April 2023 Report

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 ๐Ÿคจ

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

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’ ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜“

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

The Welsh Eumenes Triumphs At Paraetacene

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’ ๐Ÿ˜… 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 ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜ž ) 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 ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

So, game over, fun had, satisfaction obtained. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read and until next time, keep well.

January 2023 Report

So, the excesses of Christmas and New Year are long gone, although strangely the expanded waistline isn’t๐Ÿ™„, and we’re slowly back to gaming.

Our first game was actually an ‘away game’ with ‘The Regulars’ an ad hoc group of Warwickshire gamers meeting kind of regularly playing all sorts of games. On this occasion it was south of the border 1913 and the Mexican revolution where 4 separate factions vied to complete their objectives.

High point of the game was the Federales firing squad that missed the prisoner and then proceeded to chase him Keystone Cops style across the board until he ran into the arms of a revolutionary gang who exchanged a few shots and then exited the table.

Equally funny (or frustrating, depending on who you were) was the gang of gringo gunslingers hired by the government forces who did absolutely nothing to help the government. Oh well ๐Ÿ˜• Lots of laugh were had so a good start to the year.

Back at base we had a short Successors game to try a couple of rules mods which worked quite well so they’ll be incorporated into the set.

Next, the gang was back together after a very long absence and we celebrated with a French Wars of Religion game.

In this clash the Huguenots were largely cavalry based plus a couple of Legion shot units facing a Catholic army of gendarmes backed by more serious foot, namely Swiss and Spanish.

The Catholics decided to gamble all on their gendarmes sweeping away the more numerous Huguenot gentry in a series of charges and it nearly worked ๐Ÿ˜ฎ. However in a game of rolling cavalry melee’s which saw all 3 Catholic cavalry colonels killed numbers told and the gendarmes were shattered.

With their cavalry gone the Spanish and Swiss departed unharmed and the Huguenots wisely watched them go. An exciting game from a period that hasn’t seen the table for a while and the rules held up which was nice.

Next was another group game, this time our beloved Arthurian, featuring a Pict invasion of Powys & Gwynned.

The Picts deployed their infantry in the centre and left of the largely open field but placed their cavalry beyond a river on the right hoping to use this to shield them as they attempted a long flanking move – it nearly worked!

As always the nice neat battle lines soon became disjointed on both sides and bodies fell into melee piecemeal with the Romano Britons generally getting the better of it.

The Pictish cavalry attempt at turning the flank was stymied by a Powys division which managed to defend the banks in what turned into a very bloody affair.

Ultimately the loss of a sub leader undermined the Pictish assault and they returned north with nothing to show for their efforts.

Last game of the month was ourselves hosting a ‘Regulars’ meeting and we chose to get out the Syrian cityscape for a multi player game.

Our scenario was two Spetsnaz detachments heading out in BTR60’s to rescue a downed Hind crew stuck in the militia end of the city. The militia players had a number of entry points they could choose and the entry point for the BTR’s was randomly diced for.

As is always the case in these multi player games nothing quite went to plan ๐Ÿคจ

The militia plan was for two groups to advance toward the crash site, one on the road with a truck mounted ZSU for support and the other through the rubble to overlook the crash site. The third group was to ambush the BTR’s near their entry point as they came up the road. The Spetsnaz only had one plan, get up the road, get the crew, get out, shoot anything that gets in the way.

The ambush part of the militia plan failed almost immediately. The RPG shot missed and exploded in the street alerting everyone to trouble and the BTR’s kept going. Rather than then stalk the BTR’s by using the buildings as cover the militia player decided to take on the army check point (which was only there for scenic affect) and by the end of the game had lost all of his squad. Strangely this was the same player who screwed up the Mexican game with his non participating gunmen ๐Ÿคฃ

The other two militia fared better to start with. The ZSU brewed up one BTR but was itself taken out by an RPG. A brutal gunfight in the street and some desperate hand to hand fighting finished off one militia squad leaving the third to attempt to stop the rescue but superior fire power suppressed them and the rescue was complete.

