Dark Ages – Archers

In the Dark Ages formed bowmen units were rare. The bow was a hunting weapon and some were used in war but they were not the most effective weapons. The power of them and the large shields, helmets and mail used made them of limited use. Bows were not seen as a true mans weapon of war as well in Western Europe. This meant that they were used mainly by second line troops – the poor and less motivated, who were less interested in going toe to toe with opponents.

All that said, it does not mean that I did not want some for my dark age forces as many armies have a few of these available in their lists. So I thought I’d show the ones I have done so far.

As you can see I have 12 bases – shown here in 3 units of 4, which have 3 figures per base. These are not a specific army based as various armies all across Europe from Britain to Byzantium really had these types of troops. They are good for welsh and the Northern Russian tribes just as well to my mind, which had more bow armed troops in their forces.

Some of these have shields and even some types of armour. The bow was not super effective but some groups used it more extensively so having figures like that. They may also just have that for added morale for themselves as well. These will work for the bow armed ‘local’ troops raised by commanders and lords to support their war effort. These may also be good for showing local forces who are better than hordes/rabble and armed with their own bows etc but still not experts.

These could be used in armies from late Rome up to the early 12th century to my mind. They will reflect the lower class troops using bows and what they could get to support armies. Their clothing would change a little but for my mind in 15mm those changes will not be that visible on the tabletop. Likely too many of them have shields for the lower class troops but they will do.

The basing of the troops matches all the others I have done for these forces. The figures are all from Oldglory15’s as normal for these forces. So these match up to the troops done already without an issue.

Some of the DBA forces for the period require a bow with 4 figures, so I decided to do a few bases with 4 figures per base. I like to do figures in groups of 4’s so they work for Hail Caesar units. They likely are be better quality bowmen or at least those committed to the bow as their weapon of choice. They can be used to show other differences in units – such as being an elite unit. So, for these I used models without shields.

With the low numbers of bows in many armies of the period these may be the bows for one side of a force and the 3 per base guys may be on the other. These are all done in fairly bland, earth/natural colour outfits and not brightly clothed. I wanted to highlight that these were not the rich or powerful in any way.

So there we are another lot of figures for the Dark Ages forces.

Posted in 15mm, Ancients, Dark Ages | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blood Red Skies – Multi-player game and Defiant's

It’s a personal tradition that around US Thanksgiving (when I know I will not be traveling for business), I run a big air game for our group. This year was no exception, but this year I decided to use the Blood Red Skies rules not the normal Check Your 6 game. I have shown all the planes that I have done so far for this game but have not done a review of write up of a game so thought I would do that here. I also too this game as a trigger for painting some extra planes. This was the Boulton Paul Defiant pack from Warlord – again 1/200 scale planes used for this game.

This is a plane which I have known about for a long time and was an ‘odd idea’ when created in the 1930’s. The idea was to have a rear/side powered turret in a fighter to take out bombers. In combat, the Defiant was found to be somewhat effective at destroying bombers, and fighters which did not identify it so attack from the rear, but was very vulnerable to single-seat fighters who knew it. The lack of forward-firing armament proved to be a big issue as was it’s relative lack of agility in daylight combat. It was withdrawn early on in the Battle of Britain and used in night defense and training from then on.

However, being an iconic Battle of France/Britain plane I had to have some, and now do. The Warlord model is in metal which is a bit of a shame as it makes it very heavy for the stands. You actually use the large plane stand for them – which impasses their poor maneuverability as well as their stats. The Warlord planes are a little hit and miss generally and one of my major complaints on them is their connections to the special stands used in the game. The original plastic models are not too bad but the others – such as the 110 can have issues with that.

For these planes I used the transfers which Warlord provided with this box set. They are not bad, but did not include any roundels for the underside of the plane. That seems odd, as I assume they would have had them but I am not going to worry too much about that.

