Monday 30 May 2022

28mm Shield-maidens

Finishing off my small vikingr crew, I've just completed half a dozen shield-maidens from Bad Squiddo's wonderfully sculpted range. While I am more than willing to accept the historicity of female warriors, I have reservations about how often entire units of women would have been formed, rather than seeing a smattering of women among larger numbers of men. Never-the-less, they tend to appear in discrete units in wargames, so that is likely how they will be used!

These are among the nicest sculpts (and casts - no flash) that I've handled and should have been a joy to paint. Unfortunately, something went wrong at the stage when I applied the wash - they wash sat on the surface rather than going into the creases as normal and left them looking like they'd been in a mud bath! It then took me twice as long to clean them up again than they took to originally do the block colour basecoats. Hopefully the end result does them justice.

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Håkon's Hallions - a dozen 28mm vikings

I've now completed the first twelve members of my small viking crew. Drawn from a variety of different ranges, they make a real rag-tag bunch, perfect for a veteran band or raiders.

The jarl and his hirdmen - Jarl Håkon and the Arab hirdman are from Eureka, the Saxon is from Gripping Beast and the rest are from Artizan. I'm particularly pleased with the way the custom-made banner worked out.

More hirdmen - but these ones equipped with bows. The chap on the left is from Foundry, the others are from Black Tree.

And to finish off, a size comparison. The Black Tree minis are variable, two of the archers are really big, the other two scale perfectly with Eureka. The larger two with Foundry and Gripping Beast. The Artizan range are nice, but all of them are smaller than the other ranges. I'm more than happy to mix sizes, but it is a slight shame that all my archers are taller than most of the sword and axe-wielding hirdmen.

Sunday 15 May 2022

Fantastic Battles - siege testing

Having recently moved house, I was delighted to be able to host JB for the inaugural evening of gaming in the new space. Doubly delighted, as he was patient enough to work through a playtest of the siege ideas. He commanded 500 points of goblins, defending a 1 metre wide stone fortification against my 1000 points of halfling besiegers.

We played through four attrition phases, during which the poor halflings becaming increasingly ill (until I got proper foraging parties bringing in supplies). JB carried out a sortie, destroying some of my siege equipment - a trebuchet and a mine head - and scattering my poultry-riders. As he lost his spider riders in the process (and his army was only half the size of mine), the losses sort of evened out.

As the evening wore on, halfing artillery fire had little or no impact on the walls, and the mine - even before it was destroyed - was proving very difficult to dig. The halflings reached the point where an assault on the walls became the only way to resolve the impasse. Foolishly, I gave my best troops the siege equipment. All my best troops were already slow, and the siege equipment just made them slower!

JB decided to let his goblin madcaps come through the gates to cause havoc among my advancing lines, but they were caught in column by my halfling yeoman cavalry and quickly dispatched. 

In the end, it was the halfling siege artillery which eventually destroyed the gates, allowing the halflings' treefolk allies to break through the fortifications in the centre. On the far left of the line, the other treefolk, advancing carrying ladders ... let's not discuss how morbid that could be from their perspective ... almost made it to the walls before being destroyed by enemy shooting. Withering halfling hellfire from the militia archers was taking its toll though and scattered another unit of goblin defenders on the wall. 

With that, we called it as the evening was late, and the halfling victory inevitable. We made numerous amendments over the course of the evening, and there is still some way to go before they are finalised, but the rules are playable (sighing with relief) in their current form. Beyond the difficulties of building a completely flexible set of rules with no foreknowledge of what a player's table will look like, the challenge is having enough nuance and meaningful in-game decision making, without getting bogged down in crunch. Stay tuned for more testing to come!