The Viking Legal Team in Action

The Viking Legal Team in Action
Snorri is unhappy about your bar tab - VERY unhappy...

Monday, June 13, 2022

Oldhammer! A project continuation, p.1: Evil Stunties

 "You can tell by my fangs that I'm a CHAOS dwarf! Mwah-ah-ah-aaaahhhhh!"

No, no...they don't suffer from 'Little Man Syndrome'. They suffer from 'Evil Dwarf Syndrome'

My history with Games Workshop is long and torturous. I really really really tried to like and play their games. But, they all run about as well as an a classic '66 Triumph in you have to fix it to put it on the road, fix it halfway there, and fix it after you get home.

Warhammer Fantasy consistently had lots of game mechanic issues. That being said, if you didn't care much about winning either way, then it was a pretty hilarious system. If you want a logical, coherent, smooth-running system [like, say, a Yamaha motorcycle], then you play Kings of War.

The last time I had my Warhammer figs out, was for an experiment with Neil Thomas' skirmish rules in "Wargaming: an Introduction" chronicled [HERE] and [HERE]. It was fun, but a bit busy with dice rolling.

In any event, I ended up with a bunch of stuff with 5th-7th Warhammer Fantasy, then 8th just killed it for me and I gave up. But, I do like the humorous style of the figures, and I've loved the Big Hat Dwarfs since I first saw them. Furthermore, their sculpting pedigree is excellent - the Perry Brothers sculpted them, I guess before they moved on to more respectable historical miniatures.  Who thought of the look? I dunno, but I think they are both hilarious and excellent sculpts, with lots of amazing details, and many with expressive faces. Clearly, the tall hats are to make up for their, uhm, 'diminutive' stature.

Anyway, I did a good painting job on them and haven't been able to part with them since, so here they are, in all their glory. My thought is to return to finishing this modest project in late summer, upon my return from Army Field Craft 301, aka "Fun in the Sun".  Most likely, I'll just use 5th ed. rules, and wallow through it best I can.

In any event, below is what I have painted up thus far, with just a 'few' details left on a couple of figs and units. Clearly, I stopped painting them mid-project many years ago.

Emerging from the passes into the fertile lands of men and Good Stunties, comes the fearsome - if modestly heighted - Chaos Dwarfs!

When the Axe Comes Down, "Unleash Hell!"  'Hero with Axe 2' is a great fig, if very standard in pose. He fit easily into my red and orange with some yellow fire paint scheme. No complaints with this figure. I am trying to give them a traditional color scheme in fire colors, but with natural rather than primary tones. Overall, I think it makes them look much better than the clownish look from the book and era.

"Bring the next round over there" says the Earthshaker commander. It is arced high in the air to lob shells over the hills into unwary 'Tall Folk'. Again, without the silly primary red paint scheme, I think this looks just great.

A sight the enemy dreads - a full battery of Death Rockets lined up and awaiting the signal to light fuses. Again, big hats in red and orange with a bit of yellow.

Ten blunderbusses, the Company of Orange Fire. Note the lovely details on both the figs and their hats - lots of little trinkets and doo-dads. The Blunderbusses are also authentically ornamented.

The Company of Red Fire. The horn is needed to be heard over the gun blasts.

The axe-wielders from the Company of Orange Fire. All classic plastic, with a 3-stunty command: Hero, Standard and Musician, in the front row.

Hard to see in this pic...the drum skin is an orc face! This is what happens to rebellious slaves...but at least they have _some_ use.

Up in front, the Bull Centaur Standard-Bearer, and the mad sorcerer Astragoth, High Priest of Hashut, on his mechanical contraption of motion [his lower extremities having turned to stone].

And here he is, coming right atcha! As you can see, he favors the Company of Red Fire - they must have supported his bid for power.
And just a profile shot - some nice details in the little wheels and such for the arms. I may have to revisit and paint him up a bit better than the quick dry-brush I did.

Below, the Bull Centaur Standard Bearer. There are several good selections of magical standards unique to the CDs, and the mobility of the Bull Centaur can really help keep the standard in play. Note that the top of the standard pole has two Llammasu facing each other - a nice touch!

Below is my favorite CD character of this era - 'Hero with Axe 1'. Something about his stance just says, "yeah, come'n get somma dis!" [CLICK] He's clearly confident and has mafia rings galore!. He's also a big Big BIG Hat kinda dwarf.
Shield is from the Chaos plastic sprue. I like the spike. The back view shows the hashut emblem holding the banner poles.
Some side view - something about that nose just says...Assyrian to me! The skull atop the shoulder pauldron is also a nice touch.
Yeah...I'm looking at you, Good Stunty!
Commissar Caine's Level 2 glare - lookout!

Finally, these were the six Bull Centaurs I was able to acquire at time of painting. Three are the same, Torso with Axe 4. The others gave a bit of variety.

The below are all nice sculpts, but not my favorites [which I have since acquired]. They are Torso w Axe 1 [left and center] and 2 [right]. My favorite is the guy with the goblin head on his shield, a nice touch!  Perhaps also a snack for later... Again, these all are using the chaos shields from a later era, but I like them.

This is the army at this point. I've a couple of Sorcerers nearly finished, a unit of 25 axe-dwarfs to paint up, and at least a couple more units of Bull Centaurs. Overall, I am still happy with the paint job I did many years ago, and the after finishing a few little details just need to flock the bases and seal the models.

I'm going to use these for my Oldhammer project, which will likely not play anything after 5th, and I want to try 2nd and 3rd edition also. My Empire, Chaos and Greenskins are still in the works, and I'm looking forward to both painting the fun little fellas and getting them on the table using about 6-8 units a side and playing the Neil Thomas' "One-Hour Wargames" scenarios with them!  I think that regardless of the rules issues, the OHW scenarios will make for a lot of fun and interesting narrative games.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Return to Feuding: the Second Battle!

Sir Ranulf gathers as many men as possible and pushes hard for the bridge over an unfordable river that is the key to the defense of the cantref he desires. He sends his attendants out to bring along his scattered army that is chasing Welshmen and looting their belongings. They must arrive as quickly as possible as there's no doubt about it now - the Welsh know he's coming!  The question is...who will get to the bridge first?

One-Hour Wargames #5 is a very interesting bridgehead scenario. The Blue attacker has managed to push across a spearhead, or perhaps forlorn hope, that must hold ground while reinforcements hurry to expand the bridgehead.  Meanwhile, the Red defender must gather scattered forces to crush the bridgehead. 

Red gets 3 waves of 2 units each, but the trick is that while he gets to pick the units he dices for where they arrive: on a 1-2 it's at 9 o'clock to left of the wood; on a 3-4 it's straight down the road from 12 o'clock; and on a 5-6 it is just at the base of the hill to the right at 2 o'clock. Where the forces enter and what kind they are is a big deal, as getting a skirmisher at 1-2 is a potential game winner, while at 5-6 it is nearly useless.

NOTE: the rules do not say - but one could dice the location and then pick the two units assuming a more organized defense. I decided to go with the more difficult pick the units then dice, as in this narrative the Welsh are caught off-guard...your narrative may be different!  There is also a choice for the attacking Blue to choose the order of advance across the bridge ahead of time or decide on the spot - I chose that he had to decide before hand. Goes to show that it is easy to work a OHW scenario into the history or story you are trying to create...

Maestro Capellini shivered and pulled his cloak closer as he looked at his men. They were a fine contingent of professionals, mostly from the South of Europe. They had been a company for several years now, and knew the business end of a crossbow very well. Altho they kept intending to return back to the warm and wealthy south, the money was just too good! These Northmen valued them and trusted them more than their own vassals at times. His main complaint was the weather, which was too damp for his blood. 

The Maestro's men were ready for whatever the Stranieri would throw at them today. He could hear the bellowing of Sir Ranulf as he organized the next group to cross over, which was reassuring. However he couldn't see any Welsh, which always concerned him...the devils could appear from a wood or gully by the hundreds!

Below, the crossbowmen hold the bridgehead.  They have a Master Bowman leading them, who allows them to shoot an additional 6" but to less effect.  Sir Ranulf hopes that they will be able to dominate the opening stages of the battle for decisive effect later.  To the bottom left are the oncoming reinforcements in order of appearance. First up are a unit of Skirmishers. Hopefully, they will be able to take control of the woods and hold them.  If not, victory is doubtful.

Below, the first two Welsh units arrive - Bowmen and Skirmishers, they rolled a '3' for arrival. The hope is that the skirmishers can seize the woods and hold them for a win since Blue must clear an area 12" from the bridge or lose the scenario. The Bowmen roll high for movement and thanks to that and the road bonus they are in their own range of the Crossbowmen. The Skirmishers are a bit slow.
Below, Old Glory Welsh archers. The single fig is a Green Hood Personality figure. He may be assigned to a unit of Brigans [Skirmishers] and allows them to reroll any natural '1' on movement or shooting. This does make the unit a bit more reliable in its performance.  The Archers are a standard bowmen unit, except my default for archers is the "d6" level of combat performance, not "d6+2".

Facing them are the mercenary Crossbowmen, all Foundry figs. They shoot at the d6+2 level, and have the Master Bowmen figure with them, giving them 6" of extra range at less effectiveness.

Using their range, the Crossbows are able to reach the Welsh Skirmishers which are presently the biggest threat to victory on the table. They roll average and get 2 Hits. In my version of these rules, units die at the 7th Hit.

Turn 2, the Welsh skirmishers only roll a '2' on Morale so can't move. They also take two more Hits from the deadly Crossbowmen. Those in turn take only 1 Hit from the Archers and are reinforced by their own Skirmishing archers. It seems that the Normans will win the critical "race to the woods" at this point.

Turn 3, the Welsh roll a '5' for their Brigans who shake off their battlefield stupor and quickly advance against the woods. Reinforcements are a unit of Knights and a second unit of Bowmen. The plan is to dominate the shooting fight then charge in with the Knights to mop up and contest the bridge. Unfortunately, the Knights take a hit from the Crossbowmen, English Knights are crossing the bridge, and the English skirmisher is almost in the woods.
Below, a tough turn 4 for the Welsh. Their Knights roll a '3' and cannot move faster than their base move - ergo cannot charge the Crossbowmen, so move aside. Welsh archery again only inflicts one Hit, which is shrugged off my the professional Crossbowmen. The English knights roll high and are able to charge the other Welsh Bowman Unit, while the Welsh skirmishers takes another Hit and is going to die if it doesn't rally soon!
The mercenaries cheer as the Welsh knights turn aside in disorder from the deadly flight of bolts sent into them. Several Welsh nobles lay on the field while wounded horses scream and run wild. The return shooting is not effective, many arrows falling wide of the mark, and the few wounded are escorted off the field. The feudal archers, mostly huntsmen, are holding the woods to the left, while the knights gallop by charging the Welsh archers.  Behind, dismounted knights begin crossing the bridge. The Maestro is relieved to see them - they are far better able to hold the bridgehead than his men, as there are just too many targets on the field!

The feudal archers have not only secured the wood, they have almost destroyed the Welsh skirmisher, the only Welsh unit that may enter the woods.

The situation at the end of Welsh Turn 5. The damaged Knights have flanked the Crossbows while two units of Freemen [standard infantry] arrive rolling a '6' for location. The Welsh Skirmishers rally off a hit so they are likely out of danger for now. The Welsh Bowmen seems to have brought rubber arrows...still, there are many Welsh and few English on the field!
English Turn 5. The Skirmishers miss, another hit is put upon the Welsh Archers from the Crossbowmen, and the dismounted Serjeants cross over. The situation is stable but not secure from any perspective.
Suddenly, the field is full of Welshmen!  Two large groups led by screaming chiefs pop out from behind the hill, while their Knights work around the Maestro's flank, much to his concern. He turns a bunch of his mercenaries to face the inevitable charge, and hopes that these Welsh are not so fierce when mounted. The rest of his men hit several archers, one of whom begins screaming from a nasty stomach wound, distracting many of his fellows - their return shots are not effective. Glancing back, the Maestro sees more dismounted Knights crossing the bridge... he just needs to hold out a little longer and they will be relieved!

Welsh Turn 6. The knights charge in and the Freemen begin maneuvering to hit the Crossbows from the front. Their Bowmen roll a '2' for Morale and barely manage to inflict a Hit on the Knights in melee against their fellows, who miss entirely in the melee phase. Overall, the situation looks good to contain the bridgehead.

English Turn 6. The Crossbows face the Knights after passing Morale. This creates space for the Serjeants to advance past them into the Welsh Freemen, while the second Serjeant unit prepares to attack the Knights when the Crossbowmen quit the field. They have 4 Hits against the 3 of the Knights, so we will see...
Welsh Turn 7. Disastrous Morale Checks!  The Skirmishers and Freemen both roll a '1' and Retreat from their opponents. This also blocks the other Freemen from taking up a more useful position on the battlefield. Still, the Knights pass and inflict two more Hits on the Crossbowmen, who are nearly done at '6' Hits.
Norman Turn 7. The Marcher Lord is marching ahead!  Sir Ranulf's Knights destroy the opposing Bowmen, finally. His Serjeants follow up with a ferocious attack on the retreated Freemen that has them at 5 Hits. His final unit, one of Freemen, cross the bridge and start advancing down the road. He also successfully maneuvers a unit to back up the Crossbowmen against the Welsh Knights. The situation is looking very good!
And as if things couldn't get much better...Sir Ranulf wins Initiative for Turn 8!

Turn 8 - the Normans seize the Initiative and the field of battle! Their Knights attack the Bowmen on the road, pinning them in place. The Serjeants roll another triple-hit, putting the Welsh Freemen at 8 and routing them off the field. The Skirmishers destroy the Welsh Skirmishers, and the Crossbowmen hold the Knights off.

Maestro Capellini hears cheering from everywhere, as Welsh begin to flee - his men take heart and work to hold off the Welsh knights as best they can with their swords and an occasional crossbow bolt. The Welsh knights seem dismayed, some are clearly hesitant, and they point to behind the Maestro. He turns and sees the Serjeants advancing carefully, and in an orderly fashion, close together. The Maestro begins pushing his men at the back to start moving off, thru or around the Serjeants backing them up. They need little encouragement, and start shouting to their fellows to hurry behind them, and to "scapa while the scapa is buona!"

All does not go the Norman's way, however.  The Welsh Turn 8 sees the Crossbowmen and Knights put to flight, and the Welsh Freemen putting the hurt on the triumphant Serjeant unit. The Welsh Bowmen - clearly desperate and ferocious - inflict max Hits possible to destroy the Norman Knights!

Marcher Lord Turn 9. The Serjeants easily pass Morale and inflict Hits on the Welsh Freemen, even as their own Freemen push down the road into the Archers. The Marcher Lord's skirmishers advance out of the woods to help clear the road, just in case. The Serjeants near the bridge advance and push into the Welsh knights, inflicting serious damage.
Welsh Turn 9 sees aggressive and strong performance by all Welsh Units, who also pass their own Morale checks with a margin of error. The Bowmen put in another amazing attack, inflicting max Hits on the Norman Freemen, much to their surprise!
Norman Turn 10. Despite these efforts, the Welsh are struggling. The Archers flee after being shot in the rear by the English Skirmisher Unit. This frees up the English freemen to attack the Welsh Freemen, who are approaching the end. The Norman Serjeants roll a measily '1' for Morale and retreat against the Welsh Knights!
Maestro Cappellini's last men crossed the bridge, and headed back to camp. A few hurry as they hear the Welsh knights give a fierce warcry and charge into the Serjeants fiercely enough to push them back several yards - will the Bridge be lost?? The Maestro begins to shout at his men to turn and prepare to shoot at the knights, but none turn - they have had enough for today.

Unsurprisingly, the Welsh Freemen are destroyed. The Welsh Knights blow their chances to steal a draw by rolling a '1' for morale themselves, and retreating from contact! 

The Norman Serjeants take heart when they see the Welsh Knights falter, and advance upon them again, pushing them nearly to the limit of endurance. Also, their fellows are just barely in range to charge to their flank [I allow close units to charge into their side arc, just a couple of inches].

Unsurprisingly, they see off the Welsh Knights.
End of the battle. The Welsh are swept from the field...barely!

Well, this was an exciting matchup, no mistake!  This is a hard scenario for Blue to win, as getting a 12" bridgehead is nearly impossible without destroying the enemy army. Still, this time they had the perfect plan and it was aided by some good fortune with seizing Initiative at just the right time.  A few dice rolls going the other way, and this may easily have been a draw.

I played this scenario about 6 times, trying out various units and combinations. I feel like the Serjeants are essential for their durability, and the Skirmishers are mandatory if the opposing side has any because of the woods. Overall, another great series of games, playtests, and an enjoyable continuation to the narrative, as Sir Ranulf continues to advance into the cantref!

Maestro Cappellini looked around at his weary men. They had a narrow scrape between that bridge and the Welsh knights!  A few sang quiet songs, satisfied with themselves and their work today. Sir Ranulf had visited their camp and congratulated them, and more importantly, handed a fairly heavy purse to the Maestro saying "with respects from the Welsh!"  The men had cheered lustily and shouted a variety of appreciated banter and battle cries back at Sir Ranulf, who nodded knowingly, gave a slight wave of appreciation to the Mastro, and walked off. 
Sir Ranulf was certain that this cantref would be his - he just needed to push on, push on!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Late Dark Ages Battle: One - Hour Wargames #17 "Encounter", p.2

 ...after a wild first 6 Turns, we are wondering if the Saxons can hold the center hill and bring up reinforcements fast enough to relieve the heavy infantry holding on there.  Let's see!

Turn 6 Bretons. Their heavy infantry are within a Base Depth [BD] of the Saxons, so they may charge them. Using the bases as a measurement tool can really help speed up the game... they take a bit of a risk and hope they will wipe them out quickly.  The foot skirmishers miss but the horse skirmishers manage another Hit. In Melee, the heavies inflict one hit, bringing the Saxon heavy infantry to 6 Hits - one more and they are dead! To cover their flank and rear, the skirmishers shift right and the cavalry attack the Warband, inflicting 2 Hits - double the average!  Bretons also get a reinforcement of Freemen - a great turn for them!

Saxon Turn 6. The heavies roll a '1' for morale and retreat a BD. This means they can't fight back this turn. Their Warband roll a '3' and decline the opportunity for further glory by advancing. The Freemen move up, and the skirmishers inflict a hit on the light cavalry.

What!?  The Saxons seize the IN and choose to go first for Turn 7!

Saxon Turn 7. The Freemen charge the Breton heavy infantry and roll 2/2 hits!  The Warband charge the cavalry and also get 2 Hits. The skirmishers inflict one hit and are destroyed!

Breton Turn 7. The heavy infantry roll a '2' for Morale and can't move. Their skirmishers move up and inflict two Hits on the Freemen, however, and the cavalry inflict 1 Hit back on the Warband. The reinforcing Freemen move up and threaten the skirmishers, but are also heading to the hill, which is the objective.  They may squeak out of this situation yet...

Saxon Turn 8. They pass all their Morale checks - tasting victory? Warband roll 3/3 Hits, and severely cramp the style of the cavalry.
Saxon turn ends with their heavy infantry rallying off one hit, getting down to '5', and inflicting hits on the Breton heavy infantry, cavalry, and freemen. they also got a Freeman reinforcement. A nice turn.

