Tuesday, 13 October 2020

The Ghost And The Darkness

 This is another HOTT piece from the original Stronghold. My only contribution has been my usual light editorial hand. The lists are based on the 1996 film of the same name.

Army Lists for 'Hordes of the Things'
by 'heath'

In 1898, two extraordinary lions went on a man-eating rampage that claimed over 130 lives. Nothing like this had happened before and it hasn't happened since. These two seemingly invincible beasts brought Britain's plans for an East African railway to a dead halt and literally stopped the greatest colonial empire on earth from one of its grandest engineering feats, absolutely cold. A bridge-building engineer, John Patterson, aided by an acclaimed wild game hunter, Remington, set out to find and kill these demons that the African's called "shaitaini" or "Devils of the Night." These two unbelievably cunning lions, "The Ghost" and "The Darkness," set their sights on the two men who were hunting them. Despite rivalry and animosity, the two men must trust each other with their lives to vanquish the two fearless man-eaters and prevent their frightened basecamp at Tsavo fromfulfilling its Swahili namesake--"A Place of Slaughter."

The “Ghost and the Darkness”

Stronghold: A cave full of bones

God (Male lion, 'The Ghost') @ 4AP1
God (Female lion, 'The Darkness') @ 4AP1
Beasts(Pairs of lions rules over by The Ghost and The Darkness) @ 2AP8

Special army rules:
Both gods can be deployed for 6 PIPs, but only a single one leaves the battlefield if a '1' is rolled. A god that has left the field may be returned by a subsequent expenditure of 6 PIPs. The army has no general's element. However no element in it is counted as being out of command.

The Army of John Patterson

Stronghold: A train carriage on tracks surrounded by tents

Hero general (British railway engineer John Patterson, and wife) @ 4AP1
Hero (Remington the hunter) @ 4AP1
Magician (Local witchdoctor and tribal council) @ 4AP1
Blade (The lion killer warrior, native assistant to Patterson) @ 2AP1
Shooters (Remington’s bearers, armed with rifles) @ 6AP3
Hordes (Imported Indian and local African railway workers) @ 4AP4

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Frocktober 2020 - Part 1

Yes, it's that time of year again. The time of year when I wear more dresses than I normally do (and that's saying something), post lots of pictures and actively encourage you all to donate to FROCKTOBER!

So what is Frocktober? Well, here in Australia it's an annual charity event where those of us who like to wear a nice dress from time to time put them on, show them off and encourage people to contribute money to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. Ovarian cancer is a gynecological cancer that's particularly hard to detect, and the foundation's researches are focused very much on making detection easier. Because early detection makes the likelihood of an effective treatment higher. And effective treatment is what we want; an Australian woman dies of ovarian cancer every eight hours.

The hardcore Frocktober participants will wear a different outfit on each of the 31 days of October. Some even do themed challenges. If you're on Instagram or Twitter you can follow the hashtags #Frocktober2020 or simply #Frocktober and see what they're up to. My goals are more modest. Wearing a frock every day for 31 days isn't really viable for me, so once again I have set myself the challenge of at least ten frocks during the course of the month. In my previous two years of direct fund-raising I have managed over $1000 and worn 24 different frocks.

Once again my wife, daughter and I have formed a team, and once again it's called IT HAS POCKETS

On to the frocks so far.

Frock One - This year's Frocktober is sponsored by Little party Dress, so all participants gout a voucher to spend with them I got a couple of dresses from them, which will both feature this year. This one was my boldest choice; I love a bit of colour or a good print, but not normally this excessive. 

Not only eye-catching, but ... It Has Pockets

Frock Two - I wore this earlier this year, but it seemed a perfect choice for a high-tea with the family up in Sydney. A parasol and gloves were essential for that Sunday Promenade In The Park look.

Catherine, Maya and I all made the effort.

And the high-tea was lovely.

Frock Three - Something more restrained after my colourful start.

Frock Four - Regulars will know that this is my favourite style of dress. I have a lot of these. This is the first to appear in this year's Frocktober, but certainly won't be the last.

Finally here's a picture of Maya in one of her dresses from last week, being wheeled around Bunnings (our local big hardware chain) by my wife. Apparently a broken arm means that she can't walk  ...

There will now be a short intermission as we head off on holiday for a couple of weeks ...

But don't forget ...  IT HAS POCKETS


Friday, 9 October 2020

Rommel's Return

We tried Rommel again last night, for the first time in ages. Got about halfway through the scenario, which I think was probably a touch large for an evening's game, especially since we were rusty with the rules.

Any way we had a foece of Americans - two infantry regiments and a cavalry regiment - defending a series of town and hamlets against a large German counter-attack with tons of armour. We had armour appearing as reinforcements.

