Saturday, December 3, 2011

My New Terrain Board

I finally got around to building a new 3x4 ft terrain board. I don't mind my gaming mat, but there are a couple of issues, especially when it comes to Adventure games.

First of all, the 4x4 ft gaming area requires quite a lot of terrain to fill. Furthermore, the uniform green surface meant, without terrain in every corner, the table could look quite bland. However, with the slightly smaller surface (which will make no difference with Adventure games) I can get away with far less terrain and, in turn, start bringing the Adventure games out to geek night more regularly again.
Here's a shot overlooking the bulk of the table. As you can see, it's a mixed brown and green surface. Also, I can accentuate certain areas by building and fence placement to give the sense of roads. 

We have a new geek in the group and, in addition to already ordering the miniatures for his first Impetus army, he's shown some serious interest in Chaos in Carpathia as well. If we ever end up with four regular players in attendance on Saturday nights, I think we'll play a 6-game mini-campaign in the new year. I'll keep you posted and, as always...

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, November 24, 2011

First 400-point Impetus Game Against Marc's English

After a long yet steady road, Marc finally had his completed army for Impetus ready last Saturday night. It was with great excitement that we deployed our 400-point armies and got down to business. Here were the forces we used:

Marc's English (399 pts)
  • Average CS, Charismatic General x1, Fair General x1
  • Longbowmen (T) x6 (two units were Discipline A)
  • Dismounted Men-at-arms (FP) x2
  • Welsh Spearmen (FL) x3
  • Breton Javelins (S) x2
  • King and Household (CP) x1
  • Hobilars (CM) x1
  • Cohesion re-roll x1
My Free Company (398 pts)
  • Average CS, Fair General x2
  • Longbowmen (T) x3
  • Dismounted Men-at-arms (FP) x4
  • Peasants (FP) x2
  • English Mounted Knights (CP) x1
  • French Mounted Knights (CP) x2
  • Crossbowmen (S) x2
  • Breton Javelins (S) x3
  • Cohesion re-roll x1
The battlefield was a wide open plain with some gentle rolling hills. The bulk of the game (which was a long one for Impetus) saw Marc's force trying to occupy and defend a hill while I tried to drive his defenders from their entrenched position.

My impetous knights advanced under the cover of skirmishers toward Marc's right flank.

Marc wasted no time in advancing his infantry line to the hill. With all of those longbows threatening me at range, I had no choice by to advance and engage.

Breton skirmishers formed my first wave and, it must be said, they did an admirable job of tying up and disordering the enemy archers.

The fleet-footed Welsh charged out from behind Marc's archers and drove most of my skirmishers back towards my line.

In the meantime, Sir Jonathan Deere led an assault from my right flank towards the enemy cavalry. It was an interesting back and forth affair which I eventually won.

Although my French knights found their Marc (get it...), without any support they were quickly overwhelmed by enemy infantry.

By the time my full assault of the hill began, my army was well-limbed.

My infantry was doing an admirable job but, just as I had victory in my grasp, Marc's infantry defeated one key unit of men-at-arms. With my breakpoint reached, the Free Company broke and left Marc's English as the lords of the field.

A truly excellent game. Either Marc and I are equally matched or benefit from equal amounts of luck. As with most of our games, victory always comes at the closest of margins.

There's one small subordinate command that I've been having great luck with so I'll share it with the rest of you medieval generals. I deploy a unit of dismounted men-at-arms (with attached general) flanked by two units of peasants and behind a line of three javelinmen. In other words, the men-at-arms are VD:3 while the other five units are VD:1 for a total of eight. If the general leads from the back (and stays out of danger), the enemy must destroy four of the other units in order to route the command and, even better, if the command does route, it's only a tiny portion of the entire army and so is complete disposable.

As a final note, there's a new player in the group who is quite taken with Impetus. I believe he is going to embark on a Teutonic army project. As usualy, the rest of us shall support and coax him along. More opponents is always a good thing.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, November 7, 2011

Impetus Battle Report: Beauregard LeFleur Wins the Day

Marc is so close to finishing his 400-point Impetus army now that it's quite maddening. This weekend past we played a 360-point game and it was another nail-biter. Here we see my main infantry line facing Marc's significantly smaller flank.

