Friday 31 December 2021

Sir Guillaume le Fauconnier's retinue - redux

Finishing off the posts for 2021, I have returned to revise and expand on my c.1200 (+/- 75 years) retinue of the apocryphal knight, Sir Guillaume le Fauconnier. These hardened 28mm warriors (kitbashed mostly from Fireforge sprues) have not seen a lot of service since first painting them up in 2019. However, in the new year they will form the basis of a small 500 point retinue I plan to build to try out Adny Hobday's Barons' War rules. 

Sir Guillaume and his veteran sergeants. 

The start of a group of sergeants with crossbows.

The first two archers.

Two wolfhounds from the Wargames Atlantic Irish warriors box.

Thursday 30 December 2021

The raid on Port Onslow - swashbuckling with 'This is Not a Test'

This week Andrew and I got our pirate-types on the table for the first time. Between us we have a raft of suitable rules focusing on pirates and swashbucklers, but we decided to use the post-apocalyptic rule set, This is Not a Test, instead. Despite first (post-apocalyptic) appearances, the rules are pretty flawless for pirate themed skirmishes for crews of a dozen or so characters. 

Both crews were built around the Caravaners warband roster, but given the flexibility of the rules, they had completely different flavours. We restricted weapons to melee weapons and 'primitive' missile weapons which includes the likes of black powder pistols, muskets and blunderbusses. The only house rule we implemented was to have guns 'jam' after every shot, regardless of die roll, to represent the load time. Despite the impediment this caused, the strength of the musket shots made them still lethal on the table.

The crew of the cutter Charlotte, commanded by Capt. Sammuel Blood, docked at Port Onslow. Across the port were five chests with scraps of treasure map were hidden inside. The raid ended when all scraps were found, or after eight turns.

Most of Port Onslow's people had fled into the countryside, but the local militia pulled together by their vicar gathered on the edge of town to repulse the pirate raid.

Jim Lad, the pirate cabin boy used all his skills as a runner to get straight up to the first chest in turn one, followed and watched over by one of Blood's lieutenants, Gideon Brown. 

The rest of the crew started up the main street, and were soon joined by Gideon and Jim Lad (holding a loft the first map scrap). 

As the village militia made its way into the main street, gun shots rang out and the first casualties were caused on both sides. Jim Lad used the distraction caused by the firefight to search another chest on the far side of the street, securing the second piece of map for the pirates. The militia recovered a scrap of map from the chest by the church. In the graveyard beyond the church the militia's tribal scout struggled to find a forth map scrap from a chest recovered from one of the graves.

The native scout finally managed to secure the graveyard map piece, but by then it was all a bit late. A bloody scuffle broke out around the fifth chest which ended poorly for the militia. Capt. Blood himself secured the last map scrap and sounded the retreat. 

Blood's buccaneers were successful in their raid, carrying away three of the five map pieces. Both forces suffered four casualties, one of whom died on each side. The wounded militiamen came away better off, however, while three of the pirates would carry serious injuries forwards. 

Not every part of the post-game sequence transferred flawlessly to an 18th century setting. My crew discovered a source of H20 - that's easy enough to view as a source of fresh water - while Andrew's militia found a sniper rifle. We rationalised that back to a fowling piece (using the standard rifle profile, but still jamming every shot), but it did demonstrate that not everything would work without giving some thought. Never-the-less, the game rules themselves were perfect and made for an extremely fun game. We fully intend to take the game forward into something of a narrative campaign - the next step of which will be a hunt for treasure inspired by our map pieces.

You can read about the onward exploits of Captain Blood HERE.

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Yarrr Humbug! The crew of the cutter Charlotte wish you a Merry Yule!

What better way to celebrate the festive season than with a bunch o' scruffy buccaneers!? Way back during the first lockdown I ordered these wee vessels from Games of War (sold as the Sea Dog v.2, and the jolly boat). Before I got a chance to do more than undercoat them, work ramped up and I focused what free time I had in other areas. With a good bit of time off over Christmas, I decided that it was time to get back to them!

