Sunday 26 January 2020

Faustus Furius at Crusade 2020!

I'm truly honoured that Alex Woodrow chose to run a participation game of my racing game, Faustus Furius, at the Crusade wargaming convention in Penarth, in the Vale of Glamorgan. The rules were designed for fast and fun quasi-historical chariot racing, but were intentionally written to be played with whatever figures the players wanted to use. Below are a few of the photos and the brief report Alex posted on the Song of Blades and Heroes Facebook Group, re-posted with his permission. It looks like an absolutely fantastic set up!
Squig Racing at Crusade 2020
Here are some pics of the Faustus Furius based game I ran today at the Crusade show in Penarth. The course was a figure of 8, just one lap as in testing we found two laps took a bit too long for a show game. One innovation I added was having a deck of cards for players to draw from if they crashed into a mushroom patch which each triggered some random psychedelic game effect. I had thought players would avoid these as they might avoid normal crashes, but in fact they loved them and deliberately ran into the mushrooms to create as much chaos as possible! The game went down really well, I ran it for 4 different groups of players, and two young lads said it was the best game they'd played at a show. It's the second of IW Nic 's Ganesha games I've run with great success, maybe I should do Paleo Diet next time for the hattrick? 😁

Saturday 25 January 2020

Playtesting Palaeo Diet: Pulp - more adventures on a mysterious island

The four adventurers surveyed the the scene before them: a dry plain with a single thicket, and area of spiky blade grass and a scattering of carnivorous plants. Off to their right, a savage monument built by the island's natives probably indicated a native presence in the area. Their target though, was the tyrannosaurus rex down by the lake sure. 

Captain van Damme caressed his shotgun and looked derisively at his companions. How did he end up with such a pack of disorganised fools. An experienced officer and a gentleman, some considered him an egotist [trait]. He just knew that he was more capable than any other person on the expedition.  The American with the rifle, Harry Ford, was barely a gentleman at all and had really let himself go recently [unfit trait]. Miss Blunt was pretty enough he supposed, but she spoke incessantly about becoming an engineer [trait]; it was almost as though she forgot her she was a woman! Her revolver and tote-bag of grenades did nothing to reassure van Damme. And as for the fellahin, Omar? He was useful enough in a bind. An experienced explorer [trait], his machete and tommy gun would probably be the most useful accouterments of the expedition. The fellow was also a devil at cards!

As an egotist, van Damme always needed to activate first each turn, and roll all three dice. The early turns saw him make his way carefully down the centre of the plain, mostly keeping out of the way of the snapping carnivorous plants. Those beasts who were disturbed by his movements ignored him or moved cautiously out of the way. Omar used his experience as an explorer (and his trusty blade) to make his way straight through the thicket, aiming to provide some trusty fire support. Harry Ford lagged behind, trying to catch a breath, while Miss Blunt kept tripping up (rolling activation failures) and also fell behind.

van Damme tried a long range shot at the t-rex, the shot having no effect. However, the sound of the gun drew the attention of a flock of nasty looking raptors who dashed towards him - straight into a carnivorous plant that picked one off in the blink of an eye.  

Omar chuckled to see the small beasts be bested by a plant - only to be overheard by the distraught flock of raptors who immediately mobbed him. Miraculously, he managed to avoid any serious harm. By that stage, Miss Blunt had ambled (in a lady-like fashion) to just outside grenade range of Omar and his attackers. Just trying to 'help out', she lobbed a grenade that bounced towards the group, exploding to kill one of the raptors, and wounding poor Omar. Meanwhile, van Damme fired again at the t-rex causing a wound, while Harry gave up trying to leg it over to the other three adventurers and just started firing at the natives and their witch doctor. He was cursed for his troubles, making his life even harder than it had been before.

Trying to activate, Omar was not quite cautious enough. The remaining three raptors pounced on him and he fell, bleeding from dozens of small but vicious puncture wounds (not to mention the shrapnel wound... thanks Emily!). All that blood kept the raptors happy and drew the t-rex over for a sniff. 

Harry snapped himself out of the curse and continued to fire away at the natives. He wounded one with an aimed rifle shot. The wounded native looked around in outrage, saw Miss Blunt, and charged towards her. She unloaded her revolver in his general direction, but he reacted by attacking her, just as the sound of her shots drew the raptors to attack her from behind.

In swift succession, Miss Blunt was killed (and subsequently eaten by the native!). van Damme fired on the t-rex again, wounding it, but spelling his own doom as the t-rex rushed him and broke him in two. Harry looked around and sweated a bit. He was suddenly the only adventurer left standing.

Harry opened his watch and saw that he was fast running out of time. The ship was due to sail and he was nowhere near prepared to kill the t-rex himself. Instead, he popped off another shot at a native. The native yelled fearsomely back. Harry stumbled backwards in shock - straight into a carnivorous plant which snapped at him, taking a bite out of his shoulder. Harry turned to scramble away, but the smell of blood and the noise he made getting away from the over-grown flytrap drew the t-rex right at him.

