Badcon Game 4 – Parthian

Badcon Game 4 – Parthian – Paul & Paul
So, its Sunday afternoon and we’ve got 37 points, which still put us just about in the top quarter. After 10.5 hours of FoG on the past day and a half I could do with favourable draw for a leisurely afternoon. Unfortunately, Hermes
 intervened and gave us the draw we had been trying to avoid all weekend – Parthian
Our opponents were cheerful with their +4 PBI and when they threw a 4 , meaning we couldn’t possibly seize the initiative – the game was set. Unsurprisingly they chose steppes as the terrain to fight over. They picked the 2 only two ‘bad going’ pieces available , making them the smallest possible size, leaving us with only a gully and a patch of uneven going (just as bad for our chariots as their cataphracts). So, 6’ of open space was the battlefield upon which our fate was to be decided. The 2 small areas of Rough going landing in their side of the table.  There was no way that we could fill the table dismounted and our armoured foot will still have less armour that the cataphracts. We didn’t have and IC to umbrella all of force being in a 2’ hemisphere.

So, we made the decision to ‘go wide’ and hope for something. After all our foot , being medium, is reasonably fleet. The chariots are fast too and should chase things down.  It all depended on how many cataphracts there were. Our opponents army was
  • 5 units of Cataphacts (including Hatrean Camel Cataphracts)
  • 2 Bgs of light foot with a bow
  • 10-12 BGs of light horse with a bow.

Deploying wide we had 2 chariots BGS on either flanks and the centre of the most solid foot we could muster. Nestor’s foot being the best option we had for this game. They were band in the centre. Our opponents weighted our left flank will all the cataphact with an half a dozen light cavalry BGs, the other half of the table was covered by the remaining light horse. We trundled forward. Trying to wheel from the centre left, trying to get some heavy foot with a spear in front of the cataphracts. That meant that a gape would open up, but the Parthians didn’t have much to push through.

A solid light of horse archers descended onto our left flank. On the right the Parthians didn’t have a general so it was lacklustre over there. Our light foot bow exchanged shots with the light cavalry and came of worse.
The rules seems to benefit smaller units when firing at each ranks. 3 horse archer battle groups covering the same frontage at 2 Bgs of 6 Light foot.  Same dice, but we would have to inflict 2 hits per units (ie no misses), whereas the 3 dice of the Light foot need only 2 hits to cause a test. So, it’s likely we’d lose over time. Our shooting was desultory, especially as the Parthian inspired General was overseeing the proceedings. It was more to protected our own chariots from being shot if nothing else. The Greek light foot retired and the Chariots were sent forth to try and put the pressure in the horse archers.
However, shooting at the chariots is even more effective, needing 2 hits out of 4 dice to cause a test. To compound matters with a Inspired General it was really unlikely that the Horse archers would failure to get the required ‘numbers’ (5 on 2 dice) to fall back – still within shooting range and back it less likely to catch the skirmishers. If they can stay at >3” (and they can fire 4”) they cannot be caught by charging cavalry. The situation worsened as one of Chariots was disrupted by arrow fire. We had 3 disrupted units already and the cataphracts were still a distant dust clouds in the horizon.
On the right Jon had 2 Bgs of Chariots and some of our own light foot and was doing a little better. The Parthians were retiring and their shooting wasn’t doing much. However, even if we pursued them off the table they would only count as half loses. In that manner they could most, if not all, of the light cavalry and not have an army break.  Believe me , chasing them all off is not likely to happen! Hard work, and little reward – my pet peeve.
Back to the left the Cataphracts were moving away from the spears towards our chariots, while our spears wheeled around to ‘shut the door’ It was a slow old process for us as we had enemy close to prevent any tricksy marching. The Cataphracts has lots of generals in tow and being toward the rear seemed to wheel and turn with ease. I suppose being superior and close to an inspired general  does help. Even so they were opening the gap between them and the spears. However, it would all get congested on this left flank and perhaps we could work some magic. Our own light chariots have the option of evading (while in an single rank). It the Cataphracts got close with our spear at 90 to their flanks , well you never know.
The lines closed, and the majority of the time was spent with the Achaean general rallying his troops who were being showered by arrows. One Chariot BG was fragmented, we had to risk some bad shots on other battle groups to cover the chariots from the persistent shooting.  Luckily they held.
The main fight in the battle was right in the left corner of the tables. The Hatrean camels had squeezed around and were threatening the flank of some Chariots, having already charged and chased of the other Chariots. The Greek lines looked like a series of right angles. The evading Chariots came back and had to threaten the flanks of the Camels. The lines were drawn and we couldn’t go much further back without exposing the rest the armies flank.
The Camels tried to charge the flanks of our Chariots, forcing our other Chariots to intercept. It was a calculated risk. 4 bases chariots vs 4 bases of cataphracts. The cataphracts fight in 2 ranks and the chariots in 1 ( but each base getting 2 dice). SO, dice wise it would be 4 dice to the Parthians and 8 to the Greeks (sounds good … however)  The Chariots would be down the impact phase fighting lancers and down the melee phase fighting swordsmen.  To compound matters being camels they disordered our Chariots so we lose 1 dice per 3 in the fight. The final fight being 4 dice to the Hatreans needing 4’s (re-rolling 1 & 2’s – with a general). The Achaeans 3 dice in the impact needing 5’s (re-rolling 1 &2’s – with a general). In the melee we’d increase to 6 dice needing 5’s, the Parthians still getting 4 dice.
However we lost the initial impact and threw 4 on 2 dice, not low enough to warrant re-rolls but terminally low to fragment the unit, we also lost a base. So, in the melee we ended up with 2 dice needing 5’s vs 4 dice needing 4’s . It was goodnight Vienna.
The Chariots to the side lost hope and shortly they broke. The Spear line was left hanging. The Greek army was slowly being teased apart as we ran out of troops to fill the gaps.
One of Nestor’s units coaxed a Cataphract unit to charge. Our most favourable fight of the afternoon. Even then Lancers charging steady heavy spear, with sporting archers they still beat us. Even if they had held steady they would have broken off.  Our centre had pushed on and on just even to capture the camp, but they attracted the attending on a Cataphtact unit that came back to threaten. It was the shooting that was doing us in. In the final indignity Achilles armoured Myrmidons were disrupted by shooting by light foot. They were soon fragmented in with no general in sight they soon were running. The Greek army was disintegrating an where gaps opened up those that remained attracted more and more archery.
As a token, Jon had done well and caught a couple of light horse battle groups with some Chariots on the far right flank.
With and hour to play the Achaeans wavered and finally broken. A resounding 23-3 to the Parthians. Our opponents were great sports, but for all the hard work we had put in we might have well conceded at the start and had a few beers in the bar J
After a great Saturday scoring 35, Sunday we scored 5, a total of 40. Back into mid table mediocrity. Overall I think the draw had been quite favourable for us. If we have fought 4 of these steppe armies then we would have been competition punch bags.I still enjoyed using the army and a lot of people passed favourable comment on it. It was a slightly disappointing turnout regarding analysis of armies. 12 being the light horse / lancer types out of 42. That said they didn’t win or even place for that matter. It may be to do with the drawing mechanism where they all get clumped together, and they cancel each other out. The overall winners were Glenn and Terry from round 3, so I like to think that we contributed to their victory.
Looking on to the next competition now… Which I guess the ‘Staffordshire Swords’ in May.

