Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Further progress with mounted crossbowmen.

I have previously posted about the lamentable lack of 6mm mounted crossbowmen that are compatible with Baccus figures. Having already converted the spears of some light cavalrymen into something resembling crossbows, I have finally gotten around to sticking bisected foot crossbowman torsos onto the equally bisected horses and legs of cavalrymen. 

Here is the result which I think, mixed together with the other mock ups, will do the job quite nicely.

Out of interest, I found a rather informative wee blog post at Je Lay Emprins which explores the uses of mounted crossbowmen in the late Medieval period."Could crossbowmen have fought effectively from horseback? My view is most probably they could. Crossbows were widely used for hunting on horseback and are shown as such in illustrations throughout the medieval period; however on the battlefield loading the bow swiftly, whilst remaining on the horse was essential. Following the widespread introduction of the cranequin from circa 1460, this scenario appears to have been more realistic."
The full post is well worth checking out.

Now, about those Finnish reindeer archers...

Monday, 21 March 2016

Big Games Day Out

My semi-regular gaming is Wee Gamers, based out at Whitehead in Northern Ireland's beautiful east coast. Unfortunately for me, they tend to meet on school nights, where my opportunities to stay out late are limited due to family and work commitments the following morning. Happily, they have started running Big Game Days each month, where the bunker is open all day one Sunday each month. I managed to get along this month and I'm delighted to say, that I was not disappointed.

Besides the craic (goes without saying really), I took part in a massive drop-in-drop-out game of Song of Blades and Heroes. Inspired by a popular fantasy series, the game saw two players leading a swarm of fur-clad barbarian types against the brooding garrison of a medieval fortress, entirely scratch built by one of my gaming mates, Jim.

Note the pit ponies working the winch on the platform. You can see them under the platform in the second picture.

The game was a great success for the barbarians, killing all (I think) of the garrison's named characters. Being setup as an into game, only basic profiles were used, along with the Hero trait for, well, the heroes. Our howling horde were all Q4, so I could have done with a Leader, but that was not really the intention of the game. 

For more of Jim's handiwork, you may remember the scratch built Helm's Deep he made for gaming Lord of the Rings.

He really is rather a clever chap with, one suspects, a little bit too much free time. :)

We then had another round of our ongoing Of Gods and Mortals Greek verse Celt blood feud. This time, grey-eyed Athene Parthenos, when head-to-head with Cernunnos, the horned god of nature and fertility.

The minotaur and some satyr archers survey the Celtic horde. Athene can be seen way off in the background (top right corner), threatening the rear of the Celtic army.

Clash of the titans! Athene and Cernunnos tie a melee, awing the Celtic slingers and knocking the minotaur and the opposing hero, Ferdiad son of Damán, to the ground.

Satyr archers get charged by drooling druid fanatics.

A harpy distracts some armoured nobles, but only briefly. 

The game didn't do well for the Greeks this time. Athene went down three times to Cernunnos and each time she came back, it prevented my mortals from being able to act. We came, we saw, we got rather badly mauled. We shall return.

Monday, 14 March 2016

More playtesting!

Chris over at TwoThreeSixMM has been beavering away testing the Galleys & Galleons fantastical expansion using Wizkids plasticard ships and monsters. He has a really nice write up of three recent games which you can check out HERE.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Galleys & Galleons - French review

French gamer Stéphane has posted a great little review and together with a whole raft of photos (see what I did there) of his first game of Galleys & Galleons at the Voyages à travers le temps blog.
Séphane's conclusions "Pour conclure, je dirais qu'il s'agit d'une règle très plaisante à jouer avec pas mal de subtilité. Elle est surtout faite je pense pour jouer de façon fun et rapide." or if you prefer it another way, "In conclusion, I would say that this is a very pleasant rule to play with a lot of subtlety. It is mostly made I think to play fun and fast." Have a look at the the full review and report HERE.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

More G&G expansion teasers and playtesting

A wee teaser of our work-in-progress. Here is the current state of the fleet builder for the expanded Galleys & Galleons. Blue special rules are from the core book, the (currently) white ones are from the expansion. You can see, there are quite a few now and they look to increase further.

