Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hittites fall from grace

Literally. From the table, as I was setting up Sassanids for DBA, my elbow clocks the box of Hittites and the hit the floor- wheels and yokes all over the farkin' place. What a disaster, there were tears in my eyes. Lasting until I finally managed to win 2/3 against Mark's spiffy new Arab army.

So, what about you? See today's poll....

Friday, January 29, 2010

DBA question

Given the movement sequence from panel 1 to 2, which is the correct outcome, 3 a or b?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Carthaginians trickle in

My first Carthaginians are just off the bench, I chose an arid theme for basing and with the Numidians I tried to get a sense of their swirling or circling battlefield movements by basing them facing different directions.

There are two elements of jumbos (Hat 1/72 Carthaginian war elephants)

And 4 elements of Numidian light horse (also Hat 1/72)

Next up: some Punic noble cavalry and command.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A bad day for France...

Today Kevin and I playtested the Chevauchee for my second playtest, it was Kevin's first taste of Impetus. I have the map game mechanics worked out after a few queries to the Impetus forum. Kevin drew the English so I played the French.

Kevin's army was gleefully romping across the French countryside,

while Kevin gleefully pillaged the oatmeal cookies.

The French rolled an early epidemic while the English drew reinforcements, so time and attrition were working against the French steadily. Once the two French forces combined I decided to force march onto the English and engage, in hindsight this was a mistake. By force-marching I risked a 50% chance of fighting exhausted (all units at -1 VBU) versus his fresh force. As chance would have it we arrived exhausted, and this meant the battle was pretty one-sided. Note to self: only risk a battle at exhaustion if the opponent is also exhausted.

The Rost-boeufs

Kevin set up a force of mostly longbow behind stakes with a couple of mounted knights on 3 hills behind 3 ploughed fields.

The ill-fated French
I set up a force of foot troops behind crossbow skirmishers and pavise bearing Genoese, supported by artillery and two units of mounted nobles in reserve. I removed two of the ploughed fields (as is the attackers option of moving or removing two terrain pieces) to give my foot troops and clear route to the hills. Kevin then sent his mounted knights around the other flank where eventually we met king versus king.

Kevin's right flank advance, my considerably slower frontal assault in the background.

Kevin lining up his knights to charge my flank.

The clash of kings.

Basically, Kevin's longbow shot the lights out of my Genoese and the artillery at long range. They must have been using sniper scopes, that coupled with my explosive cohesion test-rolling. My foot troops eventually did reach his line but fought mostly to a draw, despite the advantage of higher VBU. I think we killed one bow unit.
French foot knights approach the English line

The view from the rear facing my left and the battle between the kings

Eventually my king fell and the English knights had nothing left to kill. The final tally 15:2, English victory.

I think the -1 VDU due to exhaustion was crushing, my force was too fragile and disintegrated under bowfire. So the blunder on the map was the French undoing. Furthermore, I could have perhaps made better use of the terrain- for example, perhaps I should have moved one of his hills to create some blind areas to shield my advance instead of removing the ploughed fields, or even moved the ploughed fields to protect my flank. The battle was lost before it started, perhaps the way it was at Crecy, Agincourt and Poitiers....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

LOTR for Impetus and upcoming projects

Been quiet at the workbench for the last few days since I have been planning my next project. This will be the Second Punic War in Italy in 1/72 using Impetus. I have just primed the first batch of Carthaginians and ordered a few missing bits (particularly Spanish and Italian allies) to fill it out. Pics will come as this project develops, I am still considering doing Trebia.

Otherwise, I have been playing with an adaptation of Lord of the Rings for Impetus and I'll post my first draft of unit statistics here. The point costs come directly from the Impetus formulae posted on the forum and my interpretation of unit abilities and weaponry is coming from Peter Jackson & Games Workshop. A few of us at the club have sizable LOTR armies using the War of the Ring bases for that game. Since those rules are quite badly broken (nice ideas, insufficient playtesting) we would like to play with our stuff using another ruleset.

I my first incarnation I have tried to stick to core Impetus principles and introduce minimal new stuff (e.g. no magic).