Badcon Game 3 – Early Carthaginian

Game 3 – Early Carthaginian – Glenn and Terry
Sunday morning and we were on 35pts out of a possible 50. It could only get worse now J  I was more afraid of playing a fully mounted outfit that would run rings around our undrilled foot.  We had avoided the 9 Greco Bactrians so far and it surely our luck would run out soon. Looking at the draw we were playing Early Carthaginians being played by Glenn and Terry.  Glenn was a member of the first wargames club I attended so I knew him of old. It must have been a good 15-20 years since we had played a game against one another, and then it  must have been DBM. Terry is one of the rule writers. So, I guessed it would be a tough game, but pleasant given the participants.
Their PBI was +1  also, but we still lost the initiative roll. They selected Agricultural, and opted for a small open field and 2 open spaces. Setting their stall out for an open field for their heavy spearmen and heavy chariots. We tried to maximize the terrain and got a big open field on our left flank – in the far quarter of the table and also a Vineyard to our right of centre.
There seemed to be a natural 4’ between the 2 fields and our plan was to play it simple and refuse the flank closest to the Vineyard  with Nestor’s spearmen and then fill the gap with the best infantry we could muster, and hope to fight it out.
The Carthaginian army didn’t really hold any surprises.
  • 3 BG of Heavy Chariots
  • 2 BG of Citizen  Spear (drilled prot off spear)
  • 1 BG of Sacred Band (drilled sup armoured spear)
  • 1 BG of undrilled Citizen MF  foot (undrilled with  LS, I’m guessing these be mandatory)
  • A couple of BG LF slingers and Javelinmen
  • A Numidian ally , which was 3 or 4 LH Bgs and 1 BG of LF (all Javelin and Light spear armed)
The Carthaginian deployment was pretty neutral.  On our left in the open field was the Numidians, they wouldn’t be impeded by the terrain. In the centre was the spears backed up by the Chariots. Then on our right was a reasonably floating flank, with a couple of LF units and some ‘non-allied’ Numidians
We ambled forward. Then their plan came to light. Have played Renaissance for such a long time I have forgotten how manoeuvrable drilled foot are. With ease the spears contracted and advanced the Chariots advanced and expanded. In a matter of 2 turns the centre of the Carthaginian army had exchanged ranks. When I was comfortable with fighting protected HF spearmen. I was a bit more cautious of their light spear armed Hvy Chariots.
On the left our LF bowmen started to exchange shots with the Numidian light cavalry, for little effect. It was difficult as we had to send our lights to the rear as the light horse had advanced as far as they could.
We have a choice to exchange arrows until someone cracked, or send the light foot bow back and use the spears to drive off the light horse. We chose this option as we needs to start enveloping this end of the line.
The right flank was reasonable static. One BG of Spearmen occupied the Vineyard, happy in the cover they would receive. Faced by 6 LF javelinmen and 4 Numidians they shouldn’t be threatened by shooting. Our defensive spearmen guarded the open area.
In the centre was where it was all happening. The lines closed, we didn’t have many options with such un-manoeuvrable troops, the drilled north Africans could expand a move to where the matchups suited them the best.  They also closed with some LF trying to tempt us out line. This time it was our time to fail to the test! A single unit of dismounted Charioteers, right in the middle of the line, decided enough was enough and charged uncontrollably. The LF evaded with ease. Jon then threw a 6 for pursuit and charged a whopping 6” forward smashing into a BG of chariots. It wasn’t good, charging shock mounted we wouldn’t get our spear POA, we also were medium foot in the open. The superior Chariots would be on a ++ POA , so needing 3’s and re-rolling 1’s L Our brave boys would need 5’s. The general with them joined in the front rank ( we needed all the help we could get). In my mind I had already written this unit off.  However, much to mine (and everyone else’s I suspect) Terry threw a fistful of 2’s , and Jon a few 5’s. We actually won the fight. With skill that only a veteran wargamer can muster Terry then threw his morale dice and dropped a level and lost a base (much wailing and gnashing of teeth).  Because we had charged so far the Carthaginians were really deployed as they would like and their Citizen spearmen were mightily close the rear of the chariots.  