Wednesday, 28 January 2015

English Civil War - Campaign Day January 2015

Flasheart Vs Sir Andy de Cavenham

It was a very busy week for the naturally dramatic and dashingly good looking Lord (Derek) Tiberius Flasheart, defending his kings honour and promoting his own quality brand of hair products throughout the land.  Following his before mentioned discomfort over his capture of Little Pontefract from the Marquis of Newcastle, and his fracas with the Parliamentarian troops of  Diderich Beckman, Flasheart was again on the move.  This time it was to Devon that he raced; keen to catch the end of the traditional Kingsbridge beauty pageant he arrived to find the forces of Sir Andrew de Cavenham had already pinched the best seats.  This would obviously not do, and despite Sir Andrew’s generous offer to move away quietly Flasheart ordered the attack.  Sir Andrew’s attempt to ‘Breakout’ failed, and as the retreated towards the coast Flasheart was left with the village of Kingsbridge, and an urgent message from a sweat-stained rider that matters at home had gone awry and he needed to return at once.
Flashearts men too the fore, King's Lifeguard in the centre.  Andy's troops were drawn from my collection so it was a very civil war!

Sir Hugh of Beeston Vs the Marquis of Newcastle

What had gone awry was clear when he arrived back in the North Wales area; that notorious cad the Marquis of Newcastle had decided to return Flashearts visit to the North-East with a jaunt of his own to Hawarden, and he had brought his siege train with him.  Even as Flasheart was bawling at a cattle driver while sitting in the inevitable queue that mystically forms around the small village of Birmingham between 7am and 10pm, the Marquis had attacked Hawarden Castle.  Striking it lucky with his opening artillery salvo the geordie Sakers blew the gatehouse doors to match sticks, and followed up with storming parties, pikemen and musketeers scaling the walls and charging the gatehouse.  The castle defenders, led in Flasheart’s absence by his stalwart second; Sir Hugh of Beeston, put up a gallant fight, defeating the forlorn hope that stormed the gatehouse and fending off the musketeers best efforts at gaining a foothold on the walls.  However, the weight of numbers began to tell and Newcastle’s burly pikemen forced their way through the gates while a storming partly scaled the far wall near the keep using grenades to great effect.  The last of the defenders withdrew to the keep and, after a final unsuccessful assault by Newcastle’s troops on this formidable obstacle, peace terms were agreed and Sir Hugh was able to march his remaining troops back to Wrecsam with their weapons.

Newcastle's siege lines around Hawarden Castle.

The defenders - 137pts didn't get you alot of men, so we used 200pts of defenders and 400 of attackers.

Sir Hugh of Beeston spotting for the Royalist mortar 'Roaring Meg'.

The first assault goes in against the gatehouse.

Sir Hugh's men drive them back.

Newcastle's troops breach the gate and a one-sided fight ensues in the castle courtyard.

Meanwhile Newcastle's storming party succeeds in scaling the walls.

Retreat to the keep!

The last, unsuccessful, attack on the keep before Sir Hugh is able to surrender.

Flasheart Vs Sir David Astbury; MP

Newcastle, it seemed, had no interest in holding the castle, and in return for heading back Up North he simply demanded that Flasheart leave the key road the A1 to his sphere of operations.  Flasheart, being the sensible chap that he is, agreed completely and then gave chase hoping to catch the rascal unawares.  He was, however, slowed by his supply train, which also attracted the vast hungry masses of Wigan, lead by the Right Honourable MP for Wigan; Sir David Astbury.  Abandoning his pursuit of Newcastle with the catchy line “I’ll get you next time Newcastle, next time!” the well-groomed Lord Flash turned his troops towards the Parliamentarian MP and engaged in a lively debate that neither could claim to have won.  There was even some fighting.  Sir David’s mounted flanking attack turned up late and stalled against the reckless Cavalier horsemen, and the infantry fought each other to a standstill.  Sir David’s men returned to Wigan, still hungry.  Lord Flasheart’s men returned to Wrecsam, still dashingly good looking and hopping mad with Newcastle.  Flasheart himself took a musket ball to the shoulder and will require some well earned R&R in the nearest tavern and/or red light district before he returns to action.

The Royalist supply wagons that so enticed the masses of Wigan.

A clash of infantry - the King's Lifeguard pike ran for the second time in two battles, having done the same against Sir Andrew de Canham's men.  The Royalist horse were attacked from the left at this point by the flanking enemy horse.

