Wednesday 29 March 2017

Winning streak ends

It was a beautiful day yesterday until the rain started around 1500 hrs, but I was looking forward to my WAC bash at the club so even that did not dampen my spirits. It was another outing for the Thunderbolts but at a lowly 2,000 points, this army does not perform at its best at that level, I would think 3,000 is optimum but 2,500 is a fair number, so it was more like what I had to leave behind rather than what I would bring to the field.

I was up against Ryan's Seleucid's again and I found out how tough those big 32 man phalanx's were last time so I wanted an edge, I wanted veteran cohorts with heavy armour but had to settle for three normal cohorts with only one having heavy armour, still excellent fighters but numbers were against me if the combats turned into slogs. I backed them up with light cavalry, Lanciarii, Contarii and archers, I had points left so took a bolt shooter. Yes it looks like a siege engine to those of you with sharp eyes, but I bought the wrong ones and was not throwing them in the bin, besides they frighten people

My plan was to break the enemy flanks before taking on the pikemen, but I knew I might not get the time as Ryan would not be so cautious this time around. I won most of the initiative rolls in the first half of the game and as there was a nice hill to the front of Cohors I with the heavy armour I ran and took it, I then sent the auxiliaries and light cavalry forward to sort out the enemy left while holding my left and centre back.

 I had mixed results on my right, the cavalry fled but came back later, while the Lanciarii destroyed the slingers, but instead of then menacing the pike block they had to come back and help the horse archers with the javelinmen. On the left my bolt shooter was making life more than difficult for some Seleucid horse, and although they tried to ride the artillery down they failed and paid the price as my archers joined in to wipe them out. Time was running out and I noticed the two pike blocks make some slight adjustments to their lines, I had an idea Ryan was going try and flank Cohors I but it was a dodgy move if so, so I moved up Cohors II and charged Cohors I downhill. I didn't do well in the melee, although I won every time I could not do enough damage to cause a rout and Ryan kept making his morale throws and I was losing the numbers game. Cohors II was charged and although they bravely held for a few turns they were beat and fled. 

Over on the left it was time to throw in my Contarii, again they did well but couldn't break the enemy, and the loss of several men to archery beforehand meant they too would lose out in numbers. I began to regret not giving them bucklers. When the Contarii had been dispersed the bolt shooter and archers took over and destroyed the remaining victorious Seleucid horse. As we finished the last turn I had the Lanciarii poised to flank the troublesome pikes while Ryan's successful pike unit was too far away to intercede for a couple of moves at least, my horse archers had come good at last and routed the javelinmen. We called it a draw as neither of us had accomplished our objectives and the battle still had a long way to go.

A disgruntled Twelfth marched home. It had taken me too long to destroy the enemy flanks and I needed to put flank pressure on the pike blocks, they are also very tough for a normal cohort to break, not impossible but you need some luck. My heavy armour was a boon as I managed to save most of the hits on me however my boys were pathetic at converting hits to kills, even with hitting the pike block in the flank it would have been a close run thing to defeat it before the other came to the rescue. Our other two units glared at each other over a small marsh, Ryan couldn't get to me and I wasn't going to him. My bolt shooter was man of the match, I think it failed to hit only once and it was instrumental in the demise of the enemy cavalry. A good game and I look forward to the next one.

Elsewhere in the club, the monthly big D&D bash, Muskets and Tomahawks and a boardgame.

Grand Designs 2

Couldn't rest yesterday until I had finished this. I scrounged the civvies and the cart from my now defunct Dux B stuff, I also now realise that is another project in waiting, to rebase them all, cows, chickens, pigs, serfs etc. to fit my WAC base colours. So below is the finished villa, now I just have to find somewhere to put it.

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Grand Designs

To all intents and purposes that's the need to keep going with the Patricians over, I can now field a very decent 2500 point force with choices to push it towards 3,000. I have however got some more on the go, Legio Quinta Macedonica which I may use as Limitani if I need some cheap troops, but in all fairness many of the Limitani units were up to scratch and at times conscripted into the field armies as Psuedocomitatensis on a par with what we think of as regulars. I also have a mounted Equites unit in the drawer, I probably will not have to bring these guys to the field very often but they are cheaper, if not as fearsome, as the Huns and besides, I wanted the shield patterns. One more unit is on the wish list but it can wait.

