Saturday, 18 January 2020

The ECW Portable Wargame

A few people have asked me about where they can download my ECW Portable Wargame rules. To be honest they've always been a bit sketchy and up in the air, with lots of notes scribbled on paper and some ideas just in my head. But I have now put together everything in a  readable, if not neatly formatted, manner, and they can be downloaded from my Google Drive:

ECW Portable Wargame v1.2
(I think that should work. It's actually the Google Doc in a read-only format. Once I'm happy with everything I'll replace it with a PDF.)

As with all of my rules I'm more than happy to receive comments and feedback.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Blockade Runner

John and I played Galleys & Galleons last night, with a couple of runs of the Blockade scenario from the book using the ships from this post. In both games the Spanish galleon Santa Susana has to run a blockade consisting of the English galleons Gloriana, Golden Leopard and their tender the Saucy Jack. It's a tricky one for the English, since the Santa Susana is a monster of a ship, but they do have an edge in quality, and the captain of the Gloriana has a few tricks up his sleeve.

John took the English in both games. In the first he struggled to bring his ships upwind in order to intercept the Santa Susana.

The Golden Leopard was shattered by a close-range broadside from the Santa Susana. The Gloriana struggled to catch up.

Eventually it was left to the plucky little Saucy Jack to pursue the Spanish monster, but with only a bow chaser able to engage it was going to be an uphill struggle. John conceded this one and let the Santa Susana escape.

We set the game up again, and this time the terrain included a maelstrom. It had little effect on the game in the end, but forced both sides to keep clear of one area of the board. I may try some more games with it in a position where it has more of an effect on things.

The Santa Susana had to negotiate a narrow strait between two islands, and the English raced to intercept her as she did so.

John managed to position ships in such a way that my options got fewer and fewer.

As it was, the Spanish galleon collided with the Saucy Jack, but both ships were undamaged.

Unfortunately the Santa Susana then collided with the Gloriana. Both ships were damaged, then a broadside from the English vessel killed the Spanish captain. With the Santa Susana influenced by the Gloriana's charismatic captain, its crew quality rolls collapsed, and it was unable to turn away from the shallows around one of the islands. Rocks ripped open its hull, and the Spanish galleon sank, to give John the win.

These games saw the debut of my cloth with its new sea texture made from oil pastels overlaid by a generous spray of sealant. I think it looks pretty good.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

HOTT 52 - Week 3 - Ceidonia vs The Necromancer

No 'winner stays on' for this week's game. Instead I got out the venerable Ceidonians, as well as my old and unloved Undead army. The latter hasn't been out of the box since we emigrated. There were still bits of packing paper on it.

Ceidonia defended. Their army was a core of spears and knights, backed up by archers covering one flank, and a steam-tank supported by a hero (Prince By-Tor) on the other.

The Necromancer's undead hordes. The army is mostly hordes, with a couple of riders, some vulture flyers, a spectral sneaker and a stand of archers. They are led by the Necromancer himself - a magician.

I have no idea who made the figures. They're an old-school 15mm army I picked up on a bring and buy many years ago. They need rebasing and tidying up, and pert of the reason I dragged them out was to see what needed to be done in that respect.

The battle took place at Willowdale, a valley between two gentle hills. Both armies sent a flanking force around the back of the valley.

The Necromancer's cavalry were soon outclassed by By-Tor and the steam tank, so the Necromancer entered the fray himself. This had a knock-on effect on the rest of the battle for both sides; the commanding Duke of Ceidonia was out of touch with his flanking force, so couldn't control it that easily, whilst the Necromancer could directly control his flanking force but at the expense of the rest of the army.

The Ceidonians pushed forward slowly in the centre. Their archers engaged some skeletal bowmen luring in the village of Willowdale.

Vultures fly out to harrass the Ceidonians as they close.

The Ceidonian spears contact the undead hordes.

In Willowdale the Ceidonian archers defeated their undead counterparts in hand-to-hand combat, securing their army's right flank and compromising the Necromancer's left.

Battle rages along the line. The Necromancer got a bad run of PIPs, forcing him to concentrate on the keeping the pressure up with his flank attack whilst ignoring the army's centre.

However the skeleton hordes were able to isolate and destroy some Ceidonian spears.

The remaining Ceidonian foot was undaunted, and slowly pushed the undead hordes back.

Prince By-Tor finished off the undead cavalry facing him, but the spectre was behind him, deciding whether to support The Necromancer with flank attacks, or make a run for the Ceidonian's ducal palace.

