Sunday, February 7, 2016

Battle of Pharsalus - Impetus Style

On Saturday Stephen N, Mark B and myself travelled up to York (that's York, Western Australia) were we joined the ANF and another quest, David, in a refight of the Battle of Pharsalus using Impetus and a wonderful collection of 1/72nd scale figures.

On the left there is Caesar's army.  The small force at the top was commanded by James, the double line in the centre was David and then my command from the troops in front of the camp all the way to the end of our right wing.  Good thing I've now read the rules, plus the errata, and was up for the challenge.

On the left are the forces of Pompey, commanded, top to bottom by Mark B, Stephen, Mark W and Julian.  I was facing the latter two guys.

Being outnumbered I/we decided to get stuck into things straight away.  I need my cavalry to at least hold off the enemy to protect the flank of X Legion which I hope would crush the enemy centre.

I lost one unit and the second was just about done for (Julian rolled three sixes) when I rolled a 1 on the cohesion test.  Phew.

The enemy light cavalry charged, but didn't make it, ending up disordered.  My Roman skirmishers couldn't opportunity fire as they were the object of the charge, but their companions, the Greek javelinmen, had a shot on opportunity as the enemy had entered their zone of control.

As Julian had moved first I expected my guys to be able to fire when activated, but after much debate we settled on a unit can fire "only once per turn".  I reckon this is wrong as a unit on opportunity can potentially fire multiple times and if I had gone first and fired I could still have fired on opportunity.  However my arguments were wearing out my welcome so I desisted (but will follow up with the Impetus forum which I am about to join).

I got to move first next turn and my javelinmen put paid to the light cavalry.  Better still, my course of argument seemed to have worn down my opponent who was wary of attacking me again.

You have to have a camp.  This was a quick knock up from:

 My forces.  My cavalry are finding it hard going, but they are doing their job of protecting the flank of the X Legion which is slowly getting into position.
As can be seen our whole army is yet to get into action, although there has been a bit of fun on our far left.

Wow, Airfix on Airfix.  My guys that I painted up specially for this game are in action.  Being against their own makes it a real civil war.  The single figures represent disorder, not commanders (except my guy, who is there just for show).

Same combat, but from the other-side's view point.

Well, things were not going well.  My X legion had failed to smash their opponents and my cavalry was starting to evaporate.

Our centre legion was now in action and losses were mounting on both sides.  The enemy however has plenty of replacements.

My X legion has finally destroyed the enemy's first line, but are very worn down.  My reserve legion is now covering the flank.

The enemy hope to wipe me out with skirmisher fire.

Well, I've kept my flank secure, but the X Legion are just about at their limits of endurance.


The reserve legion and javelinmen have kept the enemy left flank engaged, but ...

We are without troops to replace the gap left by the death of X Legion.

A more balanced AAR will have to wait the ANF's report.

We had one other complication with the rules to do with multiple melees caused by a group charge.  As I wasn't involved in that, and knowing we worked it out satisfactorily, all I need to do is review the situation for myself so I can understand how it works,

For the record Caesar had an army worth 582 points and Pompey 863.  So in pure game turns it was not balanced.  The breakpoints were 29 and 51 respectively and while we got close, it was a big ask in my opinion (and given my at times disappointing die rolls).

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Wings of Collision

I might have used this post title before, but it seems symptomatic of our games - more damage is done by collisions than enemy action (although some of the collisions are with enemy planes).

I'm in the sparkling eye candy Fokker D VII

On the Allied side were Stephen N and Mark B with two Snipes each.  On the German side there were Brendan, Paul, Stephen B and myself.  Does the lower ratio of players to planes help the Germans?  Let's see...

Penetrating the lines.  The first fire was rather deadly.

Turning back for more.

Literally knocked him out of the sky (yep, the damage caused by "avoiding" collision stressed the Snipe on top of its existing damage and it went down).

Lots of manoeuvring.

Allied revenge, Mark B scores a kill only to see Stephen N adjudicate that it was merely rudder damage (he was using some alternative explosion card rules).

Still lots of aerial dog fighting going on.

Another collision.  I suffered at least three, but it was the last one that did me harm and set me on fire (must have dropped my ciggie)

I can't remember who got the other kills on the Snipes, but the allies certainly came off the worse for it.  Sadly my plane went blazing into the fiery sunset.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Minifigs Roman General

This figure is equally ancient and just what I needed to lead my Legion "Airfixus" into battle.  At a guess he was added to my lead pile in the late 1970s.  He might be the Scipio Africanus personality figure that Minifigs used to have.

The horse went a bit lumpy and I'm still perfecting my white horse painting technique.  This one had a brown wash applied and then a second cost of white paint.  For once the varnish went matt (I'm now thinking the spray can is empty and I was just spraying gas) and I wanted a more satin look.  However that is easy to go back and fix.

14th Chasseurs a Cheval bis

I could have called this post "14th Chasseurs a Cheval douze".  Chris H found the missing twelfth man and given the effort he went to find him, I thought I better add him to the command base asap.


In my previous post on these guys, I mentioned I was unhappy with my repair of the elite trooper's plume.  I took this opportunity to fix it.  In breaking it off  a bit more paint came away than I would have preferred, but this just meant I had a bit more room to drill a hole and secure a pin.  The plume was then built up with plaster.  A lick of paint, coat of PVA glue and a light spray varnish and all better.  I was particularly happy how the pompom turned out, something that was missing on the old plume (which can be seen, discarded in the photo).

Now looking much more elite.

Friday, January 29, 2016

MCMLXVII Legion "Airfixus"

A new year has seen me digging out some old figures to paint/base and organise for games.  And when I say old, I mean old.  The Airfix Romans were released in 1967 and I would have bought these figures around then.  I've long had a project to make a DBA army using them, but the recent game of Impetus with the ANF inspired me to do up a unit for a future game,

For my future reference, this was the paints I used:

Tamiya Matt Black undercoat
Atelier Raw Sienna Dark - leather
VJ Medium Flesh
Citadel Shade Reikland Fleshshade 
Jo Sonja Olive Green - pants
VJ Oily Steel - metal
Jo Sonja Green Oxide - pant highlights
Jo Sonja Burnt Umber - sandals (impressionist)
Tamiya Flat Earth - base
Jo Sonja Yellow Deep - shield

Working within the limitations of the figures I was lucky they had not gone brittle.  That allowed me to reposition the shield arm.  The flesh shade worked really well which was a surprise as I didn't think the figures had much detail to be accentuated.

I'm not totally happy how the shields turned out, but they will do for now.  I like the yellow and black signifying "danger" as a colour scheme.

The next thing for these guys is a Impetus size movement tray and maybe some markers for opportunity, disorder and casualties.  I'm thinking green (for go), light brown (for dust) and red brown (for blood).  Could just go with green, yellow and red.

Amazing - these figures are almost 50 years old.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Viking on Viking Action

It's time to get on and play the competition Saga games for the NWS Saga League.  This was my first competition game.  My Vikings took on Paul's Vikings using scenario 1 - Clash of Warlords.

My forces, berserkers back with the warlord, more hearthguard on each wing, then warriors and levy in the centre.

Facing, from the left, warriors, hearthguard(6), berserkers behind, another hearthguard(6) and a hearthguard(4) with the enemy Warlord.

Paul's grey Vikings went first.  I moved up hoping my levy might inflict some casualties, but Paul had wisely selected the "increase armour value in shooting" ability.

In the second turn a unit of grey hearthguard attacked my right wing warriors.  It was bloody, but I was left with three fighters and the remaining grey hearthguard ran off.  

Then my hearthguard got into action, sweeping away the enemy's small unit of hearthguard and threatening their warlord.

But turn three saw Paul use the Loki ability to remove my reduced warrior unit and after pushing back my levy with his other six man hearthguard unit was able to create a gap to launch his berserkers against my warlord.  I survived, but only by passing casualties on to my berserkers who sadly dies to a man protecting my warlord.  Brave chaps.

Then it was my turn.  My hearthguard flung themselves at the enemy warlord.  It was close, but didn't quiet make it, even with using the Ullr ability to reroll my failed hits (there were a good number and all rerolls failed to hit as well).

Turn 4 and my warlord dies alone.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kiev to Rostov via Vassal - GT83, GT84 and the end

GT83 had more snow, no surprise there, but GT84 was frost...

End of GT83, the Axis are still attacking, but the Soviet defences are never ending.

The supposedly good weather on GT84 gave the Axis their last chance and they attacked all along the line.

It was a success, but they are still too far from Rostov.

It was then I had cause to check the fine print on the weather table.  I was looking to see what the chance of frost was - 20%.  Then I saw the note: need two consecutive turns of frost to undo the effects of snow ("lingering snow" is the term they use).  As the first snow was GT73, the Axis had four frost turns that should have been snow.  The illegal frosty weather was what allowed the Axis to shift the panzers to strike south of Stalino.  So it goes - it was fun.

The Axis were sitting on 106 Victory Points giving them a Axis Operational level (range 96 to 126).  Given they had cheated, I'll downgrade that to Axis Marginal (range 75 to 95).

Apart from the weather, the main handicap the Axis had was I failed to get all the panzer divisions moving as soon as I could.  I should have made that the main priority.  

Unfortunately I failed to blog the early moves.  In fact posting about the game has been an unexpected source of extra enjoyment in playing it.

Great game.  Massive undertaking made possible by Vassal.  Fabulous boardgame and to think you can link it with others in the GMT Barbarossa series to make an even bigger game - Wow!