Sunday 30 October 2022

Wee Goblin horde for Fantastic Battles

My 10mm goblins were the first army I built specifically to playtest early drafts of Fantastic Battles back in 2019/2020. Here are my wee unreliable wretches ready to test out the new horde rules. 

Rules for hordes - playtest version below - will be part of the version 1.2 update that should be available soon (over the winter). The update will initially take the form of a supplementary pdf - free from myself, and hosted on the game's Facebook group. There will be no need for anyone who already owns the rules to pay for an update - the core rules remain in place, v.1.2 merely clarifies a few rules, and introduces a small number of rule amendments as well as new relics, traits, scenarios and sandbox rules for sieges.

The same updated content will then be incorporated fully into the existing rule book file. Everyone who has bought the rules as a pdf from Wargame Vault will get that updated file automatically. As a last stage the hardcopy rulebook on Amazon will be updated with the same. 


Horde units
Hordes represent a unique formation allowed only to Irregular Companies. The formation allows either six or eight companies to form a single unit in line formation, two companies deep.

Horde units may not change into other formations - they may change facing to their rear, or conform with enemies engaged only to a single flank but must otherwise remain as a horde block two companies deep.

Hordes stack their Resolve values like normal group units. Companies in the front of the unit gain a +1 additional charge bonus and +1 Melee modifier if fighting to their front. In addition, Horde companies gain +1 to any existing Shooting factors. 

Horde units are unruly but more nebulous than units in other formations. They may interpenetrate, or be interpenetrated by, friendly units following the usual conditions. However, both the horde and the unit they are interpenetrating suffer -1 Resolve for every company passed (or passing) through unless either unit has the ephemeral, fling and/or skirmishers traits.


In the example shown, unit A moves through unit B. Unit A suffrs -2 Resolve as it had to pass through two companies; unit B suffrs -4 Resolve as four companies passed through it.

Thursday 27 October 2022

Onesie Wearing Wasteland Weirdos - Foxy sniper

Continuing to gather together the onesie-wearing post-apocalyptic/sci-fi crew for This is Not a Test, we have Vixen, sporting a daring orange fox onesie and equipped with sniper rifle, wakizashi, flack vest and climbing gear.

Vixen was designed using Heroforge and then bought as an .stl file which I had printed by Crisis Actor Minis. I have bought from Steve at Crisis Actor before, so I knew the resin and print quality was going to be top-notch. However, as Steve warned me, it appears that polygon-count on Heroforge files is much lower than other 3D sculpts as you can see below (comparing Vixen with Bingo, scultped by Imitation of Life Miniatures). Given I wanted her printed at a reduced size as well, it meant that some of the detail in the final miniature was a little soft, but still more than adequate for my needs. 

Saturday 22 October 2022

28mm Fantastic Battles - Bacchae vs Swamp Orcs

This week Jim and I got in a game of Fantastic Battles using our bigger toys - 28mm armies on 60mm bases and a 6x4 table. I took my Baccahe out for another spin - actually there first pitched battle at full strength (1000 points), and Jim controlled an army of Swamp Orcs built from miniatures collected over 40 years and painted and based (or sabotted) as an Orctober project - possibly over the last two Orctobers...

The battlefield was littered with rough terrain fields, a swamp, and a couple of woods. I knew that Jim was taking the Ambush strategy, so weighted my left flank for some early game shenanigans in the woods - completely forgetting that the ambush could have been in the fields to my right. Thankfully, my hunch was correct, and a two-company elite unit of angry orcses popped up inside the woods, about 2.5bw in front of my waiting satyrs.

During mishaps, the orcs were clearly keeping bad company resulting in a couple of large units suffering from various orcy diseases. One unit of savage orcs on Jim's right were enthusiastic, but the rest of the line remained in place. While the bulk of the Bacchae were unimpaired by mishaps, my right wing was messed up when the elephant enthusiastically deployed forward, while all the other three units - yakshis, erotes goat chariots and leopards - were late.

The early battle saw action on the wings. To my left, my irregular satyrs took advantage of their forester trait to charge Jim's orc commandos who found themselves struggling in the woods. Pan added a curse (his fearsomeness) to further weaken the orcs, holding them up while the other Bacchae advanced.

On the flank, the elephant impetuously charged forward, leaving the flank commander - Eros, trying to hurry the supporting units forward in its wake.

