Sunday 20 January 2013

Ruination - The Return - Empire vs Orcses

First game of the year earlier this week, and one planned which was nice, was a re-match from the game back in November where my poor Empire dudes were beset by an Orc horde in the 'Ruination' scenario and the town was duly ruined which you can read about here.

As planned then, we had decided to stage a re-fight with the tables turned with 2400pts of Empire troops attacking 1800pts of Orcs entrenched in four buildings and misc barricades. The objective being to capture or retain as many buildings as possible each building counting as 1 victory point except the 'strongpoint' in this case the watch tower, which counts as 2 victory points. The buildings could also be destroyed but then don't count VC's but can be denied from your opponent.

Intial move with the Empire moving onto the battlefield
Ian's Orcs deployed first and his deployment was once again pretty good, his army being pretty much standard troop types but with a bit of artillery support in the way of 3 Bolt Throwers, a Catapult and a Doom Diver and a reasonable reserve.

My Empire troops then deployed off table, ready to move on in the first turn, with a battery of 3 mortars as an experiment along with a fairly standard troop deployment and selection of almost entirely infantry bar a lone unit of Pistoliers as artillery hunters.

The first move was uneventful with the Empire troops moving onto the field and a bit of mutual artillery sniping to small effect.

Second turn the Empire continued it's advance as quickly as possible and the artillery dual continued with a slight advantage in casualties caused by the Empire. 

The Empire close on the Orc lines
The Pistoliers decided that rather than face the vageries of a Pump Wagon charge, decided to charge it and with only one loss for the destruction of the Pump Wagon this was a wise decision.

The only other conflicts of note were regarding Ian's two small Wolf Rider units bent on mischief, the unit on his left flank decided to break in panic from the destruction of the Pump Wagon, the other on the right flank move towards the Empire where a unit of Archers peppered it with arrows but only causing one casualty and not enough for a panic test.

The third round proved to be the crunch with the Empire centre charging into the Orc lines. I had pretty reasonably surmised that nothing in the Empire army was amn enough to dislodge the Orc General and his bodyguard from the Watchtower, so the plan was to sweep the two supporting Orc Archer units and try and take the other three buildings to get a narrow victory.

Now the Flaggellent unit had been the target of much of Ian's shooting on the way in, both missile and magic and by the time they got in the were reduced to about a third or quarter of their number by the time they charged in and though supported by a slightly depleted Greatsword unit the charge in ended in a draw and a continuing melee.

On the other side where a slightly depleted Swordsmen unit and the army General, an Arch Lector charged into the other, around half strength Orc Archer unit and only managed the same result, a drawn melee.

The Pistoliers and archers shot away at the Orc artillery to small effect and the Mortars beginning to run out of viable targets began lobbing shells at one of the buildings holding a compliment of Orcs.

At round four, it was already apparent with the failure of the Empire first charge to dislodge the Orc Archers from the wall that I was going to toil with taking any of the buildings housing untouched Orc melee units with depleted numbers of Greatswords Swordsmen or Halberdiers, so a slight change of plan was attempted, namely in lobbing Mortar shells at one of the buildings to perhaps damage or destroy the building and therefore negating the Orc victory point but more importantly softening up the Orcs inside to a possible (if very likely fruitless assault) from my infantry.

Alas, most of the shells fell short (or long) of their mark.

Round four continued with the Empire managing to break the Orc Archer Unit on the right and pursuing and destroying them but losing the last of the Flaggellents in the process. The Sordsmen and General had a second drawn melee with the other Orc Archer unit and the Pistoliers charged a Bolt Thrower (because it was easier to charge and melee, than it was to shoot at the bloody thing) and destoyed it. The Orc left flank Wolf Rider unit rallied but didn't yet return to the fray, but the right flank Wolf Rider unit now circled round behind my one untouched unit of Halberdiers who were forced to turn to meet the small but delaying threat. (They likely weren't going to reach the town in any event for at least a couple of turns).

Round five proved to be the final round (out of a permitted 7 turns) as time beat us. The remnants of the Greatswords charged one of the buildings and took more casualties than they dished out against a unit of Black Orcs housed in the central buildings, the swordsmen and General finally broke the remaining Orc Archer Unit and made a bee line for the un-occupied building on the Orc left. The Mortars again pounded away at the other building in vain hope of reducing it and it's occupants to rubble but only managed some supperficial damage and a couple of casualties inside.

At this point it was obvious that even if lucky, I was unlikely to manage a draw with the best of my Units depleted and unlikely to win in melee against the entrenched Orc units to oust them from one of the occupied buildings and so with time beating us, victory once again going to Ian's Orcs.

A good battle this time once again and an interesting scenario that I would play again. The seven round limit seemed strange last time as it looked with the Orcs that this was way too generous, but with the slower and less deadly Empire they would need the seven rounds in all likelyhood to gain a good victory, all going well.

