First out of the gate was a return to our occasional modern day Syrian/Lebanon skirmish campaign. This time the Overwatch team has been sent to rescue a captured diplomat from an oil rich country that keeps interfering in the region who is being held for ransom.
The game played well (Spectre V2) with one half of the team taking up roof top positions for fire support while the second team breached the compound.
All went well in the early turns with insurgents dropping to targeted fire.
Fighting intensified once the operators were inside the compound and the fire support operators ran out of targets. Things got messy, operators died and the insurgents bundled the hostage out of the main building.
Insurgents (or what was left of them!) roared out of the compound to disappear into the anonymity of the town. Looks like we’ve got another scenario ahead of us 😁
Next up, Successors, this time Seleucids v Ptolemaics.
The usual see saw battle which favoured the Seleucid cavalry on both flanks especially when one of the Ptolemaic Commanders bit the dust.
The main event in the centre, the big pike bash, was tense with both sides losing battalions but the real killer was the death of the Ptolemaic General which sealed the game for the Seleucids.
Next on the table was our first proper game of Cold War Commander with the fledgling 10mm Iran Iraq collection – must do a post about this journey 😀
What did we learn? Well, Iranian Chieftains outrange and blow serious holes in Iraqi T54/55’s 🤣 Think we need to read up the smoke rules!
Comedy moment aside, we liked the rules and more models will be hitting the table top in due course while I get to grips with the nuances of play.
May 21st was of course Partizan which we’ve already blogged about, suffice to say an enjoyable but tiring day was had by the team.
Back on home turf we eased ourselves into our occasional western gunfight campaign set in fictitious Dardenell County where Mexican bandidos had their stage coach robbing day spoilt by bounty hunters.
A nice little evenings game using old school rules, no “friction” for us 😂
Next was the 100 Years War away day game with Gareth. I remain unconvinced by Hail Caesar but we had a splendid day and a result was most definitely recorded.
Modesty prevents me from saying who won but…..
Our final game was a ‘big battle’ Carlist War bash featuring the full team plus new addition Gerard who we met at Partizan.
Basic scenario was an inferior (in numbers and quality) Carlist force hold an important crossroads from which the Liberals must oust them.
The opening rounds were all about the cavalry as the Liberal infantry mass lumbered forward. The left wing Liberal cavalry were weakened by some cleverly sited Carlist skirmishers and artillery and then destroyed by the charge of the small Carlist cavalry reserve, led by their General. The right wing Liberal cavalry was just the British Legion lancers who valiantly charged forward but were obliterated by opposing infantry fire.
The infantry action took a while to take place but it was violent and bloody when it got going. On the right centre of the Carlist line the protective cover of the walls allowed the poorer quality line to withstand the opening volleys of the attacking Guards and inflict back heavy casualties in return. When it came to crossing bayonets the first line of the Carlists gave way but the untouched second line were able to send the weakened Guards retreating back across the field – oh what a glorious sight 😄
The Carlists on the left centre didn’t have such a glorious day of it as they battled it out with the British Legion but by the end of the day the the Legion’s morale had collapsed enough for them to retreat leaving behind some very battered Carlists.
We hadn’t played this period for well over a year so it was good to get the collection out again and relearn our own rules 😂🤣 Much fun was had in an all day of intense gaming.
Away from the actual gaming progress has been made on basing up some more future wars figures which will bring this background project to a close soon.
The main progress however has been on the 10mm Iran Iraq project which is coming along nicely and has actually been enjoyable to do.
So that’s it for this month, off to GamesExpo in a couple of days so I’ll share a post about that in a week or so.
Also known as an away day with our Welsh wizard, speed painter, big game impresario and all round good guy, Gareth Lane.
As Gareth was hosting he got to choose the game and this time it was a Hundred Years War outing, specifically the English besieging a Scottish castle are confronted by a Scottish relief force at the castle and a French force landing on the beach.
As the guest I got to choose sides and went for the English – of course!
Although I was deployed nice and safely behind stakes and all that it struck me that the English could soon become the meat between an Franco Scottish sandwich so all out attack became the order of the day.
The centre battle of men at arms headed for the schiltron facing them, the left of solely longbow advanced to give fire support and the right pivoted to face the French.
It was a tough fight. In the centre, one of the men at arms units slowly ground down the opposing pike and eventually saw it retreat off table, the other men at arms didn’t fare so well and fled the scene. This left two uncommitted Scottish units, one men at arms and one pike, the English just had the one men at arms but they did have the longbows!
The uncommitted schiltron and the men at arms made slow progress over the fields to their front and so became a nice juicy target for the massed longbows who simply shot holes in first, the men at arms forcing them to retreat and then the schiltron it forcing it also to leave the table. This ward was now shattered and the lone victorious schiltron began its slow retreat.
Out where the French landed the English right flank force held them at bay for a while in order for their sole mounted men at arms unit to make a charge but things didn’t go quite according to plan.
The English horse got themselves into all kinds of bother and that they were able to survive at all was pure luck and the death of Robert the Bruce in the melee. However once they had fallen back it was time for the longbowmen to open up on the now weakened French & Scottish knights and the French division was soon heading for the boats.
A splendid English victory, proving the old adage of “the best form of defence is attack” 😁
The important thing of course was that we had a good day and we certainly did, Gareth is a great host and a top bloke and I’m pleased to call him my friend.
So, another Partizan has rolled around and we took along our two year Successors project to do a display game of Paraitacene 317BC where the forces of Antigonus Monophthalmus and Eumenes of Cardia met in the first of their duels for Alexander’s empire.
Before we review the game however, what about the show?
