The Battle of Northampton – 10th July 1460

Stephen continues his refight of the War of the Roses…

This one was never going to go well for the Lancastrians.

This is the third battle in my plan to re-fight all major encounters of the War of the Roses. Like previous games I am using the Basic Impetus rules. There were a couple of important aspects to this battle that had to be reflected if it were to be a faithful re-fight.

Firstly, due to the rain (typical British summer) the Lancastrian artillery could not fire due to wet powder. They were in the line but totally ineffective. That was easily dealt with.

The Lancastrian Battle Line

The second, and most important thing, was Lord Grey’s betrayal of King Henry. As Warwick and the Yorkist army marched north they entered into secret talks with Grey and promised they would not harm him in return for his help. What happened in the actual battle was that the Earl of March (on the Yorkist left flank) advanced against Grey (on the Lancastrian right). As March’s retinue crossed the ditch and bank Grey’s men gave way and allowed them to roll up the Lancastrian line and capture King Henry.

This would have to be reflected. I was in two minds about how to deal with this. It didn’t help that this would be a solo game so I could hardly spring a surprise on myself. In the end, I decided that if March’s troops neither fired nor attacked Grey’s troops then Grey would give way when contacted (effectively counting as loses against the Lancastrian army). This, of course, would have a major impact on the Lancastrian army, but then that’s exactly what it had in reality!

Order of Battle

OK, so let’s get on with the battle.

The Lancastrian army had ensconced themselves in a bend in the river Nene on the opposite bank from Northampton. They had put a ditch and defences in front of their position. King Henry VI was with them but the army was led by the Duke of Buckingham.

The Yorkist forces were led by the Earl of Warwick with Lord Fauconberg on the right and the Earl of March on the left. With Warwick’s skullduggery and plotting with Grey, the advance of the Yorkist forces was led by March.

Armies Deployed

Like the previous two battles, this was little more than an attack on a prepared position. Therefore, I gave the Yorkists the initiative until things got within bow range.

The last thing the Lancastrians wanted was poor dice rolling. Being in a stationary position meant their fire should be more effective. But no. The God of Battles (the dice) were against them. Warwick’s troops in the centre got within bow range of the artillery and they soon sent the gunners packing.

Warwick Urges His Men Forward

March’s men started moving up. Now, it may seem like it would be a done deal – why would I engage the Lancastrian line with March’s men? However, I did decide that if the Lancastrians gave a good account and their bowfire proved effective, and the Yorkist looked like they would take a beating, that this would prove enough motivation for Grey to reconsider and then engage March’s troops. However, the poor rolls by the Lancastrians made that look unlikely.

Fauconberg also started exchanging bowfire with the Earl of Shrewsbury.

A couple more turns, and it still wasn’t looking good for Buckingham and his men. In truth, neither side was rolling that well for their archers, but the Yorkists had the edge. March’s men carried on with their advance, still holding back from loosing their arrows.

The First Casualties

Buckingham moved up his plate armoured men at arms and his billmen, hoping the Yorkists would have the decency to engage in melee rather then sit back and keep shooting.

March’s Troops Contact Grey’s

Finally, March’s men started clambering over the Lancastrian defences. No casualties had been caused to Grey’s men and so Grey dutifully pulled back and allowed March into the Lancastrian defences!

Across The Line They Go

It was now only a matter of time. It wasn’t a case of if the Lancastrians would lose but how much damage they could cause the Yorkists before they did.

March Engages Buckingham

Buckingham swung his billmen around to try and put something in the way of March’s assault. However, the levy spearmen in March’s retinue got stuck in and charged the Lancastrian archers. After a brief melee the archers fell to the spearmen.

And that was that!

The Battle Is Over

A Yorkist win. It had been a convincing win at that – Warwick’s troops hadn’t taken a single casualty. Exactly how it happened historically. The real battle lasted less than an hour and my re-fight took only a bit longer.

Next up then, is the battle of Wakefield. Unfortunately I will have to bypass that one – Wakefield was a large cavalry engagement and I don’t have anywhere near enough cavalry bases. Shame, because the castle would make a great backdrop to the battle. This one would make a good club game when we can get back together.

Therefore, I’ll move on to Mortimer’s Cross…

Conqueror Model Dwarves

Stephen gives us the lowdown on his latest painting project…

When Lockdown Part 1 kicked off I decided that I would not be buying loads of new miniatures since there was no knowing when we would be meeting again.

I bought some odds and sods to fill gaps in collections but wouldn’t be starting any new projects. And I’ve kept to that.

However.

Just before Christmas I saw Conqueror Models’ range of 28mm dwarves. These were of the same style as the original Vendel Miniatures dwarves. There’s a good reason for that – same sculptor (Colin Patten). Years ago I bought a few of the Vendel dwarves and always intended on buying some more. Before I could do that Vendel stopped selling them and they just disappeared.