So to the game. We had 8 players (and me as the GM). It was simple matter of each player running 4 planes. With a smaller number of players I’d have played – I have done in 4 player games that I have run before. With 8 players though you really need a GM. Most of he guys had never not played the game, which added to the need for me to GM the game.

I simplified the rules a little (we did not use the advanced traits/cards) and the 110’s were treated as a single engine plane without a rear turret vs using the twin engine and turret rules. The traits and cards just add an extra level of control for players in a 2 player game. They allow you to do extra special moves/ability or have minor advantages. Different planes get different cards and some ace pilots get special cards as well. This is just an additional wrinkle in 2 player games and a nice aspect to make those games more interesting (tactical?). Those would add too much extra complexity for this game though. Other than that, we used the full rules and it worked with 8 players. There was a little chaos at time, but the players picked up the basis’s with ease and the game played well really even with 8 players.

The game started with the Germans and British planes starting on different sides of a 4 x 6 table and headed towards each other at speed. The key mechanic in the rules is advantage. That’s shown by the stands with planes pointing up in an advantage potion, neutral is when the plane is level and if pointing down then the plane is disadvantaged. Basically this allows a simulation of height and momentum in a 2D board game. Although it means that some of the visuals of the game can look a little odd (you can see it in the pictures here) the mechanic actually works well in the game.

You can only shoot at planes at a lower disadvantage and you use your advantage to do ‘complex moves’ – such as gong further in a dive or turning much further and at any point in the move vs at the end only. Pilots can also get an action to reduce the advantage of opposing planes – outmaneuvering them. The other actions they can do is to shoot or climbing for advantage. The rules have special features and cases to cover tailing and the reason to have wing-men support other planes, so this simple mechanism actually generates a stylistic but actually quite tactical air game.

Planes move in order of advantage – the better advantaged planes with the higher pilot skill go first and then lower skilled planes go, then neutral planes and finally the disadvantaged planes. So again this emphases the advantage level mechanic and pilot skill. The skill of pilots effects everything in the game. It determines the number of die you roll for a plane as much if not more than the plane in many ways – which highlights the factor of it’s as much the man as the machine in air games. This agrees with much of what I have read and even other games like Check Your 6!

In our game the planes headed towards the center and soon ended up in a wild melee in the center. Lots of head to head shots were made. Few if any of the player’s planes ‘held back’ which meant that once they passed there was a set of spinning and turning battles for them to try to continue the fights. The die rolling mechanic in the game is pretty much that the stats (usually pilot skill plus a score from the aircraft) determines the number of dice to roll. Then you roll those D6 looking for a 6. Any 6 is a success. This is a simple mechanic but again works, creating a good amount of randomness (but not too much) without needing tables etc. If you shoot and hit with multiple 6’s then the opponent saves with one less die in their save roll.

In our games this is where the fight initially broke down into 3 fur-balls – with planes fighting in the middle of the table in each 3rd of the table. What is interesting though is these were interconnected. Planes moved between the various fights with ease. In the game for the first 2 hours I had planes reincarnate – i.e. if they were shot down then they came back at the player edge next turn. That way no one was left out for long on in the game. Surprisingly there were not too many initial shot downs. I think only 3 or 4 planes were downed in that time frame.

One of the interesting aspects of the game is the ‘Boom tokens’. You get those when your plane is hit (even if it saves that hit later), and another when it is shot down. When hit you get to save the hit, which means that a plane does not lose an advantage. If disadvantaged and a hit is not saved then the plane is shot down. This system though means that you can win without actually shooting down opposing planes – but just getting them scared enough is ok. This is unlike many games where the aim is to just shoot down opponents. This boom chit systems is like a morale system in the game has an effect – after all all the planes at this time would have radios. In a normal game if you have more boon chits than active planes on the board then you lose – your planes withdraw. This is a clever mechanic IMO and although you may argue not that realistic I think it works well in the game. For this game though we just kept count of the boom chits gained and would work out the winner/loser at the end of our 3 hour game.