First take was, busy 😀 But not in a bad way, even at the peak show point (between 11.00am and 1.00pm) the numbers weren’t so overwhelming that you couldn’t move and looking out from our pitch you could see that the punters were moving about freely. I couldn’t comment on how well the traders did as we were tied to our spot but there looked to be decent numbers around most stalls.
Next take was the vibe, and that is always a good one. For me the show has always exuded friendliness and good humour which is the principal reason for us attending as demonstrators and this one was no exception. We had many positive comments on the game, some great chats with people we’d never met before and renewal of contact with folk we hadn’t seen since the last show. Also the hooking up with some of our followers on Twitter which I just love, so good to put a face to the profile 😃
Of course Partizan sells itself on the quality of the games on display and this year was no different with many fine games available to feast the eye upon.
As is always the case for ourselves being tied to the game there is very little time to really look at the other games and this one proved no exception – I think we got half an hour each to whizz round, pick up a couple of pre ordered things and have a quick look at what was going on.
For me, the preferred games are the the ones that look like an extension of what a club or group of mates is capable of and by inference what a newcomer or player of only a few years experience could aspire to within their circle of gamers. These games will feature well painted mini’s, based up consistently, deployed over some decent terrain which isn’t beyond the skills of most gamers.
I completely appreciate the enormous amount of modelling skill, time, effort and expense that some of the demonstration boards have had poured into them but I do ask myself, what happens to all this gorgeous stuff a year later?
What of our efforts?
With only two of us moving the figures around and an awful lot of chatting 😂 it was slow going but hey so what, people seemed to like it and we had a good day.
For the record, Eumenes crushed the Antigonid left flank and at end of play had his veteran cavalry sweeping behind the Antigonid lines, similarly on the other flank, a rather more tough fight did finally see the Antigonid cavalry defeated also. In the all important centre we had elephants panicking and getting in the way and a couple of support infantry clashes which saw both sides losing their mercenary hoplites, alas no push of pike 😥 we were just too busy talking!😂🤣
All in all though a great day. Many thanks to the organisers for another flawless show and much love to all those that stopped by and commented.
Back from holiday we were into a multi command GNW game which saw two fairly evenly matched sides slug it out over a convivial afternoon of gaming.
The Russians deployed with half of their cavalry behind a stream on their right supported by a foot brigade and the rest in the centre hoping to use a patch of wooded scrub as an area where they could deploy their other cavalry dismounted to slow the Swedes. The Swedes themselves deployed all their horse on the left with the aim of smashing their way across the stream and thinly held the centre and right with their foot.
As always the Russians had the toughest job given the poor morale of their troops but the cautious advance of the Swedes rather played into their hands in the early moves.
On the Swedish left the massed cavalry attack was funnelled by the stream and marsh behind which the Russians were hiding and in the early moves they took losses from musketry fire but once they got going it was difficult for the Russians to hold on. The Swedish first wave were indeed repulsed but when the second wave crashed in the already weakened Russians collapsed and fled the scene which forced a morale test on the supporting infantry who decided that home suddenly sounded very appealing!
Across the Russian centre and left the plan of dismounting the dragoons worked and the Swedish advance in the wood slowed to a crawl but on the left where the village was located the Russian foot didn’t fare so well and after a stiff fight they gave up and fled.
All told, a strong Swedish victory. For those that are interested the bulk of the figures are Foundry with Old Glory in support.
Next up was another Successors game with the predominately Victrix collection, this time Eumenids v Antipatrid.
In this encounter Eumenes was significantly outflanked on his right so had to get on with it before the jaws closed.
Being superior in cavalry and elephants, as well as having the better quality infantry, Eumenes got a bit cocky and galloped his right wing cavalry across the face of his infantry in order to overwhelm the Antipatrid sole cavalry force on their right. Not surprisingly this was a fail, the cavalry got tangled up with the enemy foot resulting in the loss of the Xystophoroi and the slowing of the Eumenid infantry advance.
The Eumenid left wing cavalry did the job they were meant to do which was slow up the Antipatrid shock cavalry and in fact such was the accuracy of their volleys that they saw off the opposing Thessalians, although the nearby elephant might have been a bit of help 🤨
In the end, of course, it was the infantry centre that settled it and the better quality Eumenids burst through their opponents before the jaw could close about them although in reality this was more to do with over timid play by the commander of the Antipatrid left – problem of a Napoleonic player being more concerned about nice neat lines and not getting stuck in 😂🤣
After the intensity of a couple of big battles we changed the pace with a Franco Prussian skirmish game around two scouting parties coming to loot a monastery.
The rules were a set of amendments to an existing Napoleonic set held together by a rough narrative and making up stuff along the way that we hadn’t catered for – surprisingly it worked and both sides managed to get off with something although the French lost their officer and several troopers.
Although this was a bit of fun we reluctantly came to the conclusion that we just don’t get enough out of gaming this so the collection is going to have to be sold on. If you are interested then drop us a line on the site and we’ll get back to you with details and photos.
Another skirmish was next with a medieval away game which was a tourney to select those who would be sailing away on a campaign using the old Lamming rules. Nothing else to say really.
Final game of the month was an Ottoman v Swedes game circa early C17th.
The terrain was split by a stream which flowed between two large hills (on the Swedish deployment baseline) and had two formal crossing points (a pontoon bridge and a ford) although the stream could be crossed by anyone albeit at a reduced rate. A burnt out village and a wood anchored both flanks on the Ottoman baseline and a small village sat in the middle of the more open plain beyond the stream.
