Stargrave: A New Hope?

Marcus fesses up to his Stargrave woes and how he’s gone about recruiting a new crew.

I’ve had some problems playing Stargrave. It’s not the game. I am sure it isn’t perfect, but we love playing it at the club. It’s not even my club-mates, who keep shooting me. It’s my crew. Well, that’s not fair. I do like my crew. But they look quite…similar. Too similar. And it hasn’t helped that I used the original Stargrave roster from the book, downloading it from the Osprey site. In the middle of a game I would find myself shuffling and flipping over sheets trying to work out which character was being fired at, or acting, and not exactly sure which one I was looking out without checking.

The concept of that crew was something like the Bynars from Star Trek: The Next Generation (the episode 1.15 “11001001”) with an added dose of psionics. The crew comprised some small Copplestone Grey’s, the brains, and the mean looking, vat-grown “Big Greys”, which were from the now defunct Griffin Miniatures. I had never managed to get around to using these before. It took me long enough to get around to painting the mean Greys, although I really like them.

The Old Crew. Left to Right: 101, or is that 110..?

I might use them in Xenos Rampant in the future, although we have been using 15mm figures for that so far. But I digress.

In an effort to solve the problems in my personal organizational abilities I needed two things:
Firstly, a one page roster so that all that stats were right in front of me. I had tried looking at creating roster cards, but they just didn’t seem to work for me. I wanted everything, the whole crew, on one side of A4. Fortunately club members, noticing my travails, kindly offered me a selection.

Stargrave Roster

(Editor’s note: If you print this roster, make sure you open the “More Settings” option in the print preview screen and have “Fit to Printable Area” selected.)

Secondly, I needed to recruit a new crew. A more individual crew of characters.

And it really isn’t that hard to stat a crew up, at least not if you can be decisive about it! In a nutshell, recruit a Captain and First Mate from the various specialities (akin to schools of magic in Frostgrave) available and spend 400 Cr. on recruiting the rest of your eight crew.

The specialities I referred to are “abilities”. The Captain chooses five, with three of four from the characters background e.g. psionics as i referred to for my first crew, or veteran. There is quite a range with new backgrounds being added in the inevitable supplements to the core rules. It makes for an interesting comparison with Five Parsecs from Home, which regular readers of the blog will know I have also been playing solo (I should really complete another episode soon!) However, in Five Parsecs the choice of crew characteristics is all based on random rolls reminiscent of the old school Traveller RPG. It’s much more about the whole crew even if the Captain is the first among equals. In Stargrave it is very much about the Captain and a little about the First Mate. In truth, everyone else is disposable to a greater or lesser extent. The First Mate chooses four abilities, with two or three from their background. Previously I chose two Psionicists, but this time I chose a Cyborg Captain and a Veteran First Mate.

Why did I make this choice? I am not entirely sure. I was looking through the core rules on character creation with the intent of choosing a new crew but the process became influenced by the models I had available or fancied using and the narrative that began to create in my head. I think that is a good thing!

I initially had the idea that I would use figures from a Kick-Starter project that I had received: Star-Schlock. This at least started out rooted in influences of the pulpy Sci-Fi TV of the 80’s. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century crossed with Star Trek and maybe a dose of Star Wars and 80’s Flash Gordon, in particular.

Gillian Grey and Willard White

Some similarity occurred to me between the Star Trek: TNG era and Buck Rogers slightly more campy second season. Something akin to the rescued Borg Seven Of Nine in Star Trek Voyager. I had the idea of using some unused cyborg miniatures which I had from the old Scotia Grendel Urban War range, the VOID Syntha biomechs, making them a kind of Star Trek Borg analogue.

I had already started painting some of these after a long time in the lead pile. I was intending to put them to use in Spy-Fi games as some kind of, well, Fembot for want of a better word. Yeah Baby!

Then I hit a problem.

A diminutive “White Rat” with Willard

It was only when I compared the completed Syntha miniatures to the Star Schlock figures I noticed a considerable size discrepancy! That was pretty much the deal breaker although at this point I realized that I was in some danger of repeating the same folly using some Star Schlock rank and file figures; a lack of clear characterisation.

Repeating the same problem. Do they look a bit similar?

I was now fixed on using the Syntha as Borg analogues but the sizing discrepancy made me think about using at least some more old school miniatures. Hence a look at EM-4’s range of early Grenadier sculpts. It was a chance to pick up some older, characterful miniatures that I had regularly seen pictures of, or seen new versions of older sculpts, but had never quite managed to add to my collection. Since i was basing this crew around the escaped cyborgs I wanted a crew that at least in part were themed around interconnection, robotics and coordinated firepower. At least that was the plan.

The White Rat and the Black Rat – They escaped a lab based programme where they were literally
lab rats, sent out to do some exotic missions at the behest of the ailing Authority, until those orders ceased.

The Black Rat

Also known as Six of Seven, Black Rat is to be my captain. She had somehow managed to escape some Authority “black-ops” experiment as government broke down. She has very little knowledge of her origins, but is on a quest to know more.

I chose to give her:

  • Camouflage (she is wearing a stealth suit)
  • Target lock (allowing her or another member of the crew to automatically hit the target of a grenade/grenade launcher attack, even if not in line of sight.)
  • An energy shield (absorbing some shooting damage)
  • Control robot (interface with a robot and take control)
  • Drone. I am rather partial to using drones, not that they have done me much good so far. (Draw line of sight from the drone)

She also has a carbine (2 spaces), a pistol, light armour, a deck for hacking and a filter mask.

Harriet “Harry” Barber

I originally had a figure in a beret picked out for this role, but Harry has grown on me. I first saw the figure many years ago. It normally has a truncheon and I think is supposed to be a “space police” figure. I removed the truncheon and added a small pouch in its place. In my mind there is a similarity to Glynis Barber in the 80’s series “Dempsey and Makepeace” where her character was called Harriet Makepeace. She is some kind of ex-security figure (the kind of security that doesn’t use a truncheon or wear a uniform) who along the way helped the Black Rat escape from her captors.

  • Fortune. (She is a bit of a Han Solo and you might call her lucky, or perhaps it is her roguish charm?)
  • Armoury (Harry has a way with weapons and can field power armour without the upkeep cost or increase the damage on one standard firearm)
  • Remote Firing (Can select a robot in the crew to make a +3 line of sight shooting attack)
  • Repair Robot (Yes, Harry is good with robots too)

Harry also has a filter mask (always handy), light armour, a carbine taking up two spaces and picks for breaking into physical objects.

Harriet “Harry” Barber

Moving on to the Standard and Specialist figures, these are much easier to select as they are very much modular, “plug in” selections.

The “White Rat” (Three of Seven) – Commando

Naturally, also being a cyborg and a comrade of Six (or part of the same hive mind), the White Rat needed to pack a bit of a punch. They were specialist operatives after all.

Ratchet the Robot

Picked up from some abandoned facility and reprogrammed by Harriet, Ratchet is an armoured trooper. Thanks to Harry’s Armoury skill she can offset the upkeep cost. Originally I costed out Ratchet as a grenadier, making that rather large gun a grenade launcher of some kind. I changed to admittedly costly power armour as a result of choosing the armoury skill for the First Mate.

Ratchet the Robot

Troopers (3)

There have been various iterations of this crew, but they always seemed to revolve around having three troopers. These are Viridian, (with the green skin and yellow jacket), Sal Buco (long green coat and pistol) and Cy An (Blue skinned alien). At the outset they all have a carbine, heavy armour and a knife. Yes, I know Sal appears to have a pistol. Does anyone remember the pistols in the original “Man From Uncle”? Well Sal has picked up something like one of those. He can attach an extended barrel, long magazine and collapsible stock. Hey presto: a carbine. Originally Sal was going to be a simple recruit, but I had another idea…

Sal and Cy

Hacker – Zero One

A nod to my old crew. Zero One now stands out in a crowd. It is my hacker equipped with a pistol, light armour, a deck for hacking (of course) and a knife.

Viridian and Zero

Recruits (2)

Finally, my two recruits. Originally I was going to fit in a guard dog, but the dog cost 10 credits and frankly can do less. I am not a min/maxer, but when you want to fit in certain options the free figures give more flexibility. And a bit of colour. These miniatures came from the Hydra “Retro Ray-Gun” range. It is a nice range although the figures tend to be a little larger overall. But these two are I think teenagers. I painted them up with no clear objective for using them. I watched Firefly again recently and it occurred to me that these two, the “Citrus Kids” could be analogues to Simon and River Tam (except he isn’t a doctor and she isn’t a psychic killing machine). That points to the one thing which might be slightly dissatisfying with the rules. As I pointed out earlier, if you aren’t a Captain or First Mate, there isn’t going to be much progression, beyond adding a better bit of kit. That said, I don’t think that is what this game is for and is why I like a bit of solo Five Parsecs.

Recruits have a pistol, light armour and a knife.

Recruits – The Citrus Kids

So that is the crew of the “Dirty Rat”. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do in an outing at the club mysteriously entitled “Oubliette”, very soon. I am sure there will be a report.

Lion Rampant Five Battles, Day 2

Andy completes the write up of the Crusades mini campaign. 

First off, I must apologise to my fellow gamers, it has taken me far too long to complete this report.

Stephen and I continued the Five Battles Campaign from Lion Rampant Version 2. This time we were joined by two other members, joining Stephen with the Ayyubid Egyptians was club treasurer Mark, and joining me with the Frankish Settlers was new member Charlotte.

Photo credits: Charlotte, Stephen and Andy.

To recap the first day, we played three games, with my Pullani (Frankish Settlers) forces winning each battle. I had 3 victories and 23 Glory, Stephen had 3 defeats and -1 Glory. You can read about these games in a previous blog entry here.

The second day would comprise two more battles, the final battle using double size armies

When planning these games, we had prepared five warbands with differing points values for the five battles, and had assigned each warband to a battle before the campaign started. Stephen had used his larger warbands in the battles on the first day of the campaign, so would be at a disadvantage in the first game of day two.

Having won the final battle on day one, I got to choose the first battle on day two; I chose “The Road” and the die roll resulted in “The Convoy” scenario with Charlotte and I as the attacker (see part 1 for the battles that make up the campaign).