After the Melee, our Spear were still steady and the chariots disrupted. At this point the Chariots are obliged the break off, however, with the spear so close behind they couldn’t go the required minimum 1”… therefore they fragmented – who would have thought it. In the subsequent Carthaginian turn the spearmen could only contract as best they could to find space for the Chariots who were teetering on the edge. In the melee the Chariots broke, and the spearmen behind faltered from the seeing the break, just in time for the Greek Charioteers to charge into them. 2 turns later and they broke. Our Greeks were motoring behind them … this BG kept going  and going and eventually captured the camp. 1 BG accounting for 6 attrition points from the enemy army, they would be on double rations!
Elsewhere the picture wasn’t quite so rosy.  A second heavy chariot BG has smashed into some more dismounted charioteers and the Myrmidons and had disrupted them – we were losing here. The final Heavy Chariot BG had fallen into a Mexican standoff as we found out that the Chariots doesn’t get its POA against steady spear – which we may have got wrong earlier. They paused opposite some more of our protected spear and dismounted Charioteers. The chariots were not failing their uncontrolled charge tests… with a general in tow they needed only a 5.  We had some cheeky Javelinmen men throwing their Javelins but to no avail. To the right we had some defensive spearmen fighting some Citizen spears. It was in the balance here.  In a rash move we charged our spearmen out of the vineyard to help out against the Citizen spear. It almost worked. Our charge distance was perfect. However, they held,  and Carthaginian  MF passed their CMT and wheeled menacingly onto the flank.  Plucking defeat from the air of success our MF spears failed to hold against  some taunting LF in front of them. The Carthaginian MF intercepted hitting them in the flank, disrupting them. The Greek spears then lost big and double dropped – to broken. Nestor’s spearmen wobbled and fragmented, as luck would have it the depths of Nestor’s spear units , 2 HVY foot and 1 LF base (depth 50mm), was more that the 40mm that the Greek spears could moved to sidestep their friends in their rout. Therefore they burst through Nestor’s Spear , breaking them…. 4 attrition points lost in 1 phase.
Our army was punch drunk and on the ropes. Aside from  the single unit of dismounted Chariots that had punched their way through the whole of the Carthaginian army , and was now looting the baggage, the rest of the battle had been a unilateral disaster. On our left the Numidians were holding up any attempt we might be having of trying to envelope that flank.
The centre was crumbing, held up solely by 2 BGs that were in the standoff with the remaining uncommitted Carthaginian Chariot BG. Our right flanks was gone. 1 Bg of Nestor’s spear was marching off trying not to be noticed by the rest of the Carthaginian army.
The final coup de grace to the Achaeans was actually initiated by our troops. The Javelinmen that have been happy sitting throwing their Javelins at the Chariots in front of them with little result finally inflicted 2 hits, causing a test. The Chariots then reciprocated by dropping a cohesion level to disrupted. The subsequent turn they then failed their uncontrolled advance (because of the -1 for disruption), they then charged  – the javelinmen evaded safely and the Chariots slammed into our waiting spearmen BGs. Not a bad prognosis I thought, steady spear being charged by disrupted mounted. However, despite being a POA down they won the impact and disrupted our spear. In the subsequent melee, with overlaps on both side we are still equal on dice . The factors were now level, and we still have more dice. However, being superior and a general fighting the front rank meant the north African chariots seldom missed any hits (needing 4’s , re-rolling 1’s and 2’s). The brave Greeks gave up the ghost  and ran.
This combined with a MF unit that had got a bit too close the Carthaginian sacred band and come off definite second best the Greek morale waivered and fell…. the army broke. The final tally was 22-3 to the Carthaginians
Post Mortem.
Well what can I say, all started out reasonable well, and we were never particularly out gunned. The Carthaginian plan was pretty straight forward, skirmishing the wings while getting a hefty charge in with their Chariots. With enough generals for each units their hit rate (re-rolling 1 &2) would be high. Our problem was our penny packet units couldn’t all benefit from the direct control of our generals. We had to many covering the flanks while we tried our envelopment.
Good game though – plenty of fighting, what we all came for.

