Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Successful Sassanid Affair

My Early Macedonian Successors fought the Sassanids...

Mark B's Sassanids face my Greeks on very open terrain.

My skirmishers only got one dice, but what a beauty.
The enemy threw the same for their cohesion.  Sad.

The two armies jostling for position.

My skirmishers covering my left evade as best they can,
while on my right I send my cavalry to out flank the enemy.

This unit of skirmishers survived a charge by heavy cavalry and then by elephants.
Maybe there was some terrain after all.  
Repeatedly throwing 1's for Cohesion bought my army time.

My centre grinds on.
Its flanks protected by peltasts.

Briefly... both units of peltasts got mauled, 
but my cavalry came good.

And my Thracian peltasts miraculously dealt with the elephants.

But my pike won the day causing the Sassanid foot to flee.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Military Modelling Magazine 1971-1984

If I remember correctly my mum and dad bought me the first issue of Military Modelling magazine. By the time it had arrived in Australia I was well into my first year at High School so perhaps it was a reward for doing well in a test or something.  A standing order with the local newsagent supplied the magazine from then on, rather than my academic prowess.

In 1973 in one of those embarrassing teenage fits of madness I sold my collection only to start again in 1976.  By then I was in University and old enough to regret my loss.

Forty years later and good fortune smiles upon me and I have now an almost complete collection of MM from the first issue in January 1971 to December 1984.  Only June 1976 is missing.  I don't know why that is except I have a dim recollection that there had been some disruption due to industrial action in the UK.  It was just before Maggie Thatcher's time so maybe it was the real event that propelled her to power and confrontation with the unions.

1984 was a good year for me to stop getting MM.  Nothing like a relationship breakdown to cause a bit of reassessment of one's life.

Now my challenge is to get an index so I can make use of the magazines as many of the articles are still informative, inspiring and imaginative.

The missing issue.

In acknowledging my good fortune I would like to say thank you to Bill Roberts for donating a whole lot of wargaming stuff to the NWS and to my association with the NWS.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Battle for Singapore

When I had the good fortune to holiday in Singapore in late 2015 I decided I should read up on the campaign as I only knew generalities.

My local library supplied me with Peter Thompson's The Battle for Singapore.

It covers the whole of the Malaya campaign, from the prewar period to the final Japanese surrender after "the Great Miscalculation" (the post war Japanese Prime Minister, Shigeru Yoshida).  Lots of detail and personal recollections pulling no punches on either side.  The cast of characters was hard to keep track of, but gee, Gordon Bennett!  I often wondered why I heard that phrase as a swear word growing up and now I know.  Sadly, apparently not... Slang: Gordon Bennett

Dad always said how they were told the Japanese couldn't fly and all wore glasses and that the jungle was impenetrable.  Thank heavens he was deployed to North Africa and then Italy.

The Allies were out generalled by Yamashita.  Both sides suffered from hubris and arrogance and ultimately paid the price.  What impressed me was the sacrifice of the Chinese.  I knew they had suffered on the mainland, but didn't appreciate this "extermination" extended to the Chinese diaspora.

I enjoyed this book and it achieved my aim of plugging a gap in my knowledge.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Basic Impetus 2 - A Successful Thracian Affair

Last night at the club I had my first game with the new Basic Impetus rules.  This was against Andrew's Thracians and it was his second game with these rules.  I ran Early Macedonian Successor so it was an historical match-up.

End of Turn 1.  I had initiative (i.e. went first).
Terrain setup is different to Impetus as is deployment.
I had set up my Thracian light cavalry on my left  and then moved them right.  
I should have kept moving them.

End of Turn 2.  I again had initiative.
Some missile fire was now underway with mixed results.

Turn 3 and the Thracians had initiative which effectively gave them a double move.
Their elite cavalry has run into my peltasts.

Turn 4 and I had initiative and the double move.
This allowed my cavalry to counterattack.
Sadly they failed to follow up and were left exposed.

My centre heavy foot get into action.
I scored a lot of hits,
but was matched by Andrew's successful cohesion rolls.

Turn 5 and they had initiative.
However my flanks were holding firm and my centre...

Pike and long spear coming at ya!

Turn 6 and winning the initiative was icing on the cake.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Twin Saga

Yesterday Simon and I played two games of Saga back to back.  My Vikings against his Normans (occasionally disguised as Andalusians).  Just four points aside as I was rusty and this was Simon's first game(s) of Saga.

First up we did Clash of Warlords

I had success with my Hirdmen against some Norman Sergeants.

Although I ended up having to swap them out with some Bondi

But my Warlord had the ultimate success.

Then we tried the Sacred Ground scenario.
I seized the hill.

Some of my Bondi sneaked a look into the adjacent field.

While my Thralls attempted to put a few arrows into the enemy on their way to the wood.

Being on the hill was all very well, but I was not getting enough VPs.

My first attempt to capture the field was repulsed with heavy loss.

So in went my Warlord.

My other unit of Bondi entered the wood, but didn't attempt to evict the enemy.

My Warlord fought valiantly and died.