The larger vessel is the four-gun cutter, Charlotte. I may need to pick up some actual cannon in the future, but for now she just has two brass swivel guns.

The cutter comes with that huge area on the stern just crying out to be decorated, so I tried to fill it with her name - for what it's worth I chose to copy TreasureMapDeadHand font. And then added a swirl. 

The wee jolly boat is a great wee model and significantly easier to paint!

Friday 24 December 2021

Bog Trolls for the Red King

The final element for my 1000 point Fantastic Battles beastling army of the Red King is a three-company unit of bog trolls. Like the rest of the army, the figures are from Warp Miniatures - this time from the 3D printed beastfolk 10mm range; I had them printed at 130%. 

They were, perhaps, the mose enjoyable thing I've painted in a loooooong time. There is great detail and bucket loads of character in each sculpt. The trolls have mushrooms and small stunted trees growing out of their fur; you can imagine them squatting dormant, hunched over for long periods of time, looking like hillocks in the bog until some unwary bypasser disturbs their slumber.

I plan on using these chappies as fantastic beasts with the monstrous, shooting and powerful missiles traits to represent their great size, but also their penchant for hurling great boulders at their foes.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Fantastic Battles army showcase - The Bacchae

The Bacchae are an army I have long wanted, but never had to opportunity to build. The flexibility of Fantastic Battles almost feels like it was designed to facilitate just such an army. Themed around the thiasos, or procession of Dionysos, this force has drawn it's inspiration from the broad palette of ancient literary and visual sources. I kept the units as wild as possible (no hoplites etc) without it becoming a bland swathe of brown as I wanted it to have a timeless feel, so it would feel just as natural fighting against Trojans, or an army of medieval knights.

The army uses berserk as a racial trope to represent the intoxicating leadership of Bakchos. They were trialled with the stimulants trait as a racial trope, but I find it easier to remember who can do what this way! 

The characters in the army are an exotic bunch. From left to right: a company of dryad magic-users (entangle); Pan, a magic-user (curse); Bakchos/Dionysos, the mage-lord (confusion); and two captains, Papposilenos (a drillmaster) and Eros.

The core of the army are the satyrs, irregular companies with mixed weapons, able to navigate any wilderness.

If the core of the army are the satyrs, the maenads are its heart, sole, and crushing hammer. The maenads have both stimulants and heavy weapons to represent their frenzied state.

The centaurs provide a mobile unit of archers to support the infantry units, and can still handle themselves in a melee.

Bakchos' leopards are stealthy hunters to be used to harass flanks and get through difficult terrain.

The most least-traditional unit in the army are the Indian yakshi maidan guard - rationalised as yakshi and Dionysos appear together in Gandharan art. Only a small unit, they provide a reliable reserve to plug gaps or take advantage of exposed enemy flanks.

Another Indian-derived unit, the elephant provides some a bit of punch with its furious charge and heavy weapons.

The swift flank guards are erotes driving goat chariots. Because everyone needs erotes driving goat chariots!?

Wednesday 8 December 2021

10mm baggage train/warchest

I recently picked up these awesome 10mm my-little-pack-ponies from RPGPrints on Etsy. I think they are digital sculpts from Varus Miniatures (for whom RPGPrints have a license), but I could be wrong. Regardless, the service from RPGPrints was very good and the quality of the resin used in the prints is up there with Excellent Miniatures as the best I have seen.

Intended as a mining cart and pack horse (for dwarves?), I will be using it as a convoy to be ambushed in scenarios for Fantastic Battles. I figure these sturdy wee guys will work well enough for most of my fantasy armies (dwarves, halflings, beastfolk and goblins), although the haughty and elegant elves might have to take a more open-minded approach to their animals than they are used to...

Monday 6 December 2021

Beastling skirmishers

The army of the Red King grows with another unit of Warp Miniatures 10mm beastlings - this time three companies of skirmishing slingers and a captain. I continue to struggle to photograph these guys, but they areally are a joy to paint and I'm very much looking forward to geting them on the field of battle.

In Fantastic Battles, I will use them as irregular companies with the skirmishing and shooting traits - and perhaps stretch out to make them fast as well.