Tuesday 29 December 2020

It’s all gone Epic!

 I would think that the majority of you by now will have seen or heard the announcement of Warlord Games new ‘Epic’ scale ACW their journey into plastic small scale figures to provide a variant for playing Black Powder games.

Two things seem to have upset a number of gamers. The first is the size of the figures 13.5mm from top of base to eye ( 15mm to top of head) the second is the size of the bases 60mmx20mm  on top of that there are then the moaners who want more variety of position, uniform etc etc. 

To be honest I’ve grown quite tired of the moaners and skip over, my usual thinking is if you don’t like it move on, why they need to go on a rant and try and drive their negativity home because it’s not what they want defeats me.

I’m not a fan of Warlord Games but some of their stuff is good and they have brought people into historical gaming. This foray into small scale gaming in plastic I feel should be applauded.

John Stallard does a Q and A on you tube about this and I guess the bottom line is it’s his project and he can do what he wants and if it doesn’t sell there will be no more and if it does there are hints about Napoleonic and Ancients!  Bearing in mind the Warlord shopping cart ‘broke’ due to demand on day 1then initial demand seems high.

Anyway you get a free sprue with Wargmes Illustrated and of course the butterfly in me couldn’t resist

There are 10 strips of infantry ( 100 figures) a mounted Officer and an artillery piece with crew on each frame- it’s taken me around 9 hours to paint this little lot, they’re more detailed than I anticipated and I think I could knock quite a bit of time off if I wasn’t so finicky on painting all the detail and if I used more washes ( contrast paints possibly) overall I’m quite pleased.

The cost works out somewhere between 3p-4p per figure. In many ways 15mm figure manufacturers should be quite pleased they're not more compatible otherwise I think these chaps would pose a serious threat. Something I think the moaners overlook.

My local store is selling the starter sets for £72 that’s 2400 infantry, 24 artillery pieces and 24 officers and for those that don’t want to paint then they come in blue and grey plastic ( sacrilege ) Personally I hope this system works for Warlord. The units look impressive and if it was Napoleonic it would be awesome.

Finally I mentioned gamers moaning about bases sizes, most of the rules I play use bases, I would just count one of these as two that way ground scale isn’t affected but of course some people don’t want to do that!

Have a Happy New Year, keep safe and hopefully see/hear from most of you in 2021.

Saturday 26 December 2020

Battle of Towton

 I’d mentioned in an earlier post that as my wife was working a 12 hour shift today I decided to indulge my self in the Men Of Iron scenario of the Battle of Towton.

Allegedly the largest battle to have taken place on English soil and a Battle field that is unspoilt and one I have walked many times.

I’m not going to bore you with a round by round engagement. 

Key points of note in the real Battle is that it was a windy snowy day, the wind and snow was in the Yorkists. The two armies had deployed on low ridges facing each other and neither army was keen in launching an attack. However it’s reported that the Yorkists unleashed a volley of arrows which fell amongst the Lancastrian archers, with the snow in their faces they returned fire but their arrows fell short.

Within the game this is represented by the archers firing with the wind in their favour having a range of 7 hexes ( normal range 6) Archers firing into the wind have their range reduced to 4 and have a -2 modifier to their dice roll! 

In addition The Yorkist Duke of Norfolk with around 8000 men hadn’t arrived at the onset of Battle, in the real engagement he arrived as the Yorkist line was being gradually forced back with and beginning to creak.

The mechanism used in the game means there is no guarantee Norfolk will arrive. First he has to be activated ( 3 or less on a d10) then a score of 8+ on a d10 adding the number of times he has been successfully activated.

Finally the Lancastrians sprung an ambush, unleashing 200 horse on the Yorkist left flank which initially caused some disorder and forced the line to give before being held.

Within the rules the horse get a double move and any troops they end adjacent to are disordered - if already disordered they are destroyed so potentially a very effective one shot weapon. As I was playing both sides may initial plans were for the Yorkists to hold, they had no incentive to move and they needed Norfolk to arrive to bring balance to the armies. 

Faucenburg who was deployed with the Longbow was to cause as much disruption as possible to the enemy before withdrawing and redeploying to the Yorkist right.

For the Lancastrians I accepted the Northumberland and his archers would not last long against the Yorkist longbow but they were to advance cause what damage they could and screen Somerset’s line for as long as possible. 

The remaining troops were to advance as quickly as possible stretching their line to outflank the Yorkist with the aim of turning one or both flanks before Norfolk arrived.

The ambush was to be sprung once the Yorkist left flank was heavily engaged and disorder was starting to appear.

Here’s the initial deployment.

The opening rounds went pretty much as expected with Faucenberg and his archers gaining the upper hand against Northumberland who advanced into range but was clearly out shot by the Yorkists. Somerset commenced his advance extending troops to the flanks in order to force the Yorkists to do the same, despite a poor activation level (a 2 ) Essex also began to move in support of Somerset. 

