A Tale of Two Skimishes

Alan K updates us on the club’s two visits to the the Skirmish wargames show in 2018.

As I was putting together the forces for our game at the next Skirmish show (the Second Battle of El Teb, 29 February 1884) I realised that I hadn’t written anything about our two visits last year.

For the first show we had decided on a 28mm Vietnam scenario based on a hastily mounted search and rescue operation for a downed helicopter crew. But as we watched the weather forecast steadily worsen (an interesting contrast to this year) with snow expected it was touch and go whether we might attend at all. In the end we decided to brave it and the snow turned out not to be anywhere near as bad as we had feared. Unfortunately it did have rather a chilling effect (sorry about that) on both the traders and visitors.

In any event, we arrived well in time and set up the game with the crashed chopper over to one side and the landing zone (LZ) over toward the other. The players took control of the small US unit designated to search this area and were duly landed at the LZ. The Viet Cong (VC) and other random encounters were all handled by the FNG rules from Two Hour Wargames.

Between the LZ and the main search area was a fast flowing stream crossed by a single ford on the main route to the nearby village. The players seemed reluctant to use the ford and so decided to cross the stream. Unfortunately the first man lost his footing and if it had not been for some quick reactions on behalf of his squad mates he might have drowned. Of course all the commotion attracted the attention of a lone VC who began taking pot shots from cover at the US troops in the open.

After dealing with this initial threat the Americans advanced and began to make their way slowly through the long grass towards the jungle encountering more VC emerging from cover or well concealed spider holes and always keeping an eye out for booby traps! The US forces made slow progress taking a few casualties before being assaulted by a larger VC force. Having seen them off they finally located the chopper crew and withdrew to the LZ for a dust off.

Our second visit to Skirmish later in the year was another 28mm affair but this time winding back to the Great War. In this case our game was set early in the war, featuring a certain Erwin Rommel and taken directly from his own account of the action in his book Infantry Attacks. In his own, admittedly potentially self-aggrandising narrative, after advancing west from Hill 325, Lt. Rommel stopped his platoon in cover in a field and took a scouting group ahead. Making use of cover and the foggy conditions, they passed one farm and found their way close to the Mussy-la-Ville road. As the scouting team approached they spotted a couple of French squads relaxing along the road. Rommel decided to attack rather than wait to bring up the rest of his platoon. Surprised by Rommel’s bold attack the French put up little resistance and then surrendered.

In our scenario the player who took Rommel was somewhat less bold and when he encounter the French decided to fall back and gather his platoon before attacking. Unfortunately for him that meant another French squad had arrived before the Germans returned and they had more of a fight on their hands!

The Spoils of War

Stephen brings us up-to-date as the the club’s year-long SAGA campaign comes to a close…

War is finally over. The ravens have glutted themselves.

During 2018 we held a Saga ‘Age Of Wolf’ campaign and we now have a winner.

The background behind the campaign was that it was set in north England (sort of around the Chester area) in 1070AD. The armies we had were Normans, Norse Gaels, two Anglo-Danes, Welsh, and Vikings.

Before we come to who finally came out on top we thought we’d give you some stories from the players (or is the warlords?) on their best moments and reflections on the year’s campaigning.

The Saga of Iomhar MacAuley (and his father Olaf)

The first game against Andy was pivotal as my Warlord was killed (a 1/20 chance) losing the Who’s Next challenge, the best ability on the battleboard. In subsequent battles he would never be able to lead from the front. The best battle was against Jeremey’s Anglo Danish where a huge dane-axe melee took place on a river crossing resulting in the complete destruction of a unit of 8 Norse Gael Warriors against 6 Anglo Dane Hearthguard in one combat. This allowed a challenge on his weakened warlord which was won by the Norse Gaels and the Anglo Danish Warlord was killed outright.

Sailing home after a successful raid on the Anglo Danish recruits of Irish axemen from Donegal paid visit to our Hall and after much drinking and feasting agreed to join in our expedition the following summer to raid the Anglo Danish lands again. We were surprised to find an Anglo Danish army lying in wait with additional mercenaries and witchcraft prevented us gaining their Sacred Ground. Sensing that greater battles lay ahead, we left and whilst the Anglo Danes celebrated for many nights, it was an empty victory. Their lands had been stripped bare.

I sought vengeance for my father’s death in turn 1 and raided more Anglo Danish lands. We intercepted them escorting trade, yet more witchcraft confirmed the presence of a large body of Anglo Dane huscarls from their Allies. We heard news that a Norman force was setting sail from the south and rumours of a Viking raid from the North. The Huscarls were nearly all slain but we left without booty to face the greater threats from North and South.

Returning quickly home, we were able to intercept the Normans at a ford near the border of our lands. We learned that these Norman’s do not fight like real men and our valiant men were cut down in wave after wave of cowardly arrows. It will be a long hard winter waiting for the Vikings, we pray for storms to scatter their ships.

The Saga Of Andraes Willhelmson

It has been a mixed year for Andraes Vilhelmsson; many men have come to pledge their service, his family has expanded through marriage, his fame has grown and a firm friendship forged with Uhtred Beornson.

The year has seen battles with the Welsh, the Norse Gaels, Vikings and the Normans. The high points have been consistent victories over the Norse Gaels of Olaf Tidbit, and after Olaf‘s death at Andraes’s men’s hands, Olaf’s son Iomhair MacAulay. Andreas’s struggle against the invading Normans has not gone well, with three battles lost to Gislebert. Andreas crossed axes with Owain the Cantankerous Welshmen twice, with the Welshman besting Andraes on both occasions and he has also suffered a raid by the sea wolves.

Andraes’s Wealth and Reputation have increased, and he is now considered an Atheling; but his lands have been beset by many raids, a campaign by the Welsh and diverse floods and famine. Andreas himself has been grievously wounded in two of these battles.

Andraes will spend the winter recovering from his wounds, and will set forth again next year determined to keep the invaders at bay.

The Saga of Antoine de Gislebert

I started the campaign season with what looks like an unorthodox warband, but my randomly generated special ability (scout), meant that all my levies generated Saga dice. For the Normans this played into our hands.

Motivation of land would also help as the higher this went the more levy units I could have. Initially this was a problem in that I had to generate money to buy land as campaigning with mounted knights and levy is very difficult, so I tended to raid my opponents.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Campaign season 4 wasn’t looking good…. I had already lost a raid against the Welsh when we were in turn raided by the Anglo Danes. I took a chance and played the 4 point encounter with myself, 1 unit of warriors with x-bows and 3 units of levy bowmen. If I got into close combat it wasn’t going to be pretty for the levy, but luckily I only lost my warrior unit and ultimately won the game. 3VPs

Campaign season 5, I ended up defending this season. This would have generated no VPs except the Anglo Dane’s were up for revenge and raided trying to stop a baggage train. Although some of the baggage was looted, the game finished as a draw. 1 VP

Campaign season 6 was the turning point. Raided by another Anglo Dane warband, we fought challenge scenario…wrongly. We played it differently to the official errata and I should have lost, but my opponent stated that we keep the original result, as the battle would have undoubtedly been fought differently. I rounded off the campaign with a resounding victory against the Norse Gaels. 4 VPs

The Saga of Owain the Wolftamer

I started cautiously and decided to play a devious game. I was lucky at the start because I gained three wealth and my aim was to acquire wealth! Which meant I started as a aetheling with the post-battle benefits that brings.

It was at the Cavalier show in Tonbridge that things started to get political. I overheard Jeremey and Andy (the two anglo-dane players) having a sneaky discussion about forming an alliance. And I could have sworn that I heard them plotting to attack Tony’s Normans. So I decided to deflect attention away from myself and emailed the other players letting them know of such skullduggery.

And I had been partly correct.

Next turn Andy and Jeremey did indeed declare an alliance. But they attacked me!

This meant I had to face two opponents, on the same day, both with reinforced armies. I wasn’t confident.

Somehow, though, I managed to win both games! It was from this turn that Owain became the Wolf Tamer (he’d previously been Owain the Cantankerous because I rolled the ‘Quarrelsome’ personality trait). I gave him a warbanner, and made one up especially for the campaign (yes, I know it looks more like a pair of angel’s wings than two clipped wolf tails. I could re-paint it, I suppose…). I think this banner will be used in other games, outside of the campaign, just to remind Jeremey and Andy of their infamy and how they lost. They deserve nothing less.

This then set me up for the rest of the campaign and put me in a strong position.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
The Saga of Unhtred Beornson (and son Erik)

The campaign season ended as it had started with the spilling of Norman blood. Our Lord Uhtred Beornson rallied the land to face the first unprovoked attacks of the Norman aggressors. But the lands were ravaged and soon the vultures were gathering on our borders. Lord Uhtred mustering a force strong enough to challenge these other threats launched successive attacks against the Welsh bandits and godless Norse Gaels, but the omens were bad and despite a strong alliance with the fellow Anglo-Danes of Andraes Vilhelmsson, Lord Uhtred was slain during a bloody encounter with the Gaels. Bearing our lord’s body back to Elmslac his first born Erik Uhtredson took up his father’s axe. As the campaign season drew to a close Erik turned towards the Normans determined to seek retribution. Blades clashed, shields were splintered. Many Normans and Danes were slain, Erik fought with the ferocity of his ancestors slaying a number of Norman knights single handed. Supported by his chosen warriors, several blows were landed on the Norman Lord Gislebert, but as the sun set it wasn’t enough. Returning to their lands as the first snows of winter fell, the exhausted warriors reflected on a hard fought campaign.

To The Victor Go The Spoils

Firstly, our immense thanks go to our friends at Gripping Beast. What each player did was put a fiver in a kitty to get a prize for the winner. Winner takes all. I then contacted Gripping Beast, told them about our campaign, and asked if we could have a deal on a copy of the Saga 2 rulebook and Age Of Vikings supplement. They very generously agreed! Great stuff.

And so the winner was…Tony Gibbs with his Normans.

Yup, the result was quite a historical one: the English (Anglo-Danes) had come out poorly, with the norse still nibbling around the edges but not really having it in them to make a firm hold, whilst out on the Celtic fringes they are still independent (for the time being). Top of the heap, though, are the Normans.

And with that, we have now gone over to Saga 2. Tony won the books, and I have it on good authority that Santa may have visited others as well. As I write this, we are yet to have a game of the second edition, but there is an upcoming session in the club diary. So if you want to play a bit of Saga (or anything else) you’d be more than welcome to join us.

A Bad Day for the Royalists

The Royalists started with 15 battle groups. The Scots Covenanters and Parliament had 19 battle groups. The Royalist right flank collapsed under the onslaught of Cromwell’s “Ironsides” Horse regiments which caused an Army break, after the Cavaliers accrued 16 attrition points.

A bad day for the Royalist Cause! Hopefully, there’ll be a re-fight later in the year.

Royalist foot moving up in the centre.More Cavaliers in the distance on the right wing and the Royalist baggage camp is in the foreground.
Scots Covenanters with their frame guns (light artillery) standing steady in the Allied centre.
The Royalist cavalry on the right wing in a tight situation with Cromwell’s “Ironsides” horse regiments supported by Parliamentarian foot.
A battle group of Scots lancers. They contributed to the routing of the Cavaliers on the right wing.
Royalist dragoons using the cover of enclosed fields.

FoG League 2019

This year’s Field of Glory tournament started with a 3-a-side game on the first meeting of the year. From the scores it would seem to have been a very close game, with the triumvirate of Paul, Pete and Brett just edging out Colin, Jack and Chairman John 11-9. The FoG league page has now been moved to the blog from the club website – the page can be found here.

Grendel Stalks the Night

To kick off 2019 at the first meeting in January there will be a game of Dragon Rampant based on the story of Beowulf and Grendel. Stephen sets the scene…

“In off the moors, down through the mist beams, god-cursed Grendel came greedily loping…”

The game will involve two sides – Grendel and his marsh demon minions against Beowulf and the assorted heroes of Heorot.

All models and materials will be provided. Just bring yourself and a desire to roll dice in good company. There’s no need to know the rules either. Dragon Rampant is an easy game to pick up and, though it’s open to anyone, I’d be particularly keen to have players who’ve never played the ‘Rampant’ family of games before or new players to the club.

So if you fancy a go then join us on the 12th Jan for a bit of mythological dark ages fun.

“For a brief while your strength is in bloom but it fades quickly; and soon there will follow illness or the sword to lay you low, or a sudden fire or a surge of water or jabbing blade or javelin from the air or repellent age.”

