Saturday, 28 January 2023

Ich bin ein Birlinn-er

I knocked off a little bit more painting today, and added some more ships to my Galleys & Galleons collection. These will be used as birlinns, which are galleys from the west coast of Scotland.

They're actually Viking ships I printed off years ago. I painted a couple of them back then - they can be seen in THIS POST - but the rest were pretty poor prints and have just sat in a box for six years.

Anyway, I tidied them up as best I could, painted the ones that needed painting, added oars to them and put them on nice bases. Obviously I can run them as Viking longships, but the birlinns are more in keeping with my other ships. And, to be fair, in their only game to date they were used as Japanese pirate ships.

They're about an inch long, in case you were wondering.

Here's a couple more I painted as ghost-ships back in the day. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Friday, 27 January 2023

More Lion Rampant

We played another game of Lion Rampant this week as it was popular last week and a couple of people who couldn't take part then wanted a go. Caesar set up a two-a-side Blood Feud scenario - he and Geoff ran Saxon warbands, the leader of one of which (Caesar's) was being hunted by Darren and I, playing the invading Normans. We won if we killed or routed Caesar's leader. They won is they could break our force before then.

Here's my Normans, set up and ready to go. Caesar didn't have enough figures for full 24pt warbands, so we played with reduced forces; each side had about 40pts. It didn't seem to harm the game.

My small warband - a couple of units of knights, and some archers.

The problem with the knights, of course, is that they are prone to the Wild Charge rule, which means that all the Saxons had to do was throw units in our path and force us to charge them, wearing down our strike-force. I sent one group of knights around the flank to try and avoid a frontal charge against a Saxon shield-wall.

On the other flank Darren went for an aggressive approach against Geoff's troops, charging his heavy cavalry forward.

It crashed into a group of Saxon heavy foot, and drove them back.

Meanwhile my flanking knights found themselves charging into woods in pursuit of some wily Saxon skirmishers. Amazingly the knights won the combat, forcing the skirmishers to fall back.

My knights were closing in on the warband containing Caesar's leader, but he was a craven coward, and fell back away from them, throwing other units in the way to force us to charge them.

Here's the craven dog, fleeing for his worthless Saxon life.

There followed a series of charges against the Saxons ...

... from both Darren and myself.

Gradually we whittled them down ...

... but the fighting wore down our knights as well. Caesar's leader still had a full-strength warband.

But now my leader was close enough to issue a challenge. Caesar's force was at half-strength, so its morale was wavering, and this left Caesar in a quandary - accept the challenge and risk losing the scenario on a roll of the die, or refuse it and have his remaining troops take a morale test and break.

He accepted. To be honest this was maybe not the best choice. For the Normans it was, but not for the Saxons ... not so much.

The dice spoke - the Normal leader won 2-0, and the Saxon leader was slain.

So a lot of fighting came down to a desperate 50/50 roll on the part of the Normans. It was the right thing for them to do - the knights were getting a bit fragile and a charge against a full-strength Saxon foot unit was not likely to end well. Caesar could have declined and his leader's unit would have probably held its ground; the odds of it doing that were better than the odds in the single-combat.

But a fun game once again, and thanks to Caesar for setting it all up.

(Apologies to Darren and Geoff who actually had a great fight going on the other flank which I pretty much neglected to photograph. To be fair my archers, who rained arrowy death down on a Saxon unit and were instrumental in breaking it, also failed to get photographed.)

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Wood Elf Debut

 My new Wood Elves were on the table after their photos-shoot, and the Pyrates were close to hand, so I set up a debut game for the Elves.

The Pyrates defended, and got a nice safe hill close to their base-line. How much use this would be against an army that could stand off and shoot remained to be seen, but it would give a good position for the artillery.

The Elves advanced. Their option of standing and waiting for the Pyrates to attack was a good one, but they chose not to take it.

(Normally when playing solo I play the best option, as I see it, for each side, but sometimes you get games like this where it's really in neither side's interest to advance. So I created a couple of tactical options for each army, then diced to see what they'd do.)

The Pyrates shuffled their line, moving their artillery so that it would get a better shot at the ent.

Whilst the Elves had gone for a proper attack, both sides had also opted to attack strongly on their left.

The Pyrates got off to a bad start when a PIP drought meant that they were unable to bring up their airboat to support their warband. The Elves shot down one element ...

... then detsroyed another in close combat.

