Monday, 29 July 2013


I have come across a new game, its called Dreadball.  It is made by Mantic games, designed by an ex-Games Workshop bod (back when they were better!) called Jake Thornton, and was introduced to me by Laurent Blom, a man for whom defeat comes every Tuesday like clockwork ;-).  I played a couple of introduction games with Laurent a month or so ago at the RGMB, and enjoyed it so much I went home and ordered it!  This marked the first time in several years that I have purchased any form of fantasy model or game, having moved almost completely over to historical gaming.  I won’t bang on about what the game is or how it works, its good stuff and Mantic have provided a website and all sorts of stuff for that:

Instead I’ll introduce my Dreadball team.  Having played a few games and used humans, orx (or rather orcs) & goblins, and veer-myn (ratmen) I’ve decided to throw my lot in initially with the humans.  They seem to be more of a balanced offering, and attract me in terms of the models more than the others.  Joining me and Laurent in this venture so far is Luke, who has bought a void sirens team (female humans) while Chris Fazey has purchased an Orx and goblin side.   The Deeside Defenders also appear to have already around 4-5 players just waiting to bubble to the surface, including Pete and Paddy.  On to the team then, and dropping into character…….

The Azzurri

The star league side The Azzurri has recently moved from their humble living accommodation in the lower Eytie industrial belt, to a new base in the more northern olive capital of Ostia.  Known to their supporters as ‘The Hawks’, and to their rivals and creditors as ‘Nancy Boys’, the players of the Azzurri are primarily of proto-Italian descent, having worked their way up from the pasta sweat shops leagues of lower Eytie to the semi-pro divisions of the bolognaise magnates, and now are looking to make it big by turning pro and challenging the rich boys.

Their club owner is a mysterious individual of which little is known but much is rumoured, and is simply called Tiberius by his friends and team.  There is little record of his existence beyond 6 years ago, and he himself attributes his wealth to “a bit of adventuring”.  He is an eccentric who refuses to allow any none-Eytie affiliated players to turn out for his side, and as such has amassed a close knit team of players.
The Strikers: Batistuta, Ronaldo, Montella
The Jacks: Zanetti, Salas, Zamorano
The Guards: Pagliuca, Bergomi

The First Games of The Azzurri

On the 16th of July this new team even turned out for a couple of games at the RGMB, firstly taking on Laurent Blom and his Forge Fathers side and running out victorious, winning 4-0 in a very close encounter in which we countered each others scoring throughout, and a 4pt strike by one of my key men; Ronaldo, won it for me on turn 13.  I then had a much shorter matchup against Chris Fazey and his Orx side, whose weird and wonderful name I will have to find out!  The orx and goblins deployed a bit too far forward, and although it would help them in their following match against Laurents stunties, it didn’t assist them against my side who won on turn 3 following two 4pt strikes!  Ronaldo again was key and he’s gained enough experience to increase his skill level to 3+.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Average Joes 2013 - Match Day 3

Average Joes Vs Orcland Raiders

The First Half

Match day 2 brought the second consecutive meeting for ‘Joes against an Orc side in front of 27,000 fans (14,000 ratty flag wavers); brace yourselves ratty fans because it wasn’t pretty!  The early part of the game saw the rats kick to the orcs, and then try to lay into their green opponents, with newcomer ‘Shirley’ (the rat ogre) knocking out a black orc, and Tank the storm vermin matching this feat.  However the greenskins struck back and blister No.10 took out gutter runner The Rat, a serious injury which will also cause him to miss the next game.  3 line rats were also knocked out before the end of the half.  In terms of ball-play the Orcs had worked it down their right, eventually sending a blitzer free running for the endzone.  He wasn’t quick enough and storm vermin La Fleur blocked him, regaining the ball for ‘Joes who, with time ticking down, tried an improbably throw over the top.  The target gutter runner missed his catch and the ball dropped free, only for the orcs to pick up and using a hitherto unknown orc tactic of ‘throwing’ passed it forwards enough for a lineorc to score an improbably touchdown in the last seconds.
Second Half

With only eleven players at the start of the match Average Joes were now down to 9 for the opening drive – 2 having recovered from being knocked out, while the orcs had no such issues.  The previous weeks orc side; the Greenskin Hackers, had really caused a problem!  The scores were soon level however, with the orcs kicking to the rats, and a controversial touchback giving gutter runner Pepper Brooks the ball.  A cage on the ratty left then gave him a vehicle to move forwards into the ‘Raiders half.  The orcs ignored the gapping gap which Pepper subsequently ran through and carried on hitting instead while the gutter runner levelled the scored at 1-1 on turn 2 of the second half.

