Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Minor Hobby happenings


Let's squueeeze in a post before Halloween.  Folks might want some light (very light)  reading while waiting by the door for the trick-or-treaters.  Some of you might be waiting with the hose ready to repel the grubby gremlins away with jets of water.  Don't let the light from your cellphone give away your hiding spot.

Onward and Upward

In what is becoming a continuing motif in this Terrible Blog, I have for you more...wait for it....DICE MARKERS!  (cue the sounds of reluctant applause)

the Audience says, "enough with the Gird Dern dice already!  We git it.  Don't you have enough of those?"

No.  I'm aiming for around 50.  So that when I do finally get around to doing some sort of mass battle there are enough dice to track the hits to each unit on the table.  Because to run out of dice counters half way through the battle would be lame.  Plus, these dice are so small that I'm probably gonna lose a couple.

There's 37 done so far.  I have another 13 left on the bag. And that will make 50.
It's almost like they sell these in pack of 10.

Speaking of Mass Battles

The first 4 Big Battle Basses for the Viking Army are complete.   It's not really a base but a movement tray, but I'm a sucker for alliterations.   These are the same as for the Saxon army (10 man loose order trays from Charlie Foxtrot Models). 

Again, I'm just making the trays and then taking my already painted Vikings and putting them on.  One would think that I would just grab any 10 figs and be done with it, but NO.  It's easy to get meticulously picky about which figures to put where; scanning over the entire collection to find a miniature with the right pose, facial expression, and equipment to make the base POP.  

These are also magnetized like the Saxon's trays.  Gotta treat all your miniatures the same even if you do love one more than the other.  Just like my children.

Spears of Love

In my last game of Clash of Spears (see previous post HERE if so inclined) the units armed with throwing spears were, um...,  throwing their spears like crazy; GO FIGURE.  It's almost like they preferred to stand far apart and throw things rather than get up really close and stab each other.  

To mark when a unit threw it's spears (because it matters in CoS) I was using some generic markers that I had laying around.  Just 25mm disks with some flock and a rock on it. 
But since the game I've wanted something a little more DIGNIFIED, something more REFINDED, something more UPPER CLASS to note when hairy smelly men threw sharp sticks at each other.  So I came up with these.

Supposed to be Spears stuck in the ground.
A long stick in the ground just screams Dignity.

The End is Scary

Have a Happy Halloween.  Don't spray trick-or-treaters with the hose.  You're better than that.  
So far our plan is for me to pull the kids on the wagon while trick-or-treating.  Which sounds like a great way to ensure that by the end of the night I'll be tired and cranky and the kids will be well rested and full of sugar.  

Till next time.  Thanks for reading and all comments are greatly appreciated.  

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Clash of Spears Wargame AAR Dark Ages


It's time for some payoff with a game of Clash of Spears set in the Dark Ages.

The Build up

People who read this Terrible blog regularly (Fools that you are!  Your time would be better spent re-watching reruns of Gilligan's Island) know that there's been quite a bit of build up for Clash of Spears Dark Ages gaming going on. 

To recap:

I made these dials to track Command Points,
just for Clash of Spears games.

I made a pantsload of these tokens to track Actions in Clash of Spears,
But to be fair they'll have other uses in other games.
I also suppose they can be used as earrings as the kids these days seem to like putting 
large disks in their earlobes.

I made a slew of these 5mm die holders to track Fatigue in Clash of Spears,
but to be fair they will have other uses as well.
I suppose the 5mm dice can dangle from the rearview mirror
of a car in 28mm.

I made two Longships and some coastline terrain.
Which is not needed for Clash of Spears but are now REQUIRED
for every Dark Ages game I'll ever play because, dammit, they look cool.

I invited my friend Mr AS over for a game on a Monday afternoon.  "Monday afternoon?" you say.  Yes, I have Mondays off and Mr. AS is retired so days of the week mean nothing to him.  This might become a regular thing.  Mr. AS claimed he had Viking heritage so chose the Vikings to play; so I took the Saxons.  I don't know my heritage and don't really want to know.  Who knows what I might find if I went looking.  