I started on my Warbases villa not so long ago as you know, well I have gotten a bit further, I have now based the buildings on an MDF sheet, suitably painted with wallpaper paste so that it does not warp, will it work, who knows. I thought adding a spare tree would be a nice touch, I have some civilians I painted up for a previous game so I might pop a couple of them on as well in due course along with a Roman plough. At the moment I want to concentrate on the base.

Romans go home.

The lads at the club have pulled off a bit of a coup, there are several Sharp Practice 2 players with lovely armies and they had planned to go to a tournament organised by Wargames Illustrated, but said magazine has cancelled at the last moment. Unfazed the lads decided to hold their own in Grange-over-Sands and invited author Richard Clarke to come along, and fair play to the man he is venturing to the wilds of Cumbria at the weekend. I was asked to go along but it is not my cup of java however I am at a loose end so we will see.

A lot of small map projects completed this week and off to authors for their comments, on the horizon is a Napoleonic project and at some point back to the New World with something naval, until then I will be getting on with maps for a biography of Hugh Gough, 1st Viscount Gough.

Another beautiful day which will be topped off by a Roman vs Seleucid game at the club tonight, great stuff.

Sunday 26 March 2017

View From The Window

Beautiful sunny day although it is still sharply cold at this time, Mothers Day of course and I have already given my mother a thought or two and shortly will be preparing breakfast in bed for the mother of my warriors just to keep in the good books. Both cars are getting a wash and brush up today seeing as the weather is nice so I will have to venture outside and the missus wants to 'get in the garden' which means I shall find something to do elsewhere which will involve sitting down. I am going to be home alone for three weeks from next week so by the end of it the words bear and sorehead will likely be appropriate. A suicide in the village last week, a local man threw himself off the Crag which dominates the village, a sad thing indeed.

A desperate week with another 'not in the name of Islam' Islamic attack on innocents in London and the usual hand wringing and hindsight comments from every man and his dog. What we must not do is turn our land into a hideous fortress in an attempt to stop every nut from harming anyone, sadly our security forces cannot possibly stop the odd nutter with a car or knife hurting someone so the only thing we can do is not give in and begin to treat them like the enemy they are. Did you notice the self seeking lawyer who came up with the idea of suing ISIS, good luck with that one mate, but you got some free publicity.

Did you notice the fine upstanding words from the House that we were never going to give in to terrorism, did you like me then think it strange that those same people were eulogising a murdering terrorist as a man of peace a few days before? I keep reading that McGuinness only turned to peace when he saw that we were winning, well we have yet to see one IRA bullet, all their murdering zealots were given a get out of jail free card, while our troops can be legally hunted until they die of old age. Large numbers of men known to have a hand in some of the worst atrocities are walking free, I could go on and on, suffice to say I knew this outpouring of disgusting praise was coming but, like the great majority of Britons outside the Establishment, I am standing squarely with Norman Tebbitt.

McGuinness' real legacy.

While the murderer was getting all the praise poor Chuck Berry got a few footnotes as he passed away, a man in my mind who was a musical genius rather than a pop sensation like George Michael or a weirdo like David Bowie. Rock 'n Roll Chuck and thanks for the music.

I see that belatedly the media are now turning their sights on the bombings in Mosul, and shock, horror our bombs have been killing civilians as well, now how can we get out of this one, Russians bomb, war criminals, we bomb err................

What about something up beat I hear you say, well Oxford University now has a full time Diversity Officer, just in case someone wants to say something someone else will or might take offence at and to destroy the perpetrators future life.

I got a visit from a Tobacco Rep the other day, she just wanted to make sure that if I was selling cigs I knew all about the new unbranded packs being foisted on the cig companies. However the law does not carry over to tins or containers, so the cig people are now busily beavering away making tins which will carry a packet of fags with, yes, their brand on it. There has also been a big boom in the sale of the old fashioned cigarette holder since the governments 'war on tobacco'.

