Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hordes of fun

This Sunday past, I was able to get out to the local club for a Hordes of the Things Tourney. I have been a bit reluctant before because the majority of the games played are either with rules or in periods I am not really interested in. But I ponied up my membership fee and got stuck in.

Well let me back track a bit. Friday I realized that I didn't have a stronghold to put on the table. With a DVD coaster, a re-purposed paper clip holder and some Das clay, I made up a burial mound that I hoped would suitably impress my opponents. After the clay dried I added a base coat of brown then acrylic medium and flock. Sunday morning I awoke early to do the final dry brush and found that I had used gloss acrylic medium. What was meant to be an imposing barrow was in fact a sparkly fairy hill. The only matte varnish to hand was an ancient pot of Tamiya flat base - which has a tendency to go white when applied with a brush - but I was feeling lucky so on it went. Half an hour later I had a barrow that while no longer sparkly was now suitable for deployment on the Siberian steppes in winter. Several fast washes and some dry brushing later, I managed to get something not entirely laughable for the table.

So to the tourney. Today was to be a relaxation day and that means a Kilt day! I topped my camo kilt with a Hobgoblin t-Shirt and Marc was decked out in his Hung like a Norse T and jeans. The club (Ottawa Miniature Gamers) recently moved its game space to a local Freemason's Hall. The building is quite beautiful and well maintained. To keep up with the costs, the Masons rent rooms to many different groups. This being our first time there, we went through the front door and right into a Charismatic Christian Church service. I don't know what they made of us but we were definitely in the wrong place.

We went around the back where ruffians such as we are more likely to be welcome and found the proper place. We were given a hearty welcome by both club members and a couple of Masons there to observe a Poland 39 game. There may have been a raised eyebrow or two at the kilt but s*d 'em - the Celts are here!

There were 5 of us playing:

  • Mike - High Elves
  • Brian - Undead
  • John - Undead Hordes
  • Marc - Gallic Behemoths
  • Me - Ulster Cycle Irish
A quick set of rolls saw me facing Marc and his coffee-ground monsters. This time he managed to get his god on the board and pummel Cú Chulainn to a pulp. In return I managed to rack up a pretty good body count though. As one of the losers, I was tagged to sit out the next round but was able to see the other games and act as a floating ref. This was actually pretty cool as anyone who wasn't playing stuck around to help out rather than wandering off.

Lunch was called after the second game. Not knowing the protocol, I had packed a lunch (bacon sarnies and a thermos of tea) but others bulked ordered pizza at $7 a head - a pretty good deal I need to remember in future.

Lunch eaten, it was back to the fray. Next game was against Mike's Elves. We had more or less stopped rolling for terrain placement. The board we were on had a river on one side and as defender, Mike had set up his Elven spear on the other side of the river from his stronghold. I took advantage of this split and massed everything on one side with Ferdiad my hero general on the far flank. The centre locked pretty tight with the Elven spear slowly moving up toward the ford so they could get into the fray. Ferdiad ran out on the flank until he was menaced by some Elves in a small wood. I left him there while we contested the centre - me grinding down the Elves while Mike hurried his spear up. I got a 6 for pips and moved Ferdiad towards the Elven stronghold then another 6 getting him into contact. My first attack on the stronghold failed with a stick result. Mike rolled very poor pips and couldn't intervene. The second attack went through ending the game.

My third and final game was against John's Undead Horde army. He had chosen an alternate list wherein all
his troops except for the necromancer general were at -1 to Magicians - Cathbad the druid in my case. We got stuck in pretty quickly and my double depth warband ground away at bone while Cathbad sniped away at undead knights. John's list allowed him to bring back any undead lost in combat on a six, but he failed to retrieve a single casualty in the whole game. I moved a hero general into overlap which combined with the warband's impetuous follow up was enough to punch through the undead lines. John tried repeatedly to ensorcel my hero but again the dice were against him. In the end I killed 12 AP for the win.

At the end of the day, despite only playing three games and losing one of those, I won on points for casualties caused. They may not be flashy but those warband really grind away at the enemy. However, I didn't get to face Brian's undead with fliers - that would have been a very different fight.

