Encounter At Bishops Wyke

Stephen shares a report of a solo game fought over the Christmas break…

Over the Christmas period I fancied a game of something and thought I’d go with Outremer (from Osprey) – a nice, simple, game with about 10 figures or so a side.

The background behind the game is that it is early May 1264, the build up to the battle of Lewes. The forces of Simon de Montfort are advancing on St Pancras priory where king Henry III is holding out. Both sides send out scouting forces to spy on the opposition’s moves. And it is in the peaceful Sussex village of Bishops Wyke where the two sides encounter each other…

Sir Edward on the left and Sir Gregory on the right

The men of King Henry were led by Sir Edward Marsh and his men – a mix of archers, men at arms, spearmen, and the noted crossbow marksman ‘Big’ Eddie. De Montfort’s followers were led by Sir Gregory de Holt who also had a mix of archers, spearmen, and a pair of very capable swordsmen to bolster his forces – Balin of Brickenden and Howard de Shiel.

Sir Edward’s Forces Move Up

Gregory decided to shield his forces using his archer and crossbowman. He started in a difficult position, on the opposite side of a stream, meaning his levy would have to cross that and enter the village with little cover. Sir Edward’s group, on the other hand, had the cover of the churchyard and a cow field to screen their approach.

Sir Gregory Orders His Men Forward

Edward’s two archers – Ewan and Gamal – took up position behind the church wall and as Gregory’s men advanced, they let rip with their arrows and down went Gregory’s archer, Bernard of Calcote. Big Eddie took up a similar position on the field wall and, carefully levelling his crossbow, he took a shot and down went Amis Hughes, Gregory’s crossbowman. This left Gregory with no missile support!

Gregory’s Men Advance Across the Bridge Minus the Archers

Gregory’s other men, Balin, Howard, and Cedric Brooker chose to wade across the stream using the cover of one of the cottages to keep them protected from the deadly hail of arrows. With little respect for the farmer’s crop, they tramped through the cabbages and carrots.

Edward left his archers in their advantageous position (with a French mercenary, Raoul Allaire, to protect them in case they were charged) and led the rest of his levy around the other side of the same cottage that Howard and the others had moved behind.

Moving Around the Buildings.

Having lost both archer and crossbowman, it was obvious that Sir Gregory and his men would have to advance as quickly as possible or risk being picked off. To this end, Gregory’s spearmen made a quick move down the village lane. Big Eddie was loaded and ready, raised his crossbow and down went Gareth of Whitley. Raoul took command of Tankard Jenkins and Hallet Adkin and raced them forward to block Gregory’s men. This led to a clash between the two sides at the crossroads in the middle of the village.

Melee at the Crossroads.

Meanwhile, Sir Edward and his men came lurching around the side of the cottage, with Will Fuller charging into contact with Howard de Shiel. They swapped several blows and eventually Howard came out on top and down went Will. This fight drew Sir Gregory and Balin over to join the melee. This was clearly going to be the decisive fight between the two sides, with both drawing in more men to join the battle.

Balin Joins The Fight

At the crossroads the fight came to an end. Raoul Allaire’s experience had shown and he then called over to Big Eddie, Ewan, and Gamal to take them to the fight going on behind the cottage amid the vegetable patch.

Raoul Takes Down Carsen

Big Eddie and the archers formed a line, ready to drop any of Gregory’s men who were caught out alone, and Raoul came up behind Balin, swinging his flail, to take Balin by surprise. Raoul’s flail found its mark, but the blow was merely a glancing one with no harm to Balin, who then turned around to confront the Frenchman with a show of arms.

Raoul Attacks Balin From Behind

The fight behind the cottage carried on. One of Sir Edward’s men, John Manners, joined his lord with the attack on Sir Gregory. That didn’t look good, and Sir Gregory took a wound. But then Sir Gregory swung his sword and down went John bringing it back to a one-on-one between him and Sir Edward.

Carnage in the Cabbage Patch

Balin prevailed in his fight with Raoul, and the French mercenary also fell under the blows. But seeing the line of archers ready to let rip, Balin decided to quickly charge in before they let loose. Having seen how deadly Big Eddie had proved to be, Balin made him the target of his attack. Eddie may be handy with that crossbow, but not with a sword. And so down went Eddie. Before he could charge the others, Ewan and Gamal took aim with their bows and peppered Balin with arrows. Balin had proved a good, and essential, part of Sir Gregory’s force. But he was no more.

The Duel Between Edward and Gregory Still Rages

Sir Edward and Sir Gregory continued hacking at each other. Sir Gregory had been wounded but he evened the score – taking a chunk out of Sir Edward. Neither could take another wound so the next would be the victor.

But time was up. The turn limit had been reached. Maybe a distant clarion call could be heard, marking the sudden appearance of a major lord with a sizeable retinue. Either way, it was game up, and both sides could slope away and lick their wounds.

The encounter had been a slight victory for Sir Edward and his men.

The Barons’ War

Andy reports on a recent game, with snippets from Stephen:

At the second meeting in November Stephen and I tried out Footsore Miniature’s Barons’ War rules for the first time.

As it was our first foray with the rules, we decided to keep our armies small and set the armies at 500-points.

There are few limits on force composition, but your units do have to comply with the following limitations:

      • All members of a unit must have the same weapons, equipment and grade, with the exception that in Command units the Commander can be armed and equipped differently.
      • At least 10% of the points must be spent on Green troops
      • No more than 50% of the points may be spent on Command units.