Army Lists:

CLASH is set in the ancient times / Punic Wars, but ports easily over to the Dark Ages (it's ALLL swords and boards anyway).  I used the Beta Dark Ages lists and traits that you can get online as a guide and made the following lists.  These will mean NOTHING to you unless you have the rules so skip and skim if you like...

Noble Saxons; 
Muster WarBand, 1042 Points 

Clash of Spears Dark ages

Level 4 Saxon Leader x 2
-add heavy shield to both


Skirmishers with Bows (1 unit of 6) 

Combat: 5+  Ranged: 5+  Grit: 5+  Save 7+  

Weapon: Bows   Armor: What Armor LOLs 

Traits: Skirmish Specialist

Ceorls (3 units of 8)

Combat: 4+  Ranged: 5+  Grit: 4+  Save 5+  

Weapon: Throwing Spears   Armor: Heavy Shields

Traits: Shield Overlap, Wall of Spears

Thegns (2 units of 7)

Combat: 3+  Ranged: 5+  Grit: 3+  Save 3+  

Weapon: Throwing Spears   Armor: Full Armor and Heavy Shield

Traits: Drilled, Fedelis, Shield Overlap, Wall of Spears

Disgusting Vikings:
Ad Hoc Warband, 1043

Clash of Spears Dark ages

Level 5 Viking Leader with Heavy Shield

Level 4 Viking Leader with Heavy Shield

Bondi (2 units of 8)

Combat: 4+  Ranged: 5+  Grit: 4+  Save 4+  

Weapon: throwing Spears   Armor: Partial Armor and Heavy Shield

Traits: Drilled, Furor, Shield Overlap, Wall of Spears

Hirdmen (2 units of 7)

Combat: 3+  Ranged: 5+  Grit: 3+  Save 3+  

Weapon: Mixed Weapons   Armor: Full Armor and Heavy Shield 

Traits: Combined Arms, Drilled, Shield Overlap

Hirdmen with Dane Axes (1 unit of 7)

Combat: 3+  Ranged: 5+  Grit: 3+  Save 5+  

Weapon: Double handed Dane Axe   Armor: Full Armor 

Traits: Shield Breakers

You'll notice that the Vikings list is worth one more point than the Saxons.  What's one point between friends?  (Editor Note: If the Vikings win then the Saxons can claim that the game was RIGGED!)

In general the lists represent my preconceived notions of what makes a good dark ages game.  The Vikings are better troops with traits that help them be (be) aggressive while the Saxons have more troops and traits that help them be dogged defenders plus being ruggedly handsome.

Scenario (The play is the thing):

This time around we're doing the Force Projection scenario that I slightly modified to fit my 5 x 6 table (the battlefield is 5 x 4).

Board set up.
Told you the Longship was Mandatory.

Here we have the outskirts of a peaceful quiet Saxon village, when in the morning mist a Longship shows up on the shoreline.  "Why do we KEEP building our villages close to the water?" the Saxons ask.  "Hey nice village.  We think we'll take it" says the Vikings.

The objectives: There's a marker in the middle of the table to fight over.  Also, the Saxons want to get a unit within 8" of the shoreline; which threatens the Longship and the Vikings ride home so they will have NONE of that.  The Vikings want to get a unit within 8" of the village wall; which threatens the village and really pissing off the Saxon women so the Saxon men want NONE of that.

What, you didn't need another view of the battlefield?
Did you notice that the Saxon village wall mirrors the shape of the Viking shoreline?
That's called Fairness.  Something Vikings wouldn't understand.

 The Payoff

Now after all that foreplay, it's time for the BIG payoff with a detailed, knock down, blow by blow AAR.  And just like my wife, I'll leave you disappointed.  