Having some time left, Marc and I hung around to watch some of the Poland game - very tempting and the Lardie's rules have some very interesting mechanics.

A good day.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A good weekend

Friday started with a game of classic Talisman. Back in the day, I bought all the expansions but one and while we have one of the new versions, we much prefer to play the old one. Sadly, youngest got to the crown of command and flipped the random ending card to reveal the Demon Lord. Youngest had the Holy Cross so defeated him on the spot. As I suspected, poking around on the internet later revealed several interpretations that the holy cross  cannot defeat the Demon Lord. It was late so I gave youngest the win anyway.

Saturday saw Marc come over with our friend Drew who has expressed an interest in DBMM. We played a game of 100 with my Britons facing Marc's Gauls. I set up first, with warband centre fronted by Ps. Chariots on the left wing and light horse on the right. Marc lined up his cav with the chariots, his warband (O backed by S) in the centre and his Ps(S) on his left opposing my Lh. As described in the list, I pushed the slingers out to disrupt the Gallic line. while holding my main line in reserve. The Lh and Chariots went out on the flanks to harass his rear. The Lh got into a shoving match with Gallic Ps(S) and the chariots with the cavalry. I lost one of each to Marc's usual dice rolling skills but the flanks settled down into a shoving match.In the centre, the slingers did an ok job of disrupting the Gallic line. I got a little impatient and threw a couple of blocks of warband into gaps on either flank. This was to be my undoing. In time, I lost those blocks too and was forced to commit my main line. That, and poor rolling, lead to some more losses and I became disheartened. With a disconnected general and a pip roll of 1, my main troops went impetuous.  Not a huge problem as the Gauls went impetuous too when Marc fumbled a pip roll (for once - this guy is magic with dice). What killed me was the -1 combat penalty. A good game to Marc.

Lessons learned: don't get impatient let the skirmishers do their job.

Next up was HotT since Marc and I wanted to test our armies before the tournament in November. We ran two games back to back. Drew appeared to have enjoyed watching the DBMM game so I gave him my HottT Army to command less Cathbad the Mg who I kept control of. Youngest was pried off the computer and brought out to play 1/2 of Marc's Gallic army.  The Ulstermen setup in a central block with the heroes on the wings. The Gauls were divided between the Wb run by youngest and the Archers run by Marc. In both games, this separation of commands proved to be the Gauls undoing. The heroes were able to move quickly across the board and engage the Wb block pretty much unsupported by the Bw. Cathbad did nothing but run around scowling, the pip costs to move him up quickly proving too expensive. Drew handled the defeat in detail masterfully winning both game for our side - need to be careful playing him in the future.

A good couple of games but the Mgs did not get into play. The speed of the Heroes was a major factor in both battles. The lack of fliers and other interesting troop types means more testing will be needed.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

HotT Great news and a new list

With Hordes of the Things almost impossible to find and the last new copies long since sold out, the three authors have posted a PDF of the rules and allowed a single download for personal use. What a great way to support the players. Kudos to Richard Bodley Scott, Sue Laflin Barker and Phil Barker.
HotT 2.0 Rules
Page 23 combat results table

In light of this, I have signed up for a mythology based HotT campaign at the local club. Having only 15mm Celts at the moment, I went for an army based on the Ulster Cycle:

Troop TypeCost Per Element in APNumber of ElementsTotal AP Cost of Elements Total Army AP
C-in-C  Chariot Hero 
Cú Chulainn
4 1 4 4
Foot Hero
41 4 8
Cathbad the Druid
41 4 12
Men of Ulster
26 12 24

Other options could include switching Cathbad to a cleric, changing Cathbad for the hero Conall Cernach - Cú Chulainn's avenger or swapping some of the warband  for spear. The planned deployment is a block of warband flanked by the two heroes with Cathbad behind in support. Depending on the opponent the warband will go double depth and the heroes may both be on one flank. The main tactic will be to use the heroes to win on the wings then roll up the enemy lines with overlaps and flanks attacks. Bad going will feature in terrain selection.

