Lion Rampant in the Late Roman Era

Well it’s still cold and we’ve had more snow, so I thought some further gaming on the winter terrain was appropriate. I also recently re-read The Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem, so out came some Late Romans and their Goth enemies and over the weekend I played a few solo games using the excellent Lion Rampant rules.

I wanted to try some of the scenarios I hadn’t played before, so picked two 24 point forces and had a few goes of ‘Hammer and Anvil’, and one of ‘The Messenger’. Both require the forces to move a lot to achieve their objectives, which is always a challenge with the unpredictable activation rules in the Rampant series! My house rule is that all leaders have the Commanding trait to gain a re-roll on the first failed activation roll each turn (if the unit is within 12″). This suits me better, but a good plan can still be ruined when things don’t happen for you.

The figures are 15mm and I played at half-scale (ie. 2″ in the rules being 1″ on the table). It worked well on a 4’x3′.

The Hammer and Anvil games proved very tough to win for the side trying to exit the opposite table edge, but I did manage it once out of 3 attempts. I swapped the forces around to give each side a chance to attack and defend.

The Goths managed to get the Messenger through in the last game I played, having had a rough time of it initially.

All the games proved exciting, with some challenging decisions (even playing solo) and lots of incidents. I may just have to play a few more now!

15mm Frostgrave – First Game

After all that scenery making it seemed logical to give 15mm Frostgrave a go. So, we played a 3 player game on a 3’x3′ table, using the basic treasure-grab scenario. We had a Chronomancer, an Illusionist and a Thaumaturge, each with a reasonably typical starting warband.

There were a good variety of figures in use, including lots of adventurers/characters, but also some Orcs and even the odd Lizardman as thugs and thieves.

The table was put together fairly randomly, but with plenty of raised areas, especially towards the middle to create an interesting setting to game over. We placed 2 treasure as centrally as possible, the players then placed more 2 each, and off we went!

We were using a few light house rules, designed to encourage a broad use of spells, keep the focus on treasure and the mission, and provide a greater likelihood of random monsters appearing. Apart from the last, which still only generated a single bear, they seemed to work well and everyone was prioritising their spells and movement over just lots of shooting and fighting (although there was a fair bit of that too!)

Crossbows on the roof – nasty!

Anti-crossbowman fog spell:

Cat and mouse in the old courtyard:

Creeping up to the treasure:

The surprise bear was dealt with very efficiently:

General action shots:

The Chronomancer tries a last spell before legging it:

The game took a good while to get through, but everyone needed time to learn the rules and get used to things. I think there were more than 15 different spells cast in all, which provided a lot of variety to the action. Playing against two opponents was a lot of fun and made things very unpredictable.

For me the most dramatic moment was when the Chronomancer’s apprentice managed to cast Scatter Shot, with my wizard and half my warband in range. Only a few cuts and scratches were suffered, but it was pretty worrying at the time! My archer was able to remove the risk of it happening again with a well-placed arrow.

At the end, honours were pretty even in terms of treasure and experience points. We’ll certainly be playing again with these warbands and we have a bit of gold to spend in the meantime!

Sci-fi Rampant – Sausages With Mustard Scenario

Last weekend Jase and I played one of the scenarios from Lion Rampant, using our 15mm sci-fi stuff. Jase brought his ‘dogmen’  force and I used my mercenaries, which included several new additions since the last game.

The mission is for one side (me, the defender) to protect a number of buildings/features in the centre of the table, while the enemy attempts to destroy them. We chose 36pt forces and played the game length-ways on a 4’x3′ table.

Noble mercenaries hurry towards the threatened facility:

The mortars are not technically necessary as on-table pieces, but are there to look good and represent the indirect fire capability of my advanced spotter team (a unit of Dragon Rampant ‘Scouts’ with a ‘Wizardling’ upgrade that gives them the ability to bring down a bombardment or smoke).

Soon-to-be-gnawed Scouts on the roof:

Mercenary HQ and combat teams:

Despicable dogmen (counting as Bellicose Foot with Armour upgrade) advance, with destruction on their minds:

They even brought some nasty mechs (counting as Elite Foot with ranged fire upgrade in this instance):

My little tank (counting as Heavy Riders with ‘Chariot’ and ‘Venomous’ upgrades) did sterling work taking the fight to the enemy, but was eventually overcome by fire and close assaults:

 

The game played out very well and it was touch and go at the end as to who would come out on top. Two buildings were already burning when I had a final chance to snatch victory by destroying one more unit of attackers, but I just couldn’t manage it. Jase kept his force together very well, and kept them focused on the mission. I managed to lure one or two units of impetuous dogmen away with my jetbikes (‘light riders’) but couldn’t do enough damage overall to force a retreat.

 

 

So, despite a desperate defence, the facility went up in smoke in the end. I’ll have to plan a revenge attack for the next game! Great fun, and we thought it looked good at this scale and size of game, and played very well.

 

 

Landing Pad

Having painted up the sci-fi buildings recently I decided something was still missing – a landing pad. There are one or two MDF models available but I thought I’d make my own instead.

So, a 6″ square piece of cork sheet, some card and a few stick-on bits and pieces, and voila…

It didn’t take very long to make, and will fit in well with my other scenery.

I can see some interesting scenarios being played out, with dramatic arrivals and escapes, and missions requiring the capture or destruction of the pad, etc.

Now I just need something to actually land on it. It’ll be back to the web for that one I think!

15mm Frostgrave Scenery

So, after a year or so of being convinced that making a my own 28mm Frostgrave scenery was just too daunting (and a future storage challenge too far), I’ve gone ahead and done it in 15mm instead!

In the end this made a lot of sense. I’ve already got a pretty good 15mm fantasy collection, both for conventional wargaming and for my dungeon game. This includes characters, monsters and some minor scenery pieces. Now, after a January styrofoam, cork and card blizzard I have produced a 3×3 ft ruined playground for wizards and their warbands to explore and fight over.

It was a lot more fun to do than I expected and I’m happy with the outcome so far. There are some more pieces to do, and most importantly there are new base boards to make. The ones in these pictures are my old winter boards and I’ll be going for something with cobbles in the future. Hopefully February will see all this finished.

I’ve had a solo test game and the 15mm figures certainly help make the whole set-up seem grander and more imposing than I would have been able to achieve in 28mm. Modelling buildings and ruins in this scale is also a lot more forgiving. I’m a basic level modeller and happy to try for a consistent look rather than finely miniaturised architecture.

Some of this scenery can also be used with my dungeon game, and for future plans for a Dark Ages/Middle Earth hybrid skirmish setting – ruins of Rome, Arnor, etc.

I’ll post more pics as I finish new bits, and hopefully some in-game shots soon.

 

 

More Frostgrave Shenanigans

Early January saw the follow-on game over at Simon’s, and a very entertaining clash it was. We played the first scenario from ‘The Hunt for the Golem’ mini-campaign in the Folio book. Fortunately for us the very nasty Granite Golem didn’t actually make an appearance, but that didn’t mean there weren’t a good few casualties…

The table was another visual treat, and great fun to play on.

We’d learned a few things from game 1 in December, and certainly had a better knowledge of the rules this time around. We both focused our wizard and apprentice on attempting to cast spells, to obtain as much experience as possible. Early on we both cast Fog to block the best lines of sight for our respective sharpshooters. There were also successful, and creative, castings of Mind Control, Imp and Transpose which produced some good moments. We both made use of raised Zombies too, with my tame undead Alan (sorry Robbie!) making a useful comeback.

Some of the other highlights included Simon’s archer shooting his own man in the back of the head (he was involved in a fight with 2 of mine, so the odds were he’d hit an enemy…). There was also his Barbarian, my nemesis from game 1, taking on half my warband and doing pretty well, until the 4th wounding blow finally brought the big sod down. He survived the post-game roll though, so unfortunately he’ll be back. There were a few random encounters, which were survived in the main, and plenty of shooting, fighting and general creeping around looking for loot.

I took fewer casualties this time, although a couple will sit out the next game. We both gained 2 more levels, some cash, and a few bits of magic. There’s some levelling up and spending to do before the next game, which is hopefully going to happen soon. More then.

Some More Sci-fi Bits

Around the Christmas break (which was very pleasant, though short) I have managed to finish a few more bits towards my 15mm sci-fi project.

I was given a pair of 4Ground building kits for my birthday, and have managed to get them done within 2 months of receipt – which is good going in my book!

They’re very nice, and come with removable roofs. They were fairly fiddly for someone as impatient a model-maker as me, but nothing was permanently damaged in the assembly. I decided to tie them in a bit to my other sci-fi scenery by touching up the black edging with dark green.

A new scout squad (very old TTG Laserburn figs) is checking them out:

I have also done a few other pieces, including some containers and comms equipment. Here are a couple of recent vehicle additions. A Brigade Models jeep-type thing on the left, and a Ground Zero Games APC on the right.

I’ve painted some more figures too, but the basing isn’t done yet – so no pics.

 

Brigade Models Sci-fi Buildings

To help the Sci-fi Rampant project along I decided to add a few buildings to the scenery collection, as I suspected that just having the troops run about in the woods in the middle of nowhere could get a bit dull.

Brigade Models do some excellent sets, and their Research Base was exactly the sort of thing I was after. With their winter discount running at the moment, it was 15% off too, which was a bonus. I was determined to get cracking on it when it arrived, so that it didn’t just get moved quietly onto the to-do scenery pile in a few weeks when my interest wandered in other directions.

So, after a bit of a clean-up on the bottom of the pieces, and a black undercoat, I gave them a 3-tone dry brush from dark green up to light grey. They look a bit tie-died but work OK on both my green and winter terrain boards reasonably well.

There are some small containers to do, which are included in the set, but otherwise this lot are finished – within a week of ordering, which is pretty good going for me!

A Second Go at Frostgrave

At the weekend Goat Major invited me over for a game of Frostgrave, which we played once before and had a lot of fun with. As it had been a long time since the first game we decided to simply start again, both using pretty much the same warbands as before.

Mine is based around a Necromancer, who has suitably motley followers, including his (when successfully raised) pet Zombie, Alan. GM’s lot are an Arabian looking mob led by an Enchanter on a magic carpet.

The scenery was awesome as before, a complete setting with everything gelling together and making a very challenging landscape to fight over. Lots of obstacles, cover and height changes are important in this game, and allows you to clamber and hide to your heart’s content. Clearly there’s no frost involved here, but the game’s the same whatever the setting. We played the Silent Tower scenario, but I spent most of my time just trying roll above a 5 on the cursed d20.

We took a while to get back to understanding the rules properly, but after a few oversights we had a very entertaining game. Although I managed to get half the treasure off the board, I left 80% casualties behind. Fortunately I made all but one of the post-game survival rolls for them, so it wasn’t all bad. GM made it to the tower to get additional experience points, and if it hadn’t been for his apprentice getting gored to death by a randomly encountered Boar, he’d have won by an even bigger margin.

Despite a fair few casting failures we managed to deploy quite a few spells between us, which of course is what Frostgrave is all about. After the game we rolled up the results of our scavenging and now have a bit of money to spend, and some options to play with. Hopefully we’ll pick this up again in January for some more fun. Thanks GM for the excellent hospitality!

 

 

Some 15mm Sci-Fi Bits

I’m slowly coming back to this ‘period’, and am looking again at using the Dragon Rampant rules to provide a manageable, fun type of game.

While I’ve been pondering the rules, and avoiding painting any actual figures, I have managed to add a few bits of scenery that I was recently given by a generous soul. These will be general items to scatter around, or make part of the scenario as objectives or targets for destruction, etc.

These are MDF kits from Blotz. They’re easy to assemble and easier to paint. I tried to find a colour scheme that would go with both my terrain colours, and I think it’ll do.