Now you know I am not a lover of having my meal presented to me on a slate, slab of wood or in a little wire prison, well this takes the entree, a restaurant in Plymouth has gone one better, you eat your food off the back of your hand in there. Now they don't even have to look around for cheap eastern European dish washers, the fools eat off their hands!

I have seen and heard quite a bit from Gina Miller recently, why? Quickly overtaking her in the must have a quote stakes or here's what I think sound bites is the husband of poor Jo Cox, Brendan, why would I want to listen to this touchy feely, love everyone, let them all in, hate Brexit, we're all doomed, nobody?

There is nothing so rewarding as seeing one of the 'up their own backsides' falling on it, Phillip Schofield, a revered TV presenter tweeted, big mistake Phil, that he was crossing Westminster Bridge in defiance of ISIS and in solidarity with the injured and dead. Yes his colleagues duly praised him while the rest of us ridiculed him mercilessly at every turn.

 That other national treasure Eamon Holmes and his wife did the same, it's a pity the sincerity went out the window as they took along a camera crew and photographer, just in case they were not recognised.

Saturday 25 March 2017

You wait ages for a Roman building then ......

A whole town comes along. I started on my Warbases Roman Villa the other day trying to be patient and not rush things, I have managed so far as this is now day three. I am also still waiting for the base material I ordered so I think it will be next week before it is complete, I want to add some little bits and pieces but hey can be ordered and scattered whenever, they are not essential. I decided as my villa would be around at the end of the period I like wargaming that it would not have the slabbed courtyard or pool, it would more likely be a working villa rather than something for a local absentee landlord. I also had to make my mind up whether to sand it up for the East or leave it with greenery for Europe, I decided it would get more use being European, so Europe is good for something, it's a joke.

I did fail to notice that there is a build your villa .pdf on the Warbases site, it should have been mentioned on the one piece of paper in the pack, but I managed to make only two mistakes with the build and one with the lovely mosaics supplied by David Bickley. Although you won't see the inside of the villa much in the large games I play it really is a treat to know the inside looks so good and of course I shall point this out when using it. I went overboard and ordered up Pantiles from a railway modelling shop, I needed three packs and they came to just short of £12, but they are a huge improvement over the flat mdf.

The next stage will be to paint the walls, I might get around to that on Sunday, I do not use thick plaster for my walls as most of it would probably end up over me rather than on the building, so I use a thickish paint and dip the brush into some sand, I like the finish, just enough stubble to hint at a coat of plaster.

I am hoping for some goodies from Royal Mail today, those extra figures I 'needed' and the bases for my buildings as I am also tarting up my WWII stuff, I know the troops are on the way but I am not so  sure about the bases.

Now, the town. I was directed to Warbases last night by a Facebook post, and lo and behold you can now build up a complete garrison town for your Roman army, there are barracks, shops, mansions and a gorgeous late Roman church, the only thing missing is the fortifications, a wall and towers. I of course wanted to buy several of the buildings, but uncharacteristicly I did wonder where I would put them, the villa is bigger than I thought and if you do garrison your cohorts you will need a big table. The mansion does however remain a possibility.

Oh, and I sat down to the Last Kingdom the other night while building the villa, and even though I am prepared to watch all sorts while painting or building I switched it off after about twenty minutes, the breaking point for me was the soppy, pathetic, "hope of the north" character. And another thing, there is a nunnery on the edge of the village and none of them look like Uhtred's religious lady.

I am really impressed with the camera on this iPad Mini, it manages to eliminate my need to take several pictures until I get one which is not blurred.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

The end of the tunnel gets further away

I have managed to finish my nomad Nobles a few days early and I am very pleased with the way they have turned out, when they were 90% complete I revisited them and started to stick on some of those extra bits that seemed a pain at the beginning but which now enhance the models.

Hun Nobles.

As the basing was sitting drying I dug out the warbands I wanted to re-arrrange and to my delight found that I did not need to buy any new figures as I had spares already painted and based on a nearby shelf, I have no idea why. I also had the bases for them, so within an hour I had the four warbands enlarged, based and ready to go. I am hoping the the re-basing might give the Franks a new lease of life.