As it turns out, the most dramatic action of the game took place on my right flank, where Rodger of Lynn (yellow banner) led the mercenary cavalry into a line of enemy archers and horsemen.

Disorder caused my main line to break apart as I advanced the troops forward. I was hoping to occupy Marc's small infantry line with enough left over to put pressure on his main force who were deployed on the other side of that hill. (i.e. the line that my cavalry was facing)

Marc's javelinmen rushed out from the cavalry and destroyed my two units of skirmishing crossbows while my cavalry seemed incapable of rallying and moving forward. I really predicted that my entire right flank would fold up under mass longbow fire.

And then the miracle came. Beauregard LeFleur (red banner) managed to rally his men (Discipline C, meaning he rolled a 5), and to make two moves without disorder, and then a third move, extended by a charge roll, right into Marc's infantry. By the time it was all said and done, LeFleur and his knights had taken out a couple of units of Marc's infantry and his Hobilars.

With the strong cavalry threat removed, the mercenary knights moved into the broken English line and began punishing Marc's infantry most savagely.

Meanwhile, back on the "main" battlefield, my heavy infantry reached Marc's line and a bitter clash ensued. Marc's forces were fighting back hard now but, with so many of his units defeated, he was hovering dangerously close to his break point.

In the end it was one of my units of Breton javelinmen that won me the game. They moved in on a unit of Welsh spearmen and drove them from the table. It turned out the be the key unit that dropped Marc's force just below his breakpoint.

A most excellent game on both sides of the table. I really love the way in which one unexpected (not to mention unlikely) event can happen out of nowhere and set off a chain reaction in Impetus. As far as I can remember, this was probably the best my cavalry arm has ever performed. I learned that losing their impetus bonuses isn't necessarily the end of the world. Just getting them into an infantry line is sometimes all the disruption that is needed.

Anyway, last night Marc and I conducted a little trade - more heavy infantry for him and more cavalry for me. I now have just enough cavalry models to put together two more units. This will allow me to field a more cavalry heavy force with longbows fulfilling a less central role.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Light Troops for Marc's HYW English

Marc and I played a 335-point game of Impetus on Saturday night. It was a historic game in a sense in that it was the first time that Marc played without borrowing any of my collection. I was too lazy to give a full report of the game (which I won... just sayin), but I thought you guys might like to see some of his newer units.

These two photos show his two units of Breton Javelinmen. These minis are by Feudal Castings. You'll find them in the Feudal Welsh range of the site. Notice the wooden plank pattern on the shields.

Here we have Marc's second unit of Welsh spearmen. In the game, they function as FL with the Long Spear rule, making them particularly effective at neutering enemy cavalry. The bulk are Feudal Castings but, if you look closely, you'll see a couple of Khurasan Welsh Knifemen mixed in there as well.

When last I spoke to Marc, he had finished a unit of archers and was in the process of painting his final two elements - another unit of archers (for a total of six) and his third and final unit of Welsh Spearmen. Next time we play, we'll be back at our group's usual 400-point size engagement. I really can't wait. The group now has four players with fully-painted 15mm Impetus armies. It's a good time to be a geek.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, October 16, 2011

First SAGA game: Isildur the Victorious

With fresh copies of the SAGA rules in hand, Chris and I decided to start learning the rules using miniatures from his extensive Lord of the Rings collection. Chris played Numenor (Anglo-Danish) and I played the Goblins (Welsh). Here's the basic run of how things went. Lessons and impressions at the end.

We played the river crossing scenario and used a 3x4 mat as outlined in the scenario. Chris and I each brought our Armorcast bridges.

The bulk of the goblin force prepared to cross the right bridge...

...while a large unit of 12 warriors and some levies were deployed near the left.

As the Goblin (i.e. Welsh) player, I used the Taunting ability on the battle board to draw the Numenorean archers towards the bridge. I charged my warriors in and caused some serious damage.

