Sunday, 15 October 2017

Byzantine Tactica

With this week's game delayed until tonight I am again spared the task of doing a battle report which I have forgotten to take half the photos for. I have however made some progress on my Knights of Lazarus using Fireforge Templar models and some rather nice transfers from Battle Flag. I have not yet completed a unit but the eight Sergeant Crossbowmen have been Quickshaded and are waiting for that to dry before being varnished. I am also trying a new basing technique using a mixture of Polyfilla, sand and acrylic paint, this has gone on pretty well but seems to be taking a while to set fully ( 4 hours and counting ).

The bases look pretty good so far and I will give them a wash and then a dry brush to add some depth. I am not sure whether to add any grass or bushes or just leave them as a plain sandy base, once I have finished the dry brushing it may be more clear cut.
I have also started on some Sergeant Spearmen and took a quick picture just to show how much the Quickshade adds with a minimal amount of skill/effort on my part.

With the Byzantines about to have their first outing I have been giving some thought to the best way to use the Battleboard.

With my list from last week in mind I would expect a standard setup for the Byzantines to be the two units of Warrior spearmen in front with the Warrior archers behind and then the Hearthguard cavalry holding one flank.
The board has two abilities you can use during the opponent's turn, Mutual Support & Common Efforts. Mutual Support can be activated with any dice if an enemy is activated with 6" of a bow armed unit. I'm not sure how useful this will be as I don't have any bow armed Hearthguard and most likely the foot archers will be hidden behind the spearmen. Common Efforts can be activated with a common dice and allows you to move 2 fatigue to another unit, this could be very useful for moving fatigue from a melee unit to a supporting archer unit.
Normally units cannot shoot through another unit so placing a ranged unit behind another unit would render them useless, with Massed Archery ( costing a common & uncommon dice ) this restriction can be ignored allowing the archers to fire safe from enemy attentions. This is quite an expensive ability but I suspect one that will be used pretty often until the battle lines close. Support Archers also allows the Byzantines to ignore LOS blocking and only costs one dice ( uncommon or rare ) but will most likely only be used when a charge is received due to the range restrictions on it. Strategikon will also mostly be used when receiving a charge so it may be that the Byzantines best tactic for the infantry is to get in bow range and then try to draw the enemy into combat rather than charging in themselves.
For the cavalry they can make use of two abilities, Kontos will allow them to hit hard as well as be activated for a movement, the cost of an uncommon and a rare does make this expensive though. Withdrawal will allow the cavalry to make a long range charge into enemy lines and then disengage 12" rather than the normal 4". This should leave them back within friendly lines and possibly mean the enemy cannot charge them before they can shed some fatigue. This would seem to be a good ability for picking off units and then getting out of Dodge.
Of course no plan survives contact with the enemy so we will see what those tricksy Normans try this evening. The Normans are also an army balanced between shooting and fighting so we may see a shooting match develop before the melee units get stuck in.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

For the Emperor

This week Mick and I finished off sticking his Normans / Early Crusaders together and onto bases so again we did not get a game in. Now that they have been completed we should be back to actually pushing models around a table next week.

I did complete my Byzantine army this week and now have seven points of troops to choose from.

In SAGA the normal army size is 6 points with your general being free ( unless you choose a special general ) 1 point = 4 Hearthguard = 8 Warriors = 12 Levy with the troops being less effective individually as the number you get for a point increases.

I have painted up 3 points Hearthguard making for 12 mounted men and 4 points of Warriors making 32 foot troops as well as a mounted General.
Once you have purchased your troops they can then be split into units of between 4-12 men and given equipment.

The Byzantines have the option of arming the mounted Hearthguard with bows ( also lowers their armour ) or as I have done sticking with the Kontos. The Warriors can either be spearmen or archers ( again lowers armour ) and the Levy are always armed with Javelins. The equipment options vary between factions with some getting more options than others but all following historical lines, so no mounted Viking armies for instance.

The main difference between SAGA and the standard wargames rule set is that it uses a unique Battleboard for each faction with abilities being activated by placing dice on them. The dice are generated at a rate of 2 for your General and then 1 per unit of Hearthguard or Warriors. A maximum of 6 dice can be rolled each turn so you want to make sure that you have enough units to generate at least that many dice and if a unit is lost then it generates no dice. Each SAGA dice has 3 common symbols, 2 uncommon, & 1 rare so some abilities will be more difficult to activate than others.

The Byzantine Battleboard is built around cooperation with abilities that allow you to shoot through your own units and into combat as well as a couple of abilities for the Kontos armed Hearthguard. This would seem to favour a balanced force of spears, archers and cavalry.

My initial idea is to field 2 points of Hearthguard and 4 points of Warriors organised into :

1 General
1 Unit 8 Hearthguard
2 Units 8 Warrior Spearmen
2 Units 8 Warrior Archers

The Hearthguard could be split into 2 smaller units but having a decisive charge with one larger unit stacking the favourable abilities may prove more useful than the flexibility of two smaller units, only time will tell.

