Saturday, 26 March 2016

One Sunny Day in 370 BC...

Well, I had my second game of Sword & Spear today. Athens v's Sparta about the time of the Corinthian Wars (sometime in  late 4th Century BC ).

We used my Greeks and I worked out two lists before hand and gave my opponent, Tony, the choice of which force he wanted to use. He chose the Athenians.

The Spartan army was pretty straight forward. 5 Mora of Spartans, 5 of Helots, some cavalry and skirmishers (slings and peltasts). The Athenian army was a bit more mixed with 3 taxis of elite hoplites, 6 of regular hoplites and two levies. They also had two units of thureophoroi (medium infantry), some light cavalry and skirmishers in the form of Cretan archers and peltasts.

With Sword & Spear the first thing you do is dice for terrain and place it (again using a dice rolling mechanic). This makes the battlefield a bit random and most of the terrain will be on the edges pretty much leaving a big vacant area for the battle. Considering this is what happened in ancient battles it's nothing unusual.

I lost the scouting phase so I had to deploy first. I deployed my phalanx in a long line in various sized groups with the Spartans on their traditional right hand side in a heavy deep formation with the slingers out front. Cavalry on the left where the area was more open supported by some peltasts.

Tony deployed his Athenians in a long line with a few deeper blocks of heavy infantry here and there and his Thessalian light horse opposing my heavy cav on the open flank. Tony also secured his left flank with the thureophoroi in the rough ground.

The Spartans looking tough.

The Athenians looking brave.

The opening moves: The Athenians moved their medium infantry out of the rough terrain looking to out flank the Spartans. The Cretans jostled around for position on the high ground. I moved a unit of Laconian peltasts into the wood on the right with an activation die of 6 giving them extra movement. My slingers then moved up and took aim at the Athenian peltast driving them from the field.

On the other flank the Athenian phalanx move forward and our cavalry and light infantry maneuvered trying to gain advantageous positions.

More Maneuvering: The Laconian line now moved up to support the Spartans and the peltasts (again moving fast with a 6) moved though the woods and made a beeline for the high ground on the extreme right. The skirmishing continued in front of the Athenian host without much effect.

The Athenian medium infantry pushed on with their flanking maneuver but the peltasts managed to gain the high ground and they found themselves trapped between the heavy Spartan infantry and some accurate javelins striking them in the flank and rear ranks. Their only option from here was to keep moving forward and do something about those pesky peltasts.

On the other flank: Things got messy with one unit of Spartan cavalry driving off one unit of Thessalian light horse but the other unit got trapped between several units and annihilated. The peltasts on that flank drew a taxis of hoplites forward and managed to evade them. They then turned to face them and got caught flat footed when the hoplites charged again but managed to fend them off inflicting heavy casualties. But their luck didn't last and they were destroyed in the next round of fighting.

"Testacles, put that thing away before it gets chopped off?"

On the open flank the Athenian's after their victory, having destroyed half the Sapartan cavalry and the peltasts, now found that it was taking them valuable time getting their troops back into order. They also had the other unit of Spartan Cavalry sitting behind them.

Spartans' Advance! From here the Spartan phalanx maneuvered into position and charged into the waiting elite Athenian hoplites. This was proceeded by the slingers driving off a unit of  Cretan archers. The initial clash saw the Athenians take some heavy casualties but they managed to hang on. However, as more Spartans entered the fight their numbers tipped the balance and the Athenian line began to break. On the open flank the Athenian's after thier victory now found a unit of Spartan Cavalry sitting behind them and it was taking time for them to get the troops back into order.

The stoic Athenian defence.

So, in the end, it was a Spartan victory (Yay!). They held the field and raised a trophy to show their dominance of their enemy and to appease the Gods of Olympus.

This was a good game and I thank Tony for his time. We're both still learning the rules and we both helped each other to figure out various aspects. I quite like the rules but I'm not keen on the number of dice that end up all over the table which, I think, clutter thing up somewhat. I have cunning plans to eradicate some of this clutter with suitable tokens/figures/vignettes (or something).

I'd certainly like to try these rules with other armies to see if they can capture other era's (Dark Ages and Medieval in particular).

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

What have the Romans ever done for us?

I've finally finished all of the legionaries for my first Roman legion. All up there are 104 of them (100 legionaries and 4 command figures) making up 10 cohorts. I've been painting them off and on for about a year as I've not been in any hurry and I've been doing lots of other things along the way.

