Friday 30 November 2012

Platea 479BC Refight (Take II) Part I

The Battle field of Platea (see below), both sides armies start atop a favourable terrain piece (ridges gaining +1 defensive bonus), the only difference between the antagonists being the relatively exposed Greek Camp position (top middle,see below) compared to the Persian (bottom left, see below). Sparta is top left facing the Persians bottom left. The Athenians are top right facing their erstwhile foes Thebes bottom right. All armies are standard DBA V2 armies.

 "Free" Greeks
  • Sparta: 1x4Sp(Gen) [Pausinias] + 10x4Sp + 1x7Hd
  • Athens: 1x4Sp(Gen) + 9x4Sp + 1x4Bw (Marine Archers) + 1x2Ps
  • Persians: 1x3Cv(Gen) [Mardonius] + 1x3Cv + 1x2LH + 4x8Bw (Sparabara and Immortals) + 1x3Bw + 1x4Sp + 1x3Aux + 1x7Hd + 1x2Ps
  • Thebes: 1x4Sp(Gen) + 9x4Sp 1x3Cv (Beotian Horse) +1x2Ps
BBDBA appoints Sparta and Persia as the respective C-in-C's for the Greeks and Persians. "Once per game" the C-in-C Stand can claim a +1 modifier (offensive or defensive). The Athenians and Thebans also have a nominal Commanders stand without the modifier, but is used to determine effective Command Range for PiP point allocation. Note if any DBA army loses their commander they become demoralised (fighting at -2) which really meant it was deemed too risky to put a commander in the front rank by consensus of all the players (which was rather unhistorical but I deemed it too late in the day to introduce a 'house rule'). Four stands lost also would trigger DBA army demoralisation.  

'Thebes' (left) stares across open ground at their 'Athenian' enemies of old (positioned on the right, see below):

The 'Persians' (left) likewise eye up the Spartans (right):

The Persian (Mardonius) decides to probe the Spartan defenses in the middle of the battlefield, sensing an opportunity to turn the Spartan left or raid the Greek Camp,he sends three stands, his Cavalry, Light Horse and Psilio forward (see below):

Meanwhile over on the Persian right Thebes decides to take the initiative against the Athenians (who seen to be firmly ensconced atop of their hill). The Theban Hoplites (all from strong agricultural farming stock) move forward in unison while the Cavalry (aka the Beotian Horse) and their Psilio detach themselves from the main body hoping to position themselves to tactically 'turn a flank' or perform a 'close the DBA door' later on in the battle (see below):

Sparta counters the Persian initiative in the center by extending their line to the left (coming off the hill and creating a break in their battle line, see below). The trouble is, side way movements with hoplites is expensive, you cannot roll 12 on a single d6 so something will have to give for Sparta. The Persians are also faster 5" (Light Horse), 4" (Cavalry) and 3" (Psilio) compared to the Spartan 2" (Spears) in movement. Something must give here in the long run, either Sparta will take the offensive (and surge) or the "Persian Horse" will run amok in the Spartan rear (ahem, moving quickly on from an obvious historical anecdote).  

Things are shaping up quite nicely.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Leibster Award

Many thanks to Plastic Warriors and Monty for honouring me with a Leibster Award :)

Yes, I know, second only to a Nobel Peace Prize, but I do see it as a nice way of propagating and disseminating Blog links

My five to look at (whom to my knowledge have not already been honoured) are:

A Wargaming Odyessy
The Wargame Shed
Mini AFV
Mini Ship Gaming
Wargamining Miscellany

But there are tons more too .. see my "Blogs I like to read" section :)

And also on a sad note,one that seems to have stopped broadcasting (a long time ago) but I enjoyed while it was "on air":

Hrothgars Folly

To all you fellow bloggers "Blog On!"

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Airfix Mosquito WIP (WW2)

BBDBA Platea looms but first a slight diversion away from the ancients ... 

This is an all time classic kit (possibly my favorite) that has been waiting in the wings for a while. It brings back images and the theme tune from that post-war film classic "663 Squadron", the Airfix Mk VI Mosquito Fighter Bomber variant (see below):

Endeared to me in my early childhood through my eldest brother making me one when I was but too clumsy to make it myself, the "Wooden Wonder" was a brilliant "backyard toy". Naturally I am going to rack her up with rockets and bombs (keeping the four 20mm cannon instead of the one big 57mm anti-shipping gun) and take her for a test flight, probably when the family are fast asleep upstairs (see below):

Naturally I am building this for my kids, but if you excuse me first I have to fly down a Norwegian fjord and drop a bomb on a German factory making rockets that could destroy the D-Day invasion fleet.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