I will post a battle report after the tournament.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Good Painting Day

Some time to paint yesterday along with most of today allowed me to make a lot of progress on getting the new dwarves painted and based up for Polemos Mythic Army.
The Army:

Dwarven Army

I really like the sense of mass the larger bases allow. For the next batch, I will get a little more creative.

The Infantry:
Dwarven Infantry
A closer view. The figures on the painted base are from the first army pack I bought. The others are the new guys. I took a more relaxed approached and skipped the belts and boots. You really can't notice the difference. What is noticeable is the shield bosses on the new guys. A simple feature with a lot of impact. I will be repeating in on future figures.

Finally the Heavies:
Dwarven Combined Arms team.
Classic Baccus pusher carts backed up by high-tech steam driven fliers. I am really happy with the flier conversions. Fairly simple and very effective.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A couple of Quick Games

My mate Marc and I were at festival this week past. We wanted to get some gaming in so though Marc was vending, we set up a small camp table at the back of his stall. We had less than a square metre of  space to work with and no terrain so we went with DBMM 100 using the old 1.1 rules as I am waiting to get a copy of 2.0. Because we were in the wilds of Canada, we used top downs pasted to MDF bases.

For game one we went with a fairly standard Marian Roman vs Gaul battle. Marc took mostly Wb(F) with a supporting unit of archers. Unfortunately, he thought they were Bw when in fact they were Ps.  I took a block of legionaries supported on each flank by bolt shooters. It was a pretty straight up fight. The Gauls charged across the field suffering some disruption from the shooters. The romans opened up into two ranks one base width apart to receive the charge. The inevitable crash took place and there was much tooing and froing with the Gallic Ps getting into hand to hand with the left flank bolt shooter and the main lines well engaged. In the end, the Romans survived the assault, cut down the Gallic Chieftain and took the field.

For game two, I stuck with Romans as that is all I had but went with the EIR list instead with a line of auxilia supporting a line of legionaries. The general was horse mounted this time and had a single mandatory Cv(O) to accompany him. Marc went with Vikings. He had a main block of Bd(O) supported by Bd(I) on his left and Bw(O) on his right. Again the Vikings charged forward for a couple of turns. I marched the auxilia through the Bd and executed a left turn into column and headed off to prevent the Bw from shooting at my Bd. As it turned out, I left this move a turn too late and wound up taking archery in the Ax flank. The Roman general went out on the right to harass the Viking Bd(I). The Ax - Bw fight was a mess with Marc consistently rolling good pips and combat dice. The (S) grading helped the Ax survive but not to push back. A big frustration for me was that I was able to double the Bw when shot at which allows the target to advance on the shooter in the targets bound but only in the enemy bound, so my troops cowered beneath the Viking bows rather than advancing. In the centre there was another shoving match while on the right, the Roman CinC was pushed back fitfully by the far more numerous inferior blade. After a turn or two, the mess on the left flank began to cost me as I couldn't get enough pips to shake out the Ax into line. I wound up losing 3 Ax on the left and a couple of Bd in the centre disheartening my entire army. When the lady wife appeared looking for dinner, I was about to pack it in when she said she would cook. I decided to play it out and was very glad I did. The next few rolls gave me enough pips to form up the Ax. Marc's formation in the centre had broken up giving me some overlaps which were soon converted into flanks. The Ax finally got in contact with the Bw and the S began to tell in hand to hand. Some flank double kills, one or two single kills and a dead Viking General and I had won by the skin of my teeth. Marc made me fight for it to the last roll.

An excellent pair of games in a small space and proof that you can game while camping

I am sorely tempted to pick up some of Peter's 6mm Romans even if they would be dwarfed by my 15mm Britons but then there is Kadesh with all those chariots and the local club is having a Book 1 DBA night I might actually be able to get out too. Decisions....

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I was looking for a CV in some old files and I found something I wrote a while back. I hope it will be of interest or at least amusement.