From then on it was more of a battle than a match, and more of a massacre than a fair fight.  A string of injuries and knockouts crippled ‘Joes, with the Black Orc No.7 causing the main one as he injuried ‘Shirley’ the rat ogre.  The earlier scorer; No.10, put the boot in on linerat Dwight so thoroughly that he was pronounced dead at the pitch side, and Black Orc No.8 clattered into linerat Justin, sending him into the crowd – the green half sadly.  This wasn’t the end either as another 3 rats ended up in the knockout box, and a further 1 in the crowd, but the friendly side this time.  Towards the end of all this damage the orcs finally scored their second against a team of 6 rats (most of which were lying prone on the floor), with orc blitzer No.11 going over the line to make it 2-1. 

The rats set up for a last drive – 2 turns remaining, and only 6 players left, but this included two gutter runners, including top scorer Pepper Brooks, so they still had a slight chance of a draw.  However, even as the ball fell towards the pitch from the kickoff the orcs launched a Blitz and swamped the rats line.  With no other option Pepper picked up the ball and ran, but demonstrated the rats luck throughout the second half when he slipped and fell while trying to leap the orc line.  A last attempt by the ‘Raiders to score number 3 was foiled by their own catching ability, and the game ended in an orc victory, two touchdowns to one.

Team Update – Injuries & New Recruits

2 players are missing for the next game, which will be against orc opposition for the third time, reputed to be one of the best in the competition.  A 3rd player; linerat Dwight, died during the match, and his place has been taken by a new linerat recruit.  ‘Joes coach has also taken on an apothecary.  This reduces Joes to 12 players.
Dwight – Dead.
Shirley – Smashed hand; punched an orcs head.
Justin – Full recovery, no-one knows how.

The Rat – Broken jaw.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Average Joes 2013 - Match Day 2

 With the departure of their June opponents; The Greenskin Hackers, for a promotional tour of France and outer Mongolia, Average Joes had to wait two months for the Orcs return and match day 2.  As both teams took to the pitch at the Deeside Defenders venue the Orcs (head coach David Astley) were certainly slightly worried, and the rats confident, and with good reason.  The Orcs won the toss and opted to receive, but their initially organised defence broke down early on, with a spilled ball allowing gutter runner Cotton McKnight to score what would be his (its?) first of two.  Ratty touchdown two came soon after, with more appalling Orc luck seeing a double skulls on their smacking dice, and the ball whisked away for another Cotton touchdown, 3-0 at half time and the Orcs looking dishevelled with only a knocked out storm vermin to show for it.  This low injury count was a relief to the ‘Joes coach, who only had 11 players available due to the injuries to gutter runner The Rat, and storm vermin Tank from match day 1 ruling them out.
The second half opened with Average Joes receiving, and breaking away down the left with a well organised cage and a sprint from Pepper Brooks after a Murdock (thrower) handoff for ‘Joes 4th , touchdown.  And half way through the second half it was five, with Pepper Brooks completing his hat trick following an accurate pass from Cotton.

Once they got the ball back however the Orcs were a different proposition, and with an organised offence and good caging tactics spent the remainder of the 2nd half gradually moving the ball down the pitch before scoring their first touchdown of the game.  The rats coach was less disappointed with this, than with the manner of the touchdown, coming as it did with several casualties for ‘Joes, all of which will now miss their next game.  Pepper, unsurprisingly perhaps, claimed the MVP.

