Monday 18 November 2019

Palaeo Diet: Pulp - 15mm mummies

Hmmmm, slightly out of focus, but here are the two 15mm mummies available through Ral Partha Europe. The one on the left is wearing a nemes crown and looks a bit pharaonic. The mummy on the right is carrying an unfurled scroll and a ball of flame, and with long hair, I figured it looked more like a priestess. You can see that Omar and Miss Emily are not too happy to see them!

The three bases of green stuff scarab swarms turned out alright as well. I particularly like the one pushing the dung ball. 

Sunday 17 November 2019

Dux Bellorum: Hoplomachia - Hold the pass!

We played another couple of games of Dux Bellorum: Hoplomachia this week, including a run through of the 'Hold the pass' scenario we have been working on. I led an invading force of 5th century Macedonians, while Lee blocked my path with a much smaller force of city-state Greeks.

The Macedonians had overwhelming numbers and a flanking force off-table, with a neat mechanic used to determine when they would make it through the mountain passes to emerge behind the Greek lines. The Greeks had better quality soldiers, but in fewer numbers. They had the advantage of a geographic choke point where there was the potential for quality to successfully rebuff quantity.

The Macedonian approach was to send their Illyrian mercenaries through the rough and wooded lower slopes of the mountain to take the Greek line in the flank. Meanwhile, the Macedonian skirmishers would attempt to disorder the hoplites opposite while the fairly mediocre Macedonian infantry slowly made their way forward. 

Macedonian shooting was incredibly ineffective. The only damage the Macedonian slingers managed to inflict was when they ran into hand-to-hand combat against the Greek slingers. As the Macedonian line advanced, the Greeks spread out to cover the rough ground in the hills as well as the open pass. The Illyrian warriors did manage to break through around the flank, but not without being mauled themselves.

Just at the point that the Macedonian advance was failing, and the Greeks were starting to push back, the Macedonian flanking force emerged from the mountain goat path and steadied the Macedonian resolve. The Greek strategos turned his phalanx around to combat the foes to the rear of the main Greek line, but as he did so, the remaining Greeks lost heart and broke, leaving the pass to the invaders.

This was a great wee scenario which could have gone either way. The weak point in the Greek line was always going to be the rough ground on the flank, while the Macedonians needed to balance the scenario turn limit against the uncertain arrival of the flanking force, i.e. I didn't want to be defeated in detail, but I did need to advance and start the fighting. 

The Macedonian army always struggles to get their tribal levies to advance, so I spent a couple of turns not attacking. In retrospect, that was probably a good thing. If I has suffered the same losses a turn earlier - before the arrival of the flanking force - the Macedonians would have reached their 25% casualty threshold and started to take morale checks. Checks which my levy inevitably fail (needing to roll 6 or below on 2d6).

Saturday 16 November 2019

Palaeo Diet: Pulp - 15mm intrepid adventurers

My first spot of painting in a couple of months has been directed at my 15mm archaeologists/adventurers for use with the Palaeo Diet: Pulp expansion I am working on. The three figures on the right are the Rebel Miniatures that I excited posted about receiving last week. The chap on the right is a WWI Turkish officer from Eureka Miniatures. I have converted him slightly to change his pistol into a tommy gun. I haven't decided yet, but I might use some green stuff to put a tassel on his fez too.

Taken together, the four figures represent each of the four gun options in the game, from left to right: SMG, shotgun, pistol and rifle. As is the way of things, each will have its own strengths and it is up to the player to decide which suites their play style best.

Speaking of green stuff... I also sculpted a wee cat. This kitty sits about 5-6mm tall to the eyes. He's not a total success, but not an unmitigated failure either and not bad for my first 100% sculpt. My assistant author, having researched the topic thoroughly, insisted that mummies are scared of cats and suggested that we needed rules to reflect this. Far be it from me to stamp on his enthusiasm!

Thursday 14 November 2019

ROMANES EVNT DOMVS IV: The road to Damascus

Imperator Andrew and I clashed recently for the fourth of our L'Art de la Guerre battles over control of late Hellenistic Asia. This time his Triumvirate Romans attacked my Late Seleukids on the road to Damascus.

Each of the Roman flank commands consisted of four legionary units (heavy swordsmen, impact, armoured), a group of gladiators (elite heavy swordsmen) and some medium cavalry. His centre was made up of four elite legion units and a couple of skirmishers. 

The Seleukid left consisted of two units each of mediocre medium Arab camelry, skirmishing archers, Thracian medium swordsmen with two handed rhomphaiai, and mediocre elephants. The centre was made up of four pike phalanxes, two units of reformed legionaries and two scythed chariots. The right was held by four units of cataphracts (two of them elite) and a single unit of horse archers. The command also included two units of elite Cretan archers hiding in an ambush in the field to the far right.

