Thursday, May 26, 2022

Muskets for Vicky

 Hi all,

Last year, Queen Vicky's day saw a solo game of Pikeman's Lament.  This year, we have a (slightly belated) game of Maurice against an actual opponent!  Having a rare sunny, but not too windy, day here in the wilds of Atlantica, I lured the Juras up to Casa Monkey for a trial game, using my old 6mm stuff.  I took the glorious French, he took perfidious Albion, and the fife and drum played while the dogs chased each other around the back yard.

Photos generally taken from Albion's perspective - thanks, Jura!

As this was a learning game (he'd played some of Sam M's games before, but not Maurice), I kept it simple.  We skipped the set-up phase, I put his Brits in a defensive position with the French attacking, all units were Trained, and we limited ourselves to one National Advantage and one Notable apiece.  

British and Hanoverian lines

The glory of France arrayed

B&H horse.  I think these were the impetuous ones.

Highlanders, garrisoning a random town.

With a selection of notables from which to choose, Jura opted for Cameron von Muller, whom he promptly attached to his artillery, and familiarized himself with his NA, which gave him an advantage on defense.  Handy, as he was defending ;)

I took my old stand-by Augustus von Thiesling

And for the French, a la Baiyonette!

Opening moves of the game, after an indecisive bombardment by both sides, was a lumbering advance by the French infantry towards the nearer of the two villages, countered by what should have been an entirely predictable event.


As long-time readers of the blog may recall, it's become something of an institution that whenever I play Maurice, I inevitably have the "That's not on the Map!" card played against me.  The tradition was upheld this game, in that Jura used an Intelligence card to pluck it from my hand, and promptly played it against me, dropping a rather inconvenent bog right in front of the advancing French infantry.

That card.  That damned card.

Now we have to do it the hard way.  And under fire.

This rather suddenly stalled what would, no doubt, have been a epic to be sung for the ages, as my infantry now had to negotiate the bog on their way in.  Activations in Maurice are by "forces", which are composed of the same class of unit (eg., infantry), in the same kind of terrain.  Dropping the bog meant that every time a unit advanced through it, not only did that unit become disrupted (which would require activations to rally), but also that the said unit would now comprise a different force.  This slows things down quite a bit ;)

Cavalry move to threaten the flank

But are repulsed

I got a bit of revenge when Jura advanced his cavalry to threaten my infantry milling about in the centre.  I played a "Heat of Battle" card on them, prompting a rather rash charge through rough ground (a ploughed field)  into the front of my infantry.  Bear in mind, Maurice is an 18th game; these are NOT Napoelonic cavalry, and disrupted horse (because of the bad going) attacking a prepared infantry line (pew-pew), don't tend to fare well.  His didn't, anyways ;)

I then made the cardinal error of NOT removing that card from the deck (which is an option), and on the reshuffle, Jura drew it, and played it to make one of my infantry attack his garrisoned unit.  Not quite as disastrous a result, but it still threw me off ;)

Sauce for the goose

Trying to bring more fire to bear on the garrison.  Didn't help

After the attack on the garrison degenerated into a musket duel (with the advantage to the dug-in troops), I finally managed to negotiate the bog with a few infantry regimaents.  With the day coming to a close, I pushed forward a poorly coordinated attack in the centre (mainly because I wanted Jura to see what an infantry clash would look like).

I believe the officer in command of this attack was a certain "LeRoi Jaunquins"

Battered and disrupted on the way in, raked by musket fire, my poor lads were no match for a counter-charge by the English, who dispersed the two leading regiments.  While we still had some time in the game, and both armies were some ways away from breaking, real-world time constraints, and the lack of tactical options (it would take a while for me to coordinate a cavalry attack) led me to ask for terms, which were offered in a most gentlemenly manner by my opponent.


Jura seemed to enjoy himself, and has been searching out a copy of the rules, which has me hopeful of more games.  If so, I'm delighted, as the SYW / 18th c. is one of my favorite periods (possibly my favorite), and I love Maurice.  We'll start layering in some of the additional elements - more varied units, the set up phase, and ideally, a campaign, but for now, I'll settle for a potential regular opponent.  Many thanks to Jura for the game, and fingers crossed there will be more in the future.

