Thursday, 8 September 2016

[15mm Historicals] Italian Wars Battle

Francesco Sforza - everyone's crazy
about a sharp dressed man
On Saturday night Jonathan and I had a game of Field of Glory. Jonathan is a FoG fan, specializing in the late Dark Ages/Early Medieval period. The earliest army I have figures for, apart from my Fantasy collection, is my Italian Condotta army which I used to play DBR with.

Jonathan borrowed a bunch of Medieval figures from John and was tossing up between using a French Army or a German Army for the Italian Wars period. Eventually, he opted for a German force.

With Jonathan's help I constructed a Milanese army that ended up looking like this:



Sforza Milanese (Italian Condotta)
1 Commander in Chief(Inspired)@ 80
1 Sub-Commander(Standard)@ 35
(1, 1)2 Battlegroups4 Mtd XBowLight HorseUnProcAvgDrilledXbow@ 84
(2, 2)2 Battlegroups2 Famiglia DucaleKnightsHvy ArmrSupDrilledLance/Sword@ 104
(3)1 Battlegroup6 Merc M-at-ArmsKnightsHvy ArmrAvgDrilledLance/Sword@ 126
(3)1 Battlegroup2 BombardsHvy ArtAvgUnDrilledHvy Arty@ 40
(4)1 BattlegroupPikemenHvy FootProtAvgDrilledPike@ 72
597 Points

The German General -
an eyewitness description
Jonathan's Medieval German army consisted of two Generals, 2 Battlegroups of Knights, a Battlegroup of two Heavy Guns, a unit of Defensive Spears, a unit of Crossbowmen, and a unit of Skirmishing Handgunners.

Milanese Deployment
After laying out terrain, we deployed. Field of Glory uses an army order-of-march to deployment system (the numbers in the brackets in the army list indicate which "division" of the order-of -march each unit is in) which meant that I deployed my light horse on either flank; a unit of Famiglia Ducale (Household Cavalry) on the left, behind the Light Horse and between the area of brush and the swamp; the second unit of Famiglia Ducale with the General alongside the large unit of Mercenary Knights to the right of the swamp; the pike block to the right of the horse; and in front of the pike, the two battlegroups of Crossbowmen.

The Heavy Guns were deployed to the right of the Crossbowmen, and the second unit of Mounted Crossbowmen Light Horse filled the gap to the area of brush on the right flank.

The Milanese Sub-Commander was in command of the Infantry, while the Commander-in-Chief commanded the Horse.

To the rear of the right flank area of brush, the Milanese pitched their camp.

View of the Milanese battle line from the German point of view.
The second photo shows the Milanese battleline in more detail. On the Milanese left (right of photo) can be seen the Light Horse leading the Famiglia Ducale; then the main body of knights and the pike block. The two battlegroups of Crossbowmen cover both the front of the pikes, and part of the front of the Knights. The Heavy Guns and the other unit of Light Horse deploy on the Milanese right (left of photo).

The German deployment
Across the field, the Germans were also deploying. On their right, separated from the rest of the army by a long ridge, was mustered their cavalry. Behind a small wood near the center, they pitched their camp. The Milanese could see movement within the wood, which could have been camp servants hanging washing and cutting wood for the dinner fires, or something more sinister and ambush-like.

To the left of the camp, and back from the center, the German Heavy Guns were deployed, while to the left of the guns were deployed a battlegroup of Spearmen, and a unit of Crossbowmen. Unbeknownst to the Milanese, a unit of Skirmishing Handgunners lurked in ambush in the wood on the German left flank.

Milanese Left - the German Knights (top) advance towards the Famiglia Ducale
and the Milanese Knights (bottom). The Milanese Light Horse slip out to the left.
As the massed Knights on the German right began to roll forward, the Milanese Light Horse swept around the edge of the area of brush and dashed out onto the left flank.

Meanwhile, the Milanese Infantry advanced and began to swing towards the right, towards the German Infantry, opening up a gap for the Milanese Knights to move forward to face the advancing German horse.

