Tuesday 23 April 2024

ProjectSeleukid - Blitzkrieg Phalangites

Over the last couple of weeks I've been slowly plugging away at my first 28mm pike phalanx. These are 3D printed sculpts from Blitzkrieg Miniatures with 80mm metal pikes (sized to fit in the allocated storage box). I don't really enjoy painting large block units like this which is why I originally built a 6mm Seleukid army and was hesitant to do a Hellenistic project in this scale. However, having finished them, I think they do look good.

The sculpts are clean and well printed, although delivered with quite a few supports still in place. The detail on the linen cuirass is crisp, but overall the minis don't have the deep over-exaggerated cloth folds typical of ranges like Victrix (and that's a good thing - I don't like the deep cloth folds). 

There are four different heads/helmets - not including the command pack which has a fifth - and a little variety in the shield straps/baldrics, but the rest of the sculpt is identical throughout. This is really not a drama with massed pikemen.

My one issue with them is that the shields and the rest of the one-piece-print were printed in different resins. Once glued together (after painting), the undercoat came away from the inside of several of the shields with just the lightest of touch meaning the shields fell off. Not sure why that would happen, and having reapplied glue to the bare plastic/resin, they seem to have stuck better to the main figure.

In terms of scale, here we have a 1st Corps priest, Aventine command, Blitzkreig pikemen, converted Victrix Persians, and converted Perry Mahdists. The Blitzkrieg chaps are larger than 1st Corps, and scale well with Perrys. They are a tad smaller than Aventine and Victrix. 

Finally, here is my progress on ProjectSeleukid to date. I have some thorakitai, Cretans and Trallian slingers still to do for the infantry, and then all my mounted units except the camelry.

Sunday 21 April 2024

More mythic Macedonians vs rotten Romans - 10mm Fantastic Battles

My early Macedonians took on Roger's Early Imperial Romans in a hard-fought Fantastic Battles rematch recently down at Lisburn Gaming Club recently. The first time they met, the two armies were at 1250 points each. This time, we raised the points to 1,500, including a few mythic units on each side. The Romans had a breakpoint of 14, the Macedonians were up to 18.

The Romans (top) deployed with German cavalry and infantry on their right, stiffened by some minotaurs, soldi shieldwall units of auxiliary spearmen, legionaries, and praetorians holding the centre, with archers, slingers and a hydra holding their left. There were two batteries of onagers behind the main line, and as many captains and other characters as the coffers of Rome would allow.

The Macedonians deployed with Illyrian infantry, companion cavalry and Cretan archers on the left, two hoplite phalanxes in the centre led by Herakles (a character company), with skirmishers and the Macedonian tribal levy on the right, along with a camp (two-company formed unit in tortoise formation), a cyclopes and a flock of sirens. A unit of Thessalian cavalry and mercenary peltasts were sent on a flank march around the left flank.

Mishaps saw a few units enthusiastic - notably the unreliable Macedonian levy - and a couple late, but no units suffering from disease. A rare occurrence indeed.

The opening turns saw the onagers open fire on the exposed Macedonian levy, while the sirens made a dash for it up the Macedonian right flank. On the left, the Illyrians started towards the woods, but found them filled first with harpies, and then with Germans.

As the harpies flew over their heads to attack the Macedonian cavalry in the flank, the Illyrians turned to engage them in the rear, soon to be sandwiched between harpy bottoms and hairy whooping Germans.

The Romans used a prophesy dice to prevent the Thessalian flank march coming on in turn one, but they couldn't prevent them arriving in turn two, sweeping on with much flair and style.

The Roman slingers turned to pursue the Macedonian Sirens running up the side of the table.

After one pretty savage round of shooting, they charged in, the sirens turning to face.

Further along, the hydra attacked the Macedonian levy, pinning the entire horde in place.

Meanwhile the Germans on the far flank turned about and headed back towards the Thessalian flankers.

The messy combat by the woods on the Macedonian right got more hectic as a unit of Macedonian companions launched themselves into the fray, completing the harpy-Illyrian sandwich.

Both the harpies and the Illyrians broke and scattered under the pressure from the rear attacks, leaving the companion cavalry to counter charge the furious German infantry.

Minotaurs (Roman) and Cretans (Macedonian) both converged on the battle in the woods, while the heavy infantry in the centre started to close. 