At this moment I was considering the following:

1 unit of 8 WOTR infantry = 1 Impetus base of FP or FL or T foot. The dimensions of a WOTR infantry base are 110mm x 60mm and typical infantry are 120mm x 60mm in Impetus.

We will need to make some kind of bases for scouts/skirmishers, I would think half the depth of a WOTR infantry base (110mm x 30mm) with 4 models.

2 units of 2 WOTR cavalry = 1 Impetus base of CP or CM or CL mounted. The dimensions of a WOTR mounted base are 90mm x 50mm and a cavalry base is 120mm x 80mm in Impetus. Kevin suggested we use 2 bases side by side giving a frontage of 100mm and depth of 90mm for a cavalry unit. I like it.

1 monster on a round base plays as is, it is treated as an elephant E that cannot join a group, but consider that it has 360 facing and allow it to move in a straight line in any direction for each impulse of movement.

Treat as either minor (e.g. Legolas, a ringwraith, captains) or major (Aragorn, Saruman, the witchking). Minor characters are just like regular generals, major characters add 1 VBU to the host unit and are +3 generals.

Other Abilities:

Fear causing: causes disorder in enemy on contact, cannot be charged by disordered troops
Flying: Ignore ZOC, units & terrain when moving.

Here are the army lists, the selection of forces and unit types reflects what Kevin, Mark and I have painted. Comments welcome!

Unit Type M VBU I D VP Points Weapons Notes

Royal Guard CM 10 6 4 A 3 36 ---
Riders CM 10 5 3 B 3 27 Compositebow C
Outriders CL 12 4 1 B 2 27 Compositebow B
Militia FP 5 4 2 C 2 10 ---
Archers T 6 3 0 C 1 11 Compositebow A
Minor hero

1 5
+2 General
Major hero

add 1

3 15
+3 General


Knights CP 8 6 4 B 3 29 --- impetuous
Warriors FP 5 5 2 B 3 19 ---
Rangers FL 8 4 1 A 3 28 Compositebow A
Scouts S 8 3 0 A 1 23 Compositebow B
Bolt thrower Art 5 1 0 B 1 20 ART B
Minor hero

1 5
+2 General
Major hero

add 1

3 15
+3 General


Guard FP 5 6 2 A 3 30 ---
Warriors FP 5 5 2 B 3 19 ---
Archers T 6 3 0 B 2 16 Shortbow A
Rangers FL 8 4 1 A 3 24 javelin
Scouts S 8 3 0 A 1 19 Shortbow B
Bolt thrower Art 5 1 0 B 1 20 ART B
Minor hero

1 10
+2 General
Major hero

add 1

3 30
+3 General


High elf warriors FL 8 5 2 A 3 26 ---
High elf archers FL 8 4 1 A 3 33 Longbow A
Scouts S 8 3 0 A 1 23 Longbow B
Minor hero

1 10
+2 General
Major hero

add 1

3 30
+3 General


Uruk-hai FP 5 5 3 B 3 20 ---
Uruk-hai pike FP 5 5 1 B 3 21 pike
Uruk-hai crossbow T 6 4 1 B 3 24 Crossbow A
Uruk-hai scouts FL 8 4 2 B 3 17 ---
Uruk-hai scouts S 8 3 0 B 1 18 Compositebow B
Orc warband FP 5 4 3 C 2 11 --- impetuous, large units
Orc archers FP 5 3 0 C 1 11 Shortbow A
Warg riders CL 12 4 1 C 2 18 Shortbow B
Orc scouts S 8 2 0 C 1 7 Shortbow B
Minor antihero

1 10
+2 General
Major antihero

add 1

3 30
+3 General


Giant spiders CL 12 4 2 C 2 16 ---
Goblin warband FL 8 3 2 C 2 10 --- impetuous, large units
Goblin archers T 6 3 0 C 1 11 Shortbow A
Goblin scouts S 8 2 0 C 1 7 Shortbow B
Troll E 8 6 5 B 3 33 javelin Fear
Minor antihero