In response, Chris sent Isildur and his elite bodyguard in to deal with the goblin warriors. When the smoke cleared, both units were wiped out and Isildur remained victorious on the bridge.

My goblin warlord and his elites prepared to counter-attack.

Meanwhile, the other bridge was less active for both sides. I used archery to try and hold back the Numenorean advance.

My warlord and his bodyguard stormed the bridge.

The goblin bodyguard died but, in true goblin fasion, my warlord charged across the bridge and tried to take down the enemy warlord. As expected, the goblin warlord died...

...and Isildur and his men crossed to the goblin side where Isildur annihilated the goblin levies.

The victorious warlord and his men.

My warriors were doing a good job of holding the Men back but, by this point, the game was over and it was too late. It was a crushing victory for Isildur and his men.

SAGA is a brilliant game - let's just get that out there first. All of the hype is well-founded. Here are some basic observations from the two games we played:
  • Ranged combat is far less powerful than in other systems. For the most part, the real damage is done in close combat. This is a game where history was/is made by those who were/are man enough to pick up a sword and stand in the shieldwall, not by the skulking peasants.
  • Warlords are powerful but far from invunerable. Without the support of their men they can easily be swarmed and taken out.
  • The battleboard provides almost all of the faction-specific information you'll need as you plan and play your turns. Spending all of your SAGA dice to activate units is one option, but the game (or at least the turn) often goes to the player who allocates dice to special abilities, especially those that allow you to react to and interfere with your opponent's turn.
  • The way in which miniatures engage in combat is very smooth. Figuring out who's fighting and who isn't is so simple yet definitive. There's not screwing around (read:40k)
  • The game has depth so it rewards a good plan and cunning play, however, the rules and faction-specific abilities are limited enough that gameplay is very intuitive and decisive. Our learning game was around 90 minutues, our second game was less than an hour.
  • Finally, playing without SAGA dice is very straightforward and not at all required. That said, I will be buying the SAGA dice for my Vikings as I see LOTS of games in my future.
If you're on the fence about this game, get off and go buy it. I expect to get an awful lot of replay from this one. I think that the guys from Tomahawk have hit on a winner. I could easily see a series of rules in the future covering other historical periods.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Impetus Battle Report: The Savage Welsh

Although Marc and I have been playing Impetus regularly throughout the Summer and Fall, I've been quite delinquent in the battle report department. Now that his HYW English army is nearing the 300-point mark I thought that I should break out the camera.

I tried a very different type of force. I left my usual commander-in-chief (James Stockwood) at home and instead fielded a 300-point cavalry-heavy force led by Rodger of Lynn.

My secondary command consisted of a unit of dismounted men-arms (led by Sir Peter Redgrave, a Poor general) and a bunch of rabble in the form of peasants and skirmishers.

Redgrave's crossbowmen dashed forward in an attempt to harass Marc's main line. I had mixed results.

The game really started to get interesting on my left flank where Sir Jonathan Deere stood at the ready. In a surprise move, Marc's knights dashed across the field in an attempt at flanking my main cavalry line.

Marc managed to make five moves in a row. In other words, he moved once, twice (and passed a 3+ Discipline check), a third time (passing a 4+), a fourth time (you guessed it, a 5+) and then made it into my general's flank. He arrived disordered but what an incredible run!

Luckily, Sir Jonathan Deere and his men-at-arms were in good order and charged towards the enemy. They managed to arrive quickly, before the battle had turned against their comrades. Before long, the English knights were overwhelmed and the mercenary line reformed and continued their advance towards Marc's main line.

A couple of units of my knights (including my general) crashed into the English line and almost destroyed a couple of key units. Sadly, the English foot hung on by a thread.

Marc took advantage of the situation and sent his newly-painted Welsh Spearmen dashing towards Etienne and his knights. In an unfortunate turn of events, the knights were routed and my breakpoint had been reached.

