This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.
Sunday 10th Febuary 2019 - Piquet: Hill Line Defence
Ten to fifteen years or so ago Piquet was a set of rules that we played on pretty much a weekly basis for many years, at that time we were the European distributors for Piquet and there was an active Piquet gaming community where I lived at the time, in Ilkley. Piquet was written by Bob Jones and contains a lot of features that really appealed to me. The rules use a card activation deck which can be different for each force to model the armies characteristics as a pose to units characteristics. Each unit in the army is rated using a D20 roll to determine how 'ip for it' they are on the day of the battle. This means that you can have a unit of elite or guard troops that you would expect to perform better than line or militia troops, but on the day they are 'Battle Weary', maybe they were involved in a hard fought action the previous day, so the perform less well than expected.
The scenario choosen was a reinforcments in depth scenario from the old Wargames Research Group book of 52 scenarios, one for each week of the year. This is an excellent little book and it is a great shame that it is no longer in print. The defensive position is based on two hills that cross the table at a 45 degree angle. A road passes through a valley between them and continues to past a village to cross a river in the distance.
I was joined by Chris Kirby and Paolo Di Cittaspina who commanded the British and Doug Wright who joined me to command the French.
The French divided there main force between the two hills with a 'thin white line' of infantry, a supporting artillery battery on the far hill and a couple of regiments of horse in reserve. In Piquet hills can either be 'Type 2' gentle slopes or 'Type 3' steep slopes. I decided to classify these as steep 'Type 3' hills, which was a mistake as it made assaulting them far to difficult a proposition.
The British split their forces, Paolo commanding the left and Chris the right. As soon as the British Infantry advanced into long range round shot range, the French gunners opened up and found there mark. Unfortunately for Paolo one of those early shots struck his Brigade commander. In Piquet when the officer check card is revealed you need to check for command casualties by rolling over the number of successful shooting attacks since the last officer check card, in this case one, which is exactly what was uppermost on the D20 when it stopped rolling! Latter in the turn a regimental commander was promoted to Brigade commander, but when he was rolled up it appeared that he was 'Abysmal' so the Commanding General relived him of command and took over the Brigade himself.
On the British right, the infantry advance to assault the hill.
As we had classified the hill as 'Type 3' we needed to wait for the elusive 'Infantry / Cavalry move in difficult' card to appear to redeploy our reserve cavalry down into the valley.
After a fierce infantry fire fight, the British launch a cavalry charge against the French gun position. The French expected to stop them in there tracks with a devistating volley of cannister, who ever due to a blunder with the positioning of the caisson this did not happen and in an instant the horses were upon the gun lines cutting the French gunners down to a man.
An impressive sight. The French reinforcements advance in road column to the sound of the guns. However, due to a misjudgement on my part regarding the length of my wargames table (12') compared to the map in the book, they were never going to reach the battle in time.
After several hours of fierce fighting, the British had cleared the French from right hand hill (at significant cost), but the French still held the left hand hill. We decided that with this feature held, the main army could bypass the other hill so awarded the British a marginal victory.
It had been a long time since I last played Piquet. I really enjoyed it and re-learnt quite a few lessons about scenario design for Piquet which will hopefully feed into even better games in the coming months.
All of the buildings on the table were 3D printed from the French Farm set from Printable Scenery.
This is a model of a fantasy style 28mm Coaching Inn that I have 3D printed and painted from a design by Printable Scenery. Printable Scenery are a New Zealand based company that produce some excellent 3D design files for fantasy, historical and Sci-Fi buildings. As they are digital designs the buildings can be rescaled by the customer and printed out to suit any figure scale. I have rescaled some of these buildings to print at 10mm (Warmaster) scale as well. I do all of my 3D printing using a material called PLA, this is a corn based product that does not produce a smell when being used and is very economical. PLA costs between £14 - £20 per kilogram spool, this model weighs around 600g so would have cost £8.40 in material to print. 3D printing is a very slow process. The coaching Inn took over 30 hours to print, spread over a week, but I think the results are definately worth the wait, and in truth even at this speed my 3D printer can print terrain far quicker than I have time to assemble and paint.
This is the front view of the Inn. The Inn consists of a main Inn area, a side annex and a row of open stabling with a thatched roof.
The back of the Inn features a lean to wood shed, an overhanging first floor bay window and a nice run of dormer windows.
I was very pleased with the kit and the way that it has painted up and would rate the design as 9 out of 10. There were three small areas that I felt could be improved on the design. These are the inclusion on an Inn sign, staircase and front door to main Inn building.
The kit is designed to be assembled as three layers. Here we can see what it looks like with the roof removed. As there was not an opening in the floor for a staircase to the ground, I have added a wooden trapdoor to represent where the stairs exit.
This is a view of the ground floor. Very nice floorboard detailing. As the kit did not include a staircase, I found a free standing design from another kit, measured the height of the ground floor wall and rescaled the design to fit correctly and glued it in place with superglue.
The Inn sign was also made from wood, with a hanging sign based on an image of a real Inn sign from the Internet.
This is a lovely kit, great for skirmish action. I have already got plans for using it as the centre piece in a Burrows and Badgers scenario and with a different Inn sign ast the Prancing Pony for a Lord of the Rings scenario.
Last week I got my paint brush busy on some new conversions to use in the Burrows & Badgers campaign that Ann and I are playing. We've only had one game so far, but it was a lot of fun and I ended up capturing one of Rufus' Roughcoats, a 'not so cunning Fox called Centus. I'm figuring that with the loot from the battle plus the ransom money, I might be able to recruit another critter to my warband. WIth this batch of painting and converting I wanted to include some good cheap troops together with a couple of weapons that I have not got represented in my collection yet, such at the 'Caliver' (basically an early musket) and the crossbow.
I've also painted a rather nice coaching Inn, 'The One Eyed Rat' (named after a great little pub in Ripon). This is a piece of 3D printed terrain, which is going to form the center piece of our next Burrows and Badgers encounter.
Orlando the Otter started life as a Wargames Foundry metal casting, I think he was a free promotional model at one time. I found a couple of copies in my bits box so decided to convert one into an Otter using a 'Otter in Conical Helm Critter Conversion Kit.
I've just costed Melwarda as a basic soldier with a hand weapon, but I think that she could be destined for greater things, maybe serving as a magic user when funds allow it. She started life as a metal Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago Vine Warden, before being transformed with a bare headed cat critter conversion kit.
Jerimah is also earmarked to be a mage at some point. He is a Frostgrave Beast Master Mage, so already anthropomorphic. The only conversion here was to add a tail from a cat conversion pack. ALbedo miniatures have a socket for accepting a tail component. When I'm doing a converion though, I always drill a small hole where the tail is going to join with my Dremmel craft drill.
Heather is the first of a batch of female miniatures that I have made by converting the miniatures in the excellent Frostgrave Female Soldiers box set.
This week Doug and I have started sorting out our participation game for this years Hammerhead show at Newark SHowground on 2nd March, which is played using Albedo Combat Patrol
The situation on the ground is that ILR Planetary Invasion forces have landed on and around major population centers on Coralaus Prime. ConFed Coralaus Homeguard forces were pushed back after intense firefights.
Over subsequent weeks the ILR consolidated there positions, digging in (bunnies are good at that), around strategic sites, such as the Government buildings and media hub featured in our counterattack game, which sees elements of an Extra Planatary Defence Force (EDF) Mech Company, landed outside engagement range via Aerodynes moving forward in a deliberate assault to recapture these strategic sites.
Across the road from the Government buildings is an attractive patch of parkland that the ILR have used to dig in to form an outer defensice cordon around the sites.
The EDF Mech Infantry debus from their AV8 AFV's making best use of available cover. Unfortunately a stray shot from an ILR LMG team strikes Sgt Davies, wounding her. First blood to the ILR!
The EDF decided to attach over a wide frontage, No 2 section debusses and heads for cover off the tree lined sunken path, while No1 section goes right flanking.
Doug is commanding the EDF forces. Combat is fast, intuative and card driven. All of the probabilities and factors that you would expect from a realistic, platoon level skirmish game are reflected on a unique set of 50 action cards. Shooting involves flipping a card, looking at to hit area which is based on shooting skill of troops doing the shooting, modified by factors such as range, if target is moving, if firing unit is moving etc. If target is hit another card is flipped to which figure in target group is hit, cover stops round and the severity of the wound.
On the EDF right flank we see No 1 section advancing in extended line against a half section of dug in ILR troops. Unfortunately for them there is also an ILR LMG on building roof behind trench which has them in range.