My force comprised:

      • Command Unit of a Mounted Lord, with Pennant, and 3 Mounted Knights (Regular, 126 points)
      • Command Unit of a Veteran Mounted Sergeant and 3 Mounted Sergeants (Regular, 110 points)
      • Unit of 6 Spearmen (Regular, 120 points)
      • Unit of 5 Crossbowmen (Regular, 90 points)
      • Unit of 6 Bowmen (Green, 54 points)

So, my force had the requisite 10% of Green troops (54 points) and just under 50% of Command units (236 points).

Stephen’s force comprised:

      • Command unit of a veteran foot Lord (Sir Owain of Bangor) with 6 regular foot knights (204 points)
      • Unit of 6 regular spearmen (120 points)
      • Unit of 6 regular archers (102 points)
      • Unit of 6 green spearmen (72 points)

In these rules players take turns in activating a unit, with some conditions requiring that a unit takes a compulsory action before any unit takes a voluntary action. Most units can only take one action themselves, plus one action passed to them by an eligible command unit. Units which take more than one action become Weary, which affects combat. Command units can have 2 or 3 actions, one of which must be an action by the command unit itself, the others could be command actions passed to other units. We had some confusion about whether a Command Unit can command itself. But we worked it out and got it right in the end – they can’t because they use their actions on themselves as normal actions or reactions rather than commands.

The rules have 15 scenarios and a dozen deployment options, giving an extremely good variety of potential scenarios – well done Footsore!

We randomly chose the scenario and terrain for our games.

In our first game we played scenario 14 Stop the Messenger, in this scenario one player has to assign a message to a unit, and get that unit and message off the opposite table edge within 5 turns (a sixth turn is allowed if that would allow the messenger unit to escape). For this game we used deployment map 9:

Deployment 9

On our table a road ran down the central length with a number of buildings and fields to one side of the road and wooded areas on the other. In Barons War mounted units are not allowed to enter area terrain such as woods.

I won the die roll and elected to be the side with the message.

Stephen deployed his archers as far forward as he could, supported by his Green Spearmen. His Dismounted Knights were deployed to the Archer’s left, in the village area, and his Regular Spearmen deployed on his right flank.

I deployed my Spearmen on the road as far forward as I could within my deployment zone, immediately in front of Stephen’s bowmen. I placed my green bowmen on the village side of the road, and the crossbowmen on the wooded side. The Knights were on the road behind the Spearmen and the Mounted Sergeants (with the message) were behind the crossbowmen.

Due to deployment restrictions Stephen was able to deduce that the message was with either the Knights, Mounted Sergeants or Crossbowmen, so he knew where to focus his efforts.

Stephen won initiative on the first turn and loosed arrows at my Spearmen to little effect. (Stephen: not that I’m getting the excuses in or anything, but the dice rolling was a bit one-sided)

On my first activation I charged my Spearmen into Stephen’s bowmen killing a couple of them and forcing them back. Stephen’s foot Knights advanced and my bowmen loosed at them initially with their own action, and then for a second time when ordered to do so by the Mounted Lord. Initially we forgot to perform the morale tests to determine whether the receiving unit acted on the order given (it was our first game, Stephen: – and we continued to forget to do this all day, even after we realised we’d forgotten to do this!). Despite being wearied by the two actions the archers did cause some casualties on Stephen’s Knights. Both of us advanced our other units.

On the second turn my Spearmen charged Stephen’s bowmen killing a couple more but suffering a loss in return. (Stephen: it’s worth pointing out that in the game a roll of 10 by the attacker can only be defended by a roll of 10. All day Andy rolled lots of 10s and I didn’t…)

The crossbows had line of sight to one of Stephen’s units of Spearmen and loosed bolts at them. Stephen moved his Green Spearmen to support his Regulars, expecting I would send the Knights or Sergeants forward with the message. (Stephen: for the life of me I can’t think why I positioned my regular spearmen right at the back when all my other troops had been deployed forward. They spent the game trying to advance, from a distance, against Andy’s crossbows and demon dice-rolling. The inevitable happened)

Andy’s spearmen force back Stephen’s archers

On the third turn Stephen advanced his Foot Knights over a wall and hedge advancing on my Green Archers, who responded with a flight of arrows despatching another Knight.

Andy’s green bowmen thinning out Stephen’s Welsh Knights

Following another round of archery, the Knights failed their subsequent morale test and decided caution was the better part of valour, heading for the nearest table edge. (Stephen: OK, OK, they were Broken and had to flee).

Stephen’s Welsh Knights run from the field.

The Mounted Sergeants and the Lord followed up the crossbows, urging them on.

Knights and sergeants urge the crossbows forward

On the next round Stephen’s Green Spearmen charged my Regular Spearmen, only to be thrown back with casualties and also failing their Morale test.

Spearmen charge each other

My crossbowmen advanced, with the Sergeants and Knights following.

English knights skulking around the back

On the fourth round my Crossbows moved out of the path of the Sergeants, only for them to be charged by Stephen’s Regular Spearmen, a crossbowman fell, but they forced the Spearmen back with the Spearmen becoming Broken.

With their path now clear the Mounted Sergeants surged forwards with a run action, moving 16” towards the table edge.

At this point Stephen conceded the game. (Stephen: no point in being a damned fool about it when you know you’ve lost). Although I couldn’t quite get the Sergeants off the table in the fifth round, Stephen had nothing close enough to stop them and I could invoke the sixth round and escape the table.