Here's the board - a standard 96 squares.

Initial positions.

We used 15mm figures - two tanks/infantry bases per unit. This filled the board up nicely, albeit that it created a Flames of War car-park look to things. But I felt that was OK give Rommel's more abstract, higher command level approach.

Caesar and I played the Americans, Dave and Peter the Germans. This was our armour rushing into action and then getting totally cut off and surrounded because we were a couple of dills.

By the end of the evening we had lost one of the five objectives, and had lost most of our armoured troops. so it was going to boil down to us feeding infantry into the remaining objectives and forcing a meat-grinder battle until the end of the day. The town at the very edge of the German's deployment area we held until the end, using tactics and support to thwart every German assault and, apparently drain the German's infantry of strength.

It was good to try Rommel again; we think that next time we'll try a smaller game, though.

Thanks to Peter for organising the game and providing the troops.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

HOTT 52 - Week 41 - Sundiata vs Prester John

This week's game features two legendary armies of medieval Africa, one historical and the other conjectural. It sees the forces of  heroic Malian king Sundiata attacking those of the mythical African ruler Prester John.

The armies arrayed for battle; Sundiata on the left and Prester John on the right.

The battle opened with Prester John unleashing his lurkers on the flank of the Malian archers. However the creatures were swiftly destroyed.

The two armies advanced; Prester John to get some recoil room and take the hill to his right and the Malians to pin their opponent's army whilst working some light cavalry arond its right flank. To the right of the picture you can see Prester John and a couple of elements of blades held in reserve against an attempt to turn the flank with cavalry.

On the Malian right their archers skirmished with Prester John's tribal warriors, whilst the two main battle-lines approached each other.

First contact!

Prester John's troops forced the Malians back, except where Sundiata was able to hold off the elephant.

On the Malian left their spears advanced into the enemy archery, whilst their centre continued to be pushed back. They lost an element of knights in the centre.

This enabled Prester John to flank the other group of knights and destroy them. The only problem was that in holding himself in reserve, Prester John had put himself out of command range of parts of his army, which now made it more difficult to direct.

However his archers didn't need any commands. They kept up a steady fire and destroyed one of the spear elements facing them.

And then the other.

The fighting moved into the woods, where tribal warriors cut down some Malian archers.

Ou on the Malian left their cavalry had been skirmishing with Prester John's reserve, to little effect. Prester John led his troops in an attack, and one of the groups of cavalry fled the field.

And that was it. In a methodical prcess Prester John's army had destroyed half of the Malian army to score a decisive victory. The Sundiata's Malians never really got into the fight, and only destroyed the lurkers at the start and a group of tribal warriors later on.

Coming Next! Can I continue HOTT 52 whilst I'm on holiday? Find out in a acouple of weeks ...

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

One Hour Wargames - Scenario 22 - Ambush

A double ambush! Firstly it's the actual scenario. and secondly I'm surprising you with the next installment of something I haven't done for four years; my project to play and document each of the thirty scenarios in One Hour Wargames, in order.

I had my Great Northern War figures out to fight anotehr Portabe Wargame, but decided to try my long-neglected OHW variant instead. And seeing as I was playing a One Hour Wargame I though ... why not. So here it is: Scenario 22.

A force of Russians are advancing on a Swedish fort. The defenders are outnumbered and seem to be doomed ...

But in the woods on the Russian left lurk more Swedes.

They attack, and the surprised Russians are too stunned to do anything.

In this scenario the ambushers basiclaly get three free turns. And that means that they can really pile on the damage. The Swedish cavalry broke a Russian infantry unit on Turn 2. Just on the right of the picture the Russian cavalry was under fire and taking hits. Only the lead Russian unit seemed immune to the attacks, surviving the main attack on its flank and supporting fire from the fort.

The Swedes pushed forward, and had destroyed or severely damaged half of the Russian units before their foes were allowed to react.

The Russians turned to fight, but even at this early stage it was obvious they weren't going to pull off a win. Their cavalry was destroyed, along with another infantry unit.

The survivors did their best - to win, only one unit had to survive; the Swedes needed to wipe them out for a victory. But they had taken too many hits for this to be viable.

Infantry supported by artillery did see off the Swedish cavalry - the only Russian success.

The last Russian unit disappears in the face of relentless Swedish attacks.

This was an easy win for the Swedes, who got some great combat results in their early turns, shattering their Russian foes beyond recovery. In these rules units can move and fire, albeit with some penaties, so the Swedes could keep attacking and shooting. To be fair it also meant that the Russians could turn to face and still shoot, so it worked both ways. 

Anyway, it was nice to progress a stilled project just a little.

Follow the rest of the scenario refights HERE

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