Harry Ford turned. He aimed and fired his rifle. The bullet found its mark, causing a double wound and bringing the t-rex to within one wound of death. One turn remained in the scenario before Harry would have to abandon the hunt and make his way to the ship.

... and he failed his activation roll. The tyrannosaur lunged. Harry fell in a bloody, pulpy, mess... 

So, a fun game, full of new features from the pulp expansion. I didn't take enough photos, so there were quite a few other things that happened that didn't quite make it into the report, but in essence, we were close to a successful hunt. Nevertheless, a total party kill is a total party kill whichever way you try to dress it up. 

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Fine Young Cannibals

Snatching a handy couple of hours time off in lieu from work, I managed to paint up four natives for games of Palaeo Diet: Pulp. Although the figures are Amazonian Indians from Eureka's 15mm range (quite a few years ago I used the same figures in a Carib army for Irregular Wars), I wanted them to be as generically pulpish as possible. 

They will occasionally see service as prehistoric (lost world) hunters, taking on dinosaurs themselves. I suspect they will more often see the tabletop in the guise of lost world natives (using the outfolk hunters profile from Palaeo Diet: Fireside Tales) with a witch doctor (a new profile from Pulp) - hence the converted chap in the green stuff mask.

Sunday 19 January 2020

More Measly Medieval Miniatures

Over the Christmas break, I manage to get a bunch of 28mm miniatures done up to compliment my Shadow of Sherwood collection - I'm almost ready to start using them in earnest. These villagers are all from Midlam Miniatures - technically they are from a fantasy range, but they are as historical as the rest of my Robin Hood stuff!



Washing maid

Crippled crone


Forester (I cut the sword down into a dagger)

Also from Midlam Miniatures, I got this Hiberno-Norse looking chap in a quilted bernie with a Dane axe. He could join the late 12th century Sherwood bandits if he chose, or (as in the photo above) he can team up with some Anglo-Danes and the like to take on slightly earlier Norman types.

... and my axe!

For my we lad's (slowly growing) retinue, I created a sergeant with a Dane axe out of left over Fireforge bits. 

... and also my axe!

... and in a scene to warm any wargaming daddy's heart, he also chose and ordered his own model (also from Midlam Miniatures) to paint himself. As with the shield device and colours he wanted on his knight, Sir John, there is a very clear inspiration behind his choices. 👻😀

Saturday 18 January 2020

Bataille Empire - New year, new project

Not entirely sure how it happened, but the new big project for some of our group is 6mm Napoleonics for Bataille Empire, the new rules by Hérve Caille of L'Art de la Guerre fame. After some to-ing and fro-ing, I have ended up with Austria - roughly 1809. I once had a 15mm Austrian army but sold it in the great pre-uni sale of stuff some 21 years ago. It feels just a little bit like coming home.

I have started with a large unit of Bohemian landwehr (Baccus Spaniards in top hats - still requiring their wee flag) and a battery of brigade guns to provide support. 

Ragnarök has arrived!

Woohoo! Hard cover copies of Four Against Ragnarök arrived in this morning's post. Lovely production quality from Lulu if I do say so. 

Sunday 5 January 2020

Chariots of Fire - revisiting Minoans and Egyptians in 6mm l'Art de la Guerre

Andrew joined me for my first game of the year – a much anticipated and terrifically enjoyable return to the Bronze Age with some more 6mm l'Art de la Guerre. We reprised out traditional roles, he as Pharaoh of the New Kingdom Egyptians, me as the Priest-king of Crete.

Andrew won the toss and decided to be the attacker, choosing to take on the bullish Minoan war machine on the plains (obviously in some third-party location, not in mountainous Crete...). Initially we had a plantation to the Cretan left, a village and field in the Cretan centre, and another field to the right. The Egyptians had a field behind their lines in the centre and a gentle hill to their left (the Minoan right). Unfortunately, while the Minoans were carousing and jumping bulls, the Egyptians rolled two sixes when attempting to modify terrain and managed to cut down the plantation on the Minoan left and plough up the field on Minoan right. Apparently, they didn't like the idea of the Cretans having flanks secured by terrain.

As has become customary, Pharaoh drew his army up in a long line. In the accurate historical photograph above, the Egyptian right (top left) consisted of a wall of impetuous Sea Peoples warriors – two units of heavy swordsmen and four units of medium swordsmen – screened by skirmishing archers and slingers. The Egyptian centre was all medium infantry: from left to right, two units of Egyptian axemen, four units of spearmen, and then four units of mediocre levy archers. On the Egyptian left flank were four units of elite light chariots – one led by Pharaoh himself. The only unit not part of the great line was a clutch of donkey-riding scouts who deployed forward, and to the far left of the main line, on the gentle hill.