For our second game Stephen decided to tweak his army, removing the unit of 6 Green Spearmen and adding a unit of 8 Green Bowmen (both worth 72 points). I kept the same army.

Our second game was Scenario 8, Take and Hold. We designated the three objectives, one near the centre of the table and the others roughly equal distances from our base edges. The victory conditions for this scenario are that at the end of each of the first four rounds a player controlling an objective accrues one victory point. At beginning of the fifth and final round control of an objective gains the holder 3 points.

We chose deployment option 3, using the long edges as our deployment zones, each having one objective immediately under our control. We left the table layout pretty much as for the first game.

Deployment 3

Stephen deployed his green archers in the middle of his deployment zone, opposite the central objective, with his regular archers to their right. (Stephen: I knew my two archer units would be in a strong position, able to take up a defensive stance behind a hedge, and then pepper Andy’s troops as they tried to capture the central objective). His lord and retinue of Knights deployed on a side road to the left, with his Spearmen further to the left among some farm buildings.

I deployed my Spearmen on one of the objectives, with the Lord to their right and the Crossbowmen further to the right. The Mounted Sergeants were roughly in the middle of the table, behind a wood separating them from the central objective, with my Green Bowmen to their left.

On the first turn I advanced my Crossbowmen to a wall at the side of the road and gave them a second action from the Lord to shoot at Stephen’s Spearmen, causing a casualty. My Sergeants advanced round the wood, but could not get quite close enough to claim victory points for the central objective. Stephen advanced his forces across the board.

On the second turn my Sergeants reached the central objective but Stephen’s archery forced my Mounted Sergeants back, (Stephen: see – I told you), so no points for me next turn. The Crossbowmen continued to pelt Stephen’s Spearmen forcing them back, but on the other flank my Green Bowmen were losing the duel with Stephen’s archers (Stephen: again, I told you so). Stephen managed to advance his central archers to the hedge separating the field from the road, and placing them within control distance of the central objective (the Celtic Cross).

Welsh archers draw bows to shoot Andy

On each of the first two rounds both of us claimed 1 VP each, so going into round 3 the score was 2 all.

At the beginning of the third round Stephen claimed points for both the central objective and the one nearest his baseline, taking a 1-point lead as I only received one VP.

Stephen’s foot knights advanced up the side road, and came within line of sight and range of my Lord, so I sent him and his escort charging forwards, only to lose the melee (Stephen: good old Sir Owain!) and be pushed back into my Spearmen pushing them off the objective I controlled. My Crossbowmen took a short move to get in a position where some of them could shoot at Stephen’s Knights, Shaking them and forcing them back down the side road.

On my left flank my Sergeants and Archers succumbed to Stephen’s archery (Stephen: yay!), leaving the left flank undefended.

However, as my last action of the turn I managed to charge my Spearmen into Stephen’s Bowmen holding the central objective forcing them back and taking it back under control. (Stephen: I knew my control of the central objective was tentative – it was controlled by my weakest troops (the green archers) and wouldn’t stand up to a charge).

At the start of the fourth round, I got the extra VP for controlling the central objective tying the score at 5 all.

My Lord charged forwards again, taking advantage of Stephen’s Knights Shaken status and forcing them further back down the side road. My Crossbowmen moved back to the wall and finally sent Stephen’s Spearmen running from the table.

At the beginning of round 5 I controlled two objectives, netting 6 VP, while Stephen only had 1, gaining 3, the score was now 11-8 in my favour.

The last round was a bit of an anti-climax, Stephen had nothing he could use to retake the central objective, I couldn’t reach the objective he controlled and my Crossbowmen had no targets, so the turn ended with a final score of 13-9 to me.

I’ll leave the final words to Stephen:

I enjoyed playing Barons’ War a great deal. We used 500 point armies because it was a first game, but I think we’ll ramp it up to 1000 points next time, split between two players per side. That’ll give a game with more depth and ebb and flow.

During our game we frequently referred to the rules. It didn’t always need it, we were just being conscientious that we were doing things right from the start. We had a few rules queries that we couldn’t find answers to on the day, though I think we did it right in the end. Having time to go through the rulebook that evening we found the answers to our questions, so it’s all in there. I also pinged a couple of queries to Andy Hobday and he replied very promptly (well done Andy!) – he confirmed that what we’d done was right.

I can see future games moving along nice and quickly with minimal reference to the rules. A decent roster sheet with special abilities on it will help, and a re-worked QRF will also assist (the one that comes with the book is 4 pages long! But I reckon there’s a lot of things on it that will become second nature and wouldn’t be needed, so I am sure we can get it down to a more manageable 2 sides).

I enjoyed it a lot. It scratches my 13th century itch (and the 13th century is my favourite period and what my entire education history is focussed on).

Salute 2021 Trophy and Society Meeting 13th November 2021

The Society has been busy this weekend jut passed, a small contingent ventured to ExCeL for the delayed Salute 2020 (or 2021?) whilst others attended the normal society meeting. First up, Salute. Andy’s thoughts with pictures by John, Mark and Andy.

Five of the membership, John, Brian, Mark, Marcus and Andy, attended Salute putting on Marcus’ Pulp participation game “Biggles and the Island at the Top of the World“.