Both sides opted for the ‘smash through with all your cavalry strategy’ 😂 The Swedes deployed almost all their cavalry to the right of the big hill (where the two landskap regiments spent the whole game) comprising 3 units of Danes, 3 units of Swedes & 1 unit of Finns covered by a skirmish screen of Transylvanians; on the other side of the hill, ready to cross the stream via the ford were 2 units of German cavalry and a Scots brigade on the other hill. The Ottomans deployed their 6 units of Feudal Sipahi and 2 units of Sipahi of the Porte in the centre, just short of the stream, screened by 3 units of Azabs, the pontoon bridge on the left was held by the Voyniks and the right by 2 units of Tartars.
In the initial stages it was all about the skirmishers; the Transylvanians got the worst of the shooting from the Azabs who had waded across the stream and retired hurt, the Tartars got tied up with the Germans in a back and forth which eventually saw the Germans retiring having been unable to get up close enough to fully utilise the caracole.
Out on the Swedish right the Finns avoided what would later become death central further over and in a brief, but too late, affair drove the Voyniks back across the bridge in rout – this was the single success the Swedes enjoyed.
In the centre the Sipahi’s took longer to get over the stream than their general would have liked but the Swedes & Danes were held up by the over enthusiastic Swedes pushing through the Danes and disordering everyone and then realising that being disordered as the arrows started to fly in wasn’t such a good idea!
The early Swedish attacks went well, sending the Azabs scuttling back across the stream but by then the Sipahi’s had dried themselves off from the crossing and, after a volley of arrows, charged in and the rot started 😓
The repulse of the initial attack wasn’t the end of the world for the Swedes and the units that retired would soon rally but in order to keep the Sipahis back the cavalry general committed his Danes to the charge rather than shooting (carbine armed). This just didn’t work out well, a couple of the units refused to charge which meant that their opponents were able to get the jump on them next turn and the one that did charge just got mashed up. Suffice to say the Sipahis “got their dander up” and were all over the Danish cavalry who then retired into the the Swedes who off course couldn’t get organised quickly enough to repulse the following on Ottomans.
Realising all was lost the Swedish commander and his downcast cavalry general conceded. A crushing Ottoman victory.
In other news some more figures were added to the future wars project, cheers Mark.
Extras for the GNW collection were recruited, thank you Neil.
Additions to our Mexican bandits for the western gunfight project, thanks Vlad.
Iraqi command stand stand for the Iran Iran Cold War Commanders project.
More for the modern skirmish collection, wonder if they’ll actually get used? This is such a rabbit hole 😂
Well that’s it for the month, not a bad one, next month is Partizan and we’ll be taking the Successors on tour so if you’re going to be there find us and have a chat 😀
Not such a busy month what with holidays and a show to distract us but we did our best 😀
First up was an Italian Wars game, Venetian v Florence, so lots of crossbows and condottierre 😁
The focal point of the game was the monastery on the hill which the Florentines made a key part of their attack sending 4 units of militia crossbow to scale the walls and occupy it, the Venetians decided to ignore it and advance across the plain towards the waiting Florentine pike.
I’ll admit it was a painfully slow game; both commanders were overly cautious, trying to keep their troops aligned rather than striking out with a select few, a tactic that suited the Florentines and negated the Venetian strength in better cavalry.
Lots of crossbow shooting was the predominate feature of the game which blunted the Venetian piecemeal cavalry attack and made the Florentines almost impossible to dig out of the monastery. When time was called we ruled a narrow Florentine victory, not because they had done anything outstanding but because the Venetians hadn’t done anything at all 🤣
Next up was a clash from our Timurid collection, Muscovite v Golden Horde, lots of cavalry zooming about.
The Muscovites deployed all of their Boyar cavalry (6 units) on the right behind a hill with the intention of sweeping up and over it to turn the Golden Horde left. Their centre was weekly held by Polish spearmen and Prussian allies out on the left covered by a wood.
The Golden Horde deployed their Cuman allies to cover the hill (not realising an avalanche of steel was coming their way!) and deployed their own Mongol troops in the centre (light horse covering the heavy horse), leaving the right devoid of troops, reasoning that the woods would slow down whatever the Muscovites deployed there.
The main part of the battle was the fight for the hill where the Cumans did a fine job of holding up the Boyars with some deadly arrow storms which halted the lead units. This in turn negated the Boyar numerical superiority as they traffic jammed behind the lead units.
Eventually the Boyars were able to drive the Cumans from the field and swing inwards to attack the vulnerable Horde centre – or so they thought……
In the centre the sheer volume of arrows did serious damage to the spearmen and a couple of well timed charges from the heavier Horde cavalry sent them packing after a brief fight. In the time the Cumans had tied up the Boyars the Horde had swept away the Muscovite centre and left.
Undeterred the Boyars swept down the hill seeking glory and exposed flanks but the Horde now committed it’s as yet unbloodied Guard for the decisive encounter.
The Guard were the decisive factor, one charge, one round of melee and their opponents were galloping away pursued by the triumphant Mongols who then ran over another unit and Boyar morale collapsed. The battle was over and the Golden Horde was triumphant.
Next on the agenda was an away day sci fi game with friends in the Coventry & Warwickshire area.
I can’t say I really had any clue what was going on but fun was had.
Back at the ‘eagles nest’ we indulged ourselves with a big SYW game featuring our Prussian and Austrian collection.
In our scenario an advance guard of Prussian Frei Corps and other assorted light troops had seized a crossroads and nearby hill in anticipation of the advance of the main army. The Austrians had been alerted by their scouts and their main army was closing fast, hoping to crush the advance guard early and gain the initiative.
The game became a race against time as both sides tried to push troops piecemeal into the combat zone.
The big moment was the crash of two Austrian cavalry brigades into the lately arriving Prussian ones. The fight went back and forth and by the end of several turns the Austrians were triumphant.