Badcon Game 2 – Early Macedonian Successor

Game 2 – Macedonian Early Successor – Warren & Dave
So, after our overwhelming success in the morning a looming prospect of tournament tiger. Each to his own and all that stuff, and it maybe it seemed far more appropriate when playing DBM (maybe when I was younger I noticed it less…. perhaps I was part of the problem). But I thought I heard quite a few ‘umpire’ calls on Saturday morning, and had one of the umpires bending my ear at lunch time on the nature of those calls.  Anyway, 3 cardinal rules to remember when playing wargames
  • Meant to be fun
  • No cash prizes for winning
  • Winning at wargames does not increase your chance of getting laid.
Luckily we had fun game next too!
The draw was up and we were to play Warren and Daveand their Early Successor. An unexpected draw, and a more hopeful one. Depending on the flavour this army could be quite variable. After chatting with them they seemed to be reasonably new to the game, I think they had only played a couple of games together. They has played another Successor army in the first round and had won that shove of Pike. I know that this list can have a lot of Superior pike, and if it did, would be small, its mounted wing would be its weak arm. I think at most it can have 12 bases of Companions , and a handful of light horse. They could have a lot of superior Galatians also which could be nasty. I like the armies that keep you guessing!  (why is it that I always pick the ones with about 4 lines then! J)
Their PBU was +1, doesn’t really tell me much other than no IC! (and probably no FC, as most armies can muster 12 bases of horse). Anyway we lost the roll , and our opponent picked agricultural – no great surprise there. So a rather generic sort of battlefield  was formed. The only terrain of note was a patch of rough going on our immediate left  big field butted to our baseline on the right. and that was about it.
The Early Successor army was
2 big blocks of 12 pike
2 blocks of 8 pike (1 of which was superior)
1 BG of Thureophoroi
1 BG of Thracians (thrusting spear type)
3 Units of Lancers
2 LH horse BGs
Handful of LF Bgs.
13/14 Battle groups in all. It was reasonable narrow, and the table was quite open. We could have gone wide and nibbled on the flanks and hide our lesser foot, or we could be manly, and try match them frontally.  Which surprisingly is not as bad as you think. The pike have 2 POAs and we will get spear and armour ,so, net 0 POA. But most of our fighting troops would be superior. I was hoping that the Myrmidons would cause them concern also…  it would just be a fun game too fighting as, ‘Barker intended’ in lines
Skirmishing on both sides was desultory, and there were three distinct areas of battle
On the left we had 1 BG of protected Spear, 2 BGs dismounted Charioteer (all the Chariots dismounted). Facing that was the Thracians and Thureophoroi
In the centre the Macedonians has 8 Pike, 12 pike,12 pike , 8 pike (superior), matching that we have 2 dismounted Chariots , Myrmidons ,1 Armoured spear and 1 of Nestor’s HF spear blocks.
On the right the 3 lancer units facing Nestor’s other unit, 1 Armoured Spear and 1 protected Spear. There were some LH and LF shooters floating around.
The Game itself was pretty straight forward.
On the left both lines closed unwilling to give up there skirmisher screen being shock foot. Again our opponents bottled it and retired their LF to the rear thus avoiding any awkward psiloi sandwich. Again with this advantage the Macedonian had to test not to charge. The Thracians duly obliged by failing (Undrilled 8s) and the Thureophoroi passed (Drilled 7s).  The Thracian lost , and started to lose bases (thus losing their Spear POA), being against an armoured opponent meant they would be doubly down in places.
In an unexpected event one of the pike taxis , on our left, peeled off and headed to reinforce the their right flank. This caused a little concern as it meant that one of our protected average spear units would get caught in the open. As it ended up one dismounted Chariot unit managed to block their way, however it lost the impact and dropped. Looking shaky.
In the centre. One of pike Taxi had also failed its test to charge, as we had some cheeky LF tempting them in. They crashed into some dismounted charioteers.  And armoured spear again we had some units drop. However, as the next pike block crashed into it to support that brought the Myrmidons into play. They did the business and dropped the phalanx and stripped away a 4th rank base , where the overlap was. Being armoured and the sword now counting against disrupted pike, and 1 file losing its 4th rank bonus actually meant that we’d be on a + POA on the end. With 4 dice on that end with Achilles in tow needed 4’s (re-rolling 1s and 2s) that was soon going to start to hurt.
 Then we had a stellar turn. The pike block that had wheeled away had whittled its opposing dismounted Chariots down to 2 bases, one away from breaking and fragmented. Again we lost the fight but Jon threw a full house of 6s , thus not losing the base and not breaking from morale. Holding on with grim determination. At the same time , the Myrmidons broke the phalanx opposite them. Because the pike had wheeled it has exposed the flank (and we had bases behind) The pikes routed and the overlap base caught the pike flank in the pursuit. They dropped by being contacted , then lost the flank impact big style (to be expected)… it was a horrible test. They had lost (1p3), lost by more than 2, lost to impact foot and already disrupted. 4 off the dice, needing 11 to stand… they threw 6 ….. 4 off , and broken. Saving our wavering spearmen…  true stuff of legends – or lucky dice rolls J
Nestor’s spearmen , on the right of centre were holding on against the silver shields. They only had 4 dice, and although a POA up could never make the hits count. The Greek speaks always had more men fighting with to start 1 overlaps and then 2. Even a lowly LF back from the 3rd rank helped to contribute a dice. We were getting ground down, but slowly.
On the right flank (I don’t seem to have any pictures of the initial disposition), there Macedonians lined up duly. Our line was slightly longer. 1 Units of companions lined up against Nestor’s spear. The other two opposite the medium foot spear, which is not ideal but would be OK, if our nerve held. The Cavalry charges in rather than wait to fail their test and charge in penny packets. Luckily the spear dice were good. Against the mediums the impact was level. The lancer’s lance doesn’t count against steady spear, but we are mediums in the open, and our spear draws it level. Fortunately our dice were good, and we won both of the fights. Warren’s dice obliged by either dropping a level, or more importantly losing a base. All three lancer units had suffered in the initial combat. With the Spearmen staying steady the Lancer broke off at the end of the turn (JAP), however, the spears pushed on to keep the Companions under pressure. There would be no getting away. Over the next few bounds the lancers tried again and again, but they kept losing bases and a couple bounds later the central units broke. It friends on either side were looking shaky.  It was only a matter of time before the remainders broke. The last nail was 2 spearmen units charging a Lancer BG of 2 base, we’d be on – - POA in the impact, but we just needed 1 casualty to break it. It wobbled a little – but 8/6 dice vs 2 dice paid off in the melee and the Lancers broke.
After the Lancers were broken, you can just see 1 remaining units on the left
A quick tot up of the attrition points gave the Achaeans a 20-5 win – hooray!
That was a bloody game, fighting all down the line. I think we rode our luck and the fight in the centre could have easily gone the other way. The companions could have equally bowled over the spearmen in front of them.
Another great game, fought in a great spirit.

