giovedì 30 marzo 2017

Lion Rampant - Armies on the cheap #2 Feudal Age


Hi again! This is the second "on the cheap" post. Today I'll focus on the Feudal Age, a period between 1066 and the start of HYW (arbitrary decision).

Plastic brands and boxes

Conquest Games Norman Knights (15 for 20£),  Norman Infantry (44 for 20£) and Medevial Archers (28 for 20£). 
Of course Norman type soldiers represent the "standard" knights for 1000-1100 AD, so they can be used for Imperial Germans and Early Crusader (1st Crusade for sure), just to name two. Both Infantry and Archers offers (especially the latter, they have a good choice of hedgears) a good add on for dark age figure types listed here.
Conquest Games also sells some resin converting kits, heads and shields allowing you to field your Norman Knights as Sicilian Norman or Andalusian Norman. The latter could easily work for early Crusader or Western Byzantine mercenaries. One kit costs 5£ for 6 heads or 6 shields. I think for Sicilian Norman 6 heads + 6 shields could suffice for a conversion.
This producer offers discount on multiple boxes purchase.

Hät Miniatures they are often overlooked, but they produce a small (by any means) range of 28mm labeled miniatures. They are very small, more 25mm, though, so I wouldn't mix them with any other producer. The mounted troops seems to be pretty fair on scale (still both have definitely more human like proportions, so they look "strange"). The details are of lower quality too, still their cost is so low they should be took into account. Their Napoleonic are way better, I have some and I appreciate them. The ranges of our interest are from El Cid Series: Spanish heavy and light infantry, Andalusian and Almoravid heavy and light infantry and cavalry. Spanish command and cavalry are under construction. I won't analyse each box, but the infatry one usually consists of 32 models, the cavalry ones 12 models, both with some variety, but they are casted in one piece (less the weapons and shields for infantry). The cost should be around 13-16€ per box. So if you don't need big deep details to sculpt and are prepared to wait for Spanish Cavalry and have smaller figures with about 40€ you should have plenty of figures for each army. (See my lists below)

Gripping Beast in their plastic range we found three boxes of Arab figures: 
Arab Spearmen and Archers: 40 models (up to 16 archers, 16 javelinemen or 40 spearmen) - 22£
Arab Heavy Cavalry: 12 models - 22£
Arab Light Cavalry: 12 models  - 22 £
These models could go from the Arab invasion to the late crusades, could work as mamelukes against the Ottoman (the Heavy Cavalry) and for the Ottoman itself, the Light Cavalry and the Spearmen and Archers. So 10/10 for usefulness. Maybe they could even represent Andalusians (instead of using Hat models, but I'm not enough into Reconquista Spain for this). The Arab Light Cavalry box allow you to field the models also as Turcoman, I think they could be used until 19th century Turkish army or Russian (Tatars?).

Eccentric miniatures (just for knowledge) have some old school plastic foot knights (16$ for 16 miniatures) and longbowmen (10$ for 8 archers). A lot of pieces for any single soldier. Interestingly they offer separate torsos, legs, weapons, all casted in plastic.

Fireforge Miniatures is the winner brand for Feudal Age, lets see their range (in plastic):
Teutonic and Templar order (specular): they both feature an Infantry and a cavalry box. The first is 24 foot (spearmen and crossbowmen) for 27€, the latter 12 knights for 27€.
Men at Arms: the "generic" western medieval soldiers for 1200-1350 (Communal wars anyone? Later Crusaders). Here you can find Foot Sergeants (awesome mix of 48 crossbowmen and spearmen) for 39€, 24 medieval archers for 27€ and two boxes of knights/sergeants (main difference the horse barded or unbarded).
Mongols see here, useful in a lot of roles, and essential to confront your Teutonic knights.
Russians: the only plastic box is for the infantry: 25 soldiers (mixed weapon, axes, spears, bows, swords) for 27€. Closing an eye could be used as Byzantine in the 11th century. It's a real pity the rest of the range is casted in resin.
Scandinavian: the last release from Fireforge involves these fantastic post Viking Scandinavian Infantry 25 models (as usual spearmen and bowmen can both be built) for the usual 27€. This are armoured models, more suitable to represent Leidang mixed formations of heavy infantry and archers provided by commoners/free farmers to their ruler.

