Britcon game 4 – Batavians vs Ancient British

Game 4 – Batavians vs Ancient British (played by Simon Hall) 

So here we are gain propping up the table. The two leviathans of wargaming heritage – Early Germans vs Ancient British – commanded not less that by the author himself!
Simon’s army was voluminous. Only a couple of fanatic TuGs, relying mainly on big blocks of Warrior (loose average types) and some larger chariots(6s) and Slingers(9s). Terrain was advantageous for neither side. The fact that there was a secure flank meant the both armies could reply right up to the table edge (of the secure side). As the securing terrain was woods, then the warriors of both armies would not be particularly impeded.
You can see the starting deal. Note that the Chatti Allies are played face up for the first turn. No coloured cards means unreliabilty.  So its unlikely that you will see many mediocre graded ally generals ! … or at you peril 🙂
The game was a demonstration of attrition. The big Brit blocks lined up and while the Batavians www generally ‘up’ in most fights, any sort of loses would be telling. Yet gain the superior 4s of noble cavalry were a weak link. One TuG of nobles did a sterling jobs while teetering on the edge of break (with 1.5 loses)
It was all pretty straight up with not much manoeuvring, and the smaller Batavian army was eroded away until it finally broke
15-3 to the Ancient Britons

Britcon game 3 – Batavians vs Republican Romans

Britcon game 3 – Mark with Republican Romans

Hang on! haven’t we just had this?  No, its another Romans army using the Xth lead by Caesar. This time it was Mark at the helm… and it was his birthday – so happy Birthday Mark!

This time the terrain was massively dense. There was secure flank with a river, and dense woodland – of both a difficult and rough variety – leaving only a narrow gap between the water and the trees. Just enough for the Romans to reply in, neat eh?
The sneaky barbarians would have none of it, and the Batavians being of the loose variety skulked en masse in the wood, lead by the talented Civilis , executing a swinging envelopment while the close order Chatti and Batavian cavalry stood in the open. Mark (Caesar) ’s plan was simple. March forward and fight what was our in front of him.
The enveloping nature of the game meant that the Romans were being teased apart. This army was different to the last in that while the core was all the crack legions. The other filler was in larger and therefore of less value to destroy. To win I would have to defeat the legions. The big swinging flank did come round, and the superiors Batavian nobles did face the weakest element of the line – that being average legion. However, their mad charge was not quiet so effective this time and the protracted melee would always favour the professional Romans.
Caesar was on the corner with the tenth, and they were charged frontally by Chatti warlord, flanked by Chatti warband and fighting Batavian noble horsemen. Every single base was fighting – in 2 directions. However, the quality difference was such that the Germans could not quite attrit them in time – or actually – not at all!
The Romans re-deployed some ambushing cavalry and they rode down some Batavian nobles, who were not having a good day. Some numidians light horse were routed as were another average legion on the left flank. But that was mutual destruction. The Germans cavalry while being good quality, I have being finding are the weakest link. Its not that they cannot fight. They can dish it out OK, but they cannot suffer any major casualties.
The Batavian broke. It has looked reasonable promising at the beginning. But resolutely the Romans had just stood firm, letting the barbarian troops dash themselves upon the ranks until the fight in them was gone. When they al just routed back in the dark wood to fight another day
The result was 15 – 3 to the Romans

Britcon game 2 – Batavian Revolt vs Republican Romans

Game 2 – Bren with Republican Roman

I’d played Bren’s Romans at the Challenge so I knew what to expect. There is also a precedence for sharing lists before the game start in these rules, so you get to see exactly what you are facing.

These were Caesars boys. 10th Legion, lead by the legendary Caesar. There were a full ‘hangers on’, but they were just ballast for the Roma mincing machine. To my mind the game was largely decided at the beginning. The Romans won the choice to attack to defend, choosing to attack (deploy 2nd, go first). The defenders get to pick the ground upon which we fight. The Batavian chose the densest flank secure location on the map. During the pre battle phase Caesar had all the cards, but chose to draw the Germans away from the wood into the plans , and away from any flank securing sector. We ended up on a largely empty table – with just 2 pieces of rough terrain. Neither side had the edge in the outscouting phase so it was a normal alternating deployment.

This was probably a mistake by the Romans who with such a small force might have been better trying to end up moving closer the coast to get its own secure flank (just my view)

The Roman army was very small, and covered only 1m of the central sector of the table. The German filled that with stodgy warriors and overlapped the army by 30cm in each end with Cavalry and loose formation Batavian infantry

The Chatti in the centre was reliable (phew!) and stayed central. The plan was simple – envelope the flanks while the centre delayed. This all went swimmingly well.

On the left flank the average Roman cavalry capitulated in short order to the more numerous superior Batavian nobles.

On the right Batavian warrior flooded the end of the line agains ‘lesser’ quality romans .. this held and turned into a grinding match. The Romans were just better, but the war band more numerous and it would take a while to carve through

The killer blow was with the Xth. It had been plugging away in the centre and its flank supports had been dwindling. A gap opened in the centre just wide enough for the Chatti iron collars (superior types) to advance into, surrendering the flank of the Xth. The charge was momentous. The Chatti charging the flank, Batavian nobles to the front. The Romans lost a base but held. However fighting to front and side against more opponents the number started to tell. In the ensuing melee the Romans were better (technically killing more), but the Germans had twice as many to lose. Combined with this the Romans dice were appalling, they inflicted less than average, while the Germans seemed always to fine the wounds on the black and white dice.

Here you can see the Chatti hitting the flank of the Xth. The Yellow card you can see is played to prevent the average warriors from impetuously changing the centre

The Batavian noble cavalry had broken through on the left flank, into the soft underbelly of auxiliary archers, and ran amok. The camp was fortified , so prevented that being sacked. Fortified camps can only be attacked by infantry in these rules. But the jig was up. A couple of German units had been destroyed , but Caesar holding on, committed to fight in the front rank. He was wounded , the Xth broke and the Romans collapsed.

15-7 to the Batavian revolt.

The game lasts 2 hours from start to finish. Fast as there was little skirmishing or shooting

The German don’t win very often but when they do it is glorious !

Britcon Game 1 – Batavian Revolt vs Skythians

So Britcon 2016 starts and this year with a new system – Mortem et Gloriam. I have selected Civilis revolt, so the Batavians (Early Germans) and Chatti Allies (more early Germans). I’ve played this in DBM, FoG and now MeG, so it seemed appropriate. The army is a core or warband types, with some Roman deserters. So, in this they are Auxiliary types, who are flexible so can either be loose or close formation. The Batavians are ‘loose’ also, while the Chatti are also flexible. The only problem with tribal flexible is that once they are set at the start of the game there is no change between loose and close formation (a luxury afforded only to drilled troops)

My list is

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 00.12.39

Game 1 – Bob using Skythians
I have played Bob earlier this week as a practice for Britcon, and on that occasion he was using Huns. So the Germans had a hard time corralling those light horsemen off the table. This time it was even worse. The Skythians, while their quality is not quite what the Huns is, they make up for in numeracy, and shooting prowess. The Scythian list is pretty simple, all average, flexible cavalry meaning they can either skirmish or form up. A trade off between tactical mobility and fire power. The game did not start well. I did win the roll off and chose to defend. However, the initiative cards lured my army away from its secure flanks, dense terrain location further and further into the open. Finally ending up on the plains – but with a secure flank. The terrain was simply the secure flanks and one piece of terrain that did fall centrally but had not bearing on the game at all.

The scouting phase was unkind to me also. 6 scouting cards vs 3, and an unlucky draw meant that I was 100% out scouted, meaning I had to reply my whole army before seeing any of the enemy

You can see here the brave germans have nothing facing them after they deploy

The game was one of pushing forward, to try and flee the light horsemen off the table. After seeing my deployment the Skythians weighted both wings, and also had a flank march, there was precious little directly in front of me.