(With apologies to Kipling)


I went up on a paintin' stick for a repaint and repair,
The painter man 'e up an' sez, "We paint no break-spears here."
The greens stuck to the paintin’ stick, they giggled fit to die,
I’m outs into the box again an' to myself sez I:

O it's Miniature this, an' Miniature that, an' "Miniature, “back in yer 'ole";
But it's "Thank you, leaden myrmidon ", when the dice begin to roll,
The dice begin to roll, my boys, the dice begin to roll,
O it's "Thank you, leaden myrmidon", when the dice begin to roll.

I went onto a fixin’ base as sober as could be,
They gave a green a brand new spear, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the spare parts box to see what bits I’d yield,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the field!

O it's Miniature this, an' Miniature that, an' "Miniature, “You're too old!";
But it's "Thank you, leaden myrmidon ", when the dice begin to roll,
The dice begin to roll, my boys, the dice begin to roll,
O it's "Thank you, leaden myrmidon", when the dice begin to roll.

Yes, makin' mock o' ancient lead what brought you to the game,
Is cheaper than giving 'em new uniforms, 'cos their castin' is a shame;
An' selling' stalwart soldiers when their spears are bent a bit,
Is five times better business than makin' 'em new kit.

O it's Miniature this, an' Miniature that, an' "Miniature, “on E-Bay to be sold!";
But it's "Thank you, leaden myrmidon ", when the dice begin to roll,
The dice begin to roll, my boys, the dice begin to roll,
O it's "Thank you, leaden myrmidon", when the dice begin to roll.

Creative Commons Licence
Mini by Patrick Gilliland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


I was going to wait until I had based them up but I can't. Here is the first installment of the PMA Steam Dwarves project:
Side view:

Top View:

They are Baccus war carts converted to fliers with brass shim, solder and #6 lead shot.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dwarves - A New Stope

As noted in a previous post, almost all of my based up dwarves have been removed for re-basing to Polemos Mythic Armies standard. I have also placed and received an order with Baccus for additional troops including Napoleonic Russian Cannon. All of this is in aid of my Steam Dwarves project. Since I am digging deep into weirdness and re-interpreting both dwarves and Baccus' minis, I'm calling the project A New Stope. In progress photos will be up in my next post on this topic.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

DBMM 100 Early Imperial Roman list

Needing an opponent for my Brits, I drew up this list for DBMM100:

Troop TypeCost Per Element in APME Per ElementNumber of ElementsTotal Cost of Elements ME
C-in-C - Reg Bd(O) 7 4 1 7 4
Equites cohortales - Reg Cv (O) 81
4 32 4
Auxillia - Reg Ax (S) 51 6 30 6
Legionaries- Reg Bd (O) 61 5 35 5
Disheartened: 14          Defeated: 10

I did not take the required 1-6 points of palisade as I think at the 100 point level it's a bit pointless and a vexillation of this size was probably working away from the main camp where all their stakes were. I wanted to take bolt shooters just because I could but practically, 4 Cv is the more logical choice. For anti-warband work, I envisage a line of Ax backed by the Bd with the Cv on a flank. Another option is to have the Bd backed by the Ax with the Cv in the rear - but then I have been reading too much of the interpenetration section recently. If I were to swap 2 Cv for 2 Art, I would put one on each flank of the infantry block to keep the horses and chariots at bay.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

DBMM is hard..... Part 1 - The language

The DBx series has a reputation for complex language and a plethora of dice modifiers - especially for combat. In this post, I would like to take a look at the first of these issues.

On the Yahoo HotT group,

petercard2001 describes the DBx language in these words:

"...Barkerese as a data compression algorithm
implemented on top of English as the transfer protocol."

Though not intended as a positive comment, this is a good description. So the question is why? I would suggest two reasons. Barkerese compresses a lot of information into as few words as possible to:
  1. maximize the content in a given page count, and
  2. eliminate any redundancy in the language.
The first point may be moot in the current environment of PDF rules downloads and a printer in every house. It is the second point that, for me at least, is the critical one. Perfect communication with no redundancy creates no new meaning. Only exactly what is meant is communicated - there is no room for ambiguity or misinterpretation. It can be tough to parse out because each word is important and you must pay attention to every word and the order it falls in. There is no filler.