Perry Miniatures they offer a nice HYW range and one from WoTR. I'm going to analyse the latter on a separate post. For HYW there are three boxes(20£ each):
English Army 1415-1429 (36 models, for 12 foot men at arms and 24 longbowmen)
Agincourt French Infantry (36 infantrymen with spears, polexes, swords, crossbows and 6 dismounted knights)
Agincourt Knights (36 dismounted knights/men at arms, 18 English and 18 French, but entirely interchangeable for most Western ountries of the period).
Bear in mind this range is slimmer and a tad smaller than Fireforge range, so I advice caution in mixing infantry from this two manifacturers in the same unit.


Norman

1 Mounted MAA @6 points
1 Mounted Sergeants @4 points
2 Foot Sergeants @8points
1 Archers @4points
1 Bidowers@2 points

Conquest Games, one box per type (knight, infantry and archers) is all you need.3 boxes.

Norman Sicilian

2 Mounted MAA @12 points ->one Conquest Games Norman knight box
2 Yeomen + mixed weapon @10 points -> GB Arab Infantry (Arab Subjects)
1 Bidower @2points -> GB Arab Infantry (Arab Subjects)

+Conquest Games converting heads (5£, if you wish)

Crusaders

2 Mounted MAA @12 points
1 Mounted Sergeants @4points
1 Foot Sergeants @4points
1 Crossbowmen @4 points

Here you can go either with Conquest Games Norman for early Crusader, or with Fireforge for later. Of course Holy Orders are also aivalable.

Arab (Seljuk and Fatimid)


One box per type of GB plastic arab and you can do almost anything :)

El Cid Spanish

1 Mounted MAA @6points
2 Mounted Yeomen+Javelins @6 points (Jinetes)*
2 Foot Sergeants @8points
2 Bidowers @4 points

For the knights and the sergeants use Conquest Normans. The Norman Infantry will provide the heads (attention there are not extra heads in the box!) for converting the GB Arab Light Cavalry into Spanish Jinetes. You need to swap the head with an occidental like one and to replace some shields with adargas (TAG sells packs of 10 for 4£, you need at least 6). For the bidowers use whatever you like, GB dark age with javelins, GB dark age archers, Conquest Medieval Archers. You might also find suitable heads  for Jinetes. I wouldn't bother with Hät Spanish infantry, it's very similar to Conquest Norman and decisively small.

Andalusian

1 Mounted Sergeants* @4 points
2 Mounted Yeomen+javelins @6 points
2 Foot Yeomen @6 points
1 Archers @ 4points
2 Bidowers @6 points 

If you want to give Hät a try, it's the perfect list. Historically they're more accurate than GB.
Otherwise you could use just their cavarly (which is slim, but almost correct sized) and GB Arab infantry.

Berber (Almuravid)

1 Mounted Sergeants* @4 points
1 Mounted Yeomen+javelins @3 points
3 Foot Yeomen @9 points
1 Fierce Foot @4 points
1 Archers @ 4points

Same. I need a brave reader who tries out Hät miniatures and post them here!! (Possibly comparing them to GB infantry).

Communal Italian Army

1 Mounted MAA @6 points
1 Mounted Sergeants@4 points
2 Foot Sergeants @8points
1 Crossbowmen + pavises @6 points

Here you can achieve one army with just two Fireforge Boxes: Sergeants at Arms and Foot Sergeants. With small changes (Mounted Sergeants + crossbows) you can probably represent an Imperial Army as well. 

HYW English

2 Foot MAA @12 points
2 Expert Archers @12 points

This is the famous one box army, can be made using exactly one Perry's English Army box.

HYW French

2 Mounted MAA @ 12points
2 Foot Sergeants @ 8points
1 Crossbowmen @ 4points

Here one Fireforge Mounted Sergeants (barded horses) and one Perry Angicourt French Infantry or Fireforge Sergeants would suffice.

...other ideas could be Mongol (from Fireforge boxes), Russian (you lack appropriate cavalry, but you could try converting Conquest Norman with Fireforge Russian bits + dark age archers from GB).



The following lists have been kindly suggested by Dalauppror and offer a different taste of the period and a good way to use the new Fireforge Post Viking Scandinavian Box.

Swedish ledung army ca 1100-1250

1 foot men at arms @ 6 points (hird of the leader) 
3 foot serjants with mixed weapons @ 18 points

 Total 42 minis. I.e. exactly 2 boxes of Fireforge Post Viking Scandinavians.

Danish ca 1100-1250

The Danish mounted serjants would have crossbow and the Danes would not have as much mixed formations like the Swedes. During this period in the Danish Army there was a great use of German mercenaries.

1 mounted/foot men att arms @ 6 points (knights/noble men) 
1 mounted Sergeants + Crossbowmen @ 4 points (germans) 
1 Crossbowmen @ 4 points (germans) 
1 foot serjants @ 4 points (germans) 
1 foot serjants with mixed weapons @ 6 points ( Danish ledung) 

For German mercenaries Fireforge Men at Arm series boxes should provide suitable models, so you need one Foot Sergeants Box, One Mounted Sergeants and one Post Viking Scandinavian box.

lunedì 27 marzo 2017

Lion Rampant - Armies on the cheap #1 Dark Age


Today I'm starting a new series of article: Armies on the cheap.

It will discuss mainly about the chance of recruiting a new army without spending too much. Of course whenever possible the armies will be done using plastic miniatures, because they're cheaper and provide great chance for conversions. (I warn you, I'm not a fanatical historician, so I'll sometimes proxy miniatures, where historically correct alternative are not aivalable).
 
I'll focus mainly on Lion Rampant retinue, but you can feel free to exploit my considerations for whethever ruleset you desire.

As general rule of thumb I'm going to make an overview of the plastic miniatures aivalable on the market, then I'll speculate about what you can actually build using them.

First issue: Dark Age. The excuse is the publishing of Gripping Beasts plastic dark age archers



GRIPPING BEASTS

Dark Age Archer, here (18£): 30 archers suitable for almost anything western army from 4th to 10th century. Fantastic for formed archers and skirmishers. Can be found in a pack of six for 8.5£.

Dark Age Warriors, here (22£): 40 not armoured warriors, with round shields. They looks barbaric, so you can use them for barbarian people from the Barbaric Invasion to the late 10th century (as levy), through all Europe (included very early feudal Spain, Carolingians and Lombards), and British Islands, at least until 1066.

Saxon Thegns, here (22£): 40 armoured saxon warriors, upper class. They represent the nobilty of the Saxons. I feel they can be appropriate to represent the nobles either of the Barbarian invaders of the Roman Empire or the Saxon at Hastings 1066. They should work for Ostrogoths, Lombards and all the others barbarian kingdom during those centuries: the archeological evidence is so poor, any attempt to differentiate the various barbarian warriors is extremely hypotetic. With some regards, they could work as Italian Lombards of the IX century or Merovingian French (I hope I'm not being too heretic here).

Vikings Hirdmen, here (22£): 40 fully armoured Vikings. Ok here it's easy. Vikings noble. Mix with the Saxon Thegns for variety, just pay attention to some helms and weapons typically Vikings. (any horned helm, anyway). Good for fighting Skraeling, too.

Late Roman Infatry, here (22£): 44 late Roman (Eastern and Western) auxilliary or legionary infantrymen. 16 Archers, 16 Unarmored Spearmen, 8 Armoured Spearmen, 4 Commands.


Please notice also that: GB offers a discount for three plastic boxes deals (60£ instead than 66£), and
LBMS provide decals for all the plastic GB dark age boxes (3.5£ for 12 decals sheet).


FIREFORGE

Mongol Horse Archers, here (27€) : 12 horse archers: they should work fine for any Steppe horsemen from Hunnic to Mongol Invasions. So I'd field them as Huns in 5th century, as Avars, Cumans, Pechenegs and so on.

Steppe Warriors, here (27€): 24 steppe warriors, well, see above.



As some of the readers may have noted, there is pratically any option for Dark Age Cavalry in plastic.

Roaming the net, I found an interesting conversion possibility. I must thank Bob's blog (specifically this entry) for the idea. He basically suggest to convert the Conquest Games Norman Knights plastic box (here, 20£ for 15 knights) into Saxon heavy cavarly.