The nomads turn up. This pictures is notable for the Chatti allies cards (1st turn allied cards are face up. If you get no colour cards they are unreliable

It didn’t look good. However, I endeavoured to make a game of it and pushed forward and tried to squeeze the edges of the table so that at least the German noble cavalry would have some bearing on the game. The Germans pushed forward , as did the Skyths. The game played out as I charges , the cavalry skirmished and shot. This shooting did not kill many bases, but the ’S’ (slow) results slowed my charges so that the advance across the table was slowed. Shooting did start taking effect and I lost bases here and there but by which time Civilis was a good 3’ across the table. The cracks, however, were starting to show.

The Noble cavalry did get into good charging opportunities, but being Superior Melee experts the units were small ( 4 bases) The more numerous Skythians has some good shooting and took a base off as the Germans charged, This meant they were always a base from breaking completely. As the ongoing melee continued – while being at a significant advantage it was never enough to break though while the attritional casualties that the Skythians inflicted were enough to break the Germans cavalry.

The table is devoid of troops in the centre as they retire to the entremities

The Batavians did make it to the Skythian camp, and generally the whole army – or what remained of it – was less than 30cm from the enemy table edge, when the Germans collapsed. In the end after a hard fought battle the Germans had destroyed a single base of the loss of their whole army – so a maximum loss 25-0

While it was disaster, the game was fun and it felt that the Batavians had a chance – even when all the cards were stacked against them

Mortem et Gloriam

The journey begins ….  Mortem et Gloriam is out on Monday July 18th at  The shop and the Ancients Zone will go live at midday.  I am very pleased with the end result and hope you will like it as well.  It has taken a little longer but is better for it.  We look forward to welcoming you to the site.

The rules are available for purchase from the store.  With the very special 300 Spartans offer where the starter set is £10 off at £39.95 and you get a lifetime subscription so you will never ever pay for a single army list!!  Also on the site you can buy the booster pack which has he card holder players have been enjoying, a set of purple MeG markers and a second set of dice to make things even easier.  This bundle is £5 below the prices of the individual items.

Deliveries will begin to go out in about a weeks time.  Priority deliveries will be given to anyone who has signed up for the first open competition at Britcon [BHGS, UMIST Manchester] on August 12-14.  There were 13 players signed up before launch – so if you are not yet signed up do come along and join the fun! Plenty of help for inexperienced players and a nice prize for the best non-tester result.  You can find the details at the BHGS website


In the DOWNLOADABLE TUTORIAL PDF section you will find the first pdfs showing you a game between Rome and Carthage to give you a quick feel for how it works.  Additional files will be added over the coming months to take the game to a finale.

In the ARMY BUILDER AND ARMIES section there is the launch ARMY BUILDER to download for use with the latest army lists.  You will also find around 10 example armies from my recent games – some from testing in the later periods.  More of these ready to play armies will be added in the coming weeks.

In the ARMY LIST section you have an index of 89 armies for our opening period The Dominance of Greece and Rome – the Classical period.  Crafted by Richard Jeffrey-Cook and developed by the list team these come as 9 PDFs showing the evolution of armies in different geographic regions.  So lots to choose from for Britcon and beyond already.

In HISTORICAL REFIGHTS AND SCENARIOS you will find the first of each series.  The refight is a MeG version of the Battle of Ruspina 46BC between Caesar and the Numidians where Caesar barely survived envelopment. Its a real challenge to play it well.  The first scenario is called Moonlight Mayhem and is a dawn attack on a poorly camped army.  More of these will be loaded over the coming months.

In the CAMPAIGNS section you will find a campaign setting for the Roman Slave Wars from Simon “Lurkio” Clarke with suggestions of how to play any of the three revolts – so including the famous third with Spartacus!

In the TOURNAMENT ORGANISER RESOURCES section you will find the current suggested points for competitions of different types, downloadable score sheets and a spreadsheet for tracking points.  I am hoping several clubs will organise 3 game one-day competitions – go on give it a go!

The HALL OF CHAMPIONS has all the winners of MeG competitions so far and the latest ranking system – 2016 really being a bit of fun between testers.  It can all get much more serious for 2017 and Paul Cummins has kindly offered to run the rankings going forward.

The end of a two year initial development journey but just the very beginning of what I hope will be a much longer playing era, where a much wider community will be involved in developing the game and items around it.   I very much hope you enjoy Mortem et Gloriam.  I look forward to seeing you some of you at Britcon 2016 in August for the first main competition.  Best wishes to all.  …..   Ad Mortem et Gloriam

Mortem et Gloriam Ancient rules

Mortem et Gloriam is Si Halls new set of ancient rules. Its been in development for over a year now, and the Challenge was the last beta test tournament before go live in July. The Challenge was set as 2 days, with the first day with the release lists (Dominance of Greece and Roman – book 2 in old money) , the 2nd day being ‘open’ to test some of the newer test lists and test the rules to destruction with some really anachronistic match-ups.

The rules themselves have some familiar concepts and some new ones too. The command and control is via a shared deck of cards. A card will be of 1 of 5 colours indicative of a ‘quality’. The better cards being rarer as you might expect. The players share the same deck. Each turn cards are dealt to each command depending on the generals rating. These cards can be spent in a number of ways. They can spent to move, bolster troops, prompt charges etc. So the is definitely a hand management aspect of the game. Troops are moved by alternate activations so IGOUGO but only by spending cards. This is a neat mechanism as both players are engaged in each turn. There are mechanisms to allow delaying actions and there are good reasons to move first and pin enemy troops in place and going 2nd to react to what your opponent is doing. So this is more ‘euro game’y than what you would expect in a traditional wargame.
The armies are based in units but combat is done on a file by file bases. Each troop type generate a set of advantages going up and down a colour ladder similar to the cards – black,white,green,yellow ,red (from worst to best). There is a set of combat dice also in these colours. These dice have 4 options. Kill a base, Wound (1/2 a kill), Special & nothing (blank). The higher up the ladder the more likely you are to get a result. Specials are a neat idea as it allows some effect that some troops might have. The S results count in both close combat and shooting, so an S for archers would be a ‘slow down’. So in what happens is that you might declare a charge against bowmen, as a response they shoot if they score enough ‘S’s then you deduct a distance from your charge (and maybe not make it into combat). In combat Hoplite have a ‘Shove’ special rule, so if they get a ‘S’ in close combat then the adjacent file gets a boost as the spearmen push into the ranks of the enemy. Warband have a ‘Shatter’ special rule … you get the idea.
For my day 1 list I took Slave revolt. Si had asked for this competition to use larger size armies than normal to extent the runtime to allow other competitors to see the games in action. The Slave revolt was enormous, and I had to draft in some proxys!

Here is what the list looks like

Slave list
Game 1 was against Sassasian, played by Bob
I’d played Bob the week before with this army so I had a good idea what to expect. The pre pattle phase consists of an attack/defend rolloff (using the coloured dice based on the quality of the general), whoever wins this gets to pick whether to attack or defend. The defender then picks the region. There is a map, and which is basically a matrix of terrain types, so closed flanks on one vertices and density of terrain on the other. The defender picks a start position on this map (which is dictates by his geographical region), then cards are dealt. The number of cards depends on your generals. 5 hands are then played. The winner of each hand gets to move the place on the map so you might wish to try to head towards the coast and get a secure flank. During this phase you may will to hold onto better cards if you don’t care about the terrain so much. Once the final position on the map is decided the terrain is generate (ie whether there is secure flank – coast , mountain etc), and the amount of pieces of additional terrain. Once the table terrain is set up you move onto the scouting phase. So cards are dealt based on generals and the number of horses you have in your army (you make have kept cards from the prior phase if you thought that scouting is more important than terrain). Each hand is shown – and an outscouting percentage is calculated. For these each card has a value – green 10, yellow 20, red 40. The delta between the two hands is the ouscouting amount and by how much (as an army percentage). So even if you attack you make get oustcouted and have to deploy first.




