Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Xebec Zenobie

A little while ago the lure of doing some Barbary corsairs for Galleys & Galleons grew far too strong and I succumbed, ordering some Mediterranean galleys from Skytrex. However, the vessel type which I really wanted in my little fleet of corsairs was a xebec, a sexy wee lateen rigged thing with curves in all the right places.

As I have posted before (HERE and then HERE) I ended up ordering a schooner from Peter Pig and sat down with some blue tac and some spare galley sails to create this:

She wasn't yet a beauty, but you could already see the ship she might grow up to be. Well I could anyway. Not entirely happy with the way she was going, I shipped her off to my mate JB who whipped her into shape.

Now she was starting to look pretty fine, She certainly turn  heads wherever she went and I was pretty pleased with the outcome (understatement).

I finally got her painted up last week. While I'm happy with the final product, I freely admit that sails are, in fact, a punishment from the gods. I'm not really comfortable painting them, and I think they know it. Never-the-less, without further adieu, allow me to present the xebec, Zenobie.

In G&G game terms, she is effectively a mid-priced, swift, coastal raiding ship:

The Xebec Zenobie, 50 points
Q3 C2
Special Rules: Lateen rigged, Razée, Shallow draft, Swashbucklers, Sweeps

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Galleys & Galleons - but I need a better camera

Three of us got together this weekend for a couple of three player Galleys & Galleons games. I'm really pleased with how robust the rules are proving to be and much anguish and laughter was enjoyed (in equal measure) by all involved. Both games had 600 points worth of models on the table - the recommended game size is 400 points total - and took between an hour and a half or two hours. All photos are mediocre to say the least.

The first game was a king-of-the-hill type scenario where multiple pirate captains vied to have their vessels as close to the centre of the table as possible. The fleets on the table in this game were the VOC merchant fleet, some Madagascar pirates and some Barbary corsairs.

Starting positions. The games were played on a 4 foot square board using 1/450 scale (4mm) vessels. The VOC as in the lower left, pirates in the upper left and corsairs upper right. It was the first outing for the new sea mat and the creases from the pack are very obvious. For the first game it actually helped pip-point the center of the table. By the second game I wasn't really paying attention to the creases, but I'll get to that later.

The game was more or less a two way affair with the VOC and corsairs racing to the centre to collect points over the first few turns. 

This cinematic moment marks the point that the pirates more or less gave up on the objective, turning away from the centre of the table to engage in a short range firefight - the brig Oberon hammering the cromster Haarlem.

Thing's continued to go downhill for the merchant fleet when their escort, the sloop Nassau, was set upon by several boatloads of pirates and forced to strike her colours.

Things ended up pretty bloody in the centre (as one would expect) as most of the ships converged and pounded each other with close range gunnery and boarding parties. The crews of the pirate cutters scuttled their own boats and seized control of the Nassau, only to find that she was no longer a viable vessel and quickly surrendered themselves to the corsairs. In the end, we called the game in about turn eight, with perhaps 5 victory points to the corsairs, 2 to to the VOC and 1 to the pirates.

The second game was a straight out three-way engagement with a twist. Well, two twists. 1) One of the factions was made up of creatures of the deep, and 2) the game took place right at the edge of the world. Any time any player rolled a turn over (this will mean more to people familiar with the Ganesha Games mechanics), all ships were pulled steadily towards the edge of the world. Several vessels - mostly mine I think - slipped right off.

The pirates started the shooting in this game at very long range, concentrating on the VOC. In the distance you might make out the far more menacing threat of a big fish.

Both of the largest vessels on the table suffered rigging damage fairly early on which was to prove really annoying as the currents continued to draw them towards the edge of the world - via an island surrounded by shallows....

And over they go. The first vessel to be sucked off the edge - a flotilla of pirate cutters, gets sucked into a foamy oblivion.

Both the pirate galleon Irrepressible and the VOC indiaman Brabant end up wrecked on the shores of the island at the end of the world. You can see the sea monster starting his rampage.

The pirate fleet is reduced to a leaking yacht and a couple of boats. The VOC cromster in the background is about to be broken into many, many small pieces.

Not a good sign for the pirate cutters - Triton and his pet fish close in.

The table at the end of the game. The VOC still have one damaged junk, the Peppercorn, slinking away. The pirates have nothing. Both the large ships were breaking up on the beach of the island and Triton and the sea monster, though well bloodied, were truly the victors of that one.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Workshop of Yoyoskywalker

I just wanted to draw everyone's attention to the fine work of YoyoSkywalker, AKA Lionel. He has a great blog which does well to remind all us Anglophones that the world of wargaming is larger than just the UK, North America and the ANZACs.

Lionel's been playing some Irregular Wars in a Central American setting with his own Zapotecs mixing it up against Conquistadors and other Mesoamericans. Check his blog out HERE.

In addition, he's also prepared a French translation of the Irregular Wars 2nd edition quick reference sheets. If you're more comfortable with French than English, I'd advise you to pop over and download a copy when he gets it posted!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

VOC Merchant Fleet

I finally got a chance to paint the last of my 200 point Dutch fleet for Galleys & Galleons this morning (blessed be St Patrick and his most public of holidays). I've had the first four ships waiting around for what seems like an age now, but here they are all together: a merchant fleet in the employment of the VOC - the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (United East Inida Company).

In order of size from largest to smallest we have:

The indiaman Brabant - 52 points
Q3; C4; Chaser guns, Galleon rigged, Merchantman, Veteran NCO

The cromster Haarlem - 48 points
Q3; C3; Galleon rigged, Master Gunner, Merchantman, Shallow draft, Yare

The sloop Nassau - 63 points
Q2; C2; Galleon rigged, Razée, Shallow draft, Yare

The junks Tea Chest (red sails) and Peppercorn (yellow sails) - 16 points a piece
Q3; C2; Lateen rigged, Merchantman, Reinforced hull

Next on the painting agenda, my Barbary Corsairs (four vessels), and a wee sea deity to mix things up a little. The rules are coming along very nicely and I believe that they should be ready for a launch on September 19 - International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Terribly bad photos of a terrifying game of Hail Caesar

I had a crushing, woeful, game of Hail Caesar this weekend which saw my entire force of Seleukids pitted against Conor's entire collection of Hellenistic Spartans. From start to finish I rolled very poorly and my damned cavalry refused to move all game - except when they were running away disordered from Spartan javelins and artillery. 

The photos - all pretty bad quality I'm afraid - show the game in progress. It was great seeing so many wee men on the table; even if the table itself lacked a green cloth for this game.

In short, my left wing light division with light artillery failed to inflict any damage on the advancing Spartan pike division, despite 9 dice each turn for shooting. 

The division of Arab allies took the town early one but suffered badly at the hands of unreformed Spartiate hoplites (outside the town) and chronic Cretan archery (inside the town). 

The skirmishing cavalry division on the left flank failed to move early on and then were too weak to contest their flank against formed pikemen after the collapse of the light division.

In the centre my heavy infantry division with elephant support held its own but was gradually ground down in a melee against the reformed Spartiate pikemen with mercenary thureophoroi in support. 

On the right, both divisions of cavalry (three units of elite heavy cavalry, three of medium cavalry and two of light horse) did bugger all as expressed above.

To put it in even fewer words, I was out generaled, out diced, and out played in this one. The game was indeed great craic, and it was a fast one as our games go, but it did reinforce for me the sneaking doubts that I've been having about some of the inherent game logic. In essence, it suffers from a 'heavy infantry are Übermensch' problem. They are tough, their shields deflect artillery shots and they can run down evading skirmishers with ease. This sort of approach does cause a little concern, and I think my next ancients game might see Sword and Spear from Polkovnik Productions get an outing.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Galleys & Galleons wordcloud

They say a picture speaks a thousand words - this one must be only 1/10th of a picture.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

And the votes are in... Pendraken painting competition 2015

I mentioned last month that I was entering a unit of Romano-British cavalry in this years painting comp over at the Pendraken Forum. Well the judges votes have been cast and counted.

I'm absolutely honoured - and a little humbled - to have placed second (tied with Joshua from Le Coq Fou). There were some great mounted entries there and I really thought I didn't have a chance this year. I'd like to sincerely congratulate everyone who entered, and organised the competition, it was another great year!

Below I show a few images of some of this year's entrants to give an idea of the quality of Pendraken sculpts, and the skill of some of the painters.