On the second round Norfolk was activated but failed to score sufficient to arrive.

Faucenberg delayed too long in withdrawing his archers and they were caught by Somerset’s lead troops.

It was clear this was to be an attritional battle, the main problem for the Lancastrians was their Leaders were rated a 2 for Essex and a 3 for Somerset which meant on average they would only activate one leader each round with the free activation and the second was unlikely to succeed. 

Despite losing some archers Faucenberg managed to retire his disordered troops and Warwick became engaged with Somerset, the  early rounds of combat went in favour of Somerset causing a number of Warwick’s troops to retire to their rally point.

On the Yorkists fourth round they again succeeded in activating Norfolk -this was followed with a throw of 9 and Norfolk’s troops poured onto the right flank thus negating the Lancastrian threat..

Although too early the Lancastrians launched the ambush on the Yorkist left flank for with the arrival of Norfolk it was unlikely that the pressure on the Yorkist right flank could be maintained.

The ambush met with limited success it disordered a number of troops and the troops of Essex and Somerset managed to destroy some dismounted men at arms and infantry.

Then Wenlock managed to surround and destroy the ambushing cavalry and shore up Warwick’s left flank.

For the next few rounds both sides failed to activate and additional leaders after the free activation, the Yorkists focused on keeping Norfolk pushing on the right and then Wenlock pushing on the left leaving Warwick to hold the line.

Casualties on both sides were mounting and Warwick’s was the first battle to reach break point however his troops proved steady and continued the fight.

As the Yorkists and Somerset’s troops paused to reorganise Faucenberg brought his archers back into play disordering a number of Somerset’s men and preventing them from pushing forward.

With gaps appearing in both lines it gave the opportunity for both armies to try and recover some disorder although pressure was mounting on Somerset’s men as his losses were close to break point. Norfolk was starting to push the Lancastrian left and a double activation for the Lancastrians would be useful but wasn’t happening.

Wenlock managed to launch a small counter attack which proved successful in destroying sufficient units to force Somerset over his break point, however this attack cost Wenlock his life.

Somerset failed his break test ( he threw high) with the result that all of Somerset’s troops fled the field and were removed from the map. Although these troops are not added to the army break point it was obvious that Essex on his own would struggle to defeat the enemy on his own. However I fought another two rounds to see what would happen, Essex’s troops had limited success in causing more casualties but Norfolk was about to start working around Essex’s flank and it was only a matter of time his mounted troops began to attack the enemy in the flank and I called a halt. 

A true attritional battle, Norfolk arrived early and had a significant impact on the game , taking the pressure of the Lancastrian attack really before it had begun to tell. A most enjoyable game and certainly worth a replay to see how it would play if Norfolk arrived later.

Saturday 19 December 2020

Merry! Christmas ?


Well without getting into any political, moral or scientific debate  as to the rights or wrongs over the decision to effectively ban Christmas, feels like the good olde days of Cromwell 😩. I sincerely hope that you can all find some festive spirit this Christmas.

For my part my wife is having to work Christmas Day and Boxing Day and right through New Year so a low key Christmas was already on the cards. I will go for a walk with my son Christmas morn and we may have a wee dram to celebrate but that will be it. 

In all honesty I quite welcome a quiet Christmas this year with time to reflect and plan but  I sincerely hope you can all find something positive at this time and let’s hope 2021 starts to bring an end to this pandemic.

As usual at this time it’s also time to think about projects etc for the coming year. I think I have just about sold all projects I identified as making no further progress or unlikely to be started.

So next year 18th century will continue to feature large, the Culloden project I went to get on display, 28mm Saxons to be completed, new skirmish games in the FIW and the Caribbean and the 30mm  flats in action.

There’s also a new 18th century plan bubbling away - more anon.

The 15mm ACW I would like to complete for the first day at Gettysburg and I’d like to expand the 15mm ancient armies to maybe return to some WRG 5th/6th edition gaming!

Napoleon if naval will continue to progress slowly and I’m hoping to get a lot more board gaming in as I’ve enjoyed the return to this particular part of the hobby- let’s see where I’m at same time next year?

 I am so grateful for the friends I have gained all round the world through this hobby even if I have never met the majority and during this year this hobby and those individuals have kept me sane - so thank you and finally can I seriously wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL.

Friday 18 December 2020

2nd St.Albans

 Yesterday saw me have a bit of a lazy day! Needed a break from figure painting and sorting stock out so I thought I would revisit Blood and Roses 2nd Battle of St.Albans. 

This is the third battle I’ve fought from the set, I reported on my refight of Blore Heath in August and gave an overview of the game system. A more detailed review can be found on Norms blog Battlefields and warriors https://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2020/08/refighting-bosworth-1485.html.

Suffice to say that in essence you need to activate leaders to be able to move the troops in their command, failure and play passes to the other side. A free activation comes first, followed then by the die roll for the next commander - as most leaders are rated as a 3 or a 4 you can see that it’s not easy to gain momentum.