The theme for the show was the Battle of Britain. The 2020 show was intended to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the battle. Centrally displayed in the hall were a replica Spitfire and Hurricane, with some RAF reenactors making an appearance after the photo was taken.

They say ExCeL looks like a hanger…

I got the impression that Salute hired more of ExCeL than usual, to space us out more, although I also understand there were fewer games and traders scheduled to attend than in “normal” years; and there were a few “no shows” in both categories.

Salute General view. More spaced out than usual, and perhaps fewer attendees?

In Marcus’ game Biggles is searching a lost Artic island for a missing Professor and the strange artefacts he was studying.

Biggle’s party deplane from their Walrus

His party discover a secret labyrinth, with ever changing chambers and passages.

The labyrinth awaits the explorers

However he was not alone, a party of Nazis with unworldly weapons were also trying to recover the Professor.

The German’s advanced submarine

The Russians had also sent an NKVD team to prevent the Nazis securing their objective.

The Soviet NKVD disembark from their Aerosan

And finally, a lost tribe of Vikings were hellbent on preventing anyone from leaving the island with the Ragnarok Stones, the phenomena the Professor had been studying.

The Vikings patrol the labyrinth

We ran several games throughout the day, with up to four members of the public taking control of one of the four parties.

A selection of photos from the games:

Vikings find the secret chamber
Biggles faces down the NKVD
The Germans find themselves boxed in

We are pleased to announce that the game won the Jim Clarke Memorial Award for the Best Science Fiction / Fantasy game at Salute.

The Jim Clark Memorial Award for the Best Science Fiction / Fantasy Game

Meanwhile, back at the regular Society meeting, other members were running a series of games. Photos courtesy of Mark J and Stephen.

First off Mark J and Pete ran a game of Fields of Glory, pitching Mark’s Hundred Years War English against Pete’s Hungarians.

FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians
FOG Ancients – HYW English vs Hungarians

The first battle was won by the English, the Hungarian Knights couldn’t cope with longbows and stakes. The Hungarians won the second battle by focusing on the men at arms and drawing the longbow fire away from the knights. So, honours even.

Alan ran a Star Wars X-Wing game.

Star Wars X-Wing
Star Wars X-Wing
Star Wars X-Wing

And finally Stephen ran a Stargrave game – A Hive of Scum and Villainy:

‘A Hive of Scum and Villainy’ – a Stargrave adventure
‘A Hive of Scum and Villainy’ – a Stargrave adventure
‘A Hive of Scum and Villainy’ – a Stargrave adventure

Poor Communications

Stephen reports on a recent Sci Fi solo game using Black Ops

Since it was a wet weekend I thought I just fancied a game of something. Since I hadn’t played Black Ops for a while I thought that’s what I’d do.

I went with a simple meeting engagement. Each side had 100 points each. The human squad had two fireteams of five men – in the first was the leader, heavy weapons support, a technical expert, and two troopers. In the second was another heavy weapons support, a sniper, and three troopers. The droids had three fireteams of five, each consisting of a heavy weapon support and four troopers.

Droids occupy the relay station

The idea behind the scenario is that the droid army has captured a human communications station and the human squad has to go in, recapture it, and get it online. They have seven turns to do that and get to safety.

Moving through the cargo crates

Turn One

Black Ops is a card activation system. Each troop type has two cards in the deck and when they are drawn a model can take one action (e.g. the human Specialist card is drawn – the technical expert and sniper can each take an action). In addition, the leader gets a bonus third card which can be used to activate a third time or he can order a model within 6” to take a third action. Simple enough.

Get some! Get some!

On the first turn it seemed like there were only droid cards in the deck, all the droids had taken one action, and the droid troopers had taken their second, before one of the human cards came up. This allowed the droids to make a quick advance and move up to halfway across the board (I was using my smaller 2’x3’ board). This put the humans on a back foot, particularly the sniper (private Urek Ricci) who I had wanted to move up to an advantageous position but this was now denied because the droids, ZX81 and CPC464, had moved so far forward.

Sniper Ricci takes aim

Turn Two

The human leader, Sergeant Waylan Gomez, led his team up through some cargo containers. Urek Ricci advanced on another position and took a quick snapshot with his rifle at ZX81 – he missed. I’d made the terrain nice and close, to eliminate too many long-range avenues of fire that could dominate, so models had to move carefully to ensure they couldn’t be seen. The droids well and truly moved into the comms relay station area and crossed it safely to cover the approach of the humans.

Droids advance in strength

Turn Three

The humans had to get a move on. Private Yan Obrand, with his M77 plasma gun, saw the droids Dragon 32 and HP85 moving around the back of the comms relay. He let rip, but missed. He then took a second burst and this time both droids went down! First kill to the humans. Urek also had a go with his sniper rifle at the droids in the station compound, this time with a steady hand and good rest for his weapon. But he missed again! Close to Urek was private Cove Longstern and he moved up to put some suppressive fire down. The droids responded by moving an entire squad against Ricci and Longstern. They opened up but failed to hit anything. Sergeant Gomez with specialist Sorel Marsden and private Dorian Zenward continued to sidle through the containers trying to find a way to the relay station.

Yan Obrand lays down covering fire

Turn Four

Again, Urek Ricci took a shot and again he missed! Some sniper he was turning out to be. That would be his last shot though, because ZX81 returned fire and he went down. Two of the droids moved up to occupy his position where they would be able to make a flanking attack on the rest of the human squad. Private Longstern gave fire and a droid went down. But then C64 took a shot and it was bad news for Cove Longstern – it was the end of his game.