Milanese Crossbowmen advance on the German Defensive Spears. The Light
Horse discover German Skirmishers in the wood.
The Milanese Crossbowmen advanced rapidly on the German Defensive Spears and opened fire. With a click and a clack, not a quarrel hit (I rolled four1's). Out on the flank, the Light Horse approached the small wood, only to discover a big surprise - a fine crop of German Handgunners.

Meanwhile, the German Crossbowmen were maneuvering around the left of the Defensive Spears, At this point, things were looking a little dodgy for the Milanese, even with the Sub-General rushing the pike block forward to support the Milanese Crossbowmen.

The left flank face-off - the Milanese Light Horse approach the flank of the
German Knights. 
On the left flank, the German Knights were closing with the Milanese Knights. By this stage, the Milanese Light Horse had reversed direction and were threatening the flank of the right-hand German Battlegroup.

Milanese Famiglia Ducale (with General) and Mercenary Men-at-Arms
about to engage the German Knights with their General
The right-hand Milanese Famiglia Ducale Battlegroup and the Men-at-Arms Battlegroup squared off against the left-hand German Knight Battlegroup.

On the right flank, the Milanese Light Horse high-tail it for safety
Back on the right flank, the Milanese Light Horse quickly discovered that small Battlegroups shouldn't get into fire-fights with large ones.

With the German Crossbowmen advancing on them, and the Handgunners emerging from the wood, the Milanese Light Horse were forced to fall back towards the scrub.

Knight Fight! - Huge melee between the Knight Battlegroups rages. In this particular round, the Milanese Battlegroups inflicted more casualties then they received.
Back on the left flank, a huge melee between two Milanese and two German Knight Battlegroups ground on. Slowly, but surely, the Milanese began to gain the upper hand.

The left-hand Famiglia Ducale Battlegroup is routed by the German Knights
Meanwhile, the left-hand Famiglia Ducale unit was routed by the right-flank German Knight Battlegroup, but the tenacious Milanese Light Horse hung onto their flank, preventing a break-through.

The Milanese Crossbowman shoot holes in the German Defensive Spears
 while the German Crossbowmen wheel to engage on the right flank
Back on the right flank, the Milanese Crossbowmen moved closer to the German Defensive Spears. Having found the range, they unleashed a deadly volley of bolts. Attempting to charge, the Defensive Spears failed their morale test and hunkered down behind their shields. Meanwhile, the German Crossbowmen were frantically wheeling to engage the Milanese, only to find their maneuvers had brought them within range of the Milanese guns.

The Milanese Crossbowmen break the German Defensive Spears
 A second devastating volley fragmented the German Defensive Spears. With a shout, the Milanese Crossbowmen charged home, slaying the German Sub-General, routing the German Spearmen, and sending them fleeing from the field.

Things go badly for the German Left
With the German Defensive Spears in rout, the Milanese Pike swung round to threaten the German Crossbow Battlegroup. Already, several volleys from the Milanese Heavy Guns had shaken this unit, and they would soon be joining their fellows in flight.

End of the Battle, the main German Knight Battlegroups route and their General is slain.
Back on the left flank, the victorious German Knight Battlegroup was still entangled with the tenacious Milanese Light Horse when the main German Knight unit finally routed. I can't recall exactly, but I think the German Comander-in-Chief may have been slain in the final round of combat.

At this point Jonathan conceded but, when we did a points tot-up, it appears his army had reached its break point any way.

It was my first game of Field of Glory in several years, and the first game for Jonathan where he had to worry about gunpowder and guns, so we may well have missed, or miss-applied, some rules. All in all, a very enjoyable game (possibly helped by me winning) and reminiscent of WRG 7th Edition, though without the excessive geometry. I notice that the Field of Glory 2nd Edition rules appear to be out of print, currently, though there was mention of a 3rd Edition in development on a discussion board I found while attempting to source a copy of the rules.

I look forward to playing another game soon.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

[15mm Fantasy] Painting Update, or Where the Heck's the Year Gone?