Back, Franks and Welsh, front, Picts and Saxons.
This of course means I now have a lot of spare hobby time, so I went online today to order up some MDF bases for my terrain, six quid for half a dozen sheets but fifty-four pounds for postage! The next outfit took £5.45 for postage, I wonder if that was a mistake, however I did not want to take the chance. I then jumped in and ordered up another two Roman units, one infantry and one cavalry along with their shield transfers, I already have the infantry movement tray and can make one up for the cavalry. These units are extra in order to field 3,000+ points if needed and also to give me a bit more of a choice when constructing a force depending on the enemy, I hesitate to say that is it as I would also like to add a unit of Roman mounted bowmen, they are not required but I do like the look of them.

It looks like I might get around to building that Roman Villa in the next week or so. I have been inspired by some of the terrain pieces I saw at Snaith, instead of just plonking down a bit of carpet or whatever there were nice areas with small huts and pieces of fencing for broken or uneven terrain, they had enough room to move troops but visually the were very appealing. This will all happen soon if I can keep my hands off these new figures.

Hope for the Reich

We were going to be doing Dystopian Wars using Simon's huge collection but his Second Edition rulebook didn't turn up so we swapped for Bolt Action instead. I had hoped to play British as my main force in Bolt Action but that is not happening and more often than not I find myself on the Russian steppes in mid 1943, failing like the real Heer in holding back the Red Bear. I really am rubbish at WWII.

Anyway, I decided to use some of the vehicles which never get a look in so I took three squads of infantry, a sniper, two MMG's, a motorcycle combination, a SdKfz 250/1 and a SdKfz 7/1 with a quadruple flak mounted on the back end, this left panzerfausts as the only anti-tank weapons for my grenadiers. My plan was, as before, to kill the Soviet infantry with massive firepower.

We had three objectives to capture, Simon sat a sniper on one, a house within his half of the table while the other flank objective looked like a shoe in for me, the mid objective on the road junction was going to be a struggle. I decided to send a squad to the house supported by the 7/1 which I hoped would destroy any infantry in its path, the rest of my troops hugged centre right, they hugged it even more when a KV1 trundled along the road. The tank sat near the middle objective for the rest of the game, however it cannot hold it as that can only be done by infantry, and artillery as we found out later.

 I had the right flank objective well covered by machine guns and advanced on the left, only to find that none of my men could hit a barn door, never mind kill it, even the quad was useless, I moved the squad up with the idea of assaulting the building and clearing out the sniper. Simon countered and shot them to pieces as 20mm shells went everywhere but into his men. I had the right flank objective and now moved everyone I could towards the centre, I managed to kill off a Russian squad and hit the tank with a couple of panzerfausts which sadly merely scratched the paint.

As my 7/1 was flak artillery it managed to contest the left hand objective, I also had a squad close enough to contest the centre which left me with the right hand prize and a win, although it didn't feel like a win. I did enjoy getting the vehicles on the table despite the fact only the 250/1 managed to do any damage and I certainly would consider them for support in the future, but with different dice, the panzerfausts are an excellent anti tank weapon and cannot be ignored by enemy armour.

The club was once again full, two boardgames, Sharpe Practice 2, Black Powder Napoleonics and a large Saga Cross and Crescent game. Next week is War and Conquest with the Twelfth taking on the Successors again.

The Soviets try to claim the road junction.

I take the right flank.

Bitter combat around the junction.
The photos once again are courtesy of Simon as I forgot my iPad and camera, I really am getting worse.

Monday 20 March 2017

Slaughter in Snaith

My journey to Snaith in Yorkshire yesterday was dismal, motorway most of the way and constant rain and murk, surprisingly when I actually got to Snaith it was fairly mild, but of course wet. Snaith itself looks nice and it still has five pubs which is refreshing these days.

The small get together was being hosted by Michael and Simon of 1st Corps and Curteys Figures who, like the rest of this small band of brothers enjoy War and Conquest and are happy to supply prizes for our gaming weekends.

