Sunday 24 November 2013

Raiding The Church of Saint Caradoc the Disappointed - Again!

Aelle had run short of money again, so decided to raid Saint Caradoc's again. Well, after all, those peasants must have been fleeced of their money to buy some new valuables for the altar by now! And so, Saint Caradoc's quiet is disturbed again by fighting and killing.

This time around, Jeff took the Britons and I took the Saxons. Aelle's morale was a bit brittle, but Arthorius was nicely confident when he took the table.

Table setup, ready to go

My Saxons got three free moves at the start, and started crossing the very rough terrain  towards the church. I started a precedent for the night by rolling very, VERY low, and so was admiring the view in the hills while Jeff reached the church with Arthorius and the knights.

Where did that extra terrain come from?

Jeff hunkered down in the church, and try as I might I could not force my way in, or winkle him out, despite a couple of rounds of hand, but totally inconclusive fighting! A massive scrap developed on the edge of the hill close to the edge of the swamp. Jeff ground my force of warriors down, with the missile troops on both sides not doing much.

Come out and fight!

Jeff brought the rest of his troops up and threatened my growing force assaulting the church. Arthorius acted more like a general than  a warlord, directing action outside from within the safety of the church. Aelle drove off Bedwyr and the British levy, who withdrew in good order. Appaling low rolls on my part meant several charges just didn't connect! Aelle had sustained some losses, and these became critical, when just after this picture was taken Arthorius sallied out of the church

That's seen off the rabble!

Arthorius drove off both Saxon elite groups (who lost their amphorae), wounded Aelle and elsewhere Cei routed a unit of warriors. Cerdic and Sigebehrt could only look on as the army crumbled! Saxon morale collapsed and Jeff won a victory.

Neither side lost many men, and after adding up victory points, we had an odd situation. All through the game, I had struggled not just with low dice rolls, but also with having almost no attack-based Fate cards. This meant that at the end of the game, I was holding four Retreat cards which didn't do me any good at all! I should have scarpered when I couldn't get Jeff out of that church. Alternative answers on a postcard please... Well, a good night was had by all, and it'll become a regular thing.

Merry Meet Again!

Saturday 23 November 2013

Let There Be Music!

These two stragglers from the last batch of painting should add a bit of flavour, by bringing some music to things. Bards, in one form or another, seem to have been a fixture of most cultures of this era, acting as propagandist, archivist and entertainer all in one. Some also seem to have been accomplished warriors too - think Taliesin in the Arthurian sagas.

The Pictish hornblower is a Gripping Beast sculpt, and a lovely one to work with. He will be equally at home as part of a hearthguard unit in Saga, as a Dux Brit noble or even as the master of any hound pack I build down the line. He can lead and rally, send orders or rouse morale. Smashing!

 But whiles then the horn fell to singing, a song of war eager. (Beowulf)

The harpist is a Black Tree mini. I got him as part of a large pack of Saxons, and frankly couldn't find anything to do with him. Dux Brit has rules for bards, and Saga has an add-on for the same. I added weapons to this fellow, sword and dagger, just to make him look less like a total boho who wandered onto the battlefield by accident. With a beard, bare legs and short cloak, this guy has obviously dipped into the fashions of Saxon, Briton and Pict to come up with his own unique look. Which also means he can be tagged onto any warband - handy!

There was the harp's voice, and clear song of shaper. (Beowulf)

Here's a rear view of both of them, looking out over the hills.

Both of these two have more than their fair share of vanity, with their gold jewellry and fancy decorated clothes, but they can bring a lot to any warband they attach themselves to.

Do you know Achilles' Last Stand? "It was an April morning when they told us we should go. As I turn to you, you smiled at me - how could we say no?"

Merry Meet Again!

Saturday 16 November 2013

Pictish Army for Dux Brit

Long ago, when the world was young, Two Fat Lardies promised a supplement for Dux Brit covering raiders from the Celtic fringes of Britain. This is going to cover Picts and Dalriadan Scots, plus possibly others (North British/Strathclyde Welsh?) hopefully with campaign and advancement rules, and the Game and Fate deck cards that will presumably be needed to capture the specific flavours of these other armies.