Judging from the result that could work. If you're not so picky, you can obtain, sacrificing some miniatures, basically heads and shields: Late Roman cavarlymen, Saxons (or Goths) Noble cavalry. I know it's not much, but better than no options. 

So let's see which fantastic list we can build with those awesome miniatures! I will take into account the chance to divide the sprues between two gamers/armies. So the cost is effective per sprue. If you are alone (or your club mate don't need an other army), Lead Forum offers a topic to discuss about sharing sprues. I use as reference, the author (Dan Mersey) post on Dark Age armies for Lion Rampant, as well as Field of Glory Companions: Legions Triumphant, Wolves from the sea and Decline and Fall.


Lists (reference)  

To convert Conquest Games Norman Knights (a) you would require helmtet wearing heads and shields from Saxon Thegns or Viking Hirdmens, for (b) from Late Roman Infantry.

 

1. Vikings 

2 Foot Companions* @ 12 points -> 12 models, from Vikings Hirdmen
2 Upper Class Spearmen @ 8 points -> 24 models, from Vikings Hirdmen
1 Archers @ 4 points -> 12 models, from Dark Age archers

My own version, I changed the Warriors, i.e. Berserk, with Archers, because there is no suitable model for Viking Berserk in plastic, unless you recicle some Hirdmen. Of course you can throw in some Saxon Thegns or Dark Age Warriors for more variety, but here I'm focusing on being cheap.

2. Anglo-Saxon 

2 Foot Companions* @ 12 points -> 12 models, from Saxon Thegns
1 Upper Class Spearmen @ 4 points ->12 models mix of Dark Age Warriors and Saxon Thegns
2 Lower Class Spearmen @ 6 points -> 24 models from Dark Age Warriors
1 Skirmishers @ 2 points -> 6 models, from Dark Age archers

3. Generic Barbarian People of Migrations (Saxons, Juti, Angli, Goths, Franks)

2 Mounted Companions* @8 points -> 12 models converted Conquest Norman Knights (a)
1 Upper Class Spearmen @4 points -> 12 models from Saxon Thegns
2 Lower Class Spearmen @6 points -> 24 models from Dark Age Warriors
1 Archers @4 points -> 12 models from Dark Age Archers
1 Skirmishers @2 points -> 6 models from Dark Age Archers

Ok this is a very generic list, so feel free to play with it: upgrade or downgrade the spearmen, drop a Mounted Companion unit for more archers or mixed formations of archers and lower spearmend (suggested for 6th century Italian Ostrogoths), add a unit of mercenary Huns horse archers (Raiders@4 points->6models, using Fireforge Mongols).

4. Late Romans (West)

1 Mounted Companions* @6 points -> 6 models, converted Conquest Norman Knights (b)
2 Lower Class Spearmen Mixed Weapons @10 points ->24 models from Late Roman Infantry
1 Archers @4 points ->12 models from Late Roman Infantry
1 Skirmishers@2 points ->6 models from Late Roman Infantry

The mixed weapons represent the Auxiliary mixed formations with archers behind the spearmen, the  Upper Class the Legionary Comitatenses. Feel free to add Barbarian Mercenaries, either as Upper or Lower class spearmen, or as Cavalry or as Horse Archers.

5. Huns

2 Expert Raiders*@12 points ->12 models, from Mongol Horse Archers
1 Mounted Companions@4 points-> 6 models, converted Conquest Norman Knights (a)
2 Lower Spearmen@6 points->24 models, from Dark Age Warriors
1 Skirmisher @2 points ->6 models, from Dark Age archers

The Germanic type here represent the subjected people the Huns lead in battles. You can use Steppe Warriors, instead, but I feel this would be more appropriate.






So, final considerations. Most of the armies can be made by 2 to 3 boxes, and a lot of variety can be achieved sharing the sprues. For example the Norman Knights to convert can be easily divided between two armies, and also the Mongol horse archers for variety. You would rarely need all of them. So 2-3 boxes, means an army for 40-60£. Can be done in lead? Of course. Can be done better? Probably. Can be cheaper? I don't think so (I haven't checked, to be honest). By the way 3 boxes is what you need to have some discount from GB, and the option of purchasing just 6 archers for the skirmisher unit it's really handful.

Well, I hope I gave you enough things to reflect upon! Let me know what comes to your mind about this topic, and if you buy a new army I'll like to see it!

Next issue: Early Feudal Armies! Stay tuned, because some units will be usable also for the lists I imagined in this post.

PS. I made a mistake. I knew Warlord Games took rhe rights over the Wargames Factory plastic boxes and didn't released them. I didn't realised they had some suitable plastic. They're branded for an earlier period, but could be a nice addition to any Barbarian (or semi Barbarian, for late Romans) force. It will also enable you to field  mounted and foot skirmisher armed with javelin. Could provide also viable models for Viking Berserkers!!! I'll had them there:

WARLORD GAMES


Ancient Celts Cavalry (here, 22£) -> 10 cavarly, useful for lighty armoured raiders (javelins, at least!)
Tribesmen of Germania (here, 22£)-> 43 early German infantrymen (bare chested warriors for berserkers!)
Ancient Britons (here, 22£) ->40 early Britons, could do as Pict?
Others (Dacian Falxmen and Noble, Ancient Celts Infantry here)


So the new list aivalable (straightly from Mersey's blog) could be:

Pictish and Scottish

·      2 Riders with Javelins* @ 6 points ->12 models, Ancient Celts Cavalry
·      3 Lower Class Spearmen with Javelins @ 12 points ->36 models, Ancient Britons
    3 Skirmishers @ 6 points ->18 models, mix archers and javelinemen
 

lunedì 20 marzo 2017

About Lion Rampant Army Size


I was talking with some friends and the topic of the conversation fell upon Lion Rampant. One of my friends was concerned about the size of the battles recreated with this rulset. He argued there are too few models for a "real" battle. Here I'll try to adress his concern and draft an answer.

First, you must assess what "real" means. If you mean realistic, well, it's a game, so it's all in the eyes of the players. For sure small clash between opponent retinue happened, and this was even more common during Middle Ages. I know that Lion Rampant, for the author self admission, isn't aimed to provide an academic simulation of medieval warfare. Again, it's a game: it's meant to be fun giving you the feeling of being a medieval (small) battle. Otherwise you should just play an aspecific boardgame, without any historical setting, if you care only about the mechanics.

I think LR truly succed in give us the "medieval flavour". I see the flow and ebb I expected after reading about rash knights and sturdy communal spearmen trying to resist them behind their pavises, Vikings berserk blindy charging whirling their axes and Arab mounted archers evading the crusaders heavy knights.

(In addiction, of course, playing a boardgame wouldn't allow us to field a table of beautifully painted minis)

Ok, enough for general consideration. I just want to dig a little about the Medieval warfare, to show you why Lion Rampant number of minis is perfectly reasonable.

I recently read "La Castellana, appunti di un viaggio nel tempo", by Flavio Trentin, a local historician. The book is about the history of the area around Castelfranco Veneto, a town in Northern Italy, in Veneto (the region of Venice). It was founded in the 1195AD by the city of Treviso as a fortress to defend the western borders of its territory. Of course the town was fortified (as the name itself assesses: Castelfranco means Free Castle, free from the taxation to provide a better defence), and the castle walls are without doubt main feature in the landscape of the town still today. Similar fortified towns were founded in Veneto Region during those centuries, as Cittadella, about 30 kilometers away, by rival Cities (the Comuni), warring each others until Venice conquered all those lands, ending the wars between differend Cities.

Castelfranco Veneto walls nowaday


After this long introduction I want to quote some figures, the author gives about the strenght of the garrisons of the main military outposts in the area.

Treviso army, during peace time, was constituted by 50 knights, when during wars all the population between 16 and 60 could be called to fight and should be able to provide for themselves some kind of body armour o reinforced jacket, a sword, a shield and a spear.
Consuls (military administrators) should provide crossbows and the villagers a bow, every 160 "fuochi" (i.e. hearth, a fiscal unit of measure for populatio, see). Since a hearth is averaged to 5 people, about 800 people are needed to provide an archer and/or crossbowmen. Also very interesting the distinction between villagers and towners/citiziens.

Then, the most interesting parts: the garrisons. The author lists for 1315:

Mestre (2 captains and 20 guards)
Castelfranco (2 consuls and 11 guards)
Asolo (2 captains and 8 guards)
Conegliano (1 podestà and 12 guards) (Podestà is the higher civilian autority)
...and some others, all of diminishing numbers.

Then you must add the some minor garrison at rivers and roads crossing wards.

So we see, a small amount of knight (50) and some dozen of professional garrison soldiers, the people levy and of course mercenaries, could represent an hypothetical army for a medium sized Comune (Treviso). Of course, no one would risk the entire army in a single battle and for the scale of the battle Lion Rampant seems to adress, i.e. small clashes between retinues, the figures are entirely justified. I would like to hear your thoughts about this topic either here and on Lion Rampant facebook group!


Bibliography
  • Flavio Trentin, La Castellana. Appunti di un viaggio nel tempo. 1994, Edizioni Scolastiche Castelfranco

domenica 19 marzo 2017

Et Sans Resultat! - my review (a repost)

Et Sans Resultat! The best grand tactical Napoleonic Ruleset I tried since a long time.


When I started wargaming here in Verona, we had neither a Napoleonic ruleset, nor adequate miniatures. That was quite peculiar, as the Napolenic Wars are one of the favourite periods for wargamers around the world.
After some years, I decided to start a Napoleonic project with Marco, the only other player interested in that era. After some checking on the Net for adequate rulesets, we found some interesting ones: we got a few, tried some, and will try more in the future.
We found the lack of a clearly dominant ruleset quite peculiar, thus  we had to choose by ourselves what we wanted to pursuit. Some characteristics are mutually exclusive, such as the difference in focus between the tactical control and the “grand tactical” one: to achieve both seems to be beyond the possibiliy for any wargames, without becoming muddled in endless minutiae and almost impossible to play or enjoy.
So we split our search into two different fields: a “grand tactical” ruleset and a tactical one. During my search I found on TMP news about a recently published ruleset that piqued my interest, and I got the general impression that it was focused both on command and control and relatively “rules-light”. That was what I was searching, and I had to try it!
That game was Et Sans Resultat! (ESR from now on). Delivery required some time (the US is kinda far from my quaint little Verona, after all!). From the graphical standpoint, the book is a very pleasant view: it’s a full colour spiral book, nicely illustrated, with the rules clearly supported by examples. You could say I loved it already.

We tried it with the stock redoubtable cardboard stands – still lacking minis for the age, sadly!- and we liked it quite a bit: the rules gave us the “feel” of being a Corps commander in a  Napoleonic epic, without having to worry too much about tactical nuances, or details like checking when a formation had to form square or line or whatever. I won’t focus particularly on the details of the ruleset here, as I’ll give a link to my own review of ESR at the bottom of this article.

No miniatures, for now

So we started buying and painting (very slowly, as usual) our miniatures: we picked French (of course), Austrians and Russians. The chosen period was approximately 1805-1809, because in those years there were some battles in our Northern Italy,  as well as in the Central Europe.
In the meanwhile, the author of ESR, David M. Ensteness, who is very active on the social networks and on the Yahoo group about ESR, adressed many of the concerns and improved the rules by publishing an updated Second Edition. The graphics were even better, the rules  clearer and simpler to grasp, with many unclear points explained more thoroughly, reducing the chance of different interpretations.
Last year we ran a demo game of ESR at Verona Model Expo. We have to thanks Stefano Bassetti, who borrowed us his huge (and awesomely painted, I may add!) 6 mm collection. We had a rather interesting scenario, loosingly based upon 1809 Bavarian Campaign.



Then others projects stumbled in, and real life tooks its toll, so our Napoleonic gaming and painting slowed down considerably. We still managed to try FOGN and we’re going trying GdB for the tactical level game (stay tuned on the blog for news about them!).
I also purchased the second campaign book published for ESR, “Roll up That Map”,  focused on the year 1805 in Germany.

And so we get to the current day, and I’m proud to announce you I managed to publish my first article on a wargaming magazine. My review of ESR 2nd edition has been published on the last issue (January 2017 – number 63) of “Dadi e Piombo”. For the non-Italian readers, “Dadi e Piombo” (Dices and Lead, literally), is the only wargaming and miniature magazine currently published, once every 4 months, in Italy. It also organises two main events in our hobby conventions in our country: Milano Wargames and Dadi.com in San Marino.


Well, enough chatting, you can found my review here, both in Italian and in English:
http://thewargamingcompany.com/pdfs/Dadi-Piombo_Magazine_Review_in_Italian.pdf



Should you be interested in Et Sans Resultat!

Its website:
Yahoo group:
And the Facebook page:
We also started an Italian Group:


*All the images are used with permission of The Wargaming Company

venerdì 17 marzo 2017

Commandos are coming!


Eventually I decided to start gaming WW2 in 28mm scale. I had and hard time deciding the rules to use, but, according my new philosophy (the important thing is playing), I followed the majority. Since in my area (Verona, in Northern Italy), there is a cospicuous group of Bolt Action Players, I decided gettin' into it. The rules provide a simulation of about a platoon per side, it's not the most historically accurated rulset, but it's fun to play, doesn't requires ton of miniatures and it's very easy to learn. 

My closer friends already own Germans and Americans, so, I decided to go Brit. I've always liked peculiar troops: I find regular infantry boring, so I decided to purchase a Commandos army. I loved them in Company of Heroes, too (a PC videogame).

A Detail of Warlord's Commandos! Box front cover

So I found this bargain, through the Bolt Action sell and swap group on facebook and I've been able to do my army on a budget (IIRC about 60€).

The "Starter" army

Here we have: A Commandos box, plus some extra sprue, a British Army Command (the medic inside is a great plus), and a Vickers HMG. Then I got a Tamyia Bren Carrier and a Warlord AEC mk III to add some anti-tank power (I cannot rely on a PIAT squad). 

I should be able to squeeze a 750 points army out of these. Of course a serious Tank has to be purchased, I cannot decide between a Churchill or a Cromwell. Buffalo and Tetrarch are also viable future purchases for fun. But it's enough for now. Time to go asssembling!


Lot of pieces!!!! OMG, when will I assemble this carrier?!

mercoledì 15 marzo 2017

Dark Age Lion Rampant

Last week on the Lion Rampant Facebook group, someone linked a post on Daniel Mersey's blog (the author of LR), in which he suggested how to adapt LR to play with Dark Age warbands. The post can be found here.

Basically the author gave us a table for converting troops types and added some boasts. One very appreciated addition is the "Holy men and Banners" upgrade: costing 1 point and being usable by any unit (except the leader's one), it's a great way to use a spare point. 

We decided to test the gameplay, thanks to Paolo, who provided us with his dark age miniatures. The straggle was set in a desertic enviroment and saw a Byzantine Warband fighting some mutinous Vikings.

The Viking warband has been taken straghtly from Mersey's blog, while the Byzantine was improvised. The lists are the following:

Viking
2 Foot Companions* @12 points
2 Upper Class Spearmen @8 points
1 Warriors @ 4 points

Byzantine
1 Cataphracts* @ 6points
1 Mounted Companions+bows @5 points
2 Lower Class Spearmen+mixed weapons+1 holy cross @11 points
1 Skirmishers @2 points

The leaders were respectively Rash and Vulnerable.

The game started with an initial Byzantine prevalence: every unit could shoot, except the Cataphracts. On the Byzantine right flank, one unit of Vikings spearmen and the Warriors suffered the greatest from shoot and were routed. The Byzantine scheme was simple: batter the enemy unit with shoot and charge them with the Mounted Companions.

On the opposite flank, the Cataphract obligatory charge against the Foot Companions proved undecisive. A failed countercharge posed them under severe threat. 

The situation seemed almost irremediably lost for the Vikings, when the Byzantine General (me) failed two shoot orders in a row, allowing the Foot Companions to reach the byzantine infantry. The Mounted Companions were repelled twice and the fight degenerated quickly: the Byzantine leader was killed in action (its unit was wiped out entirely) and the table reversed. The game ended with just four units on the table: for the Byzantine a battered unit of Mounted Companions (1 model) and a lower spearmen unit (with their cross helping passing their morale test), against two unit of Foot Companions, both reduced to one man, but still able to rout several enemies. So the Vikings won the match 15-12.