It was a tough fight but enjoyable for all and great to get the buildings out.

On the project front I managed to get back into the 10mm Iran Iraq painting and some Iranian Chieftains are virtually done. A lot of time has been taken with amending the Successors rules and I’m hoping for that to be completed by the end of February.

Not a bad start to the year. See you next month!

The Successors Project: Part Five

“Are we there yet?” And I think the answer to that question is yes or certainly yes enough to be able to field full armies representing the various forces of the Diadochi to a set of rules that gives us what we want.

This week we took our time to play the rules complete, ie, choose two armies from the lists to the proposed minimum points value, choose the terrain from the listed items, work out scouting and deploy for battle. The two armies were Ptolemaic Successor (under Ptolemy I)and Eastern Satrapal (under Peithon), they didn’t met historically but certainly could have. The points gave the Ptolemaic a strong infantry core of, 1 x Agema pike, 3 x Pezhetairoi pike & 2 x mercenary Hoplites covered by Cretan archers, Rhodian slingers and Greek javelinmen; the cavalry wings were made up of 3 x Kleruchoi horse on the left and 2 x Hetairoi on the right. The Satrapal force was much more varied; their infantry centre was, 2 x Pantodapoi pike, 2 x Macedonian pike, 1 x Thracian peltasts & 2 x mercenary Hoplites covered by Cretan archers and Greek slingers & javelinmen all supported by 2 x elephants; the left wing horse comprised 1 x satrapal horse supported by 2 x horse archers and the right comprised 2 x satrapal horse, 1 x Xystophoroi and 1 x light horse javelineers.

A blow by blow account isn’t required here but how well the game reflected what we know of Successor’s battles is worth a look.

Traditionally the left wing cavalry would be lighter and would have a holding role while the right wing would be the stronger strike cavalry; the centre would be the infantry and here would be where the battle would be decided. On the face of it that was what we had although it didn’t quite develop that way….

The opening action was obviously on the cavalry wings – they moved twice as fast ๐Ÿ˜„ On the Ptolemaic right the strong strike force thing just didn’t work, the elephant was a worry, the enemy horse archers were annoying and the satrapal horse got the drop on one of them and it all went to hell in a hand cart when the commander got himself killed in a melee – lesson, don’t add your leader to a small unit, the percentage chance of dying is rather high ๐Ÿ˜ญ On the Satrapal right their strike force was evenly matched against the Kleruchoi but eventually prevailed and by the end of the game were pursuing the enemy to their camp.

Rules note; as a generalisation, elite cavalry, the Companions in all their various descriptions, are 6 figure units and the rest either 8 or 10 and no it’s not too small, go away and research just how many cavalry as a whole there were (it’s not a lot) and how many of them were Companions. For scale purposes 1 cavalry figure = 128 men, so a base of two figures is a squadron.

While all the cavalry shenanigans was going on the phalanx’s ground their way across the table with their respective skirmishers potting away at each other – the satrapal skirmishers had the best of it and drove off their opposite numbers. This worked as we wanted, a few casualties then the psiloi end up behind the pikes where they can protect the rear from any nasty cavalry that come sniffing around ๐Ÿ˜€

The main event soon followed and we were into the clash of pikes. From a rules perspective it’s all down to who gets the initiative and uses it well, as experience has shown that he who gets stuck in first will just keep on rolling, barring a stroke of real bad luck. In this clash the Ptolemaics got the initiative and ordered all six units in, huzzah! Err, no. Three units refused to charge ๐Ÿ˜ช and so when the initiative moved to the enemy there was a real sense of tension as they tried to rescue the moment but two of them refused to charge! and so instead of the nice neat straight line, so beloved by wargamers, we had a more staggered look as different merarchia advanced and gave ground independently of each other, which was rather the effect I was after.

