Monday, 26 November 2018

AAR: Teutonic v Pagan (Saga) 25Nov18

I bought the Saga v2 Crusader Army book recently and this was the first outing for my 28mm Teutonics and Prussian Pagans that I previously used with Lion Rampant rules. Ian and I played the basic ‘Clash of Warlords’ scenario with Ian randomly getting control of the Teutonic knights. I use a randomised method to generate 6 point armies. Ian had 3 points of Knights and 3 points of Sergeant Spearmen and Crossbowmen, significantly he had no Levy. I had a single unit of Hearthguard, 4 points of Warriors and 1 of Levy.

The terrain set-up for the scenario seems to me to be a bit restrictive; the Pagans want a densely packed table with lots of woods etc. whereas the Teutonics want an open battlefield. As a result Ian ‘passed’ a.s.a.p., so the maximum number of difficult terrain pieces I could place was 3! Anyway, the game proceeded and the Teutonics massacred my poor Pagans (Ian won by 6 points).

The main points of note were: Ian organised an 8 strong unit of Knights which were a worry to me throughout the game, but actually only destroyed a small unit of my Levy bowmen. Ian’s lack of Levy troops meant his ability to ‘sacrifice’ troops to enhance his more valuable units was not a major factor, but when he did use this, it cost him a valuable sergeant figures. I repeatedly used my ability to force one of Ian’s units to either move towards a base edge or take a fatigue (very useful). The Teutonic crossbows proved effective, especially because I did not have the terrain cover to shelter me. The lack of terrain also prevented me ‘shifting’ my small units around the battlefield. I did manage to kill the Teutonic Warlord when he moved in to finish off my sole Hearthguard unit (the highlight of the game for the Pagans). I found using small 6-man units to be effective early in the game but they wear-down quickly, losing valuable Saga dice and costing victory points.

Overall, the game played fast (~ 2 hours) and with little reference to the main rulebook. The tough decision making aspect revolved around allocation of Saga dice and ‘understanding’ the special abilities of each faction. We liked the differentiation these abilities introduce but the lack of Teutonic Levy and lack of dense Pagan terrain meant that neither side could fully utilise their ability boards. We look forward to repeating the conflict using different faction make-up’s and different scenario structures.

Off the Painting Table (Nov 2018) part 2

I have been struggling to decide on a new project to paint/game for many months now. I have finally chosen to model a pair of 15mm armies for the 2nd Punic War, and decided to use Xyston figures to do this (I like the sculpts produced). I therefore went to Warfare in Reading with a starting Roman list and bought enough figures to complete my first Roman legion. Just before I left the show I stopped at Lancashire Games and was tempted by their Battle Packs range. I purchased a few boxes of Carthaginians which were significantly cheaper than Xyston and, although poorer quality, will match well with Xyston.

I have since painted 2 units of Lybian spearmen and some Numidian  skirmishers (photo above). The spearmen remind me of the ‘old’ minifig PB range sculpt. The figures have a simple tunic and feather headdress. The remainder of the Battle Pack has a ‘hoplite’ style of spearman, and these should provide a nice contrast. I want the Carthaginian army to have a polyglot feel, compared to the more regulated Romans.

It is good to start this project and it should occupy the next few months. I have not textured the bases at this stage because I like to do this on mass, so the effects look consistent across the army. As a side project I’m making a range of ‘marker’ bases to use on the table to replace the functional (but ugly) coloured tiddlywinks normally employed. The first batch is shown below. I like the simple casualty bases made by Warbases. I have also used some spare pouches to make ‘ADC’ or order markers to use with General d’Armee rules (I don’t want to buy a stack of special figures to use in the game). In future I plan to make some ‘Shaken’, ‘Disorder’ and ‘Rout’ marker bases.

Monday, 12 November 2018

AAR: Lysimachid v Thracian (To The Strongest) 11Nov18

This game was of Ian’s devising, using his figures, army lists, game cloth and markers etc. I must admit to being rather lazy and did not research ‘To The Strongest’ (TTS) rules or lists before the game, and my knowledge was therefore based on games of FK&P played a couple of months ago. We randomly diced for which army we would use, and I got the Thracians whilst Ian commanded the Lysimachids. The Thracians would clearly benefit from cluttered, difficult terrain and needed to shoot as much as possible during the opening moves to try a disorder/disrupt the heavier Lysimachid pikes and cavalry. I duly placed as much difficult terrain as allowed whilst Ian placed open areas. Then each terrain feature is assigned a card and the effects worked out. I like this randomising aspect, but it does radically alter the battlefield and makes pre-planning very uncertain. In this game virtually all my difficult terrain was removed and we were left with an open plain with a few gentle hills and a bit of woods on my far left flank. I therefore had a ‘bad’ feeling even before the game started!
Thracians at the bottom of picture.

After we deployed, Ian activated his ‘stratagem’ which allowed his own Thracian (traitor) forces to move forwards and take control of that lone wood I might have benefited from! A ‘sinking’ feeling became apparent in the mind of the Thracian commander. I did have a numerically strong light cavalry force on my right flank which I moved forward to engage the smaller Lysimachid cavalry and threaten the flanks of the pike blocks. I launched a hail of missiles for next few turns but to little avail. I even managed to charge the enemy horse in the rear, and bounced! I soon began to realise the weakness of light horse when charged by any heavier cavalry; they have to attempt to evade (so ground is rapidly lost) and if they fail to evade they get hit (and therefore killed) without any opportunity to hit back! I did have a few successes on this flank; I disrupted his pike blocks by shooting, and killed a few of Ian’s skirmishers and light cavalry, and wounded both of his commanders.
Thracian light cavalry facing the Lysimachid heavies!

On my left flank, my Thracian foot engaged Ian’s Thracians. I thought I would have the upper-hand because half my units were veteran and had heavy cutting weapons, but no, Ian’s forces prevailed in fairly slow grind. I also played my ‘stratagem’ to hit his commander, but only achieved a light wound. I must admit that I was not focussed on the game as much as I should have been, and simply allowed Ian to work out the values of the chits I needed to draw etc.  The reason for this lack of engagement was due to the fact I had done a ‘mischief’ to my back a couple of days earlier, and although I could walk etc., I was finding concentration hard to maintain (a lame excuse, I know!).
Thracian left flank about to go in

In the centre Ian’s disrupted pikes seemed inspired, making difficult retirement moves followed by rally actions. I had little available to stop the pike juggernaut rolling forwards, and in the end I conceded the game. Ian’s winning streak continues. In this game I felt defeat staring me in the face from the very start, but I still enjoyed playing and look forward to future games using TTS. I certainly intend buying my own copy when I attend the Warfare show next weekend.

To conclude; I really like ‘To The Strongest’ rules, they give an interesting, fast-paced game that is perfect for a club session. The activation mechanic forces a nice degree of decision making and prioritisation. Melee seems much more decisive when compared to the ECW version of the rules. I think using chits rather than playing cards is the best way to play. Overall I think I still prefer both ‘Impetus’ and ‘Sword & Spear’ rules, but ‘To The Strongest’ is a good alternative.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Off the Painting Table (Nov 2018)

I have recently bought the Crusades supplement for Saga v2 rules. I plan to trial my Teutonic forces against Prussian Pagans (previously used with Lion Rampant rules), but I require some additional Levy type figures. I have therefore painted up some archers from Gripping Beast.

There is little to say concerning the figures, the sculpts are fine and I did change some of the heads with others from my spares box to create more variety. They painted nicely but the drab colours mean they are not eye-candy on the tabletop.

I have also painted a resin 20mm ruined building that has been sitting in my ‘lead pile’ for some time. I think I got this second-hand, but when and where escapes my memory. I must admit I dislike painting items like this, and much prefer to get pre-coloured mdf versions from 4Ground. Even though I use washes to tone down and give a distressed look, the end result still looks to neat for my taste.