Badcon Game 1 – Early Libyan

Game 1 

Phil Steele & Chris Ager with Early Libyan

( FoG:AM 900pts)

So, all bright an breezy Saturday morning I turned up to Burton town hall to find out how bad the first game would be. With 9 Graeco Bactrians and another fist full of Parthians it didn’t bode well. However, know how they do the draw at BADCON did. So, being 1250 BC think we were likely to get either an Early Mycenaean or an Early Libyan. After looking at the draw we had drawn Phil and Chris (of SOA fame) and the Early Libyan. Now, thinking back to DBM days this was a bit of a monster not necessarily with quality but there was a lot of it. After a cursory glance at the list in Swifter than Eagles it seems to have been less generously treated. The core of the warriors were  AVG unprotected I/F , which as I see it have nothing going for them. Most foot is protected or better  and being undrilled they are likely to go tearing off in directions you wouldn’t like!  And at 6pts each they are not really that cheap! There is a option for MF bowmen (but under FoG these aren’t great). So, the remainder would be LF Bow or LF Javelin. Options for a dozen Light Chariots (Sup with a Bow) and a Sea Peoples Ally.

Our PBI is not great +1 and theirs was +2, so perhaps an IC with few Chariots or an FC with more chariots. It turned out to the be first of these ( probably rightly so, and IC is probably a required option for this army with so many undrilled types. We lost the roll off  and they picked Desert as their terrain type. Having never fought in Desert reference to the rule book was called for.  Soft sand was the compulsory terrain type  (which in general is pretty nasty difficult going, unless you have camels – which neither of us did). The Libyans selected some more rough going types (a gully and brush), seeming to close the table down.  From my point of view as our army was primarily MF too that didn’t really cause concern. We picked an impassable area (a nice Pyramid borrowed from Chris). As an aside perhaps there is some mileage in asking a player to provide all the terrain for a given army. Both players could then select from that pool. BADCON is probably one of the worst exponents of poorly presented armies. You were lucky is the table had a cloths and the ubiquitous felt squares were still ‘de jour’. Chris had a few boxes of terrain that really complemented his army and gave the whole game ‘added value’ from a  experience point of view – well done Chris and Phil.

The Pyramid landed on their back edge and had no effect on the game, so we’d have nothing to secure our flanks on.

The game.

The Libyan army  turned out to be not much bigger than ours anyway. They deployed 4 LF bow units to start, so they only have a maximum of 16 , against our 15. They also had 2 BGs of 4 Chariots, and 4 BGs of MF Libyan warriors and a Sea Peoples Ally (which was 6 Arm Sup I/F and 2 8’s of Avg Prot I/F) and some more LF Bow. They Libyans have obvious read the manuals and deployed in triplex acies, Libyan warriors to the rear  Sea People ahead and a decent amount of LF Bow covering the frontage. That narrowed the army, which was probably only as wide as ours now, and we had refused a flank. The main event was just left of centre where 2 foot of tables was lined with the Sea Peoples supported by the Libyans (flanked by 1 GB of chariots, that has to cross a gully)

The Achaeans felts that the fighting was best done on foot today. Only 1 Chariot BG remained ‘mounted’ while the dismounted ones stiffened the lines of our proto Hoplites.  We matched the open space with an assortment of  dismounted Chariots , Armoured Spear types and the Myrmidons (with a bit of rapid redeployment from the start shown here).

This would be our offensive flank, and stretching back to the right was the Protected Spear and Nestor’s spearmen.  Opposite were 2 units of Libyans warrior in the soft sand and more archers with the other BG of  Chariots. I have a feeling we would be shot here! Nestor’s spearmen would have been useful in the centre (being Heavy foot , with everyone else being ‘Medium’) but they are in big block and good for holding up a flank.

On the far left it was 1 Chariot unit a piece. The Greeks armed with Light spear , the Libyans with a bow.  It was in the interest of the Greeks to charge. With a POA up in the impact we would try an press our advantage. However , Phil and the Libyan chariots had other ideas. Both sides throwing 8 dice, the Greeks needing 4’s the Libyans 5’s (both sides re-rolling 1 & 2s though). Jon did well to get 7 hits for the Greeks, and then Phil pulled out a handful of fives and sixes!  In fact 7 in total – it was a draw. Both sides lost a chariot, and then it settled to be an equal fight…. which the Libyans won, and the Greek Chariots broke – through casualties, 1 base per combat phase to be precise! First blood to the Libyans.

The Libyan main plan seemed to be soften us up with missiles and then send in the impact foot. Ours was to close with the foot before the archers started to take the toll.