The effect is a difficult read but it has a very important dividend - precision. And why is precision important in a game? Two words - and please excuse the profanity - "Rules Lawyers". Sadly there are and always will be people who would rather hunt for loopholes and play the rules rather than play their opponent.

Though not always perfect, once a DBx rule is clearly understood it remains so with no wiggle room and no opportunity for a-historical or cheesy behaviour on the games table.

Next up: All those modifiers...

Re-basing again - Dwarves

After looking over some of the spell and army lists, I have become involved with Polemos Mythic Armies (PMA). Based around the Baccus 6mm line of ancient and fantasy figures, it offers a more detailed magic system than HotT and an epic feel to the game. Given that my dwarves are of Baccus provenance, I have decided to re-base them for PMA.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Flat Romans

While mulling over the writing projects, I glued up about 400 points worth of Marian / Early Imperial Roman top down legionnaires to give my 15mm brits something to fight. Look out Claudius...

Cheap but effective

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

First project(s)

For my first contribution to the pimping promotion of DBMM, I am working on an article on austerity miniatures wargaming. When I was involved in 2mm model railways, I was amazed at the creativity of depression era and post war modellers. They created rolling masterpieces out of scrap tin and cereal boxes. We can do the same with miniatures. Since I intend to submit this for publication, I won't got into details here yet.

The second project I hope to feature here. When I first picked up DBMM, I had a general historical understanding of what troops performed what roles. In actual play though, I always wound up with pitting my troops against the exactly wrong sort of enemy. George's skill had something to do with that too though.

What I plan to do is to write a series of articles each focussed on one troop type and discuss who the predators and prey of each type are. I want to keep it high level to avoid the legal and moral implications of re-printing the rules in a blog.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Now I've done it.....

The DBMM Yahoo groups has seen a bit of traffic recently on the upcoming release of DBMM 2.0 Don't get too excited as there is nothing graven in stone yet. However, given some of the criticisms of promotion efforts in the past and plans for the future, I put my foot in it and said "Why don't we as players go ahead and do our own promotion?" And that means - now I have to do something. Stay tuned for future updates.

Monday, April 26, 2010

DBMP - De Bellis Magistrorum Phantasium

Marc and I have decided to put HotT and DBMM into the blender and see what comes out. We have played a little of each and like the fantasy trappings of HotT but like the extra detail DBMM allows in terms of movement and complexity as well as the removal of geometric kill problems.

I think really Marc just wants Goblins(S) to put on the board. We'll keep you posted here.

It looks like HotT and DBA will have new editions later this year. So DBMP goes on the back burner for now. It's more fun to play than reinvent the wheel.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DBMM 100 Ancient Briton List

Based on the DBM Ancient British list, this is a possible army list for DBMM100:

Troop TypeCost Per Element in APME Per ElementNumber of ElementsTotal Cost of Elements ME
C-in-C Irr Wb(S) 5 4 1 5 4
Cavalry - Irr LH (O) 51 2 10 2
Foot warriors - Irr Wb (F) 31/2 16 48 8
Slingers - Irr Ps (O) 21/2 6 12 3
Chariots - Irr Cv (O) 61 4 24 4
Disheartened: 15 1/2           Defeated: 10 1/2

The slingers will screen the main force, attempt to break up the enemy line and retire through the main force as they are able. The CinC will keep the warband in check from the back rank until they can be released. He will then hang back to plug any holes. My standard formation for the main body will be a block 6 wide and 2 deep with 2 extra elements in column on each wing for easy expansion or in a third rank with the CinC as a reserve force along with any surviving Ps.

The Lh will take one wing and the Chariots the other. The Lh will carry out the usual flank protection and harassment duties. The chariots will attempt a flanking move and if prudent will dismount as Wb(S) per the list once pips become available after the main body goes impetuous.

Well, that's the plan anyway.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Done (almost)

This morning I epoxied down my last chariot model leaving only a handful of singeltons rattling around the leadpile. There is some base painting to do and a lot of flocking but otherwise all my lead is in a playable state.