The firefight hots up

Turn Five

The droids sought to consolidate their position and see if they could exploit the flank they’d opened up. More droids moved up. Another pair of droids, one armed with a heavy kinetic lance, tried to counter the advance of Yan, Sorel Marsden, and Dorian Zenward. These three had advanced to the side of the comms station, but were waiting for the right moment to break cover and make a dash for the doors. Sergeant Gomez took private Uriah West to shore up the weakened flank left vulnerable after Ricci and Longstern had been taken down.

You go that way and we’ll give you cover

Turn Six

With not much time left it was obvious the humans had to get a move on. It was already looking extremely unlikely they would have time to re-enable the relay station and get off board so if they were to they would have to get moving. With that in mind, Yan, Sorel, and Dorian moved up to the station. Immediately the droids opened up and took Dorian Zenward out. But on their second activation Yan put down some suppressive fire and Marsden managed to unlock the station and get it back online. First part of the mission complete!

Behind the back of the bike sheds

Turn Seven

Last turn syndrome – go for it! So the station was working but could they get away? It pretty much happened how you think it would – the humans made a dash for the table edge and the droids opened up where they could.

In the end none of the humans escaped. The station had been reactivated but they hadn’t quite got away. Human loses were four models, and droid loses were six – so a pretty even ratio. The humans could claim a partial success.

Hurry up! We’ve got company!

On Farthest Tides’ – Dire Straits

John’s latest report on Li Chee the Pirate Queen’s feud with Admiral Feng Shui using Ganesha Games Galleys and Galleons rules.

Months had passed since Li Chee’s raid on Qui Nhon harbour, the junk she had captured now had a new crew and was ready for action.

Meanwhile Admiral Feng Shui set sail with his treasure ships hoping to reach India safely but first he had to negotiate the Straits of Molucca. He had taken the precaution of hiring a trusty Proa to act as pilot, he would be glad of this before the day was out. It was here, close to the dreaded ‘Whirlpool of Indesit’, that Li Chee planned her ambush and with some of the treasure won at Qui Nhon she had enlisted the help of some head hunters, Sumatran cannibals of terrifying reputation.

Making good use of the wind, the Treasure fleet made stately progress through the straits, until…

The trap is sprung!

The new Pirate junk captured at Qui Nhon and refitted, moves in to attack a Treasure Ship, keen to show her mettle.

The new Pirate junk hits the Treasure Ship with a short-range broadside rake the Treasure Ship suffers 2 points of damage as it’s tripled (Treasure Ship has reinforced hull but combat factor reduced by firing full broadside and short-range rake). Junks combat factor increased by one as firing from short range. The vessel also takes a critical hit (4) – Rudder struck!

First blood to the pirates, it’s a devastating attack that the Treasure Ship will struggle to recover from. Li Chee attempts the same tactic on the small Merchant Junk with less success.

LI Chee curses her gunners as they only score one point of damage on the Merchant Junk

The badly damaged Treasure Ship attempts a risky manoeuvre to avoid the attentions of the Pirate Junks.

Things are looking bleak for the Treasure Ship but 3 successful activation rolls allow it to change course avoiding the Head hunters and the junk. Will it escape? – We shall see.

Meanwhile the smaller Merchant Junk is unable to avoid a collision with the Pirate Queen’s ship and comes off worse.

Both vessels roll for damage. The Merchant Junk has a reinforced hull so takes a second point of damage whilst Li Chee is unaffected

Things were looking bad for the Treasure Fleet, with two junks badly damaged. Where was Admiral Feng Shui? He’d decided to hang back to prevent being cut off by the wind but horrified by what he could see before him, Feng Shui swung into action, attacking the pirate junk that had devastated the Treasure Ship. A Devastating cannonade from Feng Shui’s flagship ripped through the Pirate Junk.

The Pirate Junk is doubled and the critical hit sets it aflame!

The Pirate Junk’s crew manage to extinguish the fire but are so preoccupied and cannot prevent the Junk heading directly for an island.

Here the Junk has to roll 3 successful activations to put the fire out, which it does. Had it rolled a 1 on either of the red dice, it would have to take an all at sea roll which is bad news!

The Merchant Junk which collided with the Pirate Queen veers away but strays too close to the ‘Whirlpool of Indesit’ and is sucked in, never to be seen again. To this day, on still nights it’s said you can hear the mournful cries of the crew.

For the Whirlpool I decided that any vessel within S of the edge of the whirlpool at any point of its move was sucked in.

Meanwhile Feng Shui’s Junk comes under attack from the Head Hunters. No vessel is off limits, they just want a nice collection of skulls. They have enough actions to move up to the Flagship and grapple but frustratingly not enough to board.

Here two activations are required to cut the grapples. As a flagship, Feng Shui has an extra free activation. The grapples are cut. But there are no activations leftConcentrating on cutting the grappling ropes Feng Shui’s flagship is unable to avoid a collision with a Treasure Ship.

The ships collide with a destructive crash. Both vessels are badly damaged.

The collision roll is bad. Despite the reinforced hull, both vessels take 2 points of damage. Ouch!

The Pirate Queen opens fire on the badly damaged Treasure Ship which takes more damaged and is now crippled.

Whilst upwind, the damaged Pirate Junk manages to turn away from the island and manages to avoid foundering on the shallows by the skin of its teeth.
The Junk has to pass it’s Quality roll (2), three times as it’s travelling at L

Feng Shui’s nightmare day goes from bad to worse as the Flagship cannot avoid a second collision with the Treasure Ship. A gaping hole develops in the bows and despite the reinforced hull, the pumps can’t prevent the Flagship sinking. Feng Shui escapes, clinging to driftwood.

The Treasure Ship fails all its activations. This is a turnover; all un- activated vessels must move in a straight line and both vessels collide again.

With Admiral Feng Shui clinging to floating wreckage, Li Chee seizes her chance to board the damaged Treasure Ship.

The Treasure Ship is on a – 2 modifier (-1 Merchantman, -1 crippled), but with the Pirate Queen has ‘Derring do’ which reduces combat factors to 0 and Intimidating which gives +1

The damaged Pirate Junk which had escaped grounding also managed to avoid the ‘Whirlpool of Indesit’ so now Li Chee had a huge prize and both pirate junks survived the encounter. Time to pay off the Head hunters cheaply, repair and refit the junks and spend days counting treasure. As Feng Shui drowned with his ship she looked forward to further profitable ventures, but first she needed a patron to establish bases for repair and re- victualling.

Feng Shui was grateful to be picked up by the Proa, though whilst he clung onto the outrigger, he pondered his next move. Returning to China was out of the question, an excruciating death at the hands of Emperor Ming the Merciless lay in wait. Yet if he tried to make a new life here, the long hands of Ming’s empire would grab him by the throat. What he needed was a Pirate Hunter and fast.

Appendix Vessel stats for the Engagement

SED NOMINI TUO DA GLORIAM

Stephen reports on a game of SAGA: Age of Crusades fought at a recent meeting, with occasional comments from his opponent, Andy, the editor. For those whose schoolboy Latin is a little rusty, the title translates as “But give glory to your name”…

Sir Fulkes LaMont was awakened early by the wailing of the muzzerain. He calmly threw aside the tent flap, the sun still low and it’s warm glow lighting up the sky like molten metal. There was no breeze. Nothing. Just the call to prayers carried across the still air. Sir Fulkes looked out to the silhouette of the distant city walls, the tall towers of the mosques rising above all, and the cries of the muzzerain carrying far…

It’s been the best part of 18 months since I have had a game of Saga. During The Great Plague I  painted a Saracen army and since we agreed we’d have a game of Saga at the club, it was time for them to whet their blades.

Saracen Ghazis Draw Bows

Andy took the Saracens and I had the Templars (Milites Christi in Saga: Age of Crusades terms). We went with 5 points each. The Saracen force was entirely mounted and had a warlord, three points of Ghulams (hearthguard) and two points of Ghazis with composite bows (warriors). The Templars had a mounted warlord with three points of mounted knights (hearthguard), one point of crossbows (warriors) and one point of foot sergeants (warriors).

The table was set up and then, using the Book of Battles, we made a roll for deployment (Confusion), Duration (Cautious), Special Rules (A Dash of Nostalgia), and Victory Conditions (Overrun).

Spear of Distance vs Axe of Measurement

So, Andy took first move. And forward the Saracens went. He took quite a wild move on my right flank, obviously trying to outflank the crossbows, and maybe come around the back. (Andy: I was trying to draw one or two of Stephen’s units off to counter the Ghazis leaving him weaker in the centre). On my turn I put the crossbows on top of the hill where they could have a good field of fire. The knights went forward, and I repositioned the warlord behind some rocks – a defensive position until I could see what Andy intended on doing (Andy: Leading from the back eh?).

Saracens Advance

What I noticed was that Andy had shifted his warlord forward, just ahead of the rest of his army. I’m sure Andy will claim that’s because he was bold and daring, but I reckon it was because he wasn’t concentrating. (Andy: I’d like to claim that too, but Stephen was right). This was too good a target to ignore, so Sir Fulkes ordered his knights to charge and in they went!

Fortunately for the Saracen emir he had a unit of Ghulams nearby, which is just as well because otherwise he would have ended up dead! Instead, those bold warriors laid down their lives for their leader. Badly shaken, badly beaten, and badly fatigued, the Saracen warlord boldly fled to the rear of the table, as far away as he could get from the knights.

Saracen Ghulams and Warlord

Now, one should keep in mind that we’d never played Age of Crusades before and not only that, but we seldom, if ever, use mounted troops in previous games of Saga. That, added to the fact that it had been a long time since playing, meant there was some learning to do. Andy’s Ghazis also had composite bows, which activate differently to regular bows. (Andy: These units have free Shooting activations, but cannot do two such actions consecutively). So there were some inevitable teething problems. From my perspective I felt that Andy, initially anyway, was using his Ghazis like regular fighting troops. Although as the game progressed he seemed to get the hang of using them to skirmish – dashing in, loosing their arrows, then off again. (Andy: I was trying to combine Shooting and Movement, took me a few turns to get it right).

Skirmishing Saracen Cavalry

The Ghazis on my right moved within crossbow range and took a salvo for their troubles. Not too damaging, but enough to make him start to think about the Saracen battleboard properly. Meanwhile, on my left where the other unit of Ghazis were, they started harrying my spearmen. Still can’t think what made me take dismounted warriors when I had the option to have them mounted. Oh well. They were always going to be out of their depth and prone to attacks from all the fast moving cavalry around them.

