Blog discription

What will you find here? Ramblings from an aging gamer-miniature painter. When I first started out in this hobby computers were in their infancy and finding other gamers could only be done by going to conventions or as in my case bumping into somebody who happened to see me reading "Panzer Leader" on the school bus. Look how far we have come! The internet has allowed our small community to be able to connect on a level I never dreamed of when I was but a small lad. What I do hope you will find here is something interesting from one wargamer/miniature painter to another. I paint miniatures somewhat decently, so I will be posting some pictures of my work, and perhaps a review or two of games and/or miniatures. Most of all this is just about having fun and anything I post here is meant to be for that reason.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Late Romans fourth unit for Saga and probably my last full unit completed for year.

Well I finally pushed these off the table, not literally of course, but if was a psychological one to push past for me. I have a couple of other projects for different periods that are begging to be next. Looks like I will go back and forth to keep my interest in painting up. 

These came out of the same box that my Legionaries came out of (Gripping Beast Plastic kit), and will probably be the only bow unit I do. My next unit for my Late Roman Saga war band will be more grunts to man the line. But I am thinking of using heads, and even the bodies, from the Gripping Beast plastic set Saxon Thegns. From what I am reading it's the Roman Citizens that are sporting beards, unlike early times when they would be clean shaven, and it's the Goths that are clean shaven. But since my dudes are all clean shaven it looks like I will do a bearded unit and call them barbarian recruits. 

Well enough of that, here are a couple of pics.

Happy New Years fellow hobbyist's 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Death in the Desert (but the board is green!)! A Saga AAR

Yesterday one of my good friends Mark came over to do some Saga gaming. Saga being the name of the Dark Age/Crusader era skirmish rules. Armies, or Warbands, are usually not over 50 or so figures. Making it an excellent entry game for miniatures because of low figure count. What makes Saga fun to play are it's easy to understand rules, but more importantly the Battle boards. Each Army/Warband has a battle board and you use this battle board to activate units on the table by throwing a set number of Saga dice and placing them on the abilities you want them to use in your turn or opponents turn. So that's your quick briefing for those of you that are unfamiliar with Saga.

Mark brought over his Milites Christi warband. He is busily painting up this warband so he had to bring over a few proxy figures. He also forgot to bring his Warlord, so I lent him my Frank Warlord to use. I think it really helps playing the board with any figures that might work, even unpainted for the sake of knowing how your board works and exactly what you really want to paint up. There can be so many combinations you can choose from, and depending on your tastes, it's important to know how the board works in play before you go off painting figures you may not use.

Scenario, out of the The Crescent & The Cross, selected was "Champions of God". This is what Mark wanted to play and I was like, "again?", but he was learning a new board, and I experimenting with mine.

Mark's Warband composed the following:

3 points of Brothers (Hearthguard, 4 models per point)
3 points of Sergeants (Warriors, 8 models per point)

He organized them into units as below:

1 X Warlord
1 X 6 model Brothers
1 X 6 model Brothers
1 X 8 model Sergeants with Crossbow
1 X 8 model Sergeants with Spear
1 X 8 model Sergeants with Spear

My Warband composed the following:

1 point of Black Guard (Hearthguard, 4 models per point, upgraded with additional point)
3 points of Hashid (Warriors, 8 models per point)
1 point of Mujahids (Levy, 12 models per point)

I organized mine in the following fashion:

1 X 4 model Black Guard
1 X 10 model Hashid with spear and a Banner (Banner-man doesn't fight, but helps with fatigue)
1 X 7 model Hashid with spear
1 X 7 model Hashid with spear
1 X 12 model Mujahids with bow

For terrain setup Mark selected two pieces of terrain, I selected three. I had two Woods and a Brush, Mark a Hill and a Marsh/Softground.

I missed my roll to move or remove a piece of terrain and it turned out in the game better that I did not. Mark chose to leave the terrain as is.

Here is a picture of our Deployment.

I won the toss of the dice and decided to go first. From reading on our Saga forum about how the Milites Christi and Crusader Warband's work, it sounded like not a good idea to be conservative or cautious. So I decided to go first to get right up in his grill and make him have to think about how he was going to spend his dice.

To begin with that marsh/soft ground in the middle of the table actually worked in my favor because he had split his army up into two not knowing how I was going to setup. Marsh/soft ground does not provide any cover, but it slows you down. Another reason to get in his face quickly. Using the Warlords special ability called "We Obey", the Warlord may choose one unit within Short (4 inches) to be activated for movement as well. What's really cool about this was I had placed my Black Guard within short of the Warlord and the first thing I did was activate my Warlord and chose the Black Guard. The Black Guard's special ability is when they are activated for a move, they can pick a unit within short of them to activate for a move as well. Think of Napoleon's Old Guard, when they moved forward the whole Army would be inspired to greater deeds, so the Black Guard's affect on their fellow soldiers. So I began the turn not having spent one Saga die, but moving three units. Can't beat that, but there is a down side to the Black Guard. For every single model they lose, every unit within medium (6 inches) takes a fatigue. So you really have to think how you're going to use them.

So the end of my turn one had me engaging his Warriors with Crossbow, and many six sided dice later, hits, great saves, etc. instead of cleaning his clock, he lost two models and I one model. Not an auspicious start. To my advantage I had the marsh/soft guard and woods covering my flanks, and my battle board setup for his shooting and potential Cavalry charge.

End of Moor Turn 1

Mark was still trying to figure out his board so missed a few things that I realized later as well. Seeing that both his Brother's Cavalry units where within medium of my brave Moors and wanting to shoot his crossbows at me, he decided to move his Brother's back out of medium and then shoot his crossbows at me. He did raise his Piety up one level, but had, "can't see the forest for the trees" syndrome going on. Some of his most important abilities on his battle board depend on his Piety level. What he missed was by having a piety level of one, he could have slammed home with his Brothers and had an ability that would have canceled my defensive ability I had selected just for that reason. But that's not what happened. He set himself up to shoot, I spent his fatigue to raise my armor, and then the crossbow's lowered it for a wash. I took a casualty from his shot and then he surprised me by charging home with his crossbows. I can't remember if we placed a fatigue marker on him for a second move/shoot action, but regardless I got the worst end of the deal. I went from eight figures down to four, and he lost only two. Grrrrr..... damn dice, where's a microwave when you need to warm their backsides, or melt them>:<

So now the Moor's begin their 2nd turn with my once ten model unit reduced to four models. Not how I envisioned it. But have no fear, I always have a plan, or so I thought. I activated my Warlord and did the ole "We Obey" thing to the Black Guard, which activated the 7 model warrior unit on the Black Guard's right. I positioned the Black Guard to be within short of the four model warrior unit. One has to remember that sequence is everything in this game. So using Song of Drums (activating all my units except my bow unit) I first rested my 4 model warrior unit using Song of Drums, then activated for a movement my Black Guard with Song of Drums (and the Black Guard using this ability doesn't take a fatigue) thus activating the now fatigue-less four model warrior unit to charge into the crossbow unit. I used Fury of Swords to gain three dice and used his fatigue to raise my armor to a 5, but do you think I could wipe him out, of course not. I caused five hits, but he saved enough to let one figure get away. Rat poop! The poor consolation was I still had my four models but with a fatigue from combat.

Now I knew at this point that I was in serious trouble. I needed to grind him down right off the back without having lost so many of my once proud banner waving ten man unit. On his turn Mark raised his Piety to level two, and tried to do a one two punch with his Brother Cavalry that almost succeeded in ending the game on turn two. Mark used "...This is My Blood" ability to activate three units. He moved his 1 model crossbow unit out of the way not caring if it took another fatigue to do so. His next unit was the Brother's directly in front of them and slammed home and wiped them out. I did kill one of the Brothers, but the flood gates had opened. He promptly activated his third chosen unit, the other Brother cavalry and tried to hit my Black Guard. Fortunately he could not find a path to contact one of my Black Guard models without coming within Very Short (2 inches) of another enemy unit. Thank God for positioning well. But he simply directed the charge onto the helpless 7 model unit in front of my Warlord, which he wiped out causing all units within short to take a fatigue from having witnessed such a slaughter, but the poor Moor unit manage to take two of the Brothers with them.

I saw the writing on the wall, as it was only the beginning of my turn 3, yet half of the Milites Christi army had hardly moved. The objective of the scenario is to eliminate 3 or more points of the enemy than you lose yourself. The Brothers are worth one VP a piece, so what did I do? Why attack of course!!! My Warlord had two fatigue, and my other two units one each. The Black Guard can activate to rest for free at the beginning of the activation phase, this I did, and then I rested the other two. Using the Warlord's We Obey, I did a side by side with the Black Guard into his Brother Cavalry unit. I wiped out the four man Brother unit but I lost one Black Guard, which placed another fatigue on units around him on top of the end of battle fatigue. Now it was just a matter of watching my opponent's move to see if he had the courage to seize the day.

