Tuesday 30 May 2023

Halfling Burghers - 28mm halfling army showcase for Fantastic Battles

Having finished up 1,000 points worth of 28mm halfling burghers for Fantastic Battles, I felt it was time to bring them all together in an army showcase. 

As I have painted up this army, the faction's backstory has started to emerge. Inspired as something of a ménage à trois between 15th-16th century Low Countries mercantile cities, War of the Roses unit types and nostalgia for early 1990s Games Workshop halflings, these lads (and lassies) hail from Beerenburg, a coastal mercantile city-state with an active foreign policy and an army ready to enforce aggressive negotiation techniques. 

Considering the militia racial trope (which reduces each unit's melee capability therefore their points value), this is a relatively small 1000 point army with a breakpoint of just 9. It does, however, have plenty of characters to aid in command and control, and most units a pretty resolute.

The army's characters. From left to right: the plague doctor/apothecary (being used here as a rogue), bar maid and bard (magic-users who will bless and empower respectively), the army warlord, and three captains.
The very wealthiest merchants in Beerenburg ride to war as mounted Burghers-at-arms to provide the army with at least one unit capable of responding to enemy attacks from the flanks or rear.

The plutocrats who run the city fight as a slow but resolute block of Burghers-at-Arms. Their heavy weapons - mostly a combination of warhammers and flails - also give them a bite worth remembering.

Different guild-units muster in the livery of the principal merchant companies. Here, skilled archers in the white and red of the Brewers' Guild.

More skilled archers in the blue and yellow of the Tailors' Guild.

The swordsmen sporting the yellow and green of the Cutlers' Guild are more fleet-of-foot than their bow-armed brethren and can serve as a ready reserve to plug holes in the front line.

The Alchemists' Guild in their red and black (to hide the burning and the blood) provide some more explosive long-range support to the main battle line.

Trailing in the wake of the army, and functioning as harrying skirmishers in battle, are the urchin slingers.

Less chipper camp followers manifest in the swarms of rats that are utilised as distractions on the battlefield.

The final piece of the Beerenburg puzzle is a giant mercenary to add that little bit more punch to the, largely, missile-armed halfling guilders.

Monday 29 May 2023

Famous Faces of Beerenburg, part 4

Riding at the head of the Beerenberg Expeditionary Force is the Burgher-meister, a leader elected by the burghers, from among the burgers to oversee external trade negotiations and hostile take-overs. Outside of the city walls, the Burgher-meister's word is final as he (or she) executes all business in the name of the city. 

Custom dictates that they manifest, as far as possible, the Three Pints standard of the city. Here the commander rides a black stallion representing the flag's field, and wears tankard-bronze armour. Like all Beereburgers, his helmet is topped with a plume of beer-foam white.

Project Beerenburg - Burghers-at-Arms

The final unit of Beerenberg's (initial 1,000 point) expeditionary force are the Burghers-at-Arms. These halflings represent the elite plutocracy of the city - merchants whose established wealth and power allow them the free time to train at arms. The three-company unit is based on the elite company profile with the militia racial trope and the doughty and heavy melee weapons traits. Although they will hit no harder than regular units of larger folk, their impressive Resolve will serve as a bulwark for the guild units to fight around.

Apart from the single Anvil Industries rat hidden among the long grass, all miniatures are from The Assault Group (TAG). The unit leader (purple bonnet) is from command pack, and the mounted musician is from the knight command pack. All the other figures use bodies from TAG's dwarvern foot knights, with halfling heads. I have to mention the excellent service from TAG who were really helpful when placing special orders like this. The standard is built from spare shields and green stuff.

Thursday 25 May 2023

Project Beerenburg - Culters' Guild Swordsmen

The next unit for my Fantastic Battles halfling burgher army are hard-bitten swordsmen from Beerenburg's Honourable Company of Cutlers. This two-company unit is based on the formed company profile with the militia racial trope and the fast trait. Dressed in the guild's green and yellow livery, the Cutlers may not hit hard, but they are reletively mobile and will serve as a ready reserve or to protect the flanks of their bow-armed colleagues.

As with my other guild units, this unit is predominantly composed of TAG halflings with a couple of Duncan Shadow 3D printed female halflings add variety.