Ultimately the Ptolemaics got their act together and superior class saw them through the initial wobble and crushed the enemy centre – both hoplite units and two of the pike units routed and Peithon was killed whilst steadying one of the pike units. In the units that routed the highest loss was at 30% and the lowest around 12%. Much like the real thing this was the end; one side had lost the bulk of its infantry and with the army general dead had no mechanism by which they could rally them until they reached the camp where they would have a single shot at redemption. On the subject of camps, neither side had lost control of theirs, the Ptolemaic camp was the more at risk due to the victorious cavalry heading its way (a Eumenes moment in the making) but it did have two cavalry units about to rally there (or not) but that was all a bit ‘if, but or maybe’, the reality was that some 13,000 men (scale wise) from the satrap army were leaving the field.

But what of those troop types not mentioned so far? Well the elephants were a worry for a while but not for long, the left wing elephant panicked when it’s mahout died (actually it’s a squadron but as a mechanism it works ๐Ÿคจ) and ended up in the way of the Agema pike who charged into it and finished it, the right wing elephant provided able support to the cavalry wing (and managed to stay out of ‘scaring the children’ range) but was ranged in on by the Cretans who shot it down. The Thracians did nothing, spending most of their time lurking behind the right wing elephant.

Once we were done we had a detailed discussion about how the game had played and where we thought we were in the project. First off, the rules; they play well, enough detail to make you think about what you are doing but swift mechanisms to resolve the contest of arms, the overall look seems right and the resolution feels right; we did have a couple of ‘oh shit this isn’t going to work’ moments, such as the failure to charge in the centre but in fact this resolved perfectly well and added a bit of suspense to the game. Secondly, the collection; it’s been quite a journey, it’s taken longer than we thought and even using the plastic figures it’s still been quite expensive which has caused a bit of tension, we’ve side tracked a couple of times – the Galatians are an obvious example, but taking a step back and taking a look at the whole we’ve got a collection to be proud of ๐Ÿฅฐ and we agreed that essentially it’s done.

What next? A display game seems the next logical step so our Partizan entry next year will be a Successors refight, either Paraitakene or Gabiene, we reckon we could put on a reasonable version of either with what we’ve got, maybe a few more elephants would be nice ๐Ÿ˜

Anyway, thank you for reading along as we’ve developed the project, all polite and useful comments gratefully received, in the meantime, enjoy your gaming, however you do it.

May 2022 Update


A busy month, we got 7 games in and attended Partizan so pretty pleased with ourselves ๐Ÿ˜€


First up was two games set in Indochina; the first was using the new Mourir Pour L’Indochine rules, which didn’t prove to be too successful (see previous blog) and the second using adaptations of our own WWII rules. It was a shame the commercial rules didn’t work for us as it would have saved a whole lot of work but on the upside it has spurred me on to write a ‘proper’ set rather than notes tucked into various pages of the WWII rules ๐Ÿ˜‚

Silver Shields

Next we had another playthrough of our, in progress, ancients rules for the Successors project; the game was an enjoyable clash between a Eumenid army and an Antigonid featuring rampaging elephants, dying elephants and pushes of pike and the rules are playing well, which is pleasing.

Carlist lancers

Mid way through the month we had a dry run of our Carlist game for Partizan which made us rethink a couple of our assumptions about the game; the biggest assumption of course was that we’d have time to play the game through on the day ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

Panzerschreck damage

Post Partizan we ‘relaxed’ into a WWII skirmish, Americans in France advancing on an ‘undefended’ bridge by a small hamlet. Needless to say the hamlet was defended (1 squad plus an augmented HQ squad) and the platoon of GI’s (3 squads + HQ + weapons) struggled to make progress.

Motorised column

In fact the game was a classic example of not concentrating and could have been used as a training video ๐Ÿ˜ƒ The American player roared up the road with his column not taking any time to reconnoitre the bocage or probe the hamlet buildings their side of the bridge. Result? A Panzerschreck took out the lead half track and it remained a burning wreck for the rest of the game, effectively blocking the road; the squad inside it rendered useless – by game end half had succumbed to their wounds and the other half were grateful for the fall of night.

