Monday, 30 December 2013

[RRtK] Campaign Spring 1012: The Battle of Barzak Vale

Spring 1012: The Battle of Barzak Vale
Duke Grimoald of Oberlichenwald in Valgasmaa lead an army of 7250 men on a raid against Mt Hofburg, the capital of the Szepetnek Mountains. Serogn, the Goblin King of the Szepetnek Mountains, assembled an army of 11,800 warriors and offered battle to the invaders in Barzak Vale, just south of Mt Hofburg.

The Goblin ArmyValgasmaa Army
5ArchersFoot Skirmish2Knights - Elite, ShockMounted Melee
8GoblinsFoot Melee3ArchersFoot Skirmish
1OgresFoot Melee3InfantryFoot Melee
2Wolf RidersMounted Skirmish2Mercenary ArquebusiersFoot Missile
2Black Moon GoblinsFoot Melee1Mercenary PikeFoot Melee
2Mercenary Light HorseMounted Skirmish

On the grassy plain at the northern end of the Vale, Serogn deployed his wolf riders in a column at the right of his line. He then deployed his Goblins in a double column, with his archers in a line parallel with the head of the column. Behind the archers, he stationed his Ogres, while his Black Moon Goblins were stationed in reserve, parallel with the rear of the Goblin column.

Barzak Vale - the armies deploy
Over the central hill, across the southern end of the Vale, Duke Grimoald drew up his army. His Light Horse formed his left wing while two units of archers formed his skirmish line. Behind them, Grimoald formed up his two units of knights in front of a pike unit and three units of Men-at-Arms. On his right flank, Duke Grimoald placed another unit of archers and two units of Arquebusiers.

The right of the Goblin Line
The left of the Goblin Line
The Valgasmaani deployment
The main Valgasmaani battleline
The Valgasmaani right flank

Hesitantly (as, after deployment, I realized that with a WR of 2, Grimoald could only activate two groups per turn), Duke Grimoald pushed forward the Light Horse on his left flank, and the Archers and Arquebusiers on his right, while refusing his center. Over the hill, King Serogn dispatched his wolf riders against the Light Horse while ordering his mass column of foot to advance. The faster moving Archers, with the Ogres in support, pulled ahead and gained the crest of the ridge, while King Serogn remained to the rear with his two units of Black Moon Goblins.

The Goblin battle line crests the ridge
The Wolf Riders battle the Light Horse
On Duke Gimoald's left flank, the Mercenary Light Horse was soon engaged with the Wolf Riders. After a short action, one unit of Wolf Riders fled the field while the other retired to the very margin, where it waited the result of the battle.

Midway through the battle, the Knights are not making headway in the center
 while the Valgasmaa skirmishers and Light Horse are having success on the flanks
On Duke Grimoald's right flank, the Archers and Arquebusiers soon caused the Goblin Archers to retire in confusion. He had halted the Archers covering his front and moved his battle line closer to the hill, even as the Goblin column crested it, halted, and began to expand into line. Grimoald ordered his Light Horse to harass the end of the Goblin line, even as his Knights moved up to attack the Ogres on the hill.

As King Serogn moved his Black Moon Goblins up to fill the gap on the Goblin left, the Valgasmaani Knights charged home. Both the Ogres and the Black Moon Goblins held the charge of the Knights and threw them back. It was here that Duke Grimoald discovered that his line of infantry were too close behind the Knights.
The Goblins begin to push down the southern slope of the hill
Again and again, the Knights charged desperately up the hill against the Ogres and Black Moon Goblins and, again and again, they were thrown back. King Serogn in his chariot led the Black Moon Goblins to first hold, and then to advance against the Knights.

On the Goblin right, the lead units of the great Goblin column charged down the hill, dispersing the Light Horse and sweeping away the Valgasmaani Men-at-Arms unit on the left of the Human battle line. In desperation, Duke Grimoald about faced the rest of his foot and marched them back to give room to the Knights struggling on the lower slopes of the hill. The careful withdrawal quickly became a rout as the Knights, exhausted from the battle on the ridge, broke and ran.

Seeing that the battle was lost, Duke Grimoald quit the field. Two units of Archers were lost in the rout but the rest of the army eventually reassembled at Oberlichenwald a couple of days later.

Well, that was a fun battle. I'm pretty sure I got some rules wrong, and the Retire rule caught me out with Duke Grimoald's deployment. As Grimoald has a WR of 2, I am assuming that what he lacked in experience, he attempted to make up for in enthusiasm.