I was absolutely gutted.

I’ve always liked the idea of a dwarven army but hadn’t really liked the style of dwarves that have been available up until now – I’m really not a fan of that GW cartoon style where it’s all belly and no legs.

So seeing the Conqueror Models range I thought, ‘That’s it! That’s what I want!’

Having been stung by the Vendel range disappearing I decided that I wasn’t going to let this lot pass me by. And so, since Christmas was on the horizon and because I realised that, on balance, this year I had been a good boy, I decided that I would treat myself and buy myself lots of dwarves – enough for a whole army, just in case the same happened to these.

Since they were of the same style as the Vendel ones, and since I had some Vendel dwarves, I mixed them in with the units I bought.

I decided to build these in Dragon Rampant sized units. Although, given their ‘historical’ style in arms and armour, I think I will be tempted to use them with the Anglo Dane battleboard in Saga as well (yeah, I know there’s Saga Myth & Magic, but from what I’ve heard that falls in to the same trap as nearly all fantasy rules – lots of ‘special’ rules that are exceptions to the main rules and just tie it in knots).

Anyway.

Conqueror actually do unarmoured dwarven fyrd as well, but I didn’t get any of them. To my mind I wanted my dwarves to comprise predominantly heavy infantry in mail. I bought a few packs of the spearmen which, when mixed in with the Vendel models with hand weapons,, would give a good mix to the unit. I also chose to buy the thrusting spear poses (you can get them upright) because they make the unit look more dynamic. I did two units of 12 each having the same shield design and a war-banner.

Warriors 1
Warriors 2

Conqueror do armoured and unarmoured archers (we’ll come to them in a minute), but I went with crossbows to make two units of heavy missiles.

Crossbows 1
Crossbows 2

Then came the axemen. I swapped the axes that came with the models (because the axe head looked a little large) and used some spare Gripping Beast dane-axes I had. These axemen can be used in one of two ways – either two units of elite infantry or as a single unit of heavy infantry (with the Offensive Weapons upgrade).

Daneaxes

And so on to the archers. I bought a pack of the unarmoured archers to use as dwarven scouts/rangers. And because of that I painted them in suitably earthy/green tones.

Scouts

Leading this bunch are the heroes and commander. I did a couple of weapon swaps here. One of them came with a daneaxe but I decided that I would put in a spare two-handed sword for variety. Other spare Gripping Beast hand weapons were used on some of the others.

Commander and Heroes

To round things out are a couple of beast units. First up is a pack of wolves (lesser warbeasts) and to scare the enemy is a Reaper Bones warbear (greater warbeasts).

Wolves and Warbear

That’s my dwarven army done. I can muster about 50 odd points (in Dragon Rampant terms) which means I can have a dwarven civil war or put together a single large dwarven host for a big smack up.

I love these Conqueror dwarves. Stylistically it’s just what I was looking for. They’ve been a real pleasure to paint as well – not too many fussy extra bits, nice areas to add a few designs to, and good poses. Definitely painter’s models. I’ve finally got the dwarf collection I’ve always wanted. It’s my army d’jour.

Nature vs the Resurrected

Andy reports on a game of Dragon Rampant organised by Jeremey to follow our AGM, played in an MS Teams meeting. With observations and comments from Stephen and Jeremey.

Jeremey organised the forces and set the terrain, and arranged 3 different cameras to show the battlefield. Having to provide both armies allowed him to use his Celtos undead army and his completely scratch built Rock and Wood army.

One of the camera views captured by Andy

The combatants were Stephen, with Mother Nature’s Finest lead by a Rock Lord; and Andy, with the Army of Darkness commanded by a Necromancer. Both sides totalled 35 points.

Mother Nature’s Finest

      • The Rock Lord: Greater Warbeasts, Cunning, Mystical Armour. (10 pts)
      • Rock Trolls: Lesser Warbeasts.(4 Pts)
      • Mini Ents: Lesser Warbeasts, Cunning. (6 pts)
      • Light Rockmen: Light Foot (3pts)
      • 2 x Heavy Rockmen: Heavy Foot, Offensive. (6 points each)

Army of Darkness

      • The Necromancer: Elite Foot, Spellcaster (10 pts)
      • Skeleton Scythes: Elite Foot, Undead/No Feelings (6 pts)
      • Zombies: Ravenous Horde, Undead/No Feelings (1 pt)
      • Skeleton Sickles: Light Foot, Offensive, Undead/No Feelings (5 pts)
      • Skeleton Spearmen: Light Foot, Undead/No Feelings (3 pts)
      • Wraiths: Bellicose Foot, Fear, Undead/No Feelings (6 pts)
      • Flesh Eaters: Bellicose Foot. (4 pts)

We decided that Jeremey would roll unit activation and courage tests, but that the generals would roll their attack and defence dice (Jeremey – we also decided that Andy and Steven were not allowed to moan about my dice rolling!). (Andy – Oh no we didn’t!)