Elsewhere on the web, Zac and Dan have been doing some more playtesting, this time with pointy elven spoity ships and undead galleys. Check there report out HERE.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Big battle Irregular Wars

I received a great wee email from Irregular Wars player Steve Duke this morning with a few details and pictures of an awesome looking multiplayer game they played recently. I don't have a huge amount of detail to share, but this is what I know:

The two armies were Royal English vs Moghul, so a bit of an apocryphal match up, but not beyond the realms of possibility. 

They played two players a side, each commanding two lords, on a 9’x6’ table.

Each lord had their compulsory companies as default and then they rolled for five options per lord and distributed the optional companies between the lords as they wished.

All companies were on 40x40mm bases and they played with 1u = 5cm.

On such a big table we limited Heavy ordinance to 24u.

Each lord drew a single chance card and that card effected only their command or a single nominated enemy command.

Setup was 12u apart.

They did not roll for Disease and Mishaps.

The Moghul army's deployment: left flank at the bottom of the picture and rest stretching off into the distance.

The English right flank at deployment.

The English left flank at deployment.

The crushed Moghul right flank at the end of the game. Only the elephants and camels remain.

End of the game showing the centre left of the Moghul force being slowly ground down.

... and the Moghul right where the fighting was less decisive and defeat not yet a forgone conclusion.

Steve's conclusions:
Moghul players - don’t take any more than the compulsory Hindu Levy, take Spearmen instead. 

Royal English players - try to be a bit inept to give the Moghuls a chance.

The game scales well to a bigger game with 2 players aside commanding 2 Lords each and plays to a conclusion in about 3 hours. (Including put out and put away of the figure, drink and chat.)

My heartfelt thanks to Steve for sending these through and allowing me to put them on the blog. I always love to see reports of Irregular Wars games!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Galleys & Galleons - Dwarves vs Elves

Zac over at the Pile of Dice blog has just posted a short report using the playtest version of the Galleys & Galleons fantasy expansion.

Leading a fleet of Dwarvern ironclads against elves, I'm afraid to report that Zac's stunties got the worst of it. Go read the full report HERE.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Introducing the lorcha

The lorcha will be one of many new ship profiles included in the forthcoming expansion for Galleys & Galleons. Around a dozen or so of the new profiles will be historical vessels such as the lorcha, geobukseon (Korean turtle ship) and bomb ketch. Many more will be historically inspired lace-pulp fixtures, like airships, orinithopters, pirate rafts and a jacht captained by a pirate with an exaggerated reputation. Of course, there will also be a whole conglomeration of high fantasy vessels, dwarves, elves, orcs and the like, together with a myriad of monsters and mythical creatures.

Merchant lorcha 
Q3 C2
Lateen rigged, Merchantman, Razee, Yare

Pirate lorcha 
Q3 C2
Lateen rigged, Razee, Swashbucklers Yare

A lorcha was seemingly a creative result of European expansion into the East Indies - a composite ship design combining junk rigging with a more streamlined European hull shape. First sailing out of Portuguese Macau in the mid-sixteenth century, the hybrid lorcha was favoured by both merchants and maritime predators due to its ease of handling and fast rate of sailing.

This photo dating from 1936 shows the junk Sin Tong Hong (left), and the lorcha Tek Hwa Seng (right) at sea off the Dutch East Indies.

A lorcha dating to 1690, the Vũng Tàu ship, was famously discovered and excavated off the Côn Đảo islands, Vietnam, in the 1990s. A report of that excavation can be found HERE. The vessel was apparently en route from China to Batavia (Jakarta) when it caught fire and was sunk. The Vũng Tàu lorcha was only 25 meters in length, but this apparently conforms well with the average size of lorchas in the 1940s, known to be around 30 metres long.

The hold was filled with porcelain destined for the European market, but other parts of the ship's stores shed some light on life at sea. Their galley stores included rice, walnuts, persimon, lychees and other fruits and nuts. Two small bronze breach loading swivel guns were recovered from the wreck, as well as three breach blocks from slightly larger pieces. It is thought that the ordnance on the vessel came originally from Portugal.

My next project is to build of of these wee ships in 1/450...