Monday 31 May 2021

Ratmen vs Squidmen in a truely Fantastic Battle!

I was really happy to be able to host Tim for his first game of Fantastic Battles on Sunday. Living up to the concept of being able to play any army, regardless of your personal fantasies, I led the black-power-packing, lace-pulp ratmen of the Grand Duchy of Cheddar, against a slimy 15mm army consisting of squid- and fish-men. We played 800 points which I hope made for a very decent learning game.

From the photo's top left, the Squidmen deployed a unit of three companies of fishmen riding giant spiders, a unit of two companies of fishmen riding land sharks, two squidmen units each of two companies (archers in front, spearmen behind), a unit of two companies of squids with heavy weapons, a two-company unit of fishmen spears, and another three-company unit of landsharks.

Facing them, from lower left to right were a three company unit of pike and shot, a single company of dragoons, a steamtank, one battery of artillery, the guard unit composed of three companies of polearms and shot, the airship, and two more batteries of artillery. A Cheddar reserve group made up of the grenadier company and a small two-company unit of pike and shot formed a second line.

The view along the squidman lines. Although the spider-riders were perfectly happy in the terrain, the two units of squidmen formed infantry were to find the rough going rather tough.

Rolling for Mishaps, the squidmen archers turned out to be late and had to re-deploy behind the spearmen, further back in the ploughed fields. The fishmen spear unit, however, was overly enthusiastic and deployed far ahead of the rest of the line.

The battle opened with a torrent of heavy and powerful missile weapons blasting away at the enthusiastic fishmen, reducing them to little more than a pile of sashimi in two turns. While that was going on, the spider-riders and landsharks on both flanks pushed forwards, while the squidmen infantry struggled to get through the rough ground.

The advanding spider-riders caused the Cheddar captain on the left flank (who had the drillmaster strategy helpfully) to pull back the regiment of foote in an attempt to protect the army's flank. The spiders would have been too at-home in the woods for their comfort.

On the far flank, the landsharks closed with the artillery on the hill before the ratmen could manoeuvre any other units to come to their aid. 

As the centre of the Cheddar line advanced, safe in the knowledge the flank was protected by a big waterfeature, they were rudely reminded that the squidmen were all amphibious. The nearest landshark unit swung across the pool, right into the flank of the steamtank. The ratman dirigible then puttered over to even the odds by charging the landsharks in the flank.

The landsharks on the squidmen left (Cheddar right) finished off the artillery swiftly and feasted upon their crew, restoring some of the resolve they had lost earlier through shooting. The battle in the centre continued with the steamtak getting the worst of it, while the spider riders closed in with the dragoons on the far left flank of the Cheddar line.

Having dined well on the artillery, the landsharks continued over the hill to attack the small regiment of Cheddar foote who had finally arrived - too late to save the guns.

In the centre, the steamtank finally succumbed to the landsharkes, but the elite Cheddar Blue Guards blazed away to obliterate the nearest unit of squidmen (who had only just emerged from the fields the turn before).

The dragoons could not hold on for long against the spider-riders and scattered, just as the neighbouring regiment of ratmen foote levelled pikes and closed in. The landsharks in the centre of the table reformed to confront the airship that had been pestering their flank, but on the far side of the table, the almost-routed-ratman foote unit managed to rebuff the larger unit of landsharks on the hill - greatly aided by the grenadiers who had charged into the sharks' flank.

On the Cheddar left, the lop-sided struggle beween the regiment of foote and the spider-riders ultimately settled the battle. The spiders could not compete with the ratmen's longspears and, after a hard fought melee, broke and fled from the field. Their loss was enough to bring the squidmen to their army breakpoint and the day belonged to the brave rats in glorious hats!

Sunday 30 May 2021

Commissioned sketches: And the winners are...

I'm so delighted to say that we have some pretty impressive outcomes from the wee competition we ran in March. I asked people to post a review of Fantastic Battles in a blog or on Amazon, Wargame Vault or Board Game Geek to be in for a chance to win one of three commissioned artworks by Orestix Ermeides, or a 15mm Battle Valor fantasy starter army donated by Jeff Gatlin of Shieldwall Gaming Club in Ohio.