On what was to become the last move of a supposed 6 turn game Mark did indeed seize the day. His five model brother unit made the right choice and plowed into the Black Guard. He wiped them out, thus causing all my units within medium to take 3 fatigue each. This pretty much wrapped the game up, as all Mark had to do was mop up with little that I could do about it. With my Warlord starting his turn with 3 fatigue and the wiping out of my Black Guard, the Warlord now had 6 fatigue on him, thus becoming exhausted and a sitting duck for his next move. The only offensive power I had left was the 6 model warrior unit directly behind him, but they were exhausted as well.

A very jubilant Mark, and his opponent (me) had survived the three hours of playing time it took him each turn to try and figure out his board..... just kidding Mark;)

What we learned: It is our opinion that the Milites Christi Brother's should be formed into four model units only. Why? They have a cool ability called, "for the True Cross" that lowers the opponents armor like you would not believe, but the enemy has to out number them 2 to 1, I guess they like being underdogs.

As far as the Black Guard goes, I would definitely run them as an 8 model unit, and if for some reason I chose only 4 models that other point will be purchasing Daylami, Bedouin Scouts, a Priest, something, but it won't be wasted on a Levy Bow unit. If you're going to specialize, then go all out.

The weakness of the Black Guard, causing fatigue on units within 6 inches of it for every model lost by it seems really harsh, BUT, regardless I had a blast playing with them. I was laughing and giggling throughout our game (granted some of the laughing was at Mark trying to come to a decision with his new board, but hey, I do the same thing) and in the end isn't that the most important thing?

If you read this far, thank you for your time.


Saga: Moor Black Guard

Wow, I have no idea what happened but more than three weeks have gone by like... like... poof! When your a kid you want time to go faster, when your an old fart you want time to go slower. Somehow I must discover the secret of painting miniatures slowly, with little advancement of actual time. Hmmm.....

Well I painted up some Gripping Beast 28mm Plastic Arabs. I actually need 8, but rushed these 4 so I could use them in a game I played the other day (which is also why the bases are plain, I didn't have time to do the flocking). It gave me a good opportunity to see how they worked out on the field. Definitely will not use just 4 in the future but an 8 model unit. 

The Plastic Arab foot kit that comes from Gripping Beast is very nice. I didn't feel like they felt so wooden like some of the kits do from them. Putting them together was not complex, but patience is needed. I really, really liked them, and for the price you can't beat them. When I base my plastic figures I always glue a metal washer the same size as their base to give them some heft, and is a true fix from keeping them falling over on battle field when your hand brushes against them. 

Here are a couple of shots of them awaiting the base flocking, with a sample of a Perry figure that has the base done the way these boys will have. It certainly will make them pop a bit more.

As always thanks for looking.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Infinity: Combined Army Sectorial | Onyx: Umbra Legates

I've got several paint projects going on at the same time, but when do I not (I am saying this to myself and shaking my head). Right in the middle of painting up another Roman unit I completely stopped. I needed a change of pace, like right now. This was probably inspired because I played another game of Infinity with my friend Rob and got the juices flowing for painting up some more stuff for me. Then a pang of guilt swept over me as I realized I still needed to paint this bloody Onyx box Army set my poor friend Al has been waiting patiently for.

Now mind you Al has not been pestering me. He knows I will paint this up for him before one of us dies.... good grief I am knocking on wood this very moment... but I am sure he would like them waaaayyy before then.

So I painted up a leader type so he could at least start playing a few introduction type games with Rob and I. I think my last post was I had like 9 something to paint for him. Well Al, it's now 8!!! Yes!!!! It's only been since April that I painted the other three. At this blazing pace you'll have them before you start collecting social security!!!

Here are a few photo's. I am not totally satisfied with my work, but what artist is. Hopefully the next one I do will be better than this one. I think with each of these figures I'll get a little better with as I go.

As always thanks for looking.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Tiger tanks of ancient antiquity

The two armies had drawn up into battle formation in the predawn hours. As the sun began to rise over the soon to be battlefield, the beams of the morning light reflect off the armour of what look to be a group of giants on a low hill. The enemy foot soldiers begin to mumer and point in their direction. What are these metal looking behemoths? As the sun slowly drew higher into the sky, the light bringing more details into view, they could see that they rode large metal clad horses and carried spears that seemed as tall as trees, they swore to each other that their eyes gleamed with red, fear began to sweep the enemy ranks....