Once the Armies were deployed the two Generals rolled for their Traits. Stephen’s 3D6 scored 13, lucky for him, this gave a result of Boneshaker, allowing him to automatically pass one Attack order per turn. Andy (or should I say Jeremey rolling on Andy’s behalf!) only scored 5, making his Necromancer Cowardly, no Attack orders for him. Well, there’s a certain narrative logic there.

After rolling for first turn Andy ordered his unit of Flesh Eaters (on the left flank) to advance to outflank Stephen’s Heavy Rockmen, needing a 5 or more on 2D6. It was not to be, sadly Jeremey rolled low and the Flesh Eater went nowhere. End of Andy’s first turn.

On Stephen’s turn all his movement activation rolls were successful (thanks Jeremey) and he advanced on a broad front.

The Skeleton Sicklemen occupy the hill

On Andy’s next turn he managed to advance a unit of Skeleton Sicklemen on the right flank to occupy a hill in front of Stephen’s Rock Trolls, but then failed the next activation. Back to Stephen.

Bonsai charge into the Zombies

Stephen’s Mini Ents (otherwise known as ‘Bonsais’) were now within movement range of Andy’s Zombies and were required to take a Wild Charge test, which they passed, so steamed in to the Zombies killing (?) 8 of the 12. The Zombies promptly failed their Courage test despite the proximity of the Necromancer, scoring less than 1, so they promptly routed of the board. Ta Jeremey.

The Wraiths counter attack and devestate the Bonsai

On Andy’s next turn the Mini Ents were now within Andy’s Wraiths move distance and following a Wild Charge Test the Wraiths went in, turning two Ents into kindling and causing the Ents to also catastrophically fail their courage test. One unit down on each side.

A wild charge sees the Rock Trolls hoping to take the top of the hill

On Stephen’s next turn his Rock Trolls were now within move distance of Andy’s Skeleton Sicklemen occupying the hill, they were obliged to take a Wild Charge test, which they passed and went in. One casualty on each side, both passed their courage tests and had taken equal losses, so the Rock Trolls bounced back leaving the Sicklemen controlling the hill. This would be replayed a couple of times, with the Rock Trolls throwing themselves at the Sicklemen and bouncing back until eventually they forced the Sicklemen back off the hill. The Rock Trolls followed up and eventually both sides had taken enough casualties for both to fail their courage tests and rout.

Heavy Rockmen infantry charge the Skeleton Spears

On the opposite flank, Stephen had advanced his Rock Lord to within Andy’s Flesh Eater’s move distance so they also had to take a Wild Charge test, which they failed and stayed rooted to the spot. Andy did manage to get his Skeleton Spearmen to form up in Shieldwall, expecting to be charged by the Rock Lord.

One of Stephen’s Heavy Rockmen (AC/DC or Van Halen?) units then charged Andy’s Skeleton Spearmen, who managed to beat them back. Andy then charged his Wraiths into the Heavy Rockmen causing a few casualties on each side, but both passed their courage tests.

The Wraiths and Rockmen exchange blows

Stephen then sent the Heavy Rockmen back into the Wraiths, this time both units failed their courage tests and routed from the table.

The Rock Lord charges the Flesh Eaters

The Rock Lord finally charged into the Flesh Eaters, causing enough casualties for them to fail their Courage test and flee the field.

As the battle drew to a conclusion Andy only had his Necromancer on the table, whereas Stephen has both his Rock Lord and Light Rockmen (Heart and Bon Jovi fans).

The Necromancers fate is sealed

Totalling up the losses, and comparing successful Quests, gave a Stephen a total of 10 Glory, and Andy -2 Glory as none of his Quests were achieved. A decisive victory to the forces of Nature.

The Necromancer will skulk back to his lair and set about reanimating another army.

The view from the other side of the hill (or Stephen’s viewpoint):

The final Glory totals don’t reflect how close the game was – for most of the game it looked like Andy the Necromancer would win. I often had to use my units in pairs, sending in one unit to soften the enemy up and then sending in another to finish things off. Both Andy and myself were cursed with Jeremey’s bloody woeful dice rolling for Courage tests (Jeremey – we agreed not to moan about my dice rolling) (Andy – No we didn’t). Andy was also beleaguered with poor Activation rolls at the start, which allowed me to advance on him and put him on the defensive (he seemed to spend most of his time forming Wall of Spears – probably needed to increase the armour of his skeletons).

Playing via Teams worked OK. There’s always going to be compromises – some of them could be seen as fog of war. The fact that Dragon Rampant is a simple game and we all knew the rules helped. Ultimately, it was a good opportunity to play soldiers with friends, no matter what the results were.

Jeremey – for this game I deliberately picked a ruleset we knew, went for a small battlefield and only one unit had any ranged attacks. This was all to allow the game to flow with the players only able to see the battlefield from the camera views.

