Friday, 28 October 2011

Dog-Romans in 10.


So I have this insane idea to make matched Polybian Romans and Later Carthaginian armies.
In 10mm.

Based for 25mm, that is 60mm frontage. Glory.

Am I getting distracted here? Likely.

These guys above are from AIM's Punic War line. I quite like them.

Here is a shot of the 'pilot' fig.
 I'm surprised how many people when embarking on a mass paint don't start off with a pilot fig to figure out their colour scheme and painting method. Perhaps I over-think, but it works for me.

I really like the Polybian Roman DBA list. It was the first DBA army I painted back in the days of one point aught. I won lots with it. Success got me so bored I retired the army and went off in search of other hardluck projects, you know Bithynians and the like.

I love Velites. It is a quite Roman idea of taking the poorer members of your society and giving them crap fabricae weapons and telling them, 

'Hey! It's cool, you guys are the skirmishers! You've got an awesome job as skirmishers. You get to protect the important part of army, the legionaries. You also get to fight some of the best light infantry ever, the Libyans, the Greeks, the Spanish, and hey, even those Thracians. And if you survive, you might get to wear a dog's head on your helmet. Did I say this was an awesome job or what?'

Romans, what a load of wankers...

I do love the look of these troops nonetheless. And frankly the Polybian list has the best enemies. Spanish of many flavours, Carthaginians (of course), Macedonians, Gauls, and those wacky Syracusans to name a few. The 'Punic' era is the Ancients All-Stars period. You're going to find one army you like and it will kick ass.

Dog-Romans? The pre-Teen Visigoth was enamoured with them as well, finding the dog headed-ness puzzling as a 5 year old. Dubbing them 'Dog-Romans' and painting many of them from those wonderful HaT 1/72nd boxes I bought in excess. 

These won't be the only 10's you'll see on the bloggo. I've taken another commission, this time for the wonderful Brent Lloyd. A 'Scots Common' army is awaiting a prime job. But first I needs plow through the boat load Vikings that sit on my desk. They're not 10mm, and like the proverbial Dane with Dane-geld...they just don't seem to go anyplace.


Monday, 24 October 2011

Adventus Saxonum: yet another FallCon report.

Dark Age grudge match! Cymric warriors and archers menace Saxon Dogs. No dogs were hurt, but lots of Saxons were.

 Adventus Saxonum, that is in the vernacular 'Coming of the Saxons'.

What a grand little tourney we played Saturday afternoon at FallCon. The Alberta skies were blue, a cool breeze was coming in from the freshly snow-covered mountains. What a grand day to bathe the failed Roman province of Brittania with blood!

This period, the 'Arthurian' period, the 'Celtic Twilight', the British Heroic Age or whatever you'd call it is probably my favourite in DBA, if not in all history. The drama, the peoples, the landscape and the misty lack of details appeal my senses. Yes, I have a beaten copy of John Morris's The Age of Arthur next to my bed, complete with scribbles next to the really dodgy parts. Rosemary Sutcliffe's The Lantern Bearers and The Sword at Sunset top my desert island list. I do indeed know all the lines to a certain movie concerning swallows, both African and European, but in furthering the cause of good manners,  I do not recite it in public. I also have a fun collection books of pseudo-mystical-history that claim things like the Jutes actually came from just outside of Baltimore and that Arthur was a Space Alien Love God sent to complete the Irish Kama Sutra (those missing pages from the Book of Kells? Now you know, and knowing is half the battle).

So it's about time I put on an 'Arthurian Game' dontcha think? Put down the katana and pick up the spatha! But it's all Arthur this and Arthur I decided on a different tack. How about those Saxons? The Early Saxon Army as you may know are the eponymous TOTAL WANKERS in the NAGS/CCF/EDBAG compendium maintained by the sauve Paul Hannah and the indefatigable Andy Hooper. Regardless who they play against, it's not the army for the faint hearted.

Yet, they won. Historically they trounced their opponents in battle. How to make that a little more 'fair'. I thought of lots of ideas, most of them not very good. Maybe we can have all the Sub-Roman British players fight each other first and then have the Saxons play the already depleted winner? Hmmm, thematically correct, but not that much fun for the massacre-ed. 

Constructed scenarios offered the  best solution. I designed three specific battles which I thought evocative of the conflicts (as much as we understand it). I eliminated aggression ratings and each player diced 1d6.

The Beach: Aggressor goes the Full Overlord and tries to take field, with naught but Mannanan Mac Lir's cold waves at their back.