Royalist dragoons hugging hedgerows.

Some pictures of other battles

Sir Chris Fazey's horse on their way to 'Breakout' and win their only victory of the day.

Diderich Beckman's Swedes face James 'Big Jim' McDonald's scots.

Sir Andrew de Cavenham (near side) on his unstopable way to claiming a 3rd (4th?) straight victory against De Blondeville.

 An Insert Of Realism

All of the above translates into the following; firstly a clash with Andy as he sought to ‘Breakout’ as the attacker in the scenario, but lacked the swift troops to make it in time, and left me in possession of the Devon village of Kingsbridge.  Secondly a siege game against Ian, and despite Aidans best intentions and efforts in putting in the scenario and bringing a lovely castle we mostly ignored the restrictions and went all gung-ho with more men than we were supposed to because it looked cool.  I thought Ian would enjoy being able to use his nicely painted multiple storming parties, and my own storming party garrisoned the gatehouse unsuccessfully.  We used some rules I’d tried and tested in ECW siege before, and it all worked very well and produced a cinematic game.  Ian defeated me and claimed a road (the A1 around Weatherby).  Finally my third game was against David, whose infantry were aggressive, but I managed to fight them to a standstill while our cavalry were evenly matched.  A draw.

Flasheart will return.

Friday, 23 January 2015

English Civil War Battle Report - Flasheart Vs Newcastle & Beckman

An English Civil War campaign has broken out quietly, courtesy of Mr Aidan Holman, and names By The Sword Divided: Part 2.  I fought my first two battles using Pike & Shotte rules and a mere 270pts of troops.  I wrote this report for the campaign blog but decided to post it here too.

A scuffle broke out last week when a certain Lord Tiberius Flasheart (Derek to his friends and hairdresser) suggested that the Marquis of Newcastle just wasn’t showing the right ‘stuff’ to be part of the grand Royalist armies.  Other comments in this high quality verbal exchange surrounded the concept of big girls blouses and prickled coves, and are perhaps best left undiscovered.  It wasn’t long before Flasheart, being the impetuous and daft as a march hare chap that he is, had decided to lead his remarkably small army Up North to explain more clearly what he meant by ‘stuff’ in person.  The Marquis, being somewhat more intelligent than Flasheart, waylaid the arrogant (but beautifully groomed) dandy near a village he named as Little Pontefract.  Newcastle, having given suggestion that there would be some physical activity, waited until the first shots had been fired before evading Flashearts men and leaving the stunningly manicured man from Wrecsam looking very pleased with himself at the capture of Little Pontefract.  When it finally dawned upon him that he had been tricked, and this was in fact not the village of Pontefract with the lovely castle but a much smaller village with fewer taverns and absolutely no castle whatsoever he was somewhat less pleased.

Flashearts troops (on the left) pin the Marquis of Newcastles troops back into the village of Little Pontefract.

Flashearts dragoons in an atmospheric shot.

Leaving a few men to keep an eye on the tavern Lord Flasheart set off back to North Wales, a journey that would take him many days to cross the great six foot divide between the two battlefields on offer.  Upon his arrival he discovered that most rare and dangerous of things threatening his stores at Bersham – a pro-Parliamentarian Swede!  Diderich Beckman had suffered his own trials and tribulations on the way; fighting a brief encounter with some of the rabble commanded by Sir Samuel Stapleton-Smyth; a gardening wiz.  A quick clash of cavalry and all was declared a draw, leaving Beckman free and on time for his meeting with Flasheart.

The small but perfectly formed battle between the forces of Beckman and Flasheart was all very civilised to start with as both sides lined up across a nice open plain.  Flasheart, being a subtle chap, sent his horse thundering across the divide only to see both units defeated and forced to retreat, in the case of Henry Buxton’s horse this was right off the table!  Not deterred Flasheart sent his infantry forward – Stradlings regiment of foote in a lovely colouring of blue to face the yellow-coated enemy.  With the dragoons protecting their right flank Stradlings musketeers closed to close range and engaged in an unequal musketry duel with the yellow coats commanded shot, musketeers and falconet artillery piece. 

Flashearts men face Beckman's (in the yellow) across the field.

Beckman's Parliamentarians.

The Royalist horse countercharge.