15mm Achaemenid Persians are on the move : BBDBA Platea II beckons

My box of 15mm Persians, aspirations to reach the giddy heights of a fill DBM, or FoG order of battle, and hovering around the 2-3 DBA army mark (see below): 

Only twelves years worth of on and off painting from Xyston, Chariot Miniatures, Xth Legion (now Gladiator Games, Black Hat Miniatures) .. heading for Platea BC 479 for the BBDBA re-fight Mark II (and the wargaming virgins)

Watch this space

Monday 19 November 2012

Closing Time for Maximillian (Impetus) : Part V and Finale

End Game Blues: 

The Mongol/Scythian Chieftain hurls himself and his royal retinue at the rear of Maximilian's Renaissance "Pike Block". Game Over if he gets good dice (as the Pike Block would go the way of a stack of dominoes), or 'bounce with indignation' otherwise. "Worth a pop m'Lord" (see below):

Ha ha! Better Renaissance dice than Mongol/Scythian which means that the Pike Block is safe for now, (see below) phew! 

Can I finish the game by ransacking the tempting, oh so tempting and oh so near camp? ... Not quite, I spend all my possible movement getting oh so close (you can just see the back end of my Pike Block top left see below) ... And damn them! The Steppe nomads get the initiative again. "The Horror, The Horror" as my mounted crossbowmen disappear after a bloody skirmish with Steppe Light Horse (yes I found out they do have an Impetus value the hard way, see below): 

The Steppe lads have one last fling of the dice, an "evens" dice attack on my Camp .. not by any means a sure run thing either and perhaps even rather chancy for their army morale if they lose it (see below):

"IF" is such a potent ancient word and concept,yes "IF" (see below) - "Game Over" as the Renaissance army morale and "will to go on fighting" crumbles into Steppe dust (see below): 

Arggh, defeated again, back to the painting shed to resurrect the dead and vary my army composition yet again. A close run thing and highly enjoyable to play (am I really saying that?) a thank you to my noble Steppe opponent.


Impetus never breathes a dull game.

Sunday 18 November 2012

The "Renaissance" Backfield Gets Bust Wide Open (Impetus): Part IV

As I feared my Germanic brave and gallant MAA's disappeared so I hung my head in deep shame. Fine men wasted by my oafish generalship and my knuckle-pigheadedness (see below). A very large gap and open flank now haunted me. I just hoped I would win the initiative.

You know when you really, really need it,as so often is the case in life, you just don't get it. This was the way of the initiative and I stood in horror only to watch my artillery being run down by Mongol Light Horse men (see below): 

The gunners go down (see below):

In the follow up my Skirmish Harquebusier's get over-run (I will have to double check this as I am uncertain about what can fight what in close combat, I thought you needed a Impetus value, unless perhaps mounted versus Skirmishers?).

My rampaging DoppelSoldners get some unwanted attention from some Mongol Light Horse but thankfully their arrows miss (see below):

However they get an unexpected visit in their rear (perhaps another situation which allows Light Horse skirmish to close to melee) and despite being fresh and undamaged the disorder and damaged Light Horse remove them from play (see below):

It ain't what you've got but it's the way that you use it that gets you points in Impetus. The Renaissance army is bleeding away units at an alarming rate (see below):

The Mongols are not quite done yet, as the Mongol Chieftain on his own Light Horse is eying up an attack on the rear of the Renaissance "Pike Block" with General attached. Minimal risk to himself and perhaps, best case end-game to him

Saturday 17 November 2012

That Sinking Feeling on the Left of the Line (Impetus) : Part III

While the action is 'give and take' on the right hand side of the battlefield (as I look at it), the reciprocal is true of the left where I am getting well and truly "gubbed" (see below). My Germanic MAA's are being withered by missile fire from 'waves' of bow armed light horse. Damn them as they evade as I try to get at them and I end up disorded in front of them taking more of the same again.

Eventually the inevitable happens and the "deep formation" becomes much shallower due to casualties (see below). Here I have totally wasted one of my best units for no gain in return, I have placed it incorrectly and then "not used" it, paying a dreadful price. I should have charged towards the enemy camp and they would have had to try and defend it. Instead I waited to come onto my turf, bad mistake as I lost the initiative. I am very upset with myself for not even managing to even "play the game",I should know better by now. I have definitely not figured out the 'Impetus mounted troops lark' and I have not covered a key unit with a "bunch of cheap skirmishers" to enable me to be able to react with the 'prime unit'. Poor marks for this general and the Mongols are laughing all the way to the bank.Cyrus the Great and Darius had the same trouble :(  

Meanwhile over on the right the pike block is starting to cut loose and push people aside (see below). The Burgundian Knights in the bottom middle are in a position to support the "drive to the camp". Offensive action is the key in Impetus taking it to the enemy and making him react to you.

