Friday 27 September 2019

Bande Nere

Here are my Bande Nere di Giovanni, ready for the Italian Wars, for which I am currently writing rules. I've recently expanded the pike to be 4-deep. The arquebusiers can be fielded as light or massed-light units. All of the minis are Perrys, with most painted by the prolific Shaun McTague, and finished and based by me. You can click the photos for a close-up! The flags are from Pete's Flags.

I have the ratio of pike-to-shot correct; 2:1. This was thought at the time to be too high.

Now, I suppose I need to get someone painted for them to fight!

In other news, it's my Birthday, today, so I have a sale on.  :-)

Monday 23 September 2019

To the Strongest! in Glasgow, Part II

Here are some photos from the second day of the Glasgow To Strongest! event, starting with my third game. This was against Ian Austin and his Spartan army. Ian set up in the left corner of his side, and I set up in the left corner of mine. My flank attack failed to kill the Spartiates, largely on account of their excellent saves, and by mid-game most of my units were facing right, and most of his were facing left.

Despite our best efforts, nothing was dying. Nothing at all. I couldn't break his hoplites, frontally, and any knights that got disordered pulled back and rallied. It became a unique game with not a single unit lost, not even a measly helot. I cannot recall this in any previous game of TtS! that I've seen; it is a famously bloody set of rules.

In the penultimate turn of the game, though, I rode some light crossbowmen off of the table edge near his camp. On the final turn, I managed to bring them back onto the table, and activate them for a lucky second time, to trot into his adjacent camp, securing three points. You can make out Ian menacing the offending horsemen, in the image below. Ian had certainly picked the rules up, in only his fifth game, he was playing quite as well as I was, after well over 100.

In the final game, I found myself facing John Muir's Italo-Normans. across an open plain. This was a very different game from the previous three. Eschewing subtlety, John and I lined up opposite each other, and charged. He had more knights, but I had better-armoured knights, so it was pretty even. The battle degenerated into a single huge confused melee (below), with troops facing in all directions- charging, retiring, rallying and shooting. Slowly I was able to gain the upper hand and, eventually, cornered and killed one of his generals to win the battle 10:3. It could easily have gone the other way.

The scores...

And onto the presentations! 

Above is Liam Entwhistle, who secured third place with his beautiful ex-WAB Later Hungarian army.

And, second once again, yours truly! Always the bridesmaid, never the bride! ;-)  I received some lovely Claymore Castings minis, so I suppose I'll have to start another army, now.

Finally, below, the winner Peter Clarke whose Fatimid Egyptians had pipped me 63.5 points to 63. As well as a trophy, Dave Soutar presented him with a stunning command stand, painted and generously donated by chum David Imrie.

And finally Dave Soutar very kindly gave me some souvenirs - haggis, Scottish shortbread biccies and a limited edition Glasgow and District Wargames Society dice (!!!) tray. 

A huge thank you to Dave Soutar and the other organisers of the event, and to everyone who came along and played! It was a blast. I very much hope to come back next year. Dave and l set a provisional date, shortly.

p.s. Dave has just sent me some more photos- I'll either do a third post, tomorrow., or provide a link if he posts them online.

Sunday 22 September 2019

To the Strongest! in Glasgow

This weekend I'm in Glasgow, where Dave Soutar of Glasgow and District Wargaming Society has organised a two day TtS! event. Dave very kindly picked me up from the station and we played the first two games, yesterday.

Above is game one vs. Balkan Dave, who I already knew of of from his excellent blog.  Predictably Dave had brought (Balkan) Dacians. I only got this one photo- You can see I've out scouted him, and am preparing to smite his right wing with the full might of Milanese chivalry. It went well for Milan, although the Sarmatians put up a tough fight. I spent the post game period trying to persuade Dave to write all the Medieval Balkan army lists that I'm lacking- Serbs, Albanians, Transylvanians.  :-)

Here's game two vs Bill. Bill had a beautifully painted Aventine Sassanid army. He outscouted me (the horror!) and started pushing his troops forward (below). I quickly found myself pinned on my side of the table, and out flanked on my left. I didn't have an answer for the Sassanid elephant, either!

It all went downhill fast and I had no time to take photos, until this shot taken about 15 minutes before the end of the game.  I am five medals to three down, and pinned like a caged beast into 1/4 of the table with my left flank totally in the air. It's never a good sign when the other player has to come round your side of the table to play his activation cards!