The Hostage in Bunker C7

Club member John presents a recent Zona Alfa battle report.

The Hostage in Bunker C7

Big Ilya was in a rage, his latest partner Leila had gone missing. He paced around the bar like a caged tiger.
‘Get Out, Get Out! ‘He yelled. There was a rush for the door as bar stools whistled through the air, smashing the windows. ‘Not You!’ He snarled, glaring at Kovacs. ‘You find her or don’t bother coming back’ He added menacingly.
Kovacs heard a rumour that she had been captured and was held hostage in disused bunker c7. It was one of a series that had been decommissioned when trouble had flared up in the zone. He knew there was lots of activity in the area but with a small crew – Ali and ice Queen, they might just make it.
As dawn broke, they approached the bunker in eerie silence, they hadn’t been detected so far. They checked the scene for any activity. ‘Ah an abandoned APC – That’ll come in handy’ thought Kovacs. Over by some abandoned farm machinery, a pack of zombies were stirring but all was quiet around the bunker.

‘Time to wake em up’ thought Kovacs as he tossed a bolt towards the bunker. Staring right at him was the biggest, ugliest mutant He’d ever seen !

‘Nuts’ uttered Kovacs as He raced to the entrance. Ali opened fire but his guns jammed. Ice Queen adjusted the firing position and got the mutant right between the eyes.

Ali opens fire but the 10 is a critical miss so he is pinned and must spend an action to remove the pin. Ice Queen scores a hit and the armour save isn’t enough to stop the sniper bullet

‘Check the APC, it’s our way out of here!’ shouted Kovacs as He dived into the bunker. Ten minutes gone ‘All looking good’ thought Kovacs.
It was dark in the bunker and Kovacs stumbled around before finding Leila. It took him two attempts to free Leila. He threw her an AK47. ‘You might need this’ he said realising she was struggling to move.
Meanwhile, Ali triggered the hotspot on the APC, out from the thicket lurched another mutant who’d obviously feasted on Leila’s crew mates.

Ali opened fire but the gun jammed again. Good job Ice Queen was on form, another clean kill.

Ali’s gun jams

As Kovacs and Leila made their way slowly towards the APC, Kovacs couldn’t help thinking something wasn’t right. ‘The kid’s rattled’ he thought. ‘It doesn’t feel good’
‘We need fuel’ shouted Leila hoarsely. They had run out, that’s how they had been ambushed. That’s the last thing Kovacs wanted to here, thirty minutes gone and they needed to be out pronto.
The Fuel Tank hotspot is triggered and from behind the tank four robots appear.

Ali fires and his gun jams again. Leila fires and her gun jams too! Ice Queen calmly takes out two robots and Kovaks, one but that left Ali and Ice Queen in the firing line. Things were getting a bit too hot.

Good shooting from Ice Queen. Ali fails again!
The robot opens fire and wounds Ali. Turning attention to Ice Queen, his guns jam.

Leila opens fire and downs the remaining robot then heads for the APC. Ice Queen applies a med kit for Ali then heads for the APC. Kovaks sees what needs to be done and picks up a Jerry can and heads for the Oil Tank. Forty minutes gone.

Ali a few minutes in recovery having been knocked down and dazed from the shot. It will take 2 actions to remove both pinned counters

It’s now a race against time. Kovacs focuses and cracks open the fuel valve first time filling the Jerry can and headed back to the APC. Ali had searched the oil tank and got some useful booty, triggering an anomaly at that point, his nerve failed and the ground shuddered as he was vaporised.

To successfully search an anomaly, Ali needs a low dice roll. He rolls a 9 and is vaporised by an electro ionic disturbance which shakes the ground

Kovacs was shaken, he’d never seen anything like that before. ‘Get a grip’ he muttered as he filled the fuel tank then clambered into the APC to find Ice Queen in the driving seat. ‘Out of the way’ he screamed. ‘No I fix this’ She glared back ‘Where is tool box?’. She levered off the ignition cover and rammed in a screwdriver. Two attempts and the engine spluttered into life.
‘Go, Go, Go,!’ Shouted Kovacs. ‘Where did you learn to do that?’
‘Riga: bad streets’ Ice Queen replied coldly. Leila winced as every rut in the track was found. As they sped off, even the zombies couldn’t catch them. ‘Good job we didn’t tangle with them’ mused Kovacs relieved he was heading back. Mission accomplished he thought.

The Grain Mill

We’ve already seen snippets of John’s Grain Mill scratchbuild, but now we can see how John created this impressive piece of terrain.

All the buildings I’ve made so far have been quite generic but couldn’t resist this build. It’s quite an imposing structure measuring 35 cm Long and 25cm high and 14cm wide excluding stairway and ramp. In order to protect the model for transit and storing it had to fit into a shoebox. Here’s how I went about making something like this.

Step 1 Detailed plan
I spent a couple of evenings drawing up a plan of the building on A3 paper. I looked at as many photographs as possible of this particular structure and learned something about it’s function to help with the design and build. The tall section is a Grain Elevator. A bucket elevator carries grain from ground level to the top of the elevator where it is discharged into a silo contained within this structure. The horizontal gantry contains milling equipment and three discharge hoppers are suspended underneath. On the other side of the building is a ramp. At the end of the ramp, grain is dropped into the bucket elevator feed.
For dimensions, I used the assumption that door opening heights would be 7 ft and width 3 ft. I used 5mm to a foot so that gave me the dimensions of this item then worked out the height and length proportions based on that. So the building worked out at 70ft long x 50ft high and 28ft wide. As I drew up the plan, I rechecked against the photos to make sure everything looked in proportion and decided that there would be four stages to the build :- Stairway, Gantry, Elevator and ramp. I thought the stairway would be the most difficult so decided to start on this.

Stairway.
I used the same method as in the office build to start with so glued together 2 cm x 1cm pieces of foamcore to make the steps. The maximum height being determined by the height of the shoebox. I added sides from mounting board to correct any warping then added steps from lolly sticks making sure some were damaged.

I made the landing wide enough for a 28mm figure base as I thought this would make a suitable sniper position. The supports I made from wood strip rather than replicate the flimsy metal supports on the original to make sure the stairway was robust enough for the table top. I added bannister rail supports from matchsticks and then the rail and surround at the top of the stairwell from mounting board which I also used for the base.

Gantry.
With confidence high I turned my attention to the gantry (which turned out to be the most difficult part of the build). I built the wooden structure from foamcore clad with cereal packet cardboard strips, lining the window openings with the same, then adding cut down matchsticks for the window frame parts. The length of the gantry would match the width of the shoebox to fit in.

The hopper assembly was cut from cereal box cardboard glued to 2 pieces of foamcore. This was then glued to the base of the Gantry

The next task was to build the supports for the gantry. I decided to replicate metal girders for this so I made H section girders from 40 thou plastic card. In order to fit in the shoe box, the supports would have to be detachable so I made sockets on the underside of the gantry and on the base. These were a snug push fit. I then added cross struts to provide additional strength. I needed two goes to get the base right and the small ‘turret’ would have to be detachable for the structure to fit in the shoebox. I used Hobbycraft corrugated foam for the asbestos roof.

Elevator.
This was constructed using foamcore clad with corrugated foam but provided a few problems so wasn’t straightforward. To fit in the shoe box, the top section had to be made separately and had to fit inside the gantry, fitting over posts on the lower section of the elevator when in use. There are also two ‘wings’ at the base of the elevator which were constructed separately and slot into the side of the elevator when in use and are stored inside the elevator when packed away.

Elevator under construction showing one of the wings. The top section fits inside the gantry for storage.

Ramp.
This was the simplest part of the build which I nearly missed as it’s so overgrown on the photographs. I made it in 3 sections. The start of the ramp was from mounting board covered in fine sand painted to represent concrete. The middle section was constructed from plasticard as it’s a metal structure. The third part appears from a video clip to be metal and wood. I made this from foamcore and added card planking.

Windows.
I used clear plastic from food packaging for this. I taped the plastic to my cutting board to cut out pieces of plastic to fit the window recesses. I marked out where the vertical bars would be and then cut the windows to show broken panes before gluing the plastic strips to the rear face of the vertical bars using superglue

Painting and finishing.
Wood – Wilko Nutmeg Spice, then black acrylic wash, drybrush Wilko Mineral Stone and then a light white drybrush. I then used a black wash to make sure the planking was picked out.
Metal – Black acrylic and then a succession of dry brushing, dark brown, red brown and then yellow. (All plastic parts primed in grey)
Asbestos roofing – Primed grey first then Homebase Grey Fox then a succession of black and brown washes, finishing with a drybrush across the ribs of Homebase Silver Cloud.
Concrete – Grey, dry brushed white.
Earth – Red brown, dry brushed pale grey.
I then applied static grass where appropriate and the project was complete.

This building is going to be an impossing sight on the tabletop

Black Ops – Into The Junkyard

Stephen gives an unredacted report on a Black Ops mission…

Thought I would have a game of Black Ops.

It’s been a while since I played it and having enjoyed it before I decided to have another go.

I decided not to use the stealth rules and have a simple encounter game – just to refresh myself with the rules and because I just wanted a simple face-to-face scrap.

Each side had 75 points. On one side was a group of droids and on the other a section of special forces troops. The game was simple enough – seven turns to see who can cause the most amount of damage. Both sides comprised a leader, a heavy weapon, and 5 troopers.

I used my smaller (3’x2’) board and set it up as a huge junkyard/recycling plant with loads of cover. The humans deployed in 3 groups (two lots of 2, and one lot of 3) and the droids deployed in 2 groups (one lot of 3 and one lot of 4).