1 10
+2 General
Major antihero

add 1

3 30
+3 General


Army of the Dead FL 8 5 2 A 3 26 --- Fear, flight
Riders of the Dead CL 12 5 3 A 3 31 --- Fear, flight
Orc warband FP 5 4 3 C 2 11 --- impetuous, large units
Orc archers FP 5 3 0 C 1 11 Shortbow A
Orc scouts S 8 2 0 C 1 7 Shortbow B
Gulavhar E 12 7 5 A 3 46 --- Fear, flight
Buhrdur E 8 7 5 A 3 45 javelin Fear
Minor antihero

1 10
+2 General
Major antihero

add 1

3 30
+3 General

Monday, January 18, 2010

Here are a few pics of the Celts as promised. I must say that I really enjoyed this project and I am looking forward to getting these fellas on the table. WF are tops, you can quibble about details but they are bloody good value and there are infinite ways to put them together. Plus Tony is a top bloke, and the rate of improvement and expansion of WF products is pretty amazing.

The boys are back! (2.5 boxes WF German, 1 box WF Celts, transfers by VVV)

Giddayup! (1 box WF Celtic cavalry)

Fetch? (Warlord hounds and handler)

Oh deer! (Babastus the Druid)

Yee-haa! (2 boxes Celtic chariots)

I have similar numbers of Romans done, ready to go except for the movement trays now.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Next Project:: Punic Wars for Impetus

Today I finished the last 10 Celts for my Caesar in Britain project. I have ordered some shield transfers from VVV and will post up pics later this week when they have been applied. I also still need to make movement trays to be officially complete, but that can wait. I have enough painted for 300 point Impetus armies for both Rome and Britain, including chariots, cavalry, artillery and a variety of auxilia. The could also make up smallish WAB armies of about 1500 points.

So what next? I have a half dozen bases of livestock (highland cattle, aka "heilan' coos") to do for the next WAB campaign game with Scott. These will be a hoot. But for my next step towards the paint out I think I will tackle the Punic Wars in 1/72 for Impetus. I have enough bits to do ~500pt Carthaginian and Roman armies. I have the battle of Trebia in mind (Romans crushed in a double envelopment, very much foreshadowing Cannae).

The Carthaginians will be:
40 pts:Hannibal (gifted commander in chief)
30 pts:Mago (expert 2IC)
20 pts: Good command structure
23 pts: Punic CM
38 pts: (2) Gaul CM
92 pts: (4) Numidian CL
44 pts: (2) FP Libyans
57 pts: (3) FL Scutari
60 pts: (4) FL Gauls
60 pts: (5) S Caetrati, Numidians, Balearics
34 pts: (2) Elephants

The Gauls are painted, the rest are not. But the number of figs isn't huge since there are quite a few stands of mounted and skirmishers.

The Roman Army will be
20 pts: Fair CiC
20 pts: Fair 2iC
20 pts: Good command structure
57 pts: (3) CM
392 pts: (4) legions each with (3) FP (Principes, Hastati and Triarus) and (1) S (Velites)

All of the Roman foot are already painted, I just need to do the mounted and command, plus everything will have to be rebased. They are currently on shitty 40mm homemade bases.

So, that should take 6 weeks or so? Hard to tell, 1/72 goes fast though.

Chevauchee playtest

Bob came over and we playtested the Chevauchee game this morning (pics here: We tried the map metagame twice using different movement and engagement mechanics, which didn't matter as it turned out. But the outcomes were quite different, the first time around I rolled lots of doubles and got clobbered by random attrition events, the second time around neither of us rolled any doubles at all and I (the French) eventually forced a battle between our full strength forces. To make a long story short, Bob rolled dreadfully and I was able to get my knights onto his knights instead of stakes and the rost boeufs were vanquished.