Our own skirmishers started to lose the exchange of missiles (as we had less),  but the morale held in the ‘big fight’  Both sides closed and it threatened to sandwich the skirmishers.  The Libyans nerve broke first as they retired their skirmishers to behind the Sea Peoples.  This actually gave the Greek the tactical advantage. In Fields of Glory  ‘shock foot’ (which Greeks, Sea Peoples & Libyans all are) have to test not to charge impetuously when in charge range – even of skirmishers. An exception to this is when the they have friendly skirmishers in-between them and the target. Skirmishers are really useful in this capacity to stop your impetuous troops tearing off when you don’t want them charging  enemy light foot ( which is unlikely they will catch and leave your lines in a  mess) 

The situation was – Sea Peoples were in ‘normal’ charge range of the Greek light archers, but not of the Greek Spearmen.  So they would have to test not to charge.  There was a grim inevitability of this situation. The Sea People could charge ‘all’ and hope they held together as a line after their variable moves – or – dice to ‘hold’ the charge and move closer to guarantee contacting the Achaean Spearmen in good order.  Being Undrilled they needed an 8 and being an ally the big Inspired general was not in ‘line of command’ . Even worse is that the quality of the troops makes no difference as wild superiors are equally likely to want to ‘get stuck  in’.  Phil decided to ‘hold’ and the dicing commenced. With a predictability that can only match my performance only one Sea People BG held (worst of all – the one in the middle), so the end two units dashed, and diced sufficiently high, to make it into the Greek Spearmen piecemeal. 

Now, at the moment of impact things aren’t so bad for the Sea Peoples. Being I/F they get a ++. Our Spear get a single +.  Overlaps and armour don’t count.. so they could still punch though!  If we did lose then we’d get and additional -1 for losing to I/F and would all start looking decidedly dodgy.  The rightmost Sea Peoples BG smashed into 2 BGs of armoured Spear. Who  ……. held in the combat (just , 1 unit disrupting…) woo hoo.

The Retinue swords (the Sea Peoples Armoured foot) smashed into some dismounted Chariots (2x) and lost – even better – they disrupted in impact! Couldn’t get better. Once the melee started the Sea Peoples would enter into a world of pain.  The Retinue sword were disrupted (losing a third of their dice), they were overlapped on both flanks, and as they failed to disrupt the Greeks their ‘steady spear’ would negate their ‘swordsman’ POA.  So it was something like 4 Sea People dice needing 5’s , against 10 Greek dice needing 4’s. Both sides were superior (with Generals) and a lot of re-rolls would be going on. The other fight was even worse. The Sea Peoples were steady so throwing their full complement of 8 dice. But against steady spear their sword was lost and being only protected their armour was worse than the Greeks.  So, they would need 5’s , again overlapped on both side the Greeks would throw 12 dice needing 3’s. This was the dream matchup for the Achaeans.  All they had to do was break these 2 BGs and the last Sea Peoples would be in isolation and hopefully get the same treatment. In the ensuing turn the Protected Sea Peoples held , but were haemorrhaging causalities. To add to their pain the Myrmidons wheeled around the corner to threatened to charge the flank. The disrupted Retinue lost heart and fragmented, only a matter of time for those guys.  In the following Libyan turn, things were looking grim. The last Sea Peoples unit was still too far away to charge, and the Libyan warriors were unable to ‘get out of the way’ from behind the fragmented retinue.  The melee saw them break , and burst through some unfortunate Libyans behind  – disrupting- them. Their problems compounded when pursuing Greek spearmen smashed into them, their blood singing.  The Myrmidons charged the flank of the other Sea People BG. That disrupted them, and consequently lost the initial impact and worst of all diced sufficiently low to break. Because they were fighting in two directions they had to bisect the angle to rout and moved right in front of the more troops. The Myrmidons pursued (throwing a 6), a mighty 6” smashing into more troops that has just being burst through.  Overall in 2 turns the whole Libyan centre has collapsed. It was just a question of finding a few bits to force the whole army  to break.

On the right flanks, Nestor spearmen had outmanoeuvred the other Libyan Chariots who had got too close. Having an extra drilled unit on the flank was handy. Once the chariot is pinned to the front it is really stuck for options.

It seems strange that a units with the potential to skirmish/evade cannot moved backwards to avoid getting trapped, relying on only the charge/evade process. The savvy player won’t charge, and just hold you in place while some devious unit works its way into a position where it can’t evade. In this case that was me… unfortunately I nearly screwed it up by charging too early and allowing the chariots to turn 90 and flee away from the flanks charge. Fortunately the flee move took the chariots into even more of a danger zone. In the following turn Chris obliged by failing his CMT to turn and move, and was stuck as he couldn’t move far enough anyway to avoid a rear charge (and now he was in column). Greek spears ended up charging in the rear!  The chariots held on briefly, but they were up against it.

In the soft sand the Libyan warriors had ventured forth, to threaten some Greek spears and more dismounted charioteers. Again it was not a good fight for the Libyans, even against our 2nd rate troops (the protected spears) unless they can cause a disruption and get their swords to ‘kick in’ , they will be – - POA (spear and better armour) .

In a unlikely set of circumstance, one Libyan unit disrupted the Greeks, but then themselves went  fragmented in the following melee, however, in the next turn beat the Achaeans sufficiently to allow a double drop , which our dice obliged and broke. Always impressive to be broken by fragmented troops.

However, overall that drew a close to the game as the Libyan army finally collapsed.  15- 5 in the favour of the Later Mycenaean’s … a cracking start.