The struggle between the levy and the hydra was all going a bit one way. With the levy's minimal attack dice, and the hydra's regeneration, the tribesmen were starting to get a bad feeling about all this.

The Romans launched a shower of flaming pigs (summoned by a magic-user) just in front of the Macedonian skirmishers.

Having dispatched the German Infantry, the Macedonian companions were them faced with the minotaurs. Despite having the support of the Cretans on the flank, the worn cavalry were not much of a challenge for the fresh monsters.

To the rear of the Roman lines, the Thessalians were pursuing the onagers and their crews, when the German cavalry were blinked into their rear to disrupt the fun.

The epic clash of heavy infantry started in the centre, but as everyone was fighting in a shieldwall, there would not be a huge deal of movement in this section of the battlefield.

The cyclops closed with the burning pigs, smashing them to a standstill, while the Macedonian levy teetered on the edge of breaking.

The sirens finally scattered the Roman slingers in combat, and tried to continue their flight up the right flank and into the cover of the nearby woods.

The minotaurs turned to scatter the Cretan archers on their flank while the second unit of companion cavalry started the wheel into the flank of the auxiliary spearmen. To the Roman rear, the Thessalians finished with the onagers and turned to confront the German cavalry head on, quickly showing the barbarians the best way to fight on horseback.

Casualties and broken units were beginning the stack up on both sides now. As the Macedonian levy was held together only by the Resolve of an attached character, other Macedonian units started to pull away the reduce the impact of the ripple of resolve loss that accompanies scattering units. The the Roman rear (again), the unit of sirens had finally made it into contact with the second battery of onagers, while the Roman auxiliary archers turned to face them.

The remaining companion cavalry crashed into the flank of the Roman auxiliaries, only to be blinked out of the way, and into the flank of their own hoplites. Into their rear came a column of minotaurs; not something you want to experience given the choice.

The companion cavalry turned to face the minotaurs to their rear, but were blinked beyond them into the woods before they had a chance to fight a full melee. Then a lot of units started to break on both sides, and it was all over. The Macedonian levy finally scattered. The sirens broke the onagers, and were in turn shot down by the Roman archers. The Roman auxiliaries, slowly worn down by the hoplite to their front, were charged in the rear by the Thessalian cavalry and they too scattered. 

By the end of the turn, both armies had reached their break point and the battle was decisively proclaimed a bloody draw. In other words, both warlords could return home and proclaim a glorious victory to their ignorant subjects. 

The Romans were plagued with some pretty mediocre rolls when it came to their magic users, but otherwise outfought the Macedonians in general. Their hydra did a particularly stellar job of holding up the huge horde unit of tribal levy all on its own. In the end, it was the Thessalian flank march which saved the Macedonian army from what could have been a pretty ignominious defeat.

Saturday 13 April 2024

Devilry Afoot - The Harrying scenario

This week, Andrew and I played a couple of games of Devilry Afoot, beginning with an adaptation of one of the 13 scenarios that will be in the book, 'The Harrying'. The scenario is normally set in the wilds between settlements, but I really wanted to use Andrew's cracking ruined city terrain. 

We started with four new characters:
  • Fr. Hans, the devout religious whose drunkenness is mitigated by his penitence. Fr. Hans was equipped with a lantern and holy item, and also carried a dagger hidden beneath his vestments.
  • Cpl Gruber, a sadistic veteran soldier who is now a skilled hunter, equipped with a dragon (horseman's pistol) and dagger.
  • Dr Crilly, the lustful scholar whose studies focus on law, demonology, and banned (but tasteful) French illustrated manuscripts. Dr Crilly carried a sword and lantern.
  • Goody Doyle, the pistol-armed gallant goodwife, renowned for being swift on her feet, but less well known for her sadistic tendencies.

For this scenario, a group of six innocents are fleeing from the destruction of their town trying to make it to safety. They start on one side of the table and must escape via a designated exit point. However, they are exhausted and their movements are therefore randomised (1/2 d10 per action). Four of them must exit the table for the scenario to be a success. There is a barghest in one corner, a group of outlaws in another, and the hunters deployed at the centre of a random edge. In our case, between the barghest and the innocents.