My latest addition to my growing Late Romans from the Saga supplement Aetius & Arthur are the "Equites sagittarii clibanarii". Sagittarii implies (but does not establish) the unit was bow-armed, while clibanarii may mean something like "oven men", possibly alluding to the stuffy conditions clibanarii troopers had to endure due to their unusually comprehensive armour. The Equites sagittarii clibanarii is the only clibanarii unit in the Notitia (The Notitia Dignitatum, latin for "The List of Offices", is a document of the Late Roman Empire that details the administrative organization of the Eastern and Western Empires.) stationed in the western half of the empire. From what I am reading they were stationed in Africa, which matters not to me, as they easily could have been called over to Italy to fight for some general contending to be the next emperor of western Rome.

There is much debate and little evidence to prove or disprove what weapons they carried or how much armour may have been worn etc. There is debate that the Late Roman Cataphractarii was armed with contus and sword and did not use a shield, while the Clibanarii were armed with the contus which is wielded with two hands, however consideration must be given to what other weapons may have been used by the clibanarii, the bow and shield.

Which brings me to, if they did carry a shield, what color do I paint it. Again there isn't just one source and there can be 15 variations of the same shield pattern, so I simply chose one I thought I could paint freehand as my hand is not that steady to paint fancy shield designs.

So with this all said, I am presenting to you my interpretation of what my artistic tastes, and idea of what my unit would look like. Close to history, or fantasy? I do not know but I have done my best to research what I wanted and present to you my Warlord, and his hearthguard Clibanarii.

[above my Warlord]

[above the Clibanarii]

[above group shot]

The figures are 28mm from Gripping Beast, the shields painted by me, the banner is a transfer from little big men studios.

Based on shield colors the horse tails worn from their helmets could be of varying colors, I chose yellow, which keeps it in the ball park of possibilities. 

Hope you like my work. More stuff on the way soon.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Late Romans 2nd unit complete for Saga

It finally stopped raining long enough for me to brave the chilly weather and get outside so I could spray a couple of protective coats on my second completed Late Roman infantry unit. I have about 4 more units plus my Warlord to complete to finish the project, but while I waited for the seal coats to dry I was not idle. Started working on a cavalry unit and my Warlord.

As mentioned in my other post these are Gripping Beasts 28mm Plastic Late Romans. The shields have transfers applied from Little Big Men Studios. One thing I will mention is if you buy the plastic kit and want transfers make sure you look at Little Big Men's Plastic Late Roman shields, because the ones made for Gripping Beast metal figures won't work. Also the blue shield edging is me matching up colors to complete the look.

The one thing that I really don't like about the kit is the fact you only get 8 dudes wearing chain mail. I really wish they would have made at least 16 out of the 44 but oh well, I'll make it work.

Hope you enjoy the photo's.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Showcase: Infinity: Nomad... Tsyklon Sputniks

To keep myself from going mad when working on a long project, I may stop and paint a model of something completely different just for a change of pace and to keep it fresh. Hence this is not a Samurai model, nor is it a Late Roman. It's Scifi baby!

I am really liking the science fiction based skirmish game called Infinity. One of the Armies I am collecting is called Nomads. I have painted and posted several of these models here already, and here is another. It's a remote. Remotes are semi-autonomous support units, usually lightly armored but extremely mobile and versatile. This one is an exception in that it has been modified to include heavier armor, NBC systems, and electronic defense systems. There are several variants and this particular one carries a Feuerbach . The Feuerbach, or "River of Fire" in German, shoots auto-propelled projectiles. These small, lightweight projectiles have a quick loading and boosting mechanism that provides a rapid rate of fire. In exchange for this, the Feuerbach sacrifices destructive capacity compared to other Anti-Tank weapons, which tend to be more powerful but slower (I copied this statement from Infinity's Wiki),

Anyways I thought it was pretty cool looking, and placing this on the table will make my opponent crap his pants, as he is still WAAAYYYY behind in painting some of his cool toys (Rob, yes you Rob, I am calling you out;)). Here are some photos.

Thanks for looking

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Late Romans for Saga

I bought a box of 44 plastic 28mm figures from Gripping Beast when they first came out a few months ago (or has it been a year, hmmm), and I finally got around to assembling them and putting some paint on them as well.

The figures don't have many poses and are a little wooden, but the main reason why I got them was I could build an almost 6 point warband for Saga with this. When the figures work out to like 57 cents a piece, how can you go wrong.