Sunday 21 May 2023

Mythic Macedonians vs Roaming Romans - 10mm Fantastic Battles

This week saw a 1250 point game of Fantastic Battles take place down in Lisburn. My Classical Macedonians (pre-Philippic reforms) took on Rogers Early Imperial Romans. But for those of you who shudder with such blatant ahistoricality, fear not - we also had mythical units. So it was all totally legit. 😇

The armies deployed before mishaps: the Romans are deployed along the top, fielding a four-company legion and three-company units of praetorians and spear-armed auxiliaries, along with archers, scorpions and onagers for main line missile support. A two-company unit of slingers were sheltering in the woods to the Roman left (top right), some German cavalry were behind the woods on the opposite flank, and an ambush of Numidian light cavalry lead by a rogue were sitting on the Macedonian left flank (bottom left). Aside from the warlord, the army was led by three captains, three magic-users (one prophet and two summoners) and a rogue.

The Macedonians were led by their king supported by two captains and a magic-user (prophet). From left to right there were two three-company hoplite phalanxes, three-companies of mixed slingers and archers, a cyclops, a camp (two formed companies with the slow and shieldwall traits in tortoise formation), a six-company horde of unreliable highland levy, some Cretan archers, two two-company units of elite hetairoi cavalry, and two small units of peltasts and Illyrians. There was a small command of Thessalian cavalry with a company of sirens were led by a third captain on a flank march off table to the right. 

After mishaps, the reliable Romans suffered no ill effects, although both their German and Numidian cavalry units were late. Among the Macedonians, the skirmishing slingers and archers were late, turning up behind the hoplites, while the levy and Cretans were overly enthusiastic. The Illyrians and peltasts switched places, and the rear unit hetairoi were suffering from disease.  
The first turn saw the Macedonian king rally his hetairoi, while the Cretans and levy tried to withdraw from their advanced position under onager fire from the Roman centre. On the Macedonian right, the Illyrians and peltasts advanced through the woods.

The Romano-Numidian ambush advanced towards the rear of the Macedonian hoplites. The Macedonian skirmished advanced through the hoplites to get out of the way, while one hoplite phalanx and the cyclops turned to face the threat.

Arriving far earlier than expected, the Thessalian flank march also arrived in the first turn, causing the Roman left some consternation. The Romans used their drilled racial trope to start redressing their formation, shifting the big legion into column to advance, and starting to move the scorpions towards their left flank.

The Roman slingers withdrew into the woods to avoid the Thessalian cavalry, only to be charged by the Illyrians coming through the woods from the other direction. The Thessalians charged the Roman Auxiliaries who had changed into column so as not to be charged in the flank. Meanwhile, the forward unit of the Macedonian hetairoi thundered towards the auxiliaries newly exposed flank. The magic-user on the Roman left flank managed to summon a hydra which engaged with the sirens while the Roman praetorians advanced to put pressure on the Macedonian centre.

Back on the far left of the Macedonian lines, the Numidian cavalry were cornered between the cyclops and hoplites and promptly fled, taking their rogue leader with them.

The hoplites then turned to face the newly emerging threat from the German cavalry who had just circumvented the woods. The other hoplite phalanx moved up to cover the approach of the legion, screened by the Macedonian skirmishers.

In the centre, the praetorians and hetairoi clashed, while the levy turned themselves around to advance again, threatening the exposed praetorian flank.

The other unit of hetairoi charged into the auxiliaries, but not before they turned back to face the on-coming cavalry charge. The auxiliary shieldwall bristling with spears was too much for the Macedonian nobles and the hetairoi scattered, however, the distraction allowed the Thessalians to rally off their lost resolve, pinning the Romans in place. 

The hydra destroyed sirens and then moved on to support the auxiliaries against the Thessalians on the flank. The hoplites and legion closed in the centre, while the levy finally made contact with the praetorians. 

The Macedonian peltasts advancing on the praetorian's other flank was very surprised to find a basilisk summoned in their flank, quickly breaking and leaving a giant snake-filled hole in the formation on that flank. 

The Macedonian levy, despite their best effort to be rubbish, managed to score some breathtakingly good hits on the praetorian flank, causing havoc in the ranks of the Roman elite unit.

On the Macedonian left, the German cavalry engaged the Macedonian skirmishers, but were then charged by the cyclops in their flank. To their right, the hoplite-on-legion battle continued to grind on.