The massed orcs were hampered somewhat by the terrain which slowed down their own advance. However, seeing my dryads move out into the open on their own (they were preparing to cast entangle in the next turn), Jim sent his chariot recklessly forward, taking the dryads in the flank while the spear-orcs advanced steadily.

However, that exposed the chariot's own flank which was charged by more satyrs; the dryads and the chariot were both destroyed in the initial clash. Meanwhile the maenads took on the spear-armed orcs. 

After being targeted by orcish artillery for several turns, the elephant charged in against the orc's giant. The elephant had already lost much of its resolve, but the dice gods favoured me (not for the last time) and its initial charge brought the giant down to just one Resolve from breaking. And the elephant was dispatched, it fell forward, causing a further hit on the giant which in turn fell backwards, squashing not a few of the orcs to it's rear. All very cinematic!

Back in the woods to my left, the savage orcs joined the battle in the broadleaf . We both rolled around 10 or eleven dice in the ensuing melee, but while I was blessed with five 6s, poor Jim rolled six 1s! The elite orc commandos scattered, while the satyrs remained in play. I don't know how I earned such favour from the dice gods, but I'm sure I'll be punished for it later...

The following turn saw the centaurs charge in to support the satyrs against the savage orcs, while my second unit of satyrs started to wheel in behind the line of orcs with spears.

Those spear-orcs and their maenad foes however fought each other to mutual destruction, leaving an open grassland between the satyrs and a large unit of orcish archers.

The satyrs quickly closed the gap to minimise losses in a shoot-out, while the centaurs and satyrs managed to break the savage orcs and prepared to meet the next green wave - this time orcs with heavy weapons.

But it was all too late for Jim's orcs. Over on the right, the combined power of yakshis. chariots and leopards managed to scatter the orcs opposing them bringing the orcish army to breaking point. It was a fun game with triumph and tragedy for both armies, but in the end, there were a few combats that when my way when I needed them too, and the Bacchae won the day.


Friday 21 October 2022

Faustus Furius - Pod Racing at Claymore

I've been sent a quick update from Aberdeen Wargames Club (previously posted about HERE) which they have said I can share. I love recieving feedback like this! I think you'll agree that they have done a smashing job!

We ran the [Faustus Furius] Pod Racing game at Edinburgh's Claymore show in August (pictured) and again at the Aberdeen Modellers' Exhibition in September. It proved very popular both times, every time a race started we gathered spectators and people asked to play in the next race.

At the Modellers' exhibition we were the only stand not displaying a "Do Not Touch" sign, in fact actively encouraging participants to move the models round the track, which went down very well!

Monday 17 October 2022

In the Wee Small Hours: Pattayavium by Night

Another missive from Mark in Thailand. This game of Song of Shadows and Dust was actually played over the summer, but I forgot to share it at the time!


Hi all

I set up another multi-thread game in Pattayavium, my Graeco-Roman trading outpost on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Siam. The action takes place at night, on the first full moon night of the summer solstice. 

Here are a couple of shots of the tabletop showing part of the town near the Battambang gate. It’s smaller than some previous games (only 900x900mm) so the various groups of players are more likely to cross each others paths, with more or less unpredictable (contingent dice driven) results.

The relatively open area at top L (of the first pic, mid R of the next pic) is a marketplace, but no business is happening at night and only a couple of stall awnings have been left standing, near the little cult shrine to Artemis (square thatched roof).

The building at top C (below) is the entrance wing and front garden of the luxurious villa of Evangelus. The other buildings are all more humble. The small wood & thatched structures are the houses of the towns poorest inhabitants, mostly immigrants from rural areas looking for the streets paved with gold.

And here is the cast of characters.
The photos are rubbish, sorry. In my defence, it was late at night (real time).

A religious procession, from one of the less reputable ecstatic cults that seem to flourish in these grossly permissive days. They include maenads (the most committed adherents), and other followers including a torchbearer, who retain some shred of respectability, and a priest (probably a hired actor or juggler). ⬇️

The Maenads are Q3 C2: Belligerent, Hard. All the others are Q4 C2. These folks are only civilians, but they’re under the influence (of something!) so a bit more brave tonight.

A gang of toughs, hired by a political candidate to advertise his campaign with appropriate graffiti around the town, and rough up any opponents they might encounter. ⬇️

Brasidas the gang leader is Q3 C3: Determined, Leader, Street fighter. His followers are Alketas, Evander, Luke, & Solon: all Q4 C3: Armed or Bludgeon, Bellicose or Grey.

