Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Poems for Wargamers 9

Du Fu is one of the great poets of Chinese history.
Born into relative wealth, he ended up as a common man farming.
His life seems to be one of movement due to wars and civil strife

Song of the Wagons

The wagons rumble and roll,
The horses whinny and neigh,
The conscripts each have bows and arrows at their waists.
Their parents, wives and children run to see them off,
So much dust's stirred up, it hides the Xianyang bridge.
They pull clothes, stamp their feet and, weeping, bar the way,
The weeping voices rise straight up and strike the clouds.
A passer-by at the roadside asks a conscript why,
The conscript answers only that drafting happens often.
"At fifteen, many were sent north to guard the river,
Even at forty, they had to till fields in the west.
When we went away, the elders bound our heads,
Returning with heads white, we're sent back off to the frontier.
At the border posts, shed blood becomes a sea,
The martial emperor's dream of expansion has no end.
Have you not seen the two hundred districts east of the mountains,
Where thorns and brambles grow in countless villages and hamlets?
Although there are strong women to grasp the hoe and the plough,
They grow some crops, but there's no order in the fields.
What's more, we soldiers of Qin withstand the bitterest fighting,
We're always driven onwards just like dogs and chickens.
Although an elder can ask me this,
How can a soldier dare to complain?
Even in this winter time,
Soldiers from west of the pass keep moving.
The magistrate is eager for taxes,
But how can we afford to pay?
We know now having boys is bad,
While having girls is for the best;
Our girls can still be married to the neighbours,
Our sons are merely buried amid the grass.
Have you not seen on the border of Qinghai,
The ancient bleached bones no man's gathered in?
The new ghosts are angered by injustice, the old ghosts weep,
Moistening rain falls from dark heaven on the voices' screeching."

By Du Fu

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Frostgrave. On the way to Felstad

My name is Salvo. I'm a captain of soldiers. OK, a mercenary captain of mercenary soldiers. My friend and second in command, Mimi, and I were contracted to take Sister Rosa and her novice/apprentice Samira (are they nuns? wizards nuns? I have no idea) to Felstad. That frozen city where weird goings on are happening and fortunes are to be made, some say. There we will form a company to protect the wizard as she searches the  city.

Well. I've done weird but never made a fortune yet. But they say Felstad is on a different level because wizards made things there. Things made from spells, potions, conjuring, summoning and such. But I've got a shield, sword, armour and my friend. I'll survive, Inanna willing. To be fair, She has gone out of Her way over the years since I took up the sword.
And there's gold, silver, jewels, and artefacts to sell to the rich. If you get out alive.

Sister Rosa hasn't exactly said what she is after in that place so we have to go on trust. And money. Payment upfront for the journey helped make up our minds. You don't get those offers too often.

This Sister and apprentice are not native to this country. They have an accent. They roll their R's. That's the letter R not the other one. And they are a little dusky in skin tone. Still, money is money and that's my game.

We weren't expecting too much trouble on the way. After all, two Sigilst wizards and two hard-cases meant most wouldn't try to argue with us.We were a still a couple of weeks away when we approached an inn, The Ryhope Wood Inn (Mythago Wood). It looked a decent place.
Until, that is, two skeletons appeared out of the front door at our approach. And from the woods at either side of the buildings.One from the far side and two from the near side. Five by my count, but there could be more.
Even before I could move Sister Rosa moved ahead of me and cast a spell of some kind ( elemental bolt). Nothing seemed to happen. I heard the apprentice cast a spell (explosive rune), again nothing seemed to happen.
Well, I thought, time to earn my keep! I ran forward towards the two coming from the inn. I took the first one down with one swipe of the sword.
Mimi told me later he moved to position himself between the novice and the two coming from the woods to the left of the inn. He said the skeletons moved towards him, and I heard a bang, he said they suffered a little damage.
As I was attacked by the skeleton left in front of me I could see the other one passing to attack Sister Rosa. I blocked the sword aimed at my head with my shield. Mimi had taken care of one of the others. Sister Rosa cast another spell (elemental bolt) but, again, nothing seemed to happen.
I feinted to the left and took the head off the skeleton.The remaining skeletons moved into contact. Mimi took care of his and, despite not being much with spells, Sister Rosa took out the other with her staff. 