 The tables turned on a counter-charge, with Beckman’s harquebusiers charge into Flashearts remaining horse unit seeing the yellow side sent reeling backwards before the Royalist horse crashed into the flank of the enemy pike block.  The pike block disintegrated and the horse carried on up the hill to challenge the enemy horse once again leaving Stradlings foote to press home the attack.  An attempt by the other harquebusier unit to outflank Stradling was foiled by the Royalist dragoons, but the outcome had been decided elsewhere, with the Royalist horse unable to repeat their heroics and forced to retreat disordered along with Stradlings musketeers, while Stradlings pike were able to scatter the falconet crew, but not the commanded shot and with the rest of Flashearts troops now in retreat they pulled back and ceded the field to Beckman’s Parliamentarian troops.

The coutercharge plunges into Beckman's pike.

Stradlings foote (blue coats).

The last hurrah but the Royalist horse can't do it again.

And yet more fighting....

In a busy few hours of fighting it was not the end of action for the Marquis of Newcastle, who proceeded to fight an engagement against Sir Samuel Stapleton-Smyths Parliamentarian forces, complete with Ye Uncutables in the lead.  Neither side could claim with conviction to have done more than trampled the flower gardens, to Sir Samuels dismay, and a draw was declared.  This was in fact an identical result to Stapleton-Smyths efforts at defeating Beckman earlier on, where the infantry clashed inconclusively, and not even a desperate charge by formed up dragoons could sway the result.

Stapleton-Smyths dragoons desperate charge into Beckman's musketeers.

Stapleton-Smyth vs Beckman.

The Marquis of Newcastle (troops to the left) vs Stapleton-Smyth.

Stapleton-Smyths foote on the edge of the village trampling the plants.

A late and inconclusive punchup at the back of the village. 

The Technical Results:

The Participants:
Lord Tiberius Flasheart – Richard
The Marquis of Newcastle – Ian
Diderich Beckam – Paul
Sir Samuel Pembleton-Smyth - Aidan

My defeat of Ian bagged me the village of Little Pontefract, minus the castle sadly thanks to some cunning on behalf of my enemy!  I then went on  to lose to Paul who gained a Spy Network for his troubles.  Aidan managed two draws and joined Ian in gaining no territory, but a level of smugness.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Work In Progress......December 2014

Last month of the calendar year and in a performance oddly similar to December 2013 I have done virtually sod all modelling, painting, and precious little gaming.  So little happened that I even failed to write a work in progress for it.  Having painted so many 15mm Germans I had reached a point where I wanted to do something different, but nothing appealed. 

The only period which jumped up and down a little was the English Civil War, but I’m lacking in troops to paint.  I did meddle with my Saker and its crew however, taking them from their big base (which had gradually annoyed me with its size, lack of flexibility and failure to match the flock on its limber) and rebasing the crew on 25mm round bases.  The gun I’m going to leave loose, possibly doing a couple of handy scenic bases for being limbered and being behind gabions or similar.  On the subject of the limber I cut down the base so it wasn’t as wide (it was only very wide because the Saker base was so wide originally).  I didn’t get as far as painting the bases.

Painted Vs. Purchased

I gained a few 15mm British infantry for Christmas but haven’t counted how many bases/models that translates into so I’ll do that for January.
Purchased: 0
Refreshed: 9

Painted: 21

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Dreadball Season 2014-15: Round 2 Results

Heartbreakers Claim Even Honours In Violent Clashes

Following an unexpected away loss to the Hawarden Heartbreakers the Carbis Bay Buccaneers’ gained a measure of revenge with a 2-0 win in the home leg of their tie.   The away day at Heartbreaker HQ was low on the scoring front, but high on the physical contact count as the home side looked to dominate their sea-going opponents with a string of heavy slams.  The tone was set in the opening seconds of the game as Heartbreakers guard Ben Grimm steamed straight into Buccaneers striker Jack Sparrow, removing him from the game with major internal injuries. 

It took until turn 4 for anyone to attempt a strike – star man Dirk Pitt bravely putting Carbis Bay 3 point to the good after a sneaky steal from under the nose of Bruce Banner.  Peter Parker immediately equalised with a 3pt strike, before a particularly nasty incident saw Buccaneers’ striker Hector Barbossa incapacitated for 3 turns following four consecutive slams by the two Heartbreakers guards.  The referee was unable to comment due to her lack of vocal cords.  Carbis Bay struggled to get back into it as the home side retained the ball without trying to score, and continued their violent streak which left the Buccaneers with no strikers available in the closing stages – guard Bruce Banner flattening both ‘Mad Jack’ and Dirk Pitt.  J.L Howlett ‘The Wolverine’ broke ranks for the Heartbreakers to put in a 1 point strike to give them a slim lead on turn 11 in a training ground move, and the stage was set for a moment of drama as Dirk Pitt shook off his concussion and returned to the field in time for a scoring opportunity.  He sized up his chances as he raced down the field, and, rejecting an easier 1pt shot for a draw he went for the harder 2pt opportunity, missing it.  Victory to the Heartbreakers; 1-0.

If the away leg had been filled with violence, few strikes and a quiet crowd, then the home leg for the buccaneers was the opposite.  This was partly due to the early departure of the Heartbreakers star guard; Ben Grimm, who was removed from the stadium in several pieces following a point blank hit from the re-launched ball.  Unable to impose themselves on the game physically the away side had to start to play, and what a match for the fans as a strike was scored in each of the first 7 turns.

It was end-to-end stuff as the crowd roared their approval.  Dirk Pitt opened the scoring for the home side with a 3pt strike, only for Peter Parker to sink a 4 pointer to take his side into the lead.  A quick pass by Sparrow and Pitt racked up his second 3 pointer, which was promptly cancelled out by Parker moments later to keep the score at 1-0 to the away side.  A powerful run by Bucanneers guard Al Giordino made space for Pitt to rack up his first 4 point strike of the season, to which Parker could only reply with a 3 pointer, before Pitt repeated the trick against a lax Heartbreakers defence to make it 4-0 to the Bucaneers.  The Heartbreakers remaining guard Bruce Banner tried to assert himself, but the home side were in the ascendancy and ‘The Admiral’ James Sandecker flattened him.  Parker still scored again, but Pitt matched his 3pts with a 3pts strike of his own, and the away side could only reply with a 2 point strike by ‘Daredevil’ Matt Murdock.  Irony struck the Buccaneers  hard late on as Sparrow was wiped out (again) by a ball re-launch, and Pitt passed up an easy opportunity for a 2 point strike which would have killed the game.  But the Heartbreakers had no more to give.  The game ended with a sour moment – Tony Stark sent off for the away side for a cynical stomp on Pitt, and the Carbis Bay Buccaneers claimed a 2-0 victory.

Round 2 in Brief:

Here is where everything gets that bit hazy.  Due to a lack of information the results from many of the games are unknown, and the events of each is best left to the individual readers imagination.  In a similar vein the mathematical workings of how each team is placed in the competition is known only to the organiser, and despite his best efforts I’m damned if I’ve a clue what’s going on.  As such I can only definitely confirm who is in which division, and the next rounds fixtures.

Round 2 Results:



Plague Bearers (Mark)
Hollywood All-Stars (Andy)
Mythos Maniacs (Adrian)
Unknown (Dafydd)
Hawarden Heartbreakers (Paddy)
Carbis Bay Buccaneers (Rick)
Unknown (Pete)
Iron Giants (Tom)
Dwarf VIII (Simon)
Skaven Foundation (Ian)
Unknown (Dave)
Deff To Humanz (James)

A roundup of the other games, and an overall view from our beloved loony in charge - Pete:
“League news: Four major surprises since last round. The Dwarves are in the ascendancy, Dafydd tamed Adrian, I have somehow failed in my mission to aspire to fail in all things and Rick has drawn the one game he didn't want for the third round. Good news: Ian found a way to survive his last game despite suffering major casualties. Just eat enough garlic pre match that the air around you could be sliced and diced, it obviously distracts your opponents. Everyone should still be afraid as with still 3 rounds to go any player can still jump from the bottom to the top and visa versa. Good luck to all in the next round and please note garlic is banned from all future games.”

Mythos Maniacs Vs Unknown Corporation
The Mythos Maniacs (Adrian) met the hopeful humans known only as the unknown (Dafydd) aiming to obliterate them and move on to the summit of the table.  The corporation side proved singularly uncooperative in this scenario, they clearly hadn’t read the script.  The corporation guards proved most adept at thrashing their opposite numbers from the field, and a trading of 4-point strikes became the norm.  The nameless side finally imposed themselves with their guards ‘Terror’ and ‘Peril’ managing a combined kill score of 3, but the humans held out for a win apiece and secured a place in division 1 for the third round.