The forces to hand:

  • 22 Warband Fast. I have them as Britons though they could be any generic Celts
  • 11 Pike Fast. Some new Welsh spear along with some very old Picts. They can be mixed in with the warband or used as a pike block. I'm looking forward to experimenting with the Pk(F)'s unusual characteristics. Heavy spear who waltz through bad terrain - I like it.
  • 6 Slingers. Mostly used by southern British tribes and graded an un-inspiring Ps(O), I became very fond of these guys while painting them up and gave them all woad tattoos. I have a premonition they will be interesting if not necessarily very effective.
  • 5 Light horse (O). My "comtemptable little ponies". Two are actually Welsh but they'll pass in a pinch.
  • 6 Chariots as Cv(O). Four are from the old pack and represent line chariots. Two are pretty little models from Essex and carry the Battersea shield command figures mentioned earlier. A third general remains on foot for the moment.
  • 4 Warband (S). Three are general stands painted to act either as foot commands or as dismounts for the chariot generals. The fourth is an old stand of naked crazy Celts. I'm not sure about the generals. Superior makes sense historically with all the affluent hostage king's sons clustered into one command but they will not be able to keep up with the fast warband. I expect command and control issues if I am not careful.
  • 2 Javlineers. Graded as psiloi(I), these are DBA level filler for some lists. Made from Wb(F) with the centre figure removed after the Great Pict Pike Rebasing, they may return as Wb(F) command groups given the number of Battersea Generals I still have. This would allow me to dismount the chariots as Fast or Superior.
And that's the lot. Enough for DBMM 200, 100 or DBA using British, Scots/Irish, Caledonian or Pict lists. I really need more chariots for everyone and foot archers for the Picts but I'm off to a good start.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Ok - I'm cheap I admit it. I have been holding off on buying the DBMM army lists because I have a perfectly good set of DBM lists.While my intent is to play primarily Ancient Britons, the old pack of miniatures I am refurbishing also contained a Pict option and I have acquired a handful of new Essex Welsh spear who could pass as well. Under DBM, the Pictish spear were graded Irr Ax(X) a grading that does not exist in DBMM. So off I go to the errata in the 1.0 DBMM rules looking for an update. Naturally I find that Ax(X) are now Pk(F).

When last I based them, I wanted to keep a generic warband feel so I liberally mixed the round and square shield Pict spears in with javelin and sword armed figures thinking that irregular auxilia could be a mix of types. Now pike, at least to me, are a different beast with spear men standing close together presenting a hedge of points to the rampaging horse - an image not well supported by one spear on a base with two javelin. So, off the bases come the spears to be re-mounted as spear only groups. Thank the gods the base depth and width didn't change. These new all spear groups should still be usable as warband when sprinkled into a larger formation.

Now where's my glue gone?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

200 points

With most of my remaining warband based up last night, I can just make 200 points worth of Britons if I put every piece of 15mm lead I own on the board. The distribution of troop type is off but I won't let that bother me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another night of HotT

Marc came over last night for a "quick" gaming fix.

Game 1

The first matchup was the one we used previously. Goblins with beasts on his right, riders on his left and a warband general centre supporting a line of hordes. I was defending and responded with the stronghold centre covered by two artillery out front. On my left was a 2 column block of blade supported by warcart knights and a hero general.

The goblins advanced rapidly on the flanks using the mounted and more slowly in the centre. I played a waiting game, expanding one column of blade out to the left to face the beasts while moving my hero out to my left as well. The knights went out to my right with an eye to going after the gobbo general. The goblin mounted moved up. On my left I was able to get the beasts entangled with my axemen then kill them with the hero. On the right, I pivoted my rock twangers to face the goblin riders advancing in column. Shooting was ineffectual beyond recoiling the riders, but when we go into hand to hand, the artillery crews shone, beating back the wolf-riders several times before succumbing. The riders continued on to attack my Stronghold.