The last bound showing the complete collapse in the centre

I really enjoyed this game – which is easy to say when you a winning – but it was fought in a very pleasant manner, effort had gone into the presentation of the terrain ,and an unusual army selection (my favourite). I think taking Libyans was a brave choice into this competition, and I’ll be keen to see how they go on with the rest of their games. I think it was Chris, that said – from the PB Purple primer – on army selection, pick an army you love even when it loses. A worthy statement, that perhaps a few more players should consider.


Badcon 2012

So, with BADCON around the corner it was time to consider what to do. Originally being a club member I would be part of the scratch team, with the risk of not playing at all. However, with someone dropping out a permanent playing place became available.  My original thought was for the Ikko Ikki, but having seen the current entries there seemed to be a preponderance of mounted armies. I’m not in it to win it but 4 games of being the whipping boy being doesn’t appeal.  So attention was turned to the A:M tournament. The period offered  ‘what was’ the DBM book 1 – Biblical , but given the reduction in lists and perceived lack of popularity it was expanded from 1500BC to 200BC (normally if would be 500BC).   There are good and bad points to this. A pure Biblical period probably would get dominated by Neo-Assyrian (and similar types).  Opening it up to the earlier classical armies would offer more variation, but open up the competition up to some of the ‘better armies’ by which I mean the drilled Lancer and filler outfits.

Anyway….  wanting to play a ‘pleasant’ army Jon and I settled on Achaian (Trojan war Greek), offering a characterful army, and being predominantly MF Spearmen the Lancers might fancy their chances of attacking frontally , rather than avoiding Hoplites and playing all the game on the flanks.

The ancient Greeks thought that the Trojan War was a historical event that had taken place in the 13th or 12th century BC, and believed that Troy was located in modern-day Turkey near the Dardanelles. By modern times, both the war and the city were widely believed to be non-historical. In 1870, however, the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann excavated a local site that he had identified as Troy; this claim is now accepted by most scholars. Whether there is any historical reality behind the Trojan War is an open question. Many scholars believe that there is a historical core to the tale, though this may simply mean that the Homeric stories are a fusion of various tales of sieges and expeditions by Mycenaean Greeks during the Bronze Age. Those who believe that the stories of the Trojan War are derived from a specific historical conflict usually date it to the 12th or 11th centuries BC, often preferring the dates given by Eratosthenes, 1194–1184 BC, which roughly corresponds with archaeological evidence of a catastrophic burning of Troy.

So, the army of Agamemnon, Menelaus, Nestor and the enigmatic Achilles. Also, I had had this army languishing in a dark cupboard recess for probably nearly a year. It was pre-painted army bought of Veteran Miniatures/Instant Armies…  there you go guys there is your plug.

The paint job itself fulfilled my guilty pleasure of high gloss painting. I don’t know what it is..   but I do like a bit of hi-gloss, much to the ridicule of everyone else it seems. Maybe it’s the smell of the polyurethane ?  Although I think it’s more to do with the tactile nature of a gloss finish. Maybe I just like old fashioned looking toy soldiers.  However, languishing in the box I discovered that it was in need of a rebasing job. All with 6 days to go, 4 if you consider we wanted a practise game this Thursday

The Army list

The Myrmidons provide the sledgehammer, what’s not to like Superior Armoured I/F.

A goodly chunk of Light Chariot with a  Light Spear ( a reasonably cheap mounted type, good against Bow armed Cavalry)

Some old school Mycenaean’s (Nestors troops) MF Def Spear –  2 large 9 base BGs

2 Armoured BGs (6s) of Medium Foot Offensive Spear

2 Protected BGs (8s) of Medium Foot Offensive Spear

and a assortment of skirmishers.

As an added bonus the Chariots can dismount as Sup MF Arm O/S, cool , but will make the army very narrow.  For the general I chose not to take an I/C <umbrella> . I tried to keep the BGs as robust as possible against shooting, either Armoured or in 8’s+  …  may be a mistake but we’ll see. This is fighting army so I want all my generals fighting!

With a PBI of +1 we weren’t going to win the initiative, but I can’t imagine many armies wanting the steppe – other that the Cimmerians *and hopefully we won’t meet any of those.

The BADCON event if probably unique now in that the draw is done by hand. That means there is a certain amount of matching armies that will give each other a good game within the swiss chess format (Let the nomads fight each other and the Chinese)

I think I’ll put on Troy on Friday night and see if that gets the juices going


Patrols in the Sun – the British


This week I spent some time concentrating on the British. I originally planned to stick to the earlier grey uniform, but trying to inject a bit of variety chose to paint the British in a transitional period, or just ‘on campaign’, probably more appropriate. The paint jobs were pretty easy. The grey was a Citadel foundation base (Dhneb stone?) with a touch of blue. I really like those foundation paints, they have a great coverage and have a bright disposition.

To the figures. 3 British regiments

2 artillery pieces and the Heliograph section

And the odds and ends of markers (scouted, wounded & dead). Now just to organise a game!

40K Combat Patrol – Necrons Vs Black Legion

Being snowed in has some advantages! After the obligatory snowman has been built … time for a 40K Combat Patrol with the boy, with his newly completed Necrons. Black Legion is the only 40K army I own (painted) now, so that was easy. Throwing 4’ of urban landscape together with the Chapel of Sanctuary as the central objective.