Doom Riders of the Wasteland

John Lambert fills us in with the goings-on at the Christmas Gaslands game

Five Gangers set off from the city in pursuit of the two escaping War Rigs and their escort. Stephen was keen to get stuck in but slide out of control and was stuck in 1st gear at the end of the first move. It was going to prove a frustrating day as He tried to get back into contention.

The War Rigs were in good shape but the escort had managed to position themselves so that they were unable to provide cover for the rigs. This close escort was proving frustrating for the second War Rig and despite strong words between the rig driver and escort the escort failed to take evasive action and was hit by the War rigs side rams – Ouch!. Sometimes tough love is the only way to learn. This was to prove costly for the War Rigs too as hazard accumulation caused by the collision and the wide bends caused the trailing War Rig to wipeout. This separated the rigs and left Chris’s war rig vulnerable to attack from all sides. The folly of taking fixed position machine guns instead of pivot mounts was plain to see as Chris suffered attack after attack, particularly from Bob’s car armed with two deadly miniguns.

Meanwhile the Escorting vehicles took a well earned lunch allowing Andy to score significant hits on the second rig. Chris was lined up to smash through a road block but He never made it and had to respawn. After two and a half hours, the War rigs had become bogged down but were able to carry out some repairs on the move. The trailing war rig decided to cut across the desert to avoid the attentions of the Ganger pack as a Pell Mell battle developed around Chris’ rig. It was at this point that Stephen dropped a glue slick which was to prove pivotal in the penultimate turn.

With Bob still in the lead, there were two dark horses. Carefully and quietly, Jack was amassing points and by pretending not to have any interest in the game, Mark’s tally was increasing un-noticed. Stephen also managed to register some hits.

This was the moment to bring on the Gyrocopter with snakes as a dropped weapon. The snakes were duly dropped causing confusion amongst the Gangers which pushed Andy out of contention, made worse by a direct hit from a Molotov cocktail and Bob was not able to get in strike range of the Rigs, stuck in the glue. With the final turn approaching, Bob was still in the lead but only just. A ramming and boarding attempt by Mark failed and whilst Jack was able to score some hits, a fumbled gear change prevented further attacks or a ramming attempt on the Rigs.

In the end, Bob just about held on to win by a narrow 2 point margin from both Mark and Jack. Bob’s pre game preparation had proved decisive and He is now the proud owner of a 3 car Gaslands team. Well done Bob!

Let’s Get Medieval

Stephen gives us an end-of-year Medieval treat…

I’ve a couple of bits on the go at the moment, one more or less complete and the other just starting.

First up is a 15mm Wars Of The Roses army to give that young upstart, Earl Jeremey ‘Hotspur’ Claridge a run for his money. These will be for Sword & Spear. I bought a few test packs of Essex archers (since I knew I’d need lots of archers) to get my juices flowing. I have it on good authority that I’ve been a good boy this year (well, good enough) and that Santa is going to be bringing me the rest of the army. We’re really enjoying Sword & Spear and I’m looking forward to re-fighting some battles from the WotR.

Archers

The other thing I’ve been popping away at over the last year is a medieval Irish army for Lion Rampant. These are suitable for the 13th and 14th century. I’ve now got 24 points worth with two units of Gallowglaichs (dismounted men at arms), two units of Bonnachts (light foot with javelins) and two units of Kerns (scouts with bows). I plan to add another unit of bonnachts and kerns during the year to give more flexibility and for some bigger games. These are destined for a game at 2019’s Open Day with an Irish round tower build in the offing as well.

Irish Army

Whither Shall I Wander

We had a game of Lord of The Rings Battle Game on Saturday and Tony had made some terrain pieces that just add that little bit extra to a games table.

So with that in mind, and a wet and miserable Sunday to fill, I decided to make one as well. Only I was a little bit more ambitious. Rather than just a sign post on its own I decided to make it a bit more comprehensive and to theme it to a medieval setting since road junctions in medieval times were important boundaries and points for outsiders.

I’m afraid I didn’t take any work-in-progress shots, but it was surprisingly quick to make. I thought it would draw out over several days. But no. Got it all done in a day!

The gibbet cage was made from styrene strip. It was a straightforward build, but fiddly whilst waiting for the glue to dry. The posts were made from balsa and the stones around the base made from milliput. Most of the time was spent waiting for the milliput to set – put it in the boiler cupboard where it’s warm and then off to Sainsburys to do the shopping whilst it cures. The water trough and parish boundary stone were also made from milliput.

Painting was simple as well. Both wood and stone were from the same colours – a mix of khaki and medium grey. But more medium grey in the stone and more khaki in the wood. I decided to keep the destinations on the signpost generic. Then add some ballast on the base, then add some static grass. And finish off with some clump foliage. The water in the trough is from epoxy resin (the Wickes’ home brand one is nice and cheap). The skull was from GW’s excellent (and splendidly OTT) ‘Box Of Skulls’.

And there we have it – a signpost with gibbet cage, boundary marker, and water trough for tired animals.

Gaslands Monster Truck Build

John Lambert shows us his latest Gaslands build

I’d always wanted to build a chrome Monster Truck after I’d seen ‘Fury Road’ so this is how I did it. The build also coincides with the Gaslands TX2 supplement which includes details of new weapons.
From this:

To the finished article at the top of the page.

Truck body
Firstly, I drilled out the rivets on the Pickup Truck to separate the components. The bonnet air inlet on the truck is a bit naff so this was removed and replaced with a resin part. I added mesh for the windows and windscreen and built a weapon mount from plastic tubing and plastic strapping. I put it all back together, sprayed with Humbrol chrome and dry brushed Burnt Sienna as rust. Job done.

Chassis
I drilled out rivets to separate the body and cut down the chassis to the top of the springs and checked the fit. I toned down the garish chrome on the original, sprayed the suspension parts chrome and black washed over to pick out the detail on the springs which is really good.

Harpoon Gun
I wanted this to be like an old whaling gun. I built it from plastic rod, tube and plastic card. I added a gunner and a 28mm wire spear cut down made an ideal. I painted the harpoon dark grey and dry brushed gunmetal.

Doomriders of the Wasteland

John Lambert sets up our Christmas Gaslands game

A Nation is crushed. Cut off from it’s neighbours, supplies of food and medicines rapidly run out. Power supplies are interrupted and anarchy rules the streets. In a desperate attempt to restore order, weapons destined for a foreign power are unleashed on the population, cities are shattered and a once green and pleasant land is turned into a desolate wasteland. The economy crashes and Petroleum becomes the new currency, supplies are jealously guarded. All is despair.
Yet there is hope! A small convoy with a precious load of fuel breaks out from the city in search of Nirvana in Arcadia but their every move has been followed by the evil “Guvnor” who unleashes a feral gang to recapture the fuel. For the Gang it’s an opportunity for personal glory at the expense of all others – winner takes all with the chance to topple the “Guvnor” from power.

GAME NOTES
The game will be played along a series of game boards featuring a road and other terrain features. The escorted convoy ‘ Riggers’ will fend of attacks from the ‘Gangers’ during the course of the game. There are no victory points for the ‘Riggers’, they will get enough satisfaction from destroying as many ‘Gangers’ as possible. The ‘Gangers’ only score victory points by knocking off War Rig hull points. The winner of the event (and there can only be one winner) is the player with the most victory points at the end of the game and points mean prizes!

Riggers – John, Tony. Dave, Chris

Gangers – Everyone else. So far 6, but if you want to join in the mayhem and haven’t yet let one of the ‘Riggers’ know.

A ‘Ganger’ vehicle must be maximum 25 cans on the Gaslands listing and you can equip your vehicle with as much weaponry as you like as long as it complies with Gaslands specifications, build slots etc. If you vehicle cost is less than 25 cans, we can look at upgrades and perks to top out your vehicle. All vehicles will be checked by scrutineering prior to commencement of the game. If you are in any doubt, please ask.

In addition to the vehicles you will require a dashboard to log the current status of your vehicle. We will provide blanks on the day or you could go for the classy laminated look to your dash for which we can supply templates.

All ‘Gangers’ can provide up to 2 vehicles for the game and vehicles will be offered to those without. The chances of winning the event may be increased if a ‘Ganger” enters with two vehicles. During the course of the game, Vehicles may lose all of their hull points in which case, they are not out of the game but ‘respawn’, re entering the game at the entry point of the game board they are currently on but in first gear and half hull points.

That’s enough information revealed for now, so if you haven’t started, get building!