These are not good cards

The Sassanids chose to attack and while Spartacus being a legendary general had a lot of cards, they weren’t very good, but we did manage to hold onto a secure (mountainous flank). There was only one other piece of terrain as the Persians are wangled their way from a dense terrain situation to an open one.
The game itself was one of attrition. The slaves by and large are of a poor quality but you get big units and a lot of them. All units break on the same amount 50% , so you can try to play the numbers by your trying to keep rolling enough dice to kill your smaller opponent. The Sassanids had a robust centre of cataphracts and elephants, and this proved a hard nut to crack. As they all have shove and generally a better factor as long at they throw OK they prevented me from much of chance of killing much (in game terms if they ‘shove me’ my dice goes from white to black, and the chances of getting a result then is much reduced)
That said it was hard for the Persians to whittle down so many bases, and the slaves did have some success working the flanks
The result was a loss – albeit not an army break
Game 2 – Classical Indian played by Dave.
We made a couple of errors in this game on the interactions that really messed up this game. As such it made the Indian Elephants far more fragile than they should have been. Hopefully this will be clarified on the QRS 

As a result of this the elephants were destroyed too quickly and ended up as a big Slave victory
The scoring mechanism is neat too, as you score for units that you destroy. So defensive play where players risk little will result in a smaller score.

Game 3 – Late Republican Romans played by Bren
Day 2 was the open period and I picked Libyan Egyptian as they have been languishing in a box for a long time since I stopped playing FoG:AM.

The Roman army was tiny, but they have a couple of special rules. These being Shield Cover, and Melee expert. The game open up well as the Chariots swept down one flank and destroyed the single unit of Roman cavalry. However, the army was mostly legionary types, and the end of the end went into shield cover (with a reduced movement capability). This negated a lot of the chariots shooting and where we did get some wounds Bren managed his hand to always rally these back up. The centre advanced on and while it got stretched when it got to the Egyptian foot it was rather like a hot knife through butter. I made a mistake with the Mesh Wesh, who are great ‘charging’ types, but my movement meant I couldn’t take advantage of that and in a protracted fight with Legionaries they are dog meat.
Big loss to the Romans
Game 4 – Lithuanian played by Paul.
I’ve not played any of the medieval stuff yet and this was an eye opener. Paul had a mostly mounted force with a centre of war wagons and bombards. His plan was to come forward and drop back luring me towards the shooting centre. In the rules its reasonably easy for mounted troops to go backwards as well as forwards. I rather fell into the trap and found that bombards against chariots its not great! The Egyptians gave a reasonable account of themselves with a heroic charge by the Mesh Wesh sweeping away some Slavic foot and looting the camp.

Looting the camp has a rather neat effect. Once destroyed each unit in the army has to take a test or lose a base – simulating the morale effect on seeing the baggage lost)
This did have some potential with some key units on the Lithuanian side only 1 base from breaking – Teutonic knights, I’m looking at you. However they passed those tests and the Libyans were consigned to utter defeat.
Hope that have given a flavour of these rules. I’ve been enjoying them. The main reason it they are quite different to what has come before. Sure, they have elements that feel more like a board game, but compared to its derivative peers that are currently doing the rounds, if feels more like a breath of fresh air.

They are out in July , and the site & forum are active and Si is keen to get all involved.

Looking forward to Britcon and first tournament!


Squarebashing assault 101

Assaulting in Squarebashing quite often has many options, with some subtle nuances. Here is 1 examples with the options explained. Hopefully it will help to show which is best, and what the outcomes will be


The French are in blue. They are defending a trench D-E-F. They Germans in Green have options of assaulting in the following

Option 1 assault only from the front (B)

The dice are
 German (assaulting)
 3 dice per unit at strength        = 6
 Fighting bonus + 2                 = 2
 Support square (F)+2               = 2
 Assaulting trench -3               =-3
French (defending)
 2 dice per unit at strength        = 2
 Support square (D)+1               = 1
 G cannot support as under barrage

Total dice 7 assault vs 3 defence

If the Assault is successful if the barrage in G is suppression then the French regulars in E cannot retire and will take another 6 hits. If not suppression then it moves to G. Then at least 1 German unit from B must move to E – gains winning the fight marker

Option 2 assault only from the flank (F)

The dice are
 German (assaulting)
 3 dice per unit at strength       = 6
 Assaulting flank                  = 2
 Winning the fight + 2             = 2
 Support square (B)+2              = 2
 Assaulting trench to flank -2     =-2
French (defending)
 2 dice per unit at strength       = 2
 Support square (D)+1              = 1
 G cannot support as under barrage

Total dice 10 assault vs 3 defence

If the Assault is successful if the barrage in G is suppression then the French regulars in E cannot retire and will take another 6 hits. If not suppression then it moves to G. Then at least 1 German unit from F must move to E.

Option 3 Primary assault from the front (B) additional assault from (F)

The dice are
 German (assaulting)
 3 dice per unit at strength         = 6
 Fighting bonus + 2                  = 2
 Extra assault units                 = 2 (max 2 units per face)
 Assaulting trench -3                =-3
French (defending)
 2 dice per unit at strength         = 2
 Extra assault units                 =-2 (max 2 units per face)
 Support square (D)+1                = 1
 G cannot support as under barrage

Total dice 7 assault vs 2 defence (actual = 1 but 2 dice minimum)

If the Assault is successful if the barrage in G is suppression then the French regulars in E cannot retire and will take another 6 hits. If not suppression then it moves to G. Then at least 1 German unit from B or F must move to E – gains winning the fight marker

Option 4 Primary assault from the flank (F) additional assault from (B)

The dice are
 German (assaulting)
 3 dice per unit at strength          = 6
 Assaulting flank                     = 2
 Winning the fight + 2                = 2
 Extra assault units                  = 2 (max 2 units per face)
 Assaulting trench to flank -2        =-2
French (defending)
 2 dice per unit at strength          = 2
 Extra assault units                  =-2 (max 2 units per face)
 Support square (D)+1                 = 1
 G cannot support as under barrage

Total dice 10 assault vs 2 defence (actual = 1 but 2 dice minimum)

If the Assault is successful if the barrage in G is suppression then the French regulars in E cannot retire and will take another 6 hits. If not suppression then it moves to G. Then at least 1 German unit from B or F must move to E.

So obviously best to multi assault especially against tougher (more dice opponents) . The only questions are around having to move units into the final square which may or not be advantageous to you.

Squarebashing 1917

On Thursday I had chance to trot out some new toys to play Squarebashing. I’ve just completely my late war French and Germans and it was an opportunity to experience the full fat armies of Squarebashing. After playing the last few games with the Belgians in 1914 the smorgasbord of quality assets was a luxury. What I failed to released was that both armies were kitted out to the gunnels with bombardments and therefore I would be on the receiving end of it also.

We decided to play the trench game. I’ve only really played this a couple of times and we missed a few things. However it did mean we didn’t have to worry about the countdown to battle phase. In the trench game its always ‘attack in force’ for depletions, and as the defending French we have a trench running the length of row three. The defender can be deployed in row 2 and 3, as per usual the attackers are in row 6. After deploying the position seemed impregnable (doesn’t it always) .

The French
2 professional infantry
6 regular infantry
4 reserve infantry
6 MGs
6 Artillery

The Germans
5 professional infantry
5 regular infantry
3 MGs
4 Artillery
1 Heavy Tank

Both armies were rated 47 … I think the highest in the book (no one would have a bonus for being a ‘better army’)

As defender the French has 12 infantry units and after depletions would have to have 1 on 3 off the table (4). Depletions were applied. It always seems horrific when you see a couple of 6s appear on your best troops and have the ultimatum of deploying them at half strength or in reserve. In the end it probably wasn’t that bad as I ended up only with 4 infantry in reserve (also 2 guns and 1 MG), which is just about the minimum. It did look that the front line of regular in the trench had taken the worse of it and were all ‘bases down’, while the reservists looked largely untouched.

However the trench game nastily also requires the defender to lose 1 base from 4 full strength on table infantry units AND damage 2 guns AND damage 2 MG…. also losing d6 of each bombardment asset!

After this the defending French looked threadbare and it might be the case for the Germans to walk through.


There is also a mine phase (forgot that !). The Germans also have the option to swap infantry for Stormtroopers (forgot that!)

The German lined up to advance. Ray had picked the ‘fighting’ higher command order (to bolster his attacks) and I pick ‘morale’ and I felt I might need it.