In this scenario the attacker has three convoy tokens that must be conveyed from one corner of the table to the opposite corner. For our game these comprised of a cart, a group of pious monks and a group of civilians. Each token had to be assigned to a unit, although more than one token could be assigned to the same unit. Escorting units were restricted to a maximum move of 6”. The convoy tokens have no effect in the game, other than marking the escorting units.

Stephen and Mark’s forces (Ayyubid Egyptian) comprised:

      • 1 x Mounted Mamluks (Heavy Cavalry with Bows) Leader Blessed (Once per game, reroll any one full set of dice by any player) @ 7 points
      • 3 x Mounted Turcomen (Wild Turk Light Cavalry) @ 4 points each
      • 1 x Foot Ghilmen (Light Infantry with Javelins) @ 4 points
      • 1 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points                                        Total 25 points

Andy and Charlotte’s force (Frankish Settlers (Pullani))

      • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Motivated), Leader Strongbow (Once per turn, unit within 12” automatically passes shoot activation) @ 8 points
      • 2 x Sergeants (Heavy Cavalry) @ 4 points each
      • 1 x Foot Sergeants (Heavy Infantry) @ 4 points
      • 1 x Foot Yeomen (Light Infantry) @ 3 points
      • 1 x Crossbowmen @ 4 points
      • 2 x Skirmishers @ 2 points each                                              Total 31 points

The scenario requires the attacker to deploy the units escorting the convoy tokens first in one corner of the table. The defender then deploys their forces, placing at least 4 points of units in each of the other three corners of the table.

We deployed our Foot Sergeants with the Monks and Civilians, and the Foot Yeomen with the Cart in the south east corner of the table, along with a unit of Skirmishers. We couldn’t fit anything else into the deployment area, so our remaining units would have to enter the table as a Move activation.

Andy’s convoy and escorts deploy (Andy)

Stephen and Mark deployed their main force of the Mamluks and two units of Mounted Turcomen in the North East corner.

Stephen’s main contingent (Andy)

In order to satisfy the requirements to deploy at least 4 points in each of the other two corners they deployed a unit of Mounted Turcomen in the South West corner

Stephen’s flanking force (Andy)

And their Ghilmen and Ahdath in a village in the North West corner (our exit point).

Stephen’s blocking force (Andy)

Prior to the first turn of the game the units escorting the convoy are allowed to attempt one move activation as a “head start”. Our Yeomen succeeded in their attempt and moved forward with the cart, but the Foot Sergeants refused to budge.

Our first turn was more successful, the first unit of Skirmishers and both escorting units succeeded in their moves, and we also managed to bring on both units of Mounted Sergeants, one on each flank. Our Crossbows and our Knights also made it onto the board. We deliberately kept our Leader’s Knights close behind the Crossbows to maximise the use of the leader’s Strongbow ability. The only unit that failed to come on was the second unit of Skirmishers.

Andy’s contingent advances, well, some of it! (Andy)

Stephen and Mark brought their Mamluks and Turcomen forward from the North East corner, to get in a position where they could block our path to the North West corner.

Stephen’s main force advance (Stephen)

In the North West corner, the Ghilmen found a wall to hide behind and the Ahdath occupied a building.

Stephen’s Ahdath occupy a building (Stephen)

I think Stephen wanted to use his only infantry units to block our exit from the table, but it did mean that in the early stages of the battle he would only have four units totalling 19 points to try and slow down our force of 31 points, or 24 points if you exclude the units escorting the convoy.

In our next couple of turns Charlotte and I concentrated on getting our units forwards, and didn’t advance the convoy escorts. We had a unit of Mounted Sergeants on each flank, with both the Crossbows and Skirmishers near to the Leader’s unit. Actually, looking at the photos I think we forgot to deploy the second unit of skirmishers!

Andy’s force spreads out (Andy)Stephen’s main force continued to advance ahead of us, with one unit of Turcomen lagging behind, and the lone unit of Turcomen advancing towards our left flank getting close enough to shoot at our Mounted Sergeants and inflicting a casualty.

On our Northwestern flank one of Stephen’s Turcomen units engaged our Mounted Sergeants, but with the help of our skirmisher’s shooting honours were even with both units being reduced to half strength.

Stephens main force skirmishes with Andy’s right flank, casualties on both sides. (Andy)

Meanwhile Stephen’s Mamluks came within range of our Crossbows, and with our Leader’s Strongbow ability guaranteeing a shooting activation each turn our quarrels took out a couple of figures, the Mamluks eventually came to blows with our left flank Mounted Sergeants, both sides taking casualties and falling to half strength but his Leader didn’t succumb to any lucky blows!

Stephen’s leader’s unit, or what’s left of it, and a unit of Turcomen (Andy)
Remnants of Andy’s Left Flank face off against Stephen’s leader (Charlotte)

Meanwhile our convoy stayed back near the hill guarded by the Crossbows and Knights.

Stephen’s Turcomen closed on our Crossbows, and managed to kill one of them, but the Crossbows stayed firm and their return fire decimated the Turcomen.

Stephen’s Mamluks charged our Mounted Sergeants again, but this time his luck ran out and his leader fell.

One of the units of Turcomen got close enough to the Yeomen to shoot at them and caused a casualty, but they passed their Courage test.

Stephen’s flanking force, Turkomen Light Cavalry (Charlotte)

Our Crossbowmen continued to shoot at anything that came within range, guaranteed by the Leader’s Strongbow ability and both the Mamluks and Turcomen were practically wiped out, only a couple of figures were left, allowing the convoy and escorts to advance off the hill.

The convoy advances, slowly (Charlotte)

The only functioning units Stephen and Mark had left were the Ghilmen and Ahdath in the village blocking the Pulanni’s exit. Although our Mounted Sergeants had been sorely damaged, our Crossbows and Skirmishers had only taken a few casualties and it was apparent that eventually we could position our Crossbows where they could shoot at the Ghilmen and Ahdath every turn from outside the range of their bows and javelins, and even with the benefit of cover they would eventually be whittled down, allowing us to escort the Convoy off the table.

So, at this point Stephen and Mark conceded the game.

Stephen and Mark made three boasts: “They will Cower before me” (3 Glory, failed). “They will Tremble before me” (2Glory, failed) and “My Arrows are Deadlier Than my Spears” (2 Glory, success). The failed Boasts cost 1 Glory each, so that made a total of zero Glory for the Ayyubids.

The Pullani only made two boasts, “They will Tremble before me” (2Glory, failed), and “I will Destroy more than I Lose” (2 Glory, success), making a total of 1 Glory to add to the 2 glory points per Convoy marker escorted off table. That gave the Pullani an additional 7 Glory.

After the fourth battle the Pullani had 4 victories and 30 Glory, the Ayyubid Egyptians had 4 defeats and -1 Glory.

The final battle.

From the outset of the campaign, we had agreed that the final battle would be a major clash using the Bloodbath scenario, and that each side would bring 50 points, split into two contingents, each with a leader. The two contingents did not have to have equal points.

On the Ayyubid Egyptian side the two contingents were:

Emir Mark al-Harris.

      • 1 x Mounted Mamluks (Heavy Cavalry with Bows) Leader @ 6 points
        • Skills: Commanding (+2 points), Insipid (-2 points), Strongbow (+1 points)
      • 2 x Mounted Turcomen (Wild Turk Light Cavalry) @ 4 points each
      • 2 x Foot Ghilmen (Light Infantry with Javelins) @ 4 points
      • 1 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points                             Total 24 points

Emir Stephen a’t-Ucker

      • 1 x Mounted Mamluks (Heavy Cavalry with Bows) Leader @ 8 points
        • Skills: Blessed (+2 points) and Strongbow (+1 points)
      • 2 x Mounted Turcomen (Wild Turk Light Cavalry) @ 4 points each
      • 1 x Hashishin (Warrior Infantry, Assassin) @ 5 points
      • 2 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points each                 Total 25 points

Notice the sudden appearance of the Strongbow skill in both contingents?

The Pullani contingents were:

Count Andrew:

      • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Motivated), Leader @ 9 points
        • Skills: Commanding (+2 points)
      • 1 x Sergeants (Heavy Cavalry) @ 4 points each
      • 1 x Foot Sergeants (Heavy Infantry) @ 4 points
      • 1 x Archers @ 4 points
      • 1 x Holy Characters @ 2 points
      • 1 x Skirmishers @ 2 points                                 Total 25 points

Holy Characters are a unit type from the Crusader States supplement, they are similar to Skirmishers, but with only a 6” move, no shooting capability and lacking all the Skirmisher’s special rules, they do however allow, once a turn, a partial re-roll of dice for units within 6”. Re-roll 2 dice if 12 were rolled, otherwise re-roll 1 die.

Countess Charlotte:

      • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Motivated), Leader @ 8 points
        • Skills: Strongbow (+1 point)
      • 1 x Sergeants (Heavy Cavalry) @ 4 points each
      • 1 x Foot Sergeants (Heavy Infantry) @ 4 points
      • 1 x Foot Yeomen (Light Infantry) @ 3 points
      • 1 x Crossbowmen @ 4 points
      • 1 x Skirmishers @ 2 points                               Total 25 points

Summary of Leader skills

    • Strongbow: Once per turn, one unit within 12” of Leader’s model automatically passes a shoot activation)
    • Commanding: Each turn may re-roll one failed Move, Attack or Shoot activation withing 12” of Leader’s model.
    • Insipid: The Leader does not give the usual +1 modifier to Courage tests to unis within 12” of Leader’s model
    • Blessed: Once per game, re-roll any one set of dice, rolled by any player.

Stephen included his Hashishin in his contingent again, this time their dastardly plan failed and the Assassin sent after Count Andrew met a grisly end.

There would be no subtlety about the final battle, no scenario objectives other than defeating the enemy.

On the Christian side Andy deployed his contingent on the right flank. Archers on the left of his front line, then the Foot Sergeants, Skirmishers on the hill and Mounted Sergeants on the right flank.

Andy’s Knights and Holy Characters (the monks) were kept in reserve.