Unfortunately for the Austrians however the Prussian infantry had formed a decent enough line to dissuade any further attacks and as the Austrian infantry had been fairly dilatory elsewhere the day was the Prussians and the road junction was held.
Our final game was a multiplayer FIW game with British regulars and Rogers Rangers trying to get to an abandoned fort before opposing French regulars and allied Hurons.
Entry points were randomly chosen – which rather favoured the British, and off we went for an enjoyable couple of hours of sneaky Hurons, volley firing British and dying Frenchmen.
Clear winners were the Hurons, who occupied the fort with the loss of only one brave although, as the British player pointed out, “what the hell are they going to do with it now they are in it?” 😂😂
March of course is also Hameerhead month and so we ambled along to Newark and met friends we hadn’t seen for a while, caught up with the Twitterati and even spent a bit of money. Some nice games on offer which we just didn’t get round to playing in and an eclectic collection of items available at the table top sale. A good day out and worth the trip.
In other news some more of the 10mm Iran Iraq project got finished, not far off doing an actual game soon I think 😉
Also some pack animals, Danish troops for the GNW collection and Austrian artillery. Slow and steady wins the race 🙄
We’ve also spent some time talking about slimming down the collections to a manageable size. The Prussians that featured in this blog are definitely going so if anyone is interested in a sizeable Prussian army (mainly Front Rank) please get in touch. The rest of the ACW collection is going to go as well plus some of the skirmish themes that just never went anywhere. Maybe I’ll do a separate blog post prior to banging stuff on eBay.
Anyway, that’s it for this month, see you next month 😃
Our first game of February was our first run through of the Battle of Paraetacene, originally slated for a visit by our good friend Gareth Lane but unforeseen circumstances prevented that so Dave and I hacked on anyway.
Dave took on the role of Antigonus and I shouldered the mantle of Eumenes.
Contrary to history, the Antigonids did well on both cavalry flanks, driving back the Eumenid forces and killing Peucestas on the Eumenid right.
In the centre however the Eumenids repeated history and drove in the Antigonid centre despite being numerically inferior. Three Antigonid foot units routed and Asander was killed in the fighting, the rest of the foot failed their morale and grudgingly ceded the field.
As a run out for Partizan in May it was a worthwhile exercise and gave us a couple pointers on massaging the deployment. Confidence is high for Partizan 😀
Next up was a WWII Eastern Front game; Partisans v Germans. A simple game featuring 2 squads of Partisans attacking an occupied village receiving supplies.
The game was fast and furious; so fast we had to add an extra Partisan squad after one was effectively wiped out 😏
End result was, the supply column was shot up as it tried to escape and the command bunker was overrun. A good morning of fun and fury 😄
Our next game was late war WWII Eastern Front with Sgt Steiner and his squad running short of fuel and needing to leg it for the last bridge into Germany.
In hot pursuit was a Soviet regular squad and a Radachevski squad whose entry points were randomly generated.
In a somewhat one sided game the Soviets were victorious and none of the Germans returned to the homeland.
Next up was a rerun of the ‘last bridge’ scenario this time with more players and revised forces. This time we had 2 under strength German squads and the pursuers were all motorised regular Soviet infantry – 2 squads and an HQ section. The randomising for the Soviets was more detailed this time featuring, time of arrival, place of arrival and method of arrival. The German players were in the same start point and had the same route home but unbeknown to them there was MMG & Mortar support on the far bank of the river that would be triggered once they had passed a certain point on the board.
This was a much better matched game and gave us a tense running firefight game with a nail biting finish.
The support fire did the trick and 3 Germans made it across the bridge, the rest were lost to the earth of Mother Russia.
Next was the refight of Paraetacene with Gareth which has been described in the previous blog post.
Our final game of the month was an away game set in WWI East Africa using The Men Who Would Be King rules.
We had a laugh and moved the figures over some very pretty terrain but I can’t say the rules did it for me but hey, we had a social.
On the getting stuff done front I managed to complete an Iranian tank battalion for Cold War Commander in 10mm – all a bit new to me but quite pleased 😊
A trio of messengers for the Successors project.
Iranian Scorpion recon tanks ready to roll.
Another month done. Thank you for reading and see you next time.
After a couple of false starts we managed to get our good friend Gareth Lane up for a refight of the Battle of Paraetacene 317BC between Eumenes representing the house of Alexander and Antigonus Monophthalmus rebel and empire builder.
The battle is a fairly big one in the annals of the Successors, around 40,000 men per side, and a big one for the collection, which we just about were able to realistically represent.
Historically it was a kind of a draw with both sides claiming victory by the standards of the day. In a purely numbers sense Eumenes was the more successful, inflicting losses of around 8,000 in dead and wounded as compared to 1.500 on his own side. The protagonists at the time and later chroniclers argued the toss about who camped on the battlefield first etc, something that as gamers we can never recreate.
Gareth opted to be Eumenes and as the troops were already laid out more or less historically all that was left to do was for me to run Gareth through the nuances of the rules and then have at it. This may sound a bit glib but inside I was somewhat nervous as this was the first time someone outside of the ‘inner circle’ 😅 had played the rules and I didn’t want them to have a crap time.
The armies were as follows:
Eumenes deployed himself on the right wing to start the battle where Peucestas commanded 2 x veteran lancer Xystophoroi, 1 x Cappadocian satrap cavalry, a unit of psiloi covering the front and a couple of elephants, opposing him was Peithon commanding 2 x Tarrentine skirmish cavalry and 3 x satrap cavalry. Antigonus, along with his son Demetrius, personally commanded his right wing of 3 x veteran lancer Xystophoroi facing off to Asander commanding 1 x Tarrentine skirmishers, 1 x Greek skirmish cavalry, a unit of psiloi and 2 x Cappadocians.
