Friday, 30 November 2018

25mm HOTT

Geoff and I played HOTT last night, using 25mm armies. I used my Dwarves in both games, whilst he used Dark Elves in the first and High Elves in the second.

I lost both games. In the first I got caught trying to deploy out of bad going and, whilst my Blade line put up a decent fight, the Knights on my flank couldn't hold off the Dark Elf Knights and Hero.

The second game was a lot closer. I had a strong hilltop position, and Geoff had to advance through and around some patches of rocky ground. His chariots (Knights) threatened my left, supported by a hero, but they were held off by an aggressive Blade counterattack, backed up by a threatening Behemoth and a Lurker (which destroyed the Hero after he unwisely took a shortcut through the rough). We traded elements elsewhere, but eventually one of Geoff's Spear elements destroyed my Behemoth, then worked round my flank to take out the Dwarven Artillery as well to give him the win.

There were pictures.

Dwarves vs Dark Elves

Those rollers are Knights, whilst the Dwarf guitarist is a Cleric.

Dwarves vs High Elves

Death of a Hero

The Dwarves Behemoth comes to a pointy end.

The winning combat.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Twilight of Divine Right

My copies of these two books arrived yesterday. 'Twilight of Divine Right' is an adaptation of 'Twilight of the Sun King', but pitched at the 30 Years War and English Civil War. It's a self-contained set of rules; the core mechanisms are the same as Sun-King, but it has its own chrome and troop-types. I've skimmed through the book, and it looks like the authors have made some attempt to clarify some of the areas of Sun-King that weren't that well explained. A surprisingly useful change is that the morale test factors are grouped by troop type, so there are fewer multi-clause modifiers involving cavalry and infantry exceptions to untangle. There are some odd layout errors though; in one case a short rules-section seems to have been inserted into the text for a longer section, making for a confusing flow. And I've found a few typos as well, the most serious of which is that the text for the -2 factor for having an enemy in the rear is simply a copy of the flank factor text.

The rules include two scenarios, for the 1622 Battle of Fleurus (a 30YW scenario featuring 'conventional' pike & shot units against experienced Spanish tercios), and the 1644 Battle of Cheriton. They also include a system for randomly generating ECW armies, which look adaptable to other rules and does a nice job of reflecting changing unit quality, equipment, experience and fighting styles.

The second book, 'By The Sword Divided' is a volume of ten scenarios for Twilight of Divine Right. It features the battles you'd expect - Naseby, Edgehill, Marston Moor and both Newburys - as well as a few later ones from Ireland and Scotland - Knocknanoss, Winwick Pass and Dunbar. I've read through them and the setups seem clear and the terrain achievable on even the most modest tabletop (a bugbear of mine is scenarios with terrain so complicated you'd pretty much need to create specific game-board for it). They also look easily adaptable to other rules.

If you've read this blog you'll know that I kind of have a love-hate relationship with the Twilight rules. They are a clever set with some great ideas, let down but not being half as clear as they could, and should, be. However even if I never get around to playing the actual game, these booklets are useful to me in their own right though, both in terms of the scenarios and simply because it's helpful to see how elements of a conflict are translated into actual rules.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018


I spent a couple of evening last week and over the weekend putting together a few more bases for my paper ECW armies.

I have very much resigned myself to the fact that the low granularity of the Portable Wargame won't allow me to differentiate between different pike/shot ratios. My One-Hour Wargame variant did allow for High Pike and High Shot units, as well as balanced Pike & Shot, but I can't tease it out in the PW. However it does allow me to do all-pike units, as well as all-shot. So here's some all-pike foot bases:

I already had all-shot bases; when I first started trying this period I had them as a specific unit type. In time they morphed into being a bastard hybrid of dragoons and commanded shot, up until now I've been running them as dragoons. Now they've come full-circle, and they are shot units.

So here are the three main types of foot: all-shot, mixed and all-pike.

And since my dragoons are now shot, I made some dragoons.

Finally, because there was space on the paper, I did a couple more bases of horse.

I've started looking at the Junior General figures with a view to doing a Scots Royalist and Covenanter force. I'm not quite sure where I'm going with that though; I will need to do a little bit of tweaking with the available figures in order to make them aesthetically compatible with my current troops.

I should say that I also played a few games over the weekend, and have fed a few tweaks back into the rules. A couple of the games made use of the pike units, which proved quite interesting.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Romans vs Huns

We played a big game of DBA last night - 48 elements per side, split into four commands. The armies were a Late Roman and opposing them a Hun/Ostrogoth alliance.