Andy’s contingent, the monks are the Holy Characters (Andy)

Charlotte deployed on the left flank, she kept her Knights and Mounted Sergeants in the centre of her deployment, with the Foot Yeomen on her left and Foot Sergeants on her right. Her Skirmishers and Crossbows were deployed in front of her cavalry, both within 12” of her Leader, to make best use of her Strongbow ability.

Charlotte’s contingent (Andy)

Opposing us Stephen deployed opposite Charlotte, and Mark deployed opposite Andy. We didn’t take many pictures of the Ayyubid deployment, but here’s a close-up of Stephen’s Turcomen and Hashishin Ahdath,

Stephen’s Turcomen and Ahdath in the village (Stephen)

Mark wasted no time advancing his cavalry towards Andy’s troops, lots of mounted archers approaching!

Mark’s cavalry approach Andy’s troops (Charlotte)

The exchange of arrows was fairly one sided, with two of Mark’s attacking units taking casualties with no loss to Andy’s forces.

Andy & Mark’s contingents, latter has taken some casualties. (Andy)

On the other side of the battle, Stephen advanced his Ahdath and a unit of Turcomen towards a village, with his Leader’s Mamluks supporting them, while his Hashishin and other Turcomen unit failed to advance. Charlotte’s crossbows and Yeomen also entered the outskirts of the village, with the Knights and Sergeants following up.

Charlotte’s and Stephen’s contingents (Andy)

Back on the Christian right flank, Andy and Mark’s troops came to blows, Mark’s cavalry charged Andy’s Archers, and after the latter took 4 casualties, they failed a courage test with a very low roll and routed from the field. The same fate befell Andy’s Skirmishers.

Andy then committed his cavalry; the Knights drove off one of Mark’s Turcomen units and then charged Mark’s Leader’s unit. After a couple of rounds of combat Mark’s leader fell dead as his unit was wiped out, meanwhile Andy’s Mounted Sergeants forced back Mark’s other Turcomen unit.

Andy’s Holy Characters took the hill previously occupied by his Skirmishers, a touch of religious frenzy perhaps?

Andy’s contingent, his Archers and Skirmishers have routed, but the Ayyubids have also suffered losses (Andy)

On the other side of the battlefield, Charlotte’s and Stephen’s troops exchanged missiles, both Charlotte’s Crossbowmen and Skirmishers took a beating, being reduced to half strength and failing their courage tests and becoming battered, but one of Stephen’s Turcomen fled the field. One of Stephen’s Ahdath also fell to half strength, but were made of sterner stuff and passed their courage test. Each side also suffered slight losses to their mounted troops.

Charlotte’s crossbow and skirmishers reduced to half strength and battered. One of Stephen’s Ahdath reduced to half strength. (Andy)

Their battle continued, Charlotte’s missile troops rallied, but didn’t seem keen to get back into the fray. Her Yeomen drove off one of Stephen’s Turcomen units. Stephen had advanced his Hashishin, and Charlotte’s Knights charged them and battered them sending them falling back, however this left her Knights exposed to Stehen’s Mamluks and Turcomen.

Charlotte’s Knights advance as the skirmishers flee. (Andy)

Stephen’s Hashishin recovered their composure, but Stephen decided it was time for his leader to show his mettle, and brought his Mamluks forward to face Charlotte’s Knights, supported by a unit of Turcomen.

Stephen’s contingent commit against Charlotte (Stephen)

Charlotte brought her skirmishers back to support her Knights, taking up residence in some bad going and just in range of one of Stephen’s Ahdath, who took more casualties from the skirmishers and fled the field. Charlotte’s skirmishers then turned their attention to the Mamluks.

The final clash (Andy)

Finally, the Mamluks and the Knights came to blows, and eventually wiped each other out. Fortunately, Charlotte’s units all passed their subsequent courage test forced by the loss of the leader.

On the other flank, Andy’s Mounted Sergeants and Mark’s Turcomen came to blows, the Turcomen winning this battle and the Sergeants fled the field.

Andy’s Knights however made short work of the Mark’s other Turcomen unit, routing it.

By now both Mark and Stephen had lost their leaders and just over half their original points value, so were both forced to take Courage tests on their remaining units (although Andy was also close to that point as well). Several of their damaged units failed the courage tests and became battered.

At this point, with several battered units and both of their leaders now dead or having fled the field, Mark and Stephen conceded the final battle.

Totting up the losses the Ayyubids had lost 28 points of troops, 14 each for Mark and Stephen, while the Pullani had lost 18 points, 10 points of Andy’s contingent and 8 points of Charlotte’s.

This gave the Pullani 5 Glory for the victory, now on to the boasts.

Stephen’s boasts were: “They Will Tremble before me” (2 Glory, success). “My Arrows are Deadlier Than My Spears” (2 Glory, success) and “I shall Slay Their Leader” (3 Glory, failed). The successful boasts gave Stephen 4 Glory, but he lost one for the failed boast making a total of 3 Glory

Mark’s Boasts were: “We Shall Avenge Them” (2) (success), “My Arrows are Deadlier Than My Spears” (2) (failed) and “They Will Tremble before me” (2 Glory, failed). The successful boast gave Mark 2 Glory, but he lost one for each of the failed boast making a total of 0 Glory

The final battle gave a total of 3 Glory for the Ayyubids.

Andy made two boasts, “They will Tremble before me” (2Glory, success), and “I will Destroy more than I Lose” (2 Glory, failed), giving Andy a total of 1 Glory

Charlotte made only one boast, “I will make them run” (1 Glory, failed), so she ended up on -1 Glory

The final Glory tally for the Pullani was 5 for the victory, 1 for Andy’s boasts and -1 for Charlotte’s boasts, a net gain of 5 Glory

After the final battle the Pullani had 5 victories and 35 Glory, the Ayyubid Egyptians had 5 defeats and 2 Glory.

A conclusive campaign win for the Pullani!

Stephen wants revenge and has already issued a challenge, the same 5 battles campaign, but this time set during the Norman Conquest of England! We have put these in the diary for later in the year.


For those not familiar with Lion Rampant, Boasts are additional objectives you can set for yourself in addition to the scenario objectives. The Boasts we used in these battles, and their success criteria and Glory value are as follows (failing to achieve a boasts costs 1 Glory, irrespective of its positive Glory value).


Boast Criteria Glory
I shall slay your Leader Your Leader must kill the enemy Leader in a Challenge or Attack. Routing the enemy Leader does not count as a success. If the enemy Leader refuses your challenge and survives the game, you succeed but score only 1 Glory 3
I will destroy more units than I lose Your Warband must rout/kill more enemy units than you lose (the actual number of models destroyed and their points value is not relevant). 2
My arrows are deadlier than my spears Your Warband must rout/kill more individual models with Shooting than Attacks (put casualties in two separate piles!) 2
They will tremble before me! At least two enemy units on the table must be Battered at any one time. 2
We Shall Avenge Them Secretly choose one enemy unit, you must rout of kill it during the battle 2
I will make them run One of your units must be the first to fail a Courage test 1


The Tedious Invasion

Stephen reports on a one day SAGA Campaign

In the year AD1058 there was a Norse invasion of England. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle doesn’t have much to say about it, just ‘In this year came a pirate host from Norway; it is tedious to tell how it all happened.’

And that’s it.

So Eric and myself decided to refight this tedious invasion using Saga.

I created a matrix of games from The Book of Battles, the game moves on to the next fight depending on who wins each encounter. If you also fancy giving this a go then below is a copy of the matrix. You can work out what to do – who is attacking and defending should be apparent from the previous game and what works best to create a story.

Game Matrix

Eric had Vikings led by Sigvald Ironhand, and I had Anglo-Danes (the English) led by Edward Oswaldsson. We used Warlord Experience from The Book of Battles to have games with a bit of depth and also to help create a narrative flow.

Sigvald and his raiders

First game was Feasting & Pillaging. Three objectives were laid out (loot from the nearby church) with the Vikings trying to steal as much as they could and the English trying to take it away from them. We went with 6 points each. The English had three points of hearthguard, two points of warriors, and one of levy. The Vikings had two points of hearthguard, two of warriors, and two of levy.

Edward and his hearthguard

The English hearthguard massed on their right flank, with the levy and the warriors on the left intending to use some woods as cover. This was because the Vikings had put their bow-armed levy in the middle meaning that a lot of missile fire would meet anyone there. I think Sigvald was being a bit cautious to start with since his raiders didn’t make the most of their moves – coming forward only slowly. Meanwhile, Edward knew that speed was of the essence and so started double-timing his troops, huffing and puffing as they went, to try and secure the church valuables.

Vikings skulk behind the stones

The Vikings advanced through an area of standing stones (clearly this site had been of religious significance for centuries), which also slowed their advance. This allowed the English hearthguard to capture one of the objectives. However, in the centre the English warriors realised that if they were to stop the Vikings then they would have to expose themselves to some bowfire if they were to secure one of the objectives. So they made a dash for it! The bowfire came but no casualties were taken. The Vikings hadn’t been idle though. Their warriors came forward and they managed to capture the last of the objectives.

Vikings with the vestments

The English levy, hiding in the woods, were within striking distance of the Viking thieves. But they had a dilemma – they could stay where they were and loose their slings or they could rush out of the woods and charge the Vikings. If they were going to stop the Vikings then a flurry of sling bullets was unlikely to take them all out – clearly they were going to have to get stuck in!

Anglo-Dane levy make a charge

They made a valiant attempt. The Vikings took casualties but they also gave them out. The English levy lost this exchange and were pushed back. This gave the Vikings the chance to make off with the treasure. On the left Sigvald had moved his Vikings through the stones and saw Edward ordering his hearthguard to make off with the loot. Another unit of English hearthguard had moved to shield the laden hearthguard and took a round of bowfire on the chin. Ouch! Down went three hearthguard.

Go on lads, I’m right behind you

And that was it – game over. The English had managed to get two of the objectives off the table, whilst the Vikings were in control of just one. Victory points came out at 36 to the English and 32 to the Vikings. Edward gained 3 experience points and took the level 1 Exploration ability. Sigvald gained 2 experience points which wasn’t enough to gain any abilities.