It was one of the great Impetus games of my wargaming career thus far. Marc went home all fired up to keep painting. At this point, he only has a few units of archers and spearmen left to paint and then we'll be back to playing our usual 400 point games.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, October 7, 2011

Workbench Update: The Painting Table at Present

It's been a while since I've had a proper update, a "state of the table" sort of post, so I thought that it was about time. Here's my painting corner at this moment in time.

Let's discuss.

Off in the back you can see my Avar army starting to come together. I don't want to post any close-up photos until I have a respectable chunk finished. Suffice it to say, I'm getting tired of painting cavalry (the last of which you can see in the right foreground) but I quite enjoy painting the unwashed Slavic masses. Frankly, there may be a warband or pike army in my future.

In the tray to the left you can see my next batch of Viking Hirdmen and my Warlord. My SAGA rules arrived in the mail yesterday and to jump on the bandwagon, I think that all of the hype was well-deserved. It seems like a really brilliant miniature game and, given time, it will likely become quite a wargames success story for the author. In any event, I am trying to keep my patience intact as I work towards finishing a 4-point army.

I've also done some cleaning out lately and I've realized that the only real "not fun" painting backlog I have left is a Thunderhead heavy warjack for Warmachine and some goblin spider riders for my Impetus Fantasy army. To clarify, they'll be fun to play but they're just not where I am as a painter these days. They're definitely in the "get them done" pile.

We're in the process of preparing to purchase a new home within the next 12 months or less so in the meantime, I'm making due with a small painting corner in the basement. This lack of space is why you've not seen any elaborate Gothic Horror tables in the recent past. Fear not, we will be playing again soon. Furthermore, Chris has painted a bunch of stuff for the Pike & Shotte Zombies game and Marc is creating an entire 4x4 urban table using Worldworks paper terrain. He plans to lead us adventure gamers in a Bladerunner-ish game of some type in the new year.

That's pretty much where everything is at the moment. As I work towards having all of my projects finished before Xmas (which I'm ahead of schedule on this year, so it's looking up) I find my mind wandering to Xmas presents of the geekly variety. A new Impetus army? Urban stuff? Maybe more terrain? Lots to ponder.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, September 30, 2011

Viking Berserkers for SAGA

I'm having some issues with my camera as of late, or at least the lighting part of it. Anyway, I'm still painting miniatures for SAGA. I now have a unit of Berserkers to join my Hirdmen in the fight against the Anglo-Danish and the Normans.

These Viking minis are the first Gripping Beast miniatures I've ever painted and, I have to say, I'm quite impressed with them. Some models are sculpted for painting and these definitely fall in that list. My favourite is the guy swinging the axe above his head.

In the meantime, the workbench is bristling with activity. I'm already basing my next unit of Hirdmen, prepping a unit of eight Bondi, and have started putting down some base colours on my 15mm Avar light cavalry. For those of you who remember, I started painting some 15mm Avars back in June but haven't written much about them since. Well, suffice it to say, I'm almost finished all six units of cavalry and all of my Slavic infantry is primed and ready to go. It's a good time to be a geek.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

28mm Viking Hirdmen for SAGA

My apologies for the long dry spell in the blogging department. I've been back on the painting and playing wagons for a few weeks now but, thanks to a hard drive crash, my at-home computing has seriously dropped off as of late. Please accept this first unit of Gripping Beast Vikings as proof of my continued dedication to the art of geekery.

The SAGA game has been getting a lot of press lately and some of the guys in the group, me included, are patiently awaiting the arrival of our pre-ordered rules. After some pondering, I went with the Vikings for numerous reasons, not the least of which was Keir gratiously offered me some models from his collection and, as a lad, I actually lived in L'anse Aux Meadows and played "Vikings" in the sod huts at the National Historic Site.

While I'm on the apologies, sorry that one of the guys in the photos looks like an axe-wielding Santa Claus. It was unintentional and I never realized it until the paintjob was finished.

As to the painting table, I'm currently moving quite swiftly (by my standards) through my Avar army for Impetus. In fact, I've almost finished painting and basing the cavalry arm of the army. The group is just getting back into the Fall routine so I'm sure there'll be lots of interesting things to report and showcase over the coming months. Hope some of you guys are still out there and, as ever...

