Tuesday 31 January 2023

Project Beerenburg - Cry Havoc and unleash the rats of war!

The industry and commerce of urban life, and its associated dark alleys, sewers, and abundant refuse, creates the perfect environment for rats. The more enterprising urchins of Beerenburg apprentice themselves as rat-catchers and the best learn to bend the city's rats to their own devices. 

What better tool to unleash upon the flanks and rears of the enemies of the State? These rats will be used as irregular companies with the swarm, poison and emerge special rules in my burgher halfling army for Fantastic Battles.

The rats themselves are from Anvil Industries - the wee rat catcher is an old (1988) Citadel halfling.

Saturday 28 January 2023

10mm Fantastic Battles - Gargamesh vs the First Liche-Lord of the Admiralty

Roger and I came too (miniature) blows again this week for a Fantastic Battles match-up between his spooky pirates and my Ziggurat Dwarves. Even at 1000 points, both of us were fielding quite small armies with breakpoints of 8 for the spooks, and 10 for the dwarves.

During mishaps, both the dwarvern left and the corresponding ghostly right suffered delayed deployment. One phantom whale was over enthusiastic, while only one unit across the table - the single company of dwarvern highlanders - suffered from disease.

Both armies were hoping to play defensively and had far more artillery than is common - four dwarvern ballista batteries vs three ghostly cannon batteries. As the racial trope for the terrors of the deep is 'ephemeral' making them hard to target, and the cannon's ignored the dwarves' beautiful (and supposedly impervious) shieldwalls, I decided to pull out all the stops and quite literally fling the large unit of heavy weapon-wielding Ziggurat Guards forward into the ghostly line. The dwarvern sorcerer ran forward to take up position.

In a single turn, the guardsmen moved forward under orders; the djinn then cast blink, sending the forward again. Now all it needed was for one more initiative token to be drawn to allow my sorcerer to cast haste on the Ziggurat Guards to have them straight into combat.

Sadly the next initiative token went to the sea terrors who summoned a single unit of bilge rats to halt my advance! Of course the rats were easily dispatched in the melee phase, but then my guards were left exposed in point bank range of the ghostly buccaneer shot and the cannons. And surely as night follows day, so the pattern was to continue... 

I know it's a mouse, but it's pretty cute, so just pretend it's a rat...

The powerful shooting caused havoc on the guardsmen's resolve, drawing Gargamesh himself forward to try to rally them. Sadly, he was then to prove too tempting a target himself and things took a turn for the even worse when a sea giant was summoned close by...

On the dwarvern left, the red shield-bearers and their supporting magic carpets wheeled to face off against the ghostly giant zombie shark and some giant crabs, while on the right the blue shield-bearers tried to pin down the ghostly whales.

Despite one whale trying to be evasive and swim/float past their flanks, the blue shield-bearers made use of their drilled status to change formation and hit the whale in the flank.

The red shieldbearers were also coming to grips with their vicious foes on the left flank...

Gargamesh chose discretion over valour, and flew off to the left flank to recover, while the djinn then dealt with the sea giant by blinking him away from the guardsmen's flank and into the middle of a ballistae maelstrom where he subsequently fell. The blue shield-bearers reformed to take on their whale, while the second managed to make temporary contact with the highlanders (who promptly scattered). 

In the centre, the Ziggurat Guards were finally mowed down where they stood, while on the dwarvern right, the whales messed about. One whale disengaged from the Blues to allow ghost-ogre-pirates to charge the bristling shieldwall, while the other whale, having flattened the highlanders, floated on into Gargamesh and his lamassu.

The Reds on the left (coincidence - yes, actually, but still just made me smile...) destroyed the shark, only to come face to face with a new and even more vicious and shiny foe.

In the centre, where the Ziggurat guard stood and fell, the ghost pirates' liche-lord and his sea-hag mate had managed to summon another giant and a whole swarm of bilge rats...

Gargamesh paid the ultimate price for shepherding his people and fell in battle before the phantom whale causing a ripple of resolve loss across the entire dwarvern line. Then the sea giant got in on the flank of the Blues who were otherwise holding the right flank just fine. 