So checking the game matrix we see that, with an Anglo-Dane win, we move on to the Ambush scenario. The Vikings, having only partial success with their raid on the church of St Hildaburga, are now trying to flee the scene. The English are going to see if they can cut them off, finish the job, and take back what’s been stolen (which includes some slaves!)

Viking slave traders

We had 4 points each in this game. The English took two points of hearthguard, one of warriors, and one of levy. The Vikings had one point of hearthguard, two points of warriors, and one point of levy. In this scenario all units start off-table and you have to choose when and where to bring them on. There are three units of baggage moving across the table and the aim is to capture the baggage.

The English went first and brought on about half their units. They came on roughly in the middle, the thought being that by the time they got to the road so would the baggage. Sigvald’s Vikings did similar. I then made my first mistake – I brought the rest of my units (mainly hearthguard) on at the far edge of the table. My thoughts were they could block the baggage if anything made its way through. Turned out this wouldn’t happen – both the Vikings and English would intercept the baggage in the middle, this meant I had put one of my units out of the game because they were too far away.

Viking hirdmen advancing

Eric had learnt something from the previous game – sometimes it pays to double move a unit and take the fatigue. Especially in the games we’d played so far, where speed and movement were important. So that’s what he did and soon took control of one of the baggage items. In the middle my levies stepped on to the road to block another of the baggage items. This is where I made another mistake. Because I decided to pull them back (still don’t know why) rather than leave them where they were so they could start peppering the Vikings with their slings. Thus taking another of my units out of the game!

Then something bad happened that was out of my control – I rolled my Saga dice and the result meant I would be unable to activate my warriors (sorry, can’t remember what symbol I needed). I had one of the helmets so went for the Activation Pool, rolled them, and…they all came up the same as well! This meant that I could not move the warriors who I intended to charge the Vikings carrying the baggage. I did move up the hearthguard and Edward though.

And on Eric’s turn he did what any man of honour would do – sent in Sigvald so we had a warlord versus warlord scrap!

Trial by combat

This did not go well. Sigvald had 12 combat dice and Edward was on 10. That’s even enough and with the warlord’s ability to turn hits into fatigue I expected us both to come out of this alive but with a few cuts.

But no.

Edward got two hits on Sigvald. But Sigvald got ten hits on Edward, of which eight went through!

That’s a dead warlord.

At the end of the game it was 21 Victory Points to the English and 34 to the Vikings. A convincing win. Edward gained 2 experience points and Sigvald gained 3 and took the level 1 Tenacity ability.

Seems quiet enough for the time being

So we move on to our last game – Guard The Loot.

The Vikings, having escaped the English ambush, are now nearly home and dry. All they need to do is get their plunder aboard the boats and off they go.

The rules of this scenario mean that each player places 3 objective markers. At the end of the game you get Victory Points based on how many you control – those placed by your opponent are worth more than ones placed by yourself.

We had 5 points each. The English (now led by Edward’s son, Gyrth Edwardson) had three points of hearthguard, one of warriors, and one of levy. The Vikings had two points of hearthguard, two of warriors, and one of levy.

I made a slight mistake in my deployment. There were six objectives on the table but I only had five units. This meant it would be impossible for me to control all six objectives, but if I’m honest, I reckon that would be hard to achieve anyway. So not that bad.

We’d set up with a river running across the table with a bridge in the middle. This was slightly on my side. Normally you roll for how passable the river is at the beginning of the game but we decided we’d roll for it when a unit reaches the river. We decided we’d roll separately for the river either side of the bridge.

Vikings secure control of the booze

Both the Vikings and English soon gained control of two objectives each. The Viking warriors found some crates in the woods and Sigvald and his hearthguard found some more near a hill. The English levies took control of some cargo beside the river but rather than cross to another piece of loot just the other side of the river they chose to stay where they were so they could shoot at any Vikings that tried to claim it. Edward and his hearthguard soon took control of some barrels. The fight was going to be for the remaining loot. I had placed one of the loot tokens on the bridge which, being on my side of the table, meant I should be able to grab it. However, due to the scores I knew I had to push it and gain as much loot as possible and, ideally, the ones Eric had placed (worth more Victory Points) if I was to win the day.

So what do we do now

I pushed a unit of hearthguard and warriors toward the bridge. The intention was that the hearthguard would cross over where they could make a grab for one of the other pieces of loot and the warriors would come up to control the loot on the bridge. With Edward controlling one piece of loot I decided the other unit of hearthguard would cross the river to ultimately attack the Vikings with the loot in the woods. I let Eric roll for the river. Impassable! Yup, a steep, slippery, bank and deep, fast-flowing, rapids made it impassable. So I made the decision to double-time them to the bridge where I could launch an attack on the Viking side of the river. Meanwhile Eric moved a unit of hearthguard to control the loot by the river. The English levies opened up with their slings but…nothing!

Here we go! Here we go!

Now things hotted up! The first unit of English hearthguard crossed the bridge and made for the Vikings in the woods. Eric did the brave thing and backed up. And the Viking levies opened up with their bows. I used the Shieldwall ability to raise armour to 6 and thought that would be enough to stop the arrows. But no – three casualties caused! I then moved the warriors on the bridge along the banks of the river (and behind a hill to protect them from any arrows) so I could contest control of the loot there. This meant Eric only had control of two loot tokens whilst I had control of three, and the possibility of taking control of a fourth. Would that be enough to win the day?

Give us back our barrels

On the last turn Eric decided to go for it. Realising the difficult position he was in it was clearly an all or nothing situation. He counter-attacked on the bridge, meaning the English lost control of the loot token there, and then he brought up a unit of hearthguard to charge the warriors who were threatening control of the loot by the river. In this fight it went the Viking way – no Viking losses but two dead English warriors. This meant the warriors had to withdraw and therefore the Vikings would regain control of that loot token.

And that was the end of the game. The Vikings had just managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat – they had three loot tokens worth 9 Victory Points and the English had control of just two loot tokens worth 6 Victory Points. A close one.

But final Victory points for the day came to 63 for the English and 75 for the Vikings. A narrow Viking win. They had got away with some loot but not as much as they could have.

Thus came to an end the tedious invasion of 1058.

Struggle for control of the bridge

A busy weekend, Society meeting 24th February and Cavalier 25th February

Andy rounds up a busy weekend for the Society. Photos by Andy unless stated otherwise, header photo by Stephen.

Last weekend saw both a Society meeting and our annual trip to the Cavalier Wargames show run by Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society.

Only three games at the meeting on Saturday, perhaps due to some members only being able to get out on one of the days.

First up, David ran a Napoleonic Corps game using General d’Armee rules and figures from his collection. This was a popular game with half a dozen members partaking.

Eric ran a Judge Dredd RPG, only a couple of photos of this one I’m afraid.

Judge Dredd RPG
Judge Dredd Bar room Brawl

Finally on Saturday Andy and Stephen finished off their Lion Rampant Five Battles campaign, joined this time by Treasurer Mark and new member Charlotte.

Game one.

This was a Convoy mission, the Christians had to escort three “baggage” markers diagonally across the table, a cart, some monks and some civilians. The Muslim forces had to stop them.

Much reduced cavalry face off (Charlotte)
Andy’s convoy and escorts (Charlotte)
Egyptian Light Cavalry (Charlotte)

Game 2. This was to be our “Big Battle”, with two commands on each side. Here the objective was simply to defeat the opposition.

Andy’s warband
Andy’s Warband (Charlotte)
Charlotte’s and Stephen’s warbands
Stephen’s view point (Stephen)

We will post a write up of the final games in the campaign in the near future.


On Sunday half a dozen or so members travelled to Tonbridge for Cavalier.

The Society’s game for this year was masterminded and built by Phil, and was a 3D representation of a map game published in the 1977 Warlord Comic Summer Special portraying a Luftwaffe raid on Southern England during the Battle of Britain.

Phil’s board, 560 individually marked squares!
Airfields and ammunition dumps are three of the targets for the Luftwaffe
A close up of the town
A copy of the original game can just be seen at the bottom of the photo

Lion Rampant Five Battles, Day 1

Andy reports on the first part of a short campaign.

Stephen and I started the year with the Five Battles Campaign from Lion Rampant Version 2. We decided to set the campaign as part of the Crusades, and allow the use of the additional rules and forces from Lion Rampant: The Crusader States.

Stephen would take the Muslim forces and I would take the Christian forces.

The campaign comprises of five battles, the participants prepare 5 Warbands and they allocate each of these Warbands to one of the battles. In the book these are of 20, 24, 24, 24 and 30 points, we decided that we would go large, and would use Warbands of 24, 24, 30, 30 and 48 points.

We gave leaders the free skill to allow a single reroll for a failed Move Shoot or Attack order, and allowed an extra point to each of the warbands (2 to the 48-point warband) to be used solely on additional leader skills (up to 2 skills per leader), so the warbands would effectively be 25, 25, 31, 31 and 50 points. Any points spent on leader skills in excess of the one or two extra points would be taken from the point value of the Warband.

The 48+2-point warband would be used in the last game, and would be split into 2 contingents, players choice if this warband contains contingents of equal or unequal points values.

Throughout the campaign Stephen would be the Red player, and I would be the Blue player.

For each battle the roll of a D6 would determine which scenario would be used, with the basic Bloodbath scenario being a 1 in 6 chance for each battle.

The five battles in the campaign, and the possible scenarios and attackers are:

Battle Die Roll 1-3 Die Roll 4-5 Die Roll 6
Scenario Attacker Scenario Attacker Scenario
The River Valley 6: A Gentle Stroll (p146) Blue (Andy) 16: Bloodfeud (p166) Red (Stephen) 1: Bloodbath (p137)


Roll D6. Highest is Attacker

The Hills 3: Defending the Indefensible (p140) Red (Stephen) 7: Hold on Tight (p148)


Blue (Andy)
The Road 13: The Convoy (p160) Blue (Andy) 14: Meeting the Neighbours (p163) Red (Stephen)
The Meadows 11: The Messenger (p154) Red (Stephen) 4: The Fugitive (p142) Blue (Andy)
The Village 8: Sausages with Mustard (p149) Red (Stephen) 12: The Taxman Cometh (p156) Blue (Andy)

To determine the first battle of the campaign we rolled a d10, subsequently the winner of a battle would choose which battle came next.

