Wednesday 29 August 2012

Dark Ages Welsh 3

Another week, another short update on the Welsh project.

Since last week I have managed to blockpaint all of the 18 Combrogi, add a little detail such as trimmings, tartan patterns etc and slap on some washes and start to highlight them. Hopefully I can finish them off this week and then start painting the Teulu. I think I will split these into two groups of eight men each, as batchpainting large groups is rather boring to say the least. Besides, you only need six Teulus for Dux Brit (which is what I'm primarily painting for at the moment) so I can save the other half for later.

Join me for another update in a week!

Saturday 25 August 2012

West Wind Welsh

Gripping Beast, West Wind, WW, WW, WW, GB.

As promised, here are some pictures of the West Wind's Welsh spearmen. They are quite nice, on par with Gripping Beast I'd say, but unfortunately there are only four poses in total. Of course, the eight separate heads do make them a bit more varied. As I will use these as levies/Pagenes I will not spend too much time on them, but if you wanted to you could use other West Wind heads (eg Irish or Picts and/or file away the beards) to make even more variants.

I've added some Gripping Beast miniatures for comparison (to the left and right). As you can see the West Wind miniatures are slightly bulkier, and the heads just a tad bigger, but on the table I don't think you'd notice any difference.

All in all they are great value for money, costing just under £1 each if you buy the warband pack of 20.

Here are some more close-ups (click on the pictures to see eh ... close-ups of the close-ups).

Gripping Beast, West Wind, West Wind.

West Wind, WW, WW, Gripping Beast.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Dark Ages Welsh 2

This past week saw continued work on my 3-in-1 Dark Ages Welsh project – you can read the first post for the project here, with a summary of the plan.

I have now glued sand to the bases, attached the weapons and undercoated all the models. The riders were left off their horses as I thought it would be easier to paint them, but I haven't found a good way to "hold" the miniatures (glueing them to screws didn't work out as planned). So the riders will probably be glued to the horses when it's time to paint them.

Not much to see at the moment, just a bunch of undercoated miniatures/black blobs, so no pictures this time I'm afraid.

I'm still waiting for the West Wind levys/pagenses with javelins I ordered from Caliver Books about four weeks ago, but I already have enough models prepared to keep me painting for a good while. I also placed an order with Gripping Beast for some character models to use as Nobles and a Champion in Dux Britanniarum, along with some other bits and pieces.

Yesteday evening I finally started the actual painting with the flesh on the combrogi. I still haven't decided in what order to paint the units, but I will probably concentrate on getting the miniatures for Dux Brit finished first, as most of them will also be used in the SAGA warband. Next update in a week!

Update: Added a picture to please Dalauppror. ;)

Monday 20 August 2012

Testing out the Duxes

On Saturday I had the great pleasure of being invited by Michael (aka Dalauppror) to try out not only Dux Bellorum, but also Dux Britanniarum. As I'm usually the host for my regular gaming opponent(s), it was a rare luxury indeed to just show up at Michael's club without having to bother with any painting or even setting up.

The brave Saxon warriors desperately trying
to hold back the British cavalry.
In the first game, Dux Bellorum, I took command of the defending Saxons against the raiding Romano-British. A misunderstanding on my part saw me deploying all my best troops, including the leader, on the "wrong" side of the battlefield inside a village. This consequently led to them having very little impact on the overall battle apart from killing three skirmish units. Not very glorious!

Instead it was my regular, but mighty brave, warriors who took the brunt of the British onslaught. The three units managed to tie up the enemy's four cavalry units in some heavy fighting for the better part of the game. In the end though, as the Saxon lord and his nobles struggled to reach the main battle in the centre of the board, they couldn't hold up against the British might and were run down. This led to me hitting the 50% of the starting units lost cap, which forces each unit to take a Morale test to see if they rout. With my usual luck I managed to fail two tests, and so 75% of my starting units were lost and not just these two units routed, but the whole army decided enough was enough and ran for the hills.

Despite this defeat it was a very fun game, and I will definitely play Dux Bellorum again. As with any new game it takes a bit of getting used to, despite the core mechanics being pretty easy to understad. It took some reading and reasoning before we got a grip on combats between groups for example (which is usually the most complex part in any rules set I guess, so nothing against Dux Bellorum there). When we've had a few games I expect this will flow very naturally however. Also, I think we will use Leadership Points to interrupt the movement order to better effect than in the first game. There were some points in the battle were this would have given me a slight edge I could have exploited.

Michael has posted a short review of the rules on his blog, and it pretty much sums up my feelings about the game too.

On to Dux Britanniarum then. This time I got to play the Romano-British, and Michael took command of the raiding Saxons. We started by rolling up our Lords, which is very fun RPG-like method to personalize your campaign. (You're supposed to roll for your two Nobles as well but to save some time we skipped this.) After this we rolled to see which scenario to play and got a raid on a village. We set up the table according to the rules, with a river dividing the battlefield in half. We rolled to decide the depth of the river and the result was ... "Impassable". The only way to cross it was at a single ford. We then rolled to see were the village would be placed and to my luck, it was placed on the opposite side of the river seen from the table edge were the Saxons entered. Finally we rolled to see how many rounds headstart the Saxons would have (three), deployed the Saxons accordingly and then the actual game began.

The Saxons are out to raid the village to the left
but get stuck at the ford.
In the picture to the right is the table after the first "real" round, were the British appeared. As you can see the Saxons are pretty much stuck in a jam at the ford, but one group has managed to reach the village. The British forces are preparing to cross the enclosed fields just outside the village.