Both games were very successful and lots of fun.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bays to Chestnuts

Not only am I easily distracted, I also tend to work in fits and starts as the inspiration takes hold or slips away.  As part of my Austerlitz project I have a final unit of French dragoons to paint.  I decided that they would be the Empress Dragoons, Dragons de la Garde impĂ©riale to give them their proper title.  Figures were acquired.  Figures were cleaned up, assembled and undercoated and then put aside to gather dust.  Sad.

Then I was inspired by a horse painted by Paul Alba (it was posted to the Facebook group: The Napoleonic Wargamer  - this link.  WARNING It might not work as it is within the Facebook island of the Internet and the group is closed).  But this is the inspiring pic:

With eight horses almost finished (only have eleven in the unit) I decided to check up on the trumpters.  While doing so I found that Napoleon had ordered the Dragoons to be mounted on chestnuts.

"procure chestnuts"

Of course I had painted up bays...


A chestnut is a red(ish) horse with no black pigment. Chestnuts vary greatly, from pale with a light mane and tail (flaxen), to a deep burgundy that can be mistaken for black. Although there is great variation in this color, most chestnut horses will fall into the middle of this color spectrum and are easy to recognize. A chestnut will never have black legs or a black mane and tail. They can however have a mane and tail that is darker than their body even to the point of being “almost” black.
A bay is a red(ish) horse with a Black mane and tail and also black lower legs. They also have black "ear tips" meaning that the very tips of the ears will be black. The black areas of a bay horse are referred to a "points". The bay horse's body will be the same color as the chestnuts above and can vary to the same degree. Although the body color and amount of black will vary from horse to horse, at least some of the lower leg (pasterns) and mane and tail will be black in a bay. 
But now my Bays are Chestnuts

Next step is the horse furniture and then the troopers.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The King's Choice

The King's Choice is a wonderful portrayal of politics, diplomacy and leadership during the Nazi invasion of Norway.  There are only limited battle scenes and so I wouldn't really call it a war movie.

It is a long movie and in Norwegian and German with subtitles.  And as I impressed on the young ladies that accompanied us to see it, it was all true.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Greek Galleys a Go Go with Galleys and Galleons

Today Mark Woods and I tried out Galley and Galleons with 24 galleys aside, organized into three squadrons each.  Each squadron had a Royal Flagship (large polyreme Q4 C5), three Quinqueremes (Q4 C4) and either three or two Trihemolia (Q2 C2) or three or two Triremes (Q3 C3).  We used the rules as they were except that a differential applied in ramming if there was a difference in damage factors between the ships (i.e. an undamaged ship ramming a damaged ship would have a -1 benefit.  If the target had two damage this would give a -2 benefit.)  This turned out to be very effective and perhaps should just have been a max -1 in line with the factor that applies to the difference in combat factors.  But damaged ships would be much more susceptible to ramming or in their ability to ram ships that had lesser or no damage.  It also produced results as causing excess damage by ramming sinks the ship (my interpretation).

The fleet of Admiral Mikalis arranged before the fleet of Admiral Desaki

The galleys starting rowing cautiously towards each other

Seen from the right of Desaki's line.

And from the right of Mikalis

The centre squadrons were in action first with Mikalis' Quinqueremes getting in some long range shots from their catapults and other mounted engines of war.

A failed activation saves a Mikalis ship from a potential ram.
We had a number of these "events" and it lends well to the excitement of the game. 

Mikalis' ships get the first strike against the Desaki's centre, 
smashing a ship to bits

By now the centre is heavily engaged and one flank is also getting into action,
 but the other flank seems somewhat reticent.

A full on Yahtzee!
Both ships suffering oar damage.
Maybe head on rams should be more about oar rakes?

Note: The black dice (okay, dark blue) represent accrued damage.

The Desaki centre is shrinking or is that sinking?

The Desaki right are slow to get in position.
This is good as the opposing Mikalis ships have been very tardy.

But now they are approaching.

The ships on the other Desaki flank are maneuvering around the Mikalis ships.

The destruction of the Deskai centre continues.

Note: the coloured beads (or absence of) denote the different fleet squadrons.

One of the Mikalis ships is on fire.
The critical hit table might need a revision for ancient galleys.

The distant flank.
Mikalis ships still trying to get into line.

The Desaki's centre has been destroyed, 
just as they started to make some progress with their left
and even get their right into action.

The game played remarkably well.

I continue to be impressed by the Song of Blades and Heroes mechanics.  While 24 ships a side might be challenge, the game played without difficulty (except I could have done with a summary of the rules as they applied just to galleys as being an itinerant player I had to look up a number of things, not just because I'm a rules pedant, but I wanted to confirm I was basically playing the rules as written for future reference).

We didn't have any terrain (obviously), but one option would be to replace sunk (more accurately wrecked and/or floundering ships) with base sized makers that would then denote shallows or equivalent hazards.

Lots of fun and great to be able to use the stunning 1/600th scale models by Xyston.

Thanks Michael for the loan of your fleet, it did you proud!