Into The Parking Lot

Due to the amount of terrain both sides managed a couple of activations before shots were fired. The humans, deployed on a wider front, managed to get some troops around the flanks, forcing the smaller droid unit with the Leader into the middle. However, the large droid unit had deployed on a different flank and their numbers looked strong against the 2 man human team facing them.

The Droid Leader Commands

The humans came up through the parking lot and took fire from the droids. No casualties this time – the blasts struck the assorted junk and barricades. Locking and loading, they took up their positions and returned the gesture – one of the droids went down so it was first blood (Ed: oil?) to the humans.

Ctrl-Alt-Del

The droid leader had found himself in a difficult position. With two of the droid troopers (one of which went down under fire) he was taking crossfire as one human team took up position behind a large piece of junk and another team edged around behind some trashed vehicles. Then, bang! Down went the droid leader.

Droid Down!

And then in the following round, down went a couple more of the droids. I wasn’t convinced this was going to last 7 rounds. That said, the droids had managed to squeeze themselves into a good position and it was hard to see how the humans could advance on them without taking casualties. So a firefight ensured with both sides digging in.

The Droids Dig In

This firefight didn’t last long though. One the human teams took a casualty, and then so did another.

Man Down!

With the human position suddenly weakened the droids were able to move up and advance on the humans, despite having taken more casualties and losing their leader.

Working Around The Flanks

The game was starting to change. The droids managed to hit another human and down he went as well. On one of the flanks the humans had made good headway, but they now needed to fall back and consolidate or they would be picked off. The human leader ordered his men to take cover behind some barrels and crates. The droids moved on them, and a lucky shot took out the human leader! Just two troopers left.

Droids Bypass the Bodies

Then crafty shot from one of the human troopers dropped a droid and he rushed round, to outflank the final droid. As he did, his colleague put in a fresh clip and with gun at his hip, let rip and down went the last droid.

Game Over

Victory went to the humans. Just.

Black Ops is a great game. Once the shooting starts it can be quite deadly. A modelling project for early 2021 is to make some sci fi themed objective markers.

Slam! Dreadball: Kalimarin Ancients Versus Z’zor

Christmas Special!

Marcus reports on a Dreadball game with some teams he prepared earlier …

Recently you may have seen that I have been painting up some new Dreadball teams. I am a notoriously slow painter (this is partly because I don’t have a dedicated painting/modelling area), but I did promise a report on the game, so while the second coat of varnish is drying on the Nemion Oceanics, I broke out two teams I painted a while back: The Kalimarin Ancients (alien crustacea) and  the Z’zor (alien insectoids) for a game with Son Tzu.

A bit of background. Dreadball is a sci-fi sports game from Mantic games. I envision it as a bit of a cross between American football, there is a lot of rough stuff, notably slamming, and basketball.  As can be seen from the picture above, the game is played on a broadly rectangular pitch composed of hexagons. In fact the pitch actually looks more like one hexagon that has been stretched lengthwise. There are three strike zones in each half with the target hex at the furthest extremity from the centre. The two closest to the centre line can generate scores of one point from any hex except the furthest from the target, from which two points can be scored. Similarly, with the remaining zone, the hexes are worth three and four respectively.

A typical team has three types of player; Guards, who don’t hand the ball but are good at blocking and tackling; Strikers are good at stealing, passing and scoring; Jacks, do a bit of both. However, not all the teams have all the players.

In common with many games, each player has a stat-line. The stat line features values for movement, strength, skill, armour and speed.  The stat line values give a target figure for a success on a D6. A number of manoeuvres are available to the player, some of which may depend on a test against these values with a varying number of dice depending on circumstances. These include shooting, passing and slamming; a kind of tackle that you can do on opponents whether they have the ball or not. Often, if you double the target number, or for opposed rolls like a slam, double the opponents successes, you gain a positive result. These include a free move for a double on picking up the ball, additional fan checks on scoring (which may yield extra coaching dice) and temporarily or permanently removing an opponent from the field. Coaching dice are one use dice which may be added into any test at the players discretion, but are then lost.

Each player turn is called a rush in which the active player gets five actions. Players can add actions through the use of cards, which opponents might also use to interrupt the rush. Cards can also introduce random events. None more frustrating when having orchestrated a four point shot, you find that your opponent lays “The ball shatters” just when you are about to shoot! Finally, there are a number of special rules relating to individual players or teams.

In this game the Kalimarin Ancients have two types of guard; one good at holding opponents to make slams even nastier. They don’t have any jacks and are probably one of the better teams. The Z’zor have the usual mix, although both teams have a special MVP (Most Valuable Player, of star quality)

The set up varies at the players discretion but six players is the maximum legal number of players on the pitch. Note the word legal, it is not uncommon to sneak on extra players and if you can get away with it…

Scoring works on a net basis. If one team scores a 3 pointer and the other team replies with a 2 in their next rush, the net score will be +1 to the first team. Play continues in the manner of a tug of war in an attempt to either reach +7, when a team wins outright, or to have the best score after 14 rushes.