Crusader Spearmen

Realising the game was going to be won or lost in the centre, I pushed my two units of knights forward. This would mean I might get outflanked on both sides – my hope was the crossbows would tie Andy down on the right and the spearmen would hold him off on the left. I was partly right.

Templars Charge Forth

We had an almighty clash in the centre. My knights had gone forward. I’d combined my three points of hearthguard into two units of six, whilst Andy had kept his three points in three units of four. One of those had been decimated whilst saving the skin of the Saracen warlord. But now the other two units took it in turns to charge my knights. Andy came out slightly on top of that one (he lost four models, I lost five). And then I sent my spearmen in, trying to take the heat off the knights. But that didn’t go too well for them (Andy: I managed to follow up a Shooting attack by the Ghazis with a subsequent charge from the Ghulams).

Surrounded and Doomed

So we had a five turn game limit. Along came turn five and, to be honest, it was looking fairly even to me. You normally expect your opponent to throw everything at you on the last turn but Andy was surprisingly restrained. (Andy: I’ll blame my SAGA dice).

‘I’ll show him,’ I thought. I loaded up my battleboard so my few remaining knights could charge in to his unit of Ghazis. It went alright – the Orison ability of the Templars saved their skins, and sent some of the Saracens packing.

And that was it. Game over. We totted up points and the final result was…5 points to the Saracens, and 11 points to the Templars.

Club meeting 23rd October

A quick round up of the games at the recent club meeting, four scales, four periods.

First up, a 15mm War of the Roses game between Stephen & Tony (Lancastran) and Jeremey and Andy (Yorkist) using Sword and Spear second edition rules.

Jeremey added some flavour with some random event cards, one to be drawn by each player. The four used in this game were:

Jeremey’s random event cards

Jeremey will write up the game, so I won’t go into detail on how the cards were used here.

Andy’s Yorkist Archers and Crossbows occupy hill as the Lancastrians approach
Andy’s command.
Tony’s Border Horse take on Jeremey’s Men at Arms (with the banner)
The Yorkist line seen from the Lancastrian’s perspective

Next up Mark, David and Alan fought a battle in the War of the Spanish Succession using Mark’s 6mm collection and his own rules.

The battle lines are drawn
The Grand Alliance Lines
Alliance infantry and train.

Cavalry advance
Local firefight

Moving on several centuries, we come to 2004, Fallujah, using Force on Force rules. This 20mm collection was put together during the lockdown by Peter, this is its first outing at the club. Peter was joined by John, Brett, Colin and the other Mark.

Marines on the roof
Marines take casualties while advancing
Pilot’s eye view
Insurgents
The Ruins of Fallujah
Insurgents around a skip
Insurgents in the open

And finally we move into the near future, with an excursion into Zona Alfa. John (another one) took Eric through the rules with a series of short scenarios using his 28mm collection.

Stalkers encounter some mutant dogs
Hostiles approach
Zombies in the smoke
Close encounter of the gruesome mutant kind
Where did everybody go?
Start of the next mission, all seems quiet… too quiet!
Creeping through the undergrowth
Objective taken, but man down.
Anomalies abound

Club Meeting 9th October 2021

A short pictorial round up of the games at the latest meeting.

First up a couple of FOG Ancients games.

6mm FOG Roman Civil War
6mm FOG Ancient British Chariots
6mm FOG Ancient British Warband

Next, on a planet far, far away, Alan ran a couple of games using Fistful of Lead Galactic Heroes rules.

Star Wars Imperials
Star Wars Battlefield
Star Wars Imperial All Terrain Scout Transport
Star Wars Rebels annoy the native fauna

Lastly Several SAGA Games. Stephen and Andy in the Age of Crusades, Templars vs Saracens.

SAGA Age of Crusades deployment
SAGA Age of Crusades. Salim al-Katid’s Warband on parade

There will be a full write up of this game in a couple of week’s time.

Jeremey and Tony were playing SAGA Age of Vikings, Norse-Gaels vs Anglo Saxons.

SAGA Age of Vikings, Jeremey’s Anglo Saxon Warband
SAGA Age of Vikings, Tony’s Norse-Gaels
SAGA Age of Vikings Warbands Clash

Later in the afternoon Tony (Norse-Gaels) and Jeremey and Andy (both Vikings) had a couple of three handed games fighting to control a Bard, after all, he who controls the bard writes the saga.

SAGA Age of Vikings, Three way fight for the Bard. Tony’s Norse Gaels top left, Jeremey’s Vikings top right and Andy’s Vikings at the bottom
SAGA Age of Vikings, second battle for the Bard. Andy’s warband eliminated, the Bard in Jeremey’s protective custody while Tony’s Norse-Gaels look on.

Stargrave – Return to Fenris – Part 2

Andy tells the story of the Fenris mission from a different perspective.

Following the limited success of the first mission to Denides, Captain Ash de Vere set about recruiting replacements for the losses incurred, Eric Olsen, the First Mate and Sam Fleet, a pathfinder had both died during the mission.

The first order of business was to recruit a new First Mate, by a stroke of fate the best candidate Ash could find was also called Eric, Eric Bamburgh. After some reflection Ash decided the crew really ought to have the services of a medic, and fortunately the new first mate knew of a good man called Dan McIntyre who was looking for a new berth.

As the two new crewmen were settling in Patina dZuk, one of the Runners Ash had engaged for the last mission, popped in and asked Ash if he could stump up 20 credits to get her the kit needed to become a Chisler. As there was just enough credit remaining after hiring Dan, Ash agreed.