HQ squad deploys

After that wake up call the rest of the platoon got their other vehicles off the road where they could and debussed trying to get around both flanks of the hamlet. The Panzerschreck team were disposed of (a bit late!) and the American player skilfully used the command Dodge as mobile cover for the HQ squad while the 2nd half track used it’s .50 cal to give support fire for its squad.

“Let’s go!”

However, the Germans had utilised their meagre resources well; a machine gun team hidden in a wrecked Sd.Kfz. 251 cut down a number of the HQ squad until it was itself silenced and a Panzerfaust brewed up the Dodge. An emplaced heavy machine swept the main road and forced the GI’s off into a mine field – where none of the mines exploded!๐Ÿ˜ž and a sniper took down the .50 cal gunner.

“where did that grenade come from?”

By nightfall the GI’s were up to the hamlet buildings but the defenders were still securely in place so we judged the Americans would fall back and call for armour support. We did have a vague plan to play out that scenario but reckoned a game with a Sherman pounding various buildings wouldn’t be much fun.

“who wants to stick their head out first?”

The upside to the game was that we got to use the two new Grand Manner resins we bought and painted up.

All is quiet

Our next foray was a French Indian Wars adventure which we haven’t done for well over a year. This particular game was a raid by a couple of bands of Indian tribesmen on a settlement just as the local trader turns up and a trio of frontiersmen (and their dog) stop by to exchange news.

Trader John

The Indian bands did a good job of getting close to the settlement but good old Blue, the faithful hound, sniffs a change in the wind and alerts his masters – lots of barking (actually a random die roll set against distance). Now we had a game ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

splashing across the stream

The first casualty was poor old Blue with an arrow in the throat ๐Ÿ˜ข and then the action kicked off. The Indians took some early losses to fire from the frontiersmen as the settlers scattered for their cabins but three frontiersmen against around eight braves was a tall order.

first casualty

The fight then became increasingly desperate; Trader John was dropped by the cooking fire and was quickly followed by Ma & Pa Adams as the Indians moved into the settlement, hatchets ready.

death in the wilderness

A couple of more losses to the settlers saw them fail their morale and lock themselves away in their cabins saving the last musket ball for themselves. The frontiersmen got stuck in with musket butts and hatchets and gave a good account of themselves but it was going to be a close run thing.

up close and personal

With the death of their leader one of the Indian bands broke for the trees but the frontiersmen were now down to two and the other Indian band was unhurt so with a heavy heart they faded away, the cries of the victorious Indians ringing in their ears and over that the single musket shots telling them the fate of the remaining settlers ๐Ÿ˜ง


Our final game of the month was a 6mm Arab Israeli game. One of our occasional players blew the dust off his long buried away collection and bought it over to trial the recently released Cold War Commander V2 which I picked up at Partizan. We have no plan to do 6mm or Arab Israeli but we have been toying with the idea of doing the 80’s Iran Iraq war in 10mm, hence the buying of the rules.


We played a very basic game to get a handle on the rules and that worked well with no problems being experienced. I did learn that Centurions completely out class T54’s!

Iranian Chieftain & Iraqi T72

With all this gaming going on did any project work get done? Well yes. The main distraction was the proposed 10mm Iran Iraq project; a lot of reading of the Helion books and the Cold War Commander rules, then some actual models purchased from Red3 and painted up – my first go at this scale. Once we’ve made a bit of progress I’ll do a separate blog post on it.


In other news, another unit of Timurids were completed along with some civilian additions to the western gunfight and the stagecoach was finished. Some more vehicles for the Syrian moderns adventure were also finished off.

Generally a pretty successful month, let’s hope June is as productive ๐Ÿ˜

April 2022 Roundup


A bit of a disappointing month gaming wise and in terms of projects done – I blame the distraction of helping decorate my sons new flat and Dave being a bit shook up after a car accident (all good now).

Our first game was the continuation and wrap up of our epic Carlist game; the scenario worked, the rules played well, and we got two afternoons out of it so less frequent packing away ๐Ÿ˜€. It also whetted our appetite for Partizan in May where we’ll be doing a Carlist refight.