Turn 1 the German point effect barrage the line. It looked bad and I took a few casualties , but it was the centre of the line. My higher command would be close enough for his command orders to be of use (the French only have a command rating of 2 – boo – compared to the Germans 4 ). One of the objectives to fight over is a MG bunker in row 4 . The Germans did attack this , but the trenches and bunker do have a contiguous line of rough terrain in front of it so each assaulter does have to throw to exit (and assault). I was fortunate here as the professional German failed (on rolling a 1 ) leaving the regulars to advance on their own. This happened a couple of times in the game and did forge the narrative of perhaps why they were veterans. The initial assault faltered, but the MG bunker was damaged. 1917_2

The next turn saw the French suppression barrage failed spectacularly. The Germans were all lined up nicely , but even with a good artillery rating I managed to throw 3 consecutive 6s to see the artillery to go over the heads of the advancing troops and fall harmlessly into no mans land. It clipped the end of the line, but the centre of the defending  line was left under pressure.


The next German turn was a rolling barrage. With only 5 dice in the asset (needing to roll 1 6 ) it wasn’t guaranteed, but it was granted. This could potentially fill 15 squares ( a 5 x 3 section) with barrage markers. The German artillery is also rated as good, and they obliged by getting all the first 5 all on target , except 1 which fell short … on top of my MG bunker. It was the perfect shot. Luckily the rolling aspect of the barrage was minimal and it only rolled forward in 1 column. But the initial barrage was terrible. All the targeting squares took hits and combined with the barrage markers it looked ripe for an assault and a swift victory. This was the case. The MG bunker was captured and there was a breakthrough right in the middle of the line. The French teetered on defeat…


The following French turn saw them call for urgent arrivals. Not my favourite asset as it doesn’t ruin your opponents days as much as savage artillery barrage. But , the situation was dire. The centre was breached and I only had 1 damaged MG holding the left flank. I had to send my professionals from reserve to assist there otherwise it would be over very quickly. The French second line was mainly damaged conscripted with some field artillery. It would be a mainly static defence. The Germans breakthrough did take some withering fire as it pushed into the 2nd line. But some nice dice saw then shrug off the injuries.

There was a then a slight lull in the battle. The Germans didn’t have an artillery asset to support the ongoing assault and chose to erect some hasty defences (to facilitate a improved morale check that they were due to take) . The French followed up with successful point effect barrage right on the schwerpunkt of the attack. There was a glimmer of hope for the gallant French defenders. The Germans would have to take some nasty morale checks. However, their nerve held…. It all looked good, but they were professionals and in trenches (by this time), so in the end it wasn’t that bad. They stalled but it was only a brief respite.

With a master stroke the Germans then called up their suppression barrage. The was targeted just behind the lines (in row 2). This had the double whammy of denying troops in those squares giving support to the front line troops and also preventing and movement into those squares….. in the form of retreats from the front line!! The main assault went it. The French were weakened and could only offer minimal resistance, the Germans too had a bloody nose, but just did enough to win the critical fights which would have been OK (relatively speaking) , but the fact that the retreat was blocked by the barrage meant they took a lot of damage. This just crushed the French and a couple of units were just annihilated.

At this point we called time and added up. It was just one point from a decisive German victory (but we were only about ½ way down the countdown clock ) so given another hour it would have been a major German success.

Despite the feeling like a kicked puppy the trench game does offer a lot of challenges and makes what look like a drole gaming experience into a white knuckle ride – recommended.


Attack on Fort Vaux

James and Paul came down to a rather busy Thursday club night to trial their new show game. The game recreates the assault through the murderous tunnels of Fort Vaux where the brave French defenders reversed the setbacks that had befallen them at Fort Douaumont. James had rather lovingly rendered the fort interior in 1/56 and the action was based on the attack of the 2 access tunnels by the German assault troops. A set of random ‘reinforcement’ cards would be placed on each section and would give the Germans extra troops, grenades or the dreaded flamethrower. The defending French also had a deck of cards to boost their defense but they could only use each card once to simulate the attrition of resources. They also has a few ‘blanks’ which did nothing.





The mechanics of the game were that the attack was over the course of 4 days. Each day was broken down into 4 assaults phases. Reinforcement cards were played at the beginning of the day. Each tunnel was sectioned in 10 barracked areas. To succeed the Germans needed to push the French back to the inner barracks area by the end of the 4th day. Any other result would be French victory. Each soldier/figures attacking or defending a barricade would roll a dice. To score a hit the attackers would need a 6, the defenders 5 or 6. Typical the attacking force would be larger. Each hit would remove a casualty and if the attackers won then they would push back the defenders the number of barricades equal the difference in the result. SO, a regular attack would be 10 Germans needing a 6 vs 8 French soldiers needing a 5 or 6. The cards would have some bearing on this.


We payed several games. The first played out at a rather protracted affair with the French slowly giving was until the fort was captured on day 3 or 4.


The second (where I was defending at the French) was a big victory to the French. Down to me throwing fistfuls of 5s and 6s. I don’t even think that Paul made it into the tunnel at tall. James did get in but ultimately came undone when he encountered a machine gun section (event card) lodged in a wider section of the tunnel. The attack was so bad that the we played a day 5 and 6 to see if the Germans could make any headway … but no



The 3rd was again quick and bloody. As the German this time I was initially repulsed by the French at the entrance. But on the 2nd assault, aided by a NCO (giving re-rolls to the dice) AND a flame thrower (each 6 rolled causes 2 hits). A rather lucky roll of 6 sixes out of 10 dice wiped of the defender in a ferocious attack.


All in all a pleasant game. Nothing too stressful, but it is designed for a quick participation show game. So all very jolly… not like the unlucky souls that had to face grenades in confined spaces and flamethrowers erupting everywhere.

We even had time to trot out a quick game of ‘The Grizzled’.lespoilus

sweet November

Keeping with the WW1 theme. This is a co-operative card game where each player takes the role of a Poilu trying to survive the war through various trials. Neither Paul or James had played it before and I was tired by this time. Whenever we play this at home with the kids its always really hard to complete successfully. But this time the cards seemed to be kind and we must have had a lucky war and despite my player ending with a string of disorders .. at one point I was a phobic, silent, tyrannical leader and one card from losing the game … we succeeded. So much so I had to read the rules again when I got home – as it seemed so easy! But no it was OK we just got lucky.

Battle of Sekigahara – club refight

Battle of Sekigahara, (Oct. 20, 1600), in Japanese history, conflict that established the hegemony of the Tokugawa family, a hegemony that lasted until 1868.


The chief contenders for power in Japan at this time were Tokugawa Ieyasu (Red markers in the game) and Ishida Mitsunari (Blue markers in the game), both of whom were members of a delicately balanced oligarchy that had been established by the former national leader Toyotomi Hideyoshi to keep Japan united under his descendants. When Hideyoshi died leaving only an infant son, Toyotomi Hideyori, to succeed him, Ieyasu, as head of the regency council for Hideyori, began to assume power. Ishida, another member of the council, challenged him, and two great armies of feudal lords faced each other at Sekigahara, a strategically located narrow pass between the two plains at Lake Biwa and Nagoya. Ishida and his allies were defeated; he was executed; and most of the lords who had supported him were either banished or deprived of their domains.

Immediately after his triumph, Ieyasu began a redistribution of fiefs to consolidate his rule, establishing the machinery for the 265-year Tokugawa shogunate, or military dictatorship, of Japan.
We refought this battle as a one day game. As events would have it we ended up playing the game twice over the course of the day.

To avoid it being a straight recreation of the historical events and make it more of a game I changed some of the events that occurred to give both sides more of a chance. The mechanism for this was a ‘pot’ of dice that would accuse each turn. Each time that each side did something positive then a dice would be added to the pot. The positive events were –

  • Killing and enemy base
  • Causing a cohesion drop
  • Rallying a cohesion state

Each turn 3 dice would be added as a ‘default’. This would always give a 50% of each player being able to remove a counter each turn)

At the end of each turn the pot of dice would be emptied and thrown, each 6 rolled could be used to increase the  ‘activation’ of troops that at this point were taking no part in the battle. Each pool of reinforcements had a pool of counters indicating there indecision or tardy action. Each 6 rolled could remove one of these counters. When all the counters were gone then those troops would activate.