Because I was teaching the game, playing the game, and having too good a time to really take enough pics or remember what happened.  Also the lighting was terrible.   So here are some of the better pics:

Clash of Spears Dark ages
Here are the troops right after the Engagement phase.
The Saxons seem to have gotten the jump on the Vikings
as they seem to have just barely waded onto the shore.

Thegns and Vikings square off on the central objective

Hirdmen and Ceorls face off in the woods.
Trees removed for game play.
My woods are pretty and functional!

In the end the Saxons beat off the Vikings, but it was a close run thing.  Second to last turn both forces had 3 break points just from slaughtering their enemies (never mind walking all the way to the shore or village).  The Saxons auto passed their force morale check (being a muster force) and the Viking made their roll.  After the last turn the Vikings had 4 break points to the Saxons 3, and then failed the roll. 

Overall: I, adore this game.  The trading of activations and reactions just keeps the players engaged throughout the game.  The option of choosing the type of attack and the defending response makes every combat interesting.  It's a constant dance that keeps you interested but is not grinding in complexity or options.  

Playing this game is like going to an ice cream shop that only sells your favorite flavors.
I was also very pleased that all those counters worked well with the game and looked good. 

The hard part about the game is remembering what all the traits do.  Traits that come up a lot like Shield Overlap and Drilled are easy.  Remembering the rarer ones are harder; I think I forgot that the Hirdmen with dane axes had the Shield Breaker rule. Not that they needed it as they slaughtered two units of Ceorls.  

Least I remembered to use my fate points (those are re-rolls).

Next time I should try out some Normans.

These Things Always Cost Money

What things?  Fun things!  fun things cost money.  Sometimes unexpectantly.  
After this fun game I went online to see of there were any developments in the dark ages supplement and instead found another Ancients supplement.

Again, I know very little about Romans.
But this cover is EXACTLY how I picture them.
All stoic and hard bad asses.

I wasn't interested in any of the army lists, but there were some new traits and rules in there as well.  The book focuses on 100 BC to 100 AD as seen on the cover and my knowledge of history doesn't really start to around 400 AD but they're getting close to pleasing me; this one person.  But I have blog read by dozens of people so my voice will be HEARD!

I bought the PDF.  Mainly because it wasn't very expensive and to support the company.  I skipped all the army lists (though sample army lists are nice examples of unit profiles, and it's all swords and boards anyway) and potted history and went right to new traits and stuff, which I did like. especially the Poorly Equipped trait that I'll be using for now on; so am pleased with the purchase.  If the eventual dark ages supplement is this nice when it comes out then I'll be even more pleased. 

I Know the End When I See It

This is the end.  Hope you enjoyed the post.  Thanks for reading and comments appreciated.
Till next time.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

The Saxon Army


"Did you just say 'The Sex on Amy?'"

-No, I said Saxon, as in my Dark Ages Anglo-Saxon Army.  

"That's not as exciting.  Unless you like a bunch of dirty men with long strong spears."

-But doesn't everybody??


Dark Ages Anglo Saxon Army

Since aaaaaalll the way back in August (as seen in THIS previous post on August 4th) I've been slaving away at making new big battle bases as the old ones just wouldn't do anymore because I am an older, wiser, and generally more fussy wargamer.  

With 4 more bases done; I peered up from the frantic work at my hobby desk, waved away the lingering clouds of static grass and flock hanging in the air, rubbed the brown paint off my fingers and face, and discovered---- "Hey, I'm Kinda out of Saxons.  Guess that means the army is done."  

Now it is time to see the army in it's new glory and also do an inventory (because I'm not really sure what's in it).  I laid out the army as if I were gonna play Hail Caesar.  It's a Parade!  


28mm Saxon army
Saxon King in the center of the army

A noble leading the left flank

28mm Saxon army
A noble with a fine mustache on the right flank.
If I ever go bald, I'm growing a huge cop-stache like this.

28mm Saxon army
Picture taken from the helicopter of the whole army.

