Saturday 30 January 2016

Hail Caesar on Trial

This week I have mainly been playing Hail Caeser, that is to say I had a game of Hail Caesar as a a bit of a trial as I have not managed to actually use the rules in earnest since picking them up some while ago.

Dave K at t'club had broached the topic of seeing if I fancied a game of something this week and I offered to play either a game of Hail Caesar (as I had yet to try these rules), or War & Conquest (only one previous trial game), Bad Wars (haven't used the rules in ages and I quite like them) or something eslse. All of this to aid Dave's yearly quest to play as many different rule sets in the year as possible.

Dave, having only played HC once previously plumped for these, also in the frame of mind to give them a whirl and see if his previous opinion of the rules was still in place.

Due to a bit of limited resources both in terms of figures and time available we plomped down two divisions apiece and had at it. Since this game was just a trial run through of the mechanics of the rules, we considered this to not be a problem.

Turn one, and I won the toss to start and I elected to let Dave go first in the hope that him coming forward would subsequently allow me to jump into engagement. Dave infantry division of a mixed bunch of Levy, Heavy Infantry and Crossbow screened with some skirmishers duly moved forward en-masse with a double divisional move and occupied the centre of the table. Next his cavalry division with general and a mix of Jinetes, Noble types and Heavy cavalry decided not to bother to move at all. Yes, this was the first mis-reading of the rules,..but onwards.

My go on turn one and my infantry division consisting of a unit of Black Guard, and three Berber Medium units again screen by some skirmishers made a tentative one move forward to engage.

This is where we really started to become unstuck, as my understanding of the orders allowed me to give a divisional order to my cavalry division to 'engage', and promptly super-succeded on the order roll and got a massive 'three move' move, which meant that my light skirmishing cavalry and Hasham Guard cavalry bounded across the table and 'engaged' the enemy.

As we were playing the game in a 'to see what happens' kind of way Dave decided to stand as part of his charge response. Oops. My Hasham Guard Cavalry unit completely destroyed the light cavalry unit to it's front, used its consolidation move (for want of a better term) and continued its charge into the flank of Dave's Heavy Cavalry unit of knightly types and with a decidedly one sided skuffle demolished these with the remnants fleeing to table, leaving my Heavy Cavalry right through the enemy lines at the other side of the table, all on turn one. Wow!

It was later we questioned my 'engage' order as I took this to mean different things to the different troop types involved, ie melee troops melee-ing and skirmish types skirmishing all depending on their natures. To my mind this works as you trust your troops to know what their doing and skirmish types wouldn't charge heavy cavalry, you wouldn't have to tell them that. Dave was of the mind that the order was engage so my skirmish types should have closed too, not just chucked javelins, and I can see in gaming terms this is probably true.

Next turn and the the infantry closed toward each other and a unit of Dave's levy charged my Archers and I looking at the odds thought stand and shoot and then melee should be a fairly even contest against the levy, the dice decided differently and my archers beat a hasty retreat followed by the levy. the cavalry circled each other a bit and some more discussions around failure of order throws ensued and whether this halted the command turn, which it does.

Finally the infantry clashed with Dave launching his levy against my Black Guard and this turned out to be very messy as we realised the amount that this unit could dish out and soon it was all over with time run out and Dave's forces largely in disarray, mainly due to some rash outcomes brought on by a disire to see how the rules worked.

Discussions were sought and some other players consulted post-match and the whole round of supporting units was broached and discussed and a couple of the concepts for break test especially from shooting were accepted to make no sense at all or even what they mean't.

The trial game was, in the end slightly inconclusive as a result of a low grasp of some (read most) of the niceties of the rules and a firm understanding appears to be required to get the most out of them. Certainly the extreme results in a small game like this were hugely devestating but in the large 'epic' games that they are portrayed as being for, the effect of this would be largely over-ridden by numbers though still effective. Certainly not the easiest rules to pick up and slightly frustrating, and definietly not for a monday club night pick-up game. Definitely for the arranged one off scenario, battle re-play kind of game seems to be about the mark.

