l'Art de la Guerre – 6mm game and review

I have been playing a few Art de la Guerre (ADLG) ancient games in the last little while to learn the rules. So, one of the guys suggested that we try the rules set with the 6mm figures I have in the ‘big battle’ multi-player style. We have been playing various different rules sets for the last little while with the same figures. So in this concept we played a 300 point, 4 player game with my models. This was still a learning game for us all, but as with all these games when trying different rules, I thought I would write it up and give my/our thoughts on the game.

So as normal for these styles of game, it was Picts/Scots vs. Romano-British (Arthurian if you want to think of that way). An ADLG unit is either a single base of ‘DBx’ style cavalry/skirmishers but the formed infantry are 2 bases deep. That meant I had to do a little bit of fiddling with the bases in the end to get the right numbers etc. Depths of them were a bit of an issue, but we worked that out in the end and it did not seem to impact the game at all. The forces were not optimized for ‘best performance’ either – they used the figures that I have, but I did get 2 army list legal forces from my figs at the 300 point level (just).

We used the standard table setup and deployment system in the rules which gave a table with a decent amount of terrain, mostly around the edges. The Pict deployment zone had a woods in the center though, and one flank of the Romano-British deployment had a hill, which was close to the center of the table. The Pict’s had a Scot ally command (closest to the camera in the photo below). All their infantry was medium foot- the Picts are spearmen, the Scots swordsmen, and they had 3 chariots and a load of light horse, which were deployed in the space between the marsh/swamp on the left flank (top of the picture) and the woods in the center, which held more Pict spearmen.

The Romano-British deployed with their cavalry in the open ground opposite the Pictish chariots and light horse. They then had 2 blocks of their heavy infantry, deployed 2 units deep , one on the hill and the other in the center between the cavalry and the hill. The Romano-British had standard medium and elite heavy cavalry with just a couple of elements of light horse in support. Their main combat arm though was the heavy spearmen units. Each force had a few skirmish archers units, which were to support their foot units.

The Picts were the attackers and so went first. In ADLG each command (and in this game each army had 4) rolls a dice, adds their commanders ‘skill level’ (a score between 0 and 2) and then divides that by 2 (rounded up). Those pip’s can then be used to move units or groups of units, and/or rally hits off units. Commanders get a ‘free’ pip of their own which can be used on themselves or their group. One of the twists of this system is that an allied commands can be unreliable. This means if you roll a 1 on the first command die roll, they will refuse to do anything till you roll or 6 or the enemy comes close to them. So guess what die was rolled for the Scot’s… Yes a 1 <sigh>

So they would not be doing much for the first part of the game. I also had deployed them back from the furthest point they could have been – which made things harder. So that made for a change of plan for the aggressive Pict’s. Movement is more restricted than in DBA etc, but is not that complex. Units and groups can move forward and if they move at least a base width, they can slide sideways a base width as well. Units can also wheel, turn 90 or 180 etc so that’s pretty easy. They can do second moves if not close to the enemy and even a 3rd move a turn if their commander is with them. Those cost extra command pip’s of course so you can not always do everything that you want with your units.

In our game the first thing is the Skirmishers of both sides advanced and started trading shots. The Romano-British heavy foot advanced towards the Picts. With the their Scot’s allies not wanting to ‘play ball’ this had decided the Pict’s tactics on that side of the table. They let the Romano-British come to them, at least until their allies wanted to get into the game.

On the other flank a large number of the Pict light horse moved to head off the Arthurian cavalry. They only had javelins, so moved up close and then threw them. In the end this was not that successful. They were hoping to break up the Romano-British formation but that did not really happen. Shooting is a single opposed die roll with modifiers in ADLG. Shooting is unlikely to kill main battle units but can disrupt them which is a negative in combat. The Pict light horse were a little limited in movement from the other units and the swamp.

As expected the next turn the Romano-British cavalry charged the Pict Light horse sending them running – well evading. In ADLG if an enemy is within one base length range of the front of a units (in it’s zone of control) then the unit can charge without paying the pip, but this is done unit by unit. We had to check the rules carefully here around evading rules and worked them through them. The ADLG rules are written for tournament play so are quite comprehensive, but are not as free reading as some rules set. We sorted that though and in the end the Romano-British cavalry scattered the Pict light horse. This was especially as the Pict’s decided to evade ‘in columns vs as a unit/group’ – because of the movement of was restricted by the movement of the other Romano-British cavalry. This also mean that 2 of the Pict units ended up not being able to evade and started to fight it out with the Elite heavy cavalry – we all expected that to go just one way… Other Pict light horse ended up scattered – a couple went right through the chariot others ended beside the medium foot.

In the center the Romano-British cavalry and infantry moved up, trying to trap the Pict skirmishers – both the light horse and foot versions. The Pict spearmen line had to move up a little to head that off though. This brought the two lines close together and finally moved the Picts out of the woods, which the Romano-British heavy spearmen would not have liked to fight in.

Unexpectedly, the Pict light horse in combat managed with some good die rolls to stand up to the Elite Romano-British light horse! Combat again is between units and is a single D6 rolled for each unit, with various factors and the abilities of unit types taken into account. Mostly the base combat factors are between 0 and +2 though, with things like side support adding and extra +1. The difference in the rolls provides the number of hits a losing units takes. Elite means it’s harder to roll poor (or mitigates those effects a bit). Things like units having armour and how well a units fights vs certain opponents also factor into things as well. All this shows that the Pict Light Horse was very much against the odds against the elite heavy horse but it was still possible for it to survive for a few turns.

This did though allow time for the Pictish Spearmen to move through the swaps to provide support for them. Side support helps but attacking units flanks while they are frontally engaged tends to mean they start at -1 so that can be very powerful. The Romano-British horse charge had got them fighting the Pict chariots and even some medium spear in the center though. The problem with this aggressive move was that they had moved deep into the Pict side of the table and they needed to win before the Picts could surround and overpower them. The Picts had troops on either side of them and had more units than the Romano-British in this area so it was a bit of a risky move.

In the center the Romano-British foot had moved into combat with the Pict Spearmen. This also (as much by luck than good play), got them close enough to the Scot command to make the Scots come into play/reliable – i.e. able to be commanded. This was good news for the Pict’s as suddenly the Scot’s started moving forward with passion to support the Pict spears now in combat.

The Romano-British heavy vs. Pict medium spearmen did start to make a difference – as they had 4 hits vs the 3 for the Pict’s, but overall the combat was fairly balanced. Both sides started to take hits and units started to dir. Both sides commanders started leading the combats at the front. This effects the combat (giving their unit a plus 1 in the fight) but makes it much harder for those commanders to issue commands to other units in their command. It also risks them dying if they are on the losing end of the fight. That happened to several of the Romano-British commanders – the die rolls were not kind to them.

With the Scots command moving fast towards the Romano-British on the hill, their side of the battle started to move to a full on fight quickly. Suddenly the wave of Scots coming, started to threaten the flanks of the other heavy foot command as well and the Romano-British had to move down from their defensive hill setup. Added to this, we were starting to run out of time in the game, it was getting late. So this was a throw everything in for a last couple of turns time it seemed. Overall the results were mixed – with the Scots giving as good as they got. The extra movement of the medium foot did make a difference but their groups started scatter and not support each other as much as was likely desired.

All across the table combats were being fought – but the cavalry battle was starting to finish up. Although the elite Romano-British heavy cavalry, supported by medium cavalry had taken the fight to the Picts they had not managed to make enough decisive break thought combats. This allowed the Pict light cavalry and medium foot to come in help and turn that battle their way. A few flank attacks had really made the difference as well as some combined javelin throwing by the Picts. So, although very scrappy, with forces on that side depleted by both sides, the Picts finished on top – just. The foot commands were still in a slogging match when we called it though.

Winning (or breaking an army) is based on killing units in the opposing army and adding units with hits on them and other items. Most (nearly all) units count the same for this and so loosing skirmishers is bad and a reason for them to evade etc. Although neither army was at their break point, not only did the Romano-British have more casualties, they also were closer to their break point. The death of several commanders in combat was a big factor in this. Their army had also become much harder to control because of this. So we called it a close by slight victory for the Picts.

So, overall all 4 of the players had fun. We all said we would be interested in playing more games of ADLG. Three of us are regular DBA players and so although we had to unlearn a few things these rules have quite a lot of familiar concepts in the game – but at a larger scale.

The units having hits though and not having the fiddly recoils/stylized rules in DBA etc makes the game in some ways nicer than it. I do like the command and control aspects of this game as well. It still limits you but is not so random of Hail Caesar or something like that. Also, in combat the fact that even though their are factors for different forces they never seem to be at the point where you don’t have a chance of winning. But using D6’s vs. say D10’s in Hannibal mean that the ranges are not that huge. Being able to rally units, but this not being free or a guarantee also is a nice aspect to the rules in my opinion.

That said this game strikes me as ‘more detailed/tactical’ than Hail Caesar or Hannibal. Those games style and rules, to me, are the convention type fast of and loose game. Those are where players just do things and move toys on the table. If you lose then you laugh and move on. ADLG just feels a more a game where you have more choices and more decision points. That means a player has many more specific decisions which impact the game. That makes ADLG a bit more of a thinking game, vs wild moves and dice affecting the game of Hail Caesar. So its a style thing – for example I would not want to run a 6 player ADLG and 4 players seems about the max size for it. So this is not the best multi-player game, but so far for a 1 vs 1 game, ADLG would so far be by far my first choice of the ones we have played in this series of games.

Posted in 6mm, After Action Report, Ancients, Dark Ages | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Christmas tidy up – other stuff

This is my second and last post on the tidy up of projects from my painting desk over the Christmas break. This time it’s some ancients and other items which have been on there a while or even jumped the queue like the first one below.

I have been planning to rebase a few of my Ottoman commander bases for ADLG/Hail Caesar etc. When I decided I was going to use the army over the Xmas period for a game the priority of that made me do it. So this was a project I did get on with. These are for use/part of my big 15mm Ottoman army.

I did not paint any of these, as they had already been painted. I just took 2 of my 40x30mm deep bases with 3 figs on them (who were generals), popped off the figures and rebased them. At some point I’ll show more pictures of that force, but it was painted before I had this blog.

I did not want to have all the bases have a single figure on them, so I did one with 2 commanders. This can be my CinC if I need it. These figures are from OldGlory15’s. I still have enough figures for commanders on bases if I need to use them of course.

Next are a unit of dogs for a Saga force in 28mm. The Irish I believe are allowed a single unit of these and they had been based and undercoated a long time ago. So it was time to get them finished.

These are from Gripping Beast. I had hoped that there was more than 2 sculpts of dog but that’s what is in the pack. I was not that impressed with the fig sculpt really. They are proto-Irish wolf hounds but it’s fairly basic.

Lastly for this post is one of the Reaper fantasy buildings. This is good for 28mm although a little odd- it’s a tent made with large tusks/bones which are the support. This is from the Bones range and that tends to mean that it’s a cost effective way of getting terrain.

You can see the 28mm dog handler in the above picture to give some scale for the model. For the price I can’t complain at all on the size or quality of this model.

I thought about trying to make the supports look more like branches but that did not seem easy to do it. So I did not bother. This will work for fantasy terrain. It’s a shame as if the supports were branches this would be very useful for a historical terrain price.

So there we are. A slightly cleaner painting desk – but don’t worry I’m sure it will get filled up again very quickly. It already has several new projects on it…

Posted in 15mm, 28mm, Ancients, Fantasy, SAGA, Terrain | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2019 Desk clean up – WW2 stuff

I have a permanent painting desk, but it tends to get filled with part done projects – as well as paint and tools etc. I’m a bit of a messy/disorganized person anyway so that does not help. I also paint what interests me and I find I don’t do my best work when I loose interest in a project. So, when that happens I tend to put the project to one side, only to return to it when I do get the interest back. That’s great and means I keep painting away – even though not at a superb level, but it can mean I end up with a load of half done projects and figures in the way.

So, over the Christmas period I decided I would try to finish a few of those to clear the desk a little. I find that my focus on specific things moves around but part of my enjoyment in painting is getting things completed. That is one reason I at present am not interesting in competition level painting – the large work on a single work item would not fulfill that aspect of the hobby I really like. This post shows the WW2 items that I finished up over the Xmas period to clear the desk, as they were in the way.

So the first are three Panthers – these are resin, from the ‘Gaming models’ manufacturer I have mentioned before- http://www.gamodls.com/. Overall, they are not bad at all but the gun barrels are a little fragile. The middle one of these did have a broken barrel and I had to glue it back together. That why you see the kink and lump in it. It’s not perfect but it works.

That broken barrel had put me off finishing them, but I decided that I really needed to get these done and off the painting table. I finished them in the same manner as the other tanks that I have in the German forces. The lighting for the photo was not great but I hope that you can see the green/yellow camo pattern on the Panthers. This was used in the mid/late war at times on the Russian front for tanks and I have used it for most of my German ww2 forces.

The next models are the last from the same manufacturer – this time Italian armored cars autoblindo Fait-Ansaldo AB41. I have Bought an Italian desert army that at some point I have to paint (it’s in the lead pile at present), and these were bought for that. But I wanted to get them finished so the box they were in could be cleaned up. That means they jumped the painting queue.

These are fun vehicles which look cool and have some interesting aspects. I wonder if they also are part of the reason for British jokes about Italian WW2 vehicles. They do have a reverse facing machine gun on the main vehicle. It also has 2 driving positions in the car – one is facing the front and the other one faces the rear. I do like how these came out though.

Lastly, I have 4 Bren gun teams for the 8th army (these ones are from Peter pig). The Bren gun teams are a key point in the British platoons. I needed to get a few more so that I could use the figures I already have for games such as Poor Bloody Infantry – you can see some here https://mellis1644.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/8th-army-mortars-and-extra-stuff/

I don’t tend to keep a record of how I paint things so going back and doing extra troops for projects is always a bit hit or miss for me, but this seemed to be good. They are quite similar to the existing figures I have for the project.

So there we are, a few items finished and packed away vs. sitting on my painting desk. Of course, it was mild here over the break so I ended up spray priming more figures, so my desk is now more full than ever, but heck that’s life as they say. Anyway, Happy New Years to all those who read this.

Posted in 15mm, World War 2 | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Warcry – Defiled ruins terrain

I still have to get to painting the figures that came with the standard Warcry box, but I have already attacked an extra terrain box – this one the Ravaged Lands: Defiled Ruins set. These have been done in the same way as the buildings in the base set, so these actually work nicely with those as well.  I thought I’d add a quick post showing these as I have finished them.

The main element to these are two big multi-floor buildings, which you can see above.

The ruins are interesting with a nice set of features – so they look cool. Doing them as per the buildings in the base set should also allow me to do a decent set of buildings for a 4 foot square table.

They don’t have stairs but as anyone is allowed to climb any wall in Warcry that should not b a major issue.

The second big building is very similar – it just has an open doorway rather than a closed one in the firs building – and in a different location.

I actually like the ‘somewhat religious’ theme of these buildings and that will easily allow me to use them for other games as well – ruined temples etc.

I purposely did not add greenery or snow etc to the buildings so they could be used in that way.

The other major thing in this set was a set of walls which were it seemed designed to be put together in various different ways. Below is a sample of them. They could be glued together to they also just clip together in away which seems to hold them in place well enough for a game. The tops are too small for a model to stand on according to the Warcry rules, so that’s good. They just act as blocks etc.

Below you can see all the parts of theses walls laid out – one picture for each side. They are well designed so that the end pieces give some support for them even if they are roughly straight.

I must admit this is an interesting idea – and one which also helps with the storage of them. It’s much easier to store them in this style.

So there we are. A quick post showing more Warcry or really any 28mm ruined terrain items.

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

Hail Caesar – Mini-review and game

Just before Christmas we did another game with my 6mm Dark Age figures. Each time we are using a different set of rules to see which ones we like with this scale. The aim is to get a fast, but tactical and fun multi-player game that we can play in an evening. This time we used an old favorite of ours – the Hail Caesar rules by Warlord. These were originally created for large 28mm games but work great for other scales. For 15 and 6 mm games I just use centimeters instead of inches in the game. Other than that the rules seem to work fine for smaller scales.

In this game I created the forces and let players decide the units in the different commands. The more I play Hail Caesar the more I realize that there is a subtle balance around the number of units in a command. Too many and things slow down but too few and the commanders can always do everything they want (within reason). The 8+ command roll and verbal stated orders give this rules set an interesting dynamic in play. It does allow multiple players on a side to all go at the same time which speeds things up. Also with decent command rolls you do more units fairly fast in the early stages of the game go fast, but with units moving fast but some interesting options (as in when hings fail) as well.

However, as normal in our games things started with some fun. The Romano-British heavy cavalry immediately got the wrong command and made a command roll blunder or, we joked maybe decided they did not like the battle position/had their own agenda. Anyway, they about faced retreated away from the looming Scots/Picts as fast as possible. In fact, this command would roll a blunder (12 on 2D6) for the first two turns ! Their commander definitely got out of bed on the wrong side for sure.

On the other side of the table the Picts/Scots started in an aggressive manner as well. Again because of poor command rolls the whole Romano-British mounted command stayed put – refusing to move against this aggressive display. In the center the Picts/Scots medium foot troops moved steadily up towards the Romano-British lines.

Opposing them, the Romano-British spear line slowly advanced, while their cavalry still milled around. Arthur Pendragon’s finest were not at their best the start of this game for sure.

The Picts/Scots decided to take the wooded hills and use those as a ‘staging areas’ for their assaults in the game. I think the Picts/Scots would have preferred more terrain on the table really for this game, to disrupt their opponents lines. Hail Caesar however does not have any explicit rules for terrain placement. Thus the players just put down a table of terrain as they liked/agreed. That can be good or bad – and often leads to fairly basic tables I have found.

In the game the sides soon got to shooting range. The skirmish archers were already taking pot shots at each other. Shooting in Hail Caesar is not superbly effective but can disrupt troops making them impossible to command, and the occasional hit or two can have an effect over time.

The lack of the Romano-British Cavalry on the left flank allowed the Scottish cavalry to move forward. That allowed some of the Scot’s foot to charge ahead of their line to attack the Romano-British Archers at the edge of the fields. They were a little too far way though though so only one of the units could get in combat – even with a 3 move advance. That was after they were peppered by the archers on the way in. They were supported by the Scot cavalry though, who dared the Romano-British cavalry to try to come through the fields (difficult ground for them) and fight at a disadvantage. The Romano-British cavalry refused this challenge though, as you might expect.

The Scottish flank attack was working though – even though they started to take losses. One of the issues was that their commander was too far away (and with too many command rolls to make), so they were unable to rally off the hits when they were shaken. The commander did come up though to the combat and as the Romano-British cavalry was still on the other side of the fields. The Romano-British continued with poor command rolls (they were starting to get better though), so the Scottish cavalry started to attack the flanks of the Spear line and roll that up. Eventually though those cavalry were ‘shattered’, which stopped that attack. Poor command rolls meant that the scots could not keep the pressure up.

On the other flank the Romano-British cavalry finally started to move up and a separate little cavalry battle was occurring over there. Both sides took damage and over multiple turns the Romano-British cavalry would win out – but by that time their were very few units left on either side.

Part of the reason for this well matched fight of cavalry on that flank was that the one of the Pict chariots had pulled off to help in the center fight of the infantry. The chariots were quite effective in driving away the Romano-British light cavalry, but they could not do enough damage to destroy them.

Meanwhile, the center infantry commands had engaged each other and a large melee had developed. Overall, the combats started to go distinctly in the Romano-British favor. The extra power of the initial impact of the medium foot was more than not offset by the heavy spear of the Romano-British. I had used the standard formula in the Hail Caesar books to create ‘balanced’ forces but it was clear to me that although reasonable that’s not perfect for creating balanced forces. The Spear did seem to perform better than the impact medium foot a lot.

Still it was a close fight for a while and both sides started loosing units. Back on the side where the Scots were starting to roll up the Romano-British spear men, although the initial Scot’s attack had been stopped they were still in a great position. Of course, this was when the command die for that force failed to hold up. So the Scots sat there and could not close fast enough to take real advantage of the opportunity they had.

At the same time the Romano-British cavalry from this flank had finally started to get some decent command rolls and they moved around the fields. So although this looked bad for the Romano-British, the best of their troops were coming the the rescue. Maybe that was that sub-commanders plan – to be the hero of the battle after all. If so it was looking like it might work out for him yet!

In the hilly woods though the medium infantry had a poor time of it. Even with they should have had an advantage in the fights. Unfortunately, the chariots on this side had also been destroyed without taking out at least one more of the Romano-British cavalry units which would had broken that command. The remaining Romano-British cavalry started to move towards the center of the table on this side as well. The Pict cavalry was moving up to support the battle line as well, but that was much more scattered as a force after the cavalry fighting died down.

At this point time was up (the store was closing and we heading for a frosty beverage and food), so we called the game a draw. Although the initial Scot attack had taken one flank and on the other the two mounted forces had fought to a standstill, the Scots/Picts had not been able to take true advantage of that. The Romano-British cavalry was heading into the main combat area and the heavy Spear men were working their way through the medium foot of the tribesmen.

As always Hail Caesar gave a good and fast game. The combat is a bit ‘buckets of dice’ though and that’s a bit of a negative. Especially as most of the combat target rolls are around the 3 to 5 target on each die and total successes count. That means those tend to ‘balance out’ to their averages over time. So a single die or two difference on one side can make a significant difference in the overall results. Also, the game really swings on two specific die rolls – the command rolls and then the morale checks. The game really resolves around those rolls. A few good or bad ones at the wrong time can change things considerably – which is good and bad.

Overall though, we all enjoyed the game and it was a fun die rolling event, with some drastic swings of fortune in the game. I think though that my force lists need to be modified if we play this again, as the heavy spear were much better than the medium foot they fought. This game works well for the multi-player game as there is always plenty to do, with not a lot of down time. The rules can be little complex at times though and the fact that the command roll can mean people don’t get to move any models that turn can make for an ‘less than fun’ game for some. So it does have it’s down points. So we will continue to play different games with these figs.

Posted in 15mm, After Action Report, Ancients, Dark Ages | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dark Ages – Javelin men & civilian hordes

So time to show some more of my finished Dark Age figures. This time it’s a selection of different troops. The first set all have 3 figures on a base and are armed with javelins or throwing weapons. In the Art de la Guerre rules these will be javelin-men – a specific type of light medium foot unit. There are 8 bases of these and the figures are all from Old Glory 15’s – although I’m not sure what packs they are from, but I would say a variety of them.

These are poorly provisioned troops who are able to fight, but prefer to do so with their ranged weapons vs. getting into the shieldwall. They will also be useful for other games that have medium foot troops – some armies in games like DBA have Auxiliary or Warband troops which have 3 figs per base.

I can also see using these for games such as Peter Pigs Longships, or the TFL’s Dux Brit as Welsh/Scots. I can use the medium foot bases I have for those armies but these can be the poorer/faster/ranged weapon versions of those troops.

Next we have 4 bases of villagers/rabble. These are the real ‘peasants’ of the period. The poor common people of the period are in these bases. Some of the army lists allow for a few bases of these in true armies. Although I suspect they would not be great vs. a real ‘trained’ group of raiders/warriors. Great filler and a cheering section.

They will also be great for acting as defenders of villages or their local area. So they definitely have a place in all sorts of games. I do like the pitchforks and other tools that these guys have. They are again from Old Glory15’s. Some of the armies in the Norman period do have large numbers of hordes as options – reflecting the poor serfs fighting their betters. So they will be a useful start for those troops as well.

I can see these being used for the poorest troops in various scenarios as well. I’m sure that some villages would defend themselves when raided by Vikings or Scots etc and these will be useful for such forces.

Lastly for this post, I have another set of 6 poor/peasant hordes. This time the miniatures are from Museum Miniatures in the UK. I got a selection of packs of dark age villages etc from them a while back and have mixed them up to created these bases.

Again, these will be used for various troops types and I even made one of the bases – the left rear one on the photo below to just have priests. That was a fun one to do that with a twist. Some of the models in these bases are ladies as well. So it reflects the ‘dark age home defense troops’ more than the previous bases from Old Glory.

All these bases continue the mixed flock system I have used before. So they have the same basic theme of basing – meaning they should be able to mix and match with the others in any force. As I have mentioned before these also don’t contain and bright colours as that would just not reflect my understanding of clothing in this period.

As a last point, like many of the other bases in this project I can see these really being able to be used for a larger time range than the just the Dark Ages. They can likely work for the late Roman Empire in the north all the way through to the 13th cent. I can see these horde bases maybe getting used for the first crusaders, especially before they got to the Levant. The models would work for there but the basing is a bit off for that area. Still… I’m not saying it won’t happen.

So there we are, another set of models finished. I’m going to have to get these onto the table soon I think.

Posted in 15mm, Ancients, Dark Ages | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Warcry – a quick review and game

Wow how time flies… it’s nearly a month since I had a gaming Saturday with Ernie and we played Warcry. I took some pictures and said I would put them up here, so I thought I better get on that. I don’t always put games up here but I like to do at least 1 report of a game we play and so I should get a Warcry one posted. So here we have a quick write up of my thoughts on Game Workshops Warcry game and some pictures and a quick report of a couple of games.

Warcry is GW’s latest skirmish type game, this one set in the Age of Sigmar. It’s played on a fairly small table/board – roughly 1.5 feet by 2, which I really like as that allows it to be played in board game cafes and on pretty much any table. It uses standard figures and terrain, so looks like a skirmish game vs say GW underworlds which is very much more a card/board game. You can see the table size and a typical terrain set up from the starter below.

The basic rules are pretty straight forward with the figures all having different movement and combat stats. Combat is all rolled by the attacker, with a single roll of a number of dice determining hits. The target number determined by the attackers strength vs targets toughness. 6’s on the hit roll for most attacks do more damage but the combat is fairly basic. Figures do have multiple wounds so most are not guaranteed to die on a single attack – but for weaker ones it’s possible.

Figure activation is by alternating moves of single figures which is good and a fairly standard mechanism for skirmish games. When activated they have 2 actions – which are commonly move or attack, but include disengage from combat and pick up an objective etc. The twist for the system is that you get to roll a set of 6 dice at the start of the turn and you are looking for set sets – repeats of the same number. These pairs or triples/quads allow you to do special abilities (some faction dependent). For my undead for example 4 dice allows the leader, the Necromancer to summon back one of the dead figures in the warband. The number on the dice is a factor in the effect – so for example that number for the summon undead power is the number of hits the figs restarts with. So four dice of threes will allow the summoned fig to restart with 3 hits. You can’t keep these dice from turn to turn so there is planning what you want to do in the turn.

There are also tactics as each turn you get a single wild die, which you can manually define what the value of that is (you don’t roll that one). That way you can always get at least a double etc. You can also keep this wild dice unused over turns so if you don’t use it one turn you get 2 to use the next turn.

So it’s a basic system at heart and starting so close means that it gets up close and personal turn 1. The games last between 3 to 5 turns. So it’s fast and deadly.

The other interesting thing with the system is that it uses a set of cards for setting up the terrain and especially the figure setup, scenario goals and the ‘twist’ or weird thing in the game. This means that no two games are the same but it also avoids that typical 3 or 4 scenarios which most skirmish games (other than Pulp alley) tend to use as tropes.

Deployment is in 3 groups of figures, the dagger, shield and hammer, which are roughly equal (the shield can be the biggest) and quite often one or two of those sets won’t come on until the second or third turn. Again this makes for some interesting combinations in games. It also means that some ‘power builds’ can end up in games which they have a hard time winning. For example my undead are very dependent on the Necromancer – the leader for abilities etc. If he does not turn up till turn 3, well it makes winning more of a challenge, let’s say it that way. But as seen below sometimes the different powers also make some scenarios easier for some factions.

The first game we played had all the figures start on the table but in spread out groups. The winner was the first to kill all the models in one specific group in the opposite team. This is a tough one when playing undead as they can summon back dead figs so although weak my guys can die – as long as they all don’t die I can bring back figures from the target group. I just need 4 die of the same type and the Necromancer alive to summon one back.