The Forest: If you come into the woods today you're going to lose you head...a thick dirty terrain filled board, with points for killing each others general. Nasty.

The Ford: Probably the most challenging and poorly designed scenario. I rewrote the river rules for the game, so as to simplify and keep things moving. Defender got points for eliminating enemy stands, attacker got points for getting across the river. Unbalanced and really deadly. Most players really liked it. Go figure.

We had a good, keen handful playing that day. The Pre-Teen Visigoth returned under the guise of Liam Pendragon, leading the Sub-Roman British c list. Quixotically he chose the Cv General option. I think he was a little shy of using a knight general after his debacle last year playing the Lombards.
Liam Pendragon deploys his Sub Human Sub-Roman British
Mark of Edmonton joined in again. He fielded my Pictish army. Which was morphed from my Caledonians. The addition of some Pict-i-fied Numidian light horse and some top quality Trey Corbies Warrior Women as psiloi updated things just dandy.

David also of Edmonton, took up the guise of Lord of Isles and fielded a force of Dalriadan Scots-Irish. Crap. David got an Ax army...again.

Liam Pendragon(Left Back) lulls David of the Isles into confidence (Right Back) whilst Don the Goth(Front Left) is locked into a full-on slaughter fest Mark mac Mark the Pict (Front Right)
Cory finally put down the metaphorical musket and joined in the DBA games and bravely took up the Sea Wolves. It's a brave man to play an all Wb army in tourney crawling with Ax and Cv. Cory knows the undying rule of warbands, play for the glory, not the victory!

The Later Visigoths, which I had written into the milieu were claimed by Don.  Don too likes mobility. It's a pretty tough army with extra Bw firepower.

Marco, fiendish to the core claimed the other Scots-Irish army. It was back dated from my Norse-Irish with addition of some Pre-Feudal Scottish spear standing in for the Ax. Marco is a complete fiend with the first turn Ps rush. He will sack your camp.  There will be blood.

I had the opportunity to join in as well while Don tutored a new player. Strangely all that was left was my killer Welsh. So I picked them up and waded into the fray. 

It turned out I supplied all the armies in this game. Whew... I had two left Saxons and Franks. It was a total pleasure seeing my work (both high and lowly) used by so many people.  
Backs against the sea, the fierce Cymry charge the Saeson devils.

I was lucky enough to play three games. First I was able match with Cory and the Saxon dogs.
I had the honour of playing the invader on the beach scenario. Fair turnabout there, take that Saxons! And took it the Saxons did. From the start of the game nothing went Cory's way, from PIPs to outcomes. We did have some wonderfully hinky battlelines resulting from the warband's impetuous follow up. In the end the Cymry held the field, and the pasty Saeson were driven away.

Next battle I defended in the forest against David of the Isles and his unsavoury Irish. Not a great match up for Welsh. The mostly all Ax Irish are faster and better than the Welsh warbands in the woods. My strategy was to hold the gap between the woods with my Cv general and move the rest of the troops out into the open. Could I roll better than a 2 for PIPs? Nope. The shining heroes on the Cymry were blundering around in the woods playing blind man's bluff when the howling Irish hit them. I rolled OK for the combat,  but none were to my advantage and slowly David took me apart. The only moment of epic glory was when matched against the perfidious Irish chieftain my General had his Carmina Burana moment and blew through him in a 6-1 split.  Alas, too little, too late.

While I had more luck with the pictures this day, I still lack lots of representational shots, so bear with what I have.

Mark's Picts demonstrates how to stop Gothic cavalry with light horse and skirmishers. How'd that go Mark?
Visigoth nation of the move...again.

Duel on the Dubglas. Saxons spill Marco's Scotti blood.

We're over the river! Howling Welsh warbands boldly challenge the uppity Sub-Romans and their hated Saxon Feodorati.
My third game was pitted against the young and treacherous Liam Pendragon. I had to heave my ponderous columns of warriors over the river. I hit his spear hard. Repeatedly, and they shoved me back, repeatedly.  Then his horse troops showed up. My general and my hopes died in the mud. 

Egads, again with Visigoths.

Marco's Irish prepare for the Goths.
Pictish Warrior women try to turn Cory's Saxon flanks
On the whole I was happy with the game. Everybody had a kick and there were tense, tense matches. Which is what counts. Next time...I suspect if I was to reformat this tourney I might make all the games fixed by terrain and army,  having the players rotate through set-piece battles. This would give players a chance to command warbandy sorts, auxilia forces and Romano-British cavalry all in one tourney.
But I do think having a momentary attachment to an army (Grrrrrr, I'm a Pict!) adds a lot to the game, especially with this milieu.