Orcs from Splintered Light and Battle Valor Games
 in front of a ruined tower from Magister Militum.

While I haven't been particularly active when it comes to updating this blog, I have been making steady progress with my painting. The latest update to my Modelling Log can be found here as I finally catch up with July! August results are still to come.

The last couple of months have been fairly productive when it comes to painting, not so much for gaming. I now feel I have enough Orcs painted to be able to field them as a stand-alone army, which means I can finally concentrate on trying out the several sets of rules I've acquired to see what, to me, makes an ideal set of Fantasy rules.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

[15mm Fantasy] Update on the Painting Progress

Wolf Riders from Splintered Light
Only a month and a half late, I have finally finished updating my Modelling Log for April.

Some more Orcs, some more Goblins, some more Dark Elves, a Mammoth, a pack mule, and a wall.

To come, a couple more Mammoths, a couple of wall sections, a couple of towers, some more Orcs and Elves, and ... some other stuff.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

[15mm Fantasy] Orcs and Orcians

Once again, someone has asked the question, "How big are those Orcians from Battle Valor Games?"

Just after I received my first BVG order, I took this shot of a bunch of Orcs in the raw ... metal, that is.
Left to Right: Splintered Light Orc, BVG Orc, Splintered Light Orc Heavy, BVG Orc, Ral Partha 
Demonworld Orc, BVG Orc, Eureka Miniatures Man-Orc, BVG Orc with shield.
Later on, after painting up a unit, I took these pictures:
Splintered Light Orcs - left; BVG Orcians - right

BVG Orcians - left; CP Models Bugbears - right

Eureka Trolls - left; BVG Orcians - right
I also have some Blood Dawn Orcs from Magister Militium which I hope to get comparison shots of with the Orcians in the next day or so.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

[15mm Fantasy] Modelling Log Update

Ruined tower from Magister Militium
While I haven't posted for the last couple of months, progress has continued with my 15mm Fantasy forces for Kings of War.

In late February/early March I came across a new 15mm Fantasy Manufacturer - Battle Valor Games - apparently rising from the ashes of an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign. BVG has been steadily releasing figures in their Orcian (Orc), Frigian (Northmen) and Dwarian (Dwarves) ranges over the last month. I've picked up several packs of Orcians and Dwarians (I have decided that I will eventually make a Dwarf force and that these will be my Dwarves), and more recently an Orcian catapult and crew, and a Frigian War Mammoth (to be my Orc King's mount).

Left: Orcians, Right: Bugbears (originally Splintered Light, now CP Models).
The Orcians are large creatures, almost troll-like in size. In Kings of War terms, the Orcians would easily fill the role of Greatax Orcs.

The figures themselves are very nice to paint up, and come in a wide variety of equipment and poses - from a 30-figure pack I could find only a couple of identical figures and several in
Left: Splintered Light Orcs; Right: Orcians
similar poses but with different equipment, helmets, etc. Shields are separate, which allows further customization.

Also in February, I completed a number of other units for my Kings of War project, as well as some rather nice skeletons for AD&D. More pictures can be found on my modelling log.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

[15mm Fantasy] Kings of War Battle #2

Over the last couple of months I've been painting up 15mm fantasy figures for an Army of the Unseelie Courts - sinister Elves and their allies. I'm currently trialing Kings of War from Mantic Games as a possible fantasy massed battle ruleset - the Basic 2nd Edition rules are available for free from here.

Apologies for the poor quality of some of the photos - my camera does not like trying to capture small details in average ambient artificial light.

Last Friday night John came over for a game of Kings of War and fielded a 1500 point Kingdoms of Men army, using figures from his Maximilian Imperial DBR army.