The thought of trying these for the Fantasy Hail Ceasar has been broached and I might pursue this to see how they feel with imaginary armies. I suspect they may be a step too far...

Thursday 21 January 2016

Dux Britanniarum Campaign - July 565 AD

Another match in the ongoing club Dux B campaign and with this being my first game of the year, I was looking forward to my Scots doing a bit of raiding and keeping it local (as they do) and made a foray into their Pictish near neighbours over in Fib under the leadership of their Lord, Allan.

After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing we settled on the Watch Tower raid, the same as my last foray against the Brits and with an identical set up with the Pict's running for the tower with their Lord to get to safety at the opposite end of the table and the Scots coming in from the opposite corner trying to head them off before they got to safety.

The difference here was that the Pict's didn't have enough Cavalry to passle up their Lord and high tail it to their tower like the Brits did and unlike the Brits Allan didn't make a great head start movement roll, so the game was on.

The Gods of the movement dice were kinder to the Scots Raiders this month and the raiders  cavalry quickly closed in on the Pictish Lord on foot with his two bands of warriors while the Scots Lord, second in command and the mass of Scots warriors moved straight for the Pictish Lord who moved out from his tower in an attempt to stem the tide.

Enough to say briefly that the clash of spear on shield was brief and bloody, for the Pict's who, outnumbered 3 to 1, took a beating and with huge shock and half casualties took to their heels with their Lord. The Pictish Missiles tried to slow the oncoming Scots steam roller but were caught as they tried to cover their Lords reteat and were trampled into the bloody earth and fataly their Lord was caught as he ran from the fray.

At the same time as the warriors clashed the Pictish cavalry made an attempt to pick off the Scots missile and skirmishers but were out skipped and took shock from both of these missiles.

And to add insult to injury the Pictish Lord who was trying to gain succor from his liege lord was caught on the slops of the small hill to the north of the tower and had to stop his flight and defend himself against the Scots raider and noble raider cavalry as best he could.

With the loss of his Lord, a unit of warriors and his missiles gone, a break test was due and as Allan's force morale was fairly low from the onset and a couple of high rolls for his lost units and Lord the Pict's broke in the face of the fierce Scots onslaught. (Well that's what I'm calling it, really Allan faced a difficult task due to a dearth of cavalry or mounted Lord and the with some poor movement rolls his fate was sealed).

Still, a much needed victory for the Scots of Cenel Loarn at last, and with a +5 victory the Scots get some much needed cash and a couple of extra warriors to boost their ranks. Sliante Mhath!

Monday 11 January 2016

Planning 2016

Once again it's time to put finger to keyboard and plot out my intended plans for the coming year. This year is going to be different. No, really, it is! I can say that with certainty because normally my plans for the coming year have been based on what I've been gaming and thinking about in the year just passed and following on from what I have achieved during the year.

This year however is different if only because I don't think I managed to do or finish anything I had planned for 2015. So I am in a bit of a conundrum as to where to start for the plan for the coming year. Or perhaps a better place to put it would be as a blank canvas.

Putting the things aside that I had planned for last year, I had a think about why I hadn't got any of them progressed as much as I had hoped (and I know a plan never survives contact with the enemy). This was to see if the project's themselves hadn't fired my imagination or was it down to other factors. The major projects which I had hoped to progress to a greater or lesser degree all do interest me with my Almoravid's, Italian Wars French, Hungarian Black Army and Scots Armies all still vying for attention along with my Future Wars project which is the only one that saw any progress of any amount.

I also had a look through the lead (and plastic) mountain of troops languishing in their boxes and had a think about if any of these piles deserved some TLC more than any others. I also had a look through my (admittedly growing) collection of terrain pieces etc to see what was needed and what was successful, and of course what had been an unmitigated disaster.

In the end I think it has boiled down to two questions; What games do I plan to play in the coming year and in the near future? and, What do I think I'll enjoy (and therefore be motivated to do) making and painting? Obviously the two things are directly connected.

The long and the short of it (it has taken a fair few days to go through everything, it is a large lead mountain after all) is a pretty simple, but hopefully successful, plan for the coming months. The Plan boiling down to two basic parts; 

  1. Finishing what I've started.
  2. Finishing what I started a while ago.
With the trawl through my mini's and terrain and browsing through the shiny stuff on the internet I've decided there isn't anything really any new stuff currently, or on the horizon, out there at the moment (Cough! excepting some Kickstarter stuff that will appear some time reasonably soon, but that counts as plan part 1 in my books) so it's projects on the go that will receive my attention in the coming year. So;

1. Finishing what I've started - A bit of a repeat of last year's plan but with more of an emphasis on terrain and model making since that's the direction my mind has been wandering of late.

Future Wars - I've enjoyed my going's on with the Future Wars project to date (and the biggest project progress of last year) and I am looking forward to enjoy the fruits of these labour's. Really, the only work required here to allow the games to begin, is to continue to expand the amount of terrain available for the planned conflicts. There will be a couple of additional vehicles for the Kra'ull too, but that's pretty minor. So, small terrain pieces to be churned out for this and a few bigger pieces planned (or planning) and with this work already begun, it's off to a positive start to this part.

Italian Wars French - This one should be easy (famous last word's) and complete the unit's started last year which should bring the tally to a small, but playable, force.

With a couple of unit's of infantry, one of cavalry and a couple of command stand's and a couple of small artillery pieces to finish off I'm hoping this will give the impetus to get more of the project moving further down the line.

Almohad Berber's - Another 'easy one' which didn't happen last year, even with nine units prepped and ready to go, I just need to get the f@?#"*g things painted. No gaming planned with these as such, I just what to get them done really, cause they'll look nice and all that.

Five units of infantry and four cavalry units awaiting the brush, I am anticipating this one will take a bit of a push but once commence will hopefully get on a bit of a roll.

Scot's Army in France - Just plan to move this project past the planning stage and since this one constituted about my only figure purchases of last year I would like to see where this one goes. I have also been thinking about getting the most benefit from this and expanding the remit of the local e covered and enabling some home grown conflicts to be played not just the HYW but also some of the later 15th Cent fights closer to home. It will probably involve some stretching for this, but I think it will be a go'er as this one has definitely got me interested again.

These are the main thing's which will move through out the year and provide the back bone of what I'm planning for 2016.

2. Finishing what I started a while ago. 

The second part of my yearly plan is really a mish-mash of a thing, made up of various bits and bobs which have been satellites of my hobby world for several years and is a product of my meandering through all my toy boxes and going ooh and ah over past treasures.

Rather than list all the small bits and pieces of this rather amorphous part of the plan, suffice to say it includes all the Fantasy and other worldly skirmish gaming bits and bobs which don't individually have a project name but will include gaming pieces for Frostgrave, Mordheim, Oldhammer and sundry other gaming types.

Also under this heading is my on-going, nay marathon-esque, modelling that is my Abbey project which I will progress terrain wise in the coming months. I've had a few idea's to add to this project to enable expanding the model pieces gaming usefulness into other sphere's, which is nice.

The last piece of this messy part of the plan is to continue with my Solo Fantasy campaign, which of late has turned into something more of a story writing rather than a gaming project , but all still enjoyable for that, but a couple of table top games are moot at the moment so will more than likely get posted in the fullness of time. This will all hopefully utilise the bits made available from earlier in the plan.

In conclusion to this more than usual ramble, my plan for the year is a bit more mutable than normal (which I know is saying something) and is of a more fluffy nature too. By fluffy, I mean story telling, as I am feeling my gaming in the coming year is likely to heading much more in that direction. Hopefully the parts will all form an entertaining whole for a productive and enjoyable year to come....

..and much carnage.

Friday 1 January 2016

Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year to one and all!

Wishing all a prosperous and and happy year for 2016
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