Due to the numbers it was decided to stick to the Dark Ages, Simon borrowed my Saxons, Michael had Romano-British, Trevor and Jenny had Vikings and Phil brought late Saxons, I had dithered about which army to bring but eventually settled on the Patrician Romans. I had made up two lists, one contained the fearsome(?) bolt shooters and the other more command, I went for the command in the end as I thought my Auxilia Legion would need some help for morale tests.

My first battle was against Simon, he had decided to use the Early Saxons which are pretty much a one shot army, they get good benefits in the first round of combat but will generally lose a long slog. Once deployment was complete I looked across the table and immediately thought my cavalry were in for a tough time as they were opposed by slingers and archers who outnumbered the Huns, it looked like Plan A was out of the window. I decided to lead with the Goths, hold the centre and see what transpired on my right.

Saxons left, Patricians right.
Saxon left about to take some hurt, Goths slowly advancing.
 Very shortly Simons shooting had sent my left flank skirmishers to the rear and he had broken my second unit of archers on my right by charging them, however they ran, rallied and in melee began eventually to beat the javelinmen, this was guaranteed when the second unit of archers joined the fray. Meanwhile the Goths were making heavy going of the broken ground to their front while also suffering from missiles, so much that the General himself fell riddled by shafts, my Magister Militum also took several wounds. The Huns however managed to save most of their hits and began at last to make an impact on the slingers, my Bucellarii charged the annoying archers and ran them down, this caused the Saxon cavalry which had formed into skirmish to test and they too ran to be run down in their turn, Simon's left had disappeared, could my infantry hold until the return of the Bucellarii.

Forget the casualties in the bottom corner, the end for the Saxons.

The Goths cleared the terrain and smashed into their opposite numbers and quickly began to win the melee, now the rest of the Saxon infantry charged in. One Legion crumbled but the other two held firm and turned the tide on the enemy, within a turn only one Saxon unit was left untouched and the second was just about to be routed by the Goths, it was game over. Simon is an ancients player and he was unused to the way the Saxons fought and of all the Saxon choices the Early army is in my opinion the weakest.

My second game of the day was against Michael and his lovely Romano-British army. This time neither of the flanks looked like a good bet for my Bucellarii so I put them on the right and the Huns on the left, once again the infantry were to hold the centre, when the time was right I would throw the Goths in against the formidable battle line opposite me. My opening move was to send the Bucellarii to the left as Michael had Comitatus cavalry there and the Huns would not stand up to them. Within a short space I had destroyed all the British skirmish formations which meant on my right I could shoot with impunity into the enemy line and on my left I had two units unloading death on the Comitatus. Michael put his infantry into shieldwall, so I knew I had plenty of time to send the heavy cavalry to the left and if my archery did not finish the Comitatus my cavalry would.

The Bucellarii change course while the infantry lines look on.

Sure enough the Comitatus cavalry were dispersed, Michael now had no option but to come forward before my cavalry got behind him or on his flank, he did not fancy taking on the Goths but sent four other units into my Roman line. In War and Conquest because all these units overlapped it became one huge melee, the first time I have ever seen this on the table, the British failed to cause one casualty on my shieldwall while my boys dealt out ten. Michael needed snake eyes to stay in the fight, but they didn't turn up and most of his army turned and fled, once again it was game over.

Rome victorious.

With the loss of his skirmishers so early in the game Michael was on the back foot, especially where his cavalry was concerned, I was very careful to use the range of the bow to keep out of possible charge reach and even if he did I had enough room to get away, while the Bucellarii were riding to the rescue. To have almost forty attacks and not gain a single casualty was a cruel blow, I had lost three casualties during the whole battle.

Vikings vs Vikings.

Romano-British vs Late Saxons
Down to the wire game Vikings vs Late Saxons.
 And there you have it, another great day for the Patricians, I love this army, it is an army for all seasons, and I will add one more Legion and Roman cavalry unit when I finish my other jobs. It was also a good day of fun and wargame chat, Michael and Simon were excellent hosts, we all got some speciality figures when we turned up, I got a Romano-British general and his standard bearer and at the end of the day I was given a large unit pack of their new Picts for winning my two games. We even managed a couple of pints at the pub a short distance away, I think a beer and a chat is a perfect end to a day's wargaming.