At the end of our game the Germans had caused just a few more boon chits on the Brits than they have received. So they came out the very slight winners. The last period they really managed to get some good moves on the Spitfires on one side of the board and shot down a few of those. The British did manged to shoot down one of the best German pilots in the game as well.

Overall, everyone had fun and seemed to really enjoy the game. I have to say Blood Red Skies give a fun and fast WW2 air game where people are heavily involved in the game. I really like this game and system. It’s effective ad you have a good amount of decision points without a lot of book keeping. Also, in game tactics work – the advantage system is an interesting compromise for the 3D environment of air combat on the table. You can validly argue that the tactics are not a direct reflection of real air combat tactics but this is a game not a simulation. The planes are also a nice size for fighter games – although people have been doing it to me the scale is too big for anything other than light bombers.

As a last point, if I was to compare Blood Red Skies to Check Your 6, I would say I like both games but each gives a very different gaming experience. Blood Red Skies is a fast and quick moving game with an interesting but highly stylized model for air combat. It works and feels like an air game, but you know it’s not a wonderful simulation. It’s firmly in the game camp. Check Your 6 on the other side is slower more analytical game, with more statistics and more realistic controls given to the player. It also has a better model of real flight and emulates real planes in a much better way. With it’s plotted movement it gives a much more thinking game in ways. So Check Your Six makes you feel much more in control of a real plane in a more controlled planned way. So they are very different games, but both fun – just in different ways.

Posted in After Action Report, Aircarft, Review, World War 2 | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Age of Hannibal rules – mini-review and game

Age of Hannibal is a set of rules from the Little Wars Tv crew. I have been trying out various multi-player rules sets for ancients games every so often (with the same Dark Age figures) as an experiment. This was a rules set which was recommended by several of the local group members. So, I put my money down and got the PDF, then printed off the cards etc required for the game.

As an intro the game is based on Chipco rules, which are in turn somewhat based on the WRG/DBM line. The system has very little drastically new or radical in it but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I fact overall they seem to be decent package and has some interesting aspects to it. Let me go through briefly a few key points about the system. There are other ‘better’ reviews out there on the details of the rules so I’ll just give a summary.

Each a base is a unit, and units lined up edge and corner to corner can be groups and move together. Base sizes are not important as long as they consistent. It uses inches for movement. I think it likely works better for square bases but sort of work ok for the DBA rectangles we used. It’s a firm I-go-U-go system where a player moves and fights with his units and then the opponent does. The inactive player is involved though, rolling die in combat etc. A commander has a certain number of command points which you can command a unit or a group of units. Commander bases (you typically have a 1 to 3 for a force) give a free move to units/groups they are part of. There u no in command range though which saves a lot of measuring.

Different types of troops have combat factors, move distances and some special abilities which differentiates them from others. They can have some special abilities as well – like being elite or having javelins as examples. In this case it’s D10’s not D6’s for all rolls in the game. Range combat is an unopposed die roll, but is pretty weak and hard to kill things outright generally with ranged fire alone. Close Combat is done with opposed rolls, with the players adding/taking away some modifiers, such as uphill, support etc. In close combat, doubling the opposing result kills an opponents unit. Otherwise, the loser takes ‘a demoralization’, with 2 of these and the unit retreats and dies if it can’t fully complete the retreat. When it reaches 3 the unit is dead.

The rules do have some differentiating factors though and those are important. The first and most obvious is the interesting table setup system using cards, which does give a cool starting point for the game. I really like this and it gives an simple mechanism for creating a table which has some terrain but is not overpowering. Ancient battles did have terrain but it often is downplayed in games – other than the tournament level ones such as ADLG. I say though that this shows a weakness in the rules as well. Although fairly well created the rules show they are ‘fan authored’ a little in this area and without watching the video they put up for the terrain layout you’ll get it wrong from the written rules alone. Not a big item but I’ll mention that again in my summary below.

