Friday 27 January 2012

Hail Arthur Again. Dark Ages Hail Caesar report

Once more Scrivs, James and myself convened at the White Hart for another playtest of James' Top Secret Project Thingy(tm). This time we were playing along the length of a 6x4 table as the final game will be played on a table 6' wide (though considerably broader than 4'). As before the resplendently mustachioed Welshmen would be attempting to smash aside the bearded heathens from across the water and get off the board end. As it was a playtest we dispensed with fripperies like scenery and were also using my electric green boards to create a featureless, eye watering, valley of death! To further add to the aesthetic charms some of the movement trays are still in a slightly rudimentary format, but doubtless Scrivs will find a spare fifteen minutes or so to transform them into works of art in the near future
Scrivs and I commanded the hirsuite Saxons, James and Phil hurled welshmen at us.
Truth to tell there wasn't a great deal of tactical finesses on display, but I did take lots of pictures. Which is nice. Most of the Saxons were Scrivs models, and most of the Welsh were James' with a few loaners on both sides courtesy of the nice chaps at Gripping Beast.

Loadsa Saxons

Onwards the Welsh!

The Saxon reserve.

The battle began with the Welsh advanccing their light cavalry screen up to the Saxon lines from whom they unleashed a barrage of javelins, pushing at least one Saxon unit out of the battle line.

The Saxons had a rule that meant they had to pash a leadership test to resist charging on initiative, reflecting their impetuous and ferocious nature, and giving the Welsh a chance to pull them out of line. Fortunately we didn't fail one of these tests all night.
Over on the Welsh left a force of heavier cavalry pushed forward and caught some skirmishers napping.

In true Saxon style we responded to this threat by hurling our reserve cavalry in with gay abandon. The cavalry saw off their opponents in short order, but at the cost of the army general. (We allow characters to use several attacks, but doing so makes them more vulnerable - seems heroic and Dark Agey to us).

 Note curtain ring holding casualty marker

 In your face Welshman!

 On the other side of the field the welsh were making little headway, but a steady stream of javelins was accruing wounds on the Saxon shieldwall

 Forward men!

Finally the two lines met with one unit of welsh cavalry shattering and breaking their Saxon opponents. However in the centre, Saxon commitatus swung the balance and saw off the charging horsemen.

Back on the welsh left, fresh horsemen backed by spearmen clattered into the blown Saxon cavalry. The inevitable result was the saxon horsemen breaking.

The bloodied Saxons  pulled their lines back and regrouped, but for the welsh on the left the path out of the valley now lay clear....

This was a great fun evening's entertainment. Hail Caesar  gave us a good, exciting, see-sawing battle that took only a couple of hours to play. We probably had at least the equivalent of a 3k WAB army on each side and HC made sure it played much quicker than the WAB game would have managed.
The various special rules and tweaks James has added are really starting to give it an Heroic Dark Age flavour and the fact that we (mostly) know the rules now meant it flowed really well. I'm certainly looking forward to the climax of this project which we're hoping will see at least 30 units of Saxons facing off against hordes of mounted welshmen.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

AoA One Day Event

That Chap Scrivs is organising a one day Age of Arthur WAB event at Maelstrom Games on Sunday 1st April.
I'm supposed to be assisting him, but he seems to have most of it under control already.
It'll be  four games, 1500ish point armies from the AoA supplement, similar in style to the event he ran last year but just on one day this time.
Tickets are £12, which includes your lunch.
If you'd like to take part either drop me a message, or contact Scrivs on his blog

If this all goes well, we'll be running a similar El Cid one-dayer in October.

Monday 23 January 2012

Cold Steel 2012. The Final Game

And so to the dying of the light at Beast Towers.
My battered and bruised Saxon army would be facing Dave and his something or other from the BTGG list in the Attrition scenario.
I'd not read the scenarios in any kind of depth (trans. at all) before the day, so I'd not reallly tooled up an optimum reduced list for this game. Fortunately with the previous game ending a little quickly (sorry, Tony) I had time to cross out the men I wouldn't be needing.
When the draw went up I found myself on table one. More competetive gamers should be aware that tables at Cold Steel are allocated randomly, I wasn't on "top table"! There was some shenanigans with my opponent, as the draw had not quite gone as planned, so I ended up playing against Dave. Once that had been worked out, it remained to be seen which Dave I was to play against. Dave1 had been told he was playing on table one (I heard this happen) but Dave2 (Kiwi Dave) was the name written down.
We had a brief conflab toward the end of which KiwiDave reveled that he'd rather not play the Arab that was the alternative to platying me and regaled us with the hilarious tale of how he'd butchered an Arab army at a previous GB event with his Parthain shotting cavalry. How we all laughed. Then I reminded him that it was my Arab army he'd done that to. And we all laughed some more. Then I played against the other Dave. Imagine my delight when he revealed he'd brought some Parthian Shot Cavalry as well.