Outside of the main battle we had the following re-enforcements.

Loyalist Turncoats. (4 red, 4 blue, 2 white counters)

In history the defection of Hideaki was the key event of the battle. I allowed an even chance that he would join either side. Therefore it had 4 loyalist(blue), 4 rebel (red) and 2 white. The white counters could be removed by either player but could only be removed when all the counters of their own colour was gone. When the last white counter was removed then Hideaki would activate under the command of the team removing the last counter

Ieyasu (5 red army counters, 2 red general counters)

To simulate his inaction on the day he had 7 counters to be removed. 2 to get the great man to join to fray personally and 5 to commit his troops to battle

Hidemoto (6 blue counters)

This was a deviation from history as Hidemoto took no part in the battle as he was deployed on the far side of Mount Nangu, threatening the rear of the rebel army and was the back door of the trap that Mitsunari was trying to spring. The removal of the hist counters represented his movement back across the mountains to bolster the loyalists. This was added just to give the loyalists more of a level playing field, and try an capture a feeling of the ‘unknown’ that occurred in the battle.

There were a couple of minor events too

Fukishima (1 red counter)

Representing his inaction following his slight after the honour of leading the attack was stolen by Naomasa

Yukinaga (2 blue counters)

Representing his inaction on the day

So a total of 12 each.

As the game started it would be a slow build up as each side would only get 3 dice, and events wouldn’t be triggered too quickly. As the armies engaged this pot of dice could grow up to 12 dice ,thus accelerating activation of troops on the side that were performing well.

The rules for battle were using the Field of Glory :Renaissance rules. There were a few tweaks that were made. The armies were drawn up from the orbats that are dotted around the internet and the maps and dispositions of the forces from the Osprey book. The combatants on each side were about 85K troops and we used a scale of 1 base = 500 troops (with a bit of rounding for flavour).



Each samurai lord would be represented on the battlefield (as a named flag) , mostly where a force was less than 4000 troops that would be a single battle group. I allowed the troops in the battle group to be mixed. So there was a representation of Samurai and Ashigaru spearman and Arquebusiers. The lord would be integral to the BG so it would always benefit from his ‘command’  – but not for the ‘fighting in the front rank bonus’. I also allowed a tweak for the spearmen to ‘protect’ the bow and arquebus in the BG. What that meant really was they there were very few POA in combats , as most troops were the same. It was kept simple to manage the 200+ bases per side that we would have to manage. The only chrome was that the samurai would re-roll the 1’s (being superior). Which just meant keeping those dice a separate colour. It seems to work well enough.

I allowed Arquebus to fire 4” and all the foot moved 3” as a rule.

The brief of the Loyalists started to enact the trap box the rebels in. Secondary was to keep the pass blocked and that Mitsunari would survive.

The brief of the Rebels was to break through the pass, and destroy the loyalist army.


Game 1 with the troops array for battle. The table was a 10′ x 6′ L shape. You can just see Hidemoto on a separate table (behind Simon) making his way across the mountains

We ended up playing this game twice. The first one took just under 2 hours to play.


You can see here that the Hideaki turncoats flags turn yellow with indecision

This was as a result of Pete playing the part of Mitsunari having his command position crumble away in just of over 4 turns. This was a rather unfortunate series of events where a handful of arquebusiers were potting away at some troops behind barricades. This in game terms was 3-4 dice needing 5s to hit, causing a single casualty and then Pete throwing a 1 to lose a base. There was 1/18 chance of this happening each turn. Pete managed this 4 times in a row. This caused quick breaks … this also meant that the Rebels pot of motivation dice green quickly and they activated Hideaki to the the rebel cause quickly.  Mitsunari committed his troops to leave their uphill positions and charge downhill to throw the rebels back over the bamboo barricades , but that simultaneously failed also through atrocious dice.


With the turncoats activated and a breakthrough achieved we called it there as there was no chance that the Loyalists would fight back from this position.

sekigahara5Break through over the barricade to the Mitsunari’s command post complete ! the game is up



After a break for lunch we reset the game an played again.


Teams were reversed and it was a chance for honour to be restored.  The second game played out a lot longer.


Naomasa and his red devils did charge up the hill , but were swiftly routed. This did draw out some of the Hideie’s troops from their uphill positions.  Steve this time in change of Mitsunari held like a stonewall against all that Wayne and Pete could throw at him. This time the arquebus shooting was irrelevant , and the fighting in the pass was fierce. The loyalists has committed all their reserves but they did hold.


This fierce fighting meant the pot of dice for activation did grow quickly and both sides jockeyed for Hideakis’s troops. As most the coloured countered had been removed there was some strategic choice of whether of not to remove the last white counters, as I made them alternate spending the dice based on the phasing team. It got down to the white… but in an imperious turn of combat the Reds received a boatload of dice and convinced Hideaki to join the rebels for a second time that day.  The fighting was fierce and soon all troops were active Ieyasu and Hidemoto had entered the rear of the field.


The end of the loyalist line was beginning to crumble again as the turncoats collapsed the flank. But the centre was holding. The 17000 troops that Hidemoto were just a little to few and a little too late, and it looked like the Reds would carry the day a second time. However, when we called time, and night fell on our Autumnal Japanese battlefield, the loyalist line still held and so a minor victory was awarded the loyalists for holding on in the face of overwhelming odds.

The teams were –

Wasabi peas and 1’s

  • Wayne
  • Lynnette
  • Pete
  • Dene

Rice cakes and 6’s

  • Steve
  • Andy
  • Ian
  • Simon

So congratulations to Steve, Andy, Ian and Simon as the morning rebels slaughtering all in front of them, and then holding on in the afternoon as the loyalists in the face of really overwhelming odds!

a resounding 2-0 !

Thanks all for taking part and entering the spirit in which the game was attended!



Squarebashing 1915 – Third battle of Artois

We finally had our big battle of Squarebashing 1915 just before the anniversary year was out! The battle was a abstracted representation of the Anglo French attack at Third Battle of Artois. In reality that meant just using a normal Squarebashing trench game. There were some game specific rules to account for the large game. There were 8 players.

Paul (Scrivs)
Paul F

Peter (French)
Ray (British)
Richard (British)
Dene (French)

The table was 12’ , divided in to 6’ squares. Each army was 500pts (rather than 620) and could only deploy in a 6 square frontage (rather than 8) , but they could move and fire into the 2 either side of their deployment , thus allowing a potential 10 square frontage. This was to allow some interaction between the forces. As it turned out each section settled down into their respective areas and there wasn’t too much interaction between players.

While the Germans were entrenched with MG bunker, they has some fearful deletions. The trench game doesn’t use the countdown to war, but has a specific set of defender depletions on top of the dice roll. Trench games are always ‘attack in force’ (6d6), and1/3 of infantry need to be off table as reserves. In addition the defenders must damage an additional 2 bases of on table guns and 2 bases of MG. On top of that each full strength unit of infantry after depletions have been made remove a base. So at best all the Germans could only have 3 base units. The only full strength units were those in reserve. The defenders also 1d6 in each of their barrage assets. So while it started looking all rosy for the Germans the line looked remarkably thin after this!


The trench game is direct. The trenches are in row 3 , and the MG bunkers in row 4. With the attacking allies getting the first turn they can (and did) assault the bunkers on turn 1. The defenders also had to raise the onslaught of the allies assets with gas , rolling barrage and point effect all possible.

However the attackers don’t get it all their own way. There is a complete line of rough going across the trench line and to assault the trenches then everyone has to roll to exit the square. This means that 1/3 of any attack is likely to get stuck and not participate. Against MG bunkers its not quite so easy.