Battle 1.

The d10 result was 2, leading us to fight the battle in the River Valley, for this battle one long edge, the south edge, is a deep, impassable river, and we placed a stream, counting as bad going, just over halfway across the table, just to the east of the middle of the table.

The subsequent d6 roll resulted in scenario 6, A Gentle Stroll (p146). This made me the attacker and Stephen the defender. I had chosen a 31-point warband for this scenario, Stephen had a 25-point warband.

Andy (Frankish Settlers (Pullani))  Total 31 points

        • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Drilled), Leader Braveheart (In challenges only hit on a 6) @ 8 points
        • 2 x Sergeants (Heavy Cavalry) @ 4 points each
        • 1 x Foot Sergeants (Heavy Infantry) @ 4 points
        • 1 x Foot Yeomen (Light Infantry) @ 3 points
        • 1 x Crossbowmen @ 4 points
        • 2 x Skirmishers @ 2 points each

I should have had a unit of Light Cavalry, instead of one of the Heavy Cavalry units, but these are still on the painting table.

Stephen (Ayyubid Egyptian)  Total 24 points

        • 2 x Mounted Mamluk (Heavy Cavalry with Bows) @ 5 points each
        • 3 x Mounted Turcomen (Light Cavalry) @ 4 points each
        • 1 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points

Yes, Stephen should have had a 25-point warband, but he forgot to add a Leader skill!

Stephen deployed his forces in the North West Corner, with the objective of getting his warband off the South East corner. He had to leave one of his units of Turcomen off table initially, as they wouldn’t all fit into the deployment area.

I had to deploy in the North East and South West corners, with at least one unit in each area. My objective was to prevent Stephen from exiting the board. My plan was to deploy most of my force in the North East corner, including my Skirmishers and Crossbows, with the intention of moving them as quickly as possible to the South East corner to block Stephen’s exit.

Positions after turn 1. Sorry it’s a bit blurred.

I had to deploy at least one unit in the South West corner, I decided to use one of the Heavy Cavalry units and the Light Infantry, I wanted units that could move fairly quickly, but that would also be a threat to Stephen’s flank.

Andy’s “Forlorn Hope”

Stephen sent one of his units of Mamluks and his unit of Ahdath to counter my force in the South West, while the rest of his mounted units headed for the South East corner and safety.

Stephen’s Ayyubid Egyptians spread out

I Sent my Skirmishers forward, headed for the rocky ground to the east of the stream, hoping to be able to shoot at any of Stephen’s troops trying to cross the stream while taking advantage of the rocky ground as cover. I sent my second unit of Heavy Cavalry toward the Northern part of the stream to guard against a unit of Turcomen getting behind me, while I tried to keep my Leader’s unit of Elite Cavalry centrally positioned to enable him to use his failed activation re-roll should my heavier foot fail in a move activation.

Andy’s main force making all speed

On the West of the table my Yeomen made it to the hill only to receive an arrow storm from the Mamluks and Ahdath, sending them battered back off the hill.

Some of Stephen’s main force reached the stream, and came within range of my Skirmishers, fortunately I came out on top of the duel, and a couple of his Turcomen were forced back from the stream with heavy losses. He did get one unit of Turcomen across the stream and headed for the exit point, but by this time my Crossbows were in range and their quarrels took their toll.

Stephen’s Emir crosses the stream

In the West my Yeomen spectacularly failed their Rally attempt and fled the field, leaving the Mounted Sergeants a bit isolated. I decided to move these into the lee of the hill to take them out of sight of the Ayyubids, Stephen moved his Mamluks in parallel, and they eventually came to blows, both units being reduced to below half strength, with my Mounted Sergeants eventually routing.

Meanwhile Stephen’s Emir bravely pressed on crossing the stream, but by this time I had brought my second unit of Mounted Sergeants and my Knights further to the south.

The Mounted Sergeants were able to charge the Emir’s unit, reducing the unit to Emir himself. He must have been blessed with luck as he survived all the Leader casualty rolls he had to take, but did fail a Courage test, forcing him back across the stream.

I failed in an attempt to shoot him down with my Skirmishers, and we then came to a critical point. The Emir had to take a Rally test, if he failed, he would rout as he was the only figure left in the unit, and if that happened then all of Stephen’s remaining units would also have to take courage tests. Of course he passed, and I was unable to inflict a further casualty with archery before Stephen moved him out of range of my Skirmishers.

Stephen’s only full-strength unit now was his Ahdath, who were still well to the west of the stream, he had one unit of Turcomen just over half strength, but the remainder of his units were below half strength.

Stephen’s remnants

On the other hand, I had lost my Heavy Cavalry and the Light Infantry west of the stream, but all my other units were at over half strength and my Crossbows and Heavy Infantry were now blocking the Ayyubid’s exit point, with the latter in Wall of Spears.

At this point Stephen conceded that he could not win the battle, he did not think he could get enough of his troops off the exit point to win the scenario, so he conceded.

At the start of the game, I had made three boasts, ‘I shall slay their leader’ (3), ‘I will destroy more units than I lose’ (2) and ‘They will tremble before me’ (2). I failed to achieve the first two, but I did succeed with the last one, so I netted out at 0 Glory for the boasts (failed boasts cost you 1 Glory, irrespective of their value if you win), but took 5 Glory for the win.

Stephen made three boasts as well, ‘My arrows are deadlier than my spears’ (2), ‘Their arrows shall be lost like tears in the rain’ (1) and ‘They will tremble before me’ (2). He succeeded with the first two boasts, but failed the last for a total of 2 Glory for the boasts.

So, after the first battle it was 1-0 to me, I had 5 Glory and Stephen had 2 Glory.

Battle 2

For this battle I had selected a 25-point warband and Stephen had selected a 30-point warband (he forgot the additional point for a leader skill again).

Having won the first battle, I chose “The Meadows” as the second battle, and the d6 rolls resulted in the Bloodbath scenario with me as the attacker.

Andy (Frankish Settlers (Pullani))  Total 25 points

          • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Drilled), Leader Braveheart (In challenges only hit on a 6) @ 8 points
          • 1 x Sergeants (Heavy Cavalry) @ 4 points
          • 1 x Foot Sergeants (Heavy Infantry) @ 4 points
          • 1 x Foot Yeomen (Light Infantry) @ 3 points
          • 1 x Crossbowmen @ 4 points
          • 1 x Skirmishers @ 2 points

Stephen (Ayyubid Egyptian)  Total 30 points

          • 2 x Mounted Mamluk (Heavy Cavalry with Bows) @ 5 points each
          • 3 x Mounted Turcomen (Light Cavalry) @ 4 points each
          • 2 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points each
          • 1 x Foot Ghilman (Light Infantry, with Javelins) @ 4 points

In this scenario each side deploys in three phases, first any 1- and 2-point units, then 3- and 4-point units, then units worth 5 or more points. The defender deploys first in each phase.

I knew I was going to be outnumbered and I also knew that due to the deployment rules Stephen would have to deploy most of his Warband before I deployed anything heavier than my Skirmishers. So, I decided on a ruse, I planned to concentrate my force in the South West corner and rely on an interior lines defence, trying to prevent Stephen being able to bring all his troops to bear at the same time, but I would try to make it look like I was going for a central deployment.

Stephen started by deploying his Ahdath on his left flank, near some rocky ground. I deployed my Skirmishers about a third of the way across the table, near to a building, I was hoping Stephen would think that these would be guarding the left of my line, when I actually intended them to be the right of my line.

Stephen then deployed his Ghilman and Turcomen, one of the latter to the east of his Ahdath and the other two in the North West corner with the Ghilman unit.

Stephen’s left flank

Now it was time to deploy my main force, I put my Yeomen on the extreme left of my deployment zone, then the Crossbows, then the Heavy Foot. I put the Mounted Sergeants on the right, immediately behind the Skirmishers. These would act as flank guard.

Stephen then deployed his remaining units, two groups of Mamluks, including his leader.

Stephen’s Turcomen, Ghilman and Mamluks

I deployed my Leader behind my Infantry line, intending to position him so that he could influence courage rolls on the main infantry line.

Turn 2 Andy’s Pullani brace themselves for the attack.

On my first couple of moves I advanced my skirmishers to occupy one of the buildings to form a bastion on my right, and advanced the rest of the infantry to form a diagonal line, getting the Yeomen and Sergeants into Wall of Spears.

Andy’s defensive line

Stephen advanced his forces, but he let his Ghilman get too far ahead of his other troops so they came in range of both my skirmishers and crossbows, taking casualties from both and being forced to retreat battered.

Stephen’s Turcomen units on the West flank advanced and shot at my Yeomen, temporarily battering them, and forcing them back. Fortunately for me they rallied at the first attempt and resumed their place in the line before Stephen could exploit the gap. Stephen also got his Ahdath close enough to my Skirmishers to start shooting, but having the advantage of cover my Skirmishers won that shooting contest. Stephen’s Turcomen unit on the East flank came up, so I advanced my Mounted Sergeants to chase them off, if memory serves, I charged them, they tried to evade but failed and had to fight with Armour of 1, all but being wiped out in the first round of combat.

On my left (the West) Stephen tried attacking my line of foot but his units were rebuffed. My crossbows and skirmishers must have been practicing because they inflicted many casualties breaking a couple of Stephen’s units.

With over half of Stephen’s units wiped out or routed, and with the hope of getting a third battle in, Stephen conceded.

This time I only made two boasts, ‘Half of the Enemy shall fall to my Sword’ (2) and ‘They will tremble before me’ (2). I succeeded with both boasts, so I gained 4 Glory for the boasts, and took 5 Glory for winning the battle.

Stephen made three boasts again, ‘I will destroy more units than I lose’ (2), ‘Half the enemy shall fall to my sword'(2) and ‘My arrows are deadlier than my spears’ (2) this time Stephen failed to achieve the first two boasts, but did succeed with the third, which cancelled each other out, so no change in his Glory total.