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Workbench Update: 15mm Bridge

I've had this 15mm Hovels bridge lying around for almost two years now. Last week, Marc and I devised a simple "cross the river" scenario for Impetus and played the scenario with one river section designated as a ford. I realized that a bridge would be far cooler, hence the new paint job.

I decided not to base the bridge in its own section of river since I want to be able to use it along with multiple river collections in our group. Instead, I built a base for the bridge and sculpted some water flowing under it. It doesn't match up perfectly but it gets the idea across as far as I'm concerned.

As for the Impetus scenario, here are some random points Marc and I came up with during and after our test scenario last week:

  • The attacker must have one appointed unit on the defender's side of the bridge at game end in order to win.
  • A unit whose base is flush with a bridge entrance can engage in melee with an enemy unit on the opposite side.
  • Entering a bridge causes disorder to all units except FP and S.
  • We haven't yet figured out how to regulate crossing the bridge as (a) units can't fit on the bridge and (b) units have different depths. I'm sure we'll come up with a simple method to solve this minor issue.

Anyway, that's it for the time being. When we've played some more games we'll hammer down the details and put the scenario out there for other Impetus players. In fact, our goals is to make up half a dozen such scenarios so that, in time, we aren't always playing straight ahead pitched battles.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chaos in Carpathia Battle Report - Vanquishing the Red Brotherhood

Although not an official chapter in the Curse of the Dertflinghans campaign, I thought you folks might like to see a few photos from our Chaos in Carpathia game last night. We were playing at Chris's house and, after a long Summer of little to no wargaming, Chris and I decided to dust off the Gothic Horror models and get back at it. We played a good old Seek & Find scenario with my Hungarian Monster Hunters pitted against Chris's foul Nosferatu warband, the Red Brotherhood.

My Expedition Leader, Count Konrad von Krumm, set out into the forest with his son Helmut at his side. Villagers speak of ancient stones scattered through the forest near a ruined watchtower. These stones are rumoured to be covered with ancient engravings which might hold a clue to the origins of the Brotherhood and their dark master.

The Master's closest (but certainly not most trusted) servant Gideon skulked in the cave near some of the engravings.

Meanwhile in the woods, Dr. Franz Grunberg stumbled upon an ancient stone criss-crossed with engravings. "I say Bjorn, be a good fellow and keep watch while I take a rubbing."

Albrecht, another of the Brotherhood, hid in the shadows of the ruined tower, his supernatural senses aware of a human presence in the woods beyond. In the game, just as Albrecht was about to search the objective at his feet, Ernst Holdt skewered him with a fatal crossbow bolt. Sadly for Chris, this bad luck was only a foreshadowing of things to come.

In an attempt to jump the river and charge my leader, the Master Vampire missed his footing and fell into the river which carried him violently downstream into the marsh - not his finest moment. These are the scenes that never make it into the movie.

Eventually, the Master changed into a mighty beast and burst onto the bank, savage and, let's face it, a little embarrassed. Helmut von Krumm, who was filled with bloodlust after just defeating one vampire, faced the beast with equal savagery. When it was all said and done, Helmut put the creature down.

With the rest of the warband defeated, Gideon made a last stand against Lazlo the Wanderer. Realizing that he was on the bottom wrung of the engagement, he took the form of a great bat and fled the field.

What a battle! My Monster Hunters performed like a well-oiled machine. It was one of those rare games where my slayers spent the game slaying while my academics were successfully finding objectives. In the end, I had found all four objectives, slain the Master of Evil, and still held the Female Victim for a whopping total of six victory points. Chris took the overwhelming defeat like a gentleman.

From now on we'll be playing tailored scenarios. In other words, I will set the table up as a specific locale and each warband will have its own set of objectives. i.e. the Monster Hunters must hold the town hall and escort a innocent bystander to the town hall unharmed. The Monsters must take the town hall and capture the innocent bystander. Something like that. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading,