Thursday, 21 February 2019

A mid-season hunt

It is mid-term here in sunny Ireland, and my wee lad decided it was time for another Palaeo Diet hunt. He's only eight, so we kept it simple, but it was great to be able to game with him.


Rarr, Ogg, Tark and Frygga looked down into the valley at the small herd of mammoths. Rarr thumbed the blade on his newly knapped axehead, Tark flexed his bow, while the other two leant casually on their spears. 

The hunters knew that if they could bring down just one of the shaggy behemoths it would provide enough meant and skins to see the tribe comfortably through the rest of the season. However, they were not alone. There was an old wolves' den in the valley and it was unclear how many occupants it currently housed.

As Ogg and Frygga skulked down the side of the hill into the valley, Rarr ambled off down the far slope of the hill - away from the mammoths. 

Tark grumbled to himself something about hoping Rarr had a plan, but was then distracted by movement in the opening of the wolf den. He knocked one of his carefully worked arrows on the bow string, pulled back, and let the arrow fly. It soared like a falcon through the air, before clattering ineffectively to the ground near the cave opening. A clear miss, but whatever beast had stood there before, had run off, seeking shelter deeper in the den.

Ogg and Frygga identified their target and moved into position around the rear-most mammoth in the herd. Frygga decided the other beasts were too close and lobbed a stone at the next mammoth along. It looked up, startled from its contemplative grazing, and plodded off in the opposite direction. There was still no sign of Rarr, but to Ogg it looked like everything was going well.

Then Rarr tripped on a tussock of grass and started howling in frustration. The mammoth nearest to him took fright and trumpeted its own startled call in response. While Frygga looked on unimpressed, Ogg legged it out of the way. 

Tark scuttled down the hill, hoping to lend a hand, but then Frygga stepped on a twig. The alarmed mammoths spun around to see where the sound came from; they both saw Tark, and charged at him. Only his wits saved him as ears flapped and tusks and trunks waved wildly about his head.

At that moment, Ogg came back to his senses. He skulked forward and threw a spear. Not at the mammoth that he had previously identified, but at the beast furthest from it's mates. The spear flew true and wounded the beast. 

The scent of blood drew a wolf back out to the opening of the den, while the wounded mammoth turned and charged at Ogg, skimming his solid head with a tusk and filling the air with the smell of more blood. The wolf came closer.

Tark loosed another arrow at the wolf but again missed his mark. This time, the wolf lept forward with a fed-up-but-hungry expression and its teeth bared. 

There was still no sign of Rarr except his clumsy cries each time he tripped or stubbed his toes. Ogg was bleeding profusely from his head wound, and the rest of the tribe were getting anxious.

The wounded mammoth bellowed in pain and this time both Ogg and Frygga scarpered - in different directions. Ogg dropped into position to ambush the mammoth, while Frygga started to get into position to drive the giant grazer towards her wounded companion.

And then Rarr sprang forward from the head of the valley. The wolf abandoned Tark who was proving too hard a lunch, and launched itself directly into Rarr's back-swing. Furious fur met struck flint with a dull thunk, and the wolf slid to a halt, as inanimate as the rug it would soon become.

Encouraged by Rarr's sudden appearance - and no less by his bravado (luck?), Frygga threw one of her spears which lodged in the flank of the already wounded mammoth. The beast lashed out and its tuck passed within a finger's width of Frygga's own flank.

And then came Rarr, exhilarated by his recent kill and now howling like a rabbid wolf himself. Once more he raised his axe, and once more it came down to meet its mark. The flint blade embedded itself in the newly formed cavity between the mammoth's eyes, and the mighty beast crumpled to the valley floor.

The tribe would eat, and the new mammoth skin would be used to fix the two shelters, damaged during recent storms. And to top it all off, Rarr had a new wolf-skin rug.

Meanwhile in Kilikia ... part 2

Meanwhile, in back again to 1st century BC Kilikia, the shipyards have continued their output with a few more 1/600 Xyston vessels I have been working on for a little something new. Still, eminently suitable for Galleys & Galleons. 

A trireme

A pair of merchant vessels - but are they grain ships or do they carry the Ptolemaic payroll?

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Pyrate King of Traitor's Atoll

Captain Andrew, Ghost-captain Lee and I got together again this week. In a bit of a departure from our recent 6mm ancients-fest though, we got some wee ships on the table for a spot of Galleys & Galleons.  Playing the Pyrate King of Traitor's Atoll scenario, we each commanded a small 100 point force, and strived (strove...?) to be the player with the vessel closest to the centre of the table at the end of each turn. 

Unfortunately the lighting was bit rubbish, so my photos are worse than normal. Sorry about that. Andrew took a sloop and a cromster, I commanded a brig, a jacht and a flotilla of boats, while Lee chose a ghost ship. Watch out for those islands and the surrounding shallows lads. 

In the first turn I tried to get my swift jacht and boats into the centre, making the most of their shallow drafts to skim over the shallows. The wee jacht fired a broadside across the bows of the ghost ship, but tiny cannon ... long range ... ghostship ... you know how it ended. In return, both Andrew's sloop and his cromster opened fire on my brig, leaving her with slight hull damage and knocking out one of her masts for good measure.

While Lee coasted slowly forward towards the centre - having to work around an island - my boats darted forward to grapple and board Andrew's sloop. Unfortunately they didn't count on the sloop's crew rolling higher than them.

The sloop cut the grapples fixing them to the sloop and made its way towards my jacht and the centre of the table. Having been freed up, my boats then rowed on and grappled Andrew's cromster, while my brig - still dragging one of it's masts - came up and grappled the cromster from behind. Meanwhile, the ghost ship sailed straight on and somehow managed to ruin it's hull by sailing into shallow water.

Exchanging fire, Andrew's sloop took a pounding, while my jacht was also damaged. My jacht sailed on around towards the boarding action taking place on the cromster, but was not really necessary as the brig and boats had already forced her to strike her colours. Poor ghost captain Lee then rolled to activate his ghost ship, managed to roll a 1 on one (was it both Lee?) of his damaged dice, and promptly surrendered. Obviously the curse which animated his crew was a fairly mediocre affair and had worn off.

Then Andrew failed to activate his sloop which sailed straight into the curse-less ghost ship, ruined itself in the collision and sunk. And thus, dear reader, with Lee having surrendered, and Andrew's vessels either captured of sunk, I managed -quite by default - to find myself being crowned Pyrate King of Traitor's Atoll. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Engel's African Palaeo Diet

Meanwhile in Sweden, Engel has been having his own fun with Palaeo Diet. You can catch up with his first few games over on his blog by clicking the links below.

While everyone else has really been focusing on Eurasian or American prehistory, Engel has gone with an African theme and, I think you'll agree, its really effective.

 First Steps.

 The Hunger Games.