The game looking likely it was going to be very bloody, and indeed it was. The allies pressed on quickly before the defending reinforcements could come into play. But the Germans held them back. The French , with a lot of reservists, took a lot of punishment. Pete’s densely packed ranks got by some severe German point effect barrage , and Dene on the other flank looked OK, but then threw some fearfully bad morale dice and had 2 units quit the field (which I don’t recall seeing happen before – that is 3 morale fails and then throw a 5+ to rout)

The British were more stable but didn’t really achieve much either. After the initial onslaught with many of the assets depleted the game bogged down and it looked unlikely that either side would get a major result . On the far left flank Peter threw in the towel after 90 minutes, only to realise that he couldn’t go home earlier so after sitting out for a while continued. I’m not sure that he was role playing a little Gallic temperament , or just following his normally defeatist rout to victory. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. On the right Dene showed savoir faire and did get a breakthrough of some success, capturing a few square of trench and ejecting the Germans , but I think Paul will put that down to ‘bad dice’ 

We played for just under 3 hours , and ran out of time when the countdown clock was on 1 . So we should have had 1 more pair of turns. But game was up. The British has had limited success in the centre capturing 2 bunkers , but with troops in a state unlikely to press the advance. The Germans still had sections that were still in good order so there was no conclusive result there. On the left Pete did have some limited success in the end, but James has cunningly picked his higher command order of assets and seemed to taking full advantage of the re-rolls that it gave him, and the French were taking a pounding.

Dene was the bright light in the attackers story. He did achieve a breakthrough into the trenches. But could not achieve a breakthrough – in games terms – to row 1

As umpire my job was to keep all the sections of the game synchronised in the unusual SB turn sequence. The game moved along OK, we could have done with 1 more hour to conclude to a calculable point, but I think were we left it was obviously heading for a draw, at best a minor victory for the allies. The trench game does have dominate early phase where everyone is at strength and the barrages are flying. If an early advantage is not achieved then that it does dwindle down to limited actions with likelihood of any major success reducing, probably much like the real thing

Thanks to all participants! The Mansfield boys for making their period trip down. Shout out to Richard who have never played before and was drafted in at last minute. He was put right into the centre of the attack and marched his Tommies into the machine gun fire with good grace.

Vorwärts !to 1916!!

WW1 French 1915 Squarebashing – painting diary 1

With a big game of Squarebashing lined up for Christmas~ it comes down to looking at the availability of the figures. The intention is to play a 4 player per side – 16′- of squarebashing. Nominally this will be based on the Anglo/French attacking in the Third Battle of Artois (sept 1915 – close to our 100th anniversary date)

So the British First army (60k) , French Tenth Army (48K) vs German Sixth army (50K).

With the figures available there will have to be some fudging of earlier French dress, so with that I decided to paint up some later war French. With Peter Pig re-sculpting their late war French, and Battlefront releasing their French, the decision wasn’t so clear cut. But in the end I decided on Peter Pig. I knew that they would be clean cast – as I wanted as little prep as possible, and my last experiences with BF figures wasn’t great. It probably cost me more in the end, (accounting for BF deep discounting from online stores) , but at least I go what I want and it would match my other figures.

With Peter Pigs normal speedy delivery the figures had arrived within the week, and I was lining up to prep them for painting. The prep was a dream , on a lot of the figures I actually did nothing. Some have nubs on the bases (likely a vent from the mould) but not too much. On the figure themselves I had to de-flash maybe 10 out of 200+/-


Rather than basing it on any hard research I decided to base the colour palette I would use on the art of Tignous, the political satirist, who died during the Charlie Hebdo shooting. He colobarated on the Art for the game Les Poilus (later The Grizzled).

sweet November


So a rather playful, graphic blue. Rather than a washed out Horizon blue after weeks in the trenches! I was aiming to capture the essence of these illustration with its chalky backdrop and colourful uniforms. It rather suits 15mm which always benefits from a elevation in the colour register to give it that pop.

Prep stage 1 – lolly sticks


All the figures are loosing grouped into like poses and are stuck to hobby/lolly stick with hot glue (gun). This will be a production line !


GW Corax white. Great primer. Slighly off white but not so much that its noticeable. Only one coat needed. I did dust it with Skull white afterwards to get some natural shade. This was probably a mistake as the Skull white is very chalky by comparison and gave too much of a ‘key’ to the surface

Base Coat.


I planned to use a wash colour base, then an ink wash. So sticking to the GW pantheon.


Base colour – Hoeth blue thinned with Lahmian Medium. I have tried most other acrylic mediums/flow improvers out there. But nothing seems to cut it like this stuff. So with a watery mix slap it on. At this stage don’t worry as it will shrink back.


Cut point here is to avoid any unnecessary finger contact with the primed figures. You don’t want greasy finger marks acting as a resist to your paint here.


Wash – Gulliman blue 70%, Nuln Oil 30% … again this is thinning to a 50% wash/50% Lahmian medium.. When the figures are fully dry (best leave overnight slap that on)

Test strip.

So picking up a strip sample ist just a case of face (normal triad) , rifle – just a dark brown, and the packs. All washed with a Army Painter strong tone (brown) ink.. another stalwart in this painters arsenal.


So that’s its just another 30 strips to go!

Lurkio.ware t-shirts for the connoisseur

For  bit of amusement I’ve set up a webstore with some retro wargaming shirts. They are definitely niche geek, so if you don’t know what they mean you probably won’t be interested!  if you do then at this point you might be dewey eyed 🙂

So if you have always wanted a Crimson Bat t-shirt

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or WRG 6th

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or even ‘exorcists with magic daggers’

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then now is your chance


The Great War – WW1

By way of a change we played ‘The Great War’, the Battlefront WW1 FOW version of the rules. Cousin Mark came over and brought his toys to give them a run out. The Great War (GW) is just a simple derivative of FOW. The scenario we played was 1918 trench battle – The Big Push. The two armies were Germans consisting of 2 rifle platoons of infantry with attached MG and anti tank rifles, an HMG platoon and finally 2 A7Vs (5 platoons strength). They were all classed as confident trained. The British consisted of 2 rifle platoon, with MGs attached, and 3 Male tanks. All of whom were rated veteran. The Germans obviously have picked the wrong bit of the trench to attack!


The scenario dictated that the attackers (Germans) had overwhelming force meaning that any lost platoon (either by losses or voluntary removal) would return as fresh reinforcements. Losses accrued in this manner would count towards the company morale. The effect being that losing 3 platoons would mean that company checks would be required.

The battlefield used the Battlefront trench system, which fits exactly the 4’ required for the game. The rest of the battlefield was defined as hard (bulletproof) cover for non-moving infantry.


The game was pretty straight forward. Each Brits platoon occupied its half of the table (it was looking pretty stretched out). The tanks in reserve. The Germans lined up in their half of the table. The deployment rules meaning that the Germans would be 2 moves away (with or without Stormtroooper moves – Vorwärts) . The A7V were limited to a 4” move and would get left behind unless they were ‘pushed’ to get an extra 2” movement (that would require a skill test, with a risk of a roll of 1 being breakdown). They would be useful in support though each toting 4 MGs and a 5.7cm gun.

The game didn’t really have any tactical finesse. There were 2 turns of advancing, firing , pinning and unpinning. The Germans losses were lite because the British couldn’t really muster a massive amount of firepower – having no HMGs in this section. But with a dozen firing dice per platoon hitting on 3s with a 3+ infantry save the Germans were only losing 2 stands per turn. On the right flank the Germans would always pin due to hits , but failed to unpin. ON the left flank again the platoon would always pin but with the 1IC in tow the 4+ with a re-roll meant they would keep going.

2 of the allied tanks arrived very early and there was a tit-for-tat exchange of gunfire between the Landships with little effect.