The opposing armies are


Necron Overlord

Necron Warriors x7

Necron Warriors x7

Necron Immortals x 5

Scarab Swarms x3


Black Legion

Chaos Space Marine lord

CSM x5 (+1 plasma upgrade)

CSM x5 (+1 plasma upgrade)

Obliterator Cult x1

The game was simple enough starting as opposite corner. Both side advancing to control the central objective. The Obliterator hanging back as a Lascannon platoon – sniping off a couple of warriors.

The Chaos Space Marine sneaking around the building to try and apply their advantage in H2H.

The central bundle didn’t work so well for Abbadons boys. Bad dice in the assault left very few Necrons needing to roil ‘they’ll be back’ roll.

Once in close combat the necrons attrited the CSM quite nicely.WS4 and T4 with a 4+ Save makes then quite resilient. As the CSM were outnumbered nearly 2 -1 it was only a matter of time. In true Hollywood style the Overlord faced of the Chaos Lord. Despite having the upper hand ( I thought) the Chaos lord went down without even inflicting a single wound on the Overlord. So HQ down, and shortly both CSM squads succumbing to fighting Scarabs and Necrons (after losing their armour save from that Scarab special ability – I forget its name)…  The sole survivor was the Obiliterator.

Makes the Necrons quiet tough!

Painting ‘Patrols in the Sudan’

With no impending competition painting deadlines, my focus returns to the backlog.  As a quick project to give myself a feeling of progress I picked up some Patrols in the Sudan figures that have been languishing in the nether regions of the painting cupboard.

 ”Patrols in the Sudan 1885.  You choose which mission to undertake. One player is the Dervish (he can pop up anywhere). The other player is the British or Egyptian company commander. Better scout carefully, they could be anywhere!”

Patrols in the Sun is a Peter Pig set of rules. Their rules have a high degree of subjective flavour, like it or not. I bought the figures about 2 years ago as an EBay folly – you know, put in a bid just as a place holder and end up winning the thing!  Anyway at less than half price it wasn’t too much of a problem. The auction contained 2 PP black boxes (army packs)


Pack 1.British. “Heliograph

Unit 1. (average). 1 x Officer (20), 1 x Sergeant (14), 7 x Rifles (84). = 118 pts

Unit 2 (average). 1 x Officer (20), 1 x Sergeant (14), 7 x Rifles (84). = 118 pts

Unit 3 (average). 1 x Officer (20), 1 x Sergeant (14), 5 x Rifles (60). = 94 pts

Independent Bases (poor) 4 x Scouts (28). = 28 pts

Total 358 pts

Pack 8. Dervish (3). “Fuzzy Wuzzy”

Unit 1 (veteran). 1 x Leader (20), 6 x Spears/Swords (48). = 68 pts

Unit 2 (veteran). 1 x Leader (20), 6 x Spears/Swords (48). = 68 pts

Unit 3 (average). 1 x Leader (16), 8 x Spears/Swords (48). =64 pts

Unit 4 (average). 1 x Leader (16), 4 x Rifles (16), 3 x Spears/Swords (18). = 50 pts

Unit 5 (average). 1 x Leader (16), 4 x Rifles (16), 3 x Spears/Swords (18). =50 pts

Total 300 pts.


I picked up ‘Go Strong into the Desert’ at Salute last year, so with a bit of background reading to get the juices flowing I was set.

Starting with the dervishes, I wasn’t really looking forward to it. The British gave a chance for bit of uniform painting, for a change. Once I’d emptied out all the bags the large lead pile gave the familiar feeling of ‘biting off to much’. Anyway, with a head ready for progress I formulated a plan. Not an unexpected one really starting from a white undercoat, then spray with a dark flesh  finally a dip in the ‘Dark Oak’ varnish  that I bought from the local pound shop. I have used the Army builder dip before (great fan of the Dark Tone) but at £18 a tin and having seen 2 tins ‘skin over’ and no matter how much revival with turps will never recover their former glory. At pound a go each tin can be relatively disposable. To be honest it lasted far longer than the last AP tin I had…  and takes to turp much better.

With these dips there is always losing faith stage. Once they are dipped and the detail is gone … however, given 24 hours drying time. The next stage it ready. So a quick exercise in loincloths and a bit of metal  for the swords ect all was complete. I’m still doing lazy man NMM for the metal, purely for the reason that I’m lazy and don’t want to change my water when using metallic. I hate that silver film on the water, invariable ends up in the other colours. Finally a zap of the ultra matt ‘Rail Match Matt Varnish’, the only (and mean only truly matt varnish)

So, natives complete 2 stages remained. Flag and basing.  Flags is never normally a problem. There are lots of online resource for flags now, just print them out.

I would normally surreptitiously do that at work on the colour laser printer but current cuts mean that we are only allowed B/W now – boo hiss. Never mind, printed them out on the ink jet at home (again low on ink – what a gip). The flags had quite a washed out look, but as a happy accident seemed fitting for the Sudan. So, good news.

Basing was my normal mix of kitty litter and sharp sand. I lightened up the paint. So Khaki/Sand mix followed by successive Light flesh additions (All’ Miniature Paints’). I used the Woodland Scenics ‘straw’ flock (I think), and all was complete. I resisted the temptation to ‘green it up’, and keep a limited palette. Drying to capture that dusty, sun baked look. I resisted the MIG pigments … must get it done!

So, 150 figures in the week , not so bad , better than average weekly total. To be fair, easier that the Ikko Ikko just before Christmas. I’ll do the British next week and look to run through a few games to see out the rules pan out.

Thanks for reading!