Team Update – Injuries & New Recruits:
3 players are missing for the next game against another Orc side; The Maulers.  This reduces ‘Joes to a mere 10 players, so the coach has chosen to spend all of his 130,000 gold pieces hiring Shirley; a rat ogre.
  • The Lone Rat – Smashed ankle following a heavy black orc challenge.
  • Dodge – Fractured arm after he made a mess of dodging (irony) and fell flat.
  • Murdock – The thrower survived with only a pinched nerve after being pushed into the crowd.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

The American Civil War – An Odyssey in 6mm – Part 2

 Whisper it, quietly: I’ve painted something.  After months of English Civil War painting (and a bit of finishing some extra units for my Saga Welsh) the big game at Gauntlet has been and gone, and every one of my Royalists is done.  So a couple of nights ago, while trying to recovered from a heat-related headache, I sat down outside, got a few of my Union infantry out and had a bash.  This suggests there was no actual planning, when in fact I had used PVA glue to attach them to sticks (cheers Andy, good glue tip) a couple of nights previously, and sprayed them with black spray paint the following morning. 

I sat and painted for approximately 2.5 hours, using a new technique, a variety of brushes and several paints, and at the end 48 little men (or rather 12 6mm strips) were finished and stuck to 3 40mm by 20mm MDF bases.  They still require sand and flocking, matt varnishing, and flags, but they already look the part and I’m rather happy with them.  The pictures I tried to take don’t capture their best side sadly.  Might do another infantry regiment next.

Because I had the luck of being given a tutorial in how to paint Union troops I thought it only fair to include it below in case its useful to anyone else.  This only covers the painting not the basing, and is supposed to be done in the order below, all the paints are Vallejo ones:

First regiment, not sure if the mdf base is a bit too thick or not.
  1. Firstly paint the entire model/strip a middle-light blue – lighter is better because once its on it looks darker due to the size of the model.  I’m using Flat Blue.
  2. Dry brush the entire model light blue –Deep Sky Blue.
  3. Paint the trousers light blue –Deep Sky Blue.
  4. Paint the skin – blocking in using a dwarf flesh.
  5. Paint the bag under the water tin (left side of the model) and its strap sandy – Iraqi sand for me.
  6. Paint the gun (all of it except the butt) and water tin bright silver – Natural Steel.
  7. Gun butt, other bag, its strap and the models hair light brown – beige brown.
  8. Shoes and base dark brown – Vallejo Hull Red.
  9. Finally ink the whole model in a brown wash to give it a duller image and pick out the detail.  I’m actually using a Windsor & Newton Ink – Nut Brown, which comes in a 14ml glass bottle and is to be found in art shops.  This was the recommendation of the tutorial chap whose name I will remember or find at some point.

Other tips; don’t go back and correct unless it’s a disaster, nobody will notice!  Don’t spend ages getting it right.  Do trust the ink wash will make everything good.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

English Civil War: The Relief of Hawarden – The Modelling Eye-Candy (Part 3 of 3)

While my photos were primarily trying to take in the sweeping vistas of the table, the combats and key moments, Luke focused on some of the smaller pictures, capturing some of the models and individual actions.  I've picked out some of them and posted them below in this 3rd and final part.  Of particular note are the pictures of Hawarden Castle, I think capturing the dour oppressive feeling of the original.  Sadly (or perhaps fortunately) I didn't think to take a photo of all the players together on this occasion, but there's always next time……

Dave discussing the table and scenario with one of the Gauntlet organisers; Len.
The whole table from Holt/Farndon upwards.
The village of Pulford.
Aidans troops massing before the walls of Hawarden Castle.
Better shot of the castle and its defenders.
And its gateway.
Michaels roundheads about to begin besieging Holt Castle, or heading towards Hawarden.