King Serogn was in a tight spot. With two invasions, he had to decide whether to split his army and attempt two battles (and risk defeat in detail), or concede a province, risk unrest, but concentrate on beating his toughest foe first. Having beaten back the Valgasmaani, his gamble may have paid off as Kypselos' Beastmen have fielded a smaller force - though they do have a mage.

The Goblin figures in this battle are by Baccus 6mm while the Ogres and Lesser Goblin Archers are by Irregular Miniatures. All the Human figures are from Irregular Miniatures Men of the West range.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

[RRtK] Campaign: 1012 Spring

1012 - Spring:
League of Foranimenagii - Prince Vincenzo Sgro secures the continued dominance of the League by the Sgro Familia of Tagliacozzo.

No Heroes are available this season.

The Pyromancer, Adamo the Red, a Level 1 Magic User, offers his services at the Sgro Court in Tagliacozzo, Foranimenagii, and is taken into service by Prince Vincenzo Sgro.

A Level 1 Weatherwitch and a Level 2 Druid, Pharlis Taproot, offer their services in the Beastman city of Jabelitz. High Chief Kypselos takes Pharlis Taproot into service.

Armies are recruited. Both Valgasmaa and Foranimengarii retain spare recruitment rolls, just in case. Wildlands and Szepetnek Mountains use all their recruitment rolls.

Valgasmaa goes to War with Szepetnek Mountains.
Wildlands goes to War with Szepetnek Mountains.

King Chlodomer of Valgasmaa permits Duke Grimoald of Oberlichenwald to launch a raid into the Szepetnek Mountains to overawe the Goblin tribes who have been making a nuisance of themselves. At the head of a thousand Knights and just over six thousand infantry, Duke Grimoald marches on Mt Hofburg.

Meanwhile, High Chief Kyselos of the Wildlands decides that his people need more living space and, at the head of  just over 5000 of his warriors, launches a raid against Mt Gorfang.

King Serogn of the Szepetnek Mountains summons the Goblin tribes to battle near Mt Hofburg. Kozurn of Mt Gorfang reluctantly complies, marching south-eastward and leaving his homesteads to be sacked by the Beastmen. If Serogn fails to defeat the Valgasmaani, then he will probably not remain Goblin King for long.

Just south of Mt Hofburg lies the Vale of Barzak, a narrow passage between forests and outlier foothills of the mountain. As Duke Grimoald marches north, his scouts bring word that the Goblin King has come out to meet him.

[RRtK] Rally Round the King Campaign set up

With some annual leave time for the Christmas season, I decided to start my Rally Round the King campaign. A hard drive failure in the midst of my preparations has delayed things but I have managed to plot the first Spring Move and fight the first battle.

As the continued existence of my expanded campaign map is still in doubt (I need some drive necromancers to have a look at the dodgy hard drive), I have been forced to revert to the earlier map I posted a little while ago.

Map of Orbis Terrarum

To keep a track of people and events, I set up a series of spread sheets:

Province, and Provincial Leaders WR value, spread sheet
This first one records the provinces controlled by each state, who the leader of the province is, and what his War Rating is. Thus, we have five states - the Kingdom of Valgasmaa under King Chlodomer; the Confederation of Foranimenagii under the Primera Familia Sgro of Tagliacozzo; the Wildlands under High Chief Kypselos of Jabelitz; the Goblin Clans of the Szepetnek Mountains under King Serogn of Mt Hofburg; and the Mountain Giants of Jotunheim under King Thrym of Mt Jotun.

Mt Jotun is in the northern mountains, near the white hex - the Rhimebeard Glacier.

As other states are added to the campaign, both the spread sheet, and the campaign map, will expand.

Friday, 20 December 2013

[RRTK] Beastie Boys

You Gotta Fight
For Your Right
To Eat Humies

I've finished painting a few more Irregular Miniatures Men of the West and have also started my Beastmen Army from Microworld Games.

For the Beastmen army, I bought a couple of packs of mixed Herd, a pack of the Minotaur Warriors, and a command pack.

The detail on the minotaur figures is amazing. I was able to pick out sets of horns and the straps holding the shoulder armour on. I mixed up the pelt colours - having some brown, some black and some grey for variety - and then mixed them again when filling up the bases. The two-axe wielding boss minotaur is from the command pack. I kept one as a hero, one as a general, and used the others as unit commanders for my four Great Beastman units.