Plague Bearers Vs Hollywood Allstars
The meeting between the walking ecological disaster that is the Plague Bearers (Mark), and the 2013 Tournament Champions the Hollywood Allstars (Andy), was well documented by the ‘Bearers head coach.  For those wishing to skip the unpleasentarians both sides won narrow victories in two very close encounters.
“First Game (Hollywood Allstars - home team):-
After a good opening play by the humans their striker goofed the shot and missed a 2pt goal. The ball rebounded towards him but he was left hanging his head in shame when he completely missed catching it, leaving the ball in an ideal place for Ecoli the Plague Bears ace striker to pick it up on their turn.  The Plague Bearers opening salvo saw BSE, the Ratmen guard, take out a jack and a human striker for 2 rounds leaving the path clear for Ecoli to  pivot beautifully, pick up the ball and surge down the pitch - heroically scoring a 2-pointer and sending the crowd wild.

The next turn the Humans sent their striker charging down the field, picking up the ball without slowing his pace then attempting to score a 2-pointer to even the score. Too much forward momentum caused his aim to be off and he missed the goal.  On the Ratmens turn the guards bullied a jack to no real effect, then switched targets to the striker who just attempted to score.  BSE, with an assist from Ecoli, injured his third opponent of the day, leaving Ecoli to pick up the ball and hunker down behind the 4 point goal.

Nothing much happens in the rest of the game due to Ecoli sitting on the ball and gathering his friends around him, cutting off the humans from getting the ball until turn 10. One thing of note was in turn 6 when BSE 's shoe laces came undone causing him to fall on his ass 3 times in the same round trying to get past opponents in close proximity. 
In Turn 10 Ecoli got cocky trying to score a 4-pointer but failed miserably.
Turn 11 saw the humans equalise.
Turn 12 saw Ecoli make recompense for his last goal attempt, stretching the Ratmens lead to 2 points.
 Turn 13 the humans quickly negated that lead with 2pts of their own.
The final turn Ecoli dramatically managed a 1-point goal to win the game.

Second game (the Plague bearers at home):-
 Turn 1 the Plague Bearers try out there a new Striker Typhus as Ecoli takes a well deserved rest.  Unfortunately he has a case of first game jitters and missed his first attempt at a 1pt goal.
Turn 2 the humans fare no better and miss their attempt at a goal, but catch the rebound. 
Turn 3 Typhus steals the ball but is in the wrong half of the pitch to make an attempt to score.
Turn 4 sees Typhus get slammed on his ass by a Jack and loose the ball which the humans pick up and score.  This continued to go the Humans way for the rest of the game until Typhus equalised in turn 11 with a 4-pointer, only to have the humans pull it out of the bag and win on the last turn.”

The Hollywood Allstars Head Coach take on the situation:
“That seems a fair report, the number of dropped balls and missed shots was reminiscent of those rainy days at the Arms Park and the resultant greasy ball, which the gallant humans and verminous rodents found so difficult to get hold of.  Certainly one of the closest and most evenly balanced pair of games I've played so far and the end result was in the balance till the last turn in both home and away legs.”

Division 1:

Carbis Bay Buccaneers
Hawarden Heartbreakers
Mythos Maniacs
Hollywood All Stars

Division 2:

Plague Bearers
Dwarf VIII
Deff To Humanz
Iron Giants
Skaven Foundation

Round 3 Fixtures:

A preview of round 3, and the games and Carbis Bay face their rivals Mythos Maniacs, the Skaven Foundation fights to stop its freefall to Division 3, and the dwarfs look to continue their run.
Mythos Maniacs (Adrian) Vs. Carbis Bay Bucaneers (Rick)
Unknown (Dafydd) Vs. Hollywood All-Stars (Andy)
Hawarden Heartbreakers (Paddy) Vs. Unknown (Pete)
Dwarf VIII (Simon) Vs. Unknown (Dave)
Skaven Foundation (Ian) Vs. Iron Giants (Tom)
Plague Bearers (Mark) Vs. Deff To Humanz (James)

Scoring Charts:

The star striker of the Carbis Bay Buccaneers; Dirk Pitt’ leads the scoring chart with 32 points from his eight 3-pointer, and two 4-pointer, strikes so far.  ‘Lore’ of Mythos Maniacs follows him with 29 points.  Peter Parker of the Hawarden Heartbreakers has 19 points.