Thursday 28 January 2016


Pharoah Ptolemy is still recruiting furiously for my big Raphia game. Here are two regiments of Ptolemaic xystophoroi (lancers) in the process of being based as wedges- units in wedge can charge on a diagonal without the usual difficult activation penalty.. Both use Polemarch riders on Aventine steeds. The sharp-eyed will recognise the unit on the left from the cover of the rules (below), they were painted by Welsh Raglan. The all-new unit on the right was recently painted to match by Shaun McTague. I am really pleased with them and might go on to raise a third ilai.  

Unfortunately I couldn't get a table at Salute so Raphia only be played at the Wargames Holiday Centre on the weekend after Salute (22nd-24th April), along with the Sabis, Leuctra, Cremona and a Late Roman bash. Mark still has a couple of places...

Friday 22 January 2016

Seleucid levies for Raphia

I recently bought these chaps from mate Craig Davey and re-conditioned them after they took a bit of a pasting in the post.  

There are two units of levies equipped from Seleucid arsenals, hence the uniforms and similar shields.

Each unit has some light infantry archer support (behind), for Raphia these will probably be deployed out in front as skirmishers.

In the Raphia game at the Wargames Holiday Centre in April, the levies will be somewhere on the left of the Seleucid line, probably as javelinmen, raw in To the Strongest! parlance. I won't expect much of them but they certainly make a brave sight in their red tunics!

In other news... I'm getting ready for the "To the Strongest!" world championship in Chalgrove, Oxfordshire. Around 20 competitors will compete for the title "World's strongest!". We still have room for a couple more contestants so if you are free on Saturday 13th February please drop me a line at my email address- I can loan you one of my armies for the event, if you'd like.

Friday 15 January 2016

Raphia re-inforcements...

Mate Craig has very kindly sold me some more of the miniatures he painted for our joint Raphia game back in 2013. These represent Arabs levies in Seleucid service; they are unlikely to be the most resilient element of the Seleucid phalanx.

To some extend numbers will compensate for lack of quality... there are 80 of the blighters.

The minis are mostly lightly converted Perry Ansar and Copplestone archers.  They took a bit of a pasting during the journey South, and one element enjoyed an unexpected four day sojourn at the bottom of the BigRedBatCave's recycling bin, but they are now happily restored and ready for the late April game at the Wargames Holiday Centre.

In other news... I am having a flash sale of the To the Strongest! rules (to cover the purchase of Craig's Seleucid cavalry). If you'd like to pick up a set with a 25% discount, please drop in at the BigRedBatShop and enter "LAKEPEIPUS" at the checkout. I'll also include a free pack of ammo chits with every physical order. 

Sunday 10 January 2016

Another one bites the dust

This is the seventh phalanx of my recent offensive, bringing me to 120cm. These are Ptolemaic Chalkaspides (bronze shields). After this there are (just!) two more to go, although there will need to be a ghastly week of base grouting and painting at some stage. Most minis painted by Shaun McTague, pikes, washes and varnish by me. Tonight I break ground on phalanx 8.

Friday 8 January 2016

Retirement of Google Friend Connect for all non-Blogger sites

I came across this today at Blogger; Google are (most unhelpfully) closing down Google Friend Connect for non-Blogger sites, so if you are non-Google and use GFC to visit the BigRedBatCave or other Blogger sites) I'm afraid you will have to find another way. I am very disappointed with them.

"In 2011, we announced the retirement of Google Friend Connect for all non-Blogger sites. We made an exception for Blogger to give readers an easy way to follow blogs using a variety of accounts. Yet over time, we’ve seen that most people sign into Friend Connect with a Google Account. So, in an effort to streamline, in the next few weeks we’ll be making some changes that will eventually require readers to have a Google Account to sign into Friend Connect and follow blogs. 

As part of this plan, starting the week of January 11, we’ll remove the ability for people with Twitter, Yahoo, Orkut or other OpenId providers to sign in to Google Friend Connect and follow blogs. At the same time, we’ll remove non-Google Account profiles so you may see a decrease in your blog follower count.

We encourage you to tell affected readers (perhaps via a blog post), that if they use a non-Google Account to follow your blog, they need to sign up for a Google Account, and re-follow your blog. With a Google Account, they’ll get blogs added to their Reading List, making it easier for them to see the latest posts and activity of the blogs they follow.

We know how important followers are to all bloggers, but we believe this change will improve the experience for both you and your readers.

Posted by Michael Goddard, Software Engineer"

Friday 1 January 2016

A metre of pike and a Happy New Year!

Above is the extension to my existing phalanx that I have been working on in November and December. I had planned 70cm worth of phalanx but as you can see I already have just over one metre completed and now hope to end with nearer two. Most of the minis were painted by Craig Davey or Shaun McTague and finished by me. All photos are clickable.

Antigonid Agema

Note the shiny new Relik shields on the units above and below.

Antigonid Peltastoi
Ptolemaic Leukaspides
Antigonid Leukaspides
Proper photos will follow next year when I have finished the basing.  The new phalanx will be united with the existing 2 metres for a mammoth Raphia game in April.

2016 planned events

Q1 and Q2 are looking really busy and exciting:-

  • The “To the Strongest Worlds” in Chalgrove on February 13th, 20 players will contend for the title of World Champion. I am praying for odd numbers so I have a valid excuse to enter the fray, muwhahaha.
  • The Society of Ancients Battle Day April 2nd- I’ll be putting on an exceptionally large battle of Pharsalus 48BC with some wargaming buddies. Legionaries, sir- thousands of them!
  • Salute- it looks like I left it too late to get a table, but you never know…  
  • April 22nd to 24th The Wargames Holiday Centre. I’m really looking forward to this one- I plan to put on a huge Raphia game plus Cremona, Leuctra, the Sabis and Ruspina. All at the same time.  This will be the ultimate test of the BigRedBatmobile’s suspension!
  • May 22nd- Partizan with Phil Hendry’s Sassanians and Romans, Harry Sidebottom and Ballista.

Resolutions for 2016
  • Finish my Ptolemaic army- this is going very well with the assistance of two painter-mates (both called Shaun).
  • Stamp my feet to rise a couple more legions for Caesar.  And Pompey.
  • New Theban and Wars of the Roses armies.
  • Rattle out a TtS! army list each week
  • Co-write the first TtS! “campaign” book and then get going on the fantasy version.
  • Finish sculpting those bl**dy War Llamas!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my fellow bloggistas and To the Strongest! chums a Very Happy New Year, and...

may none of your cards be Aces!