Mike opted for a Tolkien-inspired scene showing a shiledwall of Lamedonians, one of the fiefs of Gondor, being charged by oliphants of Harad.

He's only just and blown the whole thing up, ready to adorn his gaming space!

Michael had Orestix bring his 15mm army of slug-riding, tech-weilding 'Orts' to life. 

Pete went for another classic scene from Tolkein - a vignette of the Battle of the Five Armies. 

He too as gone and had a print made which is now in the process of being framed. The framer in the picture, wasn't technically asked if he'd like to be in this blog, so the least I can do is mention the business - Friswells Picture Gallery, in Earlsdon, Coventry.

Stuart won a 'Delvian' starter army donated by Jeff at Shieldwall Gaming. Here you can see some of the units painted up as Ice Elves witha few additional pieces.

Saturday 29 May 2021

The Grand Duchy of Cheddar for Fantastic Battles


I'm pleased to be able to showcase a new 800 point army for Fantastic Battles, the Grand Duchy of Cheddar. This is actually the fourth iteration of the Ducal army - and the original figures were painted about 10 years ago. Originally based for skirmishing games, it was rebased and provided with background fluff for HotT, and then expanded (models and fluff) and rebased for Kings of War. The most recent rebasing and expansion brings it into line for Fantastic Battles

The figures are a combination of Pendraken and Kallistra with a scratch-built airship. It is nominally 10mm, but I feel the rats are too hulking at that scale and work far better in 15mm. The toughest bit about working on such an old army was trying to match the bases (I'd like to think my technique has moved on a little over the years).

Grand Duke Philip flanked by his two brigadiers.

The Blue Guards.


Regiment of Foote with more shot than pikes.

Regiment of Foote with more pikes than shot.


Ducal Dirigible.


The Grand Battery.

Fantastic Battles - the Battle of the Four Armies....

I was delighted to be able to play another (well-ventelated) in-person game of Fantastic Battles this week with Andrew and Jim. They presented an uneasy alliance of ratfolk (1000 points) and men (500 points), while I controlled a much more respectful federation of wyld elves (1000 points) and halflings (500 points).
Above you can see the initial deployment ahead of Mishaps. The humans occupied the right end of their line and the ratfolk held the left. On my side of the table, the halflings were deployed in the right-most third, with the wyld elves across the left and centre. 

The ratfolk deployed a large unit of assassins commanded by a rogue as an ambush in some rough ground on my extreme right, while the Wyld Hunt - also led be a rogue - were likewise deployed in ambush in some fields on the extreme right of the human lines.

Rolling for mishaps was largely uneventful with a couple of diseased units on either side and the elven stag riders being slightly late (deployed further back than intended). However, the halfling field-kitchen militia and ratfolk fire-throwers were both overly enthusiastic and advanced well forward of their orders. Because the rats of the verminkin had used the Night March strrategy, and were thus deployed further forward than normal, the two enthusiastic units started the battle already locked in melee!

The short distance between the rats and the halflings meant that multiple combats were underway by the end of the first turn. The verminkin assassins swarmed forward to assault the halfling hearthguard, thnd the great rat-god/verminkin warlord joined the fight with the halfling kitchen.

On the far flank, the elven Wyld Hunt slammed into the flank of a unit of human light horse deployed in column. The fight there was savage, but not quite savage enough to break the horsemen in a single turn.

By the start of turn two, the elven rangers were within bowshot of the human line. The large unit of human bonnaghts in the centre were badly mauled by two units of rangers, while the third unit of rangers used the human cataphracts as pin-cushions. The human warlord, taking an arrow in the eye, was among the first to fall.

Expedient use of the entangle spell by the two wyld elf magic-users fixed enemy units in place. The human bonnachts were unable to advance and so recieved another round of devestating shooting. The bonnachts scattered and fled, as did the light horse in combat with the Wyld Hunt. That brought the human army to it's break point twice (all charachters dead and more than 50% of companies fled), and opened the way for the elves to start a big sweeping advance up the flank. The unfortunate rogue leading the Wyld Hunt fell in battle meaning the unit itself was outside of command range and played no further meaningful part in the battle.