We used the system I’m the book and hat generated the table below for us. That’s not bad for a basic and quick table setup using our poor club terrain.

This game was using the Romano-British vs local Scottish/PICT tribes and as you can see we used an awful lot of bases figs in this 4 player game. The forces were balanced in the points system in the rules, Another difference between this set and many games is that this one has a command clock. Which means that rather than rolling a die you start with 9 command pips for moving units and then that drops during the game. That is done by determining the loser of each half turn (a players move. The losing sides counter drops one point. You also loose points for generals being killed. So, at the end of each players turn you work out which player lost that turn and they lose one of these command pips. Once down to 4 commands bad things start to happen to a forces morale and units take additional hits as they continue to lose morale. Note you determine who loses by keeping track of losses in combat, and units destroyed each turn. It sounds intrusive but is not too much bookkeeping really if done with counters etc.during a turn.

This is an interesting mechanism which means that the game will start to end quick quickly when a force really starts to lose. It also means the commander will have less options and control of the army as things start to go wrong. This ‘feels right’ after reading various ancient battles so is a nice effect.

In our game the first few turns were filled with both forces moving towards each other. The move rates are such as that even on a 4 x 6 table it won’t take more than a couple of turns before combat starts – as was the case with us. Heavy infantry are a little slower but still can move at a decent pace.

Movement is also pretty standard with forward, wheels and obliques up to 45 degrees easy to do and fast. Some units such as skirmishers and light horse being able to move anywhere they want as you might expect with such troops. Reverse moves and sideways are very slow though – no detailed British army drill here for complex moves which again to me makes sense. If troops don’t have command pips spent on them they can turn on the spot for free though.

In our game the Scottish tribal light cavalry skirted the rough hill around the forest to help their force using their easy movement, while the remaining forces continued to move forward at a steady pace. As there was no combat no commands had been impacted at the command pip level so far..

At this point in the game we had our first strategy come up – that was a flank attack by the Picts. These strategies are part of the deployment and terrain layout. We did this a little wrong (having too many per side), but we sorted things out. Anyway, they came in on their left flank, which caused some major issues for the Romano-British. The Romano-British screen of medium and light cavalry and spear line were now awfully exposed – and flanked, while facing the chariots and supporting infantry!

Unperturbed though by such trifling matters, those Romano-British cavalry charged into combat. The medium cavalry hitting the chariots while the lights fought lights. This is where the another aspect of the game comes in. The turn sequence is rally, range shooting, movement, close combat and then check morale for the turn loser etc. So before you do anything in a turn turn you do is try to rally all your units. This is a single roll of a D10 against a target number for the unit. Usually the target is between 5 to 8. The target depends on the style of unit, with negative modifiers for the number of hits (1 or 2) and if they are accompanied by a general/commander. But unlike many games every units tries to rally if they have a disruption/hit on them. Also, if the roll succeeds then all the hits for the unit are removed. A failure has no effect. So units which looked to be quite worse for wear can suddenly be ok at the start of your turn. It’s not always the case but we found it an important factor in combats at times.

After a couple a turns of combat, one of the Romano-British light horse was destroyed and the other had a hit, while the medium cavalry although they were flanked kept in the fight for quite a while. Eventually though numbers mattered and the Picts would win here but it did give the Romano-British some hope they may yet hold this flank..

Below is a shot of the full table at this stage. By this time the Romano-British have moved up between the steep hills – where their archers were now placed. Their main strength of their spearmen were focused on the multiple ranks of tribesmen in front of them. At the top you can see the Pict tribes working to get around the flank of the Roman lines. At the bottom of the picture you can see the Romano-British cavalry starting forward, with support from a group of spearmen on the hill. Those spearmen were put on the table after deployment as they were started in a hidden position at the start of the game.

The two sides skirmish screen had engaged and the Scots/Picts had come out on top. The skirmishers don’t impact winning/losing a turn but they can inflict an annoying hit or two on the main units before they engage which happened in this game.

The Pict flank charge had a massive effect the plans on Roman-British on that flank. The Romano-British used a strategy for adding some difficult ground in front of them, to help reduce the effect and impact of the Pict attack. We used a village base for that as it worked well. The small set of building which would seriously affect any frontal attacks from the tribal warband. But this did not stop one of the units moving around to the rear of the Romano-British line in a couple of turns. The lack of spare command pip’s, and no second line, meant that this flank of spearmen where a holding action at best. The hope that more units come up to help where they could. However, they were getting flanked and wrapped around which was not good. Any combat advantage they had vs the warband was lost when flanked or attacked in the rear…

The first lines of both sides infantry hit and quickly started taking hits. However, the exposed flank meant that on average the Romano-British started to loose the turns even though they were fighting hard and winning (slightly) in the center. In this rule set the difference between warband to Spear armed foot is not that dramatic – a +1 difference on A d10. It’s worse though as the warband get an extra +1 if they charge. So like ADLG (compared to say Hail Caesar or DBA) positioning and support matters as much in combat than the types of unit. The the center was a mess with various units fighting each other to a standstill. The impetuous nature of the warbands split up their forces more though, so that even when they made a breakthrough that unit usually was destroyed by the second line of Romano-British spearmen. Several rules in this game encourage the use of multiple lines – with a decent gap between them.

Romano-British had a strategy of their own though to try to make the difference in the game. They had nominated the rough hill on the other side for the steep hill (the bottom hill on the picture below) to contain an ambush of their cavalry. The strung this and charged out into the Picts and Scot tribesman. However, although this may be a great concept, the hill by this point was nearly swarmed by the Northmen. This meant that the cavalry from the rough hill could not get clear of the terrain in their surprise attack. Not having the space and movement to get clear and hit the Scots/Picts at full power really blunted that attack.

Their only real success was one of the lance armed units which did break through the Scottish lines and started charging down the flank of a line of units. However, eventually even it came a little unstuck as it did not kill one unit and ended up being flanked itself and stuck in a slog of a fight.

The other Romano-British cavalry had also got through the rough fields by the side of the hill the ambush had been sprung from. Cavalry going through the rough going was an interesting tactic but one which did not pay off in the end it seemed. They had taken too long to get through. Also, the Scottish cavalry on this flank that had spent the whole game kind of locked in behind the infantry. Now finally they had a target and they turned to face the Romano-British horse coming out of the terrain. So the Scots had some units to contain this move out of terrain anyway.

On the other side the Picts had pushed up their flank attack and their chariots had wiped out the Romano-British horse. This was bad news for the Romano-British spearmen on that side and they were now losing the quite comprehensively. Even the archers on the steep hill were pushed off with some aggressive attacks up the hill by the Scots warbands.

That turn mean that the battle clocks for command and morale scores were now 4 to 7 in favour of the Picts/Scots. That means the Romano-British force get an extra number of demoralization/hits – 25% of the units in the force to put on the remaining units. Luckily, it was the end of the Scots turn so at the start of the Romano-British turn they could rally off some of these. It was clear though that the Romano-British needed some victorious turns now or there was no coming back for them. That turn had limited fights but in the key one the lance armed Romano-British cavalry which had been rolling up the Scots died. So again the Romano-British lost the turn. With them now 3 to 7 they had to put add an extra demoralization/hits to 50% of their units. They started to have units just melt away and it was clear there was little chance of them coming back. So the Scots/Picts were the winners so we called the game at this point.

We had a fun game and got to a conclusion in approx 3 hours of play with 40+ units on each side and 4 players – with us all learning the rules. That has to be said to be a success. We did a few things wrong but nothing that serious. The successful Pict flank march vs. the failed Romano-British cavalry ambush from the hills and rough ground made the difference. I suspect in future games people will be more wary of flanks for sure…

So, overall what were the thoughts on this set?

