Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Mini Dragon Rampant

You know me; I like any miniatures game I can pretty much fit on a coffee table. So it was inevitable that, at some stage, I'd try to scale down Dragon Rampant. I've played it with HOTT elements a few times, so I kind of knew where I was going, but I wanted to see how small I could get a 'conventional' game down to. I have my reasons.

This was the playing area; 40cm x 80cm (an 8 x 12 50mm gridded cloth I made a couple of years ago to be exact). I randomised some terrain and positions.

And the forces? They were 24pts each, made up from the 18mm 3D prints; the Spectral Host and the soldiers of the Temples of Syrinx. But whilst each unit had either 12 or 6 strength points, as normal, I only used six or three figures to represent it, thus giving them a much smaller footprint and making the most of the smaller playing area. I also switched all distances to cm.

I ended up with the Bloodbath scenario, and decided to make it interesting by requiring both sides to have two quests, and also requiring all units to enter from their edge rather than being deployed on-table from the start. Here's the Spectral Host entering.

And the Temples of Syrinx.

The approach. The big monsters (gronks) and undead cavalry were both Heavy Riders, but the undead had the fear trait as well.

The Spectral Host grabbed the hills. Their foot were classed as Light for this game, so the uphill advantage would be useful.

The cavalry engaged, and the gronks fell back in fear.

The Syrinx archers gave the Spectral cavalry a tough time, and they were then charged by swordsmen and failed to countercharge.

Elsewhere the Syrinx Knight Commander was trying to pin down some slippery banshees.

Undead warband engaged the archers, driving them back from their defensive wall.

But the Syrinx forces were holding, and the Spectral Host was running out of steam, as its fragile units took more casualties. The warband failed to charge two turns in a row, and were wiped out by archery.

The spectral cavalry also fell, and it was left to the Wraith Lord himself to get stuck in. He was on a bit of a loser from the start, but did a reasonable job, wiping out the gronks and killing some swordsmen before falling to archery.

The foot on he hill ran soon afterwards, leaving the Spectral Host with a unit of foot and the banshees. Outnumbered and outgunned, I called the game at that point. The warriors of the Temples of Syrinx had achieved both of their quests and won the battle as well, to pick up a decisive victory.

This was a useful exercise as not only was it my third Six by Six Challenge game this month, but it also tested out the setup for and playability of Dragon Rampant at this size ready for a possible public outing at a boardgames event this weekend. I wanted a miniatures game I could fit into the area of a boardgame, and which was also as portable (since I may have to carry it around town). The light plastic figures are ideal, and a small cloth and a few preselected terrain pieces would be no effort to carry either. The only difficulty I found was tracking the actual losses, since each figure is two strength pints; there's an extra level of mental arithmetic required which I admit was an effort this late in the evening. On the day I may keep the units at full strength in terms of figures, and use stones to mark all hits, making the morale calculations easier. The aim is for people to possible rock up and have a play themselves, so anything which makes the game easier will be good.

6x6 - Game 3.5

Monday, 30 October 2017


After I played my first game of GEV in about 30 years I ended up reading a bit more about it online, and realised that not only had I never owned a copy of Ogre, but that I'd never played it either. So that weekend I fished around on the 'net and managed to find a copy of the rules, an image of the original map and images to make a full counter sheet. And I made my own copy of the game.

This evening was my first chance to play it.

I ran the basic Mk III Ogre scenario. Here it is.

And the defence - 20 points of infantry, plus four GEVs, four heavy thanks and four missile tanks. I deployed the GEVs and most of the heavy tanks as a forward defence in the centre, with the infantry as a second line ready to move in any direction, and the missile tanks as fire support in the rear.

The Ogre advanced and the first wave moved to meet it. I reserved fire with the Ogre's missiles; in retrospect a mistake.

The first attack; the defenders knocked out the Ogre's main battery, and one of the secondary batteries.

The Ogre fired its missiles, aiming to take out a couple of heavy tanks, but only got one. It was now being dogged by the armour, including GEVs hovering just out of reach, and coming under attack from the infantry. One heavy tank was overrun.

The defenders' attacks quickly eliminated the remaining secondary batteries, leaving the Ogre with no option but to press forward towards the command post and try to use AP batteries of an overrun on it. The defenders started to aim for the tracks.

The end - four hexes from the command post the Ogre was immobilised.

My tactics as the Ogre were probably unsound, and maybe I should have launched some direct attacks on the defenders from the start to whittle them down. As it was I was able to mob the Ogre and keep up a steady fire to remove first its fangs and the its feet.

Better luck next time ...

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

More Neil Thomas Pike & Shot

When I started my 6x6 Challenge I included 'Neil Thomas Pike & Shot' as an entry. And by this I meant the rules from his 'Wargaming: An Introduction', which I'd tried once last year and found intriguing. As it was I couldn't rouse myself to play them again, and in fact expanded the remit of the entry to include my massively modified version of his One Hour Pike and Shot rules.

However the other day I read through the rules again and, fired up by our game of Baroque the other day, decided to give them another go.

