Tuesday, 19 January 2016

[15mm Fantasy] Kings of War Battle #2

Over the last couple of months I've been painting up 15mm fantasy figures for an Army of the Unseelie Courts - sinister Elves and their allies. I'm currently trialing Kings of War from Mantic Games as a possible fantasy massed battle ruleset - the Basic 2nd Edition rules are available for free from here.

Apologies for the poor quality of some of the photos - my camera does not like trying to capture small details in average ambient artificial light.

Last Friday night John came over for a game of Kings of War and fielded a 1500 point Kingdoms of Men army, using figures from his Maximilian Imperial DBR army.

Kingdoms of Men Army - L - R: Troop of Mounted Scouts; Regiment of Knights; Regiment of Arquebusiers; Pike Block Horde; Army Standard Bearer Hero; Regiment of Arquebusiers; Wizard Hero; Two Cannon; Regiment of Knights; General Hero
To keep things simple (it was John's first game and my second), I decided not to use Artifacts or any other funky stuff. This was the army I selected:

Army List for the Unseelie Court, with Orc Allies
Army of the Unseelie Court: L - R: Two Troops of Gargoyles, Regiment of Trolls; Hydra; Dark Lord on Black Pegasus; Troop of Dark Elf Crossbowmen; Three Regiments of Dark Elf Spears; Troop of Dark Knights; Regiment of Orcs; Troop of Orc Gore Riders
Terrain was straight forward as well - a hill on the Dark Elf Left Flank and a village (Blocking Terrain) on the Dark Elf Right Flank. We played on a 3' x 3' table, and changed all movement distances and ranges from inches to centimeters.

As the battle began, both the Dark Elves and the Kingdoms of Men advanced their right flanks, while refusing their left wings. I quickly realized that there was quite a way to go to cross the table to engage the Kingdoms of Men left, and that I could potentially take a lot of fire from their guns and arquebusiers before I had to deal with their Knights.

L to R: Gargoyles attack the Kingdom's of Men Heavy Gun. The KoM Knights came under fire from the Dark Elf Crossbowmen and started to take casualties and waver. The KoM General positioned himself for a flank attack. Dark Elf spears wheel to engage the rest of the KoM line. The Trolls and Dark Elf Crossbowmen press forward, with the Hydra and the Dark Lord in support. 
Double-Moving, the Dark Elf right wing pressed on past the village. The two Gargoyle troops swept in to attack the heavy guns while the Dark Elf Crossbow troop opened fire on the Kingdom Knights, causing them to waver. The Mannish Wizard and the guns quickly dispatched one troop of Gargoyles, but the other troop managed to attack one of the guns.

The Kingdom Knights prepare to charge the Regiment of Trolls
Under a subsequent hail of crossbow bolts, the Kingdom Knights pulled themselves together (passed a second Waver test - rats!) and charged the Troll regiment. The fury of their charge swept the Trolls away.

Behind the Right Flank of the Kingdoms of Men: As the Mounted Scouts and the Knights moved forward, the Dark Elf Dark Knights and Orc Gore Riders seize the hill top. Behind them, the Orc Regiment moves up in support.
Meanwhile, on the Dark Elf left flank, the Dark Knights and Orc Gore Riders secured the hilltop, with the Orc Regiment moving up behind them. In the center, the Dark Elf spear regiments began to drift to the left to better engage the Mannish Pike Block horde.

The Orc Gore Rider troop charged the Mannish Scouts and rapidly chased them away, while the Mannish Knights charged the Dark Elf Dark Knights. The Dark Knights fled and the Mannish Knights impetuously surged after them (John rolled a 4 for the Follow Up). This nicely exposed their flank to the Orc Gore Riders who promptly charged home - flank charges by decent units, even as small as a Troop, can be devastating in the flank. The Mannish Knights routed, exposing the flank of the infantry line.

With casualties mounting, the Dark Elf right looked set to collapse, but the rout of the Mannish Knights relieved the pressure.
Back on the right flank, with the Troll regiment and the two troops of Gargoyles routed, the Dark Elf right was looking a little tatty. Reforming from defeating the Trolls, the Mannish Knights attacked the Hydra and the Dark Lord, but were repulsed. A volley from the Dark Elf crossbowmen caused a waver test which the Knights failed in rather a spectacular fashion. With one of the Mannish guns wavering, the other gun and the Mannish Wizard rained shot and shell and Lightning Bolts down on the Dark Elf crossbowmen.