On what turned out to be the final round of an epic struggle, the red shield-bearers and their crustacious opponents fought each other to mutual destruction on the left.

On the right, the djinn and the over-confident whale did likewise.

But by that point it was all too late and despite their best efforts, the mounting losses proved too much for the Zuggurati who broke and fled.

This was a super interesting game with all sorts of sneakiness and shenanigans keeping us both on our toes. Although the seeds of the dwarvern defeat were sown when the Ziggurat Guards were flung forward, it needn't have turner out the way it did. Gargamesh would have reigned supreme if it wasn't for those ghostly magic-users and their pesky rats!

Sunday 22 January 2023

Project Beerenburg - Brewers' Guild Archers

Within mercantile cities like Beerenburg, the various merchant guilds hold a great deal of influence, effectively opperating self-regulating districts and electing the burghers who decide foreign policy. During times of war, each guild is called upon to provide guilder battalions - or pay for mercenaries to march in their place.

In Beerenburg, no guild is more powerful than the Honourable Company of Brewers; their battalions of archer, bedecked in the guild's iconic red and white, are staples of the city's militant ventures.

This three-company unit - built for Fantastic Battles as a formed company with the militia racial trope and skilled shooting trait - is made up predominantly of TAG halflings. These are joyous figures with a great range of different scults that are just packed with character - the halfling giving the two-finger salute is a favourite, but also the variety of sandwishes, apples on arrows and other appropriate accoutremonts. For the Brewer's Guild I put as many drinking references as possible into the unit (and a wee B on the shield of their standard).

The read of the figures are also awash with foodie goodness ranging from carrots and cheese, to grapes, raddishes, sausages, bread and pastries.

As well as the endemic rats from Anvil Miniatures, I also added two Duncan Shadow 3D printed female halflings (printed 17mm to the eye to make them more compatible). They are not a perfect match - their floofy fripperies are not quite a flouncy as the TAG halflings, and they are much slimmer in general - but they will hold the line just the same.

Saturday 14 January 2023

This is Not a Test - Keeping the Peace

Engagement eight of our This is Not a Test campaign saw the Flores Minor Ranger Corps venturing back into the northern greenbelt. There, while salvaging barter script from a ruined settlement, they came across an unknown warband approaching the settlement from the opposite direction.

Roger joined the campaign with a new Peace Keeper warband. While the FMRC (deployed along the lower edge of the table) are led by Sarge, a road marshal, Roger's Sons of Morpheus (deployed along the top) were led by Ice T, a hanging judge. The two crews are therefore very different in make-up. Roger's starting crew had the leader and three elites supported by three sacrificial lambs. To balance out 270+ difference in warband values, he took the 'Grin and win' and 'Really good luck' strategies as well as three further sacrificial lambs as supports.

The FMRC took up position with Buckshot, Frygga and Ogg on the right, Demo, Point, Snake-Eyes and Pup in the centre behind Hotshot, while Doc, Heavy and Sarge deployed on the left where they had sweeping views diagonally across the settlement.

Ice T and the swarm of sacrificial lambs deployed on Roger's left (opposite Backshot and the hillfolk), while his three elites deployed on the right. The hanging judge led the lambs forward but attracted a lot of fire for his troubles. Heavy, Doc and Sarge all fired away, causing a wound, but their shots otherwise pinging off his rock-hard abs.

In the centre of the settlement, Point and Hotshot were both taken out of action by Roger's quartermaster's minigun in a hail of lead, but then he and his backup both jammed their guns. Demo skulked up to lob a grenade but, again, the bogeys were too hard for it to have any impact.

Back in the scrub on the right, Buckshot tried unsuccessfully to take out Ice T with further shotgun fire, while the hillfolk took the fight to the sacrificial lambs. Over in the centre, Roger's crew were pinned down by a lot of fire so he took the nuclear option and started detonating the lambs. One took Ogg out with her, but otherwise there was a lot of noise but little impact. By the end of turn four, Roger's crew were reduced to less than half their starting number and he bottled, leaving the FMRC victorious.

In the post-match sequence, it turned out that all casualties were able to recover - except the sacrifical lambs of course. Ice T's crew all scored additional experience (from their 'Grin and win' strategy) and scrounged a huge pile of barterscript - half of it recovered from a toilet... 