We had a great fun. The mod confirms the ability of LR to manage really well the "medieval" warfare. We are very happy of this mod, which give us the chance to purchase additional armies for a well known and funny ruleset. I'm already tinkering about which dark age army I shall make, since I own any. The aivalable opponents are: Hospitaliers (about XI century), Muslims (Crusaders), Byzantine, Vikings. I'm considering doing a Sicilian Norman army. A mix of Normans and Arabs sounds fun, I like uncoventional - mash up armies. Stay tuned!

 


Everything shoot! (Notice the cross on the right)

Cataphracts POW

My club armed leader: the last to die (but he's still died)

martedì 14 marzo 2017

Milano Wargames and Model Expo


This year I already joined two different conventions: on 17th February I was in Novegro for MilanoWargames, organised by Dadi e Piombo, the only wargame magazine currently published in Italy. http://milanowargames.blogspot.it/

Few days ago (11-12th March), I was in Verona for Model Expo, a modelism (+cosplayer+games) convention in my city. http://www.modelexpoitaly.it/

In both convention I held a Lion Rampant demo game together with Luca. The scenario was set during the Wars in Lombardy (1423–1454 AD), a series of semi-continuous wars between the Duchy of Milan and the Most Serene Republic of Venice and the respective (and incostant) allies, for the control of the Northern Italy. Many of the most famous Condottiere fought in some moment in this conflict, some as young officers and other as hardened veterans. Between them Da Montone, Piccinini, Da Carmagnola and Sforza.

It was the perfect occasion to use our Condottiere's armies, made up mainly of Perry Miniatures. Luca's army (Muzio Attendolo's troops serving Sforza for Milan) was entirely plastic, while mine was a mix of plastic and lead Venetian army, serving under Colleoni's family.

The table actracted a lot of attention, and many visitors stopped to ask informations about the game or the miniature. In Milan, the guest stars were the table cloth (hand made) and the houses, from Tabletop Miniatures, awesomely painted by Luca.

Luca's light cavalry and Tabletop inn (Milano Wargames)

My Stradiots fighting at Model Expo

Both the convention were, by my personal point of view, a great success. Lion Rampant has a nice look on the table (we played with 28mm miniatures of course) and catch the visitors' eyes, and it's simple enough to be explained to new players in five minutes and mastered in ten. I can state that after 15 minutes they were fully able to play by themselves. Of course the summary cards designed by Tim Charzinski, were of great help, bringing the only information one player needs to remember directly under his eyes. And thery're pretty pleasant to see on the table. I cannot recomend them more! (https://charzinski.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/unit-cards-and-retinuecreator-for-lion-rampant/)

Of course it's not a deeply strategic game, but, as introductory ruleset to help not historical or even not miniature gamers to join the hobby it's a wonderful starting point. Of course it's also a perfect ruleset for a relaxing evening game. I hope I wil be able to publish a proper review for Italian gamers in the next issue of Dadi and Piombo, stay tuned!

I will dedicate a separate post to my shopping at the conventions!

~ Riccardo

lunedì 13 marzo 2017

Welcome again, my friends.


As I promised I moved my blogger activity to Blogspot!
This will be a short introductory post, to introduce myself. 

I'm an Italian wargamer, settled in Verona, I'm quite young (25 years old), and I've been wargaming for seven years.

I like almost any historical period, and my personal motto is: "the important thing is to play and to have fun", that said, I play almost anything I've occasion to. I'm most dedicated to historical miniature wargame, but I don't dislike boardgames or RPG.

You can find my previous post (some will be reposted here) in my club blog: www.bandofbutei.wordpress.com

Some more detailed information about my wargaming activity: 
My main interest are the big clash of the Antiquity, the Late Roman Empire, the Venetian history (as I live in Veneto Region, and I'm particularly keen on local history ), the Napoleonic age and the WW2. 

The decadence and fall has always fascinated me: so Rome in 476 AD, Venice in 1797 AD or Berlin '45 are all suitable topic of interest.

My favourite rulesets (read and played):

  • Lion Rampant and the "Rampant system": Pikeman's Lament, Dragon Rampant and The Men Who Would be Kings
  • Et Sans Resultat
  • Warfare in the Age of Reason
  • Ronin and En Garde!
  • Legends of the high sea
  • Bolt Action
  • Battlefront WW2
  • Field of Glory AM and R
  • Lost Battle (read)
  • X-Wing