While the fight against the goblin mounted was underway, my knights crushed the horde in front of the general, pushed him back and disrupted the horde line before dying in double overlap at the gobbo general's feet. I really need to get another couple of bases worth of warcarts. With the beasts gone and my hero on the flank, the goblin horde line started to fall. It didn't hurt that in an attack by my hero against a horde with a hard flank from a blade,  I failed and both elements were repulsed. The goblin riders had little luck with their attack on the stronghold due to poor pips and one died. Poor pips were a problem in general for the goblins with hard choices required between keeping his attacks going and bringing back on horde. In the end I was able to kill enough to end the game.

Game 2

Again I was defending. Marc went for a goblin magic user as his general this time retaining pretty much the same forces and disposition as before. I in turn ditched the artillery and replace them with an extra blade and an another hero and used my knights as general. I set up more centrally this time in an inverted U with a hero at the back of each arm. I liked the block formation I had used in the first game but it didn't exapnd as quickly as I wiould have liked so I went with the U instead.

My intent was to use the two heros to split the fire of the magician. Marc wasn't playing that game however. He rolled very well for pips initally and was able to move his whole force forward quickly. I did some wing expansion and threw the heroes out as flank support. There was much measuring in the mid-game while Marc and I figured out firing ranges for the magician - he was the first one either of us had used. In time I figured I had better get stuck in and pushed my blade line forward. The heroes kept the flank cavalry busy, the knight general waffled about in the end zone and the silver line of steel ground forward. Marc sniped at the line doing little damage but forcing me to spend the pips to keep it dressed. Marc's early success with the pip die betrayed him in combat.  I lost a hero to his depleted rider force, kept his beasts busy with the other and finally managed to contact his horde line. A judicious choice of combat order, some good rolling on my part and dice betrayal for Marc lead to a double flank attack on the wizard and down he went taking the game with him.

Despite my inadequate descriptions, they were a pair of close fought games each with some nail biting moments. A good night of gaming fun.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Painting and Basing

The 39 odd 15mm ancients I now have based up are due to a need to work out a triplet of British chariot generals. Under DBx, chariots  Cv(O) can dismount as Wb(O) or in the case of the Britons, Wb(F) with chariot general Cv(S) dismounting as Wb(S). The Britons, Scots/Irish and Caledonian lists all have chariot generals, so I thought that getting the mounted and dismounted pairs based up was a good place to start.

In my purchase from George, I acquired a largish number of figures with the Battersea shield - a singular ceremonial artifact. Some were armed with spear and some with sword. Beautiful figures for sure but it's rather like having a handful of Napoleons at a Waterloo battle. I took three pairs and painted each pair identically. The sword armed for the foot commands and the spear to go in the chariots. I based up the foot commands as Wb(S). Getting four figures onto the 15mm deep DBMM bases involved some careful figure selection. I use five minute epoxy for final basing mostly because it's what I have and secondly because it is very solid bond yet will peel off if I need to re-base. I made up too much and scrambled to select the best of the remaining painted figures and base them up as well. I now have very nearly a DBA's worth of based warband. That left the chariot generals.

My four current chariots are Minifig - I think - and not wide enough to handle the Essex generals. This leaves me with two unpainted Essex chariots to work on and another to purchase. Oh. Dear.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Future plans

Marc and I had a great game of Hordes of the Things the other day. My freshly painted dwarves managed to squash his flat goblins though we made a couple of mistakes with the rules.

We like the HotT rules but I at least find it a bit of a bother keeping HotT, DBA and DBMM in their respective rules boxes. This threw us off in our game because the HotT 1 rules don't appear to specifically disallow multiple moves per unit per turn so we had Goblins and Dwarves flying across the board using the equivalent of DBMM march moves.

While looking for something a little more complex than HotT, I came across Luke Ueda-Sarson's Middle-Earth Army Lists for DBM. He has done some great work on these lists and they should be adaptable for DBMM. Marc and I would like a little more magic without getting to the Warhammer level. - Stay Tuned

While poking around for more HotT information, I came across Alan Saunders wargaming page. A great resource for a number of games and periods, it features a set of quick play gladiatorial combat rules:  Munera Sine Missione. So gladiators go into the pile of games to play (Nothing to do with Spartacus Blood and Sand featuring Lucy Lawless aka Xena in the all together).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Cunning Plan - 6mm Baccus Dwarves

A week before the Easter break, I received my battle pack of dwarves from  Baccus6mm. Based on our usually busy schedule, I calculated I had enough time to get them painted for a HOTT game I had planned for Easter Monday unbeknownst to my opponent, Marc.

