Sunday, June 30, 2013

More Dux Bellorum - Macedonian War Edition

Martin and I played a game of our Dux Bellorum-Impetus mash-up rules this afternoon. Without wahj's armies of Romans and Carthaginians, we had to make do with Martin's Macedonians and my Pergamenes, supplemented by my Hittite allies. We got about 50 points on each side, which equates to around 200 points in Impetus.

With no heavy infantry to speak of, I set my some area terrain in each quarter of the table, placed my only unit of cavalry to face Martin's cavalry, hoping to tie him up on a face-off while my more numerous skirmishers and medium infantry outflanked his slow phalanxes.

After some stand-off on the Macedonian left flank, his cavalry drew my cavalry into a charge, feinted flight, then turned around and destroyed it. As my only cavalry unit was also my command unit (yes, I am painting another cavalry unit right now), this left me without Leadership Points for the rest of the game. His command unit wasn't unscathed either - it took 2 hits and had 1 left.

Meanwhile, on the Macedonian right flank, my medium infantry had driven off his skirmishers guarding his flank and was poised to charge into the flank of his phalax. Unfortunately, I failed my activation roll at this critical juncture. Martin rushed his cavalry back to his threatened flank in Alexandrian fashion, while he used his LPs to soak up the hits I inflicted on his phalanxes. When the cavalry arrived, I knew the game was up and we called the game and watched Going Medieval, which had just come on on TV.

The Macedonian Companion cavalry rout the Pergamene lancers. The light cavalry rush across the rear of the Macedonian line to reinforce the threatened flank.
Two units of Thureophoroi are unable to rout the phalanx. The cavalry arrive to tilt the balance. The little squares with tiny pebbles on them are casualty markers - I have yet to add shields on them.
Being a smaller game than our previous one, manoeuvre had a more important role in the game and there wasn't a slug fest of heavy infantry. The game moved pretty fast and was finished in less than two hours, which is a good thing because our campaign games are likely to be three times as large as this one.

Replica Roman coins used as Leadership Point tokens; they have a nice feel to them - throwing them behind a unit feels like throwing down chips in a game of poker.
Finally, we end with a couple of shots of Martin's beautifully-painted figures.

Macedonian pikes
Companion cavalry

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Strandhogg Game 10: Rescue Mission

Adrian and Thomas came over for a game of Strandhogg this afternoon.

Taking a Tabletop Teaser from Battlegames and weaving it into the narrative I've been using with the games, the scenario has the dwarves occupying the manor of a minor lord of the Barony after the failed joint expedition to invade the land of the goblins and holding his wife hostage, demanding compensation for their losses in the campaign.

The intrepid Lady Alexander manages to sneak a message to her husband that she will request her captors to allow her to attend mass at a church near the edge of their holdings, and the Barony troops decide to launch a raid to rescue her.

It was a close game that came down to the very last flip of activation card, so unfortunately I was too focused on the game to remember to take photos. 

The mounted men-at-arms attempt to sweep past the dwarves at the vineyard, but become bogged down in melee.
The dwarves hold off pursuers, and the dwarf lord strikes down the only knight who made it past the cordon to contact.

The humans had the advantage on speed and striking power on the initial charge, and the first dwarven warband that tried to stop them rolled poorly on their melee and got cut to pieces. However the second unit of cavalry did not move into contact quick enough, and this allowed the dwarf lord to retreat almost unmolested with Lady Alexander to the exit point. As the game reached its critical climax, it was the humans' turn to roll poorly - they failed all but one of the Courage rolls required to contact the dwarf lord and stop him moving off the table, and the only knight who made contact was quickly cut down.

Once again, Strandhogg gave an easy, enjoyable game. We had a few knights' horses killed under them and a few of the knights got pinned under their mounts. This created a bit of a laugh and slowed them down even as they neared their target.

I think the scenarios are what make the games challenging for the players, and here I benefit from the Command Challenge and Tabletop Teaser articles in Battlegames.

After the game we had a second beer and talked about upcoming projects. It looks like we are all pretty much in on OGAM, with Warmachines being a distant target. Now if things go according to plan, I should be getting a Balor figure in a week's time...


Since I had the table laid out for a Sunday game, I decided to pose my Fomorian warband.

I've got a unit of melee troops, one of missile troops, Bres as the leader, two melee heroes, and a shamaness - enough for a faction for OGAM.

Of course, Bres isn't (wasn't) really a god or an immortal, so I am now thinking of getting a figure for Balor. And I think I might just know which one to get...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hasslefree Ceril

Well, it took about three hours, and here he is:

I wanted to model the figure after Prince Nuada from the Hellboy movie, so I asked fg to sculpt a sash for me.

fg pointed out to me that the real Nuada had a glowing sword, so I attempted to paint the sword so.

I think I got the colours about right, but this figure looks very different from the movie character largely (I think) due to the difference in the shape of the faces. The movie Nuada had a broader, shorter face.

It's still a rather intimidating figure though, and I think I will field him as Bres.

Now should I get myself a Balor figure?

Oblique view, showing the glowing sword.

Reaper Horned Hunter conversion

A while back I bought the Reaper Horned Hunter figure when I was getting a couple of other figures. I was hoping to use it a beastman Gor figure, but the figure is actually only the size of an Ungor, so he became the basis for a beastman Ungor hero instead. Here he is painted:

The head and the quiver of arrows are GW, and the rest the original figure.

