Saturday, 19 December 2015

Albamorious ventures into the frozen city.. Frostgrave action!

On Tuesday James made a trip over to the Polly and we had a very enjoyable game of Frostgrave. Only my second go at it after the recent club night, and I was bringing a Level 0 warband.. Albamorious the Sigilist, up against his rather more experienced level 8 warband based on 'Slaine'. (Witch)

James was very chivalrous and didn't completely wipe out my band, although I suspect that would have been quite possible.. perhaps only the odd natural 20 would have made a difference. As it was, my warband had a good blooding and got away with a couple of treasures.

Helga bravely hiding in the shadows


I do enjoy games that give you a narrative, and Frostgrave does deliver that.. in our game highlights included a Ranger being irritated by 'Furious Quill' for a turn, then shaking it off and placing an arrow between the eyes of Ulfric, the apprentice who had cast it! Around the ranger, James' bear was swatting off zombies and our foot soldiers were laying into each other.

Demon hot on the chase!
The highlight story of the game involved a demon that James' apprentice had released, chasing down one of my child thieves who was perched on a pillar with a treasure. Albamorious cast a 'wall' spell to delay it's progress, the boy managed to jump into an adjacent window, with the demon hot on his heels.. Albamorious cast another wall directly infront of the demon, and as it turned on him, tickled it with another Furious Quill before dispatching it with a blow from his staff! (The child, meanwhile, got away with his treasure). 

Stay back!

Great fun. 

Albamorious finally stops the demon
Unfortunately my phone pictures aren't great. Really must remember to take my camera to the club!

On a side note.. elsewhere in the room.. haven't seen one of these used for a while. (obviously just for deployment - they did talk to each other!)

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Frostgrave Night

On Tuesday we had our first club Frostgrave night..  we recently decided that perhaps once a  month we'd try to arrange a 'club' game or theme, to get everyone involved and playing together. Frost grave was our first one, and it was great fun!

We actually had two games side by side.. four players on one table (of which I took no photos - sorry!), and on our table Quint and Trev played the halves of a Mog war band sandwich!

I have cobbled together a few war band ideas from the pool of figures, but would really like to 'theme' something a little more. For now, I picked the following little war band..

 Albomorious the Shit Sigilist with his Apprentice, Ulfric the Mule.. supported by Helga, a 'man' at arms, two thieves in the form of Ned and Albert, street urchins taken into Albamorious' care.. a couple of infantrymen to protect the wizard, and a crossbowman. 

Not the best war band, with only six figures, and I hadn't spent all my gold either.. but the game night was about trying out the rules and having fun.

James Strange Tower of magical Oddness drew many smutty remarks

Our table

The three way game was a hoot.. needless to say, my little band got squashed.. for some reason the children drew a lot of fire and being in the middle between the two other bands didn't help.

My crossbowman picks out a target 

Helga about to get trampled by Quint's animated Large Construct

I had one moment of hope which was quickly doused too.. A natural 20 (Critical double damage) rolled by my crossbowman, shooting at Quint's wizard. What did he roll to counter? Yep, a natural 20. (Not entirely clear in the book whether this should have been an automatic hit anyway, but all very dramatic!)

Not Fair!

So, still unsure about the longevity of this game.. but as a fun diversion it's a thumbs up.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Lion Rampant.. at last!!

My Foot Sergeants form schiltron to hold off the repeated charges of Greg's knights

Some considerable time after finishing off my retinue for Lion Rampant, Greg (& Ben) and I finally managed to get a game in at the Polly last night! That has to be one of the longest delays for painting to table.

Neither of us had played before, although we both had copies of the rules and had a read through in the week preceding.. in fairness, there isn't a lot to take in really.

My Retinue were based upon the German list in the rulebook. 
Basically this consisted of;
A unit of mounted men at arms, with the leader
Two units of Foot Sergeants
One unit of Foot crossbows with Pavises
One unit of Mounted Sergeants with crossbows

Greg and Ben, if I remember rightly, had some GW Brettonian/Empire figures;
A unit of Mounted men-at-arms
One unit of Foot men-at-arms with the leader
One unit of Bidowers
One unit of Foot crossbows
One unit of Expert Foot Sergeants with halberds

We neglected to roll for Leader characteristics and opted for the simple head to head 'Blood Bath' scenario without playing any boasts. This was about getting a feel for the game.

The battle played through very smoothly and without too much reference to the book, or puzzling over situations that one sometimes gets in these first games.. a testament to the simplicity I guess. It was also a fairly satisfying bash, with some valuable lessons learned..

We write liked the way that once your impetuous knights are committed, they are pretty much out of your control and will grind themselves into oblivion and/or achieve glorious victory with their Wild Charges.