Even my DoppelSoldners (Impact empowered and thus melee capable skirmishers) get into the action as they charge into action against some of the "few" Mongol foot, bow armed skirmishers (see below): 

A brilliant success is posted as the Mongol skirmishers disappear (see below), evening up the battlefield casualty tally somewhat and opening a wide gap to the enemy camp and "victory"(?), ahem careful, famous last words and all that ;)

Urk, perhaps spoken too soon as this looks particularly bad (see below):

Charged in the rear by Mongol heavy infantry (where did they come from and look there are only four models on the bases, the other Mongol foot, as in their skirmisher had a mighty three figures on it for "gawds" sake, a few more couldn't have been that hard to paint surely to better represent its stats).

The dice tumble and I await their outcome, looking statistically improbable for me though. 

Friday 16 November 2012

Mongol Mayhem and a Renaissance Fight Back (Impetus) : Part II

The astute of vision viewers will vaguely remember a sleeve of shot (Harquebusiers) to the left of my Pike Block. To my horror I discover the Mongols have a unit of heavy cavalry that tears them apart (see below): 

I knew they would be back(see below), a hoard of Mongol "bow capable" Light Horse harass and start inflicting casualties on my stoic troops (I knew it was gong to be a long day in the trenches).  

It's even worse for my poor (well painted and beloved by all) Germanic Men-At-Arms (MAA) as they are out on a limb and have no means of retaliating against these gad flies. The dice when these chaps get up close and let rip is quite frightening. Methinks they have no 'morale fear' of opponents for sure, but then again they only really fear things that can shoot them down. More the fool me for leaving them unsupported :( 

The Mongol heavy horse go for broke. A flank charge into the pike block. If they win the melee they kill the pike block and it's game over. They don't and they are rolled over by my blue and white (Blackburn Rovers) Burgundian Knights. The Mongol heavy horse are a speed bump and a thing of the past (see below). I sense my counterattack has started. 

My pike block flows forward in search of that camp to destroy, meanwhile I try to clear up in its wake, shooting up some light horse before I send in my mounted crossbowmen (as they have an Impetus and can engage in melee). It is nice to see some damage accruing on the Mongol Light Horse (see below): 

The pike block effectively detaches from my main army and "goes for it" sensing the enemy camp over yonder hill (see below) trapping a unit of Light Horse against their buttocks, the recoiling Mongols are removed from play, but there are plenty more where they game from :

The Burgundian Knights (now no longer fresh after fighting multiple combats) intend to do their best to try and catch up with them, there is the small matter of enemy units in the way. The battle swings on the next "initiative roll".

Thursday 15 November 2012

My Mis-education of the Renaissance Period continues (Impetus) : Part I

A trick of the light or is it an ominous omen? The wargaming green baize turns a ghostly sunset purple (see below) as my Maximilian Renaissance turn out against some Steppe nomads (Mongols) looking suspiciously like Persian "light horse" (as that in fact that was what they were). As usual I start bungling around (yellow markers for disorder) after an errant set-up,trying to get some mounted troops to cover the exposed side of a pike block.

I have not played in a while but I have not lost my touch, see the masking of my cannon ;)  

My opponent confidently lines out the Mongols(see below). Note: See my Renaissance "pike block" arrowhead pointing at his camp, the strategy here being when fighting an army of Light Horse attack the one thing that cannot move away from you at a speed faster than you. A stationary camp seems a good choice.

One of my favourite units, deep formation of Germanic Men-At-Arms (MAA) (see below). I had a labour of love painting them, they are admired by my fellow wargamers and yes, I have shown myself tactically inept in their use :(

Look out! The swarm of missile capable steppe-men approach (see below). Disorder for them is their normal state and there seems to be lots of them. I immediately encounter a cunning/interesting Impetus displacement rule regarding partial-contact and Light Horse interpenetration of Ligh Horse which gives them a very dynamic buzzing feel.

It all seems orderly chaos on the Mongols side (see below), but lots of small odds missile attacks seem to be persistently coming my way.   

The Mongol Light Horse don't seem to pleased about the Renaissance ranged Harquebusier fire (hurrah) as they retreat in disorder and a casualty,but I know they will be back (see below):

It is nice to see that I have still masked my guns, and even moire hurtful thanks to an unfortunate accountancy error on my part I had downgraded their ability from A to B class, which meant I didn't get my usual comforting long distance fire ranging across the table.