Here's a graphic of what's in the actual army

The entire army consists of 8 bases of armored 'Thegn" types (chainmail) and 10 bases of unarmored 'Ceorl' types.  3 leader types, and 4 groups of skirmishers.  Since a normal unit consists of 10 miniatures I made the small skirmisher units 5 miniatures.  2 of the Thegn bases could count as Huscarls if I wanted, as the base has miniatures all with axes, a steely penetrating gaze (which was hard to paint), and a standard bearer.  Though, I think the army overall is a light on banners and could use more just for the visual appeal. 

In Hail Caesar, it's perfectly fine to have loose order skirmishers without a base and just little blobs.  Other rule sets that I also want to use will want these on bases as well.  The plan is to use a standard 10 man base with the 5 skirmishy miniatures and 5 blanks to cover to left over holes. 

The priest miniatures are just for show because I have them.  Besides, no self respecting defender of the christain faith would take to the field without a few to nag at him.   Though in actual HC games they will serve as markers for special rules and re-rolls.  

28mm Saxon army

Last pic I promise.  Though doesn't everybody LOVE a parade.

I'm very pleased with the overall appearance of the army.  On a side note; I found it difficult to photograph so many miniatures so I'm not sure I pulled it off.  

I did say "Kinda" 

Just to be super clear: I haven't been painting miniatures.  All those Dark Ages Saxons were previously painted and I'm just sticking them on the new fangled base.  IN FACT, looking back at previous posts shows that I haven't painted ANY miniatures at all this year.  I find that interesting.  I've painted other stuff of course; one cannot completely escape the endless chore of painting in miniature wargaming.  Just like doing dishes or laundry, and I thought getting married would free me of those chores....

While 18 units is suitable massive, I actually envision the army being closer to 24 bases, because that's how many I bought for them.  And there is a still a handful of Saxons left over.

Left over Saxon dregs.
"Why don't you love us?"

Obviously not enough miniatures to fill a base, so these remainders will be just stored loosely all on their lonesome, and who knows what trouble they will get into?  Staying up late, drinking hard cider, and looking at naughty things on the internet.  Websites like "dark age beauties" or ever worse: hobby blogs. 

A Conflict of Desires 

I have a strong desire to actually finish something.  Can you imagine having a wargaming project actually finished?  So on one hand I want to start painting up Saxon miniatures to 'complete' the army or at the very least so that every Saxon is on a new ultra pretty big battle base.  On the other hand I have a desire to keep churning out big battle bases but now for the Viking Army 

Tub of Vikings says,
"you better make us some fancy-smancy bases before we get bored
and burn down your house and enslave your family."
Damn pushy Vikings.  Always threatening to pillage something.

When both armies are on the bases then some mass battle games can take place.  I got some things in mind I want to do.  

To make up my mind on what to do next, I'll play that game where you answer a bunch of rapid fire questions of 'This versus That' and you answer without thinking too much to arrive at your true desire...

Pizza or spaghetti?    Pizza

Sit ups or push ups?   Nap

Blonde or Brunette?   Brunette

Airplane or boat?   Boat

Coffee or tea?  Coffee

Summer or Winter?  Winter

Roses or Daises?  Ahhh, I'm a man, all flowers look the same

Cats or Dogs?  Neither

Missionary or Cowgirl?   Nap

Cake or Pie?   Cake

Hamburger or Taco?   Taco (that one was actually hard to answer)

Pancake or waffle?    Pancake

Tattoos or Piercings?   Well I still have all my tattoos but I took out all my piercings years ago...

Robots or Dinosaurs?    Dinosaurs

Guacamole or Salsa?   Guac

Pineapple Pizza or Candy Corn?  Gross!

Miniatures or Bases?   Bases.

AH-HA!  Bases it is then.  One can't argue with a modern psychological technique that I read in a Cosmo magazine.  

Till next time.  Thanks for reading.  Comments appreciated.