Well they play fast and for those used and like to the ADLG/DBA style games they are a fast play, not as formal version which give a decent game without too much fuss, especially for multi-player games. There is not a lot of differentiation between troop compared to some rules sets and that may be an issue for some. I also don’t think they would play as well for smaller games or competitive players – they are designed for big games and loads of toys on the table. The shared and reducing command points means that players on a side have to co-operate for what to move. You may see that as an issue, personally I don’t but it means things can slow down as they discuss moves and priorities etc. It could lead to issues though if people on a side are not of a similar mindset.

For other points I do like the terrain setup and I may even steal that for other games in time. The extra demoralization’s as the force starts to lose is a nice touch and works well to reflect the army collapsing without having to have a formal break point or some such item.

That said there are some minor negative points with these rules. I have to say the production is definitely fan based. That goes to the rules writing style as well which is quite openly written. We had quite a few questions on aspects of the rules and some discussion on what they meant. Their video’s help but there really does not seem much support for this rule set. I asked questions on their website and got no answers. There also is no forum etc for discussions, so I suspect your on your own with them if you have issues. I actually got some answers to my questions when I bought the chipco rules which they are based upon, which adds to my comments above. So, I’d not recommend the rules for beginners rules lawyers . That’s ok as that’s not their target market and as long as you realize you are buying someones house customization of an old rule set then that’s fine – it’s just an item to be aware of.

Another thing to be aware of is that the rules work for any basing but you can tell they really work better and are designed for square bases. Using DBX bases kind of works but left some oddness at times, especially when moving from line to column etc. Note, as a final point the rules do have a siege aspect which we did not explore at all so I can’t really comment on them. They could be fun as well though…

So as a final verdict, will host more games with these rules? Maybe yes, and that’s much more likely than the Sword and Spear rules which we tried previously. I will say from memory these rules are sort of level with Hail Caesar in style and play, but we will play those next to give another comparison for the big multi-player games.

Posted in 6mm, After Action Report, Ancients, Review | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Warcry – Rest of the base terrain set

So this is the second post of the Warcry terrain from the base set. This completes my painting of the terrain from that set terrain. This terrain has been done in the same way as the buildings and using the same colours. You’ll likely see a lot of this in the end, as I am using Warcry and it’s terrain packs as an excuse to build up my terrain collection.

First we have the ruined bell tower building. Those of you who play Warcry and use the GW terrain builds may also notice I did not put the hanging skeleton in cages on this building. That’s because I can see those being knocked off really easily. It also would restrict the uses of this quite a bit and I do want to keep these generic as much as I can. They really did not make much difference to line of site etc. Also I have other plans for them – maybe a separate little gallows base is my though.

Next is the head of Sigmar and the platform which can but put on top of that. As per the correct instructions for the terrain cards I did not glue the platform on the head or fasten the end gate or stairs to the platform. Overall, I really like how the contrast colours have come out on all these items.

It could validly be claimed that the wood is a little too light, but overall I like the final effect. The wood colour also seem to work and stand out from the two stone colours I have used. I am concerned about using the grey for large static pieces but we’ll see on that.

The last pictures are the throw terrain pieces, platforms and stairs etc from the set. These are great space fillers and make for barriers and cover. They also allow the different building to be connected together in interesting ways making a fighting levels on the buildings as well as on the ground.

So below is just an example of the types of combination layouts which you can use the WARCRY building and this terrain. The different elevations and the number of combinations that you can use this makes me really impressed with this set from GW. The picture below is just using the items shown in this post. With the 4 buildings shown last week this can be a lot more complex.

There we are – I said there would be a couple of quick posts on this terrain from the Warcry box. Overall this is very impressive stuff from GW. Not cheap but not that expensive for what you get,

Posted in 28mm, Fantasy, Techniques, Terrain, Warcry, Warhammer Fantasy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Warcry – base terrain, 4 buildings

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the real world but I am trying to continue to show things which I am working on! . So this is a quick one to show off the first of my Warcry terrain. I must admit I am using Warcry as an excuse to build up my terrain collection. I have wanted to get real terrain for skirmish gaming for a long time and not done it, so this seems perfect for what I need. I wanted a lot more generic fantasy terrain and not only does Warcry use that but the sets provide a great base for games.