It was the Z’zor rush first (rush is a term from American football for your “turn” or series of plays during which you retain the ball). A striker picked up the ball launched down the centreline easily, but lost the ball on having to evade around an opponent twice. Unfortunately for the Z’zor, losing the ball so unexpectedly ended their first rush. Son Tzu, who thinks of himself as something of a genius, picked up the ball with a throw of 555, resulting in an extra action for the player in possession (three successes against his skill stat. Only a double is required to give an extra action).

Moving down pitch, with his second normal action he moved another player with a sprint action (double move value but each facing change also counts as against the move total as well as hexes moved). A 6 hex pass to the sprinting player, passing the throw and catch skill checks, and the Ancients are in the near three point zone, and score, (the 4 point hex being currently blocked).  He picks up some fan checks. (Three can be traded in for coaching dice)

On the third rush the Z’zor pick up the ball which scattered into the Ancients half.  A sprint up the field by a guard results in a slam on the second action in an attempt to clear the 4 point strike hex.

With a 5 dice check at 3+, surely the way ahead can be opened up? The 5 dice yield a paltry success, against the defenders roll, with the two guards squaring off. In the meantime the Z’zor take an action to slam a pesky striker in their own strike zone; but this time a glorious 5 successes is answered by the Ancients 4, so the striker is only pushed back. Unfortunately however, this left the defender out of position…But at the other end the Z’zor striker goes for a 3 pointer, scoring easily with 2 successes. He picks up a fan check for the extra success too. It’s all square!

Rush four, and the Ancients gain possession again, slicing down field into the now undefended 4 point zone. An Ancients guard attempts to put a put a Z’Zor out of the game, but falls over in the process. However, using a card from his hand for an extra action, the Ancients are able to move up and make a point strike, with two successes on a 551, and gains fan checks for that double.

At 4-0 to the Ancients, it’s not looking too healthy for the Z’zor, but a single strike in the 4 point zone can level things up. Having picked up the ball again, he Z’zor look to open up the 4 point zone, but 6 successes (any 6 rolled “explodes” to add an extra roll) are met by an opponent slam-back and another 6!  Foiled. The Z’zor MV, Ludwig, uses a card to get into the zone and go for the 3 point strike, but requiring 4 misses on a single dice with a 3! The ball scatters off the strike zone…

…from where the Ancient’s pick up the ball deep in their own half. A scything move of a sprint followed by a throw and a catch with just one success by a striker sets up a chance. The striker evades successfully and makes it to the zone, but loses a dice for moving and shooting in the same action, making a 3 point attempt; Good enough for a sudden death victory, on 3 dice with a success on 4+.

Rolling a 621 the Ancient’s just manage a score for the win.

So another lucky win for Sun Tzu, confirming his own opinion that he is the greatest. My dismal performance at this game continues. Surely I can do better? Will the newly painted Nemion Oceanics or the anarchic (read cheating; maybe that is the right style for me?) monkey team that we have named the Golden Banana’s prove my salvation? The Oceanics are now painted despite my glacially slow painting skills. The Banana’s are well on the way…or maybe I should just break out Red Alert again?

In the meantime here is an action picture of the completed Oceanics posed with a robot team; the Chromium Chargers including MVP DBR7 “Firewall”.

Work in Progress Wednesday

This week Steve puts us all to shame with his continued hobby output.

First up he has already finished painting up his dwarves and heavy support in the form of a giant bear.

He’s behind you!

And out of the blue he has also found time to make himself a neat dice box. Bought for just £2 from the shop ‘The Works’, Steve created some compartments and a tray insert.

You can never have enough dice.

Next up John’s Zona Alfa city continues to expand with the start of a new warehouse. I’m sure this will look as good as the previous office block.

A warehouse for the Zona Alfa city

And finally I’ve started the plastering stage for my 15mm Tudor style buildings for Wars of the Roses games. As per my normal method they are made from EVA foam with the wood beams cut from coffee stirrers.

Tudor buildings soon to echo with the clash of swords and arrows

I thought I’d go for bathroom sealant to plaster in between the beams but it’s a nightmare so will need a rethink as I have seven buildings to do.

Given the current lockdown status we may well have another WIP post next week.

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

It was troopers and gaming aids for this Wednesday.

Steve finally managed to get around to rebasing some troopers, as Steve himself says “A while ago I decided to strip and re-paint some EM4 plastic colonial marines. I also cut away the old guns and bought some replacements.

EM4 Plastic Troopers with Weapon Swaps

John L has also been painting troopers in the form of a group of Spetsnaz he actually won in a Zona Alfa competition.