The jam at the ford would continue for the remainder of the battle, with only two other Saxon groups reaching the village. The first group entered a house but only got to take one Loot test, before my Lord and his comanipulares stormed in and cut them down. Meanwhile, the second Saxon group arrived, only to get attacked by the two groups of milites. Heavy fighting ensued, until the Saxons, having suffered heavy losses, routed.

The third Saxon unit to clear the ford and reach the village was no other than one of the gedridhts, accompanied by a Noble. They now clashed with the Romano-British Lord and his elite comanipulares. The fierce Saxons inflicted heavy casualties on the British, nearly taking down their Lord, but the Champion stepped in instead and saved his Lord. The British fought well however, and in the end both sides had lost too many men to keep fighting and routed.

As we were running out of time, and both sides were in pretty bad shape, the Saxons performed an unchallenged withdrawal and the battle was over. Rules wise the British counted as the winners, but morally I think it was a draw.

We spent some time afterwards chatting about the games and both agreed that while both Dux Bellorum and Dux Britanniarum are great games, the latter were a bit more fun. The only downside to Dux Brit is the fact that some very important things are not spelled out in the rules! I would recommend everyone interested in the game to check out the players notes on Too Fat Lardies' blog.

Michael will post more detailed AARs on his blog in a day or so, with more and better pictures. There you can also find pictures of the splendid forcces used for these games.

Hopefully we will be able to get some more gaming going in the future, and I'm very much looking forward to fielding my Welsh in both games.

Thanks for reading!

Update: Michael has posted an AAR for the Dux Bellorum fight on his blog.

Sunday 12 August 2012

Dark Ages Welsh 1

As I said in an earlier post I've devised a cunning plan to get a force to use in three Dark Ages games: SAGA, Dux Bellorum and Dux Britanniarum. The idea was to use a Welsh 4 points starter warband for SAGA as the core, and then add the required troops for the two Duxes. For Dux Bellorum I'm using the Welsh 32 points starter army from the author's blog post here.

Each regular unit in both Duxes will be 6 miniatures, individually based and mounted on 2x3 25 mm movement trays from Warbases. The cavalry will be 3 miniatures on similar sized movement trays, but since they will be based on rectangular 25x50 mm bases, I will make the trays myself.

Now, it turned out the plan wasn't that clever after all, since the overlap between the troops used in each game wasn't exactly optimal. Anyway, here are the different miniatures needed, with amounts for each game (SAGA/Dux Brit/Dux Bell):

Teulu 4/6/18
Combrogi 16/12/18
Combrogi, mounted 0/0/6
Pagenes w bows 12/4/0
Pagenes w spears 0/18/6

In the picture above you can see the result of this weeks work: The miniatures have been cleaned and glued to their bases. All miniatures are from Gripping Beast. The only thing missing are the pagenes with spears/javelins – I have ordered some Welsh West Wind spearmen for these, as they are all barefoot (as far as I can make out anyway) and somewhat "poor looking" – and perhaps some suitable Nobles/characters.

I'm hoping to have all the weapons attached (shields will as usual be glued on when the miniatures are painted), sand glued to the bases, and all the miniatures above undercoated by the end of the coming week. Well, we'll see about that in a week won't we?

Dux Britanniarum – A Quick Look

Earlier this week I got the package from Too Fat Lardies containing the pre order deal for the hard copy of Dux Britanniarum. In addition to the rulebook itself, the preorder deal contained cards (with a nice plastic card holder), a cool A3 sized map of Britain of the time and a limited edition Arthur model. Great stuff all 'round!

The actual rules are simple enough, a little bit more involved than say SAGA: as they concern themselves with formations (massed and shieldwall), manoveuring, evading and flanks are more important. Also, you start by generating backgrounds for all your Nobles (characters/leaders) with the chance to get some personality traits that will be useful on the battlefield. If you've played anything by the Lardies you will probably know the general philosophy and thinking behind their rules, and feel quite at home.

I think the most interesting part of the book is the much talked about campaign system. It's a slick system that lets you tell your own narrative of raiding Saxons and the defending (Romano) British. The different kingdoms presented vary in size, which makes it easy to tailor the length of the campaign (however, it still seems you will have to fight a fair number of scenarios to get the most out of the system).

This is all really well thought out, and have some really clever ideas. I can easily see the system being hacked for/ported to a number of different eras.

All in all, it's a very nice set of rules and very inspiring – I can't wait to try them out! Now of course, I only need a new army ...

Saturday 4 August 2012

Too Fat Lardies Summer Special 2012

Too Fat Lardies Summer Special for 2012 is now available from their webstore. I bought the pdf this afternoon, and as usual it's packed with articles and scenarios for the Lardies' games. Of special interest to me this time were of course the ones for the newly published Dux Britanniarum:

  • Migrating Dux – Ideas for using the game in other settings. The example is Franks raiding the Romano-Belgae in Gallia Belgica. Gave me a couple of ideas for possible future projects (like I need more of those!).
  • On a Saxon Shore – A bonus raid scenario, with the Saxons raiding from the sea.
  • Meaty Dux – More details for the campaign system, particulary resources for kingdoms.

I've just had time for a quick read, but they all look very good; the Lardies' Specials always being worth to purchase (at least if you're interested in their rules).

On a related note I received my pre-order pdf of Dux Brit on Tuesday, but still haven't managed to finish reading it. I will post some thoughts when I do.