So in this post I’m showing the first 4 buildings from the base set. This set is now becoming hard to get hold of, so if you like them and want to get them better start looking now. Each ‘set’ of pictures are different angles of the same building.

All these have been painted using GW contrast paints. Overall, I have to say in this case they worked really well for this terrain. Saving me having to do a big dry brush job and I really like the final look. I put the models together and then used a general car/plastic etc. spray paint cans to undercoat them. Once that was done, I did have to do a few touch ups with white Gesso. I wanted a decent coat but there were area’s where the undercoat was not smooth. I had not wanted to put on so much spray as to lose details though.

After that it was use of the various contrast paints and then several layers of varnish to seal everything. I have found the contrast paints easy to use for this and in this case they are a real time saver. You just have to control how much paint is on the model and make sure to get good coverage of the whole area. Also, you really have to wait for it to dry to do paints next to is. So although a time saver on these projects I could see it not helping as much on figures other than as a base coat, where it would help.

These buildings are the ones which are required for the Warcry terrain cards, and are part of the base terrain set. The one complaint that I have with Warcry – as did many others is that the instructions for the building of this terrain for the cards was awful. That was very poor and although there were good websites to help on that it has to be a big miss from GW. It’s not really stopped people though and all GW fans need a few things to complain about anyway it seems. Price is always one thing to complain about but the quality of these is hard to ignore.

So there we are, as I said a quick post this time showing the terrain. I really like how these have come out in the end and I can see these getting a lot of use in games such as Frostgrave, and even pulp/sci-fi games as well as my Warcry and fantasy games.

Posted in 28mm, Fantasy, Techniques, Terrain, Warcry, Warhammer Fantasy | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Dark Ages – Medium foot Swordsman

Last month was a little quiet for my blog, as I was busy with work and real life. However, I did manage to get some painting done. So it’s time to continue showing more of the ‘Dark Age’ project. Erm… early Medieval as I believe it’s now called officially by the historians. Oh, by the way this is a long post with quite a few pictures, so you have been warned. You may have worked out if you follow/read this blog I don’t tend to do things by half…

This post has in fact, 34 bases of medium foot (swordsmen). These have been now been finished for the project. These are all 4 figures per base so with a little math, <pause while I do the math>, that makes for 136 finished figures in a single post! Most of these are from Old Glory – my usual source of cheap but decent 15mm troops. There are a few Essex and others mixed in I believe, as I had them around. Note, the picture below includes all the ‘standard’ ones – the 2 berserkers bases in the front of the above shot are not shown in this shot.

Rather than go into a lot of pictures etc. I have included a couple of shots of each group below. This should give a good view of the details on these.

I have to say that in many army lists these troops are the ‘general infantry’ or support in the Dark Ages period. Often they do not show up in massive numbers if the nation/force has formed heavy infantry. That means that they may have limited use in some forces. For games such as Peter Pigs one, as well as Dux B from the laddies, I’ll use these for the standard poor reasonable infantry I think.

As you can see these guys are definitely swordsmen – there are few spears in this bunch. For games such as ADLG when I will use 2 bases doubled up as a single, that means this will give me 16 bases of those. I am tempted to glue some bases together in that style but will wait and see on that.

I believe that will be enough for pretty much any force that I want to field. Doubling them up and using them for both sides might be tight though. In most rules sets these are not the greatest fighters in the period – that goes to the heavy close order foot. So numbers will matter when using these guys. Terrain is also a good thing for them to use as most rules sets have them fighting better in that than the close order troops. In DBA etc these will be more likely Warband or Auxiliary troops.