The skirmishers could not resist the Germans, but the cyclops gave the cavalry a major battering causing them the flee.

The Illyrians, fresh from scattering the Roman slingers in the woods emerged to charge the basilisk, the Thessalian horse managed to scatter the hydra, and the Macedonian king did his best to rally his failing hetairoi.

And the hoplites and legion continued to poke at each other... Beyond them, a newly summoned two-company unit of auxiliaries charged the Macedonian levy in the flank.

The basilisk broke the Illyrians and then moved on to hit the hetairoi unit in the flank. The battle was now hanging in the balance with both forces only a couple of companies away from their break point. The Macedonian king joined with the Cretan skirmishers to rush recklessly into the basilisk.

At that moment, the Roman praetorians finally succumbed to the pressure on their front and flank and scattered. The hetairoi could now turn to face the basilisk while the levy conformed with their new auxiliary foes.

And then the Thessalians and Roman auxiliaries on the far right finally fought themselves to mutual destruction. At the same time the Macedonian king with the Cretans and hetairoi dispatched the basilisk, bringing the Romans to breaking point.

This was an epic battle which could have gone either way. In the end, the Romans broke at 12/12, while the Macedonians were teetering at 13/16. The levy were only two resolve away from breaking and the hetairoi were also nearing break point - so it was very close. The Thessalians proved remarkably lucky to hold out so long on the flank, while the Macedonian commanders all made the most of their rhetoric training to roll remarkably well when rallying. It also helped that the Roman summoners failed something like five or six attempts to summon during the game. 

Tuesday 16 May 2023

Burrows & Badgers: The Dirty Paws (part 3?)

Having now played a few games of Burrows & Badgers, I wanted to pick up another couple of rogueish beasts to round out the Dirty Paws. I already had 10 miniatures painted up - the maximum warband size - but there's no accounting for casualties in a campaign, and this will allow more variety for pick up games too.

Hugo Hairtrigger, the black rat

Brother Malachy the Mad Monk, a stoat (I love his little tonsure!)

Monday 15 May 2023

Decapodian Royal Guard

Continuing on his quest, which is both brilliant and bizarre in equal measure, my lad has now completed his third sculpt - another Zoidberg! This time its a Decapodian Royal Guard. 

It would be awesome if he kept this up and created a warband for use in a game (TNT perhaps?), but I'm not sure that's his priority. 👀

Sunday 14 May 2023

Burrow & Badgers campaign - 4) Caught unawares in the wilds

After the tussle by the temple, the Dirty Paws stepped up their game and hounded the Special Animal Service through the wilds, eventually catching them for another open engagement. This time the Dirty Paws were aiming to assassinate the royalist leader and also bring down their toughest beast - conveniently, both of those paths led to Lady Briar. The SAS were looking to break the rogues by devistating their numbers.

Osgood the otter and Knut the squirrel, both skilled as melting into the shadows were delpoyed forward in ambush, and as the two parties advanced, they started shooting their bows from their hidden position at the base of a tree. Basil the beaver led the charge for the SAS, soaking up arrows and acting as something of a meat-shield for his leader. who dashed past to try to get in an early kill against Sgian Dubh.

However, by leading from the front, Briar was quickly surrounded. While her armour and innate toughness kept her standing, wounds started to mount up.

The wounded Basil joined the fight, forcing the Dirty Paws to split their attack and gang up on two beasts at once. The wee nun, Sister Bridget moved up to start healing Briar, keeping the royalist leader in fine fighting form. Attempting to put a stop to this silliness, Seren the bat flew around the melee to start singeing the holy mouse with lightning bolts again.

Dafydd, wanting to prove his worth, ran around the try to distract Briar with his sling, just as the royal mine, Sniff and Martin joined the melee, directing their own attacks against Old Broc. In a flurry of skirts and fans, Gypsy got the better of Basil, dropping him to the ground, while Tibbot took out the wounded Sister Bridget with a well-aimed critical bow shot that would leave her horifically scarred. With her healer gone, and the rogues piling in, Lady Briar bottled it and ran, leaving the Dirty Paws victorious for a second time.

The post-battle exploration phase was a bit disappointing again after this match, but the Dirty Paws at least now have enough labour and materials to build both a chapel and a fletcher at their den.