2nd St Albans was a battle the Yorkists couldn’t really win - surprised and outnumbered they have a hard fight. In the game each side has an army break point - the Lancastrians is set at 40 and the Yorkists 25, however one the Lancastrians reach 20 Neville can start withdrawing troops and their value is added to the Lancastrian break point so you can see if Neville can inflict casualties quick enough and then withdraw the Yorkists can win. Warwick with a force of mounted men at arms and a strong infantry force are reinforcements who’s arrival is diced for.

I forgot to take a photo of the initial deployment!

But this shows Nevilles men in camp to the east of St.Albans  - within the town are 5 units of archers ( these count as independent and have no leader so can only activate using the free activation.

The Lancastrian Trollope is their only force on the board at the start  once an enemy archer is destroyed or the 5 units have been forced from their starting positions then he can move to St. Michael’s Church - inform Somerset and call the Lancastrian army to battle.

Trollope wasted no time in bringing his men down the street and dispatched troops to make their way through buildings to attack the enemy on a broad front. The initial Yorkist archery proved effective disordering the enemy and managing to kill one of Trollope’s infantry. Once melee was joined the Lancastrians failed to cause casualties only succeeding in forcing the archers to retreat which the Yorkists were happy with.

Here Trollope has gone to St. Michael’s church whilst his men draw breath and reorganise, the Yorkist have lost one independent archer but the bowmen so far have held on well. Nevilles men have deployed caltrops and spiked nets amongst the hedgerows to the North in order to protect their flank. I diced for Nevilles action either to deploy to the east of St.Albans and wait or advance into the town in order to either make the enemy fight their way through the town or to cover the bridges and use longbows and hand gunners to fire on their flank if the moved around the North. 

It wasn’t long before Somerset (Lancastrian commander) arrived with Shrewsbury and his battle

I used the Lancastrian free actions to push Shrewsbury towards the Yorkist camp a handful of men were sent to the south of the dike in an attempt to filter through the houses and stretch Nevilles line.
I then forgot to take a few photos! Once the Yorkist troops have been fired upon or engaged in combat then Warwick and his men can be shaken for - they were to arrive after 3 Yorkist actions. A good result.
The early exchanges between Neville and Shrewsbury went the Yorkists way, their archers and hand gunners were disordering and occasionally killing the Lancastrians , but numbers were telling and Neville was being pushed back.

Following Shrewsbury, Exeter’s battle arrived his troops pushed through St.Albans his main task being to destroy the independent archers and then move South West to outflank the Yorkists.
Within the game each army has a break point in their battle the Yorkists were 25 and the Lancastrians 40 but more importantly each battle also has a break point and when reached a die is thrown to see if the battle breaks or remains on the field. This was to prove crucial later. In addition once the Lancastrians had lost 20 points the Neville could start to withdraw troops and their points cost is added to the Lancastrian break total so the more troops he could withdraw the quicker the battle would end.
The bottom photo shows Warwick’s arrival he was moving as quickly as possible to Nevilles left flank to allow the Yorkists to withdraw.

The Lancastrian command activations proved erratic but bit by bit they pushed forward Exeter’s men began to outflank the archers in the town destroying another unit they reached their break point but held.
Warwick’s mounted men at arms struck infantry who had advanced to the South of the ditch and rode them down. Warwick led a charge against Shrewsbury and became unhorsed but Shrewsbury’s troops were disordered and Yorkist troops killed him. The Lancastrian battle had reached break point but again their morale held .

On the next activation the Lancastrian uphill struggle suddenly swung their way, Nevilles troops were also near break point, the replacement commander for Shrewsbury led one final push and destroyed two more Yorkist units. Taking Nevilles battle above break point, on this occasion they failed to rally and the battle fled. Within the rules the victorious side shakes to see how many troops pursue, 60% of Shrewsbury’s battle pursue and then each unit shakes to see if the destroy an enemy unit - 5 more Yorkist units were cut down bringing them above the army break point. Warwick withdrew his forces and the Lancastrians held the field. Percy Duke of Northumberland never got chance to arrive for the Lancastrians.

Thank you for bearing with me, I was pleased I had remembered the majority of the rules and found the game most enjoyable. Even a one sided affair such as this has a lot of playability.

Since my wife is working Boxing Day I’m thinking of doing Towton and seeing how a set piece battle plays out.

Saturday 12 December 2020

Workbench catch up

 The workbench continues to be full with my diverse! Projects. Anyway this week I managed to finish basing all the Macedonian pike I have - 15mm Forged in Battle figures with Little Big Man transfers.

Next up the rest of the Companions and Hypaspists.

Another Saxon infantry regiment is based together with some artillery crew, need to finish the standards for these and have started painting the horses for the Prinz Albrecht Cheveaux legers 

Currently enjoying a Glenlivet Caribbean reserve malt whilst finalising projects for 2021 more on that later.
Keep safe.