The Eumenid infantry centre was split between on the right the Hypaspists, the Silver Shields, and two bodies of Macedonian pike screened by 3 x psiloi and two elephants all under Antigines and on the left 2 x mercenary hoplite units, and a unit of mercenary peltasts screened by 2 x psiloi and two elephants all under Teutamus. Opposing them, again split between right and left, was Medius commanding the right phalanx consisting of 5 blocks of pike, 1 veteran, 2 normal and 2 levy screened by 3 x psiloi and two elephants and Menander commanding 2 x mercenary hoplites and 2 x mercenary peltasts screened by 2 x psiloi and two elephants.
Coffee consumed we set to and the opening phases mirrored the historical prototype. On the Eumenid right, Peucestas surged forward and although delayed by the harassing tactics of Peithon saw off all the opposition and by games end had captured Peithon and dominated his side of the table. On the Antigonid right, Antigonus took some losses from the opposing skirmishing cavalry and infantry but ultimately routed the Cappadocians and by games end was pursuing them in the direction of the Eumenid camp. On both cavalry wings all 4 commanders were committed to actively leading individual units in order to make progress and so risked death or capture.
In the infantry centre the opening phases were taken up with the psiloi exchange shots and elephants making a mess of things 😂 Overall, the Antigonids had the better of it but eventually the psiloi had been cleared to the rear and despite the fun of elephants charging each other and mauling themselves to death it was soon time for the main event.
When it came to the nitty gritty the gods favoured Eumenes. On the strong Eumenid right the Hypaspists did nothing, being blocked by one of their own elephants being locked in a duel to the death with an opposing elephant, but the Silver Shields proved their worth and smashed the peltasts to their front and had carved a hole in this sector of the battlefield by games end.
On the Antigonid right their own veterans performed equally well and ripped through the peltasts of Teutamus’ command but this was to be the only clear Antigonid infantry victory.
It was in the centre proper that the decision was made. The two pike under Antigines were fortunate in facing off to the Antigonid levy and although there was a bit of back and forth first one levy broke and then the other, already in a mess from fighting off an elephant, broke when charged. Further along, one of Teutamus’ hoplite units held as it gave ground to the opposing pike but then a rampaging elephant hit the flank of it’s opponent and they recovered enough to send the opposing pike backwards who then failed a morale test and broke. There was now a significant hole in the Antigonid centre and with night drawing in (Gareth had a drive home to make 😞 ) we agreed that Eumenes was victorious.
It can’t be a Successors game without an elephant story or two. Of the ten elephants involved (scale wise each is a squadron of about 8) five panicked upon the death of their mahout and ran about the battlefield to a lesser or greater degree; 1 on the Eumenid right ran about on the empty plain causing minor annoyance, 2 ran into their own troops (1 each), disrupting the advance and eventually being killed off and the 2 others ran into fellow elephants and fought long drawn out melees; 3 other elephants died in separate fights or from missile fire.
As a recreation of the battle the game was pretty successful. Both sides’ right wing cavalry put their opponents to flight and by the end of our fight Antigonus was in the more advantageous position with the Eumenid infantry being far off and pushing forward. In the centre however the Eumenids definitely had the better of it and may have surpassed their historical prototypes. All in all then a success.
From a rules perspective this was really pleasing; Gareth is an experienced player and cut his teeth on ancients back in the days of Warhammer Ancients Battles so his take was important. His analysis was that the rules were fairly intuitive, easy to pick up, flowed well and nothing screamed out as a problem which was good to hear. For me, I think they are done now, a couple of clarifications in the fine print and I’m going to call it ‘mission accomplished’ which is a good feeling 😃
So, game over, fun had, satisfaction obtained. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read and until next time, keep well.
So the year draws to an end and the last blog post of the year is prepared. I’ve rather enjoyed the discipline of at least one post a month so I think I’ll continue the process into 2023. The idea of entering the world of YouTube posts has been discussed but I’m not sure if I’ve got the patience for it. Anyway….
First up was an ‘away game’ set vaguely on the North West Frontier, featuring, British, Russians and local Afghan tribesmen. The rules were Fistfull of Lead Bigger Battles so any relation to historical reality was purely coincidental but a fine time was had by all.
In brief, the British sorted out the Russian armoured cars, the Cossacks kept well out of the way, the Afghan tribes sneaked about and then launched a savage attack on the British and cut them down, dispatches were sent to the Queen covering up the disaster 😄
Back at base we had another run at the Indochina game, mainly because the table was still set up from November.
This time the Foreign Legion managed to deliver to both camps and see off the Viet Minh attacks with some losses but not anywhere near as heavy as those the VM suffered.
Next up was our Successors game previously reported on so nothing else to say really.
Next was a return to one of our neglected periods, the French Indian Wars.
What started out as a single evening game turned into a double header; the original scenario of Indians and Coureur de Bois raiding settlements and making an attempt on the British outpost generated another scenario of Rogers Rangers raiding the Indian village to rescue captives taken in the first game.
We had a ton of fun with both games; both featured some early sneaking about and then fast and furious action where those with woodland skills came off far better than those without.
Next up was the valiant defence at a local ruined temple by the fine individuals of the French Foreign Legion in another re visit of a neglected period.
This is a period for which we have never quite found the rules which give us what we want and this game was played with yet another set that one of the guys had found at the back of a drawer, or something like that 😅
Great fun was had, well only if you were the Legion shooting down tribesmen 🤣, but the quest for THE set of rules continues. I am firmly resisting hints that I should write another set.
In the spirit of utilising existing terrain layouts a quick shuffle of the Foreign Legion game gave us a modern middle east game for our vaguely connected scenarios featuring elusive insurgent groups, contractors, special forces and MENA elements.
For this one our elusive insurgent commander, Mehan Asnik, was meeting an arms dealer near a ruined temple to exchange gold for technology. Asnik bought along a single squad of militia and the arms dealer had his own contractors for close protection, little did they know that two troops of SAS had been dispatched to break up the party.
The SAS spent the early turns getting into position as an unknown (to them) clock wound down for the deal to be completed. By pure chance a militiaman spotted one of the SAS fire teams and opened up – big mistake!
The ensuing gunfight over the next few turns massively favoured the SAS, they were in cover, they were better shots and the enemy were generally in the open reacting to fire.
To be honest we had seriously forgotten how powerful Elite troops can be under the Spectre Operations V2 rules; two troops was way too much fire power, a better game would have been one troop split into two sections and those sections breaking down into fire teams as the game progressed. We had a lot of fun but it was very one sided.
Asnik however, did survive the fight and so our storyline can continue……
Our final game of the year was another Successors game, this time using armies from a little later in the time frame; Antigonid Macedonian v Imperial Seleucid.
In theory the game favoured the Seleucids, better class pike and cavalry but the more numerous (albeit varied) Antigonids more than held their own in a tough battle.
So, the year has closed and we have retired to our camps to contemplate another year of military recreation using miniatures. No major projects are on the horizon; Dave is tinkering with an El Cid set up and I’m going to get back on the Iran Iraq 10mm project while a group of us are kicking of a joint Mexican Revolution project for a series of linked semi skirmish games. All that remains to be said then is Happy New Year and keep on rolling.
Wow, September has been and gone! Holidays and building work reduced our meeting schedule so only three games this month and precious little done on the painting/modelling front.
The month kicked off with a Carlist Wars game at the Bunker and for the first time in 3 years we had everyone present 😁
The game was fictional and involved a surprise attack by the Carlists on the Liberals camp unaware that more Liberal troops were on their way.
The encamped troops were the ‘good’ troops being the Foreign Legion and the British Legion. Light companies were deployed forward of the position and visibility was restricted in the opening moves to simulate the dawn breaking. Once the first shots were fired (basically the Carlists running into the light troops) each battalion would dice for how many turns until it marched out from the camps. The Liberal reinforcements were pre programmed to arrive on the road emerging from the woods on the right flank but nobody knew when.
The Carlists duly bumped into the lights and the game was on! The lights fell back and the Carlists pushed on as quick as they could but some good dice rolls saw the Government troops spilling out of their tents and forming up on the left flank and behind the blockhouse.
In short, the Carlist attack on their right faltered in the face of the speedy deployment and eventually ground to a halt facing the tents. In the centre the Carlists did much better, sweeping away the opposition, isolating the blockhouse (which did prove to be a nuisance) and cutting the road. The left made hard work of the terrain and light opposition which meant it wasn’t in quite the best position when the reinforcements arrived.
When the reinforcements arrived (which was essentially the main army) the game took on a new dimension as they struggled to get off the road as it exited the woods quick enough to be in the right shape to fight. Both sides used spoiler cavalry attacks to prevent troops deploying and the cavalry even got to fight each other! The really bloody fighting was when the attack columns of both sides got stuck in around the ever expanding Government bridgehead.
Ultimately the Government were able to push out from the woods, despite some serious losses – the Guards cavalry regiments were practically destroyed and move across the back of their lines.
By late afternoon (our time) we decided to call it through sheer exhaustion 🤣 and declared a Government victory – this was not without some debate, the Carlists rightly claimed they had split the Government forces in half by occupying the centre but as the game organiser pointed out the objective was to overrun the camps before the reinforcements properly deployed and, because of the failure on the right, they hadn’t, so victory to the Government.
Our next game was another from the Successor project, this time the Imperial army of Perdiccas (so all the good stuff 😀) against one of the western satraps, Attalus.
The Imperials deployed four blocks of pike split evenly by an elephant centre with each pair combining a veteran block with a levy block; the left of the line was anchored on the Hypaspists and the right wing comprised all the companion cavalry.
The Satrapal forces were more numerous so overlapped their opponents but were not of the same class; they deployed with their cavalry on the right with a very clear plan of riding round the slow enemy infantry and striking the rear and/or looting the camp while the infantry, comprising two pike blocks and two hoplite blocks alternating with units of peltasts screened by psiloi, advanced to pin the opposition.
Once the armies were deployed Perdiccas realised the enemy plan and set about sending his elite cavalry galloping across the rear lines in a race against time 🙄. Other than that both sides commenced their advance.
The early action all took place on the Satrapal right where their cunning plan came unstuck because the Hypaspists got out in front of the pikes and basically got in the way 😏. A couple of javelin volleys pinned the lead cavalry which road blocked the others and once that was sorted out the only way forward was through the Hypapists and that didn’t work out so well 😢.
Ultimately the action resolved itself with the Satrapal cavalry either destroyed or fleeing and Attalus dying leading his companions in an all or nothing charge against the lately arriving Imperial companions.
On the other flank of the Satrapal army events were more in their favour, the clash of pikes saw one of the Imperial levied pikes flee the field with their opponent in pursuit and while the Imperial veteran pikes crushed a peltast unit they soon found themselves being circled by the hoplites and remaining pike.
The centre was a bit of a non event with the other two Imperial pike units being harassed by Satrap light cavalry for most of the game and the elephants facing off to the peltasts. Ultimately the light horse retired, which did leave the Satrap camp vulnerable but at least the peltasts killed an elephant.
The death of Attalus rather sealed it for the Satrap forces and so we called it.