The main action was on the left flank where the 1st German platoon had reached the trenches having only taken limited damage. Their flamethrower eliminated 1 British stand, all others making it into assault range (the Brits failed to stop the assault with their defence fire being pinned and a poor show on the dice). The close combat in FOW is always bloody , but the British did have quite an edge being classified as ‘trench’ fighters (meaning they needed 2+ pt hit and eliminate a German stand). The Germans needed 4+ for the same result. The Germans going first did have an edge in that respect and killed 3 stands in the first phase. The allied veterans passed their motivation and charged back in, inflicting about the same in return. Both sides kept passing motivation and the number of combatants fell until finally the British were wiped out. The Germans at that point failed their motivation too and also fled the field, leaving the section vacant. However, with the other British platoon engaging the German on the right flank then there was little to stop the ‘overwhelming’ forces reserve platoon from occupying the position and winning the game. The lead to a British tank to heading over that way to camp next to the objective (supply line junction in the trench). At this point an A7V was knocked out and rightmost platoon was 1 stand from needing a platoon check. That would be 3 required for a company check (which would have a 50/50 chance of failure) . This resulted in the right platoon hiding in the shell holes (gaining a bulletproof cover), allowing the brits in the trenches to file across without risk to try to cover both objective (a tall order)


The fresh Germans advanced and clambered in the trenched unopposed, this was short lived as they were driven into by the newly arrived British tank. This resulted in a real stalemate. The Landship rule meant that even if losing an assault the tank does not have to retreat and is not captured. The tanks also has defensive MGs so you have to re-confirmed each hit. So, with only an ATR and half a dozen stands of infantry the Germans had to throw a lot of dice with even a change of damaging the tank. Typically each stand had only a 25% chance of a hit, followed by 18% change of damage.. slim.

We played out a couple of turns of the assault neither side getting an advantage. On the other flank the Germans were held back, they could try to get refresh reinforcements, but that would require a company level morale check. As we had played for a longer time than we had anticipated we called it there with an allied victory (if the Attacker doesn’t capture and objective the Defender wins)


As a review of the game it was OK. It passed the time without any incident. I like games with lots of dice, but this had LOTs of dice to get any sort of result from shooting. Hit on a 4+, Save on a 3+ , destroy on a 6+ typically. 3 dice with small chance of getting an effect. In contrast the assault if very bloody with a single roll with at worst a 50% chance of destroying a stand. For me it was OK enough, but didn’t really much flavour of the period, and you end up working out the odds of success for each attack on an individual basis rather than executing a plan as such. Very much an exercise in micro management. That said lots of people like FOW – and its mechanisms – and I played it fervently for 5-6 years a few years ago, so I can’t complain. Battlefront GW release is great from a pickup point of view. I believe that this game was just the 2 army boxes and the boxed trench system. So with the rules being free? – still .. and easy introduction to this period. Good pick up for the casual WW1 player.

Squarebashing, canal crossing

For our next game of Squarebashing we thought we’d try a canal crossing, this would allow Ray to use his newly acquired BEF. The canal game differs from the normal game in a couple of keys features. There is no countdown to battle, so that speeded things up a little. The table setup differs only that you put a canal traversing the tables (in-between rows 3 & 4) , it doesn’t occupy a square but acts as a barriers between the 2 rows. The defender gets to place the terrain as normal. The game type is always attack in force but with an extra depletion dice. The objective are different in that they are 3 crossing point on the canal. 1 is where the road crosses, and the other 2 are placed by the defender (each being at least 1 column apart) … AFTER the depletions are made. So the attacker gets to see where the weak point is and then placed the crossings there.


You can just see the BEF deployed above the canal here.Only 4 square of the 8 in the line have any occupancy

The plucky BEF only had 10 units of infantry , and after depletions only 5 were left on table, so the line was looking very thin. The defender also only gets to deploy in row 2 (so needs to move to occupy and defence of the canal crossing). So as always the defending position looked decidedly weak.

The Germans have raced forward to cross the canal quickly


With the attacker getting the 1st turn the Germans called for – and received – a suppression barrage. In a game of completely ineffectual artillery , which is very unusual, all but one of the suppression squares deviated. The only one that didn’t deviate didn’t have any enemy troops in. However, thinks weren’t so bad. The barrage fell largely short and into the squares adjacent to the canal. This has the benefit of preventing the British from moving into those squares in the British first turn.

The Germans lurked forward and occupied the canal bank, ready to cross in 2 out of 3 crossing point in the next turn. As the British were pinned and unable to move into the defending bank, things were looking rosy.

The British 1st turn was quite catastrophic. The higher command has been hit (during the prior suppression barrage) and an luck would have it failed to save (1 on a d6) and had retired off table to the reinforcement pool. Ray has picked ‘assets’ as his higher command type (which allows re-rolls on the asset attempts so means you can spend less dice to try to get assets). Being off table in the first turn meant that he didn’t get it. SO , to try and stop the Germans crossing the canal the BEF had to use nearly all of the dice pool to try and get their own suppression barrage. 10 dice were rolled needing a 6 ….. the result was no 6’s Suddenly with the BEF pinned back, and no artillery, there wasn’t anything that could prevent the crossing. Perhaps it would all be over for Christmas and there was talk of an early drink in the pub.

This was taken after all the bonus assaulting tokens were taken off. It looked so good to start!


The Germans second turn started well. They called and received a shock assault asset and rolled for a ‘fighting dice’ higher command. A large assault was massed on the leftmost crossing. This would be decided ‘a la bayonet’. Being that the assault took place one square back from the crossing the BEF didn’t benefit from any of the defended crossing rules. It wasn’t a completely perfect assault as the crossing was a pinch point and stopped other units supporting from the adjacent squares , rear support was also denied as it was on the far side of the canal. However I thought that the assault had a good chance . 3 full units (9 dice), +3 for shock assault , + 2 for fighting dice (-2 for attacking into hasty defences). The defenders had 1 unit (2 dice), 2 artillery (4 dice) and +1 for British firing. For a total of 7 dice. No –one had any supports . 12dice vs 7 dice … With odds like this there could only be 1 outcome. Yes, 2 hits each(after saves) and the British win (defender wins on a draw) .. the attack stalled. Further hits were applied and the BEF awarded the ‘winning the fight’ bonus for subsequent rounds. All of a sudden it would a lot harder to get past here

This was taken in the later turns where the Germans had spread out. However we do have some reservists having to fill in the line here.


On the central crossing as the Germans has less of an advantage they did not assault and crossed the canal and tried to fan out to establish a ‘beachhead’

At this point luck swung violently against the Kaisers boys. Ray rolled 4 6s for this reinforcements, so the majority of the infantry arrived. It should be said that prior to this Ray had rolled 22 successive d6s in various phases and not getting a single 6 (it was one of those were you count up it was so bad) . He chanced his arm on the central crossing and launched 2 assaults where the odds were even. He won both. The fact that the Germans has their backs to the canal was catastrophic . Being unable retired meant to take another 6 hits. So where we’d lost by 1 in the assault (1 casualty) , then there would be another 3 hits followed by another 6 hits (unable to retire). I’ve never seen so many casualties mount up so quickly. There were squares with 6 or 7 casualties in. Then the subsequent morale check was almost a guaranteed failure , which again because they couldn’t retire generated another 6 hits. In Squarebashing a unit can normally take a lot of punishment. Get caught in a position where you a unable to retreat … Well .. there is a lesson to be learnt!


Don’t get caught with your back to a canal

The rightmost crossing had now been reinforced. With a MG and riflemen in a defended position on the crossing that was shut tight.

The Germans on the left flank failed their single dice morale test – so got a no advance. This halted any further crossing their as the square was full occupancy. Things were looking grim now for the Germans and we could have called it there and gone for that early drink. However we played on.

In subsequent turns the Germans were given some slight chances. On the left they did rally and began to spread out on the far side of the canal and reinforce the crossing. However, were they needed a bit of luck none was forthcoming. All point effect barrage failed and therefore as best all further assaults were even , and nothing really happened.

So we timed out before the countdown clock reached the end. However the result was never in doubt. Not quite a massive victory, but a solid one for the BEF – well done Ray and his Brits (for their first outing)

Ray provided all of the terrain, and it all looks rather splendid I’m sure you agree. The carpet tiles from the 70s suddenly have come back in vogue!

The canal crossing game was good and provided some different challenges. The strange dice results we had were probably not indicative of a normal game would be like. After reading the rules I thought it would be tough as the attacker. But at the beginning I would see a route to victory. Squarebashing has this strange sensation where you think you can do a lot , and then when you make contact with the enemy everything bogs down quite quickly. Which is probably about right.