Well, the world's a bit older now and after a long period with no sign of the actual printed supplement, Lardie Rich has put a date of early 2014 on the release. I hear pennies being saved up!

However, what is reasonably clear and concrete is the form of the Pictish and Scots armies. So, you can assemble such a force and be ready to go as soon as you have the cards!

I don't suppose it's any great surprise to regular readers that I would LOVE to put a Pictish army into the field. Luckily, I have a bit of a head start with the WAB figures I've painted. Here's what it looks like:

Watch out, Aelle and Arthorius!

According to the TFL Yahoo site a Dux Brit Pictish army comprises:

One Level III noble with a champion and one (or two) Level II nobles

We're in charge!

Four units of six unarmoured/lightly armoured Raiders

The heavy mob!
One unit of four mounted Raiders

Too quick for you lot!

One unit of four missile troops

Yes, we WILL have somone's eye out!

One unit of four skirmishers

Can't catch us!

Things that stand out are that this is a fairly homogeneous army - all the Raiders count as warrior class troops. There are neither levy nor elite troops. It's pretty mobile, with three detached units.

Well, I already had the skirmishers, missile troops and cavalry, and the limited command section was quick enough with some of Gripping Beast's lovely selection. My raiders are assorted Pictish warriors from Gripping Beast, Black Tree Design and Newline Design, as described here.

Reinforcements are as follows:

1 Pack of War Hounds (No clues yet on numbers or how this works - be interesting to see!)

2 One (more) unit of four skirmishers (Got these!)

3 One (more) unit of six unarmoured Raiders

4. One unit of six Noble Raiders in armour (I can scratch these up from my various armoured Picts/Scots already. I guess these are the only elite/companion troops.)

Thus far only four reinforcement units have been designated, so far as I can tell, rather than the five that British or Saxons get.

Until the supplement materialises, there isn't a huge amount I can do with these other than look longingly.

Ready for a fight, anytime you feel like it...

Remember, these people are equally happy robbing, terrifying and brutalising anyone, so it's no good Aelle thinking he can sit back and laugh as they make Arthorius' life miserable, or for Arthorius to ignore them in the hope they will just concentrate on relieving Aelle of his ill-gotten gains.

Of course, the doomsday scenario for these guys is Alle and Arthorius deciding to gang up on them to get a minute of peace to fight one another without interruption from Points North. On the other hand, it's quite possible for either one of those two worthies to make a pact with the Picts to finish the other one off once and for all... Interesting times lie ahead, I would say!

This lot will give perfectly good service as a Scots SAGA force. The Scots are defined in the Northern Fury supplement. The difference between a Pictish army of (say) AD830 and a Scots one of (say) AD850 is really going to be in name only, so bring it on! With the addition of some more missile troops (to get a single point's worth of levy), here they are. First, as a four point warband, cutting down the number of warriors to 16 and adding a single point's worth of armoured hearthguard:

Four point starting point force

Then as a standard six point force (with four extra hearthguard and the rest of the warriors):

Standard six point force

Merry Meet Again!

Friday 15 November 2013

Pictish Raiders - Lock Up Your...

With this lot about, lock up your everything! Then nail it down too!

You do NOT want to mess with this lot!

These are the four groups of Pictish raiders for Dux Brit (also suitable for Dux Bell, WAB and SAGA too!). These are typical non-noble/elite warrior types, so no/limited armour, and hand weapons. These minis are a mixture of Gripping Beast, Newline and Black Tree sculpts. I am still kicking myself for not buying enough Pictish spearmen from Miniature Design Studios before Caliver absorbed them (and the price went up!) to build a WAB army, as this would have given me MORE than enough for this project!

Front L to R: Black Tree, Gripping Beast, GB, Rear L to R Newline (Westwind head), BT, BT

In a few cases, I swapped the heads for new metal ones from West Wind or plastic Saxon Gripping Beast examples. I added additional hand weapons on those that needed them.