Our final game was a sweeping cavalry encounter featuring the C14th forces of Tamerlane and Tokhtamysh an encounter facilitated by the slow repurposing of some really old figures from our Mongol, Russian and Mamluk armies of yesteryear and slogging away at a stupid metal mountain that accumulated when we had more money than sense.
The field was mainly open with 2 low hills with a wooded valley between on one flank and a lone hill skirted by trees on the other. Both commanders occupied the hills in their deployment area with their guards. The numerically inferior but qualitifly superior Timurids deployed their allied White Sheep Turks on the right with orders to infiltrate through the wooded valley, unfortunately the Horde allied Cumans had the same order and so the battle for these commands was a disorganised exchange of arrows that finally saw the Cumans retreat.
The centre of the Timurid line was 2 commands of heavy cavalry screened by lights and supported by elephants, the left was a similarly formed command behind the stream. The Horde had 4 commands in the centre, one was purely skirmish horse , one was allied Russian cavalry and two were Mongol heavy cavalry – everyone except the Russians were bow armed and the Timurids were generally better armoured than the Horde.
Tamerlane realised as soon as deployment was complete that his centre was in danger of being overwhelmed so he committed the Guard early and that diverted the Russian Boyars in his direction. The bow fire dissuaded the lead Boyar unit and then the hand to hand favoured the Guard – better armoured and better morale, end result was the termination of the Russian command (with extreme prejudice 😂)
The more even centre fight then saw both sides shooting bows for all they were worth and then exchanging blows. The Horde did manage a break through and one unit galloped off in pursuit of it’s opponent but overall the fight favoured the Timurids and the arrival of the force from over the stream tipped the balance; victory to the Timurids.
In terms of stuff done, one of the guys painted up some striking pieces for the Successors project with a kind of Ptolemaic/Egyptian Pharaoh vibe. Could also be used in a fantasy setting?
Also another Italian Wars condottierre unit got done along with a couple of command stands, all from existing stuff that just hadn’t been got round to.
A few more random desert terrain clutter items got completed, suitable for any of our middle east modern skirmishes, or the Foreign Legion, desert WWII or even the Successors.
Well another month over and, given the amount of time we have, fairly lean pickings in terms of games done. We had a chat about it and can’t really put our finger on the why; age, lack of enthusiasm, other stuff getting in the way, too many periods; it could be any, all or none of these, certainly we have collections that are perhaps seeing the light of day once a year – the Timurids, the GNW, Dark Age, Sikh Wars, and some that haven’t been out all year – most of the modern skirmish, the ACW, the Byzantines, 3 Musketeers. Slimming down the collections has started but then the Successors is brand new so….
Anyway, that’s it for the month. Next month is Partizan so maybe we’ll see folks there.
And so a refight of Bicocca was born, narrowly missing the 500 year anniversary. This is the battle that is anecdotally used as an illustration of what a liability Swiss mercenaries were, for it is here that they demanded a battle be fought or they would go home!
The history is as follows. In the campaign season of 1521 the French under Odet de Foix, the Marshal Lautrec, were expelled from the Duchy of Milan by the Imperialists under Prosper Colonna. In the spring of 1522 Lautrec was reinforced by 16,000 Swiss and resumed the offensive, taking Novarra and besieging Pavia; Colonna took up a strong position at Certosa which Lautrec decided against attacking, opting instead to starve Colonna out. Great strategy but then the Swiss went and spoilt it by demanding their back pay (there was none😮) or battle the next day, the reasoning being that loot would be to hand after a victory. Lautrec had no choice but to agree and march on the Imperialists who had now moved to the fortified park of Bicocca where they was joined by Francesco Sforza of Milan with reinforcements.
The French deployed with 8,000 Swiss front and centre screened by some 3,000 Italian foot arquebusiers & 300 mounted arquebusiers under Giovanni del Medici (the ‘Black Bands’), the Duke of Montmorency notionally commanded the Swiss. Behind this were the French guns being dragged forward and behind them some 6,000 crossbowmen under Pedro Navarro flanked by companies of Gendarmes & Archers under such luminaries as, the Chevalier Bayard, the Duke of Lescun, and the Duke of Ponteformy. Out on the right flank was a mercenary condottiere force under the Duke of Urbino representing Venice.
Inside the park the Imperialists sat and waited. The park was bounded by high walls with an entrance over a bridge in the eastern wall which was covered by Sforza’s contingent from the outside of the park and the west nestled against a marsh, but the most daunting aspect of the position was the sunken road that ran in front of the park directly opposite the French line of advance. The Imperialists lined the wall overlooking the sunken road with Spanish arquebusiers and artillery and behind them some 2,000 Spanish pike and around 8,000 Landsknechts under Georg von Frundsberg; the back of the park had several hundred Spanish & Italian men at arms under Antonio de Leyva in case there were any break throughs. Out in front of the road were around 1,000 Spanish Genitors detailed to be a nuisance.
The original French plan called for Medici to clear away the Genitors which would allow the artillery to move close enough to deploy and batter down the ramparts, engineers under Navarro would then fill the ditches and the Swiss would attack. Out on the flanks, Urbino would turn the Spanish left (they obviously didn’t know about the marsh or had no time to scout forward) and Lescun would lead the Gendarme companies in an attack that would drive off Sforza and break into the camp via the gate. None of this went well at all 😧; as soon as the Genitors were driven off the Swiss ignored Monmorency’s order to halt and continued on to the Imperialist position where they came under artillery fire and then sustained harquebus fire which caused heavy casualties but being Swiss they just shrugged it off. At the sunken road the impossibility of the task became apparent, once they had jumped down into the road the Swiss found that the height to the Imperialists above them was as tall as their pikes! So with all formation lost (the famous Swiss column was no use here) the Swiss floundered around at the mercy of the enemy arquebusiers and the few that did gain a foothold were soon thrown back. After about an hour of this the Swiss gave up and marched back leaving half their number behind, dead or wounded. Elsewhere, Urbino made a half hearted attempt at the marsh and then gave up but Lescun did actually managed to get over the bridge and into the camp but de Leyva showed him the exit.