Of course I had to buy shield transfers from Little Big Men, and why not. I could probably hand paint them to a decent standard, but Little Big Men stuff is just so nice, it just saves a whole lot of frustration and time for me. Of course they have their little problems and I have to match paint to touch up shield edges and such, but it's still way quicker.

I painted these up to a gaming standard. That means I didn't go hog crazy on detail. I just want to paint up a 6 point army and get it on the table as quick as I can. That said it is me we are talking about and even doing them simple like, it still takes me what seems like forever.

But enough of that, here are a few photos I hope you will enjoy. A shout out to my buddy Aaron waaaay over on the other side of the world, as I know he likes Romans, so I hope you like these.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Kirk “the main man” Douglas takes command

My friend Dave came over to do some Saga gaming (skirmish dark age rule set) this past Sunday. He brought his Welsh to battle my Vikings (led by my special edition Kirk Douglas viking figure).Two completely different armies, but if both are played to their strengths, you can always expect close games. We were not to be disappointed.

We played "Champions of God" a scenario which you basically just have to cause more causalities to your opponent than you take to win the game, but you must win by 3 or more to win, otherwise a draw.

Dave picked three pieces of terrain, two woods and a marsh. I picked a gentle hill and a bit of brush. After alternately arranging our terrain we diced off to see if either of us could move a piece of terrain or remove it. Dave failed to influence his terrain choice with his die roll, and with my plus 1 (he placed more than me) to the die roll I was able to move his marsh 6 more inches to my flank to open up my middle a bit more.

Here are the Armies starting setups below. If you want to see full size pictures left click on picture to open the photo slide review. When you have this open I've discovered that you can then right click on picture opening a menu and select "open image in new window". When you do this you will be able to use your mouse to get a closer view. This will not work if you simply start by right clicking on image, you have to first open the photo review (where the photos all open up for viewing in a row).

[above Vikings, with 12 Levy in the brush, and then 2 X 8 man Warrior units, with 2 X 6 man Hearthguard backing them up in the middle, and of course "Kirk the main man Douglas" watching over his crew in center rear]
[above those cursed Welsh with their pointy sticks, Dave selected all Warriors which I thought was a great idea. He placed a 10 man warrior unit behind the woods on his right flank backed up by and 8 man warrior unit, and then paced 3 X 10 man warrior units in his center. He choose to mount his Warlord for flexibility]

Dave won the toss to see who goes first and decided that would be me (a great idea since you can steal a victory with the last move). By going second in this scenario your allowed to roll three Saga dice to place on your battle board (think of Saga dice as orders, and the Battle Board as your command board. Depending on what you roll with your order dice, allows you to pick commands that match the roll on your command board). 

Viking Turn 1 [note all pictures below are at the end of that players turn]
Going first and being a Viking, I decided I would do a most Viking thing and go straight at him. I rolled a butt load of sixes on my first turn which meant that I probably wouldn't roll anymore for the rest of the game (and it nearly came to that). I had this great idea of going straight up and smashing him on first turn but sadly I did not pay attention to how far away his line was from mine and I ended up advancing toward his line in echelon. My warriors ended up taking a fatigue, and I hoped to weather the storm that he would unleash with all his javelin armed dudes (I used bingo chips for fatigue marking and Dave used blood stones or little jewel looking things).

Welsh Turn 1
Dave is a pretty new player when it comes to Saga, but you wouldn't have known it in this game. He played the strength of the Welsh perfectly by running up and tossing Javelins at me but not coming into melee. Dave used his Saga dice to bring the Welsh up and unleash hell (also bringing over his 10 man warrior unit to the center from behind the woods), but fortunately I had some decent save throws and I ended up taking only three warrior causalities (whew) with one of his units having activated more than once with a shoot or move so took a fatigue (you can see the blood stone placed behind that unit).

Viking Turn 2
On my turn 2 I of course rolled no sixes (on both our battle boards you have an order ability that allows you to spend that six to roll two more dice. You can keep doing this as long as you never have more than 8 saga dice on your board when you begin the activation phase). So with only six dice to work with I knew I needed to bring him into melee as best I could to whittle down his numbers so I could stand up to his "float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee" maneuvers. It was time for me to go "George Foreman" on his butt. I brought up my 6 man hearthguard and with a bunch of special dice thrown in I tried to give my selected charge target a killing blow, and wipe them out which would cause fatigue to all his units within 6 inches. But it was not to be and while losing eight he had two standing at the end. He had poopy melee dice, and if I remember he only cause two hits on me, but I saved them both! Glory and death! But this left me with a problem of being surrounded by a lot of full strength Welsh warrior units that were just itching for their turn to toss those sticks of death at me. So I risked an attack on his ten man warrior unit with my 7 man warrior unit (that you can see to the left of my hearthguard out front). There is an ability on the Viking battle board called Valhalla, where you can sacrifice a figure to gain three dice. This is what I did, but wisely only used one just so I could match his dice roll 10 to 10 in melee (sacrificing figures counts for your opponents score at end of the game as well). I caused a five hits and he saved two but Dave just kicked butt with his roll and I was lucky to escape with just one warrior. Had I lost that dude I would have had another fatigue on my hearthguard added and that would have been a bad thing. 

Welsh Turn 2
Dave slid his 10 man warrior unit he brought over from behind the woods behind his 7 man warrior unit to keep it safe from my slingers in the brush (I ended up never shooting the as I was always to busy using my Saga dice for command in the middle). He then used his other units to try and shoot up my hearthguard way out in front. He caused two causalities, but what he forgot to do was to move back his now 2 man warrior unit out of the way. I said silently to myself I have you now my friend! Striking these boys and eliminating them in melee would cause his other units within six inches to take fatigue and I could use these with my other units brought up to battle to my advantage.

Viking Turn 3
Having lost my last surviving warrior out of a unit of 8, during shooting on Dave's past turn, he successfully brought me down from rolling six Saga dice, to five Saga dice. Of course I rolled no sixes so had to do with only being able to assign five Saga dice. So what should a Viking player do when down a Saga die, why ATTACK of course! This was going to be tricky. My idea was to hit his now only two man warrior unit and destroy it. This would cause several of his units to have another fatigue added on and this would allow me to bring up my depleted warriors and Kirk the main man Douglas up to take out his 10 man warrior you see at the top right of this picture. So with everything riding on how my hearthguard did against his two warriors they charged home. I had eight dice to his two. I caused four hits! Surely his unit was about to die!!!!!!!..............................................................
then tears appeared on my cheeks as he promptly rolled four 5's and 6's to save every single hit placed upon him (on six sided dice you need to roll 5 or 6 for saves in melee). The only consolation was he caused no hits to my hearthguard and they had to fall back. Sadly this unhinged my plan and I could not continue my turn as planned and simply had to see how things went in his turn. I thought for sure this was game over for me. 

Welsh Turn 3
Dave had me on the ropes, but could he put me away? He pulled back his 2 man warrior unit and then brought up his 10 man warrior up into the slot that he had behind his 7 man warrior unit. He proceeded to shoot the crap out of me and I was lucky to have one hearthguard left (not losing a Saga die if I had lost him was big), and only lost one warrior next to Kirk. It could have been much worse, but I survived and that was a key element as to what was going to happen next.

Viking Turn 4
I had to be smart this turn so as not to get myself in a pickle and lose more Saga die, going below 5 really hurts. Of course, again, I rolled no sixes. But excuses the winner will not have, so I used Kirk's We Obey (The Warlord gets to activate once per turn for free and a unit within 4 inches of him) and pulled back Kirk and the one man hearthguard unit. Now I brought up my fresh 6 man hearthguard unit to take a pop at his now exposed 10 man warrior unit he brought out a little to far and was able to reach him in two moves. Here I can't remember, but I think this was the turn Dave did not have a command die on Holy Ground (a reaction move that he can use once on one of my units moving to slow them down). The nice thing the Vikings have on their battle board is a command called Frigg, this allows a unit that is engaged in melee to remove one fatigue from itself and add one attack die. It's almost like having foot cavalry if you know what I mean. It doesn't quite work on defense, but if your the attacker it's sweet! So I steam rolled into his 10 man Warrior unit and using an ability to re roll misses once caused him to lose 7 warriors. He struck back causing a few but I was able to save all but one. This was another moment on the battlefield where losing more than one could have had dire consequences to the Vikings.

Welsh Turn 4
Dave used this turn to pull back his 3 man warrior unit (he was learning) and bring forward his 10 man warrior unit and bring up his seven man warrior unit. I can't remember if he took shots or not (sure he did) but if so it looks like I saved them all.