More of Michaels troops, this time the yellow-coated defenders of Farndon.
Aidan's horse advancing from the shadow of Hawarden Castle in march column.
Aidans foote.
The Royalists flooding out of Chester, with my horse and foote in the lead.
One of my fooote regiments - Talbot's.
Looking south towards Holt Castle. 
The build up of troops around the crossroads beginning.
Aidans dragoons at the crossroads being fired upon by my musketeers.
The roundheads taking the fight over the road late on.
Michaels nicely painted dragoons.
The leading powder cart passing Eaton Hall.
Nice shot of the Royalist horse breaking into the open.
The battlefield at the height of the fighting, with Dave (standing) and Michael watching.
The horse fighting.  The tombstones were the casualty markers, with the smoke the disorder markers.
The Roundheads on the front foot, and the Royalists coming unravelled.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

English Civil War: The Relief of Hawarden – The Battle (Part 2 of 3)

The Setup:

The day dawned bright, sunny and really rather hot.  I arrived at the venue in Deeside to discover Dave, Luke and Aidan already in situ and setting up the table smack bang in the centre of the room.  They, along with James who I’d given a lift too, kindly assisted me in dragging the horde of mostly scenery boxes I had brought along upstairs.  As the battlefield took shape there was much merriment amongst the players and watchers about the difficulty, or actual impossibility, of accessing the centre of the 144 foot square table, but given the central location of the impassable River Dee this made little actual impact.  Dave buzzed around making sure his image of the battle matched reality, and when finished it truly was impressive. 

The Cast:

Luke - Colonel Cromwell
Aidan - Sir Stapleton-Smyth (battalia commanders; Colonel Coleridge)
Michael - Earl Michael de Blondeville (battalia commanders; Colonel Hinchcliffe, Colonel Gustavus)
Rick (me)- Earl Ernley (battalia commanders; Lord Flasheart, Sir Wolfe)
Dave - Sir David Blue

Models, Strategy & Deployment:

The numbers of models being deployed around the edges were equally worth note, with approximately 1,000 infantry models in the combined 25 foote regiments, almost 200 horse, and 20+ cannon being added to by a significant number of officers parading around in feathery hats and the odd civilian and sheep.  To cap it off it was all painted.  A great sight and one which drew a few very nice comments from passers by.

With the field of battle done, and the models ready, we had a quick rules meeting (although we discovered later that this hadn’t necessarily fixed all of the queries – different interpretations over command values being one!).  This was followed by a 5 minute strategy meeting for each side.  Aidan and Michael decided quite swiftly that they would be best apart, with Aidans battalia’s positioned around the approaches to the main Royalist objective; Hawarden Castle, while Michael’s troops had the task of defending the main Farndon – Hawarden road, besieging Holt Castle, and ensuring the powder wagons which the Parliamentarian troops would need were protected on their way to Hawarden Castle.  No one player took centre stage as the general, although at least two tried too be, and they operated quite separately during the battle.

For the Royalists the plan called for Holt Castle to be garrisoned lightly (to be done by one regiment of Dave’s foote), and Chester to also have a single garrison regiment (one of my foote).  A diversionary force was to march swiftly south to Farndon to disrupt the powder supply and tie down rebel forces there, while the main bulk of the army was to make its way as quickly as possible out of the main gates of Chester and reach the crossroads before the enemy could, forming up before pushing on to besiege and take Hawarden Castle.  This bulk consisted of 2 battalia of horse and 3 of foote, mostly commanded by me and Luke.  It was an ambitious aim.

My Royalist troops arrayed ready to exit Chester.

Hawarden Castle with Aidans roundheads deployed around it.

Hawarden Castle again, scratch built by Aidan.

The whole battlefield, with Hawarden Castle nearest, Chester at the top left, and Holt Castle by the resident photographer (Luke) at the top right.

Michael deploying his troops around Holt, Farndon (across the river) and Holt Castle - garrisoned by Dave's Royalists.

Me and Aidan both chose a dice and rolled, and at 10:30am the parliamentarians began the battle.

The Battle:

The Opening Stages: Manoeuvre, Bluster and Traffic Jams

The vast distances that the troops were required to travel before they could engage meant that the first few turns were bloodless as generals shouted, cajoled, and shoved their troops in desperation.  Michael, or rather Earl Michael de Blondeville, was the most successful early on in his aims, because his troops moved the short distance to the edge of Farndon and set up there; 3 regiments of foote supported by at least 3 pieces of ordinance and several regiments of horse.  He also bottled up Dave’s regiment in Holt Castle using a further regiment of foote and a further piece of ordinance.  Finally a mixed battalia of foote, horse and dragoons set off North along to Holt-Hawarden road to re-enforce Aidan and protect the powder wagon route.  The wagons themselves were very keen to turn up, and there were soon 4 evenly spaced out and travelling along the Farndon-Hawarden, but also very prone to getting stuck, and they made poor time throughout the battle.