So, after the second battle I had 2 victories and 14 Glory, Stephen had two defeats and 2 Glory.

Battle 3

For the third battle I chose “The Hills” and the die roll resulted in Scenario 3 “Defending the Indefensible” with Stephen as the Attacker and I as the Defender. The table was set up with 5 hills, one in the centre of each quadrant, and one more in the central area of the table, with a shrine on the central hill. I had to deploy up to 10 points in the central zone, defending the shrine, with the remainder of my force in the Western deployment zone. Stephen’s force would deploy on the Eastern zone with the objective of getting one of his units into contact with the shrine.

Andy (Frankish Settlers (Pullani))   Total 25 points

          • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Drilled), Leader Braveheart (In challenges only hit on a 6) @ 8 points
          • 1 x Sergeants (Heavy Cavalry) @ 4 points
          • 1 x Foot Sergeants (Heavy Infantry) @ 4 points
          • 1 x Foot Yeomen (Light Infantry) @ 3 points
          • 1 x Crossbowmen @ 4 points
          • 1 x Skirmishers @ 2 points

Stephen (Ayyubid Egyptian)  Total 29 points

          • 1 x Foot Mamluk (Heavy Foot, Expert) @ 6 points
          • 2 x Foot Ghilman (Light Infantry, with Javelins) @ 4 points each
          • 1 x Hashishin (Warrior Infantry, Assassination) @ 5 points
          • 1 x Mounted Turcomen (Light Cavalry) @ 4 points
          • 3 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points each

The astute among you will notice the inclusion of a unit of Hashishin in Stephen’s warband, with the Assassination upgrade. These troops and the upgrade are from Lion Rampant: The Crusader States. The Assassination upgrade normally costs 2 points but the Hashishin get a discount so it only costs them 1 point. This allows a pre-game assassination attempt against the enemy leader, requiring a 5 or 6 on a d6 to succeed. Needless to say, Stephen rolled a 6, and my leader left this mortal coil clutching his throat. This meant that I would not get any Leader benefits in the next game.

I decided I would need to keep my fastest units as my “reserve” to give them the best chance of getting into the fray (this may have been a mistake), so I deployed my Foot Sergeants occupying the shrine on the hill, with the Crossbows facing Stephen’s deployment area, and the Skirmishers to one flank. In the Western deployment zone I put my two mounted units and my Yeomen.

Stephen deployed his Hashishin and Ghilman in the northern half of his deployment zone, with his Mamluks and Ahdath in the centre and his Turcomen on his southern flank.

As Attacker Stephen took the first move and advanced most of his troops towards the shrine, I advanced my crossbows and moved the skirmishers behind them to the northern flank. I then started to move my reserves up, thankfully all the units succeeded in their move activations in the first turn.

In the next couple of turns our missile troops exchanged fire, generally to my advantage, Stephen advanced his Hashishin and Ghilman closer to the shrine, and I managed to bring up my Mounted Sergeants on my southern flank and my Foot Yeomen on the Northern flank. My unit of Knights, bereft of their Leader, resolutely refused to advance any further (needing a 7+ to move, and having lost the ability to reroll a failed activation with the assassination of my leader).

On the southern flank our cavalry units came to blows, with my Sergeants coming out on top.

Stephen’s Ghilman advanced towards my Crossbows, taking casualties on their way in, but his Hashishin eventually got close enough to charge my Skirmishers, who managed to evade the charge.

By this time, I had brought up my Yeomen to hold off one of the Ghilman units, and Stephen’s Hashishin diverted their attention to my Crossbowmen who miraculously survived the Hashishin’s charge, driving them back.

Andy’s Pullani defend the shrine

And my Knights, you ask? Still sat stubbornly on the edge of my deployment zone refusing to move.

Stephen closes in on the Shrine, my Knights have hardly moved.
Andy’s Knights “resolutely guarding the rocky ground”.

Stephen continued to throw his Ghilman at my Yeomen, and although the latter were reduced to half strength, they held on long enough that the Gilman unit eventually failed its Courage and Rally tests and melted away.

One of the conditions for ending this scenario is when the Attacker has lost 50% of their starting points, and eventually Stephen’s mounting casualties brought him to this point ending the battle.

For this battle I again only made two boasts: I shall destroy more than I lose (2) and Tremble before me (2). I succeeded with both boasts, so I gained 4 Glory for the boasts, and took 5 Glory for winning the battle.

Stephen made three boasts again: ‘My arrows are deadlier than my spears’ (2), ‘I shall strike the first blow’ (1), and ‘I shall run rings around them’ (1). Unfortunately for Stephen he failed to achieve any of these boasts so lost 3 Glory.

My recalcitrant knights did do one good thing, as they refused to move away from my deployment zone it made it all but impossible for Stephen to achieve his ‘’I shall run rings around them’ boast.

So, after the third battle I had 3 victories and 23 Glory, Stephen had 3 defeats and -1 Glory.

In our next session we will fight the fourth battle, where I expect to have a larger force than Stephen, and the final 50-point battle, which we will open up to a second commander on each side.



For those not familiar with Lion Rampant, Boasts are additional objectives you can set for yourself in addition to the scenario objectives. The Boasts Stephen and I used in these battles, and their success criteria and Glory value are as follows (failing to achieve a boasts costs 1 Glory, irrespective of its positive Glory value).

Boast Criteria Glory
I shall slay your Leader Your Leader must kill the enemy Leader in a Challenge or Attack. Routing the enemy Leader does not count as a success. If the enemy Leader refuses your challenge and survives the game, you succeed but score only 1 Glory 3
I will destroy more units than I lose Your Warband must rout/kill more enemy units than you lose (the actual number of models destroyed is not relevant). 2
Half of the enemy shall fall to my sword Your Warband must rout/kill at least half of your enemy’s total number of units (the actual number of models destroyed is not relevant). 2
My arrows are deadlier than my spears Your Warband must rout/kill more individual models with Shooting than Attacks (put casualties in two separate piles!) 2
They will tremble before me! At least two enemy units on the table must be Battered at any one time. 2
I shall strike the first blow One of your units must declare the game’s first Attack 1
I shall Run rings around them At the end of one turn of the game, have one of your own units closer to the enemy’s base line than any of their units. 1
Their arrows shall be lost like tears in the rain None of your units may be ultimately routed or destroyed by missile fire (they may take missile casualties, but this cannot be the cause of their removal from play). 1


Society meeting 27th January

Andy presents a short round up of the games at the second meeting of the year.

Stephen and I started our Lion Rampant Five Battles campaign. We had planned to play two games today, but actually got through three games.

First Battle: Stephen’s Ayyubid Egyptians spread out
First Battle: Nearing the end
Second Battle: Andy’s Pullani brace themselves for the attack.
Third Battle: Andy’s Pullani defend the shrine

A full report on these battles will be posted soon.

Eric ran a Darkheim – En Garde! fantasy skirmish game pitting four factions against each other in a free for all.

Barbarians and Beastmen
Cultists approach the village
Fighting around the ruined chapel
The village

Paul put on a 3mm Eastern front game set in late 1943

Aerial view of the battlefield
Soviets bypass the town


German ambush from the woods
Aerial view of the town

Finally, David, Alan and Chris played a Star Wars Armada game.

Imperial Star Destroyers
Rebels press the attack
“They’re behind you!”

That’s all for this week.

The diary for this year’s meetings can be found here.

The Quest Begins

Tony F reports on the beginnings of an epic journey.

About four years ago, Games Workshop released The Quest of the Ringbearer, the latest source book in their Middle Earth Strategy Battle series. This is centred around a series of 28 scenarios which, if played in succession, tell the story of Frodo’s journey across Middle Earth to destroy the One Ring. It’s a bit of a mash-up between the story as told in the book, and the slightly different version in Peter Jackson’s films.

Phil and I have finally managed to get ourselves into gear and started on our Quest at the first meeting of the year. The initial scenarios are quite short, so we managed to race through the first four, even with the club AGM being held during the meeting ! Aiding us were Andy, who joined Phil on the Evil side, while Jon R played with me on the side of all that is Good. This report will cover the first two scenarios, with the next two in a separate post.

Scenario 1 – Farmer Maggot’s Crop
“The hounds of love are hunting”

Farmer Maggot’s cottage

This was a simple starter scenario, with the four hobbits (Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin) being on the evil side for once, trying to steal cabbages from Farmer Maggot’s field. Defending the brassicas were Maggot along with his three dogs, Grip, Wolf and Fang. The hobbits had to steal five cabbages from the field and get it back to their stash, while the dogs had to inflict sufficient bites on the backsides of the thieving hobbits to drive them away. Because this was nothing more than a scrumping mission, no-one could ‘die’ – when the dogs took a wound they ran back to their kennel until the Farmer sent them back again, while a hobbit that lost all of their wounds would run away and abandon the expedition.

Starting positions for scenario 1. The hobbits by their stash (giant tomato), Grip, Fang and Wolf by the kennel and Farmer Maggot asleep in his cottage.

In our playthrough, the hobbits got off to a good start, stealing their first cabbage and sending two of the dogs back to the kennel almost immediately. However, Wolf showed early form by biting Sam – in fact Wolf would be responsible for most of the wounds we inflicted. As soon as one of the dogs took a wound it woke Farmer Maggot, and as the mechanics of the scenario meant that the Farmer had to be touching the kennel in order to release any hound that had slunk back to it, Jon and I decided that our best course of action was simply to leave him there so that the dogs would be immediately be back into the fray.

Sam fends off Fang while the others gather cabbages

With two of the dogs temporarily out of action, the hobbits managed to grab a further three cabbages before they returned. When a hobbit was charged it had to drop its plunder, so not all of the cabbages made it back to the stash point when the dogs returned. As all three dogs got into action we started whittling the hobbits’ numbers down, with Wolf playing a starring role, until there was only one left facing all three dogs, with two plunder tokens still needed – a couple of good bites and it was all over.

The scenario was pretty well balanced, we felt – the hobbits managed to make it off with three of the required five cabbages, and could easily have made it further had Jon not rolled something like four successive sixes towards the end of the game.