Viking Turn 5
Finally I rolled some sixes so was able to have more orders this turn. At this point in the game I needed to have what was left of my units work closely together, and even more important smash his 10 man warrior unit and hopefully inflict some damage on his 7 man warrior unit so he wouldn't be able to shoot me up as well and grind me down. I had enough Saga dice to set up this turn for a good one two punch. I used Njord which allows all units within 6 inches of Warlord (including Warlord) to remove a fatigue. This allowed me to take my hearthguard and move them just so that they were closest to the two man unit than any other (if you activate for movement a second time within short (4 inches) you have to contact the closest enemy unit within short. I did this in an attempt to destroy his two man unit so it would cause fatigue on all his units within 6 inches. Having moved a second time I incurred a fatigue which Dave used to raise his armor to a 5. I rolled 10 dice and scored 4 hits... yes! But could Dave save them all again? This time a small tear formed on Dave's cheek as he failed to save all the hits and they went down not causing any back to me. This was perfect, now I had the set up I was looking for. I attacked his 10 man warrior unit (I had to as they were within VS (2 inches)). I rolled in and still had an ability to use that allowed re roll of my misses. Having a fatigue from previous battle and another added up from moving a third time, I was a little in trouble with how this melee could turn out (I lowered his armor with his fatigue and he used my two fatigue to raise his back up and to lower me) I ended up causing 10 hits (including re rolls) and Dave was only able to save two, but he didn't have such a great roll back at me and I had a super save roll so he only caused one loss to me. I then used Kirk and my warrior unit to do a side by side into his 7 man warrior unit, and even though I suggested not to, Dave wanted to split his dice between the Kirk and warrior unit instead of having them all go against my warriors. In the end it did not matter as Dave had a not so good melee roll and I saved all but one which Kirk fluffed off. 

Welsh Turn 5
I thought Dave might still have a chance to bring his 8 man strong warrior unit out of the woods and bring them up for a last ditch effort but instead he went for the glory and did a side by side with his warriors to attack my hearthguard. He was able to do this because he could not reach my Warlord (Warlord's pride, if you activate and can engage in melee with enemy Warlord you must do so) but could not get around the my unit without coming into VS (you can not attack a different unit if you pass within VS (2 inches) of another unit. He ended up killing two of my hearthguard and he lost two of his warriors so they had to bounce as it was a tie in losses.

Viking Turn 6
Turn 5 for me ended up being the turning point, and though I rolled no sixes for Saga dice this turn I didn't need them. I was able to destroy his 1 man warrior unit causing another fatigue on his Warlord and then use my hearthguard to attack his Warlord. I caused 4 hits to his Warlord but he wasn't able to save enough and not able to fluff enough off, fell on the field of battle. I was able to use my 5 man warrior unit to mop up his 3 man warrior unit on hill, and that was all she wrote. 

The final situation
At this point Dave didn't bother doing his last turn as he could not cause enough causalities to me to reverse the situation. I ended up with 22 points to his 16.

In the end we both made a few mistakes, but had a grand time. A few timely die rolls for me helped me turn the tide on game turn 5, otherwise this was a very close run thing. Dave played the Welsh very well. Like all of us when we learn this system you have to play a few games to get a feel for your board. Every time Dave has played he has gotten a little better. Also it's important to know what your opponents board can do. You don't need to memorize all the battle boards, but I think it helps having your opponents battle board in front of you so that you have an idea of how to plan things with your own.

If you've read this far, as always I appreciate you taking the time to do so.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Samurai Throw down (Saga gaming)

As I mentioned in another post (Old Geezer Saga Club day), last weekend (Sept 16th) we had a mini Saga Tournament. The very next day my good friend Skip and I played Saga Samurai all day. Skip and I have been working on the Armies these past few months to get ready for this special day of gaming just between us. In past days we have played Samurai DBA and the sort, along with Saki and then having something sushi to eat. I mean if your going to game Samurai you gotta go all in right!

Well this day was planned no different. We were to game then go to one of my favorite places that just happens to be called the "Sushi House". It's all about theme;)

So while we started painting our armies we based our building of them off a site called kurpfalz-feldherren a website in Germany that a fellow put together with what looked like some cool battle boards. I had my very good friend in the UK (he's German working there) translate them for me and off we were to the races. We found the boards to be a good starting point, and a few translation problems that I simply used commonsense to overcome, but just as a disclaimer these boards aren't necessarily balanced and both Skip and I already are going to modify some of the abilities to make them give more of a period feel (1540 on wards).

Now I wanted to do the Takeda board he had designed but I was unable to get the Cavalry figures I wanted in time to be able to get project done on time. So I used his vanilla Samurai board, while my friend did his Oda battle board. Here are some photos of the two boards we used (remember we plan on making some minor changes to them after having seen how they played).

Skip was having some special decals made up for us to place on blank white dice, but we didn't get it done in time so I had to use the number symbols. These will change once we complete the dice project, which I understand Skip finished just yesterday. So when I get the images I will be able to use my art program to plug them in instead of these numbers. For those of you who are now Saga players, these battle boards are used to give your troops orders in a you go, I go format. You generate so many Saga dice but can not roll more than six dice to place on your board to start. Special abilities will let you roll more but you can never have more than eight. So I hope that helps you when you look at the Battle Boards above.

So our very first battle was fought using the scenario "Battle at the Ford". This was selected because of my interest in Takea's battles at Kawanakajima which I have included a link for your further reading pleasure.

Our forces selected where as follows:

Kevin's vanilla Samurai
1 X Samurai point (4 X Hearthguard models mounted as one unit)
5 X Ashigaru/Ronin points (40 X Warriors made into five units of 8 models each armed as follows 2 X Yari, 2 X Bow, 1 X Teppo (Arquebus).

Skip's Oda
1 X Warlord
1 X Samurai points (4 X Hearthguard models made into 1 unit)
5 X Ashigaru/Ronin (40 X Warriors made into five units of 8 models each armed as follows 3 X mixed weapons, 1 X Bow, and 1 X Teppo (Arquebus)

At the Ford closet to Skip's Oda he placed 2 X mixed weapons of Ashigaru, 1 X bow Ashigaru, 1 X Samurai, and his Warlord. At the Ford furthest he placed his Teppo and his other mixed weapon unit.

At the Ford location furthest from Skip, closer to me I placed a unit of Yari, Teppo, and bowmen. At the Ford further from me/closer to Skip I placed my Warlord, Yari, bowmen, and my mounted Hearthguard.

[And here is the Grand view of the entire battlefield below.]

The game began with Skip pushing across across the Ford on his right and taking a defensive stance at the Ford to his left. On my turn of one I pushed across the Ford to my right and got right into his face so I can bring the rest of my troops across and advanced to meet him on my left.

[See below with camera on my side of the field facing Skip's Oda]

On my turn of two I popped his Ashigaru mixed weapon unit back across the ford and tried shooting down his bowmen that where now pinned with my bowmen with no success. Throughout this entire game Skip rolled very well for his saves and hits, and of course mine were quite the opposite. Using up most of my command dice to do this my poor Teppo unit on my right stayed well back from where it was truly needed.

[Situation at end of two]

From here on out, it was simply a battle of attrition. Skip's Oda Battle Board has some great abilities (kind of like Byzantine Battle Board) and he was able to always out number me in dice and I basically was attrition-ed done to make it a mute point to continue. Though it was frustrating for me, I still had fun. So it was on to our second battle!

For this battle we played "Champions of God", and I thought this was a good scenario to follow ford as instead of two condensed avenues of approach, you could spread the field.

The order of battle was the same except for Skip changing out one unit of Ashigaru mixed weapon unit of 8 figures for another point of Samurai (hearthguard) and combining it with his other point to have an eight man Samurai unit. 

[Below a view of the setup]

As you can see Skip deployed his Teppo, and Bow unit in the center, and his Ashigaru mixed weapons units and Samurai on the flanks. He then promptly moved up his bow unit in range of all three of my missile troops and I promptly shot them to pieces. This was an EXCELLENT start for me! I started to advance on my left flank with the idea of refusing my right but I didn't have quite enough Saga die and he walked into my bow armed unit on my right flank in the woods with his Samurai and with the support of his Ashigaru mixed weapon unit wiped them out. He then executed a skillful retreat on his right as I pressed him with my left.
[Below the situation as described above]

Boy I thought to myself I have him in my pocket now and then...... I waited one turn to bring up the rest of my troops thinking I could execute a combined coup de gras. He jumped into that rocky ground you see right behind his troops thus giving them hardcover and the time he needed to untangle his Samurai in the woods behind my lines to bring them back to support his other troops. 

Once more Skip had the luck of the Irish with him and the bastard (love intended) isn't even Irish!!!! His skillful tossing of the dice and my waiting one turn to long, was my undoing. 

Just a little frustrating, but my own fault, but again it was still a blast. Plus it helped Skip drive 13 hours back to his home in Georgia. When you drive that long with a smile on your face, I hope it hurts to do so now Skip!!!!

Afterwards we had a nice dinner, talked about our glories and defeats at the Saga table, but more importantly we spent time together as friends.

Cheers all