Frostgrave in 15mm – A 3 Player Brawl

What better thing to do the night before Partizan than stay up late playing Frostgrave! Andy and Jase were staying over and we had a blast with a very entertaining and slightly chaotic 3 player game.

I think we had a Summoner, an Enchanter and a Chronomancer, but I could be wrong. Andy brought some of his recently painted (and very nice) figures, and we set to in a generic grab-the-treasure and generally-screw-the-opposition scenario.

The table:

We played with a few preferred house rules borrowed from the wider Frostgrave player community (such as random encounters occurring on a 14+ when a treasure is first picked up). Somehow this resulted in a very enjoyable series of monsters appearing behind Andy’s warband! It was certainly a baptism of fire in his first game – a Giant Worm, a Bear and several Rats all decided they needed to pick on Andy. Me sending a summoned Greater demon towards him (his Barbarian was getting too close for comfort and, well, it seemed like a fun thing to do), and generally flinging Imps around the table was my contribution to the chaos. Jase concentrated on nicking most of the treasure and dishing out whatever punishment he could whenever he got the chance.

Some in-game pics:

Lots of spells were cast, and nearly as many were mis-cast, causing a lot of injuries to wizards and apprentices. In the end everyone survived with modest casualties and got hold of some loot.

Hopefully we’ll get a chance to have a re-match with these warbands at some point in the future. It was great fun –  we wouldn’t have got to bed so late if we hadn’t spent so much time laughing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Defence of Arnor – A Dragon Rampant mini-campaign

I’ve finally started my Middle Earth campaign, which will be an on-going series of linked games set in the mid-Third Age. The background is the fight for survival of the declining kingdom of Arnor, or rather its one remaining splinter state, Arthedain, against the Witch King of Angmar and his allies.

The idea is to play games of Dragon Rampant (with a few minor scene-setting tweeks), both solo and 2-player. There’s no campaign map or ordering troops around, just battles and minor book-keeping to record who the faction leaders are and how they’re progressing (or not).

The objectives are to have fun and get a bit of immersion in Tolkein’s world. Arnor in the T.A. 1650s offers lots of scope for different forces, alliances and troop types, so I can free-form things in whichever direction I choose to go.

 

Lord Finaroth gallops out to turn back a border incursion by Rhudaurim raiders. Despite his heroic efforts he was slain by an arrow in the second game, giving his enemy some useful victory points.

No orcs or other nasties on the table yet, just men in a classic good vs evil confrontation.

 

Helgmar, a Rhuadar Chieftain, leads his savage hearthguard on a raid. His unit has routed in both the first 2 games, costing him victory points and loss of face, but unlike his initial opponent, at least he’s still alive.

Figures are from various 15mm Dark Ages and Late Roman era armies. I have plenty of fantasy figures to introduce over time, and am working on some Arnor royal troops for when these initial minor border clashes turn into something more serious.

The Chronicle so far:

# Scenario & Location Arnor Angmar
1 ‘Take them head-on’

March Lord aims to stop a Rhudaur incursion on the border

Ruins of Caer Molir watchtower

Lord Finorath (Might 10, Aggressive)

Attacker. +6 Might

Helgmar (Might 10, Energetic)

Defender. +0, Might, routed

2 ‘No Quarter’

Rhudaur chieftain seeks to restore his reputation by killing his adversary

The Weather Hills north of Amon Sul

Lord Finorath (Might 16, Aggressive)

Defender. Slain by an arrow. +1 Hero

Helgmar (Might 10, Energetic)

Attacker. +3 Might, routed. +1 Standard bearer

3

next

‘Ride Now’

With Finorath’s force destroyed, a nearby border patrol is outflanked and attempts to retreat

The Weather Hills north of Amon Sul

Ealdorman Branost (Might 10, Proud) Helgmar (Might 13, Energetic)

 

Bold – won scenario, otherwise drawn

Mollwitz in 6mm – part 2

The game played out much like the actual battle. The Austrians held tight except for the inevitable big charge by their left wing cavalry. The Prussians drove forward with their infantry but then paused to see how their right flank fared. Although the Prussian cavalry, and eventually the interspersed grenadiers too, were swept away, they held for just long enough for the right-hand infantry brigades to re-deploy and shore up the exposed flank.

The Prussian infantry then went forward to engage the Austrian battalions. Their superior musketry and discipline was soon showing, and the Austrian infantry began to suffer.

Although still a force to be reckoned with the Austrian left wing cavalry was going to be tied up dealing with the reforming Prussians, and sorting themselves out again in time to intervene in the centre was looking unlikely. This was made tougher by having poor old General Romer lying dead on the field, along with one of his brigade commanders.

The Prussian left wing cavalry flirted with their opponents across the rough ground around the stream, and did at least draw off a few Austrians who were sent to block the flank. Fighting was minimal though and neither side tried to escalate things into a major engagement.

Within 3 turns the Austrian centre was overcome by the Prussian’s devastating firepower. Their commander, General Neipperg, was shot from his horse and most of the battalions had retreated in confusion into Mollwitz. It was clear that it wasn’t going to be possible to reform them, and with the Prussians taking precautions against any final desperate attack by the victorious Austrian cavalry, the battle was effectively over.

The Austrian cavalry and the remains of its left wing infantry would be sufficient to cover a general withdrawal. The Prussians were in reasonable condition, but a long march through the snow followed by some fierce fighting, meant that there would be no vigorous pursuit. Frederick, who hadn’t actually fled the field this time, was satisfied enough with the first test of his new army, and was happy to let the beaten enemy go.

The game took about an hour and a half to play, same as it took to set it up. The fairly historical result was good to see, but I think I’d have enjoyed it regardless. The armies have taken a lot of effort to get to this stage (and there are still plenty more to do) so half the pleasure is just to get them on the table. Hopefully I’ll play some more games with them soon. I suppose I could work my way through Frederick’s battles in order – at least they start relatively small. Maybe it’ll be Chotusitz next!

Mollwitz in 6mm

This weekend I played a solo refight of Frederick the Great’s first battle, Mollwitz 1741, in 6mm. The rules were my Seven Years War variant of the Realtime Wargames set, Trapped Like a Fox, which has relatively simple mechanisms and is played on a grid.

Although a little short of space (the Austrians lacked the room for their cavalry to swing wide of the Prussian right wing) I was able to represent the full orders of battle. The armies were deployed ready to clash, as I didn’t feel the need to play out the Prussians’ slow march through the snow from their distant original deployment.

View from behind the Prussian infantry, looking towards Mollwitz and the Austrian infantry drawn up in front of it:

The Austrian view in return:

The powerful Austrian left wing cavalry, under the ill-fated (in both the real battle and the game) General Romer:

Some more pics of the Austrians:

I tried to reflect the various troop qualities, with the Prussians having by far the better infantry, and the Austrians the better cavalry. There were a decent number of generals and sub-commanders on each side. Well, at least at the start.

In game terms the options available to the two sides were basically what they were for the real commanders. The Austrians need to make their superior cavalry count on their left flank, their best chance of victory being to drive off the meagre Prussian cavalry and roll up the infantry. The Prussians need to hold off the enemy cavalry long enough for their excellent infantry to march up and crush their Austrian counterparts. For both armies the stream and rough/boggy ground made the other flank an unlikely place for any decisive action.

Oh yes, a pic of the battlefield before everyone turned up:

That’s the preamble, the next post will cover the game itself.

Ayton Event 2019 – A VBCW Naval Force

As in previous years, the LAW forum get-together in Ayton took place over the May bank holiday weekend.

There were several games on the 2 days, with the biggest one being a Very British Civil War game on a grand scale. I’ll post about the games separately, but thought I’d put a picture up to show the force I took along.

This was a naval contingent from HMS Scarborough, just back from the Indian station and aiming to help restore a bit of order in this part of Yorkshire.

Half the figures are actually colonial sailors (including Gatling gun) I already had. Although a bit anachronistic this gave me a decent starting point as, despite being really up for the games/setting, I didn’t really want a major VBCW painting project. So, I picked up a box of Warlord Games naval party and a few packs from Empress Miniatures and added these into my force. They were nice to paint and helped bridge the gap to the pre-war period.

To motorise some of the units I added a couple of Warbases MDF vehicles, which were a bit fiddly to assemble but ended up looking OK. Goat Major also kindly donated a couple of diecast lorries which got an armour plating and paint make-over. In honour of 2 of the navy’s most powerful battleships of the time, they were duly named Nelson and Rodney.