Peter took the Roman centre, Dave their left and I the right-wing cavalry. Gary ran the Ostrogths and Caesar the Huns.

Here's the Roman right.

Caesar's Huns consisted of two commands.

Gary's Ostrogoths were also two commands, one mostly mounted and the other mostly foot.

The Romans reorganised their right as the first wave of Huns moved in. The second Hun command was a little slow in supporting them.

The Huns attack! Peter's troops held; specifically his line of mighty cataphracts not only held, but destroyed a number of the Hun attackers.

As the Hun line thinned I brought up some of my heavy cavalry in support.

Caesar finally got his second command organised just as the first broke. They closed in on my troops.

Meanwhile on the other flank Dave had swung his Romans forward very rapidly, and the two infantry lines fought in some woods.

Caesar's first command had now completely disintegrated.

An aerial view of his second command approaching my troops. Already he had lost two elements to the Roman's archery, which was deadly accurate during this game.

The Ostrogoths pressed home another attack. Their cavalry was preparing to charge the main Roman line.

When it did, it swept all before it. Another push from the infantry broke the main Roman infantry command.

But it was too little, too late. Caesar's surviving Huns had attacked ...

... and were repulsed or held. Their losses mounted until the command broke.

The Romans pressed forward in a counter-attack. If they could catch the Huns before they could flee, and destroy a couple more elements then the entire army would break.

It broke.

Roman losses on the right were negligible. I don't think the Huns destroyed anything. Archery from the two elements I had on the extreme right accounted for at least four Hun elements. Caesar was ridiculously unlucky with his combat rolls. I didn't follow the other flank in detail, but the fighting there seemed closer, with the Ostrogoths getting an eventual breakthrough against the Romans giving them their one real success of the evening.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Standard Deviation

This evening I have mostly been experimenting with adding flags to my paper pike & shot units.

This approach seems the simplest - folding the flag in half as per normal, but leaving the bottom third unglued. This makes a 'pocket' which I can then slot over the middle rank of pikemen. The flag appears over the heads of the other two ranks whether the unit is viewed from the front or rear.

They seem to stay on fairly well without being glued. To be honest I'm not sure if this gains me much - am I really going to swap flags around on units for different games? I may just settle on a combination of flags I like the look of and fix them, even if it means, from time to time, a Royalist unit may end up fighting under the colours of a Parliamentarian regiment. Or vice versa.

Anyway, they look good, and really enhance the units.

I haven't quite worked out how to do the cavalry yet.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Newbury 1643

Another day, another scenario. This time I adapted the 1643 Battle of Newbury for my ECW Portable Wargame. I mostly used the same rules I did for the demo game on Saturday, but with one minor tweak to the shooting rules. I think what I have at the moment is working for me, so I'm quite happy.

Anyway, when I say I put together a scenario, this is what I mean. Sophisticated, eh?

The Royalists. I used a free deployment

Parliamentarian troops. The small hill is an objective - holding it makes your army harder to break.

The Royalists took the initiative, advancing their horse-heavy left flank, as well as making a rush for the hill.

The inevitable cavalry action on the flank.

The Royalists took the hill, but with their cavalry locked in combat on one side and the rest of their infantry failing to move up in support their position was tenuous. The Parliamentarians threw foot and artillery at their position.

The defenders held them off.

And now the supports moved up.

The Royalists polished off the opposing horse, but would take a turn or so to reorganise.

In the meantime the defenders of the hill were slowly whittled down and forced to flee, and Parliament took possession.

The Royalist commander is wounded and lost from the battle (in reality this was King Charles, but in game terms it's going to be someone more upfront, so we'll assume Rupert).

Parliament strengthened its hold on the hill.

And then night fell. The battle was inconclusive, with both sides having lost only two or three units. But the Royalists had lost their commander and Parliament held the hill, so I assumed the draw was slightly in Parliament's favour.

You'll notice the brown counters. I've modified firing in this version to make it slightly less effective - instead of a +1 for not moving, there's now a -1 if you do move. But all units which shoot, aside from artillery, get a single ammunition marker, which is expended when the unit fires to give it a +1. So each unit gets one good volley before, generally, close combat becomes the more viable option. Units can spend an activation to replenish their marker, however. I'm mostly happy with how it's working. In this game I allowed Trotter cavalry to use their marker to improve their close combat as well.
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