Books I have read and recommend.

Monday, December 31, 2012

SAGA AAR. Byzantines V Anglo Danes.

 Hi Guys
A very relaxed New Years Eve here at 'Trailape's Gun Park'. Stan popped around after skiving off from domestic duties to have a game of SAGA with me. I've never played the game before, so I quickly based up some Byzantines and took to the 'field of Honour' to face Stan's Anglo Danes.
I'd had a glance through the rules previously but I would rely on Stan to get me started.
I decided on a Warband consisting of a Warlord / Strategos (derrrr), one Mounted 'Hearthguard' (called Kavallaroi) and 3 units of 'Warriors' (one armed with bows called Toxotai and two armed with spear and shield called Kontaratoi).
Stan's Warband consisted of a Warlord, two Hearthguards and two Warrior units.
Terrain consisted of a 'Large Building' (a Roman Villa) and a hill.
I deployed first.
My plan was rather simple, ('cause simple is good). I'd pepper him with arrows and send my Kavallaroi off on a sweeping flanking attack with the Warlord. I figured the KONTOS Saga Ability could be a game winner for me, so I wanted to get my Kavallaroi. The photos below follow the game:
BELOW: Stan's deployment.From left to right: Warriors, Hearthguard, Warlord, Warriors, Hearthguard.
 BELOW: Ready for action my Warband form with my 'Warriors' in a nice neat line, with the archers in the center and a spear armed unit on the hill.
 BELOW: My turn 1. I advance my warriors, with the Toxotai slightly back. I wasn't keen for them to get into any 'Hand to hand' combat.  My Kavallaroi move off to envelopment Stan's right flank. My Strategos changes into his battle dress. :)
 BELOW: My Archers open fire and simply annoy the Hearthguard ('sigh'). My BLUE Kontaratoi attack their opposite numbers and despite the lack of spears, (I'm painting them) flog the Anglo Danes. Stan's dice rolling was horrible (for him).

 BELOW: Stan then throws his Hearthguard into the fight. My BLUE Kontaratoi are reduced to one brave soul, but the enemy Warriors are reduced to two and the Hearthguard are also down to two!
 Meanwhile I unleash the Kavallaroi with the Strategos and adding the 'KONTOS' Saga Ability slaughter the Anglo Dane Hearthguard on the right flank for the loss of not one Kavallaroi trooper.
BELOW: The situation at about turn 3 or 4.

BELOW: Stan feels a tad isolated.
  Stan pulls a clever move, and double moves his warriors in front of the hill to attack my Kavallaroi and rescue his Warlord. I reserve half my dice in defence. Consequently I only lose one Kavallaroi trooper.
 ABOVE: Meanwhile my Archers / Toxotai finish of the two Warriors and then start firing at his two left flank Hearthguard.
BELOW: My Kavallaroi disengage and move back towards the villa. My Stategos moves around to support my Infantry.
 BELOW: Stan now turns on the Unit of Kontaratoi that have moved off the hill,...
... and kills quite a few of them. (See BELOW)
However, time is against Stan and his Anglo Danes and the game ends. It'll be decided on points.
A quick tally and we conclude the Byzantines win 14-7.
So what do I think of SAGA now I've played a game?
Well I must say I'm a fan. They system is elegant and challenging.
I like the tactical challenge of matching the dice to the battleboard to get maximum effect from your troops and I like the fact you can hold dice in melee back to use purely defensively.
Each 'Faction' or different warband has it's on particular strengths and weakness, and there is a challenge in simply playing to those strengths and weaknesses.
But ultimately it's about having fun, and SAGA is certainly fun.
I really enjoyed playing with the Byzantines.
My eldest daughter recently purchased me enough PERRY MINIATURES Normans (Early Crusaders) and now I'm motivated more than ever to get them painted and based. I can see them clashing with these Byzantines.
Comments welcomed.
Cheers and HAPPY 2013!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

For Inspection!

 ABOVE and BELOW: A painted example of the magnificent guillotine set that EUREKA MINIATURES has produced including 'The Angry Mob
Hi All
Well Christmas has come and gone, but not before I popped down to EUREKA MINIATURES to spend some of my Christmas budget on some lead to add to the pile.
There was some real treats to sample, so I thought I might take the opportunity to post a few photos and do some quick reviews of what I picked up.
First off lets have a look at one of the new additions to the AB MINIATURES range. This time Dutch Carabiniers of the 100 Day or Waterloo campaign of 1815.
As usual these are magnificent sculpts by Mr A Barton, and you will find as much detail on the 18mm minis as you would expect to find on the best 28mm miniatures out there. Very little flash, and they cleaned up very quickly. The poses are excellent, being available as either charging or with swords resting drawn but at the shoulder. I purchased 12 of these chaps, and together with the Belgian Carabiniers will make up my heavy cavalry for my Prince of Orange's Corps for LASALLE or FOG-N.