Once more I put my ECW paper armies on the table. I based them on the lists in his book, but created a table of random modifications to make the game a little more interesting. 

Parliament started with four units of average pike & shot, plus one elite unit, as well as three units of levy reiters. Their modifier was that they lost a unit of reiters, replaced with a piece of artillery, and that their elite unit could ignore its first morale test.

The Royalists had four units of pike & shot, two average and two elite, plus four units of chevaliers; again two average and two elite. One of their elite foot units was a late arrival and started off-table. 

The terrain was randomly generated, and left the Royalists behind a river, and Parliament flanked by a wood. Defending the river was a possibility for the Royalists, but with Parliament having superior firepower it didn't seem a safe option. 

The Parliamentarian foot.

The Royalists stacked their army to their right, ignoring the flank with the wood.

Crossing the stream.

The horse of both sides engaged, with the Parliamentarian foot firing their pistols.

The Royalist infantry came under fire as they advanced. With a better ratio of pike, they would be foolish to get into a shooting match, and were closing for melee instead.

The battle gets going in earnest, as Parliament keeps shooting and the Royalist horse charges.

The Royalists close.

The Parliamentarian horse broke quickly, and the Royalists pursued. But Parliament had allowed for this, stationing some foot in support of the horse. The Royalist cavaliers headed straight for them.

In the centre the Royalists got stuck in, but couldn't bring their melee superiority to bear.

The Royalist horse exploited their advantage, destroying Parliament's gun. The second unit of reiters routed as well. Parliament had lost three units and the Royalists none.

The melee in the centre grew more intense, with Parliament's one elite foot unit holding firm, and the other units fighting well too.

The turning point; in one turn, four Royalist units broke, as their infantry lost the fight in the centre, and their horse failed to make an impression on the foot on the flank.

A front and flank assault on a Parliamentarian pike and shot unit. A desperate struggle saw it hold, although it couldn't break the attacking horse.

The Royalists stood little chance against the solid Parliamentarian foot line.

They pressed the attack, though; a lucky break could still have swung the battle their way.

Parliament's finest continued to hold firm ...

... and a supporting flank attack gave Parliament the win.

The Royalists do seem up against it in this matchup. They have an edge in morale, which helps, and are certainly superior in horse, but are heavily outgunned, which put them at a disadvantage in the inevitable firefight at the start. Their edge in melee - more pike in their units - really doesn't count against other foot, owing to the way combat factors are calculated. So long as the Parliamentarian units have at least one pike stand in them, all of the foot stands fight with one dice, making the pike and the shot the same. Since the Royalists took casualties on the approach, they were actually disadvantaged even in melee. Add to this that Parliament has better army, on average, and there was obviously little the Royalists could do. The horse, was, of course, outstanding, but the pursuit rule makes them difficult to use effectively.

In a future game I would consider downgrading some of the Parliamentarian foot in order to make them more vulnerable.

But, there; at least I said 'future game'. I really want to like these rules; I think they have some interesting ideas. But a few things don't sit quite right, and I need to play some more before deciding what to do with them.

6x6 - Game 2.5

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Frocktober 2017

Warning! This post is going to contain a lots of frock pictures. But on the plus side, many of them won't have me in them.

Yes, once again it's that Frocktober time of year, and I'm using this blog to promote the annual fundraiser by the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation here in Australia.

Here's what they say:

Ovarian cancer is an insidious disease, often known as a “silent-killer” as symptoms are vague and often strike without warning. Unlike many other cancers there is no early detection test. Consequently ovarian cancer is often diagnosed in its late stages and only 20%-30% of women will survive beyond five years of diagnosis. In comparison, survival rates increase to 80-100% when ovarian cancer is detected and treated early.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation is Australia’s pre-eminent ovarian cancer research body. Our goal is to raise ovarian cancer awareness and vital funds for the development of an early detection test that will save women’s lives.

We receive no government funding and rely on the support of our community and business supporters to assist in driving our research forward.

The classic way to raise funds is to wear a dress every day in October. As I've said before, this isn't very practical for me, or for many other (regardless of gender). But this year my daughter decided to wear formal or cosplay outfits to her university classes on as many days as she could. So this year she gets top-billing in my annual Frocktober post. She has a page set up for donations, and I'd love for you to go there now and make a small (or not so small) contribution. Thank you. Here it is:

Maya's Frocktober Page

Now enjoy the pictures.

I think she still has a couple of outfits left in her for this coming week as well.

Maya gets top billing, but Mrs Kobold and I haven't been idle as well. A couple of weeks ago we headed out to the Southern Highlands (with Maya) looking awesome together:

Then today we went back to Goulburn because Catherine wanted to visit a second-hand book emporium there, and I wanted to go to the war memorial.

This is Goulburn's War Memorial. I blogged about it a few years ago.

And this is me browsing the Argyle Book Emporium.

I picked up a few goodies.

And this is just me.

As I say, Maya is probably good for a few more outfits, and I may have one more outing left in me this month as well, but I think this post has quite enough Frocktobering in it to convince you to donate. So here's that link again:

Maya - Frocktober 2017
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