Aidan, or Sir Stapleton-Smyth as he now styled himself, had his own problems with manoeuvring.  The land around Hawarden was riddled with hedgerows, and while many of his troops were nicely deployed in battle formation they struggled to advance swiftly.  It wasn’t just the fault of the hedgerows either; Colonel Coleridge (one of his battalia commanders) seemed intend to ruining Stapleton-Smyths day by constantly blundering – obviously could have benefitted from some communication training as he blundered a total of 4 times during the battle!  The rest of Stapleton-Smyths infantry advanced along the Hawarden-Chester road in march column, and his horse across the more open fields to the south of the road.

If the Parliamentarians were suffering from frustration then it was nothing compared with the Royalists as they attempted to exit Chester and get moving towards their objectives.  Dave, or rather Sir David Blue, was first out of the gates, with his horse battalia heading south quickly towards Farndon before realising they were on their own and stopping.  Their supporting foote had decided to become quite confused and it took rather a lot longer to coax them out of the safe city walls and onto the road, giving Earl Michael plenty of time to set up his defences in the village of Farndon, commanded by battalia commander Colonel Gustavus.

The main Royalist objective for these early stages was the crossroads, lying as it did closer to Hawarden and Stapleton-Smyths men, and also being the point where not only could the two Parlimentarian armies combine, but also were the powder carts would have to come through.  The strategy called for my (Lord Ernely – general of the army) horse, being the quickest, to advance swiftly to protect it, followed by Luke’s (from now on Colonel Cromwell – a distant relation…..) horse.  Then the combined foote of Lord Ernely, Cromwell and Sir David would follow to begin the real battle of taking Hawarden.  There was, however, a problem.  The lead horse battalia (yes, mine) became stuck on the bridge over the Dee, and blocked up the road to much embarrassment and chortles from the parliamentarians.

It would take a while for this blockage to clear, and even once it did the traffic jam on the single Chester-Hawarden road was a major issue.  The lead horse battalia (mine under the command of Sir Wolfe) turned off the road to make room, and made its way across the fields towards the Holt-Hawarden road.  With Colonel Cromwell’s vaunted cuirassiers also moving slowly they were overtaken by the fast marching lead elements of my foote; two regiments and a storming party under the command of Lord Flasheart.  The rest of the horse and foote followed on behind; nose to tail on the road.

Aidans troops deployed around the base of Hawarden Castle preparing to move.

The first powder cart, courtesy of Aidan's collection, making its way through Farndon.

The Royalists traffic problems begin with Lord Flasheart (right) and Sir Wolfe (left) desperately trying to get their troops out of Chester and across the narrow bridge.

Dave's Royalist horse heading south on the Chester-Holt road.

Michael's troops also on the move, with Colonel Hinchcliffe and his men moving North by the Holt-Hawarden road. 
Aidan (aka Stapleton-Smyth) not standing still, with his infantry and horse both heading for the crossroads.

The Royalists false dawn as they look to spread out in the hope of getting their troops going.

The powder wagon crosses the Farndon-Holt bridge.

Aidans troops, nearing the crossroads, deploy into line ready for the enemy.

The Opening Shots:

The parliamentarians, having got over their mirth, reached the crossroads first and garrisoned the small enclosure there with Delaney’s dragoons and goats.  Stapleton-Smyth then brought his Scottish foot regiment; Fergusons Foot, into play to  the North of the road, and the first elements of his horse to the south.  Earl Michaels troops, the battalia being lead by Colonel Hinchcliffe, moved along the Holt-Hawarden road, closing in on the flank of Sir Wolfe’s lead Royalist horse.  Sir Wolfe deployed his dragoons to defend against this threat, and their musketry caused the first casualty of the day amongst the isolated lead regiment of Hinchcliffe’s horse, and kept them at bay. 