For the FMRC, Point found tunnels that will allow him to act as a ranger for the next two engagements, while Buckshot found a COG Bunker. Despite his banged head, he managed to break in and 'redistribute' an actuated gauntlet - I'm sure that will come in handy!

Tuesday 10 January 2023

Famous Faces of Beerenburg, part 1

I'm please to be able to show off the first two characters for my Fantastic Battles Halfling burghers, a troubadour and a meister.

I will be using the this charming halfling bard/troubadour from The Assault Group (TAG) as one of the army's magic-users, dishing out plenty of empowering songs to embiggen the tiniest of of swords. Another Anvil Industries rat makes an appearance, this time though he's a white rat who can serve as a familiar (if required), enabling the troubadour to both move and cast in the same activation.

The second character is one of the city's meisters, or in this case, a meisterin. Bearing the Three Pints banner of Beerenburg, she will serve as one of the army captains. Her body is a plate armoured dwarf from TAG (more of those to come!), with the head of a Duncan Shadow 3D printed female halfling bedded in with some greenstuff hair. The banner pole is steel rod with a TAG halfling hand and chicken/aquila - the flag itself was designed in Photoshop and printed out.

Next up will be the first guild unit, so it may take a bit of time!

Friday 6 January 2023

Project Beerenburg - Halfling Urchins Assemble

Kickstarting my new 28mm halfling army we have a two-company unit of urchin slingers. Every mercantile city-state needs them! In Fantastic Battles, these will be profiled as irregular companies with the 'shooting' and 'skirmisher' traits, along with the 'militia' racial trope. Not exactly what you'd call heavy hitters, but certainly a handy support unit.

I wanted to keep them very drab to contrast with the brightly coloured guild units, but not so drab as to leave them dull and boring. Hopefully they hit the spot. The fantastic urchin miniatures are from TTCombat and the wee black rat (ubiquitous in a trading city and the first of many in the army) is from Anvil Industries.

Thursday 5 January 2023

Ooohhh shiny...

With the release of Fantastic Battles version 1.2 I set out on a wee vanity project to produce a limited run of hardcover copies - identical to the softcover, but shinier!

I had them printed at a local printery that we'd use to print books and exhibitions for work. The quality is just lovely in the hand. There were only 20 copies produced; I will number them by hand before sending them out to the folk who have reserved a copy later this week.

Tuesday 3 January 2023

ProjectBeerenburg - 28mm Halfling Burghers

2023 is shaping up to be another year full of 28mm projects - still something I find strange and mildly intimidating. As well as my Napoleonic Württembergers and the onesie-wearing-wasteland-weirdos, I have also embarked on a new army for Fantastic Battles, the Halflings of Beerenburg. Not content with agricultural idylls, some halflings (including Beerenburgers) cluster together in merchantile city-republics where the merchant guilds increase their bargaining power with armed force.

Over the tail end of last year I started picking up a few bits and pieces, and with the largesse of Christmas, I now have around 800 points including heavily armoured burghers, guild units, urchins, rats and a giant as a decent starting point. There are a couple of 3d printed pieces still en route to flesh out the units, but as each is completed I'll run through the different manufacturers.

Sunday 1 January 2023

ProjectWürttemberg - Generalmajor Felix von Bruxelles

Having overcome a major psychological obstacle and completed the first battalion for my 28mm Württemberger brigade, it was only fair to reward myself with their commander, Generalmajor Felix von Bruxelles (sometimes von Bruzelles). Hopefully he inspires the rapid completion of the rest of his brigade in the coming weeks and months.

Sadly, I can find very little information on von Bruxelles himself. Before 1812 he was presumably the colonel of the 2nd Battalion of Light Infantry who bore his name. At the Battle of Borodino, he commanded the Württemberg Light Infantry (3rd) Brigade, part of the 25th Division in Marshal Ney's III Corps. 

I've no idea if he had brown hair, rode a black horse or stood near a scruffy white dog at any stage, but it all seems plausible. If you have anything more to add to that, please do let me know or point me in the right direction.

The general and horse are from Front Rank, scruffy pup from Magister Militum.