sabato 19 maggio 2018

Furioso! - first game

Our first game of Furioso!

This new (published in 2017) ruleset from Alternative Armies (Flintloque), aims to cover the 16th century warfare, a century of swirling mutation between medieval and pike and shotte warfare. Wars of Italy are least for us the most interesting theater covered by the rules, which addresses field battles (a nice variation from all the skirmishes we had recently) and can be played both with 15mm and 28mm figures.

My clubmates had a large collection of 15mm Wars of Italy figures, some dating back to 90's. So we organised a simple battle between Italians and French armies. It ran quite smoothly even if only Luca studied the rules.

The rules looked interesting, particularly the activation system: each unit rolls one die, and adds its movement factor. then the units resolve their activation in decreasing order. The result also dictates the distance the unit must move if you decide to move. If you roll too high, units may become furious and start moving toward the nearest foe. This adds quite a lot of unpredictability to the game and I like games where you are not entirely in control of your units.

Shooting and melee are resolved quite straightly, and I will deal with them in another post.

Another nice addition to the game is the casual choice of generals (which can be quite incompatible, leading to distortion of battle plans, just as in reality), and a lot of prior to battle options, casual events and armies strategies, which we didn't tried last time, but which looks quite fun.

So first impression: rules are quite fast, easy to learn and in about 3 hours can a complete battle. They possess the right amount of period flavor and the lack of control I like in a game. So definitely a nice addition to our club game assets.

domenica 6 maggio 2018

5th of May 1860: the beginning of the Expedition

158 years ago, during the night between the 5th and the 6th of May 1860. Garibaldi and the Thousand volunteer sailed from Quinto, near Genoa, directed to Sicily.

So time for some updates about my Risorgimento project.

I recently started reading Garibaldi, from Osprey Commander series (Command #14). The book gives a good basic introduction of his personal story, mainly dealing with his military deeds, of course. 

Concerning painting: so far I finished 8 garibaldini red shirts, 9 Bourbonic cacciatori (sharpshooters) and one picciotto (Sicilian volunteers joining Garibaldi expedition). Of course pictures will follow, so keep tuned.

Considering the little time I can dedicate to painting I don't think I'll be able to play rebels and patriots at the release date, as stated in a previous post. Nor any other large skirmish game. Additionally, I think that using my painted figures as soon as possible will keep my motivation high, so I started looking for some skirmish (1:1 ratio) rulesets. 

Here a brief summary of those I've taken into account so far. Bear in mind that only Smooth and rifle has a specific list of the period and that I just read most these rules.

I played a couple of turns at Salute last month. The game flows well and require just half a dozen figures. Every figure is a character, and uses his own cards for stats. These are available IIRC for Peninsula game at the moment.
Cons: too much unique characters, I don't own a copy (my bad).

Songs of drum and shakos
This skirmish game by Sergio Laliscia of Ganesha Games, is set during Napoleonic wars, but can easily be adapted to 1860. My favorite so far (by instinct, I confess).
Pros: nice activation system, needs about 12 figures per side.

Smooth and rifle
Written by Lorenzo Sartori (Impetus and Dadi e Piombo) aims to cover the black powder period skirmishes. There is a bit of emphasis on squad action (quite strange since if I calculated correctly you field about about one dozen figures per side). Overall seems quite a nice ruleset, well laid and complete. It deserves a proper reading.

Legends of the high sea
The popular pirate age ruleset from Warhammer Historical, out of production, but I luckily own a copy and have played it several time (in the appropriate setting, i.e. in the Caribbean).
Pros: solid basic mechanics, I already know the rules
Cons: completely different theme, so I'd have to draw some list (minor issues) and most missions would feel...weird. Plus I'm not particularly fond of the complete IGOUGO separation of turns.

So it's time for some reflection (usually while I'm painting), keep tuned!

sabato 21 aprile 2018

Salute 2018

This year I went to Salute for the first time in my life, totally worth it!

I regret only the luggage limit, which prevented me from spending even more money in lead, resin and mdf purchasing!

I mainly bought more figures by Gringo40s for my Italian Risorgimento project, mainly Naepolitan artillery and Nino Bixio, eventually! Gerard, the owner, released at Salute a new range of Piedmontese infantry for Italian Wars of Indipendence, you can see them here
Then I decided with my travel mates to dive into the street of Rome, purchasing the Blood of the Aventine Gangs of Rome starter set, great value for the money, and a really interesting setting.
To conclude...a certain blue box appeared, the TARDIS, from Warlord "Into the time vortex" range, inspired to the British TV show Doctor Who. Likely to be spotted on every table of every period. After all, it's a time machine!

Now time for some pictures of the tables we admired at Salute 2018!

The druid

Feudal Japanese action!

One of my favourite: Garibaldi in Siciliy with Sharp Practice 2

1918-2018 the theme was Great War

Blood red skies involving aircraft carrier, amazing!

Crusades with Sword and spears
Pirate boarding!
ACW action with Black Powder, the fort is impressive!

Cool use of leds and mirrors

To conclude a couple of pictures of Battle of Stäket, by Dalauppror, using Pikeman's Lament to recreate Russian invasion of Sweden in 1719, one of the nicest tables and one of the few I followed some actions.

domenica 1 aprile 2018

New project: Rebels and Patriots

Recently Dalauppror announced a new ruleset from Osprey Wargames based on the same mechanics of Lion Rampant, by Dan Mersey: "Rebels and Patriots", going to be released early 2019. The rules will adress the wars in North America from about American War of Indipendence to American Civil War at a large skirmish level, as Lion Rampant, Pikeman's Lament or TMWWBK. The temporal span covered by Rebels and Patriots is about 110 years. During this period some major changes in both technology and tactics occurred, but I believe Dan and Michel will be able to abstract a good Horse and Musket ruleset.

I'm not particularly keen on American Warfare, but considering the level of abraction of these rules, I'll definitively give them a try for Italian Wars of Indipendence (Risorgimento), since there was plenty of small clashes and few big battles.

I recently started collecting figures for that period, specifically Garibaldi's campaign of 1860 in Sicily, so expect more updates on this project in the next months! For the first time in my short wargamer's career, I aim to be able to play with a new ruleset at release day one!

giovedì 29 marzo 2018

Mounted longbowmen in Lion Rampant

Recently a friend of mine asked some rules for dismounting troops in Lion Rampant, since in the original rules this option was not included, I wrote some.

The Grand Chevauchee, by Peter Dannis

I'm thinking mainly about HYW mounted longbowmen. Probably they represented the wealthier fraction of commoners (yeomen) hired for campaigns in France during the HYW. They could afford better equipment (bucklers, falchions and some armours) and even an horse. Usually only nobilty and their retinue could afford war horses, so those used by mounted longbowmen would be more probably second class horses. There are no records of any mounted combat, nor mounted shooting. even considering medieval chroniclers uninterested in tactical minutiae, it seems just weird, since no tradition of mounted archery was recorded in England in that period among that social class.  
A plausible role for mounted longbowmen is to act as a mobile reserve and allowing quick deployment during a battle or during a campaign, reaching a strong position in which they dug in to fight on foot.

Back to Lion Rampant now! The following upgrade can be purchased by archers and crossbowmen. Replace some or all the figures with mounted models or mounts and horse keepers.

I found this picture surfing the net, judging from the layout should come from some Osprey book

New upgrade: additional mounts @1 point
Purchase additional mounts, gaining some extra movement capabilities. 
On a move order (5+) a mounted unit can move up to 10".
On a dismount order (6+) the models are replaced by the same number of appropriate figures on foot.
Mounted unit cannot charge nor shoot. If contacted by an enemy unit, the models are immediately dismounted. Unit can never remount.

Miniatures suggested
1st Corps produces nice mounted longbowmen for HYW, Casting room and Perry Miniatures for later periods (WotR and early Renaissance).

domenica 18 marzo 2018

Venetian sortie with Lion Rampant

At Model Expo Italy, a convention held annually in Verona, Luca and I had a demonstrative game of Lion Rampant.

Northern Italy, 15th century. 

A Venetian castle is about to be encircled by a Milanese force. The stronghold commander decide to lead a sortie to prevent Visconti's army to mount a proper siege.

Thus said, it's a classical Bloodbath scenario from Lion Rampant rulebook, with an asymmetrical deployment (Venetian retinue must first exit through the main castle door). 
Walls do no provide any help, since all the garrison is rushed against the enemy.

The crowd gathers to cheer its heroes

Some food is also provided to the Men at Arms

Forward! Stradiotti led the sortie!

Milanese forces approaching the castle

Stradiotti are quickly routed by a terrible crossbows shooting, leaving the Venetian force without light cavalry. Luckily enough, Venetian archers soon do the same to Milanese mounted crossbowmen.

Battered mounted crossbowmen on the right

Mounted Men at Arms clashes but the Venetian leader is forced to retreat 

The Venetian leader demonstrates that courage isn't enough. "Maybe a sortie wasn't a good idea", he thought, while his unit is decimated.

Visconti are now charging against Venice infantry, which resists

Ineffective, the most I can say of these arquebusier (bidowers)

Some modern firearms aren't enough to stop foot knight advance and the poor skirmishers are forced to make way.

Venetian Fanti da Mar tries to arrest Milanese foot knight

Fanti da Mar (Marine Infantry), were a Venetian troop usually embarked on the galleys of Serenissima. They often were dismounted in raids or used (in the Colonies) as garrison troops. Usually they were partly armoured and armed with a warhammer of other short weapons (better suited to naval combat). In this game, I tried to represent them as Foot Men at arms, but I feel that Foot Sergeants with switched values of attack and defense (as suggested here), could be a better representation, after all.

The survivors take shelter behind the castle walls.

Doors are closed and Venetian now prepare for a siege.

domenica 4 marzo 2018

Shakò64 Borbonic Hunters (2) - Painting guide

Cacciatori and Carabinieri esteri (1859-1860)

Documentation about uniforms in the Kingdom of Two Sicilies army during its last period is fragmentary, and few dedicated volumes exist, for this reason I decided to write this guide to help new wargamers getting started in this fascinating period. Few depictions of this army arrived to us, and I chose to follow the Vinkhujzen collection watercolors, which follows the description of the 1859 regulations.

Carabinieri esteri and cacciatori napoletani (hunters or chasseurs) were  light infantry corps trained in open order fighting and broken terrain operations. I remember most of the Sicilian and Calabrian internal areas are mountainous and impervious. They fought valiantly (even when - often where led by less than competent leaders) during all Garibaldi's campaing of 1860 and 1861 from Calatafimi to Volturno.

In 1859 cacciatori napoletani and carabinieri esteri were reorganized and were issued new regulations about uniforms. They received a tunic grigio ferro (dark grey) or light blue and trousers in dark grey, light blue or white, all with a green line. The third carabinieri esteri regiment was going to wear green tunics with red trousers, but probably they never received the new uniforms.

The everyday uniform or labour uniforms, often wear during campaings was the biggia (lit. grey), actually a light blue grey, obtained intertwining grey and blue wires. 

3rd rgt carabinieri esteri, note the grigio ferro uniform


I used the recently released figures from a newly established Italian company, "Shakò64".
The figures are coded as: Comando cacciatori in tunica (grigio ferro) e shakò (covertato e scovertato) and Cacciatore in tunica e shakò (covertato e scovertato). They are suitable to represent both Cacciatori napoletani and Carabinieri esteri. The figures portray troops during campaign, in tunic and carrying all the necessary equipment as haversacks and water bottles. Epaulettes are not shown, probably they've been removed to be preserved from the injury of bad weather. They were kept clean to be used for high uniform or garrison duties. The troopers are armed with 32" rifled carbines and "yatagan" model bayonet.

Bavarian Carabinieri Esteri Battalion, in biggia (blue grey)

Painting guide

I chose to paint the tunic in my own version of grigio ferro, so dark grey with a strong blue component, and biggia trousers. Most of the colours are Vallejo model colours. I applied a white primer.

For grigio ferro tunic I used as base color Vallejo Dark Bluegrey 70.867, then I lightened it with Vallejo French Mirage blue 70.900 and then again with a mixture of French Mirage blue and Vallejo Dark Blue Pale 70.904 in a 1:1 ratio. 

For  the biggio coloured trousers I used a 1:1 mixture of Dark Blue Pale and French Mirage blue 1:1 and then I lightened it with pure Dark Blue Pale.

I suggest also experimenting using different washes. If you're using them, I suggest using as base color for tunic a mixture 1:1 French Mirage Blue and Vallejo Dark Bluegrey, and for the trousers Dark Blue Pale only, since I expect the washes to darken the base colour shadowing the model. Then you can lighten it as I suggested before. In the last passage I often add a small quantity of pure white in the mixture with a dry brush, to exaggerate contrast.

For those desiring experimenting with blue-grey tunic I noticed after I painted these models that a good starting point could be  Vallejo Luftwaffe uniform WWII 70.816, let me know if you try it!

Summary table

Base Colours
Tunic and trousers grigio ferro*
Vallejo Dark Bluegrey 70.867+French Mirage Blue 70.900
Trousers biggi*
Vallejo Dark blue pale 70.904+French Mirage Blue 70.900
Shakò, belts in black leather
Vallejo German grey 70.995
Belts in white leather
Italeri Flat Sand
Backpack, waterbottle, carbine wood
Games Workshop Gorthor Brown
Bags, cartridges in leather
Vallejo German grey 70.995, Italeri Flat leather, Italeri Flat Sand
Cuffs, Shakò pompon
Vallejo Deep green 70.970
Steel and Brass
Vallejo Natural steel 70.864 + Italeri Gloss Brass


I just noticed on Shakò64 a fantastic uniform guide for Naepolitan Cacciatori, by Cosimo Auricchio, check it here.


  • Giancarlo Boeri, Piero Crociani, Massimo Fiorentino, "L'Esercito Borbonico dal 1830 al 1861" I° Tomo Stato Maggiore dell'Esercito Ufficio Storico.
  • Stefano Ales, “L'Esercito delle due Sicilie uniformi equipaggiamento armamento 1850-1860”
  • Gabriele Esposito, Giuseppe Rava, “Armies of the Italian Wars of Unification 1848-70 (1)”, Osprey Publishing
  • Illustraton from "Vinkhuijzen Collection"