The common minotaurs are about 10mm tall while the boss minotaurs are closer to 15mm.

I've just started painting the Beastman Herd figures. These appear to be like satyrs or fauns (as appeared in the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie, and Prince Caspian) and are either armed with javelins or throwing spears (two poses) or large, cleaver-like swords. I'm looking forward seeing how they come out.

Today, my Dread Elf army arrived from Microworld. I had been torn between the Dread Elves or Irregular Miniatures' Dark Elves for my Evil Elf needs. One thing I was sure of was that I wanted cavalry for my Evil Elves, not silly riding lizards. The Dread Outriders looked interesting, though I was uncertain about the horses as they looked a little wonky to me. arcaopino, on the 6mm Fantasy Yahoo Group, attested to the quality of the Microworld horses so I decided that the Dread Elves would be my Entropic Pointy Ears force.And I am very pleased with my choice. Pictures to come.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

[Ronin] Who's Got the Buddha?

In getting ready for our semi-regular Saturday night game, the discussion turned to playing Ronin - the Skirmish game from Osprey set in the Age of the Samurai. Jonathan and Chris expressed a preference for playing a Samurai Buntai and I mentioned that I had only painted a couple of samurai and monks, but that I had completed four Dixon bakemono. As Malcolm has a tengu Buntai he converted from Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Goblins and Wargames Factory Samurai bits, John suddenly had a cunning idea for a Ronin game with a twist. This is the email I received:

You and Malcolm are the Goblins! see the last tab [of the excell spreadsheet buntai-maker], and feel free to play with the numbers to a total of <400pts. Tengu have light armour so they can fly, other gobbos have warty-skin armour. The Tengu have Fly (in their case long wing-assisted hops), which gives the movement of a horse. They can cross high things like palisades and houses at half speed. Those circumstances that would lead to falling from a horse are crashing... The Goblins have possession of a gold-coated Buddha statue which they have concealed in a deserted village. They have heard a party of humans is coming to retrieve it..... Victory goes to the possessor of the statue at the end of the game. Getting the statue off the board is victory for the humans. The goblins cannot touch the statue (they got the peasants to hide it, before eating them). The human party think that bandits have taken the statue. Once the terrain is set up, the goblins can conceal themselves anywhere on the table (where there is cover, of course) or programme to come on any side on a set turn.
Happy Buddha is happy
Now, we've been playing Bushido and Land of the Rising Sun - two fine Roleplaying games - together, off and on, for years and the set-up was just like one of those games. As it happened, my wife gave me a little resin buddha she just happened to have and so, with a quick paint job, the object of the game was prepared.

John has given some thought to how magical creatures might be represented in Ronin and here is his thoughts on Tengu and Bakemono.

ClassRankCPInitiativeFightShootArmourBase ptsWeaponsOptionsOption ptsAttributesAttribute ptsTotal pointsQtyLine total
weapon @3
Katana + wakizashi
weapon @3
Tough Budo@3
Katana + wakizashi
Yari @3
Acrobatic, Kenjutsu, fly, acrobatic
Katana + wakizashi
Yari @3
Commander, Acrobatic, Inexorable, intuition, kenjutsu, fly
South-East-Happy-Village-47 - a deserted village.
Chris and Jonathan had charge of a Samurai buntai. The Local Magistrate informed them that a Golden Statue of the Buddha had been abducted from a religious procession by some impious bandits. Chris and Jonathan's buntai were to investigate South-East-Happy-Village-47 (an abandoned farming village) to see if the Bandits had hidden the statue of the Buddha in its environs.

South-East-Happy-Village-47 has hills to the west and north, an old orchard to the east, a swamp to the south and an abandoned paddy field to the south-east. The orchard, swamp and paddy field count as light cover while the peasant huts are heavy cover.

The four bakemono had been left in the large house by the tengu. The tengu, themselves, were roosting in the northern end of the orchard, where they had stashed the Buddha, while digesting their meal of peasant. The stage was set, and the trap was baited.

The Samurai enter from the west and from the east
Chris' buntai approached the village from the north-west, while Jonathan's group approached from the west. Meanwhile, John's buntai approached from the east. Much to our surprise, and amusement, part of his buntai came on at the middle of of the orchard. Unfortunately for him, he couldn't see through to the northern end of the orchard, where the tengu were.

"What's that strange noise .... <gak>?"
With a flutter of wings, strange shapes dropped out of the trees around John's men.