On the other flank the Pyrates formed a strong line of warband in some brush, but the Elven archery scattered and destroyed them. PIPs were so poor here that neither side managed to deploy their lurkers.

The Elves advanced some more and took the Pyrate King's airboat under fire. Surprisingly it weathered volley after volley with no effect. A good job, as PIPs continued to be in short supply and he was stuck there for a while.

Once he got the airboat moving he did what any self-respecting airboat captain does; flew behind the enemy line to block recoils. The Pyrates brought up their outgunned musketeers to create some of these recoils.

The Elves turned their troops and drove back the airboat.

But soon things were looking tight for them as the two sides exchanged fire.

In teh centre the Elves had advanced to within range if the hill, only to see their ent driven back by fire from the Pyrates' cannon.

The Elves then charged the cannon - it's a straight kill if you can beat it in close combat - but were wiped out.

Thanks to blocking by the airboat and the sterling work of teh Pyrate artillerymen, the Elves had now lost a few elements, although the Pyrate losses meant that they were close to breaking as well.

The cannon saw off another group of Elven archers, their recoil blocked by the airboat.

The problem the Elves were having was that a lot of their force was bogged down in the brush on their left. Their commander shifted their attention to this group, and pushed forward; one more kill would see the Pyrates break.

But the Pyrate King was upon them, and a critical set of combats ensued. The cannon could shoot at the ent. The last of teh Pyrate warband had charged the Elven commander. And if either Elf element lost then they would recoiled into the airboat. If the Elves lost both combats then their army would break.

The ent resisted the artillery and the Elf commander destroyed the warband facing them. This saw the Pyrates break instead.

The Elves had won 14-8, but came close to losing 12-10. It was a tight game. The majority of their losses were caused by the artillery and blocked recoils from the airboat.

It's nice when an army wins its first game.

Army Showcase - Wood Elves

My 'Do A Little Bit Of Painting Every Day' resolution resolution continues to pay off. Whilst it is directionless - I'm not painting towards any goal - it does allow for sustained effort in a particular direction, and that's seen me complete a new HOTT army.

These Wood Elves were based up and undercoated ten years ago*, and have sat like that ever since. A little bit of work each day for a week has seen them completed. 

It's not an exciting army. At present I have 28AP of troops - 9 x Shooters (including the general) 2 x Lurkers and 2 x Behemoth (the Ents). Here they are:

The colour palette is fairly muted and does get lost a little against the bases but, as my wife says, that's kind of the point.

The shooters, led by the general.

The lurkers, making use of some of my cheap and cheerful sponge trees which I made back in 1989.

The elves are from Peter Pig. I'm not sure who made these Ents, which I confess look a lot better painted than they did as bare lead.

I'm sure that in a box somewhere I have odd figures which could be used to add some kind of hero or magician element to the army, and I'd like to add some beasts as well once I find something suitable that's not already been absorbed into my Palaeo Diet collection.

Anyway, my directionless painting strategy appears to be paying off. I think I've already painted more this year than I managed in the whole of last year.

*This is not a record. Long-time readers of the blog will remember this post in which I showcased an army that had taken me fourteen years to complete.

Monday, 23 January 2023

Ceidonians vs Pyrates

I played another game with the Ceidonians the other day. This time they were facing the Pyrates.

The Pyrates have a ton of warband, which is good news for the Ceidonian knights and behemoth, but also have an airboat, some shooter and artillery, so are not necessarily a pushover.

I switched the Ceidonians to five knights, two spears, two hordes, the behemoth and the hero. The Ceidonians defended.

The Pyrates massed their warband on the one flank for a flanking move through the hordes and into the wood. The Ceidonians responded by switching the behemoth and hero to that flank, as well as swinging the knights across (risking fire from the Pyrates' cannon)

The Pyrates crashed into the hordes.

Some of them had been diverted by the Ceidonian knights in the centre, though.

The Ceidonians' knight-wedge was pushed back by a band of cut-throats, and then destroyed by fire from the cannon.

There was action everywhere now.

The Ceidonians lost a knightto warband! This was not going well.

On the other flank their knights were obliged to charge some Pyrate musketeers,

The results were inevitable.

The Ceidonians started to get their act together, taking out one band of Pyrate warband.

The giant accounted for some more, before teaming up with the hero to take out another group.

The Pyrate musketeers shot down some of the Ceidonian spearmen, but it wasn't enough. The Pyrates lost 13-10


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