On the EDF left flank, Sgt Davies pulls herself together and limps into cover behind the AV8, while the one pip wonder and the rest of Platoon HQ head for cover of the fast food outlet.
The ILR keep there heads down in there trenches waiting for the EDF to advance into killing range of there less powerful carbines.
In the center No 1 section cautiously advances making best use of cover.
The boss makes it into cover of building, is he checking the map or collating a take out order from Battalion HQ?
Bravo Fireteam, No 1 Section take casualties from incoming small arms fire as they attempt to dash between cover.
Platoon HQ moves through the building to take up firing positions against the far wall.
To be continued - as we spent most off the evening talking about how we wanted the game to play at Hammerhead and finalising the terrain, we did not get the game finished on Monday night. We are planning to finish it next week, at which point I'll update this report.
In the meantime, if you'd like to find out more about ACP164 - click here for the Albedo Web page which has links to video play throughs and interviews on Beasts of War, reviews from magazines etc.
Battle of the Pelennor Fields – Lord of the Rings SBG (Games Workshop’s the ‘One Rule Book’) at Horde Games in Harrogate, Saturday December 15th 2018.
Just before Christmas, Doug borrowed 16' of Sally 4th Castle towers and walls plus an assortment of staircases, battering rams, siege towers, ladders and wheeled siege ladders and headed of for Horde Games in Harrogate to put on a Games Workshop - Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, of epic proportions. Doug has kindly written up the days events and supplied us with some great looking photos.
I’ve loved The Lord of the Rings for decades, and the passage where Tolkien describes the timely arrival of the Horse Lords, the cavalry of Rohan, to the relief of the city-fortress of Minas Tirith is my favourite piece of literature ever – “Rohan had come at last”. Being a wargamer this is, of course, something to recreate on the tabletop and I’ve fought BoPF a few times. It has a bit of everything – spectacle (an escalade against a fortification is always lovely to view, especially in 28mm scale), size (about a thousand figures in this one), variation in troop types (everything from Hobbits to Mumakil via assorted Trolls, Fell Beasts, a Dwarf, Elves, cavalry and infantry, with siege towers and ladders too) and of course theme – Gandalf holding the gate, Aragorn leading the Grey Company from the Port of Harlond, the Rohirrim streaming across the plains to relieve the garrison, the Serpent Lord racing to meet him, the Nazgul circling and driving forth their minions, Orcs and Men battling across ramps and ladders, with the fate of Midde-Earth resting on the outcome. It cries out for multiple players, two teams with their own objectives and a theoretical idea of co-operation but where helping one’s neighbour isn’t always a given, when there are so many threats on the tabletop!
This latest game was hosted by Horde Games at their gaming shop in Starbeck, Harrogate. A 12 foot long table, some five feet deep, provided the ground. Sally4th supplied the curtain wall of Minas Tirith, with assorted heights and depths of wall, interspersed with towers. We went with what was immediately to hand rather than the White City range and had two bastions alongside the gate, as well as tall towers looking down upon the attackers and their ram. Ten siege towers from Games Workshop and Sally4th plus assorted wheeled and portable ladders from the latter allowed the forces of Mordor to try and scale the walls. The gates were assumed to have been breached, with Trolls leading the charge through the choke point but the relief forces were available immediately, from each corner to the rear of the escalade.
The siege towers were loaded up, with Morannon and Mordor Orcs crewing some, Easterlings others and Haradrim and Mordor Uruk-Hai making up the ten. Despite the risk, ladders were also used to support the towers since only a handful of Warriors and Heroes could attack at a time. The narrow ramps meant attack frontage of two or three, backed up by spears or pikes where possible, but they were met by prepared defenders who - on the deeper wall sections – could also set up spear supports. A house rule meant that two figures could scale the Sally4th wheeled ladders side by side and they were too stable to be pushed down. A Mordor Troll led the gate surge, with other Trolls, Orcs and a Nazgul in support.
Turn one saw Good win Priority. They merely shuffled about since all most could do was to await Evil’s moves. Of course the massed ranks of Rohan cavalry swept forward, although archers merged into blocks of ten or more to allow for Volleys of archery. The Grey Company were close enough for normal shooting but the close combat figures pressed forward – with so many heroes in their ranks it was essential that they struck soon. Evil responded by swarming up the ladders and charging across the ramps, engaging Good models wherever they could. The Mordor Troll had been Transfixed by Gandalf so stood there drooling and blocking the gate, but the Nazgul forced Gandalf to lose some of his Will store to counter a spell. The Mumakil and other reserves chose to await further developments.
Shooting removed a few Evil figures, mostly among those loitering at the bottom of ladders but also from spear and pike supports. Return shots did little although a Troll was winged by an Avenger bolt and Volley shots from massed ranks of Rohirrim scattered amongst the Mumakil.
In close combat the danger of fighting from a ladder became very apparent as a number of the forces of darkness plunged to their deaths after falling. Assaults across the siege tower ramps were of mixed effectiveness, with Heroes largely cancelling each other out, but the first gaps in the ranks started to appear.
The second turn was much the same as the first, with Rohan and the grey Company closing on the enemy reserves, although each also broke off detachments to move towards the nearest siege towers too. The Troll was once more Transfixed but this time Imrahil charged into combat. Gandalf lost two more Will from the Nazgul’s spell.
Archery whittled down banner guards and more second-echelon troops from Evil’s ranks but the stout battlements saved many a Good warrior from harm. Pippin tried to join in with thrown stones from above the gate but received a Troll-thrown boulder in reply which killed him outright!
In combat Imrahil inflicted a single Wound on the Mordor Troll in the gateway but otherwise it was the familiar see-saw battle on ladders and siege towers which inevitably favoured the defenders.
Turn three saw Rohan closing on the outer ranks of the Harad cavalry, with veteran Redshelds leading the charge but Harad Heroes and banners were snarled up in rear ranks and thus ineffective. The Mumakil were starting to make their presence felt, poisonous arrows arcing down from the howdahs and the Commanders trying to line up their mounts behind the mob of horsemen. The Mordor Troll at the gate was transfixed once more (at least it prevented a breakout!) but the Nazgul rolled a less-than-impressive 1,1,2 against Gandalf.
Once more Shooting killed odd figures and then there was more close combat at the battlements and amongst the cavalry, Unsurprisingly Rohan fared well against their lighter-equipped and less skilful foes but Suladan, leading the Haradrim, bested Theoden in single combat and the Witch King atop his Fell beast was lurking nearby. Gaps were starting to appear on some wall sections, allowing follow-up forces to clamber across and start to attack towers from inside. On the other hand, some siege towers had been so denuded of troops that counter-attacks were made onto the wooden towers in order to block reinforcements and strike down the valuable banners on the top decks.
The game ran out of time just as the leading edge of the Grey Company was charged by Easterling and Khandish cavalry and forward elements of Rohan reached the siege towers. Some Evil troops had captured battlement steps and were rushing into the city proper but at least one siege towers was in imminent danger of being overrun completely. Next time…
The game was played close to Christmas, with lots of distractions, and on a day that had some of the foulest weather possible. Players were at a premium but of course we want to try it again soon so plans are being laid for another visit to the Pelennor Fields with a similar layout and hopefully more players to attack or defend the White City.
On Monday, Ann & I finally got round to starting our Burrows & Badgers campaign. This was our very first try out of the rules, but the campaign aspect of the game looked so great that we wanted to get stuck into it straight away. As it was our first game, we decided to try to keep it simple, so we played the 'Open Battle' scenario, and both just rolled for a single secondary objective. Coincidentally, we both rolled 'Showdown' which means extra experience for wounding or killing enemy leader with your own leader. Neither of us managed to pull it off though. We set up a 3' square playing area using some 1'x1', 1'x2', and 2'x2' Terra-Former terrain tiles. The battlefield featured a stream flowing from a rock pool / waterfall which had a number of fords and a lattive work bridge across it, together with a wooded area and a rocky depression. The tower is our dice tower and is not actually on the terrain board!
My Warband is the Royalist - Long March Patrol led by Sur Davros du Long March. You can check out the full details of the warband on an earlier hobby blog by clicking here.. As both forces were Warband Rating 40 with 5 models each we rolled off to see who choose sides. Ann won and chose the forested edge. I won the roll off to see who was attacker, so I got to move first. The Long March Patrol deploys using the lattice bridge and the nearby ford.
Ann decided to deploy Rufus' Roughcoats in an extended line in the forest. The Roughcoats are a spiffing bunch of likable 'Rogues' led by Ruffus (a well tooled up cat, sporting heavy armor and shield and skilled in the 'Killing Blow'). You can see there character cards in an earlier hobby blog by clicking here.
The encounter opened with some long range missile fire. The Roughcoats archer, Darley was first to open fire with him bow. Ann checks the range carefully, 17", that will do nicely!
Tantotalos, the otter is by archer. In first turn I decided to have him swim up stream (mainly because he's an otter and therfore can swim) to get into position behind the big boulders top left in photo.
Sur Davros, Hector the hound and Frances the fox advance cautiously round the edge of the dark forest.
It's not long before a scuffle breaks out when Sur Davros is charged by Ramus wielding a huge two handed war hammer, it looks like the fight is going Ramus' way, until Frances, leaps over the rickety fence and stands shoulder to shoulder with his liege lord.
Before long the scrap has escalated to a major melee with flailing steel and claws everywhere. The Ruffian Centus and the Royalist Hector get stuck into the action.
Combat in Burrows and Badgers is handled well, Characters have different dice (D4, D6, D8 etc.) for abilities. When you attack you roll your strike dice vs. your opponents block dice. There are a few, very intuitive modifiers (you get a bonus to strike if you charged 2" or more and you get a negative modifier to block if you are in base contact with multiple opponents). If you beat your opponent, the amount you beat them by modified by your strength and your opponents armour is the amount of damage you do. However, what makes it exciting is that if you roll a perfect roll, i.e. a 6 on a D6, a 8 on a D8, for example you get to add 7 to your dice score, which makes a big difference and represents that lucky, critical hit. At this point in the game Rammus the second in command or the Roughcoats has gone down as has Red Claw the second in Command of the March Patrol.
The game concluded with high drama. Sur Davros had been in the thick of the melee from the start, Centus had landed a perfect blow on him that had reduced him to 1 wound, he had somehow managed to withdraw from the melle and was rushing for cover of the rocks as fast as you can with 5 wounds. He did not make it as Darley the Roughcoats archer struck him down mid-flight with a lucky arrow shot.
In the previous turn, Centus had also fallen in the melee, meaning that both sides were now at 2 casualties per side, however the end came quickly, Tanotalos retaliated to the shot that had brought Sur Davros down with a well aimed volley that felled Darley. As the Roughnecks had 3 casualties at the end of the turn (above 50%) they had to take a rout test, which they failed, leaving the field to the 'March Patrol'.
This was a great game, I love the rules and we are looking forward to the next game in the campaign. The game was part of the campaign, so what was the impact of our first game?
The Royalist won so they got to roll 4D6 for pennies and 1 D4 for materials, gaining 18 pennies and 2 materials, however all of the characters that went down failed to avoid injury so Sur Davros suffered a head injury that throws him into violent rages (Beserk ability) and Red Claw suffered an arm injury so can now only use a single handed weapon.
The Rogues got to roll 2D6 for pennies and gained 12! All characters that went down failed rolls to avoid consequences so Darley picked up a leg injury, Rammus a hamstring injury and poor old Centus was taken captive.
In this game, victory comes at a cost. It reminds me of a quote from Waterloo,'the only sight sader than a battle won is a battle lost'.
The miniatures that we used are conversions using plastic bodies from Frostgrave, Perry Miniatures, Saga Plastics and Fireforge that we had left in our bits box from earlier projects, combined with Albedo Miniatures Critter Conversion Kits (metal heads and tails for converting miniatures to anthropomorphic versions).
The terrain boards are all made from Sally 4th Terra-Former kits, landscaped with scatter materials from Lukes Apps / Geek Gaming.
Last week Doug and I got started with our Vice Alley Western Campaign.
We had a trial game in this setting a couple of weeks ago, which had worked very well, so I decided to stick with my league, unchanged. As my league is made up of four sidekicks, I nominated Marshall 'Leather' Durham as there nominal leader.
The rest of the league includes Wilson 'Wild Hog' Hurley, Bernard 'Glory' Barnes and Ralph 'Wild Boy' Hicks. Durhams boys are Vigalantes, intent of tracking down the Spectre and ridding the West of his unhealthy presence.
We rolled up the scenario to start the campaign, and came up with a standard set up, major plot point in centre of table and four minor plot points at least 6" away from any other plot point. There had been a murder in town, and Missy May (the major plot point) had seen it all happen. The various clues were scattered around town and icluded the murder weapon (a curious heavy metal statue, painted balack and shaped like a bird), a blood stained journal, a camera and mysterious package.
The town was also troubled by three wandering perilous areas, (a flock of geese and a couple of dogs). Doug rolled up a Bystander as his scenario event and I rolled up 'Danger' making the wildlife especially dangerous.
I split my team in to two teams of two, with the thought that one could attempt the plot point while the other protected his back.
Doug double checks the scenario set up and carefully deploys his league. I'll try to remember to photocopy his roster so I can describe it in better detail, however he did take the traditional approach of a leader, a sidekick and some 6-gun fodder.
Doug's sidekick heads for the camera plot point at the corner of the Red Hotel, comes under heavy fire and takes a wound.
Miss May is still stunned by events and stays put in the center of town while the dog and bystander wander off.
What's this? Looks like 'Ralph 'Wild Boy' Hicks' has found a blood stained ornament. Peril and Challenge overcome in relative peace and quiet.
Meanwhile competition to find out what incriminating evidence was captured on film heats up, and Marshall Durham gets the worse off it.
However, luckily for him, he has backup. A shot from across the street takes Durhams assailant down, leaving the path open for 'Wild Hog' Hurley to grab the camera. Two plot point to the Vigilantes.
This much evidence in the bag, emboldens 'Bernard 'Glory' Barnes to have that chat with Miss May. However, he's initial opening line was a little untactful and he gets nothing out of her other than a slap around the face (he failed the peril but saved the health check, ending his activation).
Next wound Barnes apologises and Miss May spills the beans (Major plot point peril and challenge passed). Durham pulls himself together, and between them they silence the rest of the opposition.
The final result was two minor and a major plot point to Durhams Boys, meaning that they gain 4 influence and rolled up a 'Bar' as a location that they can use in the next game.
Another great game of Pulp Alley. If you've not tried it out, you can find out all about it by clicking here.
If you could use a few gunslingers or outlaws to start your own Old West campaign click here to take a look at Artizans Western Range.
The Long March Patrol led by Sur Davros du Long March
Inspired by much listening to Redwall Abbey tales as audible books, Ann and I are getting ready for the start of our Burrows and Badgers campaign
Ann has choosen a Royalist Warband,'The Long March Patrol' led by Sur Davros du Long March himself (he's the hound with the very large two handed sword). The warband contains two hounds, two otters and a fox.
This is their starting Warband record sheet, Ann's choosen a Ruined Farm as their Den, giving the Patrol free upkeep between missions from the farms orchards and gardens.. The first den upgrade is a smithy, this comes for free and will come into operation after the first game. After equiping the warband the coffers are pretty low, with just 3 pennies left over, hopefully they will have a profitable first adventure.
Sur Davros leads this proud patrol, he certainly knows how to wield that huge two handed sword, sporting a very respectable D10 strike dice, although his block has room for improvement although he has learnt a few defensive tricks and as a melee master is not going to suffer a penalty to his block for being outnumbered.
The Long March Patrol's second in command is a feisty otter by the name of Red Claw. He has benefited from some training while in Royalist service to bring his Strike ability up to D10 and as a otter adds +1 to damage and can swim.
Tanottalos, an otter equipped with a bow and sword and sporting a set of leather armor provides the patrol with some long range firepower.
Hector the hound is pretty adept with a spear and also wears a well worn set on leather armor. He to has benefited from some training in the Royalst barracks to bring his Strike skill up to D10.
The last member of the patrol is a cunning fox, Frances Downer, who wears leather armor and wields a long sword.
We're big fans of character / unit cards rather than roster sheets, so we've designed these cards and made one up for each anthropomorphic figure in our collection. As well as being a handy in game reference, you can flip the card over when a character has activated so that you can easily see who is still to activate and it helps with warband selection as you can pass someone a stack of cards from which they can keep choosing until they get to 350 pennies (or whatever limit has been set).
All of the figures are conversions. I've used left over plastic bodies and arms from my bits box from Frostgrave, Fireforge, Saga, Perry Miniatures together with Albedo Critter Conversion Kits. These are metal cast sets of heads and tails to enable any miniature to be converted to an anthropomorphic version. The miniatures have all been based on Sally 4th Clear Perspex bases which allow the figures to blend in with what ever terrain they are standing on.
Last year Nick & I commenced a journey to replay the original Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle game campaign scenarios, using the scenarios from the original editions of the rulebooks and the 'Journey' books. The approach that we are taking is to play both scenarios twice so that we both get the chance to play good and evil, so the final result can be a draw with one replay being a good victory and one being an evil victory or a convincing vistory for one side or the other. We decided to play each scenario as a stand alone game rather than having the effects of one influence the next. The reason for this is that the Hobbits are very fragile and an early loss of Frodo and the ring could of course completely change the whole course of the campaign.
This game is based on the Bucklebury Ferry incident where Frodo, Sam, Merry & Pipin are attempting to gain the safety of the ferry and put some running water between them and the mounted Ringwraiths. The scenario appears in the Fellowship of the Ring journey book and it also appeared as a scenario in the Games Workshop weekly in store campaign. We set up the scenery as somewhere between the two.
We played on a 4' square gaming table made up of Sally 4th Terra-Former modular terrain tiles. When I first played the scenarios, probably about 15 years ago when the 'Journey Book' was first published and I was running a hobby store, I constructed the river sections and ferry with the dimensions in the book. I still have that river and re-flocked it to match the Terra-Former tiles usingLukes Apps foam landscaping products, but when I laid it out it looked to narrow for the Brandywine river so I decided to use Terraformer canal sections instead so that we could just show one bank.
The four hobbits start off in the centre of the bottom edge of the table. For a 'Good' victory Frodo needs to make it on to the Ferry.
Three mounted Nazgul are deployed on the adjacent sides. They are tracking the hobbits, but have not sensed them yet so are subject to the sentries rule.
In the first game the hobbits concentrated their attacks on the Nazguls Mounts and managed to unhorse one early on in the game, reducing its mobility.
With two hobbits fighting one ringwraith, the little fellows hold their own for a few turns.
However, it is not long before more Nazgul pick up the scent and head towards the action.
Eventually they all arrive and get in to combat with Frodo, eliminating him with ease for an Evil victory, (Merry & Pipin had already suffered a similar fate).
In the second replay, the hobbits got a lot closer to the ferry, before their demise. The three companions form a defensice cordon around Frodo and head to the ferry building with the unity of a precision drill team.
Once again, the Nazgul close on the Hobbits.
After the first round of combat and pushbacks the hobbits become seperated allowing Nazgul to focus on individual targets.
This time the results are a lot closer, Frodo is just a single move away from the Ferry when he is killed by the Nazgul.
The game was a lot of fun. It is always good to play a scenario based on the books.
The result was a resounding 2-0 for Evil. It is quite a hard game for the hobbits to win as they slowly cross the table at 4" per turn. Although the Nazgul are slowed by the sentry rule, once they get moving they quickly cover the ground with 10" mounted movement.
The next game we are playing is 'Fog on the Barrow Downs'., which should be a lot of fun. It's a long time since I've used Tom Bombadil in a game!
We've stocked Burrows and Badgers ever since it was first published and I can remember when it first came in having a flick through it, admiring the photographs and line drawings and thinking that it would be a great game to play. However, 2018 was a pretty mad year at work with the release of our own anthropomorphic sci-fi game ACP164, so I did not get round to trying it out, but over the last few months we have had gamers email us saying how great our 'Critter Conversion Kits' (animal heads and tails) would be for converting miniatures for Redwall Abbey style games. To be honest at that point I had not heard of Redwall Abbey, so thought we had best check it out. We purchased, downloaded and listened to 'Redwall Abbey' and 'Murial of Redwall' and really enjoyed the stories, and resolved to start a B&B campaign in 2019.
Our first game is scheduled for Friday afternoon, so Ann & I have both created warbands in preperation. My warband is led by a cat called Rufus and they are Rogues based in a Ruined Farmhouse.
I'm a big fan of character cards rather than roster sheets as it enables me to flip them over once a character has activated so that I don't miss any one out in the heat of battle.
I'm not sure if I've picked an optimum warband or not, as I have just choosen characters that I have already in my collection that I like the look off. All the models are based on plastic parts from my bits box from Frostgrave, Fireforge, Perry Miniatures together with Albedo Critter Conversion Kits to turn them into anthropomorphic characters.
Ruffus is the leader of the warband so he has been given an upgrade to his Strike skill plus the Killing blow skill.
Rammus is the second in command. He has taken the Weaponskill ability that boosts his Strike & Block skills, and has a boost to his concealment from the warband being 'Rogues'
Rammus has his concealment boosted from the leagues 'Rogue' benefits.
The first game scheduled for Ruffus is Friday (18th January) so check back next week to find out how they have got on!