Sunday 25 April 2021

SAGA: A Battle of Heroes

 Continuing our re-familiarisation with SAGA we opted this week to use the scenario generator matrix supplied in the book of battles. This gives a random selection of scenery layout methods, warband deployments and victory/special conditions. The scenery condition allowed Mick to setup 3 pieces of terrain and me to move them, the deployment was pretty standard with us alternating deployment through mounted ranged > mounted > foot ranged > foot units and Mick taking first turn. The victory condition was to add up points left of your force at the end with extra VP's available for reaching the opponents corners.

We went for pretty much the same forces as last week with Mick splitting his 8  Hearthguard into two units of 4 and I replaced the Citizen Warriors with a unit of Contingent Warriors. The thinking behind this was that with attack dice being hard to generate for the Carthaginians it was best to have one main strike unit and then a couple of shielding units with the Contingent abilities being focused on staying alive.

We both moved forwards for the first turn with the Romans seeking to bring their limited ranged firepower to bear against my archers.

In the second turn the Romans who where activating first again pushed forwards and in my turn I unleashed the archer levies. The Eagle Eye ability is the only that gives extra attack dice and this is for ranged attacks only, a rare dice gives 4 attack dice and any other only 2. During the game I was able to put a rare dice on this ability for all but one round so the archers shot with an impressive 10 dice most goes. The levy archers managed to kill 5 Velites with their first volley and the mounted Warriors with javelins also shot one off, this left the Velites seriously damaged.

During the Romans turn I also managed to make good use of the Redeployment ability, this allows you to move one unit 4 inches (short) before your opponent gets to activate. This allowed me to move the mounted Warriors into shooting range during my turn and then back out of a comfortable charge range in the Romans turn. The Carthaginians also have an ability which allows you to cancel the activation of an opponents unit that has a fatigue on it, for only a common dice this can mess up a potential charge from the opposition.

Over the next few turns I kept up the shooting from both the archers and the skirmishing cavalry with one unit of Contingent Warriors being committed to killing off the Roman Principes (red shields), the Romans kept grinding forwards as they lack a devastating ranged attack.

Eventually the Romans did make it into contact on my right causing a fair few casualties but I was able soak up a reasonable amount of damage and shoot/melee a unit of Triarii off the table.

That was the end of the 6th turn and thus the game and once again the Carthaginians proves victorious. This week the levy bowmen did a lot of the heavy lifting and they certainly earned their points back and more, in fact I didn't even need to commit the Hearthguard unit into combat.
It does make me wonder if I need to use the attacking power of the elephant(s) but as I've bought and painted the models I will certainly give them a try next time we play.

Saturday 17 April 2021

SAGA: The Age of Hannibal

After a long break from playing any SAGA this week we dusted off the rules and got the new Age of Hannibal armies and book out.

We started off with a straightforward 6 points a piece game using the Kill scenario to get back into the swing of the rules. SAGA is pretty straightforward from a game mechanics point of view with little book keeping, most of the nuance is offered via the battle boards.

I took the chance to dress the edge of the board with the new Iron Age ring fort I'd painted up, and it looked like some Greeks had moved in.

The Romans consisted of:
2 points of Hearth Guard in one unit of 8
3 points of Warriors in three units of 8
1 point of Levies with Javelins in one unit of 12
one Warlord on foot

The Carthaginians consisted of:
2 points of Citizen Hearthguard on foot in one unit of 8
1 point of Contingent (mercenary) Warriors with Javelin on Horse in one unit of 8
1 point of Contingent Warriors on foot in one unit of 8
1 point of Citizen Warriors on foot in one unit of 8
1 point of Levies with bow in one unit of 12
one Warlord on Horse

I'd had a quick look at the Carthaginian board before and playing through the game it became obvious that the board is mostly defensive in nature with the only way to add attack dice being for shooting. So the decision to take a big unit of Hearthguard paid off as the generate lots of attack dice natively. The three warrior units struggled to put out much hurt against the Romans as they lacked the dice.

It may be that the Carthaginians need to invest in the Elephants in order to offer an alternate punching unit. The Elephants can also shoot so would benefit from using the Eagle Eye ability.

The Romans as you would expect like to be moving forwards onto the enemy and they have a couple of abilities which allow them move forwards, the Pilum ability which allows a free Shoot and then Charge is good, especially as it is only one common dice to use. In contrast to the Carthaginians the Romans can also generate extra attack dice pretty easily, again encouraging them to get stuck in.

In the game itself the Romans closed in on the Carthaginians quickly and almost wiped out a unit of Warriors early on with the Carthaginian Hearth Guard counter attacking to stabilise the situation and wiped out the exposed Roman unit. The Hearth Guard followed up with some more fighting and the Carthaginian archers proved effective whilst the Velites hung back in the woods.

The Roman Triarii (Hearth Guard) where eventually committed and managed to maul the Spanish cavalry but by that time it was too late and the Romans had lost two complete units of Warrior with a third almost wiped out.

We picked up the rules again pretty quickly with the only real delay being the need to learn the battle boards so we can distribute the activation dice, this will speed up with practice.

This week also saw the much delayed arrival of my League of Infamy pledge so I can now finish off the Kingdom of Men army by painting up the three General on Winged Beast that I was missing. 
I can then get the game itself painted up and ready to play.

Sunday 11 April 2021

Deadzone: Catch Up

Lots of photos this week as I put out a catch up post for the Deadzone minis I've been painting over the last month and a bit.

First up with our fantasy campaign coming to an end last week I thought I would twist Mr T's arm and make him play some sci-fi, even though he says he doesn't like it.

So I put together a couple of Deadzone Strike Teams and asked him to bring some D8's. Knowing that he enjoyed the Vanguard rules which took heavy inspiration from Deadzone I knew he would like the way Deadzone plays as well.

We had a good play through with the teams with Mr T commanding the Marauders and I playing the Asterians for the first time. I'd forgotten how good the Marauder 4+ save on everything was and with Mr T's dice not letting him down for once he managed a decent win.

During the week I'd put together and quickly painted up some extra terrain, as I only had a can of blue paint to hand, that's what colour it ended up.

The main thing was that he conceded that he had in fact enjoyed some sci-fi so hopefully the seeds are sown for a some future games after SAGA.

I've also painted up a second Spectra for the Asterions, this time with the sword. In order to mix things up a little I reversed the paint scheme from the gun version.

This model had a few casting imperfections that had not been present in the first one but the holes aren't in places which are obvious so I opted to get it painted rather than wait for replacement parts from Mantic.

The minimum points size for a double Spectra team is around 175 (as you need 6 troops to unlock them both), but it would be more balanced at 200 points.

I've also painted up a box of Plague victims for use in game as an NPC force. It struck me that the Deadzones are created by the outbreak of the Plague on a planet but you don't see the victims of this calamity. 

Now I have the models all painted up I just need to work out a AI routine for them, they need to be a nuisance rather than the focus of the game, unless you make a mistake of course, and not slow the game down too much. So some working out to do on that front.

Next week we should be traveling back to the mists of time and playing some SAGA, it's a ruleset we both enjoy so it will be good to be playing it again.

Monday 5 April 2021

Iron Age: Ring of Stone 2

This being a long bank holiday weekend as well as having time to complete our big battle I've also been working on the Fogou Models iron age ring fort and buildings I recently received. As I'd used a pretty straight forward scheme of dry brushing and sponging colours onto a black base the various parts came together very quickly.

As you may be able to tell from the pictures with models in (28mm Victrix Iberians) the fort itself is pretty darned large. It measures 14" across (wall to wall) and 2 1/2" high, so it will take up a reasonable amount of space on the table.

You could use just a few sections in a corner or on a table edge to add some interest to the edge of a table.

As well as the standard wall and gate section the model came with a breached wall section to allow for the effects of siege weapons in a game.

It also came with a fantasy style gate system consisting of two towers joined by a wooden walk-way over a gate. The kit came with two different gates as well, one obviously fantasy and the other more plain.

With the plain door you could take a little artistic licence and use the fantasy towers in an historic game. It would certainly make a nice centre piece for a siege game.

As I didn't want to glue all the gate pieces together, I wanted a way to be able to swap the gates around but keep them reasonably firmly together during play. I stuck a couple of bits of metal wire to the gateposts and inserted a couple of small magnets into each gate, these give enough hold that the gates don't fall over when nudged.

It wasn't just the fort that came, I also got enough buildings and bits and bobs for a decent sized village. The stone buildings got the same treatment as the walls and the thatched roofs are just a sand yellow undercoat with Iyanden Yellow contrast paint over the top.

I got another well to go with the mud brick ones I have from that Kickstarter and a couple of grain houses and a rather nice animal pen. All in all a good haul and I cannot wait to see these in action when we start playing SAGA: Age of Hannibal in the very near future.


Saturday 3 April 2021

Halpi's Rift: Finale. Part 2

Picking up from last week the state of play was as below, the Undead had the Kingdom of Men pinned back with the initiative laying with them after the Men missed a couple of potentially crucial nerve rolls.

Turn 4 for the Undead started well with the Revenant Cavalry and King on Wyrm removing a Sergeants Regiment and a Troop of Mounted Scouts and Archer Regiment also being removed, the Giant however survived a double charge and was largely untouched. The Vampire on Pegasus did manage to waver one of the Generals on Winged Beast.

In the centre one of the KoM Foot Guard Hordes was removed in one turn with the flank charging Zombie Trolls doing the work.

On the left the other Sergeant Regiment was removed as was the Wizard on Pegasus.

During the KoM Turn 4 they managed to remove the Vampire on Pegasus and a Skeleton Spearmen Horde to even the odds a little.

In the centre two Troops of Wraiths were removed to leave just the fighting units left.

On the left the KoM pulled the Knights back a little but caused no damage.

In what was to prove the final turn of the game the Undead pushed home their advantage by pinning the Knights in place whilst removing the Sergeant Troop and also moving troops back to secure the rear left section of the table.

In the centre the Undead removed a Knight Regiment and a Foot Guard Regiment and straightened up the lines.

On the right the Giant fell to the Soul Reaver Infantry and the two Generals on Winged Beasts fell to the Soul Reaver Cavalry and the Revenant King on Flying Wyrm.

With this the Men conceded defeat as they would not be able to wrestle control of the table back from the Undead with the forces remaining to them.

As is often the case in Kings of War, once things start to go wrong then the flank charges which open up lead to a snow-balling effect with units being removed very quickly. It could have been a different outcome if the KoM had removed the Skeleton Spearmen and Vampire on Pegasus during Turn 3 rather than them staying on.

That concludes the Halpi's Rift campaign which was a lot of fun, certainly something to take our minds off the ongoing pandemic.

Next up will be some Age of Hannibal SAGA.