riches and the acclamation of our fellow men.
Then I forgot what we'd agreed and plonked my soldiers down in a way pleasing to the eye.

See, it looks lovely

Pretty, pretty soldiers. What's that you say?Plan? Eh?

Kniggits, sir, faasends of 'em!

Disloyal turncoats

Essentially I faced off against Gary and Lawrence took on Jim. I seconded Kahmu Karzai's Kamel Korps to help Lawrence, secure in the knowledge that he'd be able to get the most out of them, which he duly did - they lasted at least a turn longer than I would have managed and got to turn three before dying to a man. In return he loaned me some crossbowmen. I got them killed.

Forward the Kamel Korps!

There now follows some eye candy...

This ended badly, too

These stripy rugs have come up lovely in the wash!

On my side of the table the newly painted, much vaunted, mercenary Christian Knights of whom much was expected once more failed a mercenary test and were subsequently routed by others of their faith.
Fight your own battles Mr. Coldir!

Much shooting went on from my men to little discernible effect and the battle was proceeding in the expected manner (Gary deploying tactics and skill, me removing dead men) when El Cid, defender of the faith, bravest knight in all Christendom, scourge of the Almoravids and all round man of steel found himself in easy charge range of some Black Guard, with his First Charge still unused. Despite the obvious mismatch, Ibn Coldir put his faith in Allah and taunted the Campeodor to charge. After a brief pause all that could be heard was "beeep-beeep these knights are reversing, beeep-beeep these knights are reversing" as El Cid, defender of the faith, bravest knight in all Christendom, scourge of the Almoravids and all round man of steel soiled his armour and backed off.
El Cid in happier times

They've got pointy sticks and everything

We don't like it up us!

Fortunately for Gary I pride myself on my discretion and empathy, so I barely drew attention to it at the top of my voice whilst flapping my arms and making noises like a hen.
Over and over again.

Tragically in the next turn El Cid, defender of the faith, bravest knight in all Christendom, scourge of the Almoravids and all round man of steel charged the Black Guard in the face and handed it out big style.
Ibn Coldir, a man as brave as he is tactically inept stepped forward to challenge El Cid, defender of the yadda, yadda and at this point the campaign organiser and author of the El Cid supplement popped by to tell Gary that I was, in fact, cheating and that the Ibn Coldir's stats were being greatly inflated! After a dignified and adult discussion that didn't include any exchanges that sounded like this "noitisn'tyesitisnoitisn'tyesitisnoitisn'tyesitisnoitisn'tyesitisnoitisn'tyesitisnoitisn'tyesitisnoitisn'tyesitis" it turned out that James thought that wily old Emir Ibn Coldir was, in fact Imran the Imam and we were therefore both right.
Sorry James.
Then El Cid killed Ibn Coldir and all his Black Guard.

Ibn Coldir attempts to distract the Cid by reading aloud some jokes from The Bumper Book of Fundamentalist Fun.**

I reckon I can do you without even looking at yer!

And that was pretty much it, really. The object of the game was to get into the enemy camp and rifle through their possessions looking for top shelf illuminated manuscripts or something. El Cid's boys did this and we, err, didn't, so a comprehensive (and thoroughly deserved) victory to Jim and Gary. Lawrence declared that I was dead to him, which I thought harsh, but on balance fair.

Frustrated by my incompetence Lawrence brings his fist down on some Berbers!

Check in the big tent, Juan!

Another splendid game on fantastic looking scenery with three top chaps. 10000 points of beautifully painted models (well, 7500 plus the ones I'd finished the night before) looked absolutely terrific, and I think I may possibly be ruined for regular sized games from here on in.

The next instalment will feature a flooded bath, the glorious charge of the Kamel Korps and Lawrence and I get a chance for rewenge!!!

*Readers of a non-English persuasion (or indeed those under the age of 30 or so) are directed to Google to work out what the heck I'm on about.

**insert your favorite "Worlds Shortest Book" gag here***

***I would like to point out hat this is an anti-fundamentalist joke, not anti-Muslim. I am even handed in my mockery of fundamentalsts of whatever stripe, be they Christian, Muslim or fans of Wargames Research Group 6th Edition.