This was our first time playing full Impetus, and I thought it was very good. There are some interesting mechanics that are beyond the basic version (units can go on opportunity, command-control-discipline become very important, dynamic ZOCs, lots of other goodies) that are actually quite well integrated. It is both detailed and playable inside 2h, plus the nice little map campaign in this scenario is very good. Gotta say, Lorenzo has produced a top-notch product that is worth every penny. The dog's bollocks, as they say in Blighty. Anybody looking for a barely used copy of FoG?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Asiatic Greeks to retire

Played 2 games of DBA against Mark last night, my Asiatic Greeks versus the dreaded Thracians. This time I pledged to retire the Greeks when they lost their next game.

After carefully counting Mark's elements, we played the first game with Greeks as defenders. This gave me open terrain and a littoral landing. The Greeks should top Thracians in open terrain, and had the hoplite line grinding forward for most of the game, but couldn't get kills. I thought this should have been over early, but it ended up a close win 4-3.

Second game put the Thracians on defence and Mark covered the board with bad going. This is pretty hopeless for a hoplite army since they are outfought and outmanoevered by auxilia in bad going. I tried to hold a valley on my right with 4 elements and run a march column down the left to enlilade and take his camp. Early in game Mark blundered his general into an open position in the middle of the board (taking a page from my book) and gave me a chance to close the door on him 4-2 and snatch an early win, but wouldn't you know - I rolled a 1 to his 4 and lost an element in the recoil. Bloody hell! He rolled the rest of the holding force up in the next couple of turns and the hoplites have to go into storage for a while. Along with those miserable dice....

As much as I love the way hoplite armies look, they are pretty hopeless fighting in bad going, they are slow and they lack any quick kill capability. It is an uphill world for them. I think I'll play Hittites or Sassanids for a while for a change.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

HYW armies complete

Today I finished off my 1/72 HYW armies with the painting of 6 mounted crossbow from Zvezda. These are double-sized Basic Impetus armies based on 12cm frontage. I will be using them for a mini-campaign "The Chevauchee" for Impetus this weekend. These particular elements are light cavalry with crossbow (2 x CL), very useful for screening knights from bowfire or flanking.

I'll post up pics of the other elements since I am so fond of these armies. The models are Zvezda and Italeri 1/72. The Zvezda stuff is simply superb, I don't do it justice.

Here we have the French mounted nobles or men-at-arms (3x CP), these guys of course are the core of the army. Vulnerable to bow, but rock hard:

Three elements of dismounted nobles or men-at-arms (3x FP), less vulnerable to the longbow and still pretty hard, but s l o w :

Heavy foot, likely Scots (2x FP), not as hard (oi?) but still s l o w :

Mercenary Genoese crossbow missile units (2x T), good missle troops and too valuable as good shooters to be in the meatshield:

French crossbow and handgunner skirmishers (5x S) which serve as the meat shield. These guys are essential, they can take pavises:

Finally, light and heavy artillery (2 x ART), I have never tried these, it will be interesting to see how they fare. They at least give the French something to shoot back with at long range:

That's about 400 points worth of troops in terms of Impetus. The period is meant to be early HYW, so no Joan and peasant elements (yet).

Facing them are the rost-boeufs, starting with mounted nobles and men-at-arms featuring a very nice model of the Black Prince (3x CP) they are not as hard as the French, pricey but useful for counterattacking and would crush any French foot:

Nobles and men-at-arms dismounted (3x FP), I would be more likely to deploy them this way and intersperse them with the bow for local counterattacks on worn French knights:

Welsh foot (2x FL) and retinue billmen (2x FP), similar role as the dismounted heavies but a bit cheaper, the Welsh are potentially very useful since they are quick light foot with long spears:

And of course, a shitload of nasty longbow (8x T), these guys are deadly, especially to mounted if deployed behind stakes:

The HYW is one of my favourite periods, the French were silly, stubborn and impetuous and the English were complete bastards. Bad time to be a French peasant (when was it a good time?). But I like the mix of troop types and it lends itself well to campaign settings.

I will be playtesting with Bob this weekend, I predict the French will have a hard time of it because their army starts the game separated, but if they can combine and pin down the boeufs early then it could go their way, provided of course their heavy elements make it across the field intact under the storm of arrows.

Next up: DBA with Mark (again) ... I'll be watching the cheeky monkey and his extra elements ...