We went cautiously into the inn but found no one, and no skeletons or anything else. What happened to the inn keeper we have no idea.We stopped for the night, taking turns to keep watch.

In a quiet moment, Sister Rosa explained she had a virus and it had affected her spells. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. All I know is, if she can't stop a few skeletons it might not be a good idea to enter the frozen city proper with a dodgy wizard.
Another thing I know is this too, if we are encountering spooky things this far from Felstad how much worse is going to be from here on in?

Ryhope Wood Inn

Salvo, the good looking one

Mimi, the less fortunate

Sister Rosa
Apprentice Samira

Skeletons appear, front and right

and from the left

Sister Rosa flunks the spell

I get handy with my sword

Animated skeletons meet their match

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Bellona River Sections,

Now I've dragged the Bellona river sections into the light of day I'd thought I'd give them a splash of paint. Looking at the results I'm sorry I didn't do it years ago. Pity they are no more. 
I wonder if Amera Plastics sections will fit?

Having done them. though, what will I do with them?

You can see more on Vintage Wargaming (July 2013). Most look quite good, but the Star Fort and Ancient Hill Fort look oddly shaped.

Good wargaming!

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

If you find gold, don't stop digging!

Yes, I know.
The posts are becoming quite regularly now the time is there to paint, game and post.
More gold was forthcoming from the depths of the dungeon. It was the garage really.
Another D&D game.
Dragon Quest

Dice, as always. There never seem to be enough types or quantity of dice.

 Some plastic and metal unpainted figures. The metal figures are a head above the Northstar Frostgrave figures. Yes, the figures are almost an exact match.

Also, lots of cards which could be used for any skirmish game similar to Frostgrave,  Songs of... and such like.

Along with some card monsters doors and things

Also some very, very old river sections.

And more figures to add to the pile.
This time mostly plastics, Esci British and Zulus. Must be over 30 years old! Painting on the British started and not finished

 Along with some 15mm Natal Horse or Boers substituted for them, by Jacklex!.  Will I paint them? Probably.

And the madness starts. I looked on Google and found Esci are no longer in production. To eBay and the prices are somewhat inflated. £10-15 for a box of figures. £2.99 for an empty box!
If you look, the prices on the box is £1.25. Some mark up!
I found similar items from HaT Industries. Which if I were to pursue it (God forbid!) would come in handy. A Gardner gun and wagon carts. Dervishes and other North Africa figures including lovely camel corp figures. Ruga-Ruga. That is pulp gaming rearing its ugly head! Congo anyone?

You see how easy it is to get drawn towards madness?

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Poems for wargamers 8

Here is an unusual poem I found on the internet, the merits of which I'll leave it for you to decide.

 Chivalry isn't Dead

A Tribute in the Form of a Poem on Erwin Rommel, The Desert Fox

By Dev Tyagl

I am actually a bit complicated,
It will take some effort at your end to understand me,
If you have malice in your mind and blood on your hands, you will never be able to command me,
They said I fought for the Fuhrer,
I maintain I was naive and wrong to that end,
But it is the love for Germany, the duty for my Fatherland that truly inspired me,
I was once full of hope, ready to go all out in the defiance for Germany,
Until I realised I was actually serving a mad-man, one who could harm me,
But by then, maybe it was too late,
Or maybe not late enough to try to reach out in what eventually became the abomination at Berlin,
I pleaded to the Bohemian Corporal to re-analyse the war strategy, just like I requested Rundstedt to try to follow me,
Normandy on D-Day was our downing everyone feels,
But think of it- hadn’t it all started- when in the '30's we allowed an evil outsider to dictate us?
Didn’t we begin to lose when young innocence was hindered from blossoming?
When wives, sons, husbands, and daughters were sent to the gas chambers?
Think of it, I must have done something right
To compel someone like Churchill to admit in his full might,
“That what else matters but defeating Rommel?”
Be it in the sandy desertscapes of North Africa
Or in the French Hills?
I actually never assaulted an innocent,
I am proud I lacked the talent to separate a devout Aryan blood, a Protestant from a Jew,
But I was also this person who braved extreme health scare to continue the charge in North Africa,
I led armoured expeditions at France feeling the morning dew,
If only I had known that for all I did,
Whether earning an Iron Cross or the Pour Le Merit demonstrating feats that left everyone stunned,
Would ultimately yield harsh character assessment and debates whether I was or wasn’t a Nazi,
Then I would’ve never put my life on the stake,
And would’ve thought twice before I taught- Sweat Saves Blood, Blood Saves Life- everywhere, be it Danzig or Gmund,
A century has passed since the First World War came to an end,
On November 15, 2018, I turn 127,
But to this day, the ultimate verdict of my character, my essence hasn’t really been served,
Who really was I – this great Field Marshall- Rommel?
Was I a lasting reminder that chivalry isn’t dead or that a soldier’s true decorum doesn’t concern anything to be ever politicised?
Or, was Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel a misunderstood Desert Fox, who, at the wake of the Propaganda warfare, turning against Hitler, paid for the ultimate forfeit of his life?

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Lockdown gold!.

When you dig in the garage for something and open a box and hit pay-dirt!

First, an old copy of D&D.
Rarely played at the time. Well. Played once! But I still bought some more figures years and years later.

Add caption

6 Hobbits and an Ogre

Bought secondhand about 6 years ago and never played. I was going to use it for a campaign.

The game is on the table ready to set up!

Realm of Chaos.
Boxed and unwrapped. I had plans....

Space Crusade
First game played with my eldest son in the mid '80's. Figures painted by a local guy who did a nice job. My follow-up painting on the supplements weren't quite so good. I've improved so may try to improve the look, especially of the Eldar.
Eldar Attack and Mission Dreadnought included!

Doom of the Eldar.
Really, really wanted to use this with my Epic 40K armies. I had this plan to build a 3 tiered Craftworld starting with a 3ft base. If only....
But I did play it 2 or 3 times.

Now. Kingmaker on the table and time to find out how to play. I seem to have some time on my hands.

Monday, 6 April 2020

OHW, 6mm Cossacks vs Poles

A 'return the favour' raid by Cossacks on a Polish village.

I've changed to composition of the Poles to reflect the fact they are defending.
The local Drab is represented giving the Poles more infantry. I was going to reduce their effect but decided against it which turned out to be a good decision.

1 x General
3 x Drab Infantry
3 x Cavalry
2 x Light Cavalry

1 x General
5 x Cavalry
2 x Light Cavalry
3 x Light Infantry

Poles defending the village

Cossacks looking for donations from unwilling Poles

Looking at the Polish line

Cossacks advance

First casualties from Polish Drab firing

Cossack success on their right wing

Mixed fortunes as after charging one unit falls back after receiving 1st casualties

Polish General hope to shore up the left flank
Bloody fighting around the village Polish Drab holding up

Polish cavalry holding their own but about to be out flanked

Polish left wing looking fragile.

Drab unit retreats with 1st casualties

Casualties mount

Drab flanked! 

Flanked and on the verge of rout!

Tense on the Polish left flank

General flanked and he's gone!

Drab unit rallies and flanks. Second Drab unit pushes back Cossacks with 50% casualties.

Polish casualties

Cossacks, no lost units. Flanked Drab holding 

Fourth Polish unit gone and Cossacks running riot

Looting the village as the Drab fight a losing battle.