I've got a bit of a backlog of painting stuff to post - nothing major, but small updates to a number of projects.  I also lucked into a large lot of on-sprue Pike and Shot infantry from Warlord, and am cudgelling my brain over what to do with them.  The logical thing would be to use them to add to an existing project (most obviously, the small Royalist force I did for Pikemans' Lament), but I've visions of a 30YW force dancing in my head.  From what I gather, the Warlord figs are really designed for ECW (they lack the flamboyance of the French or Spanish of the period), but maybe some Swedes or Dutch?  My sympathies in the 30YW tend to lie with the Catholic powers, however, so I'm not sure.  any advice or suggestions will be considered.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

French Progress

 Hi all,

It's been a relatively productive month, albeit one where I didn't seem to manage to grab many pictures, and throw up a post.  Part of the aforementioned progress has been on the HYW French for Lion Rampant, as I've now got full units of Crossbow, Spear, and Horse to show off:



Such is the retinue (to date) of Sieur Jean de Cerf.  It's a bit of an homage to my old buddy in NFLD (who ran the Geektactica blog).  T'was he who put me onto Impetus, mostly via his inspirational 15mm HYW stuff.



I've played around with basing a little, with cavalry mostly single-based (although there's one in there that's double), and infantry based between 1 and 3 to a base.  Lets me do a little bit of vignette play, while still giving me lots of flexibility on casualty removal, etc.

I did my crossbowmen as Genoese.  Digging around for colours on these proved challenging, at least in terms of "official" colours and livery, but I did find there's a close association between the cross of St George and Genoa, so went with that, white smocks, and leggings in colours that would tie them to the rest of the army.



Spear were done in a range of colour combinations, but with their livery tied closely to the men at arms in Jean's immediate retinue.



These are my first Perry plastics, and I'm in love with the kit.  Loads of variety, and the figures are realistically human proportioned.  Looking forward to playing around some more, and maybe working up some heavier infantry for the French, or more knights.

Short term, I think the plan will be to try and get a few units together for the English, so I can get in at least some small games over the summer.  I've been picking away at other projects - some 6mm, some more ancients and ECW, and finally got around to grabbing the most recent Ork codex, so they likely see some time in the queue, along with on the painting table.  Until then, stay safe and well.


Saturday, April 2, 2022


 Hi all,

Been a busy month or so.  Work has accellerated into its usual end of term crescendo, and I am knee deep in papers to mark.  Another trip round the sun has been marked for both me and the blog, and despite it all, I've managed to get at least a bit of painting done - some more French HYW, a few vikings, and some assorted odds and sods.

Including these lads.  Seeing a few spots to touch up in the pics.

Birthday loot included some books (on Antigonus, the Hastenbeck campaign, and Isabella of France) possibly to be reviewed later), a box of HYW english to go up against the French, and . . .  drumroll please .  .  . a bag of Victrix successor cavalry.  Turns out a localish store (Lantzalot games, check them out if you're around the South Shore of nova Scotia) is now carrying most of the Victrix line.  This is exceedingly dangerous, in that I pass by the store (they're just off the highway) on  an almost weekly basis when I go to pick up the Cub from his mom's.  

Rear view.  Pics I got were so-so, but this one turned out okay.

As some of you are no doubt aware, I used to have a successor list in 15mm for Impetus, but have been toying with the idea of doing it in 28mm for a long time.  Antigonus is my boy for the Diadochi, and the fun part of successor lists is that they readily morph - get your core of heavy cav and phalanx, and then Bob's your uncle, depending on what supporting elements you want to bring.

Chuffed with the banner.  Freehand, and totally stolen from Dean at WAB corner

I very nearly pulled the trigger on this a ways back, but opted for Carthaginians, instead.  While some progress has been made on the latter, it didn't grab me the way I expected, and after the first burst of effort, I've done nothing on them.  Probably should have gone with my gut, and just opted for Successors then.  As it is, I picked up the bag of figs last Friday, and have knocked out the first 6 Xystophoroi models in a week.

Only put the cloak on the officer.  Saving them for Lykian conversions.

The Victrix kit is fantastic.  Like most of their sculpts, the figs are on the chunky / heroic side, with well defined detail.  Loads of options - the kit on its own can make companion-style early lancers, later lancers, thessalians, and Hellenistic javelin and shield cavalry.  Mixed with some of their other kits, I imagine the options expand even further, and I'm already thinking about using some bits from here with their persian kits to make Lydian or Carian cavalry.

Main limitation of the kit is the horses - only 3, and no mix and matching for variety.

The plan is to make this a steady-but slow-grow project.  Maybe pick up a bag a month, start with the core bits, and then branch out.  After some humming and hawing, and consulting of the oracle via the internet, I've opted to start with 120mm unit frontage, in two 6cm square bases.  It's big enough to jam 3 horses on a base, I can pack 2-3 ranks of infantry on there, and they can readily be expanded - either into deeper units, or wider, by adding another base and bumping the width to 180mm.

The horses themselves are great though, lovely sculpts.