Hearing the ruckus, Chris and Jonathan's buntai rushed towards the village. Chris' ashigaru archers pass by the north of the red house while Jonathan's men check the small, south-western house. One poor ashigaru is sent to check the old paddy field for hidden buddhas.

"Hey, guys? Guys? What's happening in there?"
Two of John's ashigaru archers cautiously approached the southern end of the wood, just as everything went strangely quiet.

"Hah! Those Samurai weren't much chop!"
At about this time, just as Jonathan's samurai were approaching the large house, four horrific figures burst out of a side door.

Two bakemono with yari and tetsuebo.

And two Dai-bakemono with naginata and katana.

Throwing themselves at the approaching samurai, the battle was vicious, and short.

Meanwhile, the tengu began to cautiously emerge from the orchard.

Realizing that the stupid bakemono had got themselves into trouble, two tengu were dispatched to assist them.

The tengu were too late, the hatamoto and his boys had already dealt with the impetuous, and hapless, bakemono.

"I have a bad feeling about this."

"Eat Otherworld Yari, humi ... ow!
One tengu was swiftly overcome, the other used his acrobatics to avoid being double-teamed by the samurai but was eventually caught and slain.

"Dagnammit! I knew we should have studied kyujutsu."
The tengu in the orchard now found themselves a little bit trapped. With archers firing at them whenever they came near the edge of the orchard, they eventually charged the archers and the leader of the buntai on the slopes of the northern hill - hoping to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by taking him out.

Which goes to show that even the best laid plans of goblins and men can often go awry. Victory to the humans.

All in all, a fun scenario and a fun game.

Friday, 22 November 2013

[RRtK] Goblins, Goblins, marching up and down

It took a little longer than I anticipated, but I finally finished the bulk of my Goblin Army for Rally Round the King, as well as a chunk of the Mountain Giant Army. The majority of the Goblin figures are from Baccus 6mm - a couple of packs of infantry and a pack of wolf riders, as well as a command pack and a sheet of flags.

Goblin Army in all its glory, plus Mountain and Hill Giants on the grey bases at the back.
60 cavalry or 120 infantry per pack sounds a lot, and it is, but Baccus produce nice figures, and I soon worked out a way of painting the strips relatively quickly. The fiddliest part was the cutting up of the figure strips to mount on the bases.

As the wolf riders are "light cavalry", I went with six figures to the base, which gave me 10 bases - about twice the number I need for the basic army list. I hadn't notice initially but the wolf riders contain a mixture of figures with shields, figures without shields, and figures with shields slung over their backs. This variety, plus staggered mounting on the unit base, allowed me to create an over-all "loose" or "undisciplined" look, which was what I was after.

L to R: Irregular Ogres, Baccus Goblin wolf riders. Baccus Goblin infantry in the background.
I found that 14 infantry, in two rows of seven, produced the nicest fit for my 40mm x 20mm bases. The two packs of Goblin Infantry - 240 figures - therefore produced 17 bases/elements with two figures left over. The sheet of 12 flags neatly matched the 12 command strips (six in each Infantry pack) and I produced several "infantry only" elements to allow me to field double-depth "attack columns" of Goblins if I so wished.

I replaced the standard bearers' flag staffs with staffs cut from high tensile quilting pins as the thin, lead staffs had all bent in shipping and obviously wouldn't survive much handling. It proved impossible to drill out the standard bearers' hands to take the new staffs, but careful positioning and painting pretty much hides the fact that the new staffs have been added.

Each Infantry strip comes with one speargoblin and three goblins with swords - each swordgoblin is slightly different, either having a different shield type or different sword. I put all the speargoblins into separate units as I could create a uniformed and disciplined look with them. The Black Moon Goblins of Rally Round the King are more organized than the run-of-the-mill line filler. And then I played around with the swordsgoblins to create a more irregular look for the bulk of the line units. A little splash of colour on some of the shields pretty much finished them off. Skin colour-wise, I opted for a tan, preferring Tolkien to Games Workshop as my point of reference.

Goblins from Baccus 6mm
The Rally Round the King Goblin Army also includes Ogres and archers - neither of which Baccus produces - so I recruited some Ogres from Irregular Miniatures 6mm Fantasy line (sourced from Eureka Miniatures in Australia), and some Lesser Goblin Archers (from the same source). The Irregular Ogres are quite nice, though only in one pose, and have a little goblinoid riding their shoulders like a mahout. I gave my ogres a grey-blue skin colour, implying a possibly photophobic, night-haunting cannibal monster type.