Front L to R: Newline (GB plastic Saxon head) GB, GB, Rear L to R  BT, GB, GB

Axes were from metal rod and greenstuff, cut in so that they sit in the belts, and swords (scabbards, really) were lengths of brass strip, and greenstuff for hilts, throats and chapes. I found this quite easy, as you can model the whole thing supported by the body of the mini, rather than trying to sculpt in thin air.

Front L to R: GB, BT (heavily modified), Newline , Rear L to R GB, GB, BT

Tartan, in the modern sense we use the term seems to have been a product of the eighteenth/nineteenth century, but there is a body of archaeological evidence of the use of woven patterned cloth back to the Iron Age in Scotland, so I don't feel there's any problem with a simple check pattern here and there. Since these are not the richest of men, the patterns and colours are generally muted, but a bit of splash here and there seems fine, to show off the wealth they have swiped from other people.

Front L to R: GB, BT, BT (Westwind head), Rear L to R BT, BT, BT

This nasty bunch were designed for a career making life hard for Arthorius and Aelle in Dux Brit, but will be available for Dux Bell, WAB and SAGA in the future. With neighbours like these, no wonder Hadrian built that ruddy great wall!

Run for the hills!
Merry meet again!

Monday 11 November 2013

SAGA Here We Come!

Well, done it! I've got a copy of the SAGA main rules and the Northern Fury Supplement.

This looks great - loads of lovely artwork, plenty of explanation and even humour. I'm so looking forward to playing this.

On a short read-through, I can put Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Danish and Scots forces into the field now. I've got odds and ends that can contribute to Welsh and Norman armies, and to be honest, it isn't a bit lift to finish these and/or put a Viking/Jomsviking mob on the table. I've got plenty of terrain and buildings already and a table big enough.

There's the matter of measuring sticks and SAGA dice, but that's no big deal - the SAGA forum has dice symbols and stick templates to make your own with no problems at all.

Here we go!

Merry Meet Again!

Saturday 2 November 2013

Village Raid - A Dux Brit Game, With a New Player!

I managed to drag my mate Jeff around to have a go at Dux Brit. OK, let’s be brutally honest. We neither of us needed much dragging, but finding a time we could both do was a challenge! Jeff is a former rolegamer/fantasy wargamer, but hadn’t played in donkey’s years. A small army, rules-light knockabout game like Dux Brit sounds ideal as a way back in.

As an aside, the other game that seems to work well for this is Gripping Beast’s SAGA. I’ve watched Darren do numerous games with people who have never played before and it runs like a watch and all involved have a great time. SAGA is on my to-do list!

As Jeff was a new player, we set the table up by randomly rolling for the location of large terrain features and scattering the small ones randomly.

 Table set and ready to go. Let battle commence!

The scenario was the village raid, so the village was set up with five buildings (two houses, barn, granary and pigsty), plus some fence sections. The village we live in is mentioned in the Domesday Book, and is in an area full of evidence of habitation back into the Bronze Age and even the Neolithic, so we could convince ourselves this is actually home turf. Luckily we're both incomers, so neither of us needed to feel they were betraying their direct ancestors with their choice of army!

Jeff took the Saxons, and I took the Britons. Jeff got four initial free moves and was into the village and looting by the time theBritish arrived. The British entry point was right at the edge of the village, so it almost immediately turned into a serious slug-fest, with all the better quality troops from both sides going hammer and tongs while my levy milled about and did nothing useful.

Jeff's eye view of the start...

My elite troops were having the best of it until Jeff pulled a fantastic trick: after a short retreat, he charged full-tilt at my elite troops with two grouped units of Saxon warriors, playing a Carpe Diem card and THREE "Strong Arm" cards in one go. Despite the Saxons being depleted before they started, in one brief turn of combat my elite went from ruling the table to losing their amphora. I don't think they've stopped running yet!

Shortly after this, the Saxon's morale collapsed, having lost several units and a noble.  Although this granted Arthorius a win, Jeff's skilled handling (especially that bit above!) meant Aelle was able to withdraw in good order having inflicted heavy casualties, so game ended in an expensive, hard-won marginal victory the Britons are unlikely to celebrate much.

We were enjoying it so much I didn't take any more pictures though! Oh well!

Merry meet again.