I really want to thank all who participated, you guys were brilliant and a blast to play with. Anytime.


Probably may favourite picture of the game. Two women and a dog take on the Visigoth charge. A forgone conclusion? Yes, but no dogs were hurt.

I see that all the text I wrote did not make into this post. Interested in who won and how? Read on...

In the end, David of the Isles and his Irish badass army took the prize. I awarded him 'Foamhenge' which I picked up off eBay for cheap. The stones were carved out of some dense foam and glued to a mini-CD.  It was pretty basic, painted black and green. I tarted it up substantially with paint, flock and glued a figure in the middle (actually the fellow in my banner) for a trophy. (David if you have a pic of that, send it down to me so can throw it up on the blog.)

As the cellar dweller, Don Ray was offered my consolation prize, the 'Sad Sack of Saxons'. However Don 'won' them last time in the ' I Was a Teenage Visigoth' tourney. So he was offered future options from the new releases by Trey Corbies (more on those later...).

Scoring on the whole was pretty close despite the scoring on the Fords tourney being totally broken.
Liam stoked to have finished third, thanks in part to his patricide. The Irish armies were the most successful, and the Picts under Mark's generalship made a good show as well. He quite liked the composition, I suspect he may be making one soon. Marco, Cory, Mark and myself made up the middle.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Greeks Behaving Badly, a FallCon retrospective.

The Skinny.
It was good. Zeus smiled upon us and Eris bestowed her fickleness in appropriate ways. An evening of DBA among old friends and new friends is never a bad thing.

I'll recap later, but those of you interested in the new venue and didn't make it, it was way better. A little farther than Marlborough Hall ( smelly, stinkly ol' Marlborough..sigh...John Churchill himself would compare Marlborough to a Hessian whorehouse) but the Commonwealth Centre was worth the trip. More on that later.

The Evening
I like running the Friday event.  It's a nice warm up. Perhaps I should make it a little more structured. I'm sure that would make some folks happier, but on the whole I don't care. Each game produces a winner and its own little epic. That's all that matters. FallCon demands I produce a winner for each event. So I consult the Oracle, split the metaphoric calf liver and make a call.

We had a nice turn out. The Edmonton EDBAG legion was well represented. Mark and David are two regular attendees and DBA supporters and always fun to play against. Mark brought his Meriotic Kushites and David bummed my ill-starred Bithynians.  Stephane, new to this DBA thing wandered in from the steppes (ok... Saskatchewan) I put together the favourite 'round these parts, Later Hoplite Greek 'Other'. The variant with the Cv unit and extra Ps, pretty balanced for a hoplite army and fun to play. Representing the demos of High River, Rob T-S and his son Philip made it in, and put the Spartans on the field.  Philip a canny player in his own right, sat out the tourney and operated as his assistant Strategos. Calgary-wise, it was the faithful few. Don Ray fielded his fiendish Kyrenean Greeks. Marco brought the challenging Aitolian Greeks (Hellenistic variant). Patrick came as well and brought another 'other'. He claimed they were Messenians. Suuuure ol' buddy. And the Pre-Teen Visigoth put his newly painted Greeks (again with the 'Other') on the field for the first time. I squeezed in one game with my Paeonian Pony Patrol ( a close run thing attempting to curb Kushite agression), but was otherwise occupied reffing and we had to leave in time to get the Boy unit into bed (it was a one hour drive home!!!) Thanks to the wonderful Don Ray for seeing it through.

Game wrapped up at 2330, with a tight victory for Mark's Kushites over David recalcitrant Bithynians. Mark was awarded game prize, a pantless horde of Early Libyans I/7a I painted up. Stephane was awarded the 'Audacious Noob Prize' ( a Friday night tradition) which consisted on a luverly bag of Greeks (II/5g AGAIN!!! Others!!!) for him to paint. Robert's Spartan goon squad was acclaimed overall as Best Greek Army overall and was awarded the 'Judgement of Zeus', a Barkermarker of the Enthroned Olympian himself, posed to consider the wargaming at hand. Or more likely, he has espied a 15mm mortal he wants to shag. (cue chickenscratch guitar porn tunes). I made some more Barkermarkers using the set up 'Spartan at Camp' or something like that from Foundry which consists of groggy Spartans waking up, scratching their butts and looking like they're all missing their morning hair-dressing session. I love giving out participant prizes. More fun for all. It also helps clean out my back log of metal sitting about the house and makes me feel like... A RIVER UNTO MY PEOPLE!!!