Next up was an away game of Vietnam using the BOHICA rules; dear oh dear what a disappointment ๐Ÿ˜’, the rules were really rather bad, confused incoherent and definitely nothing to do with Vietnam. The day was fine, seeing guys we haven’t seen for a month, beer, food and a laugh, so not a complete write off.

“hey you in the jail”

Next home game was another gunfight game where we had another episode from our Dardenell County campaign and made a final decision on the rules we’ll use. After years away from the ‘western gunfight’ genre it’s been really nice to back into it and fun has been had painting figures and collecting buildings. What we need now is general clutter, wagons, civilians, horses, all the accoutrements of your average film set ๐Ÿ˜ƒ.

spear won land

Final game of the month was one from our, oh so slow, Successors project ๐Ÿคจ. Still bereft of pikes we put together an Achaean League v Middle Imperial Seleucid (pretty sure the Seleucids didn’t refer to themselves as that ๐Ÿคฃ), mainly because the hoplites we do have could make up the bulk of the League while the many Xystophoroi cavalry we have plus the freshly painted Galatians could justifiably bulk out a Seleucid army.

who doesn’t love an elephant?

The game played well and the rules seem to be giving us what we want in terms of a reasonable representation of warfare of the period and understandable mechanisms. No major ‘oh my god!’ moments but a bit of tidying round the edges still needs to be done; the acid test will be when we have sufficient numbers of pikes done and can go classical pike v pike.

In terms of getting things done it’s all been a bit miserable; there are some more Timurids in progress but the only things that got done were a stage coach and building for the gunfight game – need to give myself a good talking to!

the irony of building a half finished building

That’s it I’m afraid, enjoy your gaming.

The Successors Project: Part Four

So, we finally got to game the rules with real figures and a live opponent; just me and Dave to start, a group game will need us two to know what we’re talking about and to have fully fleshed armies.

At the moment we don’t have sufficient pike formations for a traditional battle, in fact we only have one, but we do have sufficient figures for something close enough to see what it looks and feels like.

Using the army lists I was able to create a Eumenid and Antigonid force at about 70% of my proposed typical army points value, so if the pikes and some more generals were available it looks like it might work.

Both armies had two blocks of mercenary hoplites each, four units of cavalry each, one of which was Xystophoroi and the others satrap units; the Antigonids had the one unit of pike, three elephants and sundry skirmishers, the Eumenids had only two elephants, three units of peltasts and also sundry skirmishers. Both sides had an Army General and two Commanders.

The Eumenids deployed with all their cavalry on the right wing under one of the commanders, satrap cavalry to the front and Xystophoroi behind, the hoplites were in the centre under the General covered by the skirmishers with the elephants on their left linking with the peltasts under the other commander.

The Antigonids deployed with the pikes in the centre, flanked either side by the hoplites and covered by the skirmishers, all commanded by the General, two elephants protected the right flank of the infantry block and one the left. On either flank were the cavalry, two units per command under a commander each, with the right wing being the stronger, quality wise, as it contained the Xystophoroi.

As it was our first game we were a bit slow; I thought I knew my own rules and I didn’t ๐Ÿคฃ, Dave obviously hadn’t played at all and despite me going through the concepts at the beginning and having QRef sheets to hand we still managed to lapse into the techniques of other sets we play which was a bit of a distraction to say the least ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

The arc of the action isn’t as important as is what we learnt but here it is.

On the Eumenid right the weight of horse didn’t prove as decisive as was hoped for. One unit of Cappadocian cavalry got stuck into the opposing Median horse and eventually routed it and pursued toward the Antigonid camp. The other failed to charge (although so did it’s opponent) which rather created a road block to the other two units which wasn’t resolved until late into the battle. Deployment issues apart, one problem that did surface was that because ‘attack cavalry’ have to go their full distance you get the problem of them getting so close to each other that the eventual ‘charge’ isn’t really a charge but more of a trot and so no visual ‘crash of horse’. I think I know how to fix this, just need to have a bit of a play on my own. The actual melee’s (yes the other unit did finally get stuck in ๐Ÿ˜„) worked fairly well, low casualty rates and results more to do with morale failure than dead men; both sides threw in their commanders on this flank which led to some tense moments of die rolling for risks to the leaders and in fact the Antigonid commander bit the dust and that was the end of that wing.