How to refight a battle that shouldn’t actually have been fought? Firstly did we have the numbers? This is a big battle and even at the 1:50 ratio we use in our rules it was still going to be a stretch, so rather than beat ourselves up about it we went for representation by block. We had 4 Swiss pike columns so that was our base line; the Spanish colunellas we easily matched and our 4 Landsknecht blocks matched the Swiss, the Gendarmes/Archers were an exact match to the numbers along with Medici’s Black Band and the Italian and Spanish cavalry, the various supporting cast crossbowmen and pikemen (French and Italian) were slightly under represented but they did nothing in the real battle and did nothing in the game! The big task was the park of Bicocca; the size we just built around the deployment of the Imperialist force which in itself was based on the contemporary maps that are available but a sunken road on a 2D table is a challenge; after a bit of thought we opted for sections of Last Valley road with a wall running along one side (the Imperialist) and a hedge the other thus guaranteeing cover and advantage of ground for the Imperialist arquebusiers and ‘double disorder’ for the advancing Swiss. Our next problem was the Swiss; no self respecting wargamer is going to do what they did (well we would because its history so why wouldn’t we?) so we amended the command rules slightly so that the Swiss would be forced to advance unless the general used command points to actively stop them – in the rules each commander has command points reflecting his historical performance (or at least our interpretation of such) and uses these to move his troops but Gendarmes need points to NOT move (reflecting their lack of discipline) so we just widened this category to include the Swiss – Monmorency was a 2 so even if he did spend his points at least 2 Swiss would be on the move and then co-ordination would really be lost!
So how went the refight? The early moves were much like the real thing, just a bit less well co-ordinated. In the centre the Swiss trundled forward as Medici took on the Genitors which took a while longer than history, this wasn’t due to the Genitors being particularly effective (they weren’t) but due to the fire coming from the park which at one point halted the foot arquebusiers who the Swiss just marched right through 😂. Eventually the Genitors were cleared out and Medici headed his force towards the left side of the park (seen from the French side) to try and keep the defenders occupied while the Swiss attacked on the right.
On the French right, Urbino decided to use his points to get his crossbowmen forward to maybe shoot the Swiss attack in by clearing the Imperial skirmishers out from where they had jumped into the sunken road which they were using as a trench (sneaky!) – in the long run this kind of worked in that the skirmishers in front of the manor house were eliminated but it didn’t do much to help the Swiss. On the French left, Lescun duly advanced but Sforza decided to come and meet him and use his crossbowmen to wear down the Gendarmes – it took a while for Sforza to convince his mercenaries to get moving and their firepower wasn’t that effective but they did managed to kill Ponteformy which stopped his company (rules note, no Captain, no move).
But it was the centre that mattered. The Swiss skirmishers soaked up most of the Imperialist fire and frankly it wasn’t that good (sometimes the dice gods just don’t smile on you) but one Swiss column lost its captain and so was stood waiting for Montmorency to come over and appoint a new captain (rules note, replacement captains have to be appointed by a command figure joining the unit). Eventually however the Imperial skirmishers were cleared out of the road and the Swiss started to climb in.
Despite their disorder two of the Swiss ‘charged’ their opponents at the wall. One column overran the guns it was facing and ploughed on into the park, the other was stopped briefly by one of the Spanish harquebus colunellas but then they routed with heavy losses. The problem for the Imperial player in this was when and how to commit his pike although in these two examples it didn’t matter too much, the Swiss who overran the guns then ran straight into Frundsberg’s veteran Landsknechts who held and then inexorably pushed the Swiss back into the road and the other ran into von Sickingen’s Landsknechts who scattered with the loss of their captain after a couple of rounds of melee.
The other two Swiss were a little tardy, one was the one that had to wait for Montmorency but once it had it’s new captain it too was over the wall and into Frundsbergs block – normally this would have finished the Landsknechts but the lack of ranks the Swiss could count plus their disorder and the fact that they hit Frundsberg as he was pushing back the other column meant that his momentum trumped their ‘charge’ and they were stopped. The 4th block had taken the more serious losses from fire and so as it assaulted the walls it had already lost supporting ranks and was held at the wall for two embarrassing turns of melee by a harquebus colunella; once they had seen off the the arquebusiers they were then charged by one of the Spanish pike colunellas and held.
The pike blocks were now locked in combat; both sides tried to use their forlorn hopes to turn the tide but they largely cancelled each other out (the rules allow bases of halberdiers/sword & buckler men to issue out from the blocks). The deciding moment was when the 2nd Spanish colunella managed to align itself on the flank of the Swiss that had seen off von Sickingen, there was no need to fight that out, those Swiss were done and knew it and so fell back. It was over for the Swiss, so near but so far.
We could have played it on for several more turns but the result was always going to be the same, the Swiss, disordered and lacking effective supporting ranks, had just not been able to punch an immediate hole and follow on.
On the flanks it was all a bit of a non event; Urbino performed much as history and was defeated by the terrain, Lescun actually did worse than history, being held by Sforza long enough for him to be unable to make any difference.
The performance of the Swiss in actually getting into the park was pleasing given the historical impossibility of it happening and we had some tense moments as we rolled for the pike melee’s. All in all a good scrap and a lesson in what not to do either historically or in recreation 😊