Love that movie.

O.K. More details? I really haven't any. So more random recollections;

Hoplites Rule
I've noticed it's more commonplace these days among the DBA cognoscenti to poo poo hoplite games. WTF you talking about? No other game in DBA has the drama, the slow, building, inevitable gripping climax as two disciplined lines of determined Greeks, clutching their spearshafts hammer each other repeatedly until one side collapses in submission.  
Hmmmm, that was more homoerotic that I had planned. At least I didn't add 'whilst Thracians attempt interpenetrate your flanks'. But all lame attempts at humour aside. It's a great deal of fun. DBA that is, the game, with miniatures. Ok moving on....laughing Hippy-Goth is distracting.

Hoplite games are good. Solid heavy weight boxing match that can end precipitously. A great example was Patrick and Stephane's game. Same armies matched up on a post-apocalyptic beach. After some jousting and shuffling, Patrick's Cv routed Stephane's Cv on the flank. 'Hmmm, that's nasty', says Patrick who is coaching and advising his opponent whilst providing a strong match up (something all good DBA players seem to know how to do.) 'That looks bad, but it's not the end of the game, much can be decided here in the centre and the other flank'. Next bound, whoomp! Stephane looses 2 pairs of Sp in a succession of Eris-invoked 6-1 splits. Stephane thought the whole game was brilliant. Patrick seemed mildly embarrassed. 

Loaners are Luxuries no Longer
In the CCF we have this very possessive culture regarding our armies and participation in games. Many guys won't play if they don't have something appropriate painted up. I know, I'm one of them. But the joy of trying out something for the first time is a great experience. Also it's funny to see what some players do with otherwise wanker armies, David took my under-achieving Bithynians to the final match. Wow. An Ax monotype army vs Sp monotypes, a challenge no? David loves his independent flying column attack strategy put the Bithynians to good use. But I too love flying column strategies, but the Biths just roll over and feign death in my hands. Maybe David is interested in a purchase...

Perfidious Paeonians
As I mentioned, I did one game in with Mark and his Kushite Konquistadors. I formatted the Paeonians as two LH (one of the General) and the rest all psiloi.  The match produced a very fun game. The Kushite army is a slow but resilient powerhouse, the only strikers they have that can dent the Paeonians are their archers. I concentrated on killing the Elephant General which Mark had so graciously put in the middle of his battleline. After a few turns of engagement and numerous psiloi fleeing terror, I was able to draw out his chief and take him down. That should be game, right? No quite yet. As I was busy with planning Pharaoh-cide Mark's archers locked and loaded and advanced on my skirmish lines and in a hail of heavy caliber fire, dropped enough Paeonians to topple to game in his favour. Brilliant fun.

Bring on the Noobs?
I had hoped to see more new players. I'm still not sure how or if that is ever gonna happen. Stephane, new to DBA has been a long time miniatures guy with a deep fondness for horse and musket period stuff. I was going to offer a 'Best Junior Player' prize as well, however as the ONLY junior player was the Pre-Teen Visigoth... I sort of didn't. I made it up to him.

Not sure if this is a format, game or venue issue. I will be thinking deeply about this stuff and posting my ruminations for all to ignore.
New Camera
The wee Fuji Finepix is a brilliant little camera, for back country and outdoor. I could bludgeon a marmot with it and would still take pix. I bought it for the Hippy-Goth after we destroyed the old Canon. I love her, but like the awesome Corb Lund song, She's Hard on Equipment . So we picked up the indestructible Fuji. To bad it's crap with the macros and indoor. I took lots of pics, but 20% of them are worthy of posting, the rest have been condemned to oblivion. So here are the pics I kept:

Our cozy corner at FallCon. L-R, Mark, Pre-Teen Visigoth, Stephane, Paddy, Rob and Philip, Marco.

Don Ray's Kyrenean Greek Chariot Battlegroup thunders toward the Bithynian skirmish line.

Patrick and Stephane maneuver prior to crashing.
One minute after contact, Stephane's centre collapses completely, giving Patrick a resounding win.

The champs, Mark's Meriotic Kushites. What are Kushites doing in the Peloponnese? Historical records are sketchy.

Rob T-S deciding if he really wants to lay down that Steep Hill. Walk away Rob, walk away.

Humour in DBA is a great thing. The puns were flying fast and furious, and jibes followed mostly on how people were going to 'bailout' their troops and suggestion the camp was not worth sacking as there is no money in it.