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.