The Skeleton hordes were were whittled down bit by bit. The army was disappearing, and The Necromancer didn't have the PIPs to prevent it.

By-Tor attacked the spectre, but the result was unproductive - it fled closer to the Ceidonian stronghold.

The battle developed into a race against time. The Ceidonians hadn't got any elements that could catch the spectre before it reached the stronghold, but were destroying The Necromancer's force. As it was, with the spectre within attacking distance of the palace, the Duke of Ceidonia rode down one of the last of the skeletal hordes to break the Necromancer's army.

At first I thought the undead army was outclassed, but in fact it put up an excellent fight, let down by a few bad die rolls (the Necromancer rolling a '1' on his first bespelling attack being one of them, in case you were wondering why Prince By-Tor remained unensorcelled). I will certainly look at tidying up this army; a good generic undead force is the core of any set of HOTT armies.

This game is dedicated to Neil Peart (1952-2020)

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

It's Me!

A few days ago there was a brief discussion on a Facebook post I was following about people having 'personal figures'. That is, people who have an actual miniature of themselves.

Yesterday, when sorting out the armies for my next HOTT52 game, I found mine!

It was sculpted by Sebastian Rogers back in 2004 for the Berkeley HOTT competition that year. Only four figures were cast. Three were painted gold-, silver- and bronze- and former the basis of the first, second and third-place trophies. The original green was used for the last-place trophy. And one figure was left unpainted, and given to me, along with the mold. So as you can see, this is a strictly limited edition miniature.

And here's the figure. Obviously I painted it. I am depicted as the Godfather of HOTT,  wearing my comfy dressing-gown, holding a mug of cocoa and carrying a copy of the HOTT rules (the old v2.0 purple book as opposed to the more recent book with the black cover).

It's a 'heroic' 28mm - the base it's on is 40mm across because I use it as a 'Barker Marker' when I remember where it is.

And those of you who have met me will realise that it is also a rather 'heroic' depiction of my physique.

I no longer have the dressing-gown (although I still have one that's similar), and we gave up our evening cocoa a few years ago. But I still have my HOTT rules.

I can't remember who won the various trophies that year, so if any of you are reading this it would be great to know if you still have your Kaptain Kobold figure.

I do still have the mold, but have never used it.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

HOTT 52 - Week 2 - Swiss vs Camelot

I adopted a lazy 'winner stays on' approach for this week's reported HOTT game, and selected another army that was in the games room as an opponent. Closest to hand were Arthur's Knights of the Round Table. With the Swiss infantry being mostly warband this was going to be a bad matchup for them (much as they get against most of their historical opponents in DBA). Fortunately they defended, which gave them chance to dump a pile of nasty terrain on the table; a couple of steep hills and a village, plus once gentle hill in case they got lucky and had the chance to defend it. Arthur got the approach he wanted though, sending his knights off on the right flank against the fasy moving Swiss keils, and covering the centre himself with Lancelot, Merlin and his foot.

As defenders the Swiss deployed first, with their pikes in the centre, most of their faster infantry on their left and some foot deployed to sweep through the rocky hills and menace Arthur's left.

Opening moves. Camelot advanced on both sides of the village, whilst the Swissh pushed forward to try and stop Arthur's line from extending.

The Swiss occupied the village, splitting Arthur's army.

Merlin's magic caused some of the Swiss to fall back (you can see them retreating in the background) weakening their line ...

... as the knights charged. The Swiss actually held them

However a poor PIP roll didn't give them the counterstrike they needed and camelot kept up the pressure, detriying the Swiss light cavalry and some of their infantry. Some Swiss still skulked in the village, but plent of their infantry was outside it and Camelots finest were charging them again and again.

As his left flank collapsed the Swiss commander ordered the pikes forward, but once again his army wavered, and stood motionless as Arthur's men pressed their attack.

The Swiss in the village got their act together though, surging out to attack Lancelot and distract Merlin. Lancelot charged into the village smiting Swiss left, right and centre and driving them back.

Meanwhile the remaining knights were charging the Swiss pikes, and soon had the commander under attack. he held off attack after attack, but there were no troops avaiable to come to his aid.

Eventually he was overwhelmed by a charge supported by Merlin.

The Swiss lost this badly - they killed one element of Arthur's knights and lost 12AP of troops including their general. But to be fair an army bult around knights is their worst enemy.
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