In the center, the left-most Dark Elf Spear Regiment engaged a Mannish arquebusier regiment. The Orc Gore Riders were able to sweep in on their flank with another flank attack which shattered the Arquebusiers. The center Dark Elf Spear regiment took on the Mannish Pike Horde and suffered heavy casualties, while the right-most Dark Elf Spear Regiment was scattered by the second Mannish Arquebusier regiment.

At this point we completed Turn 6 and rolled to see if the battle would continue - it did not. After a quick points tot-up, we discovered that we had achieved a Draw - a difference of 85 points between both sides which is less than the 150 points (10% of army points) needed to determine victory. So this was a Losing Draw to the Dark Elves and a Winning Draw to the Kingdoms of Men.

It was a fun battle and fortunes changed several time over the course of the game. A 3' wide table seems to be a good width for a 1500 point 15mm battle, though 3' deep may be a little deep. As we both advanced cautiously, it wasn't until about Turn 3 we actually came within range.

John's already planning his revenge for the next game.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

[RPGs] A Funny Thing Happened while Down in the Dungeon

In a wave of nostalgia, my friend John started running an Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D) game just before Christmas. Now, none of the Usual Suspects had played AD&D in upwards of 20 years, so it seemed like a good opportunity to introduce John's son, BJ (10 years old) and my wife, SJ, to the fun.

An Otyugh - the Orcs affectionately call him "Crapeater" 
The early sessions were a bit of a disaster from an experienced player's point of view - we all had heaps of fun but we had forgotten all the munchkinny things we used to do in dungeons to survive and make off with heaps of gold. We are, however, relearning these tricks. So far, we have met orcs, trolls, rats, spiders, skeletons, skeleton orcs, an otyugh (who nearly cleaned all our clocks!), more skeletons, some more trolls, some more orcs and .... some more freakin' skeletons.

Last night's session was a case in point. Having defeated two trolls, and having got messed up a bit, we decided to find a safe room and rest up for a day or so. On our way to the safe room, we met another troll whom we defeated, but not before he messed us up some more. We then staggered out of the dungeon and headed off to the temple to get BJ's character resurrected. After much financial shenanigans and robbing Pedro to pay Pricilla, we ended up back at the tavern to rest up for a few days.

Heading back into the dungeon, we checked out a hall near where we had defeated the two trolls, only to discover some nasty jelly things on the floor. Bayern the Ranger said, "Let's not go near these, they're nasty" and convinced us to try another corridor.

We looked into the large room and saw serried ranks of ...
 We headed down the corridor and opened a door and looked into a large room. In the middle distance we could make out humanoid forms, covered in dust and cobwebs, and standing in serried ranks. Bayern the Ranger fired an arrow at one, knocking off the dust and revealing ... a skeleton warrior!

Kane, SJ's Magic User/Cleric, attempted to Turn Undead and succeeded in making ... one ... skeleton turn and shamble away into the gloom.

The skeleton warriors attack!
The remaining 44 skeletons shambled towards us with hostile intent. Bayern the Ranger and BJ's character, Asinger the Fighter, held the doorway (as they had the best armour) while Kane the Magic User/Cleric and Arloc the Fighter/Assassin cowered behind their doughty friends and prepared flasks of oil to use as fire bombs.

Asinger (L) and Bayern (R) hold the door while Arloc (L) and Kane (R) rain firebombs on the Skeletons
 The warriors' blades went "snicker, snack", and the fire bombs went "wheeee, wumpha", but as soon as we drove the skeletons back, they would charge in against our line again.

The Skeletons surged in to attack again.
 As the room and hallway filled with dust and smoke and the smell of burnt bone, we could see the number of our foes dwindling. But our stocks of fire bombs were dwindling faster, and every wound our warriors took was one wound closer to seeing us over run.

And then ... there were two!
  At last, our firebombs all spent, our warriors weary and wounded, there were only two skeletons to stand against us. "Whack!", "Smack!" went the swords, and the last two skeletons were cloven in twain.

After that, we picked up some loot and found a corridor swathed in darkness and a Magic Mouth on a wall advising us to "Go Back".

At that point, it was nearly midnight and we oldies had to go home to get some sleep. I think BJ would have happily kept playing, given half a chance. Best moment was when BJ said "That was epic, Dad" and gave John a big hug.

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed AD&D. It's great to be playing it again. Thanks to SJ for the photos, taken on her phone.