Ogres from Irregular Miniatures.
The Lesser Goblin Archers were a little disappointing, resembling little, bow-armed, bundles of laundry. I also got my numbers wrong with them - I assumed that they would deploy en mass and ordered enough strips to make put up several elements with 10 or so figures per element. I then realized that Goblin archers deploy as skirmishers so I only needed five figures per element.

Lesser Goblin Archers from Irregular Miniatures.
I am thinking of reworking the Goblin list so I might include the option to field low REP massed archers, such as the Lesser Goblins.

L to R: Lesser Goblin Archers from Irregular, Goblin General, champions and wizards from Baccus, Mountain Giant from Microworld Games at rear.
The Goblin command pack from Baccus included some real gems. The General rides in a two-wolf chariot - he actually looks a lot like an Etruscan or Villanovan with his spear and spiked helmet. There are two wizards or magic-users including one with an enormous hat (I painted it blue, as you do), two foot champions - one with a two-handed sword as long as he is tall - and a champion mounted on a wolf.

L to R: Goblin Wizard, Goblin Champion, Goblin Magic User from Baccus 6mm.
They are nice figures with lots of character and seeing the General's chariot got me thinking about adding a chariot option to the Goblin Army list which, to me, meshes in well with the generally slightly anarchic, slightly archaic nature of Goblin technology.

Earth Giant from Microworld Games
While working on my Goblins, I managed to finish a group of figures for my Mountain Giant Army. The inspiration for this army came from seeing the Microworld Games Earth Giant. The Earth Giant is not cheap - $US5 for one figure is crazy for 6mm, but the Earth Giant stands about 25mm tall. The Earth Giant became Thrym, the Mountain Giant and King of the Giants in Jotunheim. As a sentient mountain, I painted him up in earth shades and added a little flock to him. I went for a barren, shale-like base finish to give the impression that the giants were coming down off the bare mountain tops and high ice fields.

To Thrym, I added some giants from Irregular Miniatures - the two headed giant and some Hill Giants. I'm not so happy with the two headed giant. I made his skin blue but I think I'll move it more towards grey and make him a Storm Giant.
Thrym and the Two-headed Storm Giant
The Hill Giants are the most humanoid of the giants and I painted them up like gargantuan peasants or vikings.

Goblins from Baccu 6mm and Hill Giants from Irregular Miniatures

The Mountain Giant Army also includes trolls and ogres - I already have a couple of Irregular ogres for the Goblin Army and have picked up some more for the Giant Army. The Irregular trolls are rather disappointing being essentially one, rather odd, pose.

Irregular Trolls in front of Microworld Earth Giant and Irregular Two-headed Giant.
I've just seen Microworld's Dread Ogres from their new Dark Alliance range, and this has decided my choice of figures for both my Dark Elf Army (Microworld's Dread Elves) and more trolls.

To be painted: the balance of my Men of the West Army/Army of Valgasmaa from Irregular; Beastmen Army from Microworld Games.

Incoming: Irregular Medieval and Early Renaissance figures for my League of Foranimenagii Army

Planned: Dark Elves (Microworld's Dread Elves); Dwarves (probably Microworld); Orcs (Irregular)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

[IHMN] In Which the Blogger Receives His Meridian Miniatures Kickstarter Figures

A couple of days ago, my long awaited figures from the Meridian Miniatures Kickstarter showed up in the post.

While not at the highest level of support, I chose two infantry sets and a specialist set.

I also ordered a separate set of energy rifles - these will be Model 1895 Higgs-Rothersey ARC rifles.

The specialist pack for my level of support contains two officers - I wanted the great coat clad officers and troopers as I really like the painted examples on the Meridian Miniatures Kickstarter site. You can also see the head sprues for my infantry sets.

The first head sprue has diving-helmet-like heads.

The second head sprue has these vaguely guards-like crested helmet with breather mask.

I ordered two body types for my infantry - firing line ...

... and skirmishers. I intend to mix the two body types together. I intend to end up with one squad of infantry with the diving-helmet heads - troopers for Captain Nemo - and one squad of infantry with guards-like helmets - Okhrana troopers to be commanded by either Olga Petronova or Feodor Sonavavich.

I will remove the base slottas on these figures and mount them directly on washers, my preferred basing style, as I have done with other slotta base figures.