Mounted Crossbows try to keep the halberdiers at arm's length

Crossbow fire across the field doesn't disturb the cattle

Although these sheep are about to become the mutton in a Knight sandwich!

Don't block the retreat of your own units is pretty fundamental really - no excuse for that one!

The courage tests worked quite well, with the accumulative effect of losses, building the chance and tension with each test.

We called a halt when we hit five units remaining, although I realise that we didn't actually work out who had won! Never mind..

So, overall a thumbs up.. especially if we introduce the character of the scenarios, boasts and leader qualities on top of the 'vanilla' game. Greg seemed to keen to have a root through his unpainted GW figures too!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

A Frosty thing..

Set up a bit of a solo game to run through the Frostgrave rules again last night.. I might finish off the game today.. although I do find these days that solo games inevitably get put away before they're finished.

The light is a bit awkward to take pictures so I had a bit of a play..

Albomorious the Sigilist fails to cast a Draining Word spell

Guntard, the Elementalist Apprentice, lurks in the ruins

Ulfric struggles to cast spells and carry all of Albomorious' crap

Helga takes on an imp, assisted by a zombie

Marak the Barbarian and a small construct, advance.. taking a treasure token

Gertrude the Elementalist curses me for not removing the background!

the sounds of battle ring out across the frozen ruins.. or something..

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

A bit of a catch up on two recent games.. Seven Years War and Rome vs Seleucid

A brief update on two recent games at the club..Less burble.. more pics.. all on the phone, so apologies for that.. must remember to take the camera along.

A couple of weeks ago, Steve hosted a rather spiffing Seven Years War game using his collection of traditional toy soldiers... it's hard to convey the spectacle of these lovely toys with crappy phone pictures.. but at one point in the battle I did stop and think I felt as thought I'd stepped into the pages of one of those Grant and Featherstone books I used to read in the library as a kid!

We were using the Piquet 'Field of Battle' rules and Steve and I lead the Austrians to an ignominious defeat. (Being a Prussian sympathiser, I was secretly not too disappointed with Greg and Pete's victory!)

Last week Steve and Scrivs had a go at To The Strongest! with Steve's new Pikey army.. being less than pleased with his new army's turnout, I suggested a game against my Republican Romans last night, fully expecting his huge pike blocks to roll over my little maniples.

Things didn't quite work out that way. We had an enjoyable game, Greg joining Steve. As ever, there was a bit of bad luck that had some influence.. the Seleucids struggling to get hits in during the early part of the battle. Tactically, I decided to forgo my instinctive method of trying to maintain some kind of line with my Romans, and went for a chaotic 'get in amongst them' approach.. using my lights to cause as much disruption as possible. 

I had some good luck against the Seleucid cavalry, my Italian allies pretty much taking one flank whilst over on my left, the elites made a right nuisance of themselves, getting around the pikes and scaring off the elephants.

In the end it was a Roman victory. not by a lot.. I was down to half my medals.

postscript - I realised that I had priced my maniples using an older list, so points-wise I had a slight advantage as the units cost 1/2 point more these days! (and give me less victory points too)

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

More Arthurians

Hot on the heels of Partizan, Scrivs and I planned to meet up for a game on Tuesday..
"Fancy a small game.. something skirmishy perhaps?" says I, particularly after the massive epic Arthurian do on Sunday.. 

...short version, a few texts later and we decided to play a game of To The Strongest!

And I'm glad we did. Had a cracking game, probably all the better for having played so recently - very little time was spent looking up rules etc (Although I do tend to forget to modify Saves - learning point).

We played around 130 points each - Scrivs will be posting soon no doubt, and took pictures on a proper camera, so hopefully with better ones than I have here from my phone..

The armies deployed
Up against his Saxon host, I fielded my Romano-British force - a mix of Romanised 'Auxilia', Pedites (javelin men), Light Bows and cavalry, with a strong wing of Saxon mercenaries or allies (Two deep veteran war bands with Shock)

I made a fundamental mistake in deployment and placed my cavalry, very useful troops, in a stupid spot from which they never really recovered. For much of the game, the Saxon horse faced no real opposition.

For much of the game it was fairly fluid.. on my right the Saxons met their compatriots head on and got into a grinding melee.. 

Although one of the Saxon war bands broke through, I had some success in the centre, and on the left things were pretty balanced, swinging back and forth.

However, in a couple of turns things went quite wrong for me.. Firstly one of those big mercenary Saxon war bands was destroyed, taking their general with them - losing me 5 of my 11 medals in one go! Then over on my left I managed to get some success, getting a few medals back, but charged my flanking foot straight into the path of the Saxon advance! (Charging units occupy the square vacated by destroyed units). That was it - although Scrivs lost a few more medals, I was down to 1 and it was a a matter of time before my army quit the field, having enough for one Tuesday night. Can't say I blame them really.

One observation.. I've found that when I'm playing games with TtS! that I'm not playing the rules, or the game.. I'm actually thinking about the situation in front of me, trying to decide where to act, where to take a chance and where to play it safe..for me, that makes it an enjoyable ruleset. (Doesn't make me any better or improve my chances of winning clearly!!)

** I just realised that there are no cards to be seen on any of these pics.. we did use them, honest!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Partizan 2.. Arthurian To The Strongest!

Today was the last ever Partizan show to be held at Kelham Hall. In some ways sad, as for me it's been a place of bi-annual pilgrimage for many many years.. my first ever war-games show was Partizan, just before they moved to Kelham Hall and I've only missed a few. On the other hand, it's dark and a logistical mare, so probably about time.

Anyway - by way of a send off, I was lucky enough to be involved in helping out with a rather splendid game (actually two games), showcasing Simon's To The Strongest! rules.. The two tables represented both ends of the Arthurian period, with Picts and Late Romans fighting it on one side, and Arthur's Britons taking on a Saxon horde on the other table.

Overall view of the two battles

The figures and scenery were all from our joint collections, and hopefully there will be some better pictures appearing soon, as my phone really wasn't up to the job today!

The games were for participation and we had good fun introducing new players (often Dads with Sons) to the rules..nice to meet lots of new people and share the fun of the game.

Along with all the people who came along and played, (some names I didn't get, sorry).. the team today included:

James Morris (who needs to start a Blog!)

Last year at Partizan, Simon presented James with a perfect baboon for Keren (long story!).. Scrivs and James returned the gesture today with some lovely Asterix legionaries painted up for Simon.. I didn't get a picture of the figures, but did capture the moment.. I think he was pleased :)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Frostgrave.. a start

Now, there's a good chance that I'll never actually play this game. (I have yet to get a game of Lion Rampant, despite finishing my Retinue a while back).. but I was hit by the cosh of inspiration last week and sometimes there is as much joy in the planning and building of a project as there is in playing the game. (?) Having a week off work helped ;-)

Anyhoo.. I was ordering something else on Amazon, and on a whim, having read a little about it (for example, on Tom's blog), I ordered the Frostgrave book. I don't really 'do' fantasy but perhaps secretly I've always looked back in fondness at those days of Tunnels and Trolls with my brother..

As I read the book, I realised that here was an opportunity for some proper 'bashing'.. so started on a number of smaller projects as part of the bigger one... a common thread here is thrift*!

Firstly, scenery. The game is set in a frozen ruined city. I decided to make use of some thin ply rescued from a set of trashed bedroom furniture for the bases, and with hot glue gun and masking tape at hand, set to cutting up and sticking together a load of corrugated cardboard walls. 

cardboard, tape and emulsion

I splashed some greyish emulsion over the pieces to help bind it and keep the masking tape in place, then applied some textured spray paint that I picked up from B&Q - this was an experiment and I quite like the result. Finally, a dab of white emulsion around the bases and voila - cheap and simple, but hopefully effective, terrain pieces!

Textured paint and white emulsion

Next up, figures. Being short of any fantasy figures, I did order a couple of suitable 'wizard' Reaper Bones figures from eBay, these have yet to be painted but were pretty cheap and I'm quite impressed.

For the 'soldiers', I had a number of Fireforge figures left on the sprues, along with a few spare metal dark ages types. With the plastic figures, rather than mess about with greenstuff, I had great fun adding packs, capes, heads and various other modifications using various sources ranging from Greeks to Russian WW2! About half of these are painted up..

a motley crew

Roman helmet plume
Prussian Fusilier backpack

Fireforge figure, with Greek cape and French Hussar head!

Whilst preparing the soldiers, I also dug out some English Heritage gift shop figures which are now painted and based up as statues for my frozen city!

Finally, when I last saw my brother, he handed me a box and said that there were some 'tanks or something' inside - he was having a clear out. Turned out to be a right little mixture of figures, including a group of old Orcs. I think these may have been Asgard. Most likely bought from Tabletop Games (we used to live not far from the old shop). The paint was pretty faded but I figured these could be revived. Rather than completely re-start, I've tried to keep the theme intact, the shields are untouched for example.. but I've re-coloured and added some shading and highlighting as well as re-basing. I haven't tried to repair the broken weapons. Not sure these will see any use in Frostgrave, but I like them and they have been with us for many years!

*The cost of the Frostgrave project so far..

The rulebook - £10.00
Textured Spray paint - £7.95
Gale Force 9 snow - £3.00
4 wizardy figures (ebay) - £10 (ish)

So.. altogether about £30 for the rules, all the scenery and two factions/warbands. Not bad!