The Minoans deployed with their Lukka ally general on the left. They were placed in front of the camp as a precaution. If the allied general turned out to be hesitant, at least the Lukka would serve a purpose just sitting there as barrier of tanned and well-oiled flesh to protect the camp. The command consisted of mediocre cavalry, an elite heavy chariot with embedded commander, two medium swordsmen with impact and two javelinmen units in the field. There were also two units of light archers in ambush in the village. In the centre – separated from the Lukka by the field, the central command consisted of five units of heavy spear with pavises and missile support, screened by five archers and slingers, as well as the elite heavy chariot general. The Minoan right had four heavy chariot units, one of them elite and led by Minos, supported by two medium spearmen and two Libyan javelin-armed skirmishing units.

The view across the plain from the Minoan camp showing the Lukka allies in front and the Minoan heavy infantry to the right. In the distance, the Egyptians begin their advance.

Pharaoh’s messengers flew like falcons and his commands were well heeded as the Egyptian line advanced at a run. The miscalculation of deploying impetuous heavy and medium infantry in the same command became immediately apparent (again), as the line of Sea Peoples advanced at different rates. In the centre, the Egyptian melee troops marched on, while the mediocre archers held back. The ass-riders and the elite chariotry also sped forward, the scouts performing a grand circling manoeuvre with the chariots angled to take advantage of their speed and flanking position.

Taking note of how buff the Sea Peoples were looking (they must work out), the Lukka ally general was not hesitant as such, but was certainly unwilling to throw his men forward and give the Egyptians some early kills. As such, the Minoan infantry centre was compelled to maintain a defensive line so as to not expose their flanks. Only the skirmishers moved forward to begin peppering the Egyptian centre with arrows and sling stones. On the Minoan right, the medium spearmen and the heavy chariots wheeled to the right in the hope of catching the Egyptian chariotry before they were ready. In return, the Egyptians advanced their chariots and fired off a volley of arrows – completely ineffective against the Minoan armour.

Three of the Minoan chariot units charged at the Egyptian lines, but the lighter chariots evaded them easily. The right-most Minoan chariot did turn and charge the flank of the donkey scouts who were trying to sneak past however. Faced with the prospect of evading off the table (on any roll but a 1-2), the Egyptians chose to take the charge in the flank.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian centre, having received several cohesion losses from the Minoan skirmishers, charged forward, forcing them to evade through the main lines. They also brought up a couple of bow-armed levy to support the spearmen, while tow more remained behind to confront the Minoan spearmen who were supposed to be helping in the chariot battle.

And battle the chariots did. Pharaoh himself charged into the flank of the Minoans attacking the ass-riders, while his other three chariot units decided that they’d rather go toe-to-toe with the Minoan heavies. After all, the Egyptians were elite, and the Minoans didn’t have impact.

Over on the Minoan left, the Lukka commander took a chance and pushed his chariots forward, supported by the mediocre horsemen. Rather than threaten the Sea Peoples heavy swordsmen, the horsemen then started a dash for the Egyptian camp (they are the only unit in the Minoan army which can move faster than 3 base widths a turn). The Lukka skirmishers also emerged from their ambush in the village to add numbers to the very uneven fight that was looming on that front.

All down the line, a comprehensive melee began in earnest and the lines closed. On the Minoan right, the chariot lines crashed into each other. In an amazing sequence of 6/1 splits, the Egyptian command broke and fled the field in a matter of moments. Even their elite status could not counter Minoan onslaught. The chariot-donkey battle also ended in the donkey scouts fleeing, but not before the Minoan chariots were badly bloodied by Pharaoh’s flank attack.

In the centre, the heavy Minoan spearmen generally were getting the better of their medium counterparts, many of whom were already disordered from the earlier shooting. The chariot-mounted commander in the centre managed a flank attack into the Egyptian mediocre bowmen in one of the many quick melees of the battle.

On the left, the Luka general pulled his chariot back through his own skirmishers as the heavy Sea Peoples units finally came near. All four Lukka infantry units – two swordsmen and two javelinmen – broke as soon as the Sea People medium swordsmen made contact.

In the next turn, one unit of Sea People advanced straight ahead – aiming for the Minoan camp – while the other mediums made moved to roll up the left flank of the Minoan spear line. The battle hung in the balance. While the Minoans had scored a massive victory against the Egyptian chariot corps, and were holding in the centre, the Lukka command was effectively destroyed. The Egyptians were mauled, but angry, and the un-defended camp was only a single move away.

In a burst of activity, the Lukka general threw his elite heavy chariot into the heavy swordsmen, while his mediocre cavalry turned back from the Egyptian camp the charge the skirmishers supporting the Sea Peoples – managing to catch one unit and driving another away. In the centre, the Egyptian commander fell in the melee, and on the right, the Minoan chariots managed to chase down and kill Pharaoh himself – as well as his last elite chariot unit.

The battle was brutal. It was messy. And it went to the Minoans; the Great Bull from the Sea was once more victorious – but not without an amazing run of luck on the dice. Lessons were learned, the arrow-proof shields of the Minoans much praised, and the dead buried. At least the Minoan dead. The Egyptian dead were left to sort themselves out, or not, as it suited them…