Sunday 19 March 2017

View From The Window

It's early and it is a foul day, I have managed a bacon sarnie and am just about to load the Batmobile for my trip to darkest Yorkshire to play wargames, it's going to be a long day.

There are a few things on the list for this week but they will have to keep, I will say that letters are being prepared for Dictator of Scotland for Life Ms Sturgeon and the British Prime Minister to try and ensure if and when there is another ridiculous referendum I get a vote this time instead of being without a country for a day.

Normal service will be resumed in a week.

The real view.

Saturday 18 March 2017

Not a Happy Bunny

After several months of tribulations my main PC is back and has basically been renewed completely inside, and on the plus side it seems to be a bit faster than the old insides, yes they took off all my programmes but I have got most of them back, the important ones at least.

Three days ago my printer went duff, the print head for the black ink just wouldn't work, of course before I found this out I wasted another ink cartridge thinking, as you would, that it had run out of ink. No, it was duff, it simply refused every attempt of mine to make it print black. I bought a new one. I got it delivered the next day and during lunch I set it up and hit the Wireless Wizard so he could do his stuff.

Flashing lights and a warning that there was a printer problem was the result of the Wiz's efforts, the printer just refused to go any further. I got Hewlett Packard on chat, which I think is great by the way, and a nice girl called Maria took control and after an hour and a half still hadn't got the printer to work Wireless. I told her it works with the USB cable so stuff the Wireless I was going back to the future, she wanted to keep trying but I was losing the will to live, so I thanked her and off I went. You ever notice that the Wizards employed by all these programmes wouldn't get past the gates of Hogwarts.

This morning I was about to send some maps off to the publisher when I was notified that the files were corrupt, I checked the other folders and they are all OK, only the one set of maps had been eaten up and thankfully they are not complicated but I will still have to do them again. So I now have a quandary, is it just those files that the Gremlins ate or is it the drive, I checked the drive, or got the computer to do it and it said everything was Jim Dandy, but it isn't obviously. I now have to put a couple of hours aside to redo these maps, as I said, not a happy bunny.

I march at dawn tomorrow morning, or dawnish as I travel over to Yorkshire for a day's gaming, I am just about to get my army sorted out, I am taking the Patricians and expect some serious opposition. I believe only six of us have answered the call from Michael and Simon, but I will be happy getting a couple of games out of it.

Right, slightly calmer now I have got my frustrations down on print, must dash.

Thursday 16 March 2017

Tenting Tonight

The only camping I have ever done was on some American Civil War re-enactments as an historical necessity, I have never had the urge to do it for pleasure nor travel the wide open spaces in a camper van, I need a turn down service and a chocolate left on my pillow or it is no go.

I had some Roman tents sitting unwanted on one of my shelves since I had given up on Dux Britanniarum, one of which was a commanders tent and decided to give it a new lease of life on the War and Conquest battlefield. I looked around at 28mm camp equipment but in the end I could not find what I wanted so I dug into my Lead Box. I found a rack of spears and some grain sacks, there were plenty of shields and weapons lying about and I found a nice, large helmet which, if I cut the face off and placed it carefully, would look like someone had put it down for a moment but would be back. I swiftly put a small order into Footsore for suitable guard figures and got started.

I also scrounged a vexillium, I think it may be Aventine, not sure, but it has a soft spear shaft so I cut that off and replaced it with a strong, unbending, wire one, drilled a hole in the plasticard base and popped it in, the tent does belong to the chief after all.

So you want me to wait here while you go over there.....

I managed to get a good couple of hours in on the Hun Nobles last night, will also manage the same tonight as I will be home alone. Looking at another week before they join the army. I am now fighting back the urge to get two more completely unnecessary units.

Below is a photograph of my worst camping experience, the weekend we decided to go all out for realism and sleep under a gum blanket was one with torrential rain every night, the pup tent on the second night was not much better and we ended up in the car at 3am. That's me in the foreground, when I eventually got to Nashville and a hot shower my body looked like it had been worked over by a gang of thugs.