Next: Pressing on with the attack

Sunday 11 November 2012

Lest We Forget

 Photo from:

Just Putting Plastic Things Together (WWII 1/200 and 1/144 Luftwaffe) : Part V

I have had time to put together some recently acquired Zvezda Luftwaffe "assets". The first of which needs no introduction as it is the tri-motor "Iron Annie" which was the mainstay of the German airborne logistical effort throughout the Second World War, the Ju-52 (see below). Prior to the Second World War it even had a brief font-line bombing career with the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War (SCW). The Ju-52 served in all theaters of operations with the Germans, transporting the "must have" lubrication needed for their mechanised armies.

It's roll as a paratroop and air-landing carrier (in the latter case literally crash-landing on airfields while fully loaded with combat troops, see Holland [1940] and Crete [1941]) is iconic as was its participation in the doomed relief operation to Stalingrad 1942/43. Finally who cannot forget the opening (and ending) scenes of "Where Eagles Dare". After putting together the Zvezda 1/200 kit my only thought is that I probably need another three ;)  

Another two Luftwaffe companions to "Iron Annie" (also of "Warlord" comic strip fame), this time in 1/144 scale, is a pair of Ju-87 Stukas (see below):

This acquisition brings my Stuka flight up to three, which (famous last words) should be enough ;)

They Stuka kit snaps together (with glue) nicely and is cheap enough (between £2.50 and £2.75) but with the new Revell kits are coming in at under £2 (£1.99 to be exact your honour) Zvezda have serious competition, which is a good thing for the paying wargaming public.

Friday 9 November 2012

The Battle of Platea 479BC : Playtest Beta BBDBA - Notes to Self III (and end-game)

The battle continues ...

Thebes tries its best to worry the end of the Athenian line by increasingly cunning manoeuvrings with their cavalry element, while the rest of the hoplites push against each other in a "manly" Greek fashion. No sudden collapse but bad dice for Athens eventually tells as Thebes wins here  [Athenian losses = 4 while Thebes losses = 2] despite the Athenian benefit of the uphill slope (see below):

The Persian success on the right is slow a coming while the Persian collapse that comes on the left is sudden as the Spartan battle line hits the massed ranks of archers in hand-to-hand combat (see below). Gaps immediately start appearing in the Persian ranks [Spartan losses = 0 while Persian looses = 2 from first contact].

Sparta pushes its advantage homes as the "other" Greeks quickly appear, comfortingly plugging the gap in the center and to help the Athenians who in unhistorical fashion are on the verge of collapse thanks to the afore mentioned bad dice rolling (see below): 

The Greek sides "wobble" moment. The Athenian hoplite mass now huddles in a demoralized mass but is still useful remaining on the field as the "other" Greeks start to flank the Thebans (see below): 

The Persian BIG BANG .. [Persian losses = 4 (break) with no casualties on Sparta] and nothing to stop the Spatans from cutting through even more weak Persian infantry coming up in front of them (see below, urgh, nasty memories come flooding back). The Persians start to flee the field (as I didn't roll enough PiP's to hold them all) and it's bad news all round. 

The last line of Persian resistance easily is brushed away. Thebes claims it still has the ability to "fight on" but in reality the future Spartan combats will send the "combined Persian forces" across their break point, by killing more hapless weak Persian infantry. The game is called at this point. Thebes will struggle just to align itself to face the new threat of the "other Greeks" before the Spartan destroy the remaining Persians.

So a good game and a fairly historical result, but not so one-sided as the true History reported via our old friend and companion Herodatus. A few interesting points to take up though in the after battle discussion (see below).


Some thoughts ... and comments from the players
  • There was no real need to have three DBA armies aside, two were enough.. 
  • As importantly, without wanting to just 'replay' history, it remains a fact that the 'reserves' did not take part in the historical battle as they were too far away so forget about them.
  • The reserve activation (and in a sense reinforcing the first point) was just a distraction and wasted more time than adding to game play) and in the end it was "too" easy to get the reserve forces into play "too" early (see Greek "others" appearing in the above photographs).
  • As the game was a 'fun' play test with 'experienced' players, run before the main event for 'novice' players, the consensus was that again two armies would be more than enough for novices to worry about on the night.
  • The Persian infantry (combat factor of two) are no match for the Spartans (combat factor four) so my artificial division of all the archers in the Persian infantry in one DBA army and all the cavalry in the (reserve) DBA army exacerbated this and actually hindered game play, limiting the options for the Persian player (ahem, ME - stabbed by my own sword, arggh). 
Armed with these thoughts my attention turned back to planning a game for the wargaming virgins ( ... to be continued)