A very good battle.
The Cossacks are a pretty mean bunch. Or Lucky!
I thought the inclusion of more infantry would help the Poles but nothing seemed to go in the Poles favour. The cavalry vs cavalry battle did start well for them but swung the Cossacks way after 3 or 4 turns.
There were plenty of 'what if' moments:-
The Polish general could have stayed with the infantry and may have helped. He could also have been useful in the all cavalry battle.
The initial cavalry battle could have stayed in the Poles favour.
The Drab came close to winning several fights which could have changed things.

The Cossack infantry could have marched faster to the village.
The cavalry could have committed to attack the Drab later, after the Polish cavalry had been defeated.

Isn't this why we love the games we play?

Friday, 3 April 2020

To Ur is Human, 6mm, Egypt vs Hittite and Syrian allies chariots

A return to Ur with a solely chariot battle.
 Perhaps on the flank of some titanic struggle, the chariots of two great nations clash.

I have opted to use the rules mainly as written and have two elements per unit as stated in them.
Truthfully, I am not in favour of stating unit sizes as per number of elements. If you can keep score of casualties one element is sufficient.
The rule exceptions are that chariots can shoot on the move if not going into contact. On this occasion, both armies are allowed to shoot.
Also, I restricted the moves to 3'' including the charge into contact
(a) I wanted the battle to have some movement. A charge from the base lines would not give that feeling of advance to contact.
(b) It gave the units a chance to shoot their bows if they wished as they started roughly 12'' apart.
(c) As both armies were advancing to contact they were both classified as charging.
(d) Charges did occur when the opposing unit was stationary as happened a few times when a victorious unit didn't follow up.

I didn't use a grid as I wanted a 'free' running battle.

Egypt has 7 units and 1 Lugal
Hittite and allies 8 units
Both armies are in two lines, This worked out quite well for replenishing units doing a tactical withdrawal.

Egyptian are mainly Irregular Miniatures (Irregular Miniatures) with some Heroics and Ros (heroicsandros)
Hittites I'm not sure of the manufacturer, they could be Baccus Miniatures (baccus6mm) or Rapier Miniatures (whose website seems to be in a state of flux. Facebook page says it should be working by the end of February 2020 and it is, of course, now April). The Syrians, possibly including Hebrews and such like, are also Irregular Miniatures.

Egyptians on the left as you view

First bow casualties on the Egyptians

Egyptian Lugal in the front line

Push backs and follow up by both sides

Some combats were static affairs, no casualties

1st unit to lose a base

Then the Egyptian Lugal and unit

Egyptian Lugal's tactical withdrawal. Pharaoh Dunnarunna!

Intervention in the middle as the Egyptian 2nd line advance to attack

1st Syrian casualty

Followed by the 2nd!

Broader view of the battle line. Only the Hittite left wing is out of view

This mini-battle on the Egyptian left-wing went on for several turns but eventually the Hittites won

But suffered when the Egyptian 2nd line charged in

Another Hittite loss

Time for a sharp exit!

Egyptians still have a fighting chance with 3 units left

The retreat is sounded when they lose another unit

The rules gave a good flow to the game I thought. The shooting had some impact. It gave an initial advantage to the Hittites. It also helped the Egyptian second line when they were called upon, though the Hittites units targeted had already gained casualties by this point.
I remembered the extra dice for the follow up unit and the Lugal, though in his case it didn't help much. Two or three times I didn't follow up towards fresh units especially when the casualties on the unit were at 3. This may have been a mistake tactically. Perhaps they could have rallied back giving them time to divest themselves of a casualty point. Perhaps I'll try that next time.

Surprisingly, nearly all the fear tests were past, only one failing. This may be due to their elite status and the fact the rules allow units to break off when losing a base which I did take advantage of. Both these rules worked well in this game I felt.

I think this showed the rules, in general, can work in the later period of chariot warfare without excessive changes. It may need additional rules as discussed previously when chariots are facing infantry and cavalry.

I hope you liked the game.
Thank you for dropping by.

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