Scenario 2 – Short Cuts Make Long Delays
“It’s in the trees – it’s coming !”

This scenario saw three of the four hobbits lost in the forest on the way to Crickhollow (Merry has already gone ahead). Three Ringwraiths are closing in on them, and only the intervention of Gildor Inglorion can save them. The hobbits started in the lee of a large hedge which runs through the forest; the Ringwraiths started in the centre of three of the board edges, while Gildor was on the fourth, Eastern edge (he got to start 3″ in because the Good side won the previous scenario). The objective was to get Frodo off the Eastern side of the table.

The Ringwraiths are in ‘Sentry’ mode – each turn they must roll a dice and depending on the result they could either move normally, at half speed, stay still or even in some cases be moved by the Good side. Conversely, the hobbits are all petrified of what could be in the woods so they each had to make a Courage test every turn – pass and they could move normally, fail and the Evil side got to move them. Once a Ringwraith spotted a hobbit (which was only at 3″ range in the woods) the alarm was raised and everyone could move normally. So these rolls would be crucial to the outcome – if the hobbits could evade detection for long enough then Frodo could escape.

Sam and Frodo make for the eastern table edge, but Pippin has been spooked by noises in the forest and has fallen behind.

The Ringwraiths pottered around pretty randomly – the one on the Southern edge came up with several 1s on his movement rolls, allowing the Good side to move him away, and he gained the nickname ‘Sh*t Ringwraith’ from has master which stuck for the rest of the day. The Western ‘wraith quickly moved up to the hedge with a decent couple of rolls. Pippin then failed a courage test and the Evil side moved him back towards the hedge and things looked dicey – one more dodgy roll and the alarm would be raised, which would allow the Ringwraiths to quickly close in with their superior speed. But the Western ‘wraith twice failed his rolls to cross the hedge, and spent two turns untangling his cloak from the branches, allowing Pippin to get away. Pippin did fail at least one more courage test but the Good side, being somewhat more decorous, decided not to christen him the ‘Sh*t Hobbit’.

Pippin on his lonesome, waiting for a Black Rider to find him…
… but the Ringwraith in question has snagged his cloak on the hedge and spends several turns trying to cross !

This left just the Northern Ringwraith as a threat – but by this time Gildor had moved up to meet the hobbits and was shielding Frodo. Since the scenario only required Frodo to escape, we decided we’d sacrifice the other two if necessary to get him away. So Sam and Pippin moved into blocking positions and Gildor hurried the Ringbearer off the table. Pippin was struck down in the last turn, but it was nevertheless a victory for the Good side again (rolling after the game, Pippin was determined to not be entirely dead, so his sacrifice was worth it).

Sam and Frodo make for the eastern table edge, but Pippin has been spooked by noises in the forest and has fallen behind.

The scenario was tricky for the Evil side, but depending on the random movement rolls for the Ringwraiths it could have gone entirely differently – and getting stuck on the hedge for two turns (only a 1-in-6 chance) effectively took one of them out of the game. What was key for the Good side was that Frodo, with his higher courage value, didn’t fail a single test and so could move towards the edge of the table at full speed every turn, making it in the minimum possible time.

‘Come on if you think you’re hard enough !’ – Gildor shepherds Frodo and Sam to safety ahead of other wraith.

So – after two scenarios, it’s

Good 2-0 Evil

First Society meeting of the year

Andy rounds up the first meeting of the year.

A good turn out for the Society’s first meeting of 2024, which included the Annual General Meeting, as well as half a dozen games.

The games staged were representative of the many periods and genes covered at the Society, consisting of historical, fictional, fantasy and sci-fi games.

Tony and Phil made a start with their “Quest of the Ringbearer” Middle-Earth campaign, playing out 4 scenarios of the journey from the Shire to Mount Doom.

Scenario 1 Farmer Maggot’s Crop

Farmer Maggot’s cottage
Starting positions for scenario 1. The hobbits by their stash (giant tomato), Grip, Fang and Wolf by the kennel and Farmer Maggot asleep in his cottage.
One of the Hobbits fends off Fang while the others gather cabbages

Scenario 2 – Short cuts make long delays

Pippin gets left behind as Frodo and Sam head for Gildor Inglorion. The Nazgul blunder their way through the woods
Sam has three Nazgul to face, Pippin has fallen and Frodo is nowhere to be seen.

Scenario 3 – Buckleberry Ferry

Starting positions for Scenario three, Three Nazgul spread out near the ferry, the Hobbits are in the trees near the top of the picture.
Stalemate, the sole surviving Nazgul (with 5 points of Will left) has crossed the Brandywine tying the ferry on the far side of the river. The four Hobbits have taken some damage and can’t face swimming the river with a Nazgul waiting for them.

A more detailed report on these scenarios will appear in due course.

Stephen staged a 15mm American Civil War game using Brigade Fire & Fury, ‘The Battle of Mansfield April 1864’

Union defenders on the hill
Union fall back as the Confederates take the hill
Last ditch Union defence
Confederates turn the flank

Alan put on a Pulp Alley game “The Castle of Terror”, teams from the Intelligence Agencies of various countries have been dispatched to investigate secret German activity at Schloß Weidergänger.

The teams approach the castle through the woods
The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend
Russians investigate one of the huts
Sentries patrol, “Hast du etwas gehört, Fritz?”

Jeremey and Eric tried out –“Grimdark Future” from One Hour Wargames using their Space Marines and Robot collections.

Space Marines attack!
Part of the robot horde
Space Marines with air support
Space Marines take a beating

John staged a FoG Renaissance 15mm ECW game pitching Royalists vs Covenanters

Scots Covenanters defend the hill
Push of Pike
Cavalry clash on the wings
Kings’s Lifeguard of Foot supported by cavalry attack the Covenanters

And finally, David put on a 28mm Napoleonic Corps game, Russians vs Prussians using General d’Armee rules

Battle lines are formed
Cavalry clash while infantry hide in the woods.
Russian foot attack the Prussians in the woods
Attack on the Cross Roads

Well, that’s it for the round up of our first meeting.

The Society meets on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays of the month at Linton Village Hall. You can find our diary of games here.

For new members/visitors, we will always endeavour to find you a spot in a game if we can.

A year’s worth of gaming (Part 2)

Club member Stephen reviews the games he has played at Maidstone Wargames Society this year. This is part 2 of the article covering July to December. If you missed part 1 it can be found here.

The first meeting after the Open Day can be an important one because it would be the first ‘true’ impression of a club day for anyone returning after the Open Day. We do try to have a few games going and it’s important that games are open to any new member to help them feel included and part of the club. I had a game of Dragon Rampant with Andy.

July – Dragon Rampant

We got in two games. Andy was using his goblins, and I used two new armies – elves in the first game and dwarves in the second. And Andy won both games. Not just won, but won quite convincingly. That’s the thing with new armies – it takes time. You have to get to know each other, trust each other, respect each other. Just like any relationship.

At the end of July came more sci-fi. Another game of Stargrave – Jurassic Moon! I’m sure you can work out the inspiration for that one. Films, TV, and books all provide an endless resource for Stargrave games. Yet again, another sci fi game in my decision to do more sci fi during the year.

In this game Tony’s captain would get killed by a pack of velociraptors, meaning Tony lost his crew and will have to start all over again. Meanwhile, Eric kept throwing grenades at everything. We also used the Side Hustle cards, which provided a great new element to the game.

July – Stargrave – Jurassic Moon

We are now two-thirds of the way through this gaming year, and another sci fi game for me – Battlestar Galactica by Ares Games. This uses the same game engine as other games such as X-Wing. The game was run by Alan, so fulfilled two briefs for the year’s gaming – play more sci fi, and play more games run by other people. Best of all, though, was the chance to game with club members I seldom game with. Alan umpired with Dave and myself taking the Cylons and Pete S and Chris taking the humans. I don’t wish to gloat, but suffice to say that Dave and myself had a very rewarding day!

August – Battle Star Galactica

And then on to a bit of fantasy – Elf King Red. This is a free download set of rules by Rick Priestly. In brief, the game is based around an elf civil war, with each player taking control of a different ‘Circle’ of elves. It’s one of those games with just a few miniatures per player – a leader (or Thane in the rules) accompanied by six companions. Just seven figures per side!

We had a four player game – Andy, Tony F, Phil, and myself. We played two different scenarios (we agreed that each player must devise a scenario, but obviously never played them all). Andy’s scenario involved hunting down a rampant werewolf whilst mine was all about taking control of a temple in the wilderness.

August – Elf King Red

It proved to be a nice fun game. These sort of things always work best with some kind of scenario driven game. There’s a few holes in the rules, which is OK (they’re free, after all), especially if you’re a group of friends and playing the game in the spirit of fun. We certainly coped with any hiccups and any uncertainties were easily resolved. EKR will make a great one-day session of linked scenarios.

It had been a little while, but the first meeting in September was back to our Wars of the Roses campaign – Battle of Hedgeley Moor. This was an encounter I was unfamiliar with, with newly crowned King Edward sending an embassy to the Scots only to be ambushed by the Lancastrians.

September – Sword and Spear – Battle of Hedgeley Moor

You know what, it’s just not fair! I really thought I was going to win this one, it was looking good at one point. But did I? No. You can read the full report here: Wars of the Roses – Battle of Hedgeley Moor – Battle Report – Maidstone Wargames Society (

A closer game this time, so I suppose some things are improving.

The second meeting in September was supposed to be Rebels & Patriots but Andy had to pull out at the last minute, so I grabbed some spaceships and we had a game of Starmada instead. Like Full Thrust this is a space fleet game, but it’s quicker and dirtier than Full Thrust and can handle large fleet battles better. We played three games. The first was a simple meeting encounter so we could all remind ourselves of the rules. The grey fleet won this so we decided the next battle would be an attempt to take control of a mining facility. The green fleet repelled them this time and so we moved on to the last game – a chance for the greens to consolidate their position. But the greys won again. We decided this represented a minor victory for the greys. They hadn’t managed to take control of the mining facilities but had done enough to press the greens for trading benefits.