From previous experiences, we decided that the very fast moving barghest would be the greatest threat and so the first activation saw Goody Doyle move towards it and fire her pistol through a doorway. The shot landed, causing two wounds and giving the hunters first blood for the hunt. Easy. Maybe it would be all much simpler than we thought.

The outlaws activated next. Two of them rolled shoot actions, but while they were in line of sight, they were out of range, so their actions became 'attacks' and them menacingly moved towards the innocents . The third outlaw, with the matchlock, rolled a stalk action, and so just moved along with his gang.

The barghest had the next two activations, it used the first to leap through the door and lash out at Goody Doyle, but missed her. She counterattacked using her pistol as a club, but also missed. The hound's second action was to skulk back to the shadows of the wall. Goody Doyle again tried an opportunity attack, but again failed to land a blow.

Full of misplaced confidence, Dr Crilly ran into the fray, attacking the barghest from behind, but his lack of martial abilities made a mockery of his bravado and he failed to even hit the beast. At that point, Fr Hans demonstrated that the word of God is more powerful than any weapon. He deftly quoted a bible verse (something about many-headed angels), and the barghest fled down the alleyway and off the table. All still part of turn 1! Too easy.

Finishing the turn, Cpl Gruber ran to try to insert himself between the fleeing innocents and the outlaws who also moved again to get closer to their quarry.

Starting turn two, Gruber offloaded his dragon, killing the outlaw in the blue coat outright. The remaining outlaws all yelled out with intimidate actions, scattering the nearby innocents, most of whom ran back towards their deployment zone. Unhelpful.

As the other hunters tried to get back towards the scuffle with the outlaws, Gruber ran in with his dagger where he found himself outmatched, overcome and, promptly, out of action.

Crilly, Doyle and Fr Hans all tried to leg it back to protect the innocent, but there was now nothing stopping the outlaws from laying into the fleeing civilians.

The outlaw in green activated, intimidating the innocents, but leaving Doyle and Hans standing resolute. The outlaw in red rolled an shoot action and fired his matchlock, hitting Goody Doyle and taking her out of action. Suddenly, the odds were not looking quite so much in the hunter's favour.

Without stopping to consider which bit of the sword was for holding, Dr Crilly leapt into combat with the green outlaw, failing to hit, and being badly wounded in the ensuing opportunity attack. The third hunter was down, but all the civilians were still alive, so all was not lost.

Until it was. Fr Hans, rather than attempting to lure the outlaws on a merry game of chase away from the civilians, drew his dagger. He strode into the the outlaws full of fire and brazen with the belief that he carried out God's work. His barely breathing body was found slumped in an alleyway the next morning.

So that didn't go quite according to plan and ended with a total party kill.  In the post-game sequence, we found that Cpl Gruber failed to recover from his wounds and died soon after. Dr Crilly recovered with a nasty arm wound, hampering any chance for him to wield a two handed weapon. Fr Hans did recover fully, while Goody Doyle, appearing ok, was permanently weakened, reducing her future carrying capacity.  

The second game of the evening is better left unrecorded. Each running three characters, we set out to find a troll hoard. The troll found my characters first, and despite me carrying out shenanigans to interrupt Andrew's plans, his characters found the treasure and made off with the loot...

Sunday 7 April 2024

Turkish Delights (Part 2) - Troy

It was finding Tony Robinson's tales of the Trojan War (1986?) that really inspired my love of the classical world and started me on my journey as both an archaeologist and, I suppose, as a wargamer. Troy has always hovered on the edge of my hobby interests - often seeping into the centre, and I have built contemporary armies in three different scales in my time, 15mm Mycenaeans, 6mm Minoans, and most recently 28mm Trojans. Visiting the site really was going on pilgrimage, and getting to do it on a perfect day with the very finest of people (certainly in the top 5...) was truly amazing.

There are 10 layers at Troy - I-VIIa are Bronze Age, VIII is Hellenistic, IX is Roman, and X is Byzantine. Most noise is made about Troy VI which would be the best match for the Troy of the Iliad, but it is all very impressive.

Troy II
The grand entrance into the Troy II citadel.

A wee sally port(?) off to the left of the Troy II entrance.

Troy VI
Northeast bastion.

More fortifications!

Principal thoroughfare into the citadel.

Even more fortifications!

Troy IX
The little (but perfectly formed) theatre.

Also... the place is coming down with cats, tortoises and red squirrels!