Both sides recognised that a big clash was coming soon near the crossroads, with Lord Flasheart deploying his two foote regiments astride the road, and advancing towards the dragoons and scots.  But it was to the south of the road which came the first proper fighting, as Sir Wolfes horse fought a skirmish with Stapleton-Smyths cuirassiers; the self-styled Ye Uncuttables, coming off worst against the heavily armoured roundheads and retreating.  The cuirassiers chose to carry on at a different angle, and crashed into Lord Flashearts lead regiment; the recoated King’s Guard.   The Guard formed hedgehog, and the lobsters were left stuck out in front of the Royalist guns for a while before they were able to retreat.  This in fact created a problem for the Royalist leading foote elements, half of whom were now stuck in hedgehog formation, while the rest where at best evenly matched for musketry by the scots and their supporting saker cannon on the road.

The table from the Chester end looking down the River Dee towards the grey bulk of Holt.

Lord Flashearts foote and Sir Wolfes horse lead the way, deploying into line to face Stapleton-Smyths men.

The tailback which went far into the city of Chester.

The lead elements of Dave's Royalists enter Pulford, but shortly afterwards blunder awfully.

Michaels men passing through the grounds of Eton Hall.

Michaels horse looking to flank Sir Wolfes, but dragoons in the woods spoil his plans.

More rebels heading North by Eton Hall.

Delaney's dragoons firmly embedded at the crossroads.

The Great Horse Race

To the south of the Chester-Holt road the horse battalia of Wolfe was now joined by that of Colonel Cromwell, and in accordance with the plan they headed south, brushing aside Colonel Hinchcliffe’s lead horse regiment and carrying on to threaten his foote and ordinance following them.  In a cunning move Sir Wolfe even led a bunch of the Royalist horse in a ‘follow me’ and charged home into the first powder wagon to make it that far.  The powder wagon was clearly manned by a bunch of fanatics, who fought back and survived long enough to retreat back the way they had come, leaving their attackers shaken and under pressure from the roundheads foote and dragoons.  The horse attack turned into a swirling mix of combats, with Colonel Cromwells men forcing the enemy foote to form a hedgehog, while Stapleton-Smyth, obviously concerned about the powder, dispatched a horse regiment to join the melee.  Wolfes Royalist dragoons had obviously had too much to drink and decided that this new arrival, and the hedgehog would be the best targets for a charge courtesy of a nasty blunder.  Somehow they survived this foolishness.

The Royalist horse massing for the attack.

Settling Down for a Good Fight

 Speaking of blunders Sir David was not having the best day.  While the main Royalist force was engaging with the rebel foot at the crossroads, and the cavalry battle began, his foote had managed to reach the village of Pulford on the Chester-Farndon road when they misinterpreted his order “Get a bloody move on!” for “Turn right and pull off the road”.  Obvious really.  His horse battalia looked bemused, the other Royalist commanders put on their best poker faces.  The rebel commanders were not unmoved by the situation either, however a check on their powder supplies put a new pressure upon them – with limited powder at the current rate of fighting they only had a short while before they ran out.

At the crossroads the rebel lobsters finally backed away so the roundhead foote could move forward and the battle began in earnest.  Unfortunately for the Royalists the only opposition they had in place to this onslaught was Lord Flashearts two foote regiments and storming party, and one of these soon folded under the combined attacks of Fergusons Scots, rebel cannon and Delaney’s dragoons.  The traffic jam on the Chester-Hawarden road continued until finally the Royalist general; Lord Ernely, grabbed his army by the scruff of the neck and started issuing orders all round for his troops to “bloody well get off the road and attack something!”   They did, but the Royalist cause was in trouble.

The Royalist army is just about clearing the bridge over the Dee at Chester but strung out along the road.

Infantry clash at the crossroads.
The only Royalist ordinance to open fire all day is pulled to the front.

The messy combat on the Holt-Hawarden road.

And again, with the Royalist dragoons foolishly blundering and charging a hedgehog!

The lines are drawn, but the Parliamentarian troops are better deployed.

More roundhead re-enforcements.

Looking across the Dee towards the main battle.

The Cracks Appear

The problem was the Royalists were attacking piece meal, while the Parliamentarians of Stapleton-Smyth not only had concentrated their force, they also had artillery to back it up, and elements of horse spread amongst their foote.  The Royalists had 6 large pieces of ordinance at their disposal, but with some in Chester, and most stuck in the traffic jam on the road they were unable to bring more than one gun to bear all battle, and that gun fired only 2 shots before the day ended.

The horse melee was also going badly for the cavaliers.  The seemingly huge mass of Royalist horsemen was now mostly shaken after carrying the fight to the enemy for a large period of the battle alone.  Colonel Cromwell sent his cuirassiers on an aggressive, and slightly desperate, mission to try and break Stapleton-Smyths right, looking to drive through the rebels few remaining horse on that side and on through the musketeers.  But although they succeeded in scattering the horse and pushing back the musketeers they were hit in the flank by pikes, and soon were stalled and forced back under a galling musketry fire from their enemies.  With this failure both of the Royalist horse battalia’s were broken and it was down to the foote to rescue the situation.

The End Cometh

That rescue was categorically not going to come from Sir David’s troops.  His advance towards Farndon had begun again, but faced with a wall of ordinance and rebel musketeers thrown up by Colonel Gustavus his troops seemed unwilling to move further than the southern edge of Pulford.  He had finally gone on the offensive from Holt Castle however, his musketeers sallying forth to attack Earl Michael’s besieging troops and causing some casualties but not managing to drive the enemy away.   He had placed his other two regiments in Chester, where they had remained as a final defensive line in case of disaster at the front.  After desperate pleading from his outnumbered cavalier comrades he released these to advance, but the battle to gain Hawarden had already been lost.  Lord Flashearts third foote regiment had finally reached the fighting, and Colonel Cromwells own Scottish were also on the move forwards, but they were now outnumbered by 6 foote regiments to 4, with an additional 2 donated by Earl Michael now moving on as reserves.  Plus the roundheads had retained 3 horse regiments and numerous cannon in the crossroads area.

Despite the roundheads lack of powder (they were now down to only a few charges for the rest of the army), the Royalists lacked the ability to stop the wagons – which were now going off road - reaching Hawarden Castle, and it was down to a matter of time before the Parliamentarians started pushing them back down the road towards Chester.  In terms of the victory points conditions set at the beginning of the battle it was a draw, in reality it was a Roundhead victory, and recognising this the Royalists conceded the field.  As they withdrew there was one last opportunity for foolishness – some impetuous roundhead horse flinging itself against the pikes of Lord Flasheart’s battalia, coming off very badly and being dispersed.

Dave's troops thinking about leaving Pulford, and deciding not too!

My foote being pushed back by weight of numbers.

Dave's garrison at Holt Castle finally sally's forth.

The last horse clashes on the Holt-Hawarden road.

Michaels fresh troops in Fardon - didn't have cause to fire a shot all battle!

Post Battle Report

Having packed away the armies, scenery and tables we bunged the lot in the cars and headed downstairs to the bar to have a cooling drink.  The players certainly all really enjoyed the game, even Dave whose troops did the least fighting!  It matched the visual aspiration that Dave had had in the planning stage, and looked fantastic with the scenery and fully painted armies.  In terms of the scenario it also worked well.  There were extra rules for moving at double time on roads in march column and this helped the Royalists clear some, but not enough, of their traffic jam.  The parliamentarians expressed an opinion that it was too far for the powder carts to reach Hawarden, however only Michael’s poor rolling for them prevented this. 

The Royalists were also handicapped by poor rolling in their efforts to get out of Chester, and their race to reach the crossroads in the end caused them to be spread out and have to fight piecemeal against Aidans concentrated troops.  If they had formed up outside of Chester and then advanced it would have been more even a fight, but then the roundhead foote would have captured the crossroads unopposed, and the carts would have reached Hawarden and victory would have gone to the rebels anyway.

Dave was the most unfortunate of the day, with his troops steadfastly ignoring him for a number of turns before blundering down the road to Farndon.  Interestingly because of various factors including this a total of 6 of the Royalist foote regiments (50%) did little or no fighting (the Holt garrison the exception).  Michael’s troops guarding Farndon were equally quiet, with 4 of his regiments not fighting.