Left view showing the gemming on the vambrace.

Right view, again showing the gemming on the vambrace

The original figure from Reaper.

Now the reason why I got the figure painted was because my plan to paint up a Prince Nuada figure to lead my beastmen warband. The figure has been sitting on my tabletop for a while now, but when I realised that I could actually field him as a god leading my beastmen as a OGAM warband, I got started.

A little reading on Wikipedia tells me that I can field the figure as Bres, a half-Fomorian, half-Sidhe king who was deposed and then allied himself with Balor - it just so happens that my beastmen wear the mark of Balor: the Evil Eye.

As with my dwarves, I only need to paint one god figure to have a ready warband. Joy.

Ungor unit.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bear Country

Remember the single bear model I painted a while back as a unit filler?

Well, fg gave me another D&D pre-painted plastic bear, which meant I HAD to get a couple more to create a whole unit...

After much googling, I settled on two Reaper bears, and here they are all painted.

L to R: Pathfinder Battle - Rise of the Runelords Dire Bear, D&D Wrath of Ashardalon Cave Bear with Perry WOTR figures as handlers, bear from Reaper Animal Companions pack with Reaper bard Alfred Redlute, Reaper Dire Bear.
For some reason unknown even to myself, I actually based each bear on a 40mm x 60mm base, and then made a sabot base measuring 50mm x 75mm so I can field them all as a unit of Demigryph Knights for Warhammer, which I probably will never actually field in a game.

One thing I've learnt from this project is this: it's actually rather difficult to gauge how big a bear figurine actually is without some point of reference. For most humanoid or equine figures, you *know* they are going to be roughly man-size or horse-size, but with bears, especially *dire* bears, all bets are off. A few of the potential candidates I screened turned out to be enormous when I eventually found pictures of them posed beside other figurines (well, non-prehistoric ones at any rate - why is everything in the Stone Age so dire?), and the bear from the Animal Companions pack turned out to be even smaller than I expected.

Here is another view of the bard figure. I'm not quite sure why I got the figure or why I included him in the unit. I guess it's partly because I have at the back of my mind plans for a band of four bards - three on lutes and one on drums... Now if only I can find a left-handed bard figure...

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Of God and Mortals

Once in a while our little group of wargamers get swept up in a new period or set of new rules and there is a frenzy of buying and (less of) painting and rules-reading.

OK, that happens all the time.

In fact, I'm not sure if we ever do things in any other way.

Anyway, the latest frenzy is a set of yet-unpublished rules from Ganesha Games which will be published by Osprey, called "Of Gods and Mortals", or OGAM for short.

I first saw the rules in an advertisement in Miniature Wargames magazine, and thought it was a cool idea. Not long after, fg, Adrian and Thomas all got interested in Crocodile Games' kickstarter, which featured armies from ancient Greece led by demigods of the Greek pantheon. At the same time, I have also backed Red Box Games' kickstarter through fg, which will give me some militia-type figures for my LOTR dwarf army.

It wasn't long before I realised that I can use my LOTR dwarves for a Norse faction, and that it would be a reason for Adrian to finally paint up those Celtos figures he has bought so long ago. wahj got roped in when I remembered he has several Trojan War figures from both Redoubt and Foundry. Now fg is several hundred dollars into the Croc Games kickstarter, and Thomas is waiting for them to unlock the Corinthians.

The great thing about this set of rules, as far as we can tell, is that you only need around 20 figures for a complete warband: a god, one to three heroes or legends, and two groups of warriors, with the heavy foot formed in ranks and the skirmishers/missile troops deployed on a movement tray made from a CD. I made my CD movement tray today, and here is my warband.

I still lack a god. I have ordered the Tharn Helmsunder figure from Reaper to use as a dwarven equivalent of Thor. It is a human figure, but I think his proportions fit that of a LOTR dwarf:

Tharn Helmsunder, painted by Witchhunter.

He should be taller than the dwarven figures, which is the effect I am trying to achieve here. I am wondering if I should paint it in the colour scheme of the Marvel Comic Thor...

Now something about my LOTR dwarves.

I bought most of them off a painter on ebay years ago, when he was just starting out and pricing himself competitively. I managed to get something like 60 figures from him at one shot (the now discontinued "Wardens of the West Gate" boxed set). Over the years I added several figures to them, some GW (like the Murin and Drar figures, which I think are excellent), some Reaper, some Hasslefree, and some Red Box, which are just a little smaller but have the same mid to low fantasy style as the LOTR figures. I have used them for Strandhogg, Dux Britanniarum, and will soon use them for OGAM. Pretty good return of investment.

Another thing: my new glasses have allowed to to go back and paint the eyes on the female dwarf and Drar (the bow-armed hero). I hope this means I can do a good job on the Thor figure too.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Random Sunday Shot: Reaper Juliette

I've always had perfect eyesight.

Then few weeks ago, when I was attempting to paint eyes on a 28mm mini, I realised that I couldn't see them clear enough to paint if I brought it close enough to see; and if I put it far enough for my eyes to focus, the mini's eyes are too small for me to see. I thought my painting days are over.

After some swallowing of pride, I went to an optometrist and had a pair of reading glasses made - when I put the glasses on, it was like I was given a new lease of painting life.

To celebrate that, I painted this Reaper mini this afternoon in just 2 hours and 20 minutes, including spray-varnishing.