September – Starmada

The first meeting in October was on the 14th, which meant only one thing: HASTINGS! A few years ago we’d re-fought the battle so what we did was have a special Saga day based on the Norman Invasion. Norman and Anglo-Dane armies only.

October – SAGA – Battle of Hastings

The four of us decided to play multi-player games. Each player would keep track of victory points throughout the day and the player with the highest total would be declared winner. The day went to Tim with his Anglo-Danes with Jeremey, also using Anglo-Danes, in a very close second. It seems English resistance to the Normans is alive and well.

Since we meet in such a large hall I often wonder why we don’t do more one-on-one games. There’s enough room. So at the second meeting in October Tony G and myself had a few games of Barons War. This was Tony’s first time, so we kept it small. As such, we got in three games. Barons War provides a really good section on scenarios, which always benefits skirmish games. I won the first, then Tony won the second, which left a third deciding game. It went to Tony! The more I play Barons War the more I enjoy it. Like many rules it’s not always as clear as it could be – though not as bad as some rules out there. But as you play it the more sense it makes. A very enjoyable session.

October – Baron’s War

Right then. So, November. And another ding-dong in our Wars of the Rose campaign.

This was the Battle of Hexham and marked a turning point in the war. Not only was it a turning point in the actual war but it was also a turning point (hopefully) in our campaign. Rather than give details here you can instead read about the remarkable events here.

November – Sword and Spear – Battle of Hexham

The penultimate game of the year was a bit of a 90s throwback – Battletech! This game ticked two boxes for my year’s gaming: more sci fi AND play other’s games as well. Back in the day I used to play a lot of Battletech (and Silent Death). This was Eric’s game and we played a version of Battletech called Alpha Strike which, to be honest with you, bears no resemblance to the original game at all. Which is not a bad thing. Battletech was a very 90s set of rules and I’m not sure I have the stomach for it any more. But Eric had done the right thing by introducing us to Alpha Strike because it is a much more streamlined, playable, and therefore enjoyable game. Splendid fun. And check out Eric’s fantastically painted mechs. When I used to play I would go for lurid colours (I remember doing one in purple and yellow). I much prefer Eric’s muted colours.

November – Battletech Alpha Strike

And so on to my final game of the year. And yet more sci fi. Another game of Stargrave, but this time with a festive feel – I called the game ‘There Ain’t No Sanity Clause’ (full credit goes to The Damned for that). Santa Claus has been kidnapped by hordes of psycho-penguins and the players must spread festive goodwill to release him.

December – Stargrave – There Ain’t No Sanity Clause

Five players took part. They had two goals – as well as collecting loot tokens they also had to collect clues that tell them what they have to do to release Santa. The culmination of the game was a group rendition of We Wish You A Happy Christmas. In addition, if the players give back captured loot tokens to Santa (the loot were presents for all the good boys and girls) then they would receive double experience for those tokens.

A suitably festive ending to the year!

So those were the games I played at the club during 2023. I did well on my pledge to play more sci fi, but not so well when it came to playing other’s games (though I did do that more than usual – so not too bad). You know what, I don’t think I played a duff game all year. I thoroughly enjoyed every game. This is the advantage with being a club member – the variety of games and the quality. I’m going to continue with my determination to join in other games during 2024.


A year’s worth of gaming (Part 1)

Club member Stephen reviews the games he has played at Maidstone Wargames Society this year. This is part 1 of the article covering January to June.

This article is a review of all the different games I’ve played over 2023 just to see, and remind myself, of the variety of games I’ve done. At the beginning of the year I made two decisions – play more sci fi, and play more games that other people put on (my general attitude is ‘I paid for these models and took the time to paint them so I want to use them!’ which means I generally put on a game at most meetings). So this year I wanted to mix things up.

The first game of the year was at the club meeting on January 28th. This was a game of Sword & Spear and part of a campaign (which started in 2022) to re-fight the Wars of the Roses with Jeremey.

January – Sword and Spear – Mortimer’s Cross

I love playing Sword & Spear. I do. But I don’t seem to be any good at it. In all the games I’ve ever played of S&S I think I’ve only ever won twice. Surely it can’t be my superior tactics, that seems to be beyond reproach, right? This game was a re-fight of Mortimer’s Cross (you can find the full, and gloating, write-up here: Wars of the Roses – Battle of Mortimers Cross – Battle Report – Maidstone Wargames Society ( As is traditional with S&S, I lost. But you know what, I couldn’t care less because the games are always a lot of fun with plenty of pre-game trash talk and goading, and each game has a story. Playing in good company always helps as well. I’d willingly keep on losing so long as I keep on enjoying it.

February brought another couple of games at the club.

First up was a new game to me – Charlie Don’t Surf by Two Fat Lardies. I find TFL games a bit marmite. I’ve played Chain of Command – loved it. I’ve played What A Tanker – didn’t like it. And this was the first time for CDS. And I loved that as well. The game and models are all Pete S’s, and he’s done a blinding job on them. They are 10mm Pendraken models (I think) and it has just the right look for Vietnam.

February – Charlie Don’t Surf

We’re used to seeing 20mm and 28mm Vietnam games which focus on platoon actions. But Vietnam was bigger than that – often brigade sized actions with the company as the manoeuvre unit. And 10mm captures that perfectly. I had command of the armoured platoon. We put Mark J (newly appointed club chairman) to prove his mettle in command so he took company HQ. The game was a victory for the US side!

The second game in February was planned to be a Barons’ War game with Andy. But in the week leading up I suggested to Andy we could do a ‘compare and contrast’ and have a game of both Lion Rampant and Barons’ War to see how the two handle the same period. You can read a summary of our findings here (Lion Rampant and Baron’s War – Maidstone Wargames Society (

February – Baron’s War and Lion Rampant

First club meeting in March was a Stargrave game. I said I wanted to play more sci fi in 2023 and this was the first sci fi of the year. I found the original scenario online and tweaked it to be what I wanted it to be. Stargrave is a great toolbox of a game – you can make it what you want it to be. This game had both an overland and underground part, which was new for us.

March – Stargrave – The Warp Sextant

I prefer running Stargrave as an umpire, like a RPG. You get a different kind of pleasure as umpire because it’s about providing challenges and running the NPCs/monsters and hopefully providing an enjoyable scenario. Well, for me anyway. In this game Eric’s crew had fought hard to get to the bunker where the Warp Sextant was hidden. But coming out he found Tony F’s crew waiting outside, guns pointed at the entrance. A brief exchange of fire and it was Tony who made off with the treasure. Poor Eric.

End of March it was another chance to lose at Sword & Spear – Second Battle of St Albans. In this campaign I have the Lancastrians which means the onus is on me to win in battles where the Lancastrians came out on top. Such as Second St Albans.

March – Sword and Spear – Second Battle of St Albans

Again, rather than go into details here, anyone wanting to know more about this game can read the battle report (Wars of the Roses – 2nd Battle of St Albans – Battle Report – Maidstone Wargames Society ( Suffice to say, it was business as usual! Tony joined me again on the Lancastrian side. I was feeling good about this one, felt I was due a win. And the early part of the game was looking good – the local militia archers engaged the Yorkist artillery and eliminated them for no loss! Yup, first blood to Lancaster. And then it steadily went downhill. Never mind.

More sci fi in April! This time it was Pete M’s Space 1889 game. A different kind of sci fi – Victorian rather than futuristic. The stand out thing were Pete’s scratchbuilt aeronefs, and we spent a bit of time playing ‘guess what bits have been used for the models’. Truly outstanding.

We played two games. I was on the human side for both games, and both games were very close. And Jeremey got a leathering in both games with his colleagues leaving him to do all the work. Excellent game.

April – Space:1889 – Mars

The end of April was Salute and this coincided with a club meeting day. Naturally, it was going to be a quiet meeting with a fair few members at Salute. I ran an American Civil War game (battle of Cedar Mountain) using brigade Fire & Fury.

April – Fire & Fury – The Battle of Cedar Mountain

The Union army is in a difficult position for this battle – making an attack against a much larger Confederate army. John R took control of the Union troops and did a good job – but his artillery ran out of ammo early in the game and he never had the time or opportunity to replenish them. This left him conducting a fighting retreat, and he made a good job of it, slowing down the Confederates.

First game in May was another in our Wars of the Roses campaign – the battle of Towton. Like all the others…I lost. Now, I’m not just saying this, but the dice rolling on our side was pretty poor, compared to the other side rolling really well. No, no! Stop that! It’s true on this occasion. To read more about this game you can check out the blog post (Wars of the Roses – Battle of Towton – Battle Report – Maidstone Wargames Society (

May – Sword & Spear – Towton

Next was another sci fi game – Full Thrust. Jeremey and Tony were running the game which meant only one thing: vector movement. My fluffy little head struggles with that and prefers the cinematic movement option.

May – Full Thrust

A mixed bag of results. The first game was two opposed fleets with an asteroid field cutting the table in two – Tony F and myself using some of Brigade’s German ships, and Jeremey and Tony G using some of Jeremey’s scratch built (out of false nails) ships. Tony and myself came out on top in that one. We then played a couple of one ship per player games (first was cruisers, second was destroyers) and the alien nail ships won those games.

Along came flaming June and I decided not to attend Broadside since I was trying to restrict spending and if you go to a show you have to buy something, eh? John Lambert and myself had a game of Crossfire. We played this quite a bit a few years ago but then it fell by the wayside. The models for this game were from my collection – WW2 eastern front.

June – Crossfire – WW2 Eastern Front

The scenario was a late war one – Russian advance through Poland with the Germans on the retreat. Naturally, we were re-learning the rules, but it steadily came back to us. MUST ensure we play more of this one.

June 24th was the club Open Day. My game was a Saga: Crusades games. We played two scenarios, I had Saracens and Andy had Milites Christi. Saracens carried the day and won both games. I love Saga. It’s just the right game for me.

June – SAGA Crusades – The Road to Damascus

You can read more about the Open Day here: Review of 2023 Open Day – Maidstone Wargames Society (

That concludes part 1 of the review of 2023, part 2 will be published in a couple of weeks.