Overall, I like their 20mm wide basing as it makes it easier to base and paint them. It also means that the figures are not close to the sides of the bases. That helps in storage and moving them. I also think it really looks nicer as well.

Taking of storage, I have yet to work out a good storage solution. Currently these and all the other troops from the project are being stored in cardboard boxes the ones used to ship me rules etc, but that’s not a great solution if/when I want to move them to play a game. Especially if I don’t use the car to get anywhere, but even then they move around etc.

The figures themselves are from various ranges as well. They all are basically unarmoured early medieval figures. I’m sure that the fashions after Rome fell were somewhat regional but the general clothing trends work for the 5th to 11th of so century’s – especially in 15mm. The round shields are pretty typical for the period as well. These guys may even work for a little later. They may even work for the peasants in later armies, but I would not push it much further than that.

These last two sets of pictures included 3 pictures to give a slightly different angles to the shots. You may notice that although I have kept with the basic basing the same some of them have some different flocks as well.That’s intentional – just to vary the basing slightly. I plan on keeping the base basing style the same but changing that a bit – to see what works and what does not as well as just for fun.

Finally, the Berserker bases. These guys are really for the Vikings or other forces which had mad ‘I don’t need armour’ type troops in their forces. I also put one of these guys on facing the wrong way – but heck they are nutters so I decided to leave him. If I use them 2 deep then that guy will just be inspiring the second rank to more mad moves!

Finally a shot from above. I’m looking forward to getting these guys on the table for a game or two soon.

Posted in 15mm, Ancients, Dark Ages | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zombicide – Black Plague Skeletal Archers

As the spooky season is upon us, well it is October and the North American Stores and TV now are working hard to tell us that anyway. Those that have not started the run up to Christmas already of course…<sigh>, That’s a different pet peeve but not for now. I have not gone to a Halloween party in a few years, but do make the effort and hand out candy to the kids at the door. It can be nasty weather though at times and it’s been cold/wet the last few years. I also try to have a few games of Black Plague as it does fit nicely in with the season so to speak. It may be a more challenging this year with work and other factors but its a plan at least.

So, because of that it seems appropriate to focus on the Black Plague items which I still have to do. For this I have finished the Black Plague Skeleton archers. These are all ready for gaming. You can see all of them below.

The box I have says there are 20 but there are actually 21, 7 of each pose which I suspect was what was intended. These are a bit of a stretch from the original Zombie concept to me in the game, but heck why not. I already have crows and wolves done. Added to that the next iteration in the game, Green Horde adds all sorts of extra’s such as ghosts so this is ok with me. Supposedly this box is a little hard to get these days but I got it as part of the original kickstarter.

The first pose is of the Skeletons firing a bow. I kept roughly to the colour scheme on the actual box – dull greens and reds which does work for these models. That works nicely with the bone and so I’m quite happy with how these came out. I still did a muted effect overall. I just don’t really get to brightly coloured undead, after all they are likely not known for focusing on cleaning or have a lot of pride in their own appearance! Note, see my Rum and Bones guys for bright dancing undead crew. I did it but that’s a different none horror game.

These provide another set of nasties for our Zombicide games – not as if we need them… We seem to be able to die fairly well in games without these but heck, that’s a part of the reason why I like Zombcide: Black Plague is in the fact a game that can be tough to win in. Losing usually gloriously in a ‘mega disaster’ is par for the course and I like it. I and the others in our group often get a laugh out of the failures and there are better stories from those loses than a victory.

These guys can shoot at heroes from up to three spaces away which means that they will be awkward and very annoying in the game. That will especially be a factor in the late game when we are trying to avoid the waves of bad guys coming at us. But it may be an issue in the early game as well.

So there we are. This completes all the enemies for my Black Plague set I believe. I have a few more boxes of heroes to finish off – which I will do to complete the ‘set’. When we play with all these baddies in the draw set then it will make for a very big deck for the monsters.

Posted in 28mm, Board game, Fantasy | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments