FIW Forest Indians

With last weeks post on the rural frontiersmen of the European colonists, it just seemed fair to show some more of the natives they would be facing in the wilderness. So here we have another pack of the Blue moon indians.

I have to say I really like this range and the models paint up really nicely. Sure they are not 28mm but at 18mm it means they can have a load more done in a reasonable time. They also store much better so that’s the reason that I decided to do this project in this scale. I really like 28mm skirmish games but these FIW games are really in the 30 to 60 figs per side – if not more. For larger games as well this should give a better number of figs on a reasonable sized table without it looking too crowded.I put a good amount of bushed on the bases as these guys really like cover. They need to use that a lot for their best historical tactics. As normal below are the individual shots of the models in detail. One each for the 30 figures in the pack.As you can see these ones I did face painting as that was common for the native tribes for the Northern US states, Quebec and Ontario regions. I’m not such a great painter to do really precise jobs but I am still happy with how they have come out.I did a few different colours of face paints – reds and the blues. These could be separate units or just different styles. This also differentiates them from the pervious indian models which I did not put any face paint on. As normal with Blue moon figs there is a good selection of poses which makes painting these much easier. They are quite a nice set of figs to paint and I recommend them for anyone interested in the period.
I tried to keep the clothing colours in a natural tone level for the most part, so that there is nothing too bright. From my understanding they did like to add some bright colors to their outfits, so I added some of those item to the models as well.
I have to say it took a little effort to make sure that each of the facial paint jobs were different. It’s to ensure that each one is unique as I doubt any of them in real life repeated face paint or clothing.Interestingly, there was only one bowman and one war club welder in the pack. These will make good commanders or figures of note in the different units.The leader/officer though has to be the guy below with the axe. I really like that pose and model so that makes it nice and simple who is the leader.So there we are. Another good group of figs for FIW war games such as Muskets and Tomahawks.

Posted in 15mm, 18th Cent, American War of Independence, French Indian War | 1 Comment

Frontiersmen from the FIW

Recently I have been posting quite about about painting board gaming miniatures while showing 15mm after action reports of games. So I guess I should show a few more 15mm figs that I have finished. That’s so that when I start showing my next gaming project reports with these there is not a flurry of them. To be honest I finished these a month or so ago but did not get round to posting them till now. I am working on another big project (or two) but don’t have anything completed on those yet to show.

These are part of a long time background project of mine – which is the French Indian Wars in 15mm. I must admit I enjoy painting this scale but also this size of figure on a table does give a more empty battlefield look which is really what those wars should have. Most fights I’m going to reflect were large skirmish engagements and North American landscape was fair empty where they fought… just lots of beautiful lakes and forests.

Many of the white settlers in this period were independent characters. Although they fought in the wars as rangers or just to defend their own lands/themselves they would not be uniformed or follow any particular style of clothing. They wore was what worked and what they liked for hunting and fishing which we’re key bits of their liveilhoods.Shown here is the Blue Moon frontiersman pack all painted up. It contains 30 nice figures with a great selection of poses. This is perfect for this period and the figs can be used for a variety of units/forces. I kept the colours all very earthy and I hope somewhat realistic. Yes there are a few bright colours here and there but nothing too much.In all these smaller shots each figure is just shown once in ‘close up’ so you can see it in a little more detail.  This allows me to show them all without creating too long a post.I put a decent amount of bushes on the bases as that seems to look right and work with these figures. The bases are pennies (Canadian and US) , with a small magnetic patch under each to help them stay in the packing boxes I use for storage.
Even with a repeat of some of the poses – which is understandable in this number and scale, painting them up like this means that each figs does look different and so provides a full group of individual figures. I also like that not all of these guys have tricorns. Although a common hat for the period I  believe there were many other styles worn, especially when you started to get out of the highly populated areas. Overall, I have to say I’m quite happy as to how these have come out. They should be useful in various games for the 18th century.So there we are another set of figs ready for FIW gaming. I have not done much of that recently but I do hope to in the future.

Posted in 15mm, American War of Independence, French Indian War | Leave a comment

En Garde first game and quick review

I painted up a whole set of to Old Glory/Blue Moon 15mm ‘three musketeers’ figures last year – you can see the blog posts for close ups of the figures if you look for them. But I had jet to use them in a game.

This week I finally ran a game with them in the En Garde the system for our group. So here is a quick write up of the game, some pictures and my thoughts and comments.pic2622662

The Scenario was one which I came up with and had the following background:

News has just arrivied in Paris that the party including Countess de F (the Kings latest mistress) has got caught up in a peasant revolt while returning to the city. The peasants have a reputation in such cases of chopping the heads of their betters depending on what happens! So time is of the essence to save her. You can improve your personal agenda and political status by saving the Countesses as well as embarrass any others who try and fail to do so.

You strike at dawn the following morning, raiding the village to save her. In the faint morning light you suspect there are others also trying to do the same as you. But you will save her and win your just rewards for sure.

So the game was everyone for themselves after the Countess. I ran the game and played the revolting peasants – with Le Retundo, their leader being my main guy. The big winner would be the one one to save the Countess.

As we had three players, with the forces as follows:

A large group of the cardinals guards – lead by a  swordsman dressed as the cardinal.
D’Artagnan, his personal servants and three standard musketeers.
The local bandit leader Black Jacque and some of his bandit gang.

I tried to balance the forces roughly but it was not precise on points counts. Each player had a rank 5 leader (with weapons master and duelist skills), a rank 3 second in command (a weapons master), as well as their supporting troops. The rank 1 and 2 troops had a pistol each in both the Cardinals and Bandit gang as well as a sword. Black Jacque’s crew were the only ones in armor but just light stuff giving them a +1 armor value.  The peasants also were in mobs. I made them count as rank 3, with level 3 armor but they were on big bases and could not assist each other. This reflected a group of poor peasants acting together as a mob.

You can see the start of the game below – with the three attackers all coming in from different sides of the village and the mobs of peasants in the village center. In the center was the countess on the headsman block, with the the headsman and Le Retundo directing the peasants.D’Artagnan and three fellow musketeers made their way in through the fields from one side. His trusty servant Planchet also in tow. D’Artagnan lead from the front and was very heroic throughout the game.
The evil Black Jacque and his crew were coming to capture the Countess for their own ends, best left unsaid what they were but he lead from the back…The same was true of the ‘Cardinal’ who sent some of his guards to fight a mob of villages, while having others use their pistols against a second mob heading towards him.  The Cardinals guards must have been practicing pistol shots because one of them did such a prefect shot as to ‘kill’ the mob they were firing at in a single shot.  We made the story to that one of a very bloody head shot to one of the mob made the other revolting peasants decide it was better to hide in their house than suffer the same. So first blood to the Guardsman! All three forces were attacked by the village mobs though. D’Artagnan engaged one mob and dispersed them alone. It took all his skill to do that, managing it on the last of his attack chips. He then raced on and took out another village mob single handed. Holding up that hero image for certain. The two the musketeers with him ganged up on another mob and took them out as well. One of Black Jacques gang members took on another mob but started to get the worse of it in that fight. He was the ‘sacrificial guy’ from that group to hold up the peasants while the other gang members moved into the village ready to strike in the following turns. Typical evil behavior there, and it was fun that players really got into character. The group of Cardinals guards trying to take on the mob in hand to hand though did not fair that well though. The mob actually took down one of the guardsmen. That mob held up the guards for a couple of turns of combat in the end giving as good as they got in the hand to hand fighting. To be fair though the Cardinals guards were just Rank 1 guys. Eventually the Cardinal sighed and ran over to help his minions. A quick couple of blows from him showed the villages the true power though as they dispersed after taking out two guards in the pervious fighting.The mob fighting Black Jacques bandit eventually killed the bandit which freed up them. He had allowed Jacques other gang members to get into the village though. Those were now taking pot shots with their pistols as the opportunity arose. Sometimes even into combats between the other players. No honor those bandits that’s for sure.The ‘rescue attempt’ for the Countess was made by Black Jacque and support taking on the headsman. Meanwhile D’Artagnan and a fellow musketeer took on the leader Le Retundo. All the while  D’Artagnan’s servant (Planchet) slipped in and freed the Countess! The combats were fast and furious but unfortuantely fairly one sided. Often in this game if you are ‘ganged up on’ or have very different ranks of figs fighting it can be hard to win the combat. I guess that’s realistic but something to be aware off. The rescuers had taken out all but the leaders of the mob so they were on their own. Le Retundo the village leader went down quickly with a couple of bad defensive rolls from me. Yes seeing a theme here ? I could not roll well all game. Luckily, as the GM and basic target/road block for the players, that really did not effect anything that much. I had hoped to play that character a little longer but there we are. Le Retundo as his name implies will return though and and he is pretty large as well.Of course this just started a large swirling melee in the center of the village though with more figs joining in. Various models fought each other and there were even several cases of one fleeing one fight (and risking the free strike against them) to move into other fights. Again Bandits were prone to shooting into combats – – especially ones which did not involve any of their gang. Planchet started to run through the fights pulling the Countess with him trying to get her to safety. Of course just to add to the fun I had the last remaining revolting village mob chase after him. Interestingly all the other players models were too busy fighting each other to be bothered with the mob initially.   You can see we had a few markers out for the various figs by now. White is a stun, blue is a wound level and red is needing a reload needed to fire their pistol. The Cardinals swarm of low ranking guards started to help here as he had some running around the village to stop the escaping servant and others were leading the charge (I hate to say acting as a meat shield) for the ‘Cardinal’.

Numbers started to dwindle though on all sides and as there were 3 or 4 main fights going on the casualties were mounting. The mob got to Planchet and dragged him down – collecting the countess again for themselves.That was not to last though. The next turn the mob were killed by I believe D’Artagnan while most of the sub commanders and other troops had been killed or taken out of action by this point. The leaders headed for each other and the Countess to try to win the game. So we went from about a dozen combatants to just a hand full left in a  couple of turns. If this were a movie the whirling action of everyone fighting would now focus on the main characters. It was like it was planned – but that was not the case.

This was the climax of the game came with all three rescue attempt leaders in a whirling 3 way combat over who would control the Countess and thus rescue her. No quarter was given or taken in this fight and tactics were at play between the three combatants. Who to attack and with what ploys were all decision points. This lasted a number of turns. If this were an action movie this is where the action stunts would have been, with the countess screaming and all the characters fighting around her. A few remaining gang members took pot shots with pistols into the combat just to add to the confusion and chaos as well.

The combat mechanism in En Garde means there was actual tactics and key decision in play here. Real player choices having an effect, rather than just die rolls. I do like that and it’s different than many such games and makes a huge difference IMO. Lots of fun was had with this. Various jokes as well as bad French accents)were all used as well as some real tension in the rolls. We even had people from other games come over and watch the fun, so you know the noise levels were high.The leaders went from all being unwounded to all gravely wounded. In the end it was Black Jacque who came out as the last three way round still standing. He was gravely wounded though. The remaining Cardinals guards had a moment of hesitation (well a turn wavering and ran away) with the loss of the Cardinal but then regained their nerve and fought on. So, they were the only ones left who could spoil the bandits plans. Their pistol shooting though was poor, which was their real chance to take out the remaining 2 members of Black Jacques gang. So with empty pistols that allowed the bandits to run them down in hand to hand combat.  
So the field and the Countess were Black Jacque’s…and a fun night was over. The game with 3 players and me as the GM and running the villages lasted approx 2.5 hours. Overall we had a good game and a lot of laughs.

So, what did we think of En Guarde?

Overall, I have to say I think it’s an improvement on the Ronin system and a fun game. I would recommend them to anyone wanting skirmish gaming with 6 to 20+ figs for the Pike and Shot period. They can be used to create real scenario’s and story games. It has a nice theme and although not that popular in mainstream wargaming it is a great period. That’s very similar to my view of Ronin to be fair -and these rules are really a slight improvement on Ronin engine moved to a different background. You can see my review of that here. For more specific comments I’ll do this in bullet form. Note, there are other reviews out there for the basic mechanics so I’m not going to go through those but more my thoughts around the game.

  • Overall, the game holds together well and as stated above this in many ways is a V2 version of the game Engine in Ronin. It’s a great skirmish game. All the guys made that comment that we should ‘back port’ the rules for this version into Ronin. I’ll have to loom to see if it’s already been done. A common complaint with Osprey rules we find is that many could do with more testing as they have rough edges. Often the core game is good but it just needs a little more. Ronin has it’s minor issues in the mechanics etc. in this area and I think En Garde resolves many of those. Note, the Rampant rules are the other set which I think have now got over this hump as well and are really good.
  • I still really like the Attack/Defense combat pools and ploys mechanic in the game. The addition of ploys (added defense/riposte & added attack etc.) means that players have tactical choices in combat and it’s not just a die rolling – which I really like. Again the extra detail and options are things which we likely will use in Ronin. This one rules aspect makes these rules stand out from say IHMN which are good bit lack that extra detail and player control that these provide.
  • The shooting changes from Ronin look good and it is less confusing than Ronin. Shooting is still quite powerful and a little random- especially if troops don’t have armor. The removal of a second shooting phase and making the archer skill for a second shot with some weapons limits some of the power of shots.
  • I really like that a points system is part of the rules. The wide range of sample forces is also good to see and that allows people to build what they want but gives some guidance for them as well. A nice addition that in Ronin had to be added by the author later (and people like me worked out anyway).
  • Some skills/attributes seam much better than others – but that’s always a reality for specific scenario’s but just something to be aware of. Dueling and Weapons Master skill’s are likely to be a often choose set for high ranking heroes. I’d likely tweak these – maybe even splitting weapons master into 2 skills. But that’s a minor issues and one easily resolved really. It is more for a force building/ game balance type thing.
  • Although I have not used them yet I love the addition of the fantastical creatures and magic as an option in the rules. A great idea and makes the rules have a lot more legs for generic games and people like me thinking of extensions and odd uses for the rules.
  • Using 15mm figs worked a treat for the game. It would not work great for  convention game as the visual spectacle is reduced for none players, but for a smaller group of players it does not effect the rules at all. Having a couple of specific special figs and the rest be a standard profile resolved any issues of identification of models in the game. Next game will be pirates I suspect and thee rules work very well for pirates. 🙂
  • As a last point it is a shame that compared to some rules there does not seem to be a big fan base/author support for this game. I really like these rules and they are a fun set for gaming. There is a Facebook group for it but it’s public (which I’ll be honest deters me at least from posting in it) and does not get the traffic which some groups get. Still I guess this is period not often used for games other than some ECW/TYW stuff – but thats a shame

So there we are. Overall, another fun game and a set of rules I’d recommend interested in the period or style of game have a look at. I hope you enjoyed the write up.

Posted in 15mm, After Action Report, Review, Ronin/En Garde | 3 Comments

SDX kobolds first group

It feels like it’s been a little while since I posted some of my painting of Super Dungeon Explore (SDX) figures. Work has been busy and so I have not being doing as much painting as normal but these are complete. So it’s time to show some baddies. I did show the Dragons previously so now we are onto the Kobolds. These are the evil dungeon dwellers who are the ‘cannon fodder’ for the heroes, but at the same time can make their life pretty miserable and even kill the heroes if they don’t take care.

The Kobolds come in a variety of styles. There are also a lot of them so the Kobold faction are split over 2 posts. I tried to keep to the theme colours of the box and card artwork. This is not really my person choice they do work ok.

First are the Armored Kobolds. These guys are the defnesively tough ones with big shields. There are 4 of them in the standard pack so it’s easy to provide an all round view on a single photo.Next we have the standard sword and shield Kobolds. Again with 6 of them it’s fairly easy to get them all with the various angles in a single photo. These are not that inspiring models to me but work for the ‘basic line bodies’ which will get killed quick. After all this is a board game inspired by the 8-bit video games and these types of baddies died a lot in those.Next we have two serious Kobolds – the magic using Sorcerer. Just a pair of these models in the game. I like that their staff has a Dragon head and I guess they worship the Dragons. Thus, it makes sense that they would be in the same dungeons as the Dragons then and maybe even working for them!Again, the colours are from the artwork in the game and cards but in this case it seems to look and work alright. I am happy how the Purple folds came out. The horns might have used a little more bright blending for these pictures but heck they are ok. It give a suitable look to the horns.Lastly, the summoning posts for these guys. These follow the purple theme and are I believe used as the place where more Kobolds come out to fight the heroes. I can see the theme from Gauntlet, that great 8 bit video game which does inspire the whole SBX style gaming. I spent many hours playing that game.So there we are. I am getting close to having this game ready. I have even read the rules but a long while back. So will need to do that again before playing.

Posted in 28mm, Board game, Fantasy | Leave a comment

Another Pikeman’s Lament AAR

Well this week Ernie and I got together for a game.  He expressed a desire to play a big game based around the English Civil War. I was going to give him the option of Warlords Pike and Shotte or Pikeman’s Lament, but in the end I forgot to take the former rules, so we ended up playing Pikeman’s Lament! In the end it was I think a good choice.

We decided to play a larger game than normal and had 52 points each. more than double the usual force size of 24.  The only difference we made from the normal rules is to have each officer have a modified (superior) version of the commanding skill. In this case we would not end a command phase on the first failed command roll, but on the second. That was their skill.

We rolled for a scenario and got the forage village one. We changed this slightly that each objective was worth 1 point as was control of the field at the end of the game. So that set up, a medium sized engagement over a village with our two forces fighting it out for supplies and honor. These are my normal units as I described in my previous post. The village is from the clubs terrain and is more of an Italian ruin than English village, but heck it worked.  You can see the table set up below.I was the attacker and my force of Royalists consisted of typical Pike and shot units plus three units of cavaliers. They also had a regimental gun – the first time we had used one of those in a game. My setup was aimed at quickly gain control the village with my Pike and Shot units, while just holding on the flanks. The 4 objectives were in the village so my aim was to try to get at least three of them and force the Scots to attack into the village. The village was defended by 2 units of clubmen (one on my side and one on the Scot’s) but I assumed I could get through them fairly easily. The fields on with side of the village would slow down the Scots so allowing me to get the victory… Well that was the plan anyway.The Scots army under Ernie’s command took a completely different approach. He had two units of Forlorn Hope ready to take the village. Now those units are I know tough especially in terrain, so that was not great for my plan. But on the positive, they are small units and so if weakened the Forlorn Hope units can be got rid of pretty quickly. Those were the only Scottish troops even close to the village though. Most of their forces were on the flanks. I assume they were planning on winning there, overpower my weaker flanks. The taking the village. Even their commander was on one of the flanks, giving that whole side a boost in morale and command.So the game started and I tried to force my Royalist Pike units into the village with supported shooting from the Shot. Of course this failed horribly with my shot unit failing to obey commands. First they did not shoot and then they surged forward to attempt to engage in melee with the clubmen. Arg…

Eventually, after multiple turns I did manage to get my Pike units into the village and chase off the clubmen, but they did not kill them. Overall not a great start to the sweeping attack of the village. Meanwhile, I moved my flank units up a little to support this.

Even when in the village the Pikes struggled with the clubmen who fought back surprisingly well. They caused a couple of casualties on my units while they were getting to the village. Eventually, two units of Pike did get the two objectives on my side of the village though but the clubmen were still in the way so could not move through the village to get the other ones. During this time the two Scottish Forlorn Hope units initially sat outside the village out of range of the clubmen and shot at the clubmen unit facing them. Only when the that clubmen unit was weakened did they charge in on that side and gain entry to the village. The canny Scot’s for sure did this fast enough, to deny my complete control of the village. More likely it was my continuing failed command rolls and poor combat on the Royalists side that allowed them to get into the village before I could secure it all though. So much for that plan…The battle for the fields on the right of the village had started to heat up though. The Scots pushed up and rather than try my usual Royalist trick of charge forward as fast as possible with the Cavaliers to get them killed while taking out a unit or two, I decided to play careful with them. So I moved them in-between the shot units. They would hold back their charges till the shot had weakened of the Scotish units.  Initially this looked like it would work and I even got the bonus activation of getting first fire back on a unit twice to help in my shooting in this area.The left hand side of the Royalist force was a holding action from the start. Here I was outnumbered and so although I pushed up a little I decided to try a holding action to keep the flank safe. Where the dice pile are was a Scottish gun but a very bad activation the previous turn recalled that unit off the table. That reduced the Scottish superiority in this area a little. The following turn I got an extra unit – yeah command bonus rolls are great for adding some chaos to the game. I brought an extra regimental gun on the other flank still planning to just hold on this one. That left side though started to not look so clever as a few more turns. One unit of the Scottish gallopers started a true flanking ride, while the other closed with my regimental gun and started to give it a hard time. The remaining Scottish units on that side started to take a few hits but it would not take a lot for me to lose this flank. The only positive was that my shot was still fresh and the regimental canon was shooting well. My cautious approach with the Royalist cavaliers continued on this side, with me holding back the unit vs. charging out to take on the Scots.Things continued to look bad on that side when the regimental gun was lost a turn or two later. It had done enough damage to the Scottish cavalry in front of it to reduce that to half strength though previously. This was the signal for me to charge in with my Cavaliers and clear that damaged galloper unit out of the way. I rarely need an excuse to charge with cavalry. Unfortunately, although the Cavaliers did that the Scots caused 2 hits back, making it suddenly a very vulnerable unit. Shooting by the Scot’s unit subsequently destroyed it! I was saved on this flank by a set of wild actions, especially some bad activation rolls by Ernie. The Scottish shot hesitated (they failed a command roll and went backwards twice) and so really took themselves out of the game! This allowed my shot unit to focus on the Pike unit coming towards them. Eventually they failed a morale check, meaning the Scottish pike also headed back to their own starting lines. So although there was still the flanking gallopers I was in a lot better position on this side of the table than I had expected.

Back on the right flank of the village I had actually retreated back from the village to give me more time and space. I eventually released a Cavalier charge which did get rid of the Scottish lancers which had been weakened by the shot. But I still a problem, as a good Scottish command roll had brought on another units of Gallopers on this side of the field.   That moved rapidly up to support that flank. I guess this was a replacement for the regimental gun lost on the other flank! That galloper units would destroy my Cavaliers in subsequent turns. The usual added command interest in Pikeman’s lament occurred on this flank as well. One of the Scottish units wavered and would not move forward. Meanwhile the Scottish commander had lost a VP point for being uncooth in command only to gain it back a few turns later with some outstanding commands. The fight for the village had heated up by now. I had withdrawn the Pike units which had collected an objective and brought up a shot unit. My thought was to use this to shoot the Scots and weaken them for the Pike units to kill. Unfortunately, that units kept failing to activate and the last clubmen unit stubbornly held out as while. Eventually a Scottish Forlorn hope killed the clubmen – yes so much more my units sweeping the village and holding it. Now it looked like the opposite may happen!

What I had done is park the Shot unit with my commander close to the village but in the center of the table. This meant that his command bonus was available to units on the left flank, in the village and even a couple on the right flank. In the end that unit just sat there the whole game, providing that bonus vs really fighting! It was more use there as a reserve than anything else. On the right flank a couple of turns had us both asking what happened… The Royalist regimental gun, the one I got as an extra through a bonus command die roll, came up and that plus 2 shot units suddenly had a great couple of turns. The Scottish Pike unit commanded by the Scottish officer had been a consistent target for me. Eventually it failed a morale check and left the table. That was likely a turning point I thought and would close the game out quickly.

Then in the next turn the Scottish shooting followed by a snake eye’s morale check from me meant that a unit before the shooting was full and undamaged failed it morale check and ran for the hills. So although the Scottish office was gone so was one of my units. But it did not then there. The turn after that my shooting did the same to one of the two Scottish shot units on that side of the battle. In three turns 3 units had been lost on this flank. It started to look a lot more open on this side of the table.In the center of the table, the shot unit in the village which I was trying to use to weaken the Forlorn Hope units failed to activate spectacularly. Instead of shooting it instead and for the second time in the game, decided to charge into melee with the enemy instead. This was not a good tactic and it got wiped out. Considering the number of failures to activate that unit I rolled maybe I was better off not having it on the table. It was definitely a unit made up of hothead guys into a punch up vs. using their muskets. Maybe they just did not have much powder, that might be a good reason as well.

I had brought up a pIke unit to support that shot unit but now that was looking a little exposed. There were 2 Scottish Forlorn Hope units still in the village against just the Pike unit. It decided to back it out of the village – a complete 360 from my plan, in now surrendering the village but possibly winning the game on the flanks.Bank on the left flank, the Scots by this time had their flanking unit of Gallopers through the woods and threatening my remaining shot unit. But I had a Pike unit coming up fast to help them out and then rolled the for another bonus unit. This I made a shot unit and brought it on around this flank. Although not the strongest in a fight they are useful in the later stages of a game. I thought the extra shot here would definitely help kill the Scottish galloper unit in a turn or two.

Getting this extra unit though was enough for the Scots and Ernie called the game at that point, withdrawing from the field. So this was a ‘winning draw’ for me in this game. A minor victory in the we each got two objectives but I held the field. Overall it had been a close thing and great fun.  The game lasted approx. 3.5 hours and had plenty of ups and downs. We had a laugh with the natural narrative writing itself happening in the village. That was one of the Royalist Shot units there just wanting to get into hand to hand and failing more activations than it passed to do anything else. The finally charging into combat on another failed activation and being routed.

In the end my plan was reversed and the flanks held much better than I expected while my rush for the village failed and the Scottish Forlorn Hope units were as hard as nails in the village. I guess this did follow the saying ‘that no plan survives contact with the enemy’.  Overall, a fun evening gaming and we both really enjoyed it.

Posted in 15mm, 17th Cent, After Action Report | 2 Comments

Hotlead Pikeman’s Lament game

So at the Hothead convention last month I ran an 8 player participation game of Pikeman’s Lament. I was planning to take a load more pictures than I did, but running an 8 player game meant that in reality I was pretty busy!  So this post has more text and less pictures. It also means that rather than a straight description of the game I’m changing this post to be a few thoughts on running such a game instead, especially with a 15mm collection of toys vs. what I think is typical with 28mm figs.

First let me say I really like the Pikeman’s Lament rules and they do work for bug multi-player games but some thought and help in running the rules in such a manner needs to be made. I have to thank a friend, Howard who helped on the spur of the moment in the running of the game and rules on one end of the table at Hotlead. This made life easier for me on the day and was much appreciated. Considering this was the first time he had seen the rules that tells you how easy the Pikeman’s Lament rules are to pick up! I have run a few smaller multi-player games at the club in preparation for the big game, so my thoughts on running Pikeman’s lament for bigger multi-player games come from all those occurrences.

As background, let me say a little about the basing I use.  You can see examples in the few pictures in this post. I have a large ECW collection, made up of figures from Essex, Old Glory 15’s and Peter Pig miniature manufacturers. This force has been collected over many years and just about all of it was painted before I started this blog. The figures are all based for the DBR rules – so 40mm wide and in varying depths (foot at 20mm, mounted 30mm and 40mm deep for dragoons artillery and commanders). As each Unit in Pikeman’s Lament is made up of 6 or twelve figures what I do is have each of my bases be 2 ‘figures’ in the rules. This means at maximum 1 marker will be used to indicate a half base of casualties – a single fig dead but the base is still on the table. For unit formations I say all the bases have to touch at least one other base and a unit can be at maximum 3 bases wide or deep. This seems to work fine and give the units the right look for the period. I add a 40 x 40 base with a couple of figures on it as the commanders to the unit which has the officer in it. That base does not count for measuring or hits etc (it’s not really there so can be moved as required) but is just a marker to signify which unit has the officer for all players. I use inches for all movement and everything else is as per the rules. This is a pretty flexible system but allows the game to work well with the models and basing I have. It also makes the game look nice IMO – as can be seen in the few pictures below. It means that the game really looks like one with small units vs. just groups of figs.

I use a couple of counters while playing games – one for first fire (white), one to signify a unit in close order (blue) and one for indicating a unit is wavering units (green). This is on top of the red counters used to indicate a half base casualty on a unit.  I also use fairly simple terrain rules, which come from the idea’s in the rules. I use felt/area makers to show where the area terrain location is and have moveable items in that for visual indicators. So the trees and buildings in the picture below indicate various types of area’s rather than their exact positions. The trees etc can be moved as required to fit bases. The physical area markers items indicates the exact shape of the terrain. Again this makes for an easier convention/multi-player game but is not as nice looking as this games with wonderfully sculpted terrain boards.I should also say that although in 1 to 1 games I like games which make the players think and use deep strategies, in a multi-player game and convention games especially action is important. Pikeman’s Lament works in both styles so that’s great. Multi-player games that have too much down time for players can be an issue to me, as it slows the game down for everyone. These types of games should be fun and action packed for the players. So when running a game I try to make multi-player games very interactive, with as few real down point for players as possible. Making the game story driven (at least initially), so people get into the game is good as well.

With that in mind for game with more than 4 players – as my game was I like to split the game into separate 2 player games side by side. This is usually possible because the 2 players opposite have the same (or conflicting) objectives. This means that each pair could make alternative moves and not wait for all the others to finish their moves. If as happened multiple times in my game, one of the pairs interacts with another then we just handled that as an interrupt on the other pair and did the interaction as required. At worse this meant that an activating player had to stop and deal with a charge or shooting action on one of their units. Otherwise, it was just like the other players turn, Although it sounds messy with a GM it worked actually very well.  There were few real issues with this and I’d recommend this ‘pairing off’ for big games. It allows the pair of players to go at their own pace and ensures that very few delays or long waits for players.I created custom Player handouts so that all players had a reference sheet with the basic rules as well as their own unit stats/special rules for their forces right in front of them. This ensures minimal rules referral in the game. I also simplified a couple of things, in the game. So I had no officer challenges or special skills for players. With experienced players those add extra fun tactical items but for a convention game they complicate the game while adding little for the new players. I also gave players each 12 dice and a measure so there was no issue around counting die or looking for equipment etc when playing.

Overall, the following points are I believe worth sharing for running large or intro multi-player games with Pikeman’s Lament:

  • After playing in various convention multi-player games, especially ones with larger numbers of players I find you have to keep the game going and keep everyone involved. The GM is key here to make it interesting and keep things moving for all players. Questions come up and have to be dealt with quickly and fairly – and keep humor and interaction levels high so it is a fun experience for the players.
  • A key thing to remember in my opinion is it’s more important to keep the game going and have people have fun than be precisely right with the rules – just be fair in the game. Hopefully you know the rules well enough as a GM that this does not happen but there will always be questions and odd occurrences. I’m all about getting the spirit of the game right and show whats fun about it vs. trying to be perfect with every ruling. It’s not a tournament after all.
  • For games of 3 or 4 player games you can have everyone play one at a time and just ‘roll off’ for the highest roll goes first each turn. This works but can be a little slow depending on the players. For games with more than 4 players though it works much better to pair off players to compete with each other over the larger table area.
  • Every player should have an easy to understand and track goal. This can be shared across multiple players or unique for each individual but this should be easy for them to know what they need to do ‘to win’. Having secondary goal’s adds to the judgement of ‘who wins’ but these should be simple. I gave players those in their reference sheets so they could see them and referenced them in the intro of the game.
  • If doing a convention game or a multi-player game with people new to the system remove the ‘advanced’ rules. Those often add character to a game but also add much more complexity for new players. With experienced they can be used but I have found you don’t lose much for new players dropping them. It does make teaching the game easier. For Pikeman’s Lament the obvious rules for this are Officer skills and challenges. The same is true for having too many special rules/units – such a Elite etc. I keep those to a minimum in such games.
  • Keep the forces simple. 3 or 4 types of unit per player seems about right for new players. I ensured everyone had at least a Pike and a shot unit as well as a mounted one when doing 24 points each. This ensures everyone gets the ‘feel’ of the ECW forces.
  • Keep the initial overview of the rules at the start of the game simple and quick. None of the players are there for a rules lecture or a teaching session. So short and sweet is the right way to do that intro and just highlight main points. At the first melee and shooting for players I let all the players see this and used these as a slow walk throughs for the mechanics. After doing that a couple of times everyone started to get the combat mechanic and do their own fights, again allowing for faster game play with me just watching and ensuring that things moved smoothly.

Overall, I think you can see I try to follow a KISS (keep it simple stupid) model for such games. Trying to be ‘fast and fun’ keeping players engaged and learning to play the game as they went on – which did happen very well in all cases.So, I guess I should say how the game at Hotlead went. Overall, everyone seemed to really enjoy it and I was thanked by multiple players. So from that side I was very happy. With 8 players each having 24 points (in 5 or 6 units each) on a 12 x 5 foot table it certainly looked like a decent sized engagement. All the games were completed in between 2.5 and 3 hours, which meant players were able to enjoy the game and it did not drag on but came to a final result.

The background story for the game was for the Royalist and Scots (with some English support) are fighting over a village where a defenestration had happened. yes some poor sole has been thrown out of the Church window to their death… A very 17th Century way of settling arguments! Each pair of opponents had a mission, to help their cause. The first pair had to get control of the defenestrated body by the end of the game was their major mission. The body started at the foot of the church tower outside the church grounds. The second pair had a mission to control the church, where the dastardly event (the defenestration) had occurred. The third set of players fought over the hamlet (small group of houses) and had to search them to find the preacher who had instigated the defenestration event, again control of that preacher at the end of the game was their target. The last pair fought to control the hills on the edge of the table, which provided easy passage to the larger cities, where this story would hit the pamphlets making 17th century PR of the event. The ECW was the first war in England where the printing press was a tool and stories such as this could be spun either way for their side so getting the story out in a timely manner was important.

The games played well with the various pairs getting to grips with each other and involving a lot of hard fighting. The Scots had a few Forlorn hope units (aggressive scotsman), but poorer shot units. The Forlorn Hope units tended to end up making the difference in several games.

In the fight over the body, the Scots mad a beeline for the body and captured this fairly quickly.  A vicious cavalry battle occurred on this side of the table in which the Royalist Cavalry showed its power but not by as much as one may expect. The Scots were more consistent with their support from foot units and so they won eventually in that area. By the middle of the engagement I think all the cavalry on both sides in this area had been destroyed or left the table. The Scots foot on the day were stronger though and won out to control the body and route the Royalist force going for it.

The church fight was slow to start with the Scots having several early turns of failed activations and even had one of troops retreating on a blunder. This allowed the Royalists to gain control of the church but not in enough numbers to really fortify it. The Royalists had their own blunder with a unit being called away from the battle making them fight with less troops. The Scots charged the church eventually and gained control of it and the graveyard. Even a late charge by the Royalist horse though the graveyard failed to win them control back, as it was beaten back after routing a couple of the Scots units. So the Scots won control of the church as well.

The fight for the village and the search for the preacher moved apace initially with both forces entering different buildings and looking for him. A search was a successful move action while in the building. The Royalists found the preacher and then that building became the focus of the Scots attack. Royalist horse roamed the streets of the village.  The Scots fought a building to building attack slowly taking control of most of the village. It was a close thing but the Scottish forlorn hope managed to storm the building which held the preacher in the end and routed the last Royalist troops to secure a victory.

The fight over the hills involved multiple dragoon units (the only two forces which included those troops). Here the Royalists were slow to start and the Scots were the first into the terrain. However, this did not stop the Royalists and they succeeded in forcing their way into the hills and pushing the Scots back. The Royalist horse and dragoons worked well together to win the day after a noble but in the end fruitless charge of the Scots pike onto the hill to try to gain the objective.

Well there we are. The Scots won 3 of the 4 objectives, but the winning Royalist player in the end got most victory points – getting their primary and secondary objectives and not losing and to bad command rolls etc.  So a Scottish victory but highest honours to a Royalist player. I hope this gives you a few ideas for playing games and you get a taste of the game I ran as well.



Posted in 15mm, 17th Cent, After Action Report, Techniques | 1 Comment

SDX heroes second set

Well I have been posting different themes recently especially on the terrain I was making etc so I think it may be time to go back and show a few more pictures of some board game mini’s which are ready for the table. This is especially as I’m still on vacation so all my hobby stuff and usual plans/timing for these things is disrupted. Below are the second and last set of heroes from the SDX super dungeon explore base game. Overall, these are not as nice models as the Arcadia Quest ones but are not bad. First a shot of all 4 models together. All are the Chibi style but still approx 28mm tall.I have tried to keep to the colours on the cards etc for the game so it should be easy to work out which model is which in the game. The first is knight. I have added a couple of smaller shots which you can click on to see other angles as well. Overall, I’m happy with how this guy came out.img_2061img_2060img_2059Next we have female magic user. I found the colours on the card quite hard to replicate but in the end it came out decent. The face definitely seemed to pop on this one so I am happy with that. Th mix of pink, purple and blue is unusual but seems to work.
img_2058The outfit can be seen much better from the back so here is a shot from that angle.img_2056Next we have a female Barbarian with a large axe. Her look is different to most figs and I again was very happy with the final result.
img_2055You can see she has the classic fantasy two piece bikini – but for this model it is not really that extreme.img_2052I do like this last fig. The figure and colours are I think my favourite of all the heroes in the base game.
He is of course the not forgotten dwarf hero. What game would be complete if it not have one of those!img_2053Finally, what would dungeon heroes be without some loot at collect. So below are the painted treasure chests in the game. First the normal ones and then the 2 monster ones which are out to eat the heroes, not give them loot for free.

Posted in 28mm, Board game, Fantasy | Leave a comment