Luckily, shortly after this (below), I finally got my act together and launched a desperate counter-attack. Here are the last cards of the game- I managed to polish off some levy spearmen and a disordered cavalry unit and general to and snatch an 11th-hour ten-five victory from the jaws of defeat. It was one of the closest and most enjoyable games I've played.

So with two wins in my pocket; the omens are good for today!  Tomorrow, I'll post part two.

No photo description available.

GDWS is a great club- 50 years of wargaming history. I wish I was a bit more local! They are a super bunch of guys, very welcoming, indeed.  If you want to look them up, or better still, join,  you can find them here.

Tuesday 17 September 2019

TtS! Knight Fever at the London GT

On Sunday I, and eleven other stalwart TtS!ers, visited the The Lee Valley Athletic Centre to participate in the London Grand Tourney.

Here's a shot of the main hall. It was BIG; rather more than 1000 gamers? Tons of Warhammer 40K players. We TtS!ers found ourselves in splendid isolation on the stage (below) - perhaps in recognition of our disdain for the dice used on the other 680 tables. ;-)

Setting up- that's Tim Thompson, and Simon Purchon. Below, Tim is admiring Ian Notter's Arthurians. The detail on these is stunning- I'll post some pictures, eventually.

Above, Ian Notter's Arthurian-themed Feudal French face Colin Bright's Free Company. 

Below, Iain White's Venetians face Simon Purchon's Nikephorian Byzantines.

Above, Dene Green with Later Crusaders vs. Gareth Humphries' Yorkists.

Below, Peter Ryding (Tibetans) vs Tim Thompson's Italo Normans (which latter had ridden down my ambitions at Roll Call). 

I must apologise for the partizan nature of the rest of the account, I was so preoccupied with my games I didn't see much else that was going on!

My first game was against Iain White's Venetian Italian Condottieri. I'm afraid I was so "in the zone" that I failed to take any photos. I recall crashing through the gaps in the Venetian line, riding down all manner of skirmishers, and then knights, whilst busily avoiding a big scary mass of bristling Swiss pikemen. It went splendidly.

My second game was also against Venetian Italian Condottieri, this time in the hands of Michael Guest (above). Who knew there were so many Venetians? There were rather fewer Venetians, though, after around an hour. ;-)

Below is the table after Michael's first move (I was out-scouted). This was a particularly good-natured game between two matched armies and two broadly equal players, and I was lucky to secure a win. I think the fact that I had more knights, and was able to successfully dance around yet another scary mass of Swiss, decided it. I was also very lucky at the end.

I ran into Simon's Purchon's Byzantines, myself, in round three. I was lucky enough to out-scout them and this enabled me to out-deploy them. I went for a head-on clash near his baseline and the extra weight of my charge told. Again, it was pretty 50/50, his troops all being veteran and mine only seasoned, albeit clad in shiny Milanese-patented later-knight steel. That's the first time I've ever beaten Simon.

My final game, indeed the final, was against Chris Winter. I've never played Chris before but his reputation preceded him, that and the fact that he'd scored almost 600 points, the maximum possible, in the three previous games.

Chris had a Feudal English army, led by Edward the First, as a great leader. His army was a fifty-fifty mix of knights and spearmen. I won the scouting and made a good plan, but Chris literally rode rings around me and it all went Pete Tong. I won't say exactly how he beat me, since he will, no doubt, want to do it again to someone else. And I might too! :-) I was very lucky to take 4 medals off him.

Ian Notter narrowly won the battle for the wooden spoon. I gave him a rather lovely Roman dromedarius; I'm not sure how that will fit in with his Arthurians- he'll need to start a new army. :-)

I don't have the full breakdown of the results, yet, but Steve Dover (English 100 Years War) came third- unfortunately I don't have a photo. I must find out how he did it, what with longbows having a somewhat bad reputation, just now.

Above, I was delighted to come second- my best ever result, which I put down to being familiar with the army (my third tournament with it) and not playing too many Aces!  ;-)

And finally, Chris Winter (Feudal English) took the laurel crown. This was a particularly well-deserved win, based on four decisive victories and not far from the maximum possible point score. The man is a machine! I'll get him, next time, though.  ;-)

It was a splendid day of good-natured gaming. Thanks very much to everyone who came, and particular thanks to Tim Thompson for checking all the army lists and doing the scoring. Oh and the London GT and BHGS organisers, too, they did a cracking job! Particular thanks to BHGS Dave Ruddock for the lovely presentation glasses.

I hope everyone had as much fun as I did- if so I'll see if we can run it again next year- possibly with a Medieval theme, or perhaps with Biblical chariot-era armies, by way of a change.