The game at first went as expected and the chaos warband did a great job of killing my weak skeletons in their target group. My skele’s tried to run away but the undead move slow and so that was not really a good option.

Soon it was clear that my target group were going to be overcome and the second turn I had to summon back one of the dead – but with only 1 wound… so there was a huge risk there. My other guys had ‘run’ as much as undead can to attack the 3 target figures of the chaos team which I was supposed to kill. My fear was they would just bolt away making it hard for me to catch them – which one of them did. I managed to surround the other two though could escape.

It was not long before the gang rush of the undead had taken out one of their targets and the second surrounded one would soon go down. That left me just one target but all the initial figs in my group who I had to keep on the table were dead – only the summoned back one kept me from loosing.

The problem with this is my Necromancer was looking to be in a vulnerable position. He is the key for the force and also the only member of the force with a ranged attack – which I needed to try to take down the running away chaos warband target. I had sent the skeletons which started with him to try to head of that running figure so the hard hitting slow members of the warband could get to it in time.

In the end I managed to surround the wayward chaos warband target and take it down before his friends could catch up to him. It was close though and it took a decent amount of effort to do it. We discussed the game in the end and this was a tough one for me to lose, with the ability to summon back figs. But running more of my targets and focusing on the resummoned skele’s may have been a better move IMO.

The Necromancer was hiding and keeping the summoned but very low wound count members of the warband who were the targets of the chaos warband around him. Putting more pressure on them might have turned the game for the chaos warband.

The second game we played had a different terrain setup and in this one my warband has to try to get off one edge of the table. I needed to get over 50% of my force off the board alive, that’s tough with undead as they don’t move that fast… the edge chosen was a side edge a long way from most of my figures starting points. So it was going to be a fighting retreat for sure. If I remember correctly, as the game went on it got darker and thus, there was reduced the range of distant shooting as well in the later turns of the game.

The Necromancer and his guards started closest of my forces to the edge, but there was a set of chaos gang members close to them – including the doggie as I called it and the whip master who can make it go again. The separate deployment locations meant that two set of mine figures were a long way away from the escape edge and one was in line of site and charge range of the chaos warband at the start of the game.

The game started as predicted with my Necromancer trying to secure the escape edge while a bunch of the chaos wild men tried to stop them. A large melee started around this with the two leaders going toe to toe in the with their supporting troops fighting it out as well.

The skeletons and wraiths who started in the middle of the board tried to make their way to the escape edge of the table. I decided to use a strategy of moving when they could and having a single blocker model if possible fighting their pursuers. Warcry is brutal and there was no way I’d get away without loses but if I could keep it down then I thought I had a good chance of winning by getting enough figures off the table. So the harder fighters became blockers chaos pursuers, while the skele’s tried to run for the table edge.

To that plan I had 4 figures in the group which were away from all the chaos warband move as fast as possible to get off the left edge. For this they ran all along the other long edge. This meant I had an issue of these not being involved in the fight at the other side of the table but the aim was to escape after all. It did leave me at a disadvantage of numbers though I the other fights. The undead are not individually strong so their numbers seem to be an offset to that in combat, one which I was giving up here.

To that point. My Necromancer was targeted by the chaos warband leader. It was close but eventually he killed the chaos warband leader – with help of some of his minions (and even sacrificing one to heal himself with a special power). It was a bit of a surprise to us both that he managed that. However, this had left him very wounded and short of support. The remaining chaos warband quickly dispatched him and is supporting troops. That took me to over 50% killed and so I had lost the scenario.

Overall Warcry is not going to win any awards about real original play. But where it wins out is the fast but tactical games. It’s possible to play a couple of games in an afternoon or evening and they are tactical, quick and fun. Its not always going to be perfectly balanced and yes there is a fair amount of randomness in the game. At the same point there are a lot of decision points and the game provides good replay what really shines though is the innovative set up and scenario creation. The simple campaign system adds to this in my opinion. I’m looking forward to playing more games and painting up more factions for this. If you like GW games I do recommend people giving this a go, it’s got more legs than you may think for a simple skirmish game.

Posted in 28mm, After Action Report, Review, Warcry, Warhammer Fantasy | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment