Archive for the ‘Miniatures’ Category

Painting update: Iron Hills Dwarves Ballista and Crew   Leave a comment

The Ballista kit was quite tricky to fix together being resin.  The rope snapped in one place whilst I was struggling to get it all into position.  I have bought some new instant hardener for super glue which would have helped.  Overall though it is quite evocative of the movies and the captain pose is quite good too.

Posted January 15, 2017 by wargamesdiary in Miniatures

The Battle of Ctesiphon: 3rd December 2016; To the Strongest   1 comment

Mike, Michael and Phil refought our what if version of the famous Battle.  It is 363 AD and Julian and the Romans have crossed the Tigris and are attacking the forces arrayed before Ctesiphon.  However in our version the Persians have support from the advance cavalry guard of the Royal Army.



As night falls the position perhaps is looking a little better for the Romans after rescuing the situation on the right flank.  However the elephants remain undaunted and the VP total of 12 vs 8 counts against them.  So a narrow victory is awarded to the Persians.  They have stalled the Roman advance and will retire now to the City Walls.  For Julian with the Persian Royal army rapidly advancing and no siege equipment of his own to match the high walls he will now have to retire away from the City  in search of his Armenian re-enforcements.

Posted December 6, 2016 by wargamesdiary in Miniatures

Painting update: Knights   Leave a comment

Still slowly working Knights.

2016-12-06 11.55.57.jpg

Posted December 6, 2016 by wargamesdiary in Miniatures

Saturday 26 November: to the strongest   2 comments

Fourth century romans versus Sassanid Persians one the Armenian borders.  Mike  and Michael took on phils romans with their mighty Persian force.  Both sides garnered 250 points each.

With all that light horse the Persians won the scouting phase.  So the romans deployed first and the Sassanids would take the first move.

So the romans deployed a mixed force of heavy cavalry and infantry on the left around the villa.  In the centre was the infantry and the ballista.  On the right was the strong force of heavy cavalry.  The Persians placed elephants and deep units of levy in the centre and a holding force of light and heavy cavalry opposite the roman right .  They then placed a very strong force of cavalry including cataphracts against the weaker roman left.

The Persian right was slow to advance .  The elephants advanced in the centre supported by levy.  The light horse moved to skirmish with romans and generally delay them amidst the broken ground and fields near the river.
The roman ballista truly struggled to activate and fire despite a clear shot of the elephants ahead.  They only fired one Miss as I turned out the whole game.  On the roman left the light horse and gothic  and roman cavalry advanced towards the Persians it wer ineffective and had to evade in disorder.  The elephant commander was shot dead by the roman legions extrabow in the first shot of the game in the centre.  Then the legions led by the roman left general with a clever retire and charge took out. An elephant unit thus gaining the hill.   

On the right by slow attrition and advance the romans pushed back the Persian refused flank.  Eventually they were able to turn and threaten.  The Persians though still pushed hard on the roman left where troops pulled back in line. With the villa being held only by lanciari the Persians were able to ignore it and try to threaten the roman centre but the auxilia were strong and forced the cataphracts back.  

Eventually with darkness falling the victory coins and positions were compared.  Mike and Michael generously awarded victory to the romans .  

Posted November 27, 2016 by wargamesdiary in Miniatures

Saturday 1st October: To the Strongest: Brunanburh   1 comment

We fought our second fight of Brunanburh, this time with attached leaders and more Fyrd on the Saxon side.  The Saxon cavalry were downgraded to raw, so the forces more closely resembled the army lists.  Once again it was a fun battle with the shieldwalls holding for a long time in a tense scrum in the centre of the field.

To begin with it was going all the Saxon way.  Constantine died to the first blow; so we let him live as it was too early on stating it was his in fact his son first time and now Constantine was in command.  Thanks Mike.  He then died on the next round and Olaf took a wound.  This time the Alliance felt there was no coming back from such a fate so the Scots spent all the battle out of command really which was frustrating.  We did not use the attacking scenario rule that allowed one less pip as it was too confusing but we did keep the Golden Token of a free activation redraw once momentum was being achieved (after 4 points of enemy losses in formed units).  This did help the Scots regain their momentum later in the game plus one unit of Scots Noble Spearmen with a hero never failed to strike all game which helped too.

Once the Saxon lines broke in two places it was all over for them and this time victory was awarded to the Alliance.

The Poem in Old English

The forces:


Posted October 8, 2016 by wargamesdiary in Miniatures

Saturday 24th September: To the Strongest; Brunanburh   2 comments



Mike and Phil refighting Brunanburh using To the Strongest Rules.  On a field enhazelled near the settlement of Brunanburh two sides shall meet to determine the fate of Britain.  Aethelstan’s forces from Wessex and Mercia against those of the Alliance of Hiberno-Scandinavians (from Dublin), Scots and Strathclyde British from Cumbria led by Olaf (Anlaf).

About 150 points each side with a field bordered by woods, and a marshy stream.


Scenario Rules:

1 Only Olaf and Aethelstan can command forces from other divisions.

2 Units charging into melee get a plus one to command (making it easier) to do so.

3 The first army to destroy four enemy formed units may take the “golden hoard” token.  This may be used as a  free additional general replacement activation card once per turn for any unit in the army that is in command range of its general (including Olaf and Athelstan).  However each unit may only have one replacement card played on it per turn.

The battle



Phil played the Alliance and Mike the Saxons.  The forces began by advancing towards each other though the Hiberno-Scandinavians (H-N) on the right flank proved extremely reluctant to follow Olaf and his Axemen.  On the left flank the Strathclyde British light horse took refuge in the enclosed field proving an irritation to the Saxons.  Fearing a charge at the rear of the Viking mercenaries the reserve Saxon cavalry were dispatched to eventually winkle them out.

As the skirmish lines closed the casualties fell heaviest on the Alliance whose skirmishers occasionally failed to evade as the shieldwalls clashed too.  Olaf and his axemen were caught exposed thanks to the reluctant Ostmen H-N shieldwalls and fell into disorder.  He had to retreat them back to his line and rally whilst the Saxons under Edmund reordered their own lines and then advanced again.

To the left flank the British cavalry failed to dislodge the Vikings even with a charge to the flank and were eventually threatened by the reserve horse.  The Alliance used about 18 ammo chits throughout the battle but inflicted very few if any casualties.  The Saxon shieldwalls held strong.  The battles were furious aided by the scenario rule of a plus one to activate a melee.  However with both sides fielding lots of deep units it proved difficult to achieve a decisive breakthrough.  The Scots seemed to be making headway against Aethelstan’s forces but because of his detached status and free command moves every time they infliced 2 disorder on the deep units he soon had them rallied again.

Eventually even the Scots could not hold back the indestructable deep shieldwalls and their cavalry and javelnmen/ archers proved inneffective.  Even the Irish blackshields on the right flank failed to take the opportunity of a flank charge when Olaf really needed support.  Note the two Aces next to Olaf’s doomed Axmen.  With the route to the camp cleared once the Ostmen were destroyed the Alliance realised the day was lost and Victory was awarded to the Saxons.  Well played Mike.

The Leaders

we might do this as a display game hence the large sized leader name cards pictured.  Would be better double sided.  The Saxons should not really have detached leaders.  Far too powerful in this period with Deep shieldwalls and heroes.  What to do about the cavalry?  Just seemed to be too much cavalry for a clash of shieldwalls battle.  Probably should make the saxons raw or small units and allow the Saxons to deploy with their flanks better protected by the woods.  Head on there seems little the British cavalry can do to a formed shieldwall as it should be.  Also the Saxons had too many veterans compared to standard Fyrd which unbalanced the forces further.  This was done in an attempt to balance the forces but backfired. Mike is painting up some Irish warriors for Olaf’s H-N force which will be better and then more Fyrd can be allocated to the Saxon side as originally planned.   One we will definitely do again and the To the Strongest rules worked well, as always with lots of tense moments and fascinating moments. Such as when Athelstan took a light wound from a Scottish Spear thrust and survived to keep on fighting and rallying his Shieldwalls.

The Original Poem translated into English:

King Athelstan, the lord of warriors,
Patron of heroes, and his brother too,
Prince Edmund, won themselves eternal glory
In battle with the edges of their swords
Round Brunanburh; they broke the wall of shields,
The sons of Edward with their well-forged swords
Slashed at the linden-shields; such was their nature
From boyhood that in battle they had often
Fought for their land, its treasures and its homes,
Against all enemies. Their foes fell dead,
The Scottish soldiers and their pirate host
Were doomed to perish; and with blood of men
The field was darkened from the time the sun
Rose at the break of day, the glorious star,
God the eternal Lord’s bright candle passed
Across the land, until this noble creature
Sank to its resting-place. There many men
Lay slain by spears, and northern warriors
Shot down despite their shields, and Scotsmen too,
Weary, with battle sated. The West Saxons
Throughout the whole long passing of the day
Pressed on in troops behind the hostile people,
Hewed fiercely from the rear the fleeing host
With well-ground swords. The Mercians refused
Hard battle-play to none among the fighters
Who came with Anlaf over rolling seas,
Bringing invasion to this land by ship,
Destined to die in battle. Five young kings
Lay dead upon the battlefield, by swords
Sent to their final sleep; and likewise seven
Of Anlaf’s earls, and countless of his host,
Both Scots and seamen. There the Norsemen’s chief
Was put to flight, and driven by dire need
With a small retinue to seek his ship.
The ship pressed out to sea, the king departed
Onto the yellow flood and saved his life.
Likewise the wise old Constantinus came,
The veteran, to his northern native land
By flight; he had no reason to exult
In that encounter; for he lost there friends
And was deprived of kinsmen in the strife
Upon that battlefield, and left his son
Destroyed by wounds on that grim place of slaughter,
The young man in the fight. The grey-haired man
Had little cause to boast about that battle,
The sly old soldier, any more than Anlaf;
They could not with their remnant laugh and claim
That they were better in warlike deeds
When banners met upon the battlefield,
Spears clashed and heroes greeted one another,
Weapons contended, when they played at war
With Edward’s sons upon the place of carnage.
The Norsemen left them in their well-nailed ships,
The sad survivors of the darts, on Dingesmere
Over the deep sea back they went to Dublin
To Ireland they returned with shameful hearts.
The brothers also both went home together,
The king and prince returned to their own country,
The land of Wessex, triumphing in war.
They left behind corpses for the dark
Black-coated raven, horny beaked to enjoy,
And for the eagle, white-backed and dun-coated,
The greedy war-hawk, and that grey wild beast
The forest wolf. Nor has there on this island
Been ever yet a greater number slain,
Killed by the edges of the sword before
this time,as books make known to us, and old
And learned scholars, after hither came
The Angles and the Saxons from the east
Over the broad sea sought the land of Britain,
Proud warmakers. Victorious warriors,
Conquered the Welsh, and so obtained this land.

Posted September 24, 2016 by wargamesdiary in Miniatures

Saturday 12th March: Song of Blades, Hammer and Forge   2 comments

The final scenario in our campaign.  This was based on the Hammer and Forge clearing the tunnels scenario.  Four forces of 300 points; two on each side; dwarves versus Goblins.

Posted March 16, 2016 by wargamesdiary in Miniatures

Advanced Song of Blades Playtest   Leave a comment

Ran a playtest of Advanced Song of Blades. 

The rules are updated from the original and are indeed Advanced.  See post below for pictures of the terrain and figures.

First scenario

My first game involved the company of dwarves taking on the Undead.  The profiles were mainly taken from the Hammer and Forge supplement.  It was interesting to see how the two different types of leaders worked once I got the rules straight which took a little time.

The scenario was a Treasure Hunt with 3 treasure locations based on the map which was set up as the old Fortresses ground floor with a large feasting hall or audience chamber in the centre with a smaller raised platform within and then several rooms surrounding this.  One of the Treasure locations would contain a valuable chest of gems and artefacts which each side was searching for.  Either defeat the enemy or take it back to their baseline which would end the scenario and then VPs would be calculated.  The dwarves were searching for gemstones and a map rumoured to be inscribed upon a large crystal. The Undead had been instructed/ impelled to stop them by their Lich Lord.

The Company advanced rapidly into the main hall and the thief headed towards the dais or platform.  The Undead moved more slowly towards the Hall opening the doors but not entering whilst the Wight adanced quickly also towards the dais.  The Thief reached the top of the dais first but was unable to cause any damage through sling shots at the advancing Wight.  The Dwarves decided to advance towards the Undead in a line with their leader in support.  The Undead formed up to meet them and then both sides stood and faced each other for a split second.  The Wight charged the unfortunate Thief with incredible speed.  Hoping to disengage the Thief attacked but suffered a terrible wound, falling to the ground out of action.

The Undead charged led by their Leader (lead from the front) and supported by the spear armed Undead warrior.  They managed to force the Dwarves into combat and then were able to push their advantage subsequently.  The Leader moved forwards to assist a downed colleague but was struck down mortally wounded in turn.  This caused consternation amongst the dwarves who were already hard pressed in combat.  Soon they were down to half their original strength and a further morale roll sealed their fate.  The Wight picked up the treasure finding it on the first attempt and the Undead claimed a Major Victory.

I learnt about the two different types of leaders and how the new Lead from the front is useful when the lines are closing for battle.  The other form of leader is still useful especially with his quality bonus but he can be left out of position when the lines close plus he cannot React  with his groups during the opponent’s turn.   The Reaction rules certainly added a great deal.  It made moving low Q troops like the Healer harder and it gave good Q troops like the well led dwarves very quick on the battlefield despite their short legs.  The biggest difference was that no longer can you just throw 3 dice with your final model and just get away with it.

Next I played a straight forward engagement as the goblins and the Dwarven Infantry set about clearing the caverns below the fortress.  The Dwarves moved quickly into the chamber being split into two groups. one the leader with his axemen and the others in the second.  The Goblins also had to split with their Leader (old style) with the archers to their left and the rest in the centre having to move around the shallow Lake (difficult ground).

The Goblins found it very difficult to activate at Q4 or 3 and this gave the Q3 (2 with Lead from Front in their Group) plenty of Reaction opportunities which they tended to pass.  The Goblins always seemed to fail their reactions.

Second scenario

The result was that the Cave troll entered the main chamber quite isolated and was set upon by a large force of Dwarves.  The Acolyte created a Wall of Wood to channel him towards the warriors.  Meanwhile the archers and throwing axe armed dwarves took the high ground.  The Goblin infantry charged and was looking quite bad for the archers until one defended himself so well with his short sword he scored a gruesome kill on the attacking goblin who failed to block.  As can be imagined this caused a minor rout jut at the wrong time for the isolated Troll.  To add insult to injury having finally got his group of archers into position for a concentrated shooting attempt they failed to activate. The Goblin Chosen bowman did score a great kill on one of the dwarves which was quite fun to see   The Tough Troll though was eventually pulled down and the dwarves began to threaten the Leader breaking through the Goblin shield line.  The Goblins decided at this point to give up.

This game really made me see how poor quality Q4 troops can have a hard time.  It was difficult in old SoBH but with the new reaction rules it is even harder as your opponent keeps benefitting from your fails.  I think a new player might get quite dispirited being given a Goblin Horde to fight off the mighty dwarven infantry backed up by a Healer and a Hero in their ranks.  So I have created an alternative Orcish warband who are slightly better in terms of Q rolls and with less troops it is easier to benefit from the old style Leader.  It transpires that a Leader can only issue one Group activation order a Turn and it is his final action of his activation so having two large groups of cheap goblins is not always ideal.

I also liked the new weapon types and spells which add a lot more detail and flavour to the game.

All in all I much prefer the new Advanced rules but it is definitely worth remembering that poor Q troops are rated poor for a reason.  Q4 is considered poor whereas most trained troops would be expected to be a Q3 at least and the game is designed with this in mind.












Posted March 2, 2016 by wargamesdiary in Miniatures

Preparing for Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes   2 comments

ASOBH is coming so have set out my terrain and created some Warbands.  Using the Set Editor mentioned on the SoBH yahoo group I have also created some Character Cards to go with the game, to be played using my Lord of the Rings Figures.

The Scenario:

An old mountain fortress sits upon a complex of caverns. Legend tells of an Ancient Lord who fell under the influence of Evil seeking immortality and was Cursed for his misdeeds. Within the holdfast are said to be paths to seems of rich ores and treasures unclaimed for centuries.  The Holdfast is said to be Haunted and no one has ever entered and escaped alive!

Now after all this time Dwarves have come to investigate the old mountain fortress. In fact two separate groups have come. The first is a Warband of proud Heavy Infantry following the orders of their King to seek out and explore the holdfast and ideally take control so that it can be claimed for the clan. The Second is a Company of Dwarven wanderers who are loyal to their Commander and are seeking the riches rumoured to lie within. Again if they could take control of the complex it would prove a useful base and resource for planned future expeditions.  Both groups are supported by Acolytes of the Dwarven gods inspired to drive away the foul Undead rumoured to be haunting the Holdfast and claim it for their folk.

A group of Goblins have also heard of the rich treasures and been sent or somehow driven to seek the mountain caverns for themselves.  Finally the complex is indeed Haunted by the once arrogant and vainglorious Human Lord who dwelt here in better times.  Driven to seek immortality through fear of ageing, death and his jealousy of the longer lives of Elves he became corrupted through carrying out living sacrifices and eventually lost his Soul.  Upon his death he was Cursed to Undeath and now with his Henchmen who joined him in his foul deeds in life he stalks the now dusty and silent Halls and Caverns of his Holdfast slaying the living beings he comes across.  His bitter hatred for Elves, Dwarves and Humans may lead him to tolerate the Goblins however whilst they serve his purposes at least.

This is a mini-campaign and four warbands are involved.  It can be played by two or four players.  The first scenario involves two straight forward battles between four 400 point warbands each in two pairs (either the Caverns or the Halls).  In the second scenario a means of connecting the two areas will become apparent.

IMG_6625 IMG_6592 IMG_6595 IMG_6593 IMG_6583 IMG_6585 IMG_6594 IMG_6584 IMG_6589 IMG_6614 IMG_6613 IMG_6586 IMG_6615 IMG_6603 IMG_6617 IMG_6602 IMG_6599 IMG_6619 IMG_6618 IMG_6616 IMG_6598 IMG_6587 IMG_6612 IMG_6608 IMG_6604 IMG_6605 IMG_6611 IMG_6607 IMG_6609 IMG_6610 IMG_6606 IMG_6600 IMG_6582 IMG_6620 IMG_6621 IMG_6624 IMG_6626 IMG_6623 IMG_6622 IMG_6596


Posted February 26, 2016 by wargamesdiary in Miniatures

Saturday 20th February: Second Battle of Harondor; To the Strongest   2 comments

Our second battle in the Harondor campaign was fought with two large 200 point armies:  Gondor led by Bruce and Phil against Mordor and Harad led by Darryl and Mike respectively.

Bruce took charge of the Gondor Knights this time boosted by the presence of the Prince of Ithilien and his Royal Guard on the left flank.  Phil was in charge of the infantry boosted by the Pelargir Citadel Guard and some artillery.  Opposite: Mike was in charge of the Haradrim and Darryl the forces of Mordor boosted by some more Uruk Hai and artillery.

The battle began with Gondor advancing steadily, moving artillery onto the hill for a commanding view of the rough ground opposite and the infantry moved in to the buildings (ruined temple by the river).  The light infantry rangers placed out of command on the far right did march forwards but then spent most of the game failing to activate.

Mordor attacked by sending in the elephants against the bowmen and spearmen of Gondor.  The harad cavalry skirmished with the late knights but this time their armour saved the Knights from injury.

The Trolls (Elephants) took a lot of shots coming in but did manage to close with the enemy.  The deep spearmen suffered a double disorder and the loss of their commander but they did manage to heroically kill the Troll.  Another Troll faced a barrage of missile fire but was at last brought down by an artillery bolt from the hill.  The only hit the artillery scored all game but a crucial one.

The Gondor infantry successfully occupied the buildings as the facing Uruk Hai proved very reluctant to advance.  Then when ordered to charge and take the ground they consistently failed to activate with an ace card every time!  On the far left flank the Gondor Knights pushed back and destroyed the Harad cavalry.  However the Harad commander proved resilient and simply joined his light cavalry.  Mike then moved his redoubtable javelinmen over to that flank and held the Knights up even defending against flank attacks before driving a unit off the board in disorder.

On the Gondor far right the Rangers failed to move. Whilst in the centre with the Trolls now dealt with the Gondorians were able to rally their forces just in time before the Morgul Knights charged into contact.  Gondor held!  The citadel Guard advanced towards hitherto immovable Half Trolls.  The foolhardy Gondor infantry attempted to destroy the uruk Hai whom their archers had disordered but were soon sent scurrying back into the buildings in disorder.  The Uruk Hai still kept drawing aces though so could not rally and push their advantage.

The Morgul Knights easily pulled back to the safety of the ground behind the hill and planned their next move.  With the Knights pushing hard against the Haradrim to his right and his Uruk Hai stubbornly failing to advance on his left the Marshall of Umbar was in no hurry to attack the now rallied Gondor infantry in the centre.  So the forces of Harad and Mordor retreated whilst the camel riders and Harad light horse archers held the Knights back long enough.  Even the reluctant rangers had advanced in sight of the Uruk Hai but too late to have an effect.  So victory was awarded to the forces of Gondor especially the Knights led by Bruce and the Prince of Ithilien.

After the battle we felt the Trolls had once again caused a lot of trouble and delay for the Gondorian infantry, even killing their commander but had failed to make any great impact in terms of destroying units.  The Bowmen would probably be better deployed a box ahead of the shieldwall infantry to allow a retire and then swap places as opposed to being in the same box then stuck in front once the enemy close. Also Darryl felt the Harad cavalry wing with a lot of lights would be better deployed broken up and mixed with the infantry rather than attempting to face off against the superior Gondor Knights.  The artillery did not really have a huge impact as their fire can easily be drawn towards light units in rough going but they did kill a Troll and save a unit of bowmen which was quite impressive.  Artillery in a building (presumably placed on a tower or rooftop) would be even more useful as they can see over intervening troops more easily.   The Mordor bolt thrower did not even shoot as it was killed by archers as soon as it was deployed on the hill but it did draw fire away from the Morgul Knights so that was important.  Finally we could not work out what the defensive bonus for formed infantry in buildings was though it did not matter because the Uruk Hai never did manage to activate.  If they had then they probably would have captured the buildings.  Placing formed units out of command in a maze of rough ground is not a good idea as the Rangers found out.  All in all another good game of To the Strongest and  everyone enjoyed it with Bruce soon capturing the essence of the rules and activation mechanisms.



Posted February 24, 2016 by wargamesdiary in Miniatures

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