Moving on to the 28mm stuff I purchased.
As usual there was just too much to chose from. Visiting Nic's shop is always fraught with financial doom, and I spent much more than I intended.


I couldn't resist this little gem:

As you can see it's a lovely little sculpt of a pretty young lady stepping out of a bath tub. You actually get a bath tub just for the little lady or one with ummm, some chap with a hat. You could easily paint up both, and she could comfortable transition from one tub to the other without any trouble fitting snugly in both. I can see her being the subject of many a 'rescue' playing a skirmish game of either Sharp PracticeSong of Drums and Shakos or Terrible Sharp Sword. She is a delightful miniature. Very feminine and with a very pretty face. Posed in the process of wrapping a towel around herself.

Now, I needed 4 'Saxon Archers' to complete my Dux Brit army, and Nic had these chaps available. Perfect I think and full of character. Sculpting and poses are excellent. Almost no flash to speak of.
The highlight of my visit however must be the magnificent guillotine set that EUREKA MINIATURES has produced.
UPDATE:  I've headed this post with a painted example that Nic was showing off at CANCON 2013. Please note! I DID NOT PAINT THIS SET. This set was on display at the EUREKA MINIATURES stand at CANCON. I believe Kosta Heristanidis painted this particular set.
This is a BIG set. It comes complete with 21 Miniatures, (counting the 'Father and Son' combo and 'Two Headless Victims' together as 4 miniatures) and the guillotine itself. You also get a basket and some heads (which I somehow didn't collect). Nic, if you read this I'll need to pick up the heads. A guillotine without a bunch of heads is like Hotcakes without syrup
 ABOVE: A great day out for the whole family.
 ABOVE: Step right up, everyone's a winner. You're sure to get ahead,.. get it? GET A HEAD! Boom Boom; I'm here all revolution. Try the veal.
 ABOVE: The next vitim for the razor. "Here my lady, let me trim your locks".
BELOW: Ya Boooo Hissss! Anyone want a ripe apple of some stale bread?
 The sculpting of these miniatures is as good as any I've ever seen. the facial expressions are excellent and posing brilliant. I love the chap inviting a victim to climb the stares to the blade, and the 'rowdy crowd' really do look the part. I'll base the miniatures individually, as the soldiers will have additional use as sentries in any number of games, and the prisoners will need rescuing not only from the guillotine but also Spanish Bandits or Russian Cossacks, (to name but a couple).
 ABOVE and BELOW: The Army is present to lend a hand and maintain order.
 BELOW: "OFF WITH 'Er HEAD"!! a view of the victim and her 'assistant' from a different angle.
 BELOW: The guillotine.
The actual guillotine itself is a very nice model, and fits together quite neatly. There was very little flash to speak of, and assembly is rather straight forward. I've pictured mine with the support post assembled separate to the actual 'stage', but you should get the idea.

 BELOW: A empty basket. Soon to be rectified.
 I understand that EUREKA MINIATURES will also be producing a cart (with extra 'victims"?) to compliment the guillotine set.
I also picked up a couple of Comic Like Lace War miniatures (see below).
Why not.
Just the thing for an Imagi-Nation. I only purchased two, but I'm thinking of increasing them to a unit of 16 and building a Battalion of the silly chaps.
 Finally I thought I'd take to opportunity to compare side by side EUREKA Miniatures Vivandiere set with WARLORD GAMES (WLG) offering.
Well, EUREKA's offering comes with a nice little cart and mule / donkey. WLG's comes with a donkey that is loaded with all manner of kit.
EUREKA's Lass stands rather casually with a barrel of Brandy or Rum, (who knows?) and wears a 'Bonnet Police' on her pretty head. She has a rather pleasant face and looks like she is waiting 'in the rear with the gear'.
As for WLGs gal. Well the model comes with two heads and two arms for you to choose from; one carrying a bottle of brandy and the other a pistol.  She's in full flight, dashing off to lift the troop's spirits. I've gone with the bottle of booze rather than the pistol. Both are nice models and I'm not sure which I prefer at this point. I feel EUREKA's looks 'prettier' but I do like the WLG donkey. Good news is they do compliment each other quite well, and I plan to have them working as some kind of 'front line supermarket', with the EUREKA Lass holding the fort as the WLG girl goes dashing off to be of some ummm,.. assistance.
Once painted I'll be able to make a call on which one I prefer.
Anyway, that' enough for now.
I did also pick up a 'Surgical Strike' team for modern gaming, and some Jazz band members and some 1920's style 'Charleston' dancers'.  I just know some gangsters (or Zombies) will spoil the dance!!
Cheers for now.
Comments Welcomed!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Seymourium: A Dux Britianiarum AAR

ABOVE: The Saxon host on the field of battle!
Hi Guys
Stan and I followed up out last game of Dux Britianiarum (DuxBrit) with a pitch battle.
Read on:
The sun shone brightly. A light morning mist was quickly burnt off. Osic the Victorious looked across the field and could see the 'Romans' forming for battle. The Saxon host was tired from the march from the beach, and the voyage across the channel had been rather unpleasant.

 ABOVEChampions go forth to do battle
Osic the Victorious called his Champion Olag forward.
"Olag,.. we need to lift the men's spirits. Put on a show for them and dispatch that Roman dog"!
Osic pointed the a well armed Warrior who stood before the Roman line.
"One dead Roman coming up,..".
And with that Olag dashed up the hill to confront the enemy champion,.. and then promptly dashed back. The duel wasn't going the big Saxon lugs way, so he was recalled.
"I guess an inspiring speech will have to suffice" grumbled Osic.
After a rousing speech the Saxons soon forgot about Olag's flight. Moral was raised (8 on the Moral Chart).
The Romano British commander did better however and not only did the 'Romans' spirits rise (8 also), but an extra FATE Card was added to their hand.
(I had 5 cards, and Stan had 6).

"It seems the Romans intend to fight this battle sitting on their arses".
Osic observed the enemy had anchored a flank on a wood and their other flank on the edge of a ravine (that's the table edge to you).
"Best we move them off their arses then". Growled Votigen, Osic's second in command.
BELOW: The Romano British position as seen from their rear. The Saxon host can be seen in the distance.

ABOVE and BELOW: Romano British (Above) and Saxon hosts (below)
The Saxons moved the bulk of their troops (three groups of 'Warriors') off to their left behind the hill. Their plan was to fall in one devastating charge on the Levies on the Romano British right flank. As this was happening the Hearthguard (two groups of 'Elites') would move towards the woods hoping to draw the 'Roman' elites or at least some warriors away from the Levies.
ABOVE and BELOW: The Saxon warriors move off to threaten the enemy levies while the Hearthguard advance on the woods. The Saxon skirmishers (4 archers) move off to start sniping away from the vicinity of the hill.
Things went badly for the Saxons initially. The Roman archers in the wood managed to kill two of the hearthguard as soon as the moved forward and when the hearthguard did charge they pulled up just short of contact. They did however draw the Romano British Elites and a group of warriors into the woods.

That was the que for Osic and Vortigen to unleash the Warriors on the Levy Shieldwall.
As can be seen, the run of cards I had was pretty good, and I had high hopes that after a round or two I'd blow right through the levies!
BELOW: The cards I played for the big assault.

But expectations were soon dashed, and the Romans gave as good as they got. After two rounds of combat the Saxon warriors pulled back. At least a smal group of the Saxon hearthguard had managed to catch the enemy archers in the woods and routed them from the field.
BELOW: Despite the run of cards, the Romano British levies held on. I sustained 9 dead and 4 'SHOCK'. 7 'SHOCK' on the levies and a small group of warriors and 8 dead total for them.
At this point bot armies took 'a breather'. The Saxons continued to pepper the levies with arrows, killing 2 or 3 more and adding 'SHOCK' which the Romano British leaders spent their time removing.
Frustrated Osic decided on a gamble:
"Vortigen! Take the warriors and try and get behind these Roman dogs! I'll hold my Hearthguard here with the archers and keep them busy. NOW GO"!
With that the Saxon warriors moved off and Osic preparde for another attack on the levies.
BELOW: The situation after the first charge!
BELOW: The Saxon Warriors move in behind the enemy. The Romano British 'Elites' can be seen in the woods.
The Romano British attempted to prevent the movement of the Saxon warriors with a charge out of the woods, but it was somewhat uncoordinated and was beaten back.
The situation was now ripe for another carge by the Saxons.
BELOW: The Romano British are caught in a vice. Is this the end for them?
Osic's Hearthguard crashed into the levies and much slaughter was witnessed. Soon the levies threw down their shields are ran.
The Romano British Warriors and Elites were made of sterner stuff however, and despite their casuatlies were busy doing slaughter of their own on the Saxon warriors. Vortigen was last seen swiging madly with his sword at the best of the Romano British.
Osic took one last slash with his mighty blad at the Roman priest nearby who quickly fled the field before he ordered the remnants of his host back to their boats and Germany.
BELOW: The situation just at the end of the game.

In conclussion another great game. The terrain was a a real bugger, but credit must go to Stan for a battle well fought.
Highlits were the death of two hearthguard from the plucky Romano British archers and the brawl between the Levies and my Warriors.

All the Saxons are a mix of EUREKA Miniatures and Foundy Miniatures, except for my archers which are RENAGADE MINIATURES 'Guals'. I now have some EUREKA MINIATURES Archers that I'll paint up soon.
Stans Romano- Brits are a mix of EUREKA, ESSEX, BTD, Gripping Beast and Old Glory Miniatures.
As usual, your comments are welcomed

Friday, December 21, 2012

Village Raid! A Dux Britanniarum AAR

ABOVE: The Saxon raiders arrive at the sleepy village of Stanfordium; "Anyone home"!
Hi Guys
As some of you might know I've always been a huge fan of all things 'Too Fat Lardies'. Their rules and Scenario books, and 'Summer Specials' etc are quite choice. If you can afford them, (and you can 'cause they are also sooo afordable) then I highly recommend their tasty treats.
One of their more recent offerings has been Dux Britanniarum, which one can use to game / simulate war in Romano Britain just as it's all falling apart at the seams.
The rules come with an exceptionally fine campaign system and my usual gaming buddy Stan and I jumped straight in.
I can't recall if I picked or had forced on me the option to be the Saxon Raiders, but either way I do like them.
Obviously Stan picked up the Romano-British.
Characters were generated; a Lord each and two subordinate 'Nobles' and we were off.
The first encounter was a raid on a Watch Tower that resulted in a victory for me, with a Brit Noble being carried off for ransom, (after Cedric the Confused had his way with him).
After that was a raid on a church. This was a real ding-dong afair that resulted in a lot of dead on both sides, and a 'drawn' result. We now have some nice leadlight windows back at the Great Hall in Germany.
That brings us to the third raid. This time a village raid.
ABOVE: First house searched "O Bugger it, nothing here but moldy bread and stale ale. And what a mess!  HOW DO THESE PEOPLE LIVE LIKE THIS"!!!

We had two turns head start on the Brits, which was enough time to get to the edge of the village before the first of the Brits arrived to try and spoil the party. The first building was entered by the Saxon Loard, his Champion and his Hearthguard and their searched revealed nothing, but the large villa (essentially classed as two buildings) being searched by the 2nd Hearthguard came up trumps two turns in a row (rolling a 6 and then another 6)!!

BELOW: Olaf the Bloated grabs a wife and a refreshing beverage as two of his mates engage in less civalized pursuits. Savages.

ABOVE: Saxon Lord and Champion together with two of his Hearthguard survey the Saxon Archers in the woods.
BELOW: The British arrive in force
BELOW: The Saxon warriors pour into the village.
While the villa was being plundered my archers started peppering the oncoming British without much success, and before you could say, "someone might lose an eye" the 2nd group of Hearthguard was making off with armfulls of loot.
As this was happening the Saxons sent a group of Warriors to pounce on a group of British Levy who had advance to close before forming a shieldwall.
Surprisingly they managed to give as good as the got and both groups virtually destroyed each other!
As this was happening another group of Saxon Warriors entered the villa to collect their share of loot and were about to exit when they found their exit barred by a group of British Warriors.
ABOVE: The 2nd Hearthguard make off with the loot.
BELOW: Warriors attempt to leave with the second lot of plunder but some British Warriors think not!
BELOW: Warriors V Warriors. It started pretty well for the Saxons and then as was the recurring pattern of my day, it went south quickly.
These two groups again butchered each other. Initially the Saxons seem to have the better of it, but yet again the British died hard and both groups were destroyed.
ABOVE: Lord's, Champions and Hearthguards do battle.
Now the two Lords Hearthguards clashed on the edge of the Village. Yet again another see-sawing stoush but ultimately The British lord triumphed. Only the Saxon Lord, his Champion and one of his hearthguard managed to escape.
At this point the Saxons called it a day and headed back to their boats.
BELOW: The situation at the end of the game.
Though not a success, the saxon Lord still has sufficiant funds to share some spoils and has been declared a 'Warlord'!
The next encounter will not be a raid, but rather a Battle for a chunk of British land.
Comments Welcomed.