I have a bunch of slingers ready for painting and I have 2 scorpio's and some javelin skirmishers in the post. But these will be relatively quick and easy to paint. I also have to get some cavalry which I think will consist of one unit of Roman equites and some Numidean light horse. Although I could go for some Germanic or Spanish medium horse.

I also bought enough cheap second hand plastic troops for a second legion but these can wait in their boxes for the moment. I'll do them slowly in time.

I need a general too.

 "Okay men, we're going that way."

"Look sharp men, we're going that'a way?  

"I said; That Way!" 

"Like the boss said: That way!"

"This way."

"Yes sir! That way."

"Legion... Dis-missed!"

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Shieldwall Rampant

Well, my friend Mike and I organised a game of Lion Rampant set in the Dark Ages and dubbed: Shieldwall Rampant. I wrote up a couple of simple rules to add a bit of Dark Age flavour which became changed after some play and debate during the course of the game. The main inclusion was "Shieldwall" to replace Shiltron. Which ended up giving a armour bonus v's both melee and missiles.

The game went like this:

A warband of brave Saxons led by Æthelguy the Seeker (me) were defending a ford beset by rampaging turd licking Vikings (Mike) led by an un-named Viking whom I shall call Harald Dungbiter just so that I can keep up the desired insult quota.

The main ford is in the center and all other sections of the river can be forded by moving a unit into contact with the bank and then rolling a d6. On a 4, 5 or 6 that section can be crossed. If the unit fails it must move to another river section and try again.

Under the shadow of the imposing, ancient edifice of Polystyrene Henge:

This is the situation after a couple of moves (when I remembered to take photo's). Both sides (the Saxons on at bottom) have moved up to the ford and established their shieldwalls. Time was now taken to hurl insults at each other. The Vikings are attempting to out flank the Saxon position on the right.

The first fight sees two units of husscarls slugging it out in the water with the Saxons coming off the better. That's Harald Dungbiter in the red cloak. One one of Odin's ravens looks on in interest.

Part of the Viking flank move on the right. Here a second unit of Vikings have crossed the river.

On the left this unit of Saxon's (and some skirmishers) are guarding the river bank to prevent more vikings on the opposite bank from crossing. The ship was just there for decoration.

The shield walls face off. Time for more insults and to shout Oot! Oot!

On the right the Viking flank maneuver is taking hold and my little group of skirmishers (biddowers in Lion Rampant terms) repeatedly fail to hurl their sling stones at them. They'll learn their lesson soon.

The Saxon hearthguard/husscarls (whatever) prepare for their next move.

Which is to launch themselves at the Viking shieldwall. They fail in this effort and but a second unit of Saxon husscarls led by the brave Æthelguy the Seeker, himself, crash into the Viking dog lovers and break their formation sending them running.

The Saxon shield wall then attempts to cross the ford only to be beset by hearthguard wielding big axes. Which threw them back to the river bank.

Meanwhile, on the right flank the Saxon skirmishers evaded the first rush of Vikings and managed to smite some of the swine lickers with their sling stones as the fled. A second charge caught them flat footed and they died under a rain of spear thrusts and axe blows.

Æthelguy the Seeker and his brave thegns obviously mustnt' have seen the second unit of hearthguard creeping along the riverbank. These cowardly turd kissers pushed into the river and attacked the brave Saxon warlord.

In any fight your leader is involved in a roll of 'snake eyes' means that he has either been captured or gone to his doom (determined by a second die roll). In this case it was snake eyes followed by death.

Oh how the skald's will lament the passing of Æthelguy the Seeker as he fell in the bloody waters of the ford beneath the dire shadow of Polyurethane Henge. They shall sing his praises in the mead halls and his widow (Judith of Durham) shall weep tears of regret.

Unit courage tests followed with the remaining Saxons holding firm. But there were only two units of spears and another unit of skirmishers left. These had pulled back to a hill to make a last stand where they could easily have withdrawn from the battlefield pretty easily.

It was a great game and it was followed by an equally entertaining second game against Sean. Again I was the Saxons. The fighting was a bit more intense around the ford and it was pretty much on the edge of a sword but in the end it was another victory to the goat foldling, Viking invaders.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Now it's Ancient Celts. What's next?

Well, I've been painting up Ancient Celts recently. These guys look nice despite the poor photography. But they are a bit more of a challenge to paint than many other figures with all those stripes and plaids.

These are a slow burn project along which with my Caesarian Romans will give me two sides for some Hail Caesar action in the near future. I don't have many at this stage just a couple of warbands. But there are some chariots on the way.