What, us? Parthian shot? Naaah! You got the wrong blokes!

 The thin bearded line

 Stab, stab, grind, grind

We shoot, we run, we shoot, we run, we...oh you get the idea

All told it was a fun, fast and furious game. Over on my right, Daves big bunch of warband and his cavalry collided with my Duguth, who astonishingly held. Eventually the Gedrith joined in and saw off the cavalry but were unable to catch them.
Over on the left my other Duguth ran the gauntlet of parthian shot, after parthian shot.
Eventually the Warband broke the Duguth, but they were in turn chased off by my second, ever thining Duguth unit.
As the battle drew to a close the Gedrith were unable to lay spear on Dave's cavalry, and with his warband rallying he'd done enough to claim the victory.
Another good fun game, and though I'm never going to be a fan of PS out of supplement Dave played well and in good spirit and thoroughly deserved his victory.

And with that the day ended.
I'd failed to trouble the top of the scoring tree, and done enough to avoid coming last too.
I bought some more soldiers while I was there, which I now have to crack on and paint as they're needed for James' Top Secret Project (tm) next month.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Cold Steel 2012. The Third Game

And so, after a brief interlude to be well stuffed by Mrs Miggins it was time for the third game. I confess my heart sank a little when I realised that it would once again be Normans across the board from me. However, play something often enough and you'll have to get the hang of it eventually, right?
We were to play the Rescue scenario, wherein we each held one anothers beautiful daughter hostage and sought to liberate our own while holding fast to theirs. Unfortunately my "beautiful" daughter Alison wouldn't fit in the army case, so Tony would just have to imagine her. You however are not so fortunate.

 He's welcome to her, to be honest...

I chose not to keep any units off table, figuring I'd need all the warm bodies at my disposal to try and see off the charging flower of Normandy. Tony meanwhile kept some spearmen behind in the hope of retaining Alison.
The centre of the battlefield was home to a reasonable sized hill and we both made for it at pace. Our skirmishers exchanged desultory fire before the inevitable Norman charges plunged in. However to my surprise (and thanks to some poor luck in Tony's dice) my line held. At first.

 Huff, puff, up the hill we go.

 Whatever you do, don't break!

 Look out, here they come...

 Hang on, isn't this the same picture...

The unit of Knights in the centre went on to punch a hole in my line and began to head for the Norman princess held just off my table edge, accompanied by some skirmishers who'd come off better against my javelinmen. At this point I was questioning the wisdom of not defending the hostage and was about to try and sling the Normans to death (seven shots needing sevens, come on!) in a desperate attempt to claw back some points. However, I was able to countercharge the knight unit on my right, which contained the Norman general, in the flank, and promptly broke them (Tony again had appalling dice). The resultant waves of panic saw every unit in Tony's army except the knights who had broken through turn tail and run. At which point we realised the Norman army had probably reached it's army break point. We tried counting it a number of ways and even asked Martin to help, but whatever way you looked at it the Normans had more than enough points fleeing to mean I'd snatched an unlikely win.
And that, gentle reader is why I'm not a big fan of the ABP rule. Tony had a bad run of dice, but most of his army, though panicking, was still in fighting fettle and could have rallied and the game would have been on. Felt a bit of a hollow win really. Sorry Tony.

Friday 20 January 2012


I finally remembered to take my camera along to my regular Thursday night Warhammer gaming session.

We played a variation on the Watchtower scenario. The background involved the tower being the tomb of a Vampire, defended by Dwarfs. If the VC and their Skaven allies could get into the tower the Count would be unleashed. There were four players each with 1250points, I was one of the Dwarf players and we'd be facing the new VC for the first time.

It was a long and bloody game.
We managed to stop the worst of the evil alliance magic and reap a heavy toll with our warmachines and at first all was plain sailing. However some Skaven warmachines and a nasty spell or two put us on the back foot. Fortunately Dwarfen stoicism saw us through and in the end we were able to keep the lid firmy on the Vampire coffin.

 Views along the Dwarf lines. Note role playing beverage in the background

 The Evil Alliance deploy. Note absence of blood based beverage.

 Slayers get ready to do what Slayers do best.

 Crunch, splat, squeek!
 Going, going....

 ...nearly gone....

Oh no you dont....