A band of robbers, who have chosen tonight to do a break and enter job on the villa of a wealthy rice trader, Evangelus. ⬇️

The boss of this vile crew is Barabbas: Q3 C3: Armed, Hard, Leader, Streetfighter. The others (Marcellus, Nikias, Plautus, & Simeon) are Q4 C2: Armed, Streetfighter.

Evangelus’s household slaves, overseers etc. ⬇️ Who may or may not (wait and see) resist the robbers.

To make it easier to distinguish them from other civilians, I used ‘artisans’ (civilians carrying improvised weapons, implements etc). They are all civilians (see below).

The night watch patrol, comprising men from the Prefect’s Guard led by their Officer. ⬇️

Victor (the officer) is Q3 C3: Armed, Combat master, Leader, Steadfast. His patrol (Antiochus, Senex, & Teres) are Q4 C3: Armed, Javelins, Steadfast.

In addition there are a surprising number of civilians out on the streets tonight. Rolling home from a late-closing bar perhaps. Or just taking the air on this full moon night as the temperatures finally dip and a cool sea breeze picks up. Here are some of them. ⬇️ Actual numbers were determined by dice rolls.

All civilians are Q4 C2: Plebeian, Rabble.

Several other possible narratives were deleted as I pruned the game to a manageable size, including an assassin looking to hone his skills, a gang of arsonists, and a very hungry tiger from the hinterland.


The starting points and objectives of each group of players were:

The religious procession will enter from the S, pause to pay respects at the cult shrine of Artemis (Diana Venatrix) then go on their way down the main avenue and exit off the N table end. They are not aggressive but will actively resist anyone who gets in their way.

The gang of toughs will enter from the W, and must scrawl their political graffiti in at least five places, each at least 2L from any other. They’re not looking for trouble, but will beat up any partisans of their paymaster’s rival, and they are on bad terms with Barabbas & Co.

The gang of robbers will come on from the E, near the villa. They must launch an attack, overcome any resistance (not much is expected as Evangelus is absent, visiting his estates up-country), then loot the place and make their getaway.

Evangelus’s household start within the villa. They may or may not resist the robbers, and might even be tempted to join in.

The Night Watch will start in a randomly determined position but at least L from any other group above. They will react to trouble, but aren’t paid to get killed. Reinforcements are not available in game time, but civilians may possibly assist the Watch.

Civilians are distributed (numbers and locations) randomly. I moved them a bit, and added or subtracted numbers, as the game progressed and as I remembered to do so.

I also added two herds of feral pigs (the night scavenging team) and a few of the large jars used to dump human waste for collection. Because you never know.


It was a slow start with multiple early turnovers, no doubt caused by various players stumbling around in the dark (tho there is enough moonlight to see moving people, who aren’t lurking in the shadows, some distance away). Here is the position at the end of turn 2. ⬇️

⬆️ At bottom L, Barabbas and his robbers have broken into the villa garden through a side door, and so discarded their ladders. The household staff havn’t reacted yet. At upper R, over on the edge of the image, Brasidas (who can write) is painting the first of his teams political messages, implying that their paymaster’s opponent likes livestock a bit too much. Up by the top edge of the photo, the religious procession is in a standoff with the Watch patrol. However Victor will let them go on their way after a warning to keep it peaceful.

Turn 3, and things are starting to happen. ⬇️ The religious procession has reached the shrine and begun their rites (they’re mostly hidden behind the shrine roof). A couple of civilians are crossing the main road to take a look.

Brasidas and his gang are still sign-writing. How do you spell “ad bestias” anyway ? But a couple of busybody civilians have drawn their activity to the attention of the Watch. Luckily (for the gang) they were ignored. Move along please Sir. Nothing to see here. 

The larger civilian group further up the road has noticed the robbers making their forced entry, and is wondering what to do. Evangelus’s household are in much the same position. Initially 3 of them confront the intruders in the garden, the others consider their positions. But no-one (yet?) has overtly decided to join in the robbery.

During turn 4, the religious procession was fully immersed in its ecstatic ritual at the shrine. ⬇️ More civilians have come to take a look, but all may not be well. Notice the man next to the chicken thief (near the market awning). He’s shouting something at the worshippers, possibly derogatory.