Kingdoms of Men Army - L - R: Troop of Mounted Scouts; Regiment of Knights; Regiment of Arquebusiers; Pike Block Horde; Army Standard Bearer Hero; Regiment of Arquebusiers; Wizard Hero; Two Cannon; Regiment of Knights; General Hero
To keep things simple (it was John's first game and my second), I decided not to use Artifacts or any other funky stuff. This was the army I selected:

Army List for the Unseelie Court, with Orc Allies
Army of the Unseelie Court: L - R: Two Troops of Gargoyles, Regiment of Trolls; Hydra; Dark Lord on Black Pegasus; Troop of Dark Elf Crossbowmen; Three Regiments of Dark Elf Spears; Troop of Dark Knights; Regiment of Orcs; Troop of Orc Gore Riders
Terrain was straight forward as well - a hill on the Dark Elf Left Flank and a village (Blocking Terrain) on the Dark Elf Right Flank. We played on a 3' x 3' table, and changed all movement distances and ranges from inches to centimeters.

As the battle began, both the Dark Elves and the Kingdoms of Men advanced their right flanks, while refusing their left wings. I quickly realized that there was quite a way to go to cross the table to engage the Kingdoms of Men left, and that I could potentially take a lot of fire from their guns and arquebusiers before I had to deal with their Knights.

L to R: Gargoyles attack the Kingdom's of Men Heavy Gun. The KoM Knights came under fire from the Dark Elf Crossbowmen and started to take casualties and waver. The KoM General positioned himself for a flank attack. Dark Elf spears wheel to engage the rest of the KoM line. The Trolls and Dark Elf Crossbowmen press forward, with the Hydra and the Dark Lord in support. 
Double-Moving, the Dark Elf right wing pressed on past the village. The two Gargoyle troops swept in to attack the heavy guns while the Dark Elf Crossbow troop opened fire on the Kingdom Knights, causing them to waver. The Mannish Wizard and the guns quickly dispatched one troop of Gargoyles, but the other troop managed to attack one of the guns.

The Kingdom Knights prepare to charge the Regiment of Trolls
Under a subsequent hail of crossbow bolts, the Kingdom Knights pulled themselves together (passed a second Waver test - rats!) and charged the Troll regiment. The fury of their charge swept the Trolls away.

Behind the Right Flank of the Kingdoms of Men: As the Mounted Scouts and the Knights moved forward, the Dark Elf Dark Knights and Orc Gore Riders seize the hill top. Behind them, the Orc Regiment moves up in support.
Meanwhile, on the Dark Elf left flank, the Dark Knights and Orc Gore Riders secured the hilltop, with the Orc Regiment moving up behind them. In the center, the Dark Elf spear regiments began to drift to the left to better engage the Mannish Pike Block horde.

The Orc Gore Rider troop charged the Mannish Scouts and rapidly chased them away, while the Mannish Knights charged the Dark Elf Dark Knights. The Dark Knights fled and the Mannish Knights impetuously surged after them (John rolled a 4 for the Follow Up). This nicely exposed their flank to the Orc Gore Riders who promptly charged home - flank charges by decent units, even as small as a Troop, can be devastating in the flank. The Mannish Knights routed, exposing the flank of the infantry line.

With casualties mounting, the Dark Elf right looked set to collapse, but the rout of the Mannish Knights relieved the pressure.
Back on the right flank, with the Troll regiment and the two troops of Gargoyles routed, the Dark Elf right was looking a little tatty. Reforming from defeating the Trolls, the Mannish Knights attacked the Hydra and the Dark Lord, but were repulsed. A volley from the Dark Elf crossbowmen caused a waver test which the Knights failed in rather a spectacular fashion. With one of the Mannish guns wavering, the other gun and the Mannish Wizard rained shot and shell and Lightning Bolts down on the Dark Elf crossbowmen.


In the center, the left-most Dark Elf Spear Regiment engaged a Mannish arquebusier regiment. The Orc Gore Riders were able to sweep in on their flank with another flank attack which shattered the Arquebusiers. The center Dark Elf Spear regiment took on the Mannish Pike Horde and suffered heavy casualties, while the right-most Dark Elf Spear Regiment was scattered by the second Mannish Arquebusier regiment.