The Romans advanced quickly across the open plain, being slightly hampered by the coastal city which was difficult going for all that heavy infantry.

The Seleukids advanced to meet them, the two flanks moving faster than the heavy infantry centre where only the scythed chariots had any speed about them. The Cretans also gave up their ambush and started wandering over towards the battle.

Once bitten, twice shy, Andrew threw his skirmishers forward and pelted one of the chariots with his javelin-armed skirmishers, destroying one of them.

Hampered by poor CP rolls, the shooting units on the Seleukid flanks both advanced and conducted ineffective missile fire. The remaining scythed chariot smashed into the legionaries facing it and managed to disorder them.

The gladiators on the Roman right decided that they would make their way through the town, while the right-most unit of legionaries made a charge at the camelry, driving them off.

The Seleukids advanced as fast as they could go, the Cretans and horse archers pestering the cavalry on the Roman right - but getting dangerously close in the process.

The Roman cavalry charged. Although the Cretans tried to evade, they could not get away fast enough and one unit was ridden down.

On the Seleukid left, the elephants with their Thracian flank guards charged into melee against the Roman right.
At the same time, a unit of cataphracts and the horse archers on the Seleuid right performed a pincer manoeuvre on the Roman cavalry that have ridden down the Cretans. 

The two centre divisions now advanced to meet... in the centre. The Seleukid cataphracts were distracted by the Roman horsemen who lasted just long enough to stop the Syrian horsemen charging the legions in front of them for a turn. 

The clash on the Seleukid left and in the centre could have gone better in the first couple of melees. The Romans quickly broke a unit of Thracians and even one of the doughty pike phalanxes.

Seeing the centre faltering, the Seleukid cavalry now charged into the legions opposite, starting the slow process of destroying a Roman flank to which my cataphracts have become accustomed. 

The elephants, though visually impressive, were pretty mediocre actually (appropriate really).   

They both broke after only a couple of rounds of combat, causing more damage to the Romans as they rampaged out of control than they had when under orders.

Suddenly, the Seleukid centre felt a bit drafty and the pike phalanxes began to waver.

The Roman gladiators finally peeled themselves away from the taverns and brothels of the town to charge the Arab camels. At that stage it seemed like a good idea to stand and fight, and the skirmishing archers moved up between the camels and the coastal zone to add support. In the centre, a roman unit advanced to plug the gap in the Seleukid line. How polite.

The Seleukid cataphracts were having a much better time of it and drove off the heavy infantry facing them, riding down the local tribune in the process.

But alas, it was all a bit late. Far from riding down the Romans, the Seleukid army was on the very edge of destruction. The towny gladiators defeated the camelry and moved pursued into the gap they left, while another pike phalanx was broken in the centre. At this stage I believe the bruised Romans were sitting at 18/19 break points, the Seleukids at 19/21. 

The break-through Roman legionaries from the centre charged the Thracians in the flank causing them to break. At the same time, the towny gladiators turned and hit the two units of skirmishing archers in the flank. Even if they could have evaded, there was nowhere to go but into the sea.

In the centre, the remaining Seleukid pikemen miraculously held on, but they were hard pressed, and they knew it.

... and on the right, snatching a bloody draw from disastrous defeat, the Seleukid cataphracts destroyed the last unit in the opposite command - the elite gladiators.

The end result: the Roman army broke having suffered 19/19 break points; the Seleukids broke and hastily moved off in the direction of Damascus having been battered to 25/21 break points. A very bloody technical draw, but there can be no doubt that the Romans held the moral victory. If the remaining forces of both armies met again tomorrow, the Seleukids could not stand. Well done Andrew. ­čĹŹ

Sunday 10 November 2019

Palaeo Diet: Pulp - starting out with 15mm capers in Cairo

I can quietly acknowledge that a pulp expansion for Palaeo Diet: Eat or Be Eaten is once more on the cards. The game will introduce early 20th century adventurers with new traits and trappings, as well as a number of suitably pulp beasties such as dinosaurs and mummies and a few thematic scenarios. As I already have a 15mm city suitable for a desert setting, I decided to embark on testing in that scale.

To begin with, I have picked up three pulp heroes from Rebel Miniatures. Here we see test pieces wielding three of the four gun options - pistols, a shotgun and a rifle. I have three more adventurers en route. 

For my mummies I've gone with Ral Partha Europe's offering - a pharaoh and a priestess.

And playing around with real 'green stuff' for the first time, I've put together three three little swarms of scarab beetles. It might not be clear in the photo, by the middle base there has a scarab at the back pushing a wee dung ball. Bless.

This is one of five different wargaming/rules writing projects that I'm currently working on, but I imagine it will be one of the first to be finished.