12cm frontage works as a starter size for my most readily available table (6x4), and is compatible with Impetus, Hail Caesar, or To the Strongest, the rules that I'm most likely to play.  The numbers of models I'm able to cram in don't rally work visually for the "mass battle" effect, but this is very much at the "toy solder" end of the project spectrum for me, rather than "wargame", so I'm not too concerned.  If I wanted mass, I'd have gone 6mm.

These guys will hit like a truck.

I am, needless to say, stoked about this project - to the point that I very nearly broke my own guidelines and bought more yesterday.  Managed to resist, however, and will stick to my planned schedule.  I'm not sure what to do with the other 6 horse (the bag makes 12).   The various sources I've tracked down suggest that at his height, Antigonus would have had access to satrapal and colonist cavalry, and Demetrios (his son, co-king/vice-regent, and most trusted subordinate general), would have had access to lots of allied greek cavalry..  Much of the former would have been "persian" style cavalry, but some from the Ionian coast would have been Lydian / Carian, and closer to the greek type, while the colonists would have been, I think, Macedonian colonists, rather than persian.  I might just opt for the heavy javelin and shield type common in the later successor lists.  

Next up is likely to be some more French, and then possibly vikings, as progress has been made on both fronts.  Until then, take care.


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Big bada-boom

 Hi all,

Been in a bit of a productive slump over the past month.  A combination, I think, of work, the soul-crushingly grey weather of mid-winter in NS, and just general weariness has had me spend most nights curled up and getting caught up on shows, rather than beavering away with a paintbrush.  I seem to be slowly coming out of it, however, and hopefully will be back on track soon.


That said, I did manage to knock out a project that's been lurking in the back of my mind for a while, namely, the first of the "proper" guns for my Scots covenanters.  The gun is, I believe, a "saker", which is to say, a light field gun, but still a legitimate cannon, as opposed to the man-portable frame gun I've done up before.


I have to admit, I had quite a bit of fun with this.  The artillery poses from OG are a little more dynamic than the usual rank and file, but with the element of character that I find common in their sculpts.  It made them fun to paint.  


Add in that while this isn't exactly art, the more element / dioramic bases like this (or commanders) do allow for a bit of composition.  for example, if you look in the first picture, you can see how the horse holder and rider line up, so that it gives the impression they are looking at / talking to each other.  I also like the older fellow with the stick, overseeing the operation, and the helmeted fellow offering judicious advice to the man with the fuse.


Odds and ends (fence, bucket, cannonballs) were scratch-build, but the rest is OG, with the exception of the man with the fuse mentioned above, which is from Perry.  OG and Perry, by the way, seem to be a decent match for scale, and go together on a base just fine.


I've been picking away at some more scots dragoons, and have some farm animals prepped for when I get through that lot.  Progress may still be a little slow, but I've at least had brush in hand over the last few weeks, so fingers crossed, I'm out of the doldrums, or at least the worst of them.


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Experimentation, Calculation, and some French

 Hi all,

Bit of a mixed bag today.  Some pictures of the test figures I did for my Perry French (loosely based on the livery colours for Jean de Bethencourt, more on him in another post), along with some hobby rumblings about productivity, project planning, and realistic expectations.

First "test" minis for the 100YW French.  A man at arms, and some scruffy spearmen.

I've been caught in a bit of a loop lately, with the Magpie very much in the picture, thinking about possible projects.  In addition to the ones that are at least semi-active (currently 6mm Naps and 7YW, 28mm French HYW, Vikings, and Covenanters, 28mm Bolt Action, and at least 4 GW projects), I am pondering 28mm English HYW, Saxons, Successors, my much ignored Carthaginians, and god knows what else.

I quite like the Perry kits.  Tons of options, cross compatible, and with a little attention, capable of tremendous variety.

The reality is, of course, that I can't possibly do all the things.  I am probably trying to do too many things already, if I'm being honest.  Or at least, too many things at once ;)  So, I figured it might be worth thinking through what I could realistically accomplish over the next few years, and compare it to what I might want to do.

The figures are, in terms of proportion, quite "fine".  Slimmer and more human than the chunky, heroic style you often see.

Last year, I managed to paint something on the order of 200/50 foot/horse 28mm or equivalents.  That's pretty productive, at least for me, and represents a kind of "peak" opportunity.  Despite the various dislocations of Covid, working from home, the lack of a commute, etc., meant that I actually had more opportunity to paint than under "normal" conditions.  So, say around 200 figures as a reasonable, productive, but not overly ambitious production for the year.

Even compared to some older Perry sculpts (I was hoping, for eg., to mix in old Bretonnian models), they're not a good fit - at least side by side.

While I'm not temperamentally inclined to long-term planning. I can at least sort of imagine a state 5 years from now.  Given the estimate above, it's reasonable to think I could produce about a thousand figures in that period. Vikings and French HYW account for about 120 of that total (figuring a Lion Rampant force at about 60 figures per).  I probably have the same number of GW figs waiting for paint, across all those projects, or a bit more - say 150.  I'd like to bring my Royalist force up to the same size as the Covenanters, and grow both.  That's another couple hundred figures.  I'd like to finish off my 6mm Russians, match them with French, and add to my SYW.  Call that another hundred or so.

I've been experimenting with multi-figure basing on rounds.  A few people on the Lion Rampant FB group put me on to it, and I really like the effect.

So, just the projects that (at least right now) I'd be really interested in pursuing, total up to between 550 and 600 "figure equivalents", give or take.  Realistically, about three of my five years.  Just the Lion Rampant forces alone would take up a significant proportion of the next year, with any balance easily absorbed by Covenanters and GW.  Adding any additional project (like the successors army I keep thinking about) would thus either have to wait a couple years before I could reasonable expect to begin work on it, or would have the effect of stringing out existing projects over a longer time frame. 

The Spearboss.  I figure he's a little older, a little richer, and has had time to get some decent armor.

The latter, at first glance, seems like death to a project.  Pretty much every one I've ever abandoned has ended up in boxes or sold because I stretched it out over too long a period, and never got enough done to really game with them (something I'm concerned about with the Carthaginians).  However, as I look back, quite a lot of my "active" projects have stretched over multiple years, and have gone through fallow periods.

If nothing else, this will be a chance to work on my metallic techniques.  Aiming for some smoother finishes over time, I think,

If I started something new, say successors, it's probably realistic to say I might devote half of my remaining "5 year potential" to the project, maybe 200 figures (with the rest eaten up by expanding existing forces, new shiny things, etc.).  With smaller units to start - say 16 figures, that's about a dozen or so.  Which is actually not too bad.  Possible, anyways.

Assorted scruffy lads

The side my opponent will never see ;)

Overall, I think the lesson is a new, major project isn't realistic in the short term, at least without it displacing something I'm currently using, and want to accomplish.  But in the medium term, it's viable.  So maybe the goal is to stockpile resources towards that possibility, look for deals / sales, etc. and in the meantime, enjoy what I've got in front of me?  What kind of crazy advice is that? ;)

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Ochone! Ochone!

 Hi all,

My nefarious, Skeletor-worthy plans are showing fruit.  Actually managed to get the Cub to play some historicals, at his suggestion ;)  Broke out the Scots and Royalists for some Pikemans' Lament.  24 points.  We both had Pike with Shotte wings.  He had good dragoons and gallopers, I had okay trotters and dragoons, with an edge in numbers rather than quality.  As it was his first game, we played the simplest scenario, Ga Pa, which is basically about taking out opposing units, and protecting yours.


The Cub is rapidly emerging as the terrain maker in the family.  He spent a chunk of the Christmas holiday putting together stuff for the old GW Bretonnian jousting game (which he played out with the Puddin').  The Windmill was a kit he put together, and the the house he scratch-built.  


The game unfolded in three phases.  The first involved the Cub charging his elite gallopers into the guts of the Scot infantry (deployed on the right).



This turned out to be a pretty good plan, as he managed to shatter one shotte wing, and generally put the bulk of my Scots on their back foot.





I was able to drive his cavalry back, but he made morale rolls with distressing frequency, and was able to keep hammering them in on a regular basis.  This had the effect of both keeping me more or less on my side of the table, and getting some decent hits on my infantry.


In the meantime, he drove his infantry forward on my left.  We'd had a quick chat about how pike and shot units worked together in the period, along with game mechanics, and he'd clearly taken the conversation to heart, as he used his pike quite effectively to block my cavalry from his shot wings.




On the right, the remnants of his gallopers continued to stall a good chunk of my army, despite my swinging a unit of trotters across to reinforce.



At this point, the game swung solidly in his favour.  A couple of abysmal morale rolls in response to shooting sent my cavalry fleeing from the field, and the Cub was free to swing his infantry over to put more pressure on my right.




There were certainly some things I could have done better (particularly in the use of my dragoons and terrain), but it was a solid game, and the Cub played well.  He's familiar with the core mechanics from Dragon Rampant, and used his units together quite effectively, coordinating his shot with both the pike and various horse units at different times in the game.  I thought he did quite well, and earned the win.

It was such a delight to get to play historicals with him.  SciFi, and so some degree fantasy, remain his main interest, but here's hoping I can tempt him into the occasional game in future.  I suspect working up some more Vikings and French for a Lion Rampant game might help in that regard, so I will see what can be done there.