So, with the crew back up to full strength Ash set about looking for a new mission to bolster the funds. An information broker Ash knew, Germy, had heard some rumours that Fenris, site of one of the major battles in the Robot Wars, was awash with loot and knew of potential buyers for any physical loot that Ash could find. What Germy didn’t say was how many robots remained active on the surface of Fenris…

Ash and Eric tried to lay some groundwork for the mission, Ash tried his usual sources for some high impact ammunition, but none was to be found. Eric tried greasing some palms to get possible rival crews to look the other way at an opportune moment, but there were no takers.

As Ash set the shuttle down on Fenris he briefed his crew. He would lead one team with Charlie, Jen and Patina. Eric would lead a second team with Skel, Honu and Offler. Bren, who hadn’t fully recovered from the injuries sustained on Denides, and the new medic Dan would be the reserve.

As the teams approached the ruins of a town movement could be seen, several of the Fenris incident robots were moving around the town.

Robots patrolling

In addition, more than one other crew were in the town, no doubt searching for the same loot Ash was after.

Tony’s crew

Ash led his team towards Tony’s crew, an ex-military group judging by their uniforms, activating his Energy Shield as he moved through the ruins.

Ash’s team took up positions behind some rocks while Patina got out her lock picks and set to opening a promising looking crate. Success, unlocked!

As Patina checked the contents of the crate she came under fire from Tony’s crew, presumably trying to take her out so they could steal the loot.

Ash and the rest of the team returned fire at Tony’s crew, giving the wounded Patina the chance to fall back with the loot behind some rocks to take her out of the line of fire. Ash told Patina to get back to the Troubadour with the loot as fast as she could; he and the rest of the team would cover her retreat.

A wounded Patina and her loot.

In the ensuing firefight Jen was knocked down, and as Ash and Charlie were both hit before they pulled back. As did Tony’s crew, perhaps they realised they weren’t going to be able to catch Patina.

Meanwhile, Eric’s team had moved into a different part of the ruins searching for more loot.

Eric’s team

As they advanced a clanking sound was heard behind them, one of the Fenris Robots had appeared from the ruins and opened fire, wounding Skel.

Bren and Dan came to Skel’s aid, Bren taking out the robot, and Dan treating Skel’s injuries.

Dan treats Skel with Bren on guard

Honu took up a position to guard the right flank, hunkering down amid the ruins. Good job too as another Robot moved up, firing on and wounding Honu. In returning fire Honu managed to put the Robot down.

Honu takes cover

While Honu dealt with the robot, Eric and Offler advanced through the ruins, finding another crate.

Offler and Eric find some loot

As they examined the crate they came under fire from Stephen’s crew, who seemed to be concentrating their fire on Offler. She was knocked down, and after returning fire Eric pulled back to some cover, with Bren coming up to support.

For some unknown reason the crew that had shot Offler then fell back, giving Eric the chance to go back and unlock the loot.

With Bren and Honu covering, Eric grabbed the loot and headed back toward the ship, only for yet another robot to appear! Luckily for the crew the combined fire of Bren, Honu and Eric managed to take down the robot, although Bren’s carbine jammed part way through the firefight.

With the robot down Eric’s team made good their escape, with Eric wondering why they had been robot magnets.

Eric’s team fall back with the loot (White skull denotes Bren’s jammed Carbine)

Once the Troubadour had left orbit, Dan took Jen and Offler into the sick bay to treat their wounds. Jen was remarkably uninjured after all, it must have been just a glancing blow, but Offler was in worse condition. Dan managed to patch her up, but she would not be back to full strength for a while.

Back at the Grand Market, Ash decided not to fence the loot through Germy, he hadn’t forgiven Germy for the bad intel on the robots. After some haggling, he found buyers for the Trade Goods and Alien Artefact they had recovered, netting 250 and 400 credits respectively. Ash would have to think on how to spend the hard-earned credits.

The crew gained 135 experience from the mission, enabling Eric to advance a level.

The End ???

 

MWS Meeting 25th September

A pictorial round up of our latest meeting. Five games systems in progress:

6mm FoG Ancient / Medieval: Late Hungarian vs Condotta Italian

Light Cavalry
The lines approach.
Contact!
Artillery getting nervous.

15mm War of Spanish Succession: France vs Allies. Field of Battle, 3rd Edition (Piquet)

Alliance infantry advance

6mm Peninsular War Napoleonic Peninsular, French vs Spanish & British/Portuguese

John La – Gaslands

Start Line for the Death Race
Andy’s first dice roll, not a good start!
John rams Chris’s Taxi
First two through gate 2, weapons hot!
Eric shows Andy how the dice should be rolled
Andy still hasn’t learned how to roll.
Chris’s Mini gets revenge on John (7 hits!)
Second Game (Arena of Death). Chris’ Land Rover demonstrates its superior off road performance.

28mm Dragon Rampant: Dwarves vs The Undead

Dwarf Crossbows, and baggage.
Dwarf Axes
Dwarf Main force
The Dwarves’ Bear allies are pushed back by the undead (where’s Goldilocks when you need her?)
Dwarves test the waters at the ford as the Ghouls approach
The remainder of the Skeletons take on some Dwarf Crossbows

And sometimes we don’t play games

Having lost his Dragon Rampant game, Tony paints some Dwarf reinforcements.