The advantage of a nice skirmish game is that the army does not take long to get painted and ready for the table so I also have some Military orders chaps to paint up and they should be appearing soon(ish).

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Sticky Fingers

This week rather than playing a game we had a glueing evening to help Mick get his Normans together. I didn't take any pictures as looking at grey models isn't that inspiring but we did manage to get pretty much the whole force stuck together within two hours so all Mick needs to do now is paint them up. I look forward to posting some pictures in the future of the completed models. My Byzantine cavalry also arrived so some of those have gone straight onto the painting blocks and with just the thirteen needed for the complete army they should be hitting the table pretty soon.

I took the chance this week to get the entire Twilight Kin army onto the table with the Lycan allies also making an appearance to get a proper group photo shoot done.

The full force would be around 5000 points before magic items and consists of :
2 Regiments Crossbows
1 Regiment Buccaneers
3 Regiments Shadows
3 Regiments Reaper Guard
4 Troops Blade Dancers
2 Troops Gargoyles
2 Twilight Bolt Thrower
2 Twilight Dragon Breath
1 Hydra
1 Dark Lord on Black Pegasus
1 Dark Lord on Black Dragon
2 Dark Lords on Foot ( one with Wings )
1 Dark Lord on Lizard Mount
1 Assassin on Foot
2 High Priestesses on Foot
1 High Priestess on Lizard Mount
1 Army Standard Bearer on Foot
1 Army Standard Bearer on Lizard Mount
2 Hordes Lycans
1 Lycan Alpha
1 Brutox

I may have gone a little overboard with the models but it is always good to have options and its been a fun project to build and paint.

The two units I enjoyed making the most were the Shadows and Gargoyles, this may be due to the fact that these were the models that made me decide to create the Kin or just because they needed the most modification to get them out onto the table. I think they turned out rather well.

The next project under way is to complete the SAGA Byzantines and then a Milites Christi army, I suspect that with some clever basing they could be combined to make a KoW Brotherhood army.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Artefacts of Kyron Campaign Battle #1

This week we kicked off the KoW mini-campaign my brother and I are playing. As is normal I got sucked into the game so forgot to take many pictures. The campaign will be a series of linked battles to vary the scenarios we will be playing. Stuart brought along his new Kingdom of Men Arabian Nights themed army and I fielded my Twilight Kin.

The first battle was the Invade scenario with the aim to have more points worth of your army in the opponent's half than the other side.

Initial Setup

Both sides deployed a strong center with strong flanks facing each other and then the weaker flanks facing each other. The men fielded a strong combination of shooting and cavalry which included a massive elephant counting as a chariot horde and some flying carpets counting as Talonriders.

The Elephant provided an imposing focal point for the and due to it being used as Chariots was cheap on the points front.

KoM right flank

Kin right flank

The game started off with the Kin Shadows advancing into the centre wood as a vanguard move which set them up to shoot at the carpets. This forced the carpets into making a charge into the woods as they would lose a shooting match against the two Shadow regiments. This was a fight they lost and the horde was defeated leaving a gap in the KoMs lines.
Generally the KoM forces held back in order to try and make the most of the extra shooting they had so the Kin advanced forward to take the fight to the humans.

This meant that the Kin took some hits during the advance and some focused fire in the centre lead to one of the Reaper Guard regiments being routed.

Reaper Guard regiment being focused
The advance meant that the Kin Blade Dancers regiment came within charge range of the elephant and the human General not being impressed with its shooting decided to put its charging potential to the test. Unfortunately some truly terrible dice rolling lead the elephant to bounce of the Dancers with barely any casualties caused and it was shot away by two lots of breath weapons and two mages. It was at this stage that the Kin cavalry got stuck in a fight with a regiment of lighter KoM cavalry which was to drag on for several rounds.

At this point I got distracted by the game so the photos stopped, the Kin continued to push forward in the centre with one regiment of Reaper Guard routing a regiment of archers and then being routed in turn by the KoM guard infantry and berserker regiment. The remaining Reaper Guard unit routed the KoM skirmisher cavalry on the lightly populated flank but was in turn routed by the KoM heavy cavalry. On what was the more heavily populated flank the Kin cavalry got the KoM cavalry to the point that anything other than double 1's would route them and then duly rolled the required 1's, the KoM unit took advantage of this to rout the Kin unit but was then routed by a breath attack unit.
This took us through to the final move and the KoM made a grab for victory by charging into the woods in the hope that the berserker regiment could route a regiment of Shadows and advance over the centre line, unfortunately they failed to rout the Shadows and the game finished as a close draw.

Update :

After a late night flash of remembering I realised that we had not counted the Troops as scoring units :

0 – individuals & war engines
1 – troops, heroes without individual, monsters, height zero units
2 –- regiments

3 – hordes & legions

So as the KoM had a couple of Troops left at the end of the battle I dropped my brother an email to let him know he had actually won.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Putting down a Marker

The first job in hand this week was to get on with completing the extra terrain and markers needed for the forthcoming KoW campaign. Having written up some introductory fluff I have also created some rules for the artifacts.

So from the fluff and the rules I needed to create three artifacts and three gates to take them to. The gates had been started last week and with the addition of a grey paint job, some Army Painter dip and a few basing bits they came together very quickly with little fuss.

I doubt they will be winning any terrain making awards but as they may only be used the once I am happy with the results / time spent balance.

I had also knocked out the three artifacts, in fact these had been done before the gates but I forgot to get any pictures done.

Again these took only a little effort and a quick search through my bits box furnished the needed parts. The sword made an outing last week when it was the largely ignored objective in a SAGA bloodbath.

The campaign is due to kick off next week with the Twilight Kin and Kingdoms of Men clashing in a 2000 point Invade scenario. I haven't yet seen what devilish list my brother has put together for his Arabian Nights themed army but I suspect cavalry will feature strongly and I know some flying carpets will be present.

This week would have been a good chance to practice my battle reporting skills by remembering to take pictures in my latest SAGA clash with Mick. Once again though I got wrapped up in the game so forgot.

Once again we played Anglo-Danish vs Vikings and this time the initial clashes proved decisive as on the Anglo-Danish left the Vikings push a unit of Warriors forward which got destroyed by a surprise attack by the AD warlord and a unit of Warriors.

With the AD right flank refused the Vikings pushed up but did not manage to engage before the Vikings Levy unit was wrecked by a AD Hearthguard unit and then the Viking Warlord was left exposed as he charged into the AD left flank and his support was stripped away buy a sacrificial Hearthguard unit which died in the process.

Once the Viking Warlord was dead the battle was effectively over, all of this happened in just a few short moves which reinforced the importance of not overextending your Warlord early in the game.

Mick and I also went to the Colours show put on by the Newbury Wargames club and he managed to pick up the remaining figures for his Normans so hopefully they should see the field of play in the near future. I had a less successful shopping spree as no one was stocking Gripping Beast models so I could not get the Byzantine Cavalry I needed, I did get the extra infantry models though.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Sword in the Stone

Another week and another game of SAGA has been played. Again Mick took the part of the Vikings and I the Anglo-Danish. Of course I remembered to take only a few photos but this game went right down to the wire.

Terrain setup, I swapped the heavy and light terrain over for the game

The scenario revolved around the Warlords trying to retrieve a sword that had gotten stuck in a stone. This week I replaced the levy bowmen with warrior footmen and Mick stuck with his javelinmen.



Again my Mycenaeans had to be pressed into action to fill the gaps in the roster and the game developed into a pretty brutal encounter with the sword largely forgotten as the two bands got stuck into each other. The Vikings initially suffered greater casualties but then the Viking Warlord went on a rampage and came within a whisker of killing his opposite number. Even though Mick had bought some new dice at the critical stage they let him down and the Anglo-Danish Warlord survived being charged by his opposite number and a unit of heathguard.

Early on the Anglo-Danes seized the light cover

The game ended when the Anglo-Danes sacrificed several units to exhaust the Viking Warlord so that the coup-de-grace could be administered by the home Warlord.
This was another close and enjoyable game, I suspect my winning run will not last much longer.

I have also put some more work in on my water feature and after receiving some supplies managed to get a water effect I am happy with.

The still water effect I had been using being a single part solution relies upon evaporation to set the water effect and pouring it over a large area meant that all it did was form into a cracked mess with lots of large gaps in it. A search on the internet suggested that a two part resin which uses a hardening agent would work much better so ebay came to the rescue and a substitute was purchased. The two part resin does have a strong smell so a well ventilated area was essential and it also suffered from a very small amount of shrinkage so I did end up doing a second layer. Overall I'm pretty happy with the outcome and I suspect the pond will be featuring in the next battle.

I have also been working on the structure for a KoW campaign to play with my brother when he comes over. He has been building up a desert themed human army and as Ophidia is next to the home of the Twilight Kin I tied the two together.
The campaign with feature a series of linked battles using the scenarios from the Clash of Kings book to create interesting battles.

The Setting

With the setting in place it was obvious that I would need to create some artifacts to be captured ( more on those next week ) and also a destination for them to be taken too. Building on the idea of gates I decided to make something that could be put out on the table. Using the door from a Necron Monolith, Milliput, MDF and some blue foam offcuts I managed to put something together without a massive effort.

Necron door and Milliput Gate

Once the Milliput gate was dry I stuck it onto some foam card and then fashioned a door frame out of left-over blue foam from the hills, this was then stuck onto a MDF base.

I have done some painting and then slapped a load of Army Painter dip over it all ready for some dry brushing. The should be done next week, hopefully before Saturday. On Saturday we are off down to Reading for the Colours 2017 show so I am expecting to pick up the remainder of my Byzantine force for SAGA. This will be good as I am running almost on empty for things to paint.