Batman Miniatures game

Batman is a new game to me. It follows the current zeitgeist of low model skirmish type games. The setting is in the DC universe (as you might expect), but tends to follow TVs Gotham and the Arkham video game series than the comic series, certainly in style. It was brought to my attention as its popular at my FLGS, and as that is a 5 minute walk from where I live, it made sense to put a toe in the water. There was a tournament coming up and I thought I’d enter that – as that is usually a good way to get bloodied in the rule mechanics. So I committed to enter and picked a crew to paint up. I painted up Joker, just for no other reason that he took my fancy and the models were in store. The models are 32mm , and fine in detail. As they have a ‘realistic’ proportional style the details are delicate. The castings are ‘average’ with a bit of work required, and they do require a bit of efforgothamt to paint to make them look good.


The game itself it pretty simple, but has solid mechanics with some depth. Its alternate model activation rather than IGOUGO, with a mechanism for first player each round that it not novel but has a reasonable twist. Each turn has a planning phase (make the plan), where each model has action point to plan in to movement , attack , defence or special actions . As each character gets damages their action points go down. So all sensible so far. After the plans have been made then its time to execute them. Each character then spends these points until their activation is complete. Nothing earth shattering here… things like base movement (MC) 10cm, but if you spend a special (SC) then you can sprint double – in a straight line. Combat has either 2 or 3 dice phases to complete. Roll to hit (on opponents defence) , the opponent then can defend (if they have defence counters to spend) , then any hits roll to wound. Damage ie either ‘stun’or ‘lethal’ (blood). A model can take up to their endurance in damage with the sum total of both markers. If they hit their endurance with blood, they are dead. If in stun (or stun /blood combined) then they are KO’d. KO can be recovered from, as can stun damage in a recovery phase.


Each character has a set on individual traits and equipment that gives them flavour. It starts to look a bit like Warmachine as this point where its rules by caveat and exception. But as the model count if just lower its not quite so bad. Each crew is only about 4-12 models. You have a fighting chance of remembering!


The meat of the game, however, is the scenarios. They are objective based, with a few different types, which has some in-game effect and a VP score. So ammo for instance allows you reload your firearms and score you points. The objectives are largely placed on the board where have to plan to move. They are either in or close to your opponents deployment – or in no man’s land. You score objectives each turn (and they score 1-3 each), a KO or Kill scores you 1- 4 points. Given the game is 5-6 turns long there is a possibility of ~12-20 points available to score. To Kill a crew is probably going to net you 12~. You probably need to play for both but you certainly don’t have to concentrate of killing the opposition as the only root to victory.


My brief games at the Titan games event

My Crew was –

  • Joker
  • Deathstroke
  • Master of Ceremonies
  • August
  • Sniggering
  • Triston

So 2 firearm armed clowns , 2 axe armed clowns and Joker to control them. My beatstick being Deathstroke (who is nearly ½ of my army in cost)

Game 1 , Steve with League of Shadows

  • Ra’s al Ghul
  • Deadshot
  • some ninjas.


Only my second game ever (the first being a demo in store). We both were cautious as neither of us were greatly familiar with the rules. We both had a similar plan – grab the closest objective and drag it back closer to the baseline. I had rushed Deathstroke up to try to eliminate 2 ninjas. This had a neat effect in game of concentrating the activation in this section of the board. As I had fewer models I could then spend activations elsewhere to some effect. What it meant is that I always got the drop on Deadshot who was lurking at the back. From his rooftop position sniggering with his AK, peppered Deadshot over 2 turns. Luckily I managed 2 hits (Deadshot get several ‘pings’ and dodges) but 2 solid hits (3 blood each) neutralised him. I was later to realise that this was a vital event as Deadshot being the go to guy. All my opponents taking him


On the other flank Deathstroke was having trouble taking down these Ninjas and had attracted the attention of Ra’s (who is another power piece). So I was ended up being outnumbered. Deathstroke being a martial artist doesn’t count the outnumbering rule (which is pretty catastrophic) BUT I fell into the trap of rather than concentrating on 1 opponent ended up attacking on then the other. Deathstoke has put blood on all of opponent (including Ra’s) but now he was taking blood too. He used his soul armour special to remove blood – but his time was up. Rather than go down fighting he used his acrobat ability to escape the combat, and dash toward the rest of the crew (as he was somewhat isolated) . However, Ra’s caught up with him and delivered the coup de grace. However, in my favourite cinematic moment of the day. Joker you had been camping loot in a building near the back stepped around the corner and pulled his one shot gun. The fact that the combat had moved back 24cm meant that Ra’s was now in range – BOOM> the one shot gun did the trick and Ra’s was done for too. However, being immortal he can’t die so I only gained the KO points. But that wrapped up that game. You totted up the points, and it was an exact draw with 28 points each. I was happy with this start a good game


Game 2 , Leon with Black Mask

Leon’s crew was a hodgepotch of free agents rather than a glut of gangsters. He has

  • Black Mask
  • Deadshot,
  • Catwoman
  • some Blackmask goons (one with a automatic rifle with night sights)

I enjoyed this game and Leon did a great job of explaining the rules and mechanics (thanks Leon). With 2 powerful shooters both with good vantage points I was a loss on what to go. I send Deathstroke round the long way (as he is fast with advance deployment). Leon was worried about this and moved away from that area. Catwoman grabbed a loot counter and batarang’d to a high rooftop and camped there (its great vignettes of action like this make this game special IMHO) Her special ability allows her to get an extra VP each time she score loot. So on the roof he was going to easily get 10 points just from this action (over 5 turns). I had nothing that could easily climb (not thinking about this). So it was unlikely that I would much from this game.



I somewhat sacrificed some clowns running down the road. Deadshot an Mesh(?) with his nightscope has some full tapping those goons. But that did allow Deathstroke to turn the corner , leap a fence (acrobat) and sprint and catch Deadshot in the street. With a snik-swish of katana action Deadshot was somewhat diminished. He staggered back to get away but was low on action (bleeding heavily). 2 Blackmask goons joined the fray. Deadshot was KO’d by Joker (with is remote control teeth?!). But the game timed out. Leon has a solid victory . I did have few points on the board with the Deadshot KO


Game 3 , Martin with Suicide squad

  • Harley
  • Deadshot (seeing a pattern?)
  • Mr Hammer
  • some Harley and joker goons.

Martin was practicing for a big comp next week so was testing out his tournament build. This was game was painful and I should forget. I was a masterclass on not what to do. My ambush ability meant my opponent had to deploy first and he duly split his force into 2 halves. I thought I’d try a rush with Deathstroke into 1 half. Given his advance deploy , acrobat and going first I reckoned I could make it into combat on the first turn. With a sprint and 2 MS (2d6 extra cm) I needed a 9 , scoring a 5 … so ended up short , right under a lamppost ( light! All of the game are in dark Gotham, the only light sources being lampposts ) . Deadshot from his rooftop advantage stepped up and fired. Harley pulled her semi auto and let fly , after taking a lot of blood she stepped up and battered Deathstoke. He was KO’d… However, he did pace his endurance roll to wake from the KO and when into defence mode. So he tried to use his soul armoured to heal 2 blood. But with the loss of action counters it was never going to be enough. Harleys goods with the chainsaw stepped up and finished him in no uncertain manner. Deadshot shot Sniggering (my AK clown) who had climbed to the rooftop to try gain a good vantage. So in 2 turns my crew had been gutted. The rest of the boys ran up but in a hail of automatic fire followed up with brutal close combat it wasn’t even funny. A violating experience, giving me food for thought!


So in conclusion, was it any good? Well I think it was. The game itself has great flavour and character and that goes a long way. The rules seem solid and have multiple options for victory. I would be little wary of the night scope assassin type. Most people seemed to have something like this in their crew. Given a good vantage point they seemed to be able to assassinate a model each turn. Given they have 3-4 shots (ammo) per game you just can’t walk down the street ! So I’ll have to think about that … Its probably not a deal breaker and if you can feed them goons at least they will be occupied while you win elsewhere. I suspect you want quite a high model count to just do a lot in the game (objective wise). So thumbs up from me. If you are a fan of the DC universe and the recent TV spin offs then I’ve say this is worth a go.

I won the best painted crew prize too so, all good for me!



harley deathstroke clowns3 clowns2