Elsewhere, Brasidas and his crew of graffiti artists have ducked down a side alley, oblivious to their close shave with the Watch. Victor, the Watch officer, has continued leading his men along the Main Street and is now listening to some civilians from the larger group, who are telling him about nefarious activity around the back of Evangelus’s villa.

In the villa garden, Barabbas and his men quickly killed all three of the household first responders. The last was a gruesome kill. This resulted in one slave taking to his heels, but the other two passed their morale tests - amazingly. But it remains to be seen what they can do. The folks on the street outside - the Watch and civilians - saw and heard nothing of this in the darkness. A few shouts and screams perhaps. Could mean anything.

On turn 5 a nasty little scuffle began when the Maenads attacked the spectators who had been hurling insults at them. Brasidas began painting his second graffiti slogan (top L). The terrified survivors of Evangelus’s household rushed onto the street through the main gate, right into the arms of the Watch patrol. The patrol wasted no time going into the garden to see what was going on. ⬇️

⬆️ In the fight at the shrine, the civilians gave a good account of themselves. One Maenad, and another cult member, were killed, for no civilian losses. Following this, one civilian got cold feet and fled, one more joined the Civilian faction*, and the others backed warily away. 

* I ruled the 3 civilians who the Maenads originally had attacked now had a taste of blood and formed into their own ad-hoc anti-Maenad faction.

In the villa garden meanwhile, there was enough light for the Watch to recognise Nikias and Simeon (habitual criminals) who Barabbas had left on guard, and throw javelins at them. Nikias was wounded (knocked down).

This photo doesn’t show casualties, sorry.

Turn 6. At the shrine, the cultists went full ballistic when the Maenads were killed, and all the others attacked the civilians, including some who were backing away. Three were killed, for no more Cult losses. The surviving two civilians (the children and the chicken thief) kept backing off.⬇️

⬆️ But there are more civilians in the Main Street, who are close enough (1M) to have seen it all. What will they do?

Over in the villa garden, the Watch, aided by both household slaves, fought the robbers. ⬇️ I removed the orange trees a few turns ago, to access this confined area.

⬆️ It was rather one sided. Barabbas himself was brought down by Senex, with help from one of the slaves. Two other robbers, Nikias and Plautus, also fell. One Watchman, Antiochus, was knocked down. The surviving robbers (Marcellus and Simeon) fled through the postern door and disappeared.

Turn 7. The Cultists decide it’s time to move along. The survivors reform their procession and head up the Main Street towards the villa, which they must pass to make their exit from the table. Don’t know how they’re going to explain all the bodies in around the shrine though.

Brasidas leads his men through a small alley that comes out opposite the villa’s main gateway. He needs to paint at least 3 more messages tonight, and they’ll have to be on the villa side of the main road. 

Victor calls his men together in the villa garden, for a debrief and pep talk before continuing the patrol. The night is not over yet. Some kind of commotion seems to be happening in the Battambang market. 

Evangelus’s surviving household slaves are left to clean up the mess. Victor will send some people in the morning, to remove the heads of the robbers as evidence.

On turn 8 we get this. ⬇️ Purely through the mysterious workings of contingency dice rolls for each group.

⬆️ The Watch patrol is coming out of the villa gate just as the religious procession passes by, and also just as Brasidas and his boys come out of the alley and cross the road. All remaining civilians (there is a group at either end of the photo) are keeping their distance.

Turn 9: Initiative is with Victor, the Watch patrol officer. What will he do? And how will the cultists, and Brasidas & Co, react? 

He decides to take no action. The religious procession continues on its way to the table edge. They aren’t actually breaking any laws. The blood probably comes from their rather outré ecstatic rituals. Brasidas and his toughs likewise. Though they are acting a bit suspiciously, Victor knows this lot usually is hired by powerful backers, so better take a hands-off approach.

So, here are some final photos.

⬇️ Shows the bodies from the two melees (at the market, and in the villa garden*). The Watch are standing in the street outside the villa gate. Brasidas and his men are heading down the road along the near side of the villa.

* The garden shows only the dead robbers, not the dead slaves  because I forgot to put them back. D’oh.

⬇️ Another angle, also showing the religious procession as it heads off the table at R.

Obviously there will be questions to answer in the cold light of morning. Mainly the Prefect will be asking, and Victor will be answering. What are all the bodies in the Battambang market? And how come all this graffiti (attacking a political candidate I wish to see elected) has appeared mysteriously overnight? 

But it’s time for us to sleep now, the fun and excitement are over for tonight.