On the Antigonid right wing their cavalry did a lot better (and so they should have!) against the peltasts, pretty soon one of the peltasts was in rout and the other in retreat, which turned into a rout when the pursuing cavalry caught up with them. The peltasts did manage to hang on for a bit and even used the reinforcement rule to make one melee last just a little bit longer, but finally that flank was on it’s way to the camp. From a rules perspective this worked well and the problem of cavalry not getting their charge bonus didn’t come up as the infantry couldn’t close the distance down before the cavalry charged.

The infantry took some time to get at each other finally meeting as their respective left flanks were collapsing although the slow speed of their advance did mean that the skirmishers could have some effect, shooting at each other and the respective elephants. This was all good, typically in ancient battles the flank cavalry are over and done prior to the decisive blow in the centre and in our encounter the cavalry were either busy pursuing or vainly trying to rally.

How well elephants would perform was a worry when I was writing and play testing the rules solo and so I was keen to see how we got on here. Overall I was pretty pleased; on the Antigonid left the single elephant acted as a disordering deterrent long enough for the left hoplites to turn and face and the javelin skirmishers to screen them; this elephant could in fact have charged and caused a bit of a mess but the afore mentioned distraction of lapsing into another rule set sequence briefly meant that the opportunity was lost ๐Ÿ˜ฅ. On the Antigonid right the fun I wanted from the elephants paid off in full; both sides had an elephant go into panic due to the loss of the mahout from shooting, the Eumenid one careered about randomly as per the rules but the Antigonid one ran straight into it’s own hoplites who then spent the rest of the game trying to kill it – just what I wanted ๐Ÿ˜€. The other two elephants ended up in a melee when the Eumenid one charged home and they were still fighting when we called time.

Once the main infantry got stuck in we were at the end of our time but we did manage to see how well (or not) and infantry fight would go. The Antigonid phalanx charged home on the opposing mercenary hoplites who stood to receive but in two phases of melee they were undone and broke for the camp. This illustrated the advantage of impetus and ranks and from a rules perspective showed, more so than the cavalry, the advantage of gaining the initiative in the turn. If the hoplites had the initiative they could have stymied the advance of the phalanx and although the odds would be against them in the long term it would have slowed the Antigonid advance.

So our first real fight was over. How well did it go? As a game, an enjoyable session, mistakes were made, glory was had, a commander fell, worth continuing with. From a rules perspective, a bit of a relief, the game didn’t fall apart immediately, a novice player had got a grip by about half way through and most of the things I wanted to happen did so. The cavalry needs some work but not an insurmountable problem and some of the wording needs tightening up but again not a major issue. I think we’ve crossed the first hurdle so next step is get the pikes painted and on the table for a proper clash of the titans ๐Ÿ˜

Keep safe everyone and enjoy your gaming wherever and whenever you can.

Thinking About Successors

Back in the summer of 2019, when the world was young and we were in the casual days of post 1st lockdown Dave and I were sitting in the garden chatting nonsense, like most wargamers do in an idle moment, when Dave posed the inevitable question “is there any period you wish you’d done?” Somewhat taken aback because we’d agreed back in 2018 that we were not going to do any more big periods, just additions to existing ones, and put our efforts into contained skirmish efforts, I answered without hesitation, Successors.