Footsore America Spetsnaz

And finally this week Tony F has created for himself some stat trackers for Lord of the Rings.

Lord of the Rings Stat Trackers

Tony explains these far better than I could: “I’ve made some gaming aids for Lord of the Rings games; these are stats trackers to record the special abilities of heroes and commanders using small D6. The original was 3D printed and then I’ve made moulds and cast them up in resin. The lettering and army badges are raised to make them easy to paint. I’ve painted some in appropriate colours for each army, and I’ve painted the ‘W’ for Wounds in red to differentiate it from the ‘W’ for Will (the other stats are Might and Fate).”

It will be interesting to see how these work. Tony is still looking at how to add the heroes name to the tracker.

Zona Alfa Office

Club member John L takes us through the complete build of his recent office block.

This post is in response from a fellow club member regarding the buildings I’ve made for Zona Alfa, a sort of ‘How to’ guide. I wouldn’t profess to be a good terrain builder, but this method worked for me.

Planning
First check out photos on the internet for the type of building you want to use then draw the plan on A4. If you are going to use a storage box, check the plan against this allowing sufficient spacing around the building to get it out of the box. Simple enough but if you add on a detail later, it can prove frustrating! Plan how many floors you are going to have and if you want to be able to take it apart later (I did as I wanted the space inside the building shell to add another building).
In 28mm I work on 5mm to a foot scale and allow 35 – 40mm for door heights, depending on type of building. Door widths 15 – 20mm. Windows are 15 – 20mm from ground level, adjust until it looks right.

Materials
5mm Foam board – Hobbycraft
Mounting Board – Hobbycraft
Lolly sticks – Hobbycraft
Clear plastic (optional for windows, I used food packaging material)
Cereal box cardboard
White card A4 pack from ASDA
Fine sand
Builders sand
Tools
Snap off large and small knives – B&Q
Resin W PVA glue
Bulk PVA Glue – B&Q
Set square
Steel ruler
Pin

Step 1
Cut out the base from mounting board. This needs to fit on the box if using and should include a 5mm border around the building. It’s probably better to radius the corners of the base to prevent a ‘dog eared’ look.

Step 2
Draw out the walls onto foamboard, taking into account the joins at the corners. I used simple lap joints so the long walls were 10mm shorter than the plan, use a set square to make sure all is square. Mark the sections you want to cut out so that you don’t remove the wrong bit!. I then take a pin and push through to the reverse side of the foam board.

Step 3
When cutting foam board I use the large snap off knife and steel rule, making a shallow cut. If you try a deep cut, the foam will tear. It’s a material that will blunt your knife blade quickly so snap off blades are ideal. I use the smaller knife to cut out the window openings. To get a clean finish, flip over the foam board and check the backing of the foam board is cut through, you can use the pin holes as a guide. By keeping the blade vertical against the rule, you should get a clean finish.

Step 4
Once the wall panels are cut out, I added detailing from strips of mounting board to the front faces. On the interior faces, I added strips of foam board which would be supports for the roof and first floors. I then created slots for the cross walls.

Step 5
To assemble the building, I used Resin W PVA. This is quick drying which helps prevent the whole building collapsing as it’s drying. Use the set square to check all is square.

Step 6
At this point, I decided to add a staircase (should have been in the original plan!). I used 1cm x 2cm pieces of foam board to build the spine and then 1 cm strips to build the supports. Then used lolly sticks to add the treads.

Step 7
I decided to add broken windows to the building. To do this I added 3mm strips of cereal pack card as the outside frame for each window. This was the most time consuming bit but now the basic building was done.

Step 8
To achieve the concrete look, I painted the exterior with a thin layer of PVA and then sprinkled fine sand over this. If a bit is missed, it’s better to let the whole thing dry before touching up. It’s important to have the cross walls in place for this stage as the PVA will cause the foam board to bow in at the centre. For the base, I used Builders sand which is courser. When the whole thing is dry, I painted the base using acrylics – dark brown/black followed by a light dry brush. For the walls I started with a base coat of Wilko Mineral Stone, then mixed this with Wilko Biscuit Crunch to paint over everything except the recesses. I’d picked this up from Terrain Tutor. From the same channel, I’d seen tips on applying washes to buildings, by prewetting the surface first so I added a dark wash to the recesses and a Sage Green wash to the lower panels to the ground for Algae. I then added brown stain on some sections and I think this worked well. I then painted the interior using acrylics.

Step 9
I cut the windows from plastic by cellotaping the plastic to my cutting board, then cutting out strips which I gave a jagged edge. These were secured by 2mm strips of cereal card on the inside of the windows. Another long job, when finished. I used a dab of superglue in the corners to secure the panes in place.

Step 10
To finish, I made the door adding part of a cable tie for the lock. I added graffiti and then made up some signs to hang over the doorway. These can be changed as required.