The Empire once again seemed to lack a bit of 'oomph' and just didn't really seem up to the task in hand, dice throwing was average, neither up nor down and Ian's dice throwing the same or perhaps going towards the poor side so that wasn't the issue. It was always going to be difficult with the Orc Toughness being the 'to over-come' factor never minding the extra -1 to hit for the cover etc. The Mortars as an experiment were a reasonable success but lacked accuracy on the day to swing it enough. The random mage spells being in-offence but augmentary didn't help but I've always thought that the magic phase for most armies tends to cancel each other out unless you get a mis-cast or unstoppable.

Not sure what I could try to make the Empire a bit more of a challenge in this scenario, in both battles they've managed to stay intact and deal a bit of damage but don't have the moxy to get Orcs shifted from the buildings or the keep them out on a unit to unit basis. Food for thought though and enjoyable scenario's for that reason.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Planning 2013

With the look back of my successes and failures hobby-wise done and a review of how things fared, I am now planning my year ahead. I don't expect the plan to survive intact after contact with the enemy once again, but it pays to have a 'plan' in any event.

I've decided to try and put a bit more structure around my planning this year and put some definite targets to work to, as I felt my plan for the last year was a bit amorphous and therefore was to easy to let slip.

On that basis I've decided at an optimistic general painting target of 8 figures a week (excluding holiday break) so a target of 400 figures for the year (cavalry figures counting as 2). I know this is a fairly low a number compared to many out there who have a pretty prolific output, but it's definitely a big stretch target for me and allows for a week or two's in-activity which can be caught up on the following week.

It's difficult for me to be proscriptive in what I do hobby-wise as I have eclectic interests at the best of times but there's no point in planning lot's of things that just wont get done so I'm deliberately keeping my list a bit more achievable (I hope).

Terrain Projects
  • Abbey Project - This is one I'm enjoying so far, but it has dragged out a bit, so I'm going to concentrate on getting this one pushed along. The plan for the whole project incorporates 20 or so pieces and with the first four complete, I am aiming to get this to the half way stage by the end of the year. This will include two of the larger pieces in the set and so I don't intend to expand terrain project wise beyond the the Abbey (excepting the Future Wars below). The planned pieces for this year will be the Gatehouse, the walls for the walled garden/orchard, Ruined Colonnade West, Ruined Colonnade East, the Bell Tower, and the South Cloister.

Army Projects
  • El Cid Berber Army - My Almohad army did get some attention over the last year but by no means enough and so is going to be my main thrust to getting some paint on figures. With 150ish figures targetted this makes up about a third of my target. I plan to do these over the year to spread the interest. The units planned will include some minor modelling so should keep the interest levels high but slow down the out put.

  • Italian Wars - Still very much high on my interest levels and all the figures are bought that I need for the planned forces (though that probably wont stop me getting more). Targeted around 120 figures here, with the first off the list being the Garde Ecossaise unit which just needs a bit of a kick to get finished off. Then followed by Italian Pike and then by various French Cavalry units and some artillery.

  • Hungarian Black Army - Didn't see any activity over the last year really and plan to rectify this over the coming months with again around 80 figures targeted including the languishing Clipeati, and a multitude of cavalry plus a rather nice battery of bombards.

Skirmish Projects
  • Future Wars Project - The one I did get some movement on over the last year so I plan to get everything finished off in the painting front here. All the figures and vehicles are assembled and primed and ready to rock so a hopefully easy 50 figures worth to finish off over the year with the aim being to get these done for Easter (my aim last year, but I have added quite a bit to this list since then :-) ). The project now includes for the First Platoon, First Company, Third Scots Mechanised Infantry and now incorporates the The Enemy with suitable mechanised support. I've also started some terrain pieces for this project to give the planned games a bit of 3 dimensional playing but these are at the early stages but keeping the terrain simple to make the building fairly painless and hopefully quick to do.

  • Mordheim - With another club campaign planned for this year coming, I've started up another warband this time Kislevites and so another modelling challenge. 15 figures planned out and about half already under way, this little mini-project should be a fairly quick and enjoyable painting and modelling excursion with the kick off early in the year I'll be getting this one moving first.

I know the odd other figure will creep in to the painting planned, the odd fantasy, medieval or renaissance skirmish figure that takes my fancy over the year which will make a break from what ever I happen to be doing at the time, or even the occasional small unit for my Empire forces but hopefully this will be in addition to the planned focus.

With various rule sets purchased and played or not played over the last year, I would like to stick to a fairly select group of rules. I've decided that Impetus doesn't suit my tastes for the Italian Wars so going to go with the Pike & Shotte rules to see how they pan out there. For my Berbers, it will still be Impetus no doubt (being a favourite at the club) but would like to try War & Conquest with that army and to re-visit the Crusader Rules which I have enjoyed in the past with my Berbers.

I'm planning a mini campaign for later in the year for my Berbers as per a previous post on the Conquest of Majorca, and that will give me something to aim for as far as my painting progress is concerned, and I will likely use either W&C or Crusader rules for that, deciding where to go once I've had a couple of games of each.

There will also be the occasional pick up game at the club where there is an abundance of variety there which is always excellent, so I wont be wearying for a game or a change of pace.

That's the basis of the plan for the year gaming-wise for me and I'm already reading others plans for the year and getting idea's for other stuff so better get going before I get distracted before I start.


Wishing all a Happy and Prosperous New Year, hope it's a good one!

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