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Lady in Red

I said last week I would join in an X-Wing game, I printed an old list off thirty minutes before leaving the house last night. The list is a good one and has played well before, it is not complicated and has one slightly tooled up ship, Kath Scarlett's Firespray and four Tie rookie pilots running ..... mind a blank, wait, interference, wake up George.

My wingman Ian only has the starter set and a couple of extras as far as I know, so two Tie fighters there and two Tie Interceptors, not at first glance a formidable force to take on Simon and Andrew who do love their special ability cards, they also have some of the newer ships to arrive courtesy of the new movie (I think). There are some really neat new models but as I only play now and then I cannot justify the cash.

Our plan such as it was was for my Tie flight to head off into nowhere and hopefully pull some of Simon's ships with them while Kath would join Ian's ships against Andrew. This worked to some extent but no sooner had we got in range of Andrew we very quickly lost an Interceptor and a Tie. Kath was handing out some nice damage with her heavy laser cannon and sent a Y-Wing to the great beyond, but it was now imperative to leave Ian to it and join her dog fighting escort against Simon.

Opening Moves

Ian runs into trouble.

Simon did indeed follow the Ties and let loose several barrages at them, but against all the odds the Ties managed to evade most of the fire and in turn began to take shields off the enemy. These little fighters lasted a lot longer than they should have and Simon was having a hard time taking them down, he did manage to tractor beam one into such a position it flew off the combat area, for some reason everyone but me enjoyed that.

I looked behind me and was surprised to see Ian's ships still in the fight and actually winning despite running on string and ceiling wax. I lost another couple of Ties which brought my total losses to three with the fourth careening off in the middle of nowhere, however as we finished the game Simon's last two ships were heavily damaged and it looked likely that Kath would outfight them, Ian had wiped out his opponent and would have been mad to join the fray unless he had to.

Tie dogfight.
Kath on form.
On points the Empire sneaked a win, it would have been nice to have seen how Kath handled the remaining Scum ships but time was against us. Right at the beginning it looked like we were going to get nowhere as Ian's two ships bit the dust but things turned around in the mid game. I really must put more effort into a build for the next time I take to the stars.

My thanks to Simon for the photos as I forgot both camera and iPad. We had a full house last night with a zombie game, Bloodbowl and Henry Tudor fighting in France, we also had two Sharpe Practice games going on, although I am not a fan the soldiers everyone was using were beautiful examples of our hobby. I also received a present, Julian brought me in a wet pallete which he had been waxing lyrical about the week before, so I feel I should give it a go, I suspect it is best if doing large numbers of uniformed troops, my boys do not tend to be so regimented, however it was a very kind and appreciated gesture and I will try it out.

Monday 13 March 2017


Yesterday was the big day for my Patricians, they would be brought to battle under the eyes of their commander. I had deliberated quite a bit before deciding on using Aetius as he has to be placed with his Bucellarii and this effectively just about rules him out of taking control of the army in a central position. I could have taken a token number and used him like a general but that would defeat the point of having a prestigious bodyguard, so I bit my tongue and paid up. I also spent points on upgrading my nomads to Huns whose proficiency with a bow I was counting on during the coming affray, I also decided to take the Goth chieftain with his foot Nobles, All these troops would be my battle winners while three Legions and some skirmishers from the field army would, I hope provide the backbone of my defence. To help this along I had given two of the Legions light armour along with their large shields and darts.

The Carolingians I was fighting have several hard hitting formations, both cavalry and infantry all with a mix of protection and weapons, I have to admit I was slightly apprehensive about this match up, but I had an idea to crush one of their flanks with my good troops and then turn in to help the Legions who hopefully would stand their ground. Although we both chose objectives we were out for blood and only a decisive win would please both sides.

Carolingians on the left, Romans on the right.
Roman Left.

As we deployed I was able to put my Goths opposite an easy target, some Carolingian Liberi, but Stewart countered with a Milites unit so suddenly it looked a bit dodgy for the Goths, but if I could gain the hill and hit them hard and fast I might still have a chance of gaining the flank. The Bucellarii with the Huns in support were on my left but looked outclassed by a large enemy cavalry unit with massed archers in support, but this is where I put my secret weapons, my bolt throwers which I had only just completed the night before, my infantry held the centre. The enemy centre looked vulnerable so I decided to push the infantry forward as quick as possible while holding the Bucellarii back as a reserve.