Now Dave is an C18th & C19th man who has very willingly indulged my desires for early time frames such as Arthurian and Italian Wars so I readied myself to snobbishly prattle on about the post Alexandrian world but was stopped by Dave’s response, “Oh yeah, Seleucids and Ptolemaics, that could be interesting”. Serves me right for trying to be all superior – shame on me! The conversation then gathered pace as I waffled on about having started the period twice but given up because I couldn’t find a set of rules that worked for me, it was expensive in 28mm (even back in the day!) and reminded him that one of our group who was doing Romans to face off to the later Macedonians I was doing at the time, left in a huff over a perceived slight taking his Romans with him! Undaunted, Dave brushed aside my pessimism and lack of excitement (actually I was really excited but didn’t want a 3rd failed project on my hands) and hooked me with “but there are all these plastic ancients now, surely that could work?” And I was in, ready to get researching and costing the potential of such a project.

Macedonian Phalangites - Victrix Limited

As everyone knows we are unashamedly 28mm players and when it comes to ‘proper games’ (ie not skirmishes) we like it to be a significant visual spectacle, not a couple of units and that’s your ‘army’, so this was going to be quite an investment in figures which meant quite a financial investment too. Our agreed going in point was therefore plastics from the two main suppliers, Victrix (above example taken from Google Images) or Warlord Games; the Victrix range is an extensive broad brush Ancients offering while the Warlord range is more Roman centric. Both offer a clear economic advantage over that of their metal cousins but could it be enough? More of this later.

Before we got too excited though and dived headfirst into something that could easily turn into a quagmire I thought I better do a bit of research so that I could remind myself what it was all about and also give Dave some detail so that he could back out if it wasn’t quite what he expected – the rest of the group were in deep pandemic hiding so this really was going to be a two hander.

The research was great fun and really got me fired up; I dusted off my old classics like Bar Kochva’s ‘The Seleucid Army’ and Scullard’s ‘The Elephant in the Greek and Roman World’, got out all my old copies of Slingshot (even re-joined The Society of Ancients), and indulged myself in some newer works like Waterfield’s ‘Dividing the Spoils’ and Robert’s & Bennett’s ‘The Wars of Alexander’s Successors’. From these and others plus good old Wikipedia I was able to put together a three page document for Dave detailing the various kingdoms, the different armies and the campaigns & battles of the Diadochi – so many of these! I’d quite forgotten what a brilliant (and short) period it is, murder, betrayal, shifting alliances, highs and lows of ambition and a whole cast of characters, all in 50 odd years! Once all the original Successors are dead it’s not so exciting as it settles down into the main kingdoms but still with battles and campaigns to be fought and we do have Galatians and we always have elephants! It all gets a bit boring once the Romans start interfering so I suggested we cut it off before that.

The document served it’s purpose, I was completely fired up and Dave realised there was a lot more scope than just Seleucid v Ptolemaic and as he rightly pointed out we could do standard pike blocks and standard companion cavalry and then just mix and match for whatever armies we fancied doing plus a few exotics to round out the specific army; this approach would also mean it would be a true joint project, no need for one guy doing Seleucid and one guy doing Antigonid, if we were clever we could just build a joint collection that we could just choose from each time we played.

There was still a lot of work to do; what actual figures, size of units, rules, terrain, the painting of that many figures, and I hope to do a couple more posts on these (what turned out to be) bumpy roads, but for us to get started the costs needed to work. Time for some simple maths. A box of Victrix phalangites retailed at ยฃ19.95 for 27 figures so 74p a figure and the Warlord equivalent at ยฃ22 for 40 figures so 55p a figure compared to metal foot figures anywhere between ยฃ1.20 & ยฃ1.75 a figure. On the cavalry front the plastic guys come in at ยฃ2.25 (less for the lighter stuff) compared to anywhere up to ยฃ4.60 for the metal; foolishly I also looked at the cost of metal elephants, OMG! This had become a no brainer, plastic it was with Victrix becoming the primary brand, mainly because of the range of boxes, we reckoned we could use around 12 boxes and the more boxes you bought the bigger the discount which was particularly attractive in terms of the pike.

So a project was born and all from a casual conversation in the garden – bloody lockdown! We’ve moved on a bit since then but cautiously so I’ll do another post on the rest of the journey regarding figures, which has had a few twists and turns, and a post on choosing rules which really has been quite an eye opener!

Stay tuned.