This made up a relatively standard platoon-sized force for the VBCW rules we used: ‘Went the Day Well?’ It comprised an HQ section including standard bearer, 3 sections of infantry (sailors), an HMG support weapon and a special section of Royal Marines (in helmets).

Finally, I contributed a whole 1 civilian to the table, Miss Marple herself.

Pics of the games and terrain to follow. Naturally it was an excellent weekend all-round!

Finally Some Gaming

A recent house move has disrupted projects, painting and gaming plans, but it’s all been worth it. The new games room is mostly sorted, and last weekend Jase and I managed to fit in a couple of co-op games of Rangers of Shadow Deep and a game of Sci-Fi Rampant. Everything was in 15mm.

Rangers scenario 1 – we did pretty well with our shiny new Rangers and their companions, bar the odd guardsman being taken out by a rabid rat.

Sci-Fi Rampant (which is Dragon Rampant played straight from the book, but with a lot of thought going into the representation of the troop types we want to use) was great fun as always. It presents a very different tactical challenge when both sides have a lot of shooty units. It was a close game but on this occasion the force with armour upgrades won the day.

Now I need to get some painting done, as there hasn’t been any since January and there are deadlines looming!

 

 

Rumble in the Jungle – Sci-Fi Rampant

Ever since I finished my jungle bases for the big colonial game in September, they’ve been languishing in the box. So I decided that the last games of the year would involve getting them back on the table, along with my  as-yet unused cloth from Big Red Bat. With some 15mm sci-fi currently on the painting board, I thought a couple of games with the existing forces, using the Dragon Rampant rules as usual, would provide some extra motivation.

I set up a small battlefield of about 3′ x 3′, with plenty of trees and some buildings to block line of sight, and a landing pad in the middle.

 

I borrowed the Prisoner Rescue scenario from Pikeman’s Lament, placing a captured Alliance officer on the landing pad (perhaps awaiting collection by air?) and 12 points of Mercenaries to guard him. The other 12 points worth would be able to come to their mates’ assistance from turn 2 onwards, subject to a successful movement activation.

 

Although I’m using 15mm figures, all movement and shooting measurements are as per the standard (28mm) game, to enhance the sense of speed/action and to provide respectable ranged fire. I have ditched the original game’s activation rule whereby the first unit to fail ends a side’s turn, and gone with the current Mersey thinking (especially for periods involving professional troops) where each unit gets a chance to activate each turn regardless of other units failing. Much better, and still provides plenty of tension and unpredictable events.

The game was fast moving, and demonstrated how you need a decent scenario and objective to ensure an interesting game. Otherwise, with a lot of units on the table having a shooting capability, it’s easy for everyone to just hunker down and use their activation to take a pot shot at the nearest enemy (which is about as much fun as watching paint dry).

After lots of dashing about, and a few close assaults that very nearly saw the prisoner rescued, the defenders just about held on and caused the required 50% (points worth of) losses on the Alliance attackers.  Very entertaining all-round.

The second game used a similar set-up, but this time the sides were reversed and increased to 36 points each. With all the available upgrades it’s easy to get to this points total within about 6 units, so doesn’t make for a particularly large game. The objective was for the attacking Mercenaries to destroy the generator in the middle of the table, which required a unit to set a demolition charge (by making a successful 7+ activation when adjacent to it) that would explode after the unit’s following activation. Easier said than done in the face of a tooled-up defender!

Defenders in position:

 

The attackers start to move forward:

 

Scouts sneak around on the flank:

 

Mechs block the way, and get into position for some heavy-on-heavy action:

 

A smokescreen obscures the defender’s fire as the attackers close in:

 

Losses begin to build up:

 

The action in full-flow:

 

Heavy weapons squad moves into firing position:

 

The Mercenaries’ fast scoutbike unit made a late dash to the generator, was sent packing by heavy fire, but returned to try again. Successfully managing to set the explosive charge, but now down to its last figure, it was able to hightail it out and score a close-fought victory for the Mercenaries.

 

Thoroughly enjoyable gaming, and a nice way to end the hobby year.

I just need to get my next force painted now, but have done a few vehicles and a test figure:

Happy New Year to all! I’ll be aiming to post more often in 2019.

 

Rangers of Shadow Deep – First Go

I’ve had some fun today with Joe McCullough’s new game. It uses the Frostgrave mechanisms so it’s been pretty easy picking them up (despite the lack of a QRS or playsheet…!)

I’ve got a lot of 15mm fantasy stuff – scenery and figures, but it’s still been a challenge putting the scenario settings together. Actually it’s a nice departure from the norm, and the scenarios themselves are very varied and challenging.

I created my Ranger, Vantaniri, and recruited a few companions (one each of Rogue, Tracker, Archer, Guardsman, plus Fido the Warhound). The first mission saw the Warhound slaughtered by a giant rat, while the rest of the team kicked evil ass pretty well.

Nasty giant spiders got Fido II in the 2nd scenario, while Vantaniri and the boys torched the spider nests, etc.  Everything was going swimmingly, although the good die rolls couldn’t last forever.

Here he comes, bounding and panting with doggy enthusiasm. Oh dear.

The next mission, which I’ve not yet finished, is proving very tough. Getting past some Gnoll bridge guards involved a combination of sneaking, swimming and getting chopped up pretty badly. Luckily everyone made it through, thanks to the recovery rolls, but we were carrying some residual injuries going into the tower that’s the main mission objective.

There’s time pressure once in the tower, with a turn limit for crossing each of the initial (very large) rooms. Leaving a man down in each of the first 2 rooms, it’s a slightly beat-up team trying to make it through to the end game. Will it be enough?

I’ll be finding out post-turkey 🙂

More Alien Hunting

Over the last couple of weeks, including a pretty intense gaming weekend, our S.A.N.C.H.E.Z Alien game has seen a lot of action. A couple of new squads have set out on their (if they survive) 10-mission tours of duty, drawing tough assignments, kicking Alien ass, and receiving some much-needed enhancements.

There have been plenty of near-death experiences and nervy moments, and the games have provided a lot of fun. Some rules clarifications and simplifications have been applied and we’re pretty much there now with a finished game. The last addition was to include elevators, presenting a rather daunting challenge when you have to divide your squad to change floors in 2 groups!

All the playing bits and pieces are done too, although I do fancy painting up a couple more squads with different types of figures.

A bit of atmos:

 

Something nasty always seems to turn up just when you’re trying to activate a Tech point:

 

A smaller, early-tour, game underway:

 

What not to roll when you’re about to be mobbed (oh, and don’t stand in front of the flamethrower guy):

 

What definitely not to roll when you’re the rearguard and have a flamethrower:

 

Newly-added giant space radiators, courtesy of Jase:

 

This project has got me back to my 15mm Sci-fi generally, so I’ve been assembling some GZG vehicles for my next force for Sci-fi Rampant. Hopefully I can get something finished over the next few days/weeks.

 

 

 

Rorke’s Drift Refight

This weekend half a dozen LAW members were royally hosted by Gary in darkest East Anglia, who presented us with a tremendous 28mm Rorke’s Drift game. Aside from some additional Zulus painted up and brought by Jeremy, Gary provided all the figures and terrain, as well as an excellently run scenario using the Black Powder 2 rules. The table was 10 x 6 feet and looked superb.

The starting set-up:

Four of us played the British, and I drew Lt Chard. We looked at the lengthy perimeter and the few redcoats, and weren’t sure we could hold. The scenario had plenty of characterisation and some excellent special rules that were designed to follow some of the key events of the film, rather than just the historical battle itself. This made it a very engaging experience, and excerpts from the movie soundtrack provided some extra atmosphere too. Gary has walked the battlefield, and is very knowledgeable about the Zulu Wars, so there was no shortage of genuine background and information either.

The game seemed well balanced, and although the British certainly had the advantage in shooting and in the first round of melees, the Zulus had the opportunity in the wargame to hit us from several sides at once, which they didn’t really do in the actual battle.

Every newly arriving unit, and every charge, was a tense affair. In the end we just held on, despite losing the same number of men as they actually did on the day (17), with some desperate fighting and lots of heroic defending. We managed to defeat just enough of the Zulu force to send them packing and everyone agreed it was a brilliant day’s gaming. Thanks to Gary for everything, and it was great to see the guys and share a meal and some beers afterwards.

Hopefully the pictures give a decent impression of how intimidating 600+ Zulus look!