Goths approach the hill.

Carolingians ready to grab the heights.
Stewart won most of the initiative rolls so managed to beat the Goths to the small hill while he turned the Liberi in to the centre as my infantry advanced, on his right his archers and cavalry began to drop as bolts and arrows hit them, this caused him to pause, which may have been a mistake, but the bolt shooters and Huns were proving exceptionally good at hitting all in front of them. It was my turn to pause and the infantry went into shieldwall, on my right I was toying with the idea of pulling the Goths back out of javelin range but before I could the enemy charged downhill at them, I thought I was going to lose my right flank. Despite everything the Goths held and routed the Milites, shortly afterword the Liberi and the Pueri cavalry also fell victim to Roman swords as the Anglevarii and Regii routed and dispersed their opponents. On my left the Carolingian cavalry still feared the bolt shooters and hid behind their archers whose numbers were quickly diminishing, the King's bodyguard too had taken many casualties from the Huns and skirmishers, so much that I now readied the Bucellarii for a charge, this would pin them and the Huns would hit the flank. Before this could happen the last unit of the destroyed Carolingian centre now ran and Stewart threw the towel in as his remaining men now faced the complete Roman army.

The lines get ready.
It is all over.

 A really good game for me, beginning with the Goths winning their fight and then with Stewart having some bad luck when routing, his mounted Pueri could not outrun a Legion and all his other fleeing units were caught and dispersed. The Bolt shooters took him by surprise and their very effective shooting took me by surprise, I was also very pleased with the killing power of the Hun archers. The army had performed well, it was time for a second game.

This time I deployed both of my elite units on my right, I had hoped to clash with Stewart's cavalry but instead the Bucellarii had infantry to their front, I decided to chance a charge into them and see what would happen. My left was vulnerable so I would leave a Legion in position there while on the far left I hoped the Huns would harry the enemy cavalry, my other infantry I wanted to rush forward and seize the nearest hill. Stewart again won most of the intiative rolls and got to the hill before me, I did manage to get one unit on to the rise but the Anglevarii couldn't make it before the Liberi stood above them. On the right the Goths went in pell mell and caused some devastating casualties on their opponents who nonetheless managed to recover and a hard slog ensued, Stewart always managing to make his morale throws. Aetius led his bodyguard forward and crashed into some Milites, I really needed to make this count, I did manage a push back but failed to break the Carolingians, I needed the Anglevarii in the line but twice they failed to form shieldwall and when they did manage and make a cautious advance they were charged by the Liberi.

Romans on the left, Carolingians on the right.
The lines about to clash, the Goths go in.

With hard fighting raging I looked to the left and found the Carolingian cavalry tied up with the Huns, skirmishers and bolt throwers, I took a chance therefore and calculated that I could throw the Regii into the massed archers to their front before the cavalry could intercede. At last I managed to punch a hole in the Carolingian line, the Goths were once again victorious after a prolonged combat and now dithered whether to help the Bucellarii or hit the Liberi in the rear.

Stewarts favourite unit eventually routed the Lanciarii to their front, this Legion had held for five turns of combat against elite troops so no shame when they eventually broke. At the same time the Carolingian massed archers dispersed and their skirmish supports ran for the rear, the Bucellarii after a desperate fight also overcame their opponents who had put up a more than spirited defence. The Liberi were locked in a losing contest with the Anglevarii, the main Carolingian cavalry unit had been reduced to almost nothing and had yet to return to the table while the Pueri chased after some skirmishers. The battle was lost.

Aetius in the fray.
The Romans win a second time.


This was a grinding contest of a game and both infantry lines suffered large numbers of casualties, both sides managed to roll excellent morale throws which ensured even more slaughter but eventually it was the Carolingians who gave ground. My army had proved itself and battle hardened it can now join the others with its standards held high.

Stewart's wonderful Rally Point.