At this point we completed Turn 6 and rolled to see if the battle would continue - it did not. After a quick points tot-up, we discovered that we had achieved a Draw - a difference of 85 points between both sides which is less than the 150 points (10% of army points) needed to determine victory. So this was a Losing Draw to the Dark Elves and a Winning Draw to the Kingdoms of Men.

It was a fun battle and fortunes changed several time over the course of the game. A 3' wide table seems to be a good width for a 1500 point 15mm battle, though 3' deep may be a little deep. As we both advanced cautiously, it wasn't until about Turn 3 we actually came within range.

John's already planning his revenge for the next game.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

[RPGs] A Funny Thing Happened while Down in the Dungeon

In a wave of nostalgia, my friend John started running an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D) game just before Christmas. Now, none of the Usual Suspects had played AD&D in upwards of 20 years, so it seemed like a good opportunity to introduce John's son, BJ (10 years old) and my wife, SJ, to the fun.

An Otyugh - the Orcs affectionately call him "Crapeater" 
The early sessions were a bit of a disaster from an experienced player's point of view - we all had heaps of fun but we had forgotten all the munchkinny things we used to do in dungeons to survive and make off with heaps of gold. We are, however, relearning these tricks. So far, we have met orcs, trolls, rats, spiders, skeletons, skeleton orcs, an otyugh (who nearly cleaned all our clocks!), more skeletons, some more trolls, some more orcs and .... some more freakin' skeletons.

Last night's session was a case in point. Having defeated two trolls, and having got messed up a bit, we decided to find a safe room and rest up for a day or so. On our way to the safe room, we met another troll whom we defeated, but not before he messed us up some more. We then staggered out of the dungeon and headed off to the temple to get BJ's character resurrected. After much financial shenanigans and robbing Pedro to pay Pricilla, we ended up back at the tavern to rest up for a few days.

Heading back into the dungeon, we checked out a hall near where we had defeated the two trolls, only to discover some nasty jelly things on the floor. Bayern the Ranger said, "Let's not go near these, they're nasty" and convinced us to try another corridor.

We looked into the large room and saw serried ranks of ...
 We headed down the corridor and opened a door and looked into a large room. In the middle distance we could make out humanoid forms, covered in dust and cobwebs, and standing in serried ranks. Bayern the Ranger fired an arrow at one, knocking off the dust and revealing ... a skeleton warrior!

Kane, SJ's Magic User/Cleric, attempted to Turn Undead and succeeded in making ... one ... skeleton turn and shamble away into the gloom.

The skeleton warriors attack!
The remaining 44 skeletons shambled towards us with hostile intent. Bayern the Ranger and BJ's character, Asinger the Fighter, held the doorway (as they had the best armour) while Kane the Magic User/Cleric and Arloc the Fighter/Assassin cowered behind their doughty friends and prepared flasks of oil to use as fire bombs.

Asinger (L) and Bayern (R) hold the door while Arloc (L) and Kane (R) rain firebombs on the Skeletons
 The warriors' blades went "snicker, snack", and the fire bombs went "wheeee, wumpha", but as soon as we drove the skeletons back, they would charge in against our line again.

The Skeletons surged in to attack again.
 As the room and hallway filled with dust and smoke and the smell of burnt bone, we could see the number of our foes dwindling. But our stocks of fire bombs were dwindling faster, and every wound our warriors took was one wound closer to seeing us over run.

And then ... there were two!
  At last, our firebombs all spent, our warriors weary and wounded, there were only two skeletons to stand against us. "Whack!", "Smack!" went the swords, and the last two skeletons were cloven in twain.

After that, we picked up some loot and found a corridor swathed in darkness and a Magic Mouth on a wall advising us to "Go Back".

At that point, it was nearly midnight and we oldies had to go home to get some sleep. I think BJ would have happily kept playing, given half a chance. Best moment was when BJ said "That was epic, Dad" and gave John a big hug.

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed AD&D. It's great to be playing it again. Thanks to SJ for the photos, taken on her phone.