Breton Turn 8. The Cavalry roll a '2' but are -1 due to the yellow Hits, and need to retreat - unfortunately, they can't retreat the full distance b/c of the skirmishers, so take another Hit.  Ugh.
The heavy infantry also roll a retreat, and are able to go back the full distance, but are still in contact.
The Freemen shake it off and move forwards. The Skirmishers inflict another hit on the Saxon Freemen. A weak turn...perhaps, but this is still anyone's game.

And now the Bretons - who have tied a knot at the end of their rope and are hanging on - win IN!  It's a no-brainer decision for them, they will take the first player turn for Turn 9.
Their skirmishers inflict a Hit on the Warband then retreat. The heavy infantry turn to face the Saxon Freemen and put a Hit on them.
The Bretons also get a Freeman reinforcement, and attack the hill with the other Freeman.  They roll well and inflict two hits despite them being uphill. However, on Saxon Turn 9,  they roll extremely fortunately and inflict 2 Hits back! Their heavy infantry help gang up on the Breton heavies, but the warband completely miss, and fail to finish off the cavalry - argh!

And then, for the umpteenth time, the IN switches and the Saxons take it for Turn 10 - more turnovers than a pastry shop here!  What are the odds??
Oddly, I appear to not have taken any pics of Turn 10...must've been a bit dull.  

Turn 11, Bretons win IN back. I hardly know what to say at this point.

Well...Turn 11 sees the Saxon Warband having eliminated the Cavalry but take some more Hits. The heavy infantry and Freemen eliminated the Breton heavy infantry, and then the Freemen moved on to attack the Breton Freemen attacking the skirmishers on the hill, who are being held by the Skirmishers. Meanwhile, both sides have Freemen fighting on the hill.  Overall, I think the edge is to the Saxons since they hold the hill in strength and the Bretons haven't managed to finish off another Saxon unit altho there are two at 5 Hits.

Turn 12. Saxons seize IN back.
Turn 12. Saxon skirmishers drive off the Freemen, albeit with help from their Freemen. The Warband and heavies have failed to Rally off Hits. The Breton skirmishers got dinged along the way. Altho a couple of Saxon units are at the end of their rope, I don't know that the Breton skirmishers are the right unit to defeat three units and save the day!

Saxon Turn 14, Breton Turn 13. The Bretons are trying for the draw, by sticking their dirty toes onto the hill! The skirmishers eliminated the Saxon skirmishers, but not the Freemen that are nearby.
This results in the Bretons becoming the cream filling of a Saxon Oreo, and being eliminated.

Well, that was one of the wildest games yet.  The chance for IN to change that often is not very high. But it has to happen occasionally.

This makes it worth noting - altho certain mechanics may have an AVERAGE result that is the same as another, that doesn't mean that they have the same possibilities. So in the RAW, there are three attack mechanics, two of which have a minimum of 1 or 3 Hits [d6 and d6+2] so neither can "miss". This results in a steady attrition, even if it is small. I do like this since it shows fatigue even if not a decisive result.

My system - and several others - have the same mathematical averages but do allow the possibility of missing an attack completely. This - theoretically - could result in some "back luck" and a lot of misses. I'm OK with this because if you roll lots of natural 1's in the RAW, you still lose while your opponent rolls average.

Your feelings on this may vary.

This was a great knock-down drag-out fight, and I originally thought the Saxons would lose after some poor choices and results in the first 5 turns. They did turn it around completely and drove the Bretons from the field. This was about the eighth time I played the scenario, and I think I have it mostly understood. I do like the increasing chances of reinforcements arriving with every missed roll. I have had it go down to a 1+ only once, and a 2+ a few times.

Just goes to show that there are plenty of games to play with every OHW scenario, even one that seems as simple as this!

As for the rules, I am very happy with how they have developed, and I really enjoy the Morale check mechanic - provides the right amount of friction with minimum rules fuss, and "feels" right.  So a tip of the hat to John Acar and his labors for gamers worldwide!