Over on while other flank, the evil looking verminguard heavy infantry were also entangled, preventing other units from moving past them and freeing up the elves in the centre to strike, eliminating the ratfolk artillery and the giant running wheel warmachine thingy. Sadly, the halfling heathguard succumbed to the rat assassins and fled. The field-kitchen militia, however, had become a tar-pit - unable to cause much damage on the rats, but soaking up plenty of attacks and locking their enemies in combat for several turns. 

Nothing lasts forever, as they say, and the same can be said for the halfling field-kitchen. There was only so much damage they could take and they ultimately broke, bringing the halfling army to its break point and freeing up the verminkin for a fresh fight with the wyld elves bearing down upon them.

The battlelines now reformed at a 90 degree axis to the initial deployment areas. Trying to defeat the elves in detail, the vermin-god/warlord sent half his ratfolk rabble into combat against a single giant tree-shepherd. However, the tree-man was soon joined by a giant eagle and even some rangers who, together, made short work of the verminkin rabble. Helpfully, that particular unit of rabble were also the captors of a comely halfling maiden that the elves were trying to rescue (the objective they rolled at the start of the game), so in defeating the unit, they also restored resolve across the entire elven line.

The wyld elf stag-riders engaged the shot-up verminguard which allowed the accompanying elven rangers to fire beyond the verminguard at the giant rat-god behind them. With a torrent of arrows, they brought him down and, with his death, the ratfolk broke and fled leaving the wyld elves as masters of the field.

Sunday 23 May 2021

Slow and steady on ProjectTROY

This fourth Wargames Foundry chariot is the final unit I needed to bring my Fantastic Battles Trojan army to 1000 points for a battle scheduled for next week. I still have four bases of archers lined up to paint which will bring me to 195 points (so close!) for l'Art de la Guerre.

This is the first time I've done a skewbald horse as part of a chariot team. I like him well enough, but given the colour scheme of the bull hide chariot 'skin', it looks like the skewbald pony is running for his life! 


Wednesday 19 May 2021

ProjectTroy - Sea Raiders


Continuing with phase 2 of ProjectTROY, we have a second Trojan captain to marshal the ranks and a unit of javelin-armed light infantry. These will count as an irregular unit of foresters with thrown weapons and the doughty trait on Fantastic Battles, two bases of LMI javelineers in l'Art de la Guerre, or a small unit of light infantry with javelins in Hail Caesar. All figures this time from a single pack of Wargames Foundry Sea Peoples, but with a variety of shields from the ProjectTROY armoury.

Saturday 15 May 2021

ProjectTroy - more Trojan spearmen!

Continuing the momentum (all that it is!) I have now completed a third unit of heavy spearmen with integrated missile weapons for my 28mm Trojan army. This time it consists of two bases Redoubt spearmen and slingers, Foundry leader (behind a Redoubt shield). and a Newline standard bearer carrying a CP Models standard with the Egyptian top cup off replaced by a 6mm horse!

They all works pretty well together. In Fantastic Battles they will be used as a small two-company unit, in Hail Caesar I could also use them as a small unit, and in l'Art de la Guerre of course they will simply be two bases of heavy spearmen.

I was going with an orange and black colour scheme, not only is it the colours of my parish GAC, but also the colours of an unreliable command within my 6mm Minoan army which is no longer usable with the l'Art de la Guerre 4th edition lists. Sadly I haven't worked out how to use the camera on my new phone yet, so none of the colours look quite right on screen!

This last photo is just to show the new Redoubt spearmen alongside a base from the first spearmen unit built of Newline figures - both have Foundry unit leaders.

Monday 3 May 2021

ProjectTroy - Mistress of the Poppies


Kicking off the much more ill-defined phase 2 of ProjectTROY we have another character - Redoubt's Helen of Troy dressed in the iconic open-fronted Bronze Age Aegean style - whom I'll be using as a Trojan priestess.

Saffron-gatherer, Thera

Snake Goddess - Knossos

Ladies in blue - Knossos

Goddess of the Grain - Mycenae