The minis themselves were crisply molded with very little flash but some strips had large sprues on the bases. These were easily taken care of with a coarse file. The alloy itself is what I would call "medium". Much harder than the old lead minis, a bit harder than my Essex 15's but not as hard as the alloy used by Corvus Belli. This gives the dwarves a good weight for their size and makes them very robust. The only area of concern was the command strip standard poles which are very thin and will probably need to be replaced with a plastic bristle or dress makers pin in the future. The only assembly required was for the war carts which went together with some 5 minute epoxy. Cyanoacrylate / super glue would have worked as well if not better but I would have wanted to use a gap filling variety.

Painting was straight forward but more time consuming than I expected. I mounted all the strips onto painting sticks using generic Blu-Tack. I find this is much easier for repositioning and removing the figures than white glue or hot glue and is reusable even if painted. While some of the bigger 15's can be a bit heavy for this method, the tiny 6mm strips weren't going anywhere.

Priming was done with grey generic automotive primer. I didn't hit every nook and cranny but then I have only recently started using a primer coat at all. My painting technique is best described as dab and flow. More or less following the painting guide on the Baccus site, I started with an overall coat of Tamiya aluminum. No particular reason for Tamiya other than it hadn't dried up in the 20 years since I last painted any minis. This was followed by dabbing on GW elf flesh on all the faces and hands.

Once the main colours had dried it was onto the beards and hair. With silver armour and helmets, this is one of the few places to easily add colour. The hair and beard pass was followed by another for weapon shafts, weapons and shields. Now this sounds straight forward but in fact each new pass revealed some bit I had missed in the previous pass. So working on the hair revealed any number of helmets in primer grey requiring touch up and colouring in the shields exposed where beard colour was smeared over armour - and more touch ups. The paints used were a mixture of acrylic craft paint (cheap) Tamiya (on hand), GW (my wife's) and one bottle of Vallejo which was beautiful to work with.

One of the saving graces was the presence of a number of artillery models, the war carts and single hero figures. Just when frustration set in with the mass painting, I could take a break and do a single model 15mm style.

One of the final things to do was to go over the boots, touching each with one of several browns or black. Then onto basing. Since we were to be playing HOTT, I based them up 15mm deep as Blades. Over this went a wash of wrought iron as I will be "flocking" with coal and stone. Remember all those boots I painted? - all gone under the wash and given the narrow space between the two ranks, much of the detail on the back of the front rank and front of the back rank is now lost in shadow.

Final thoughts, The Baccus dwarves are very nice figures and look great en masse. My painting technique needs to be further simplified to avoid wasting time on things that won't be seen.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DBMM Mongols and Chinese battle

Last night saw another epic battle with George and Pat L's Chinese taking on Marc and my Mongols. We had four commands plus baggage. Three were mixed Cv and Lh and the fourth was made up of 8 hordes, a Cavalry general and four Lh. Marc took the first two commands with the Cv(S) and I took a mixed command along with the Hd.

The Chinese set up first with a group of artillery in the centre flanked each side by Bow(X) and with their horse on each wing. We responded with our three horse commands set out in line 1-2-3 with the horde command behind the centre and the baggage behind that. Pip dice were assigned the same way. Our cunning plan was interesting. Marc set up his first command opposite the Chinese right wing Bow(X) and his second command facing the artillery.

"What's your plan Marc?" I asked
"Going to charge the artillery" says Marc.
"Sure about that?" says I
"Yep" says Marc

Now Marc is an experienced gamer and an intelligent guy overall but he does have a preference for Viking and Orc (Charge! and the casualties be damned!) armies and this was only his second game of full on DBMM. So I didn't press the matter.

What we wound up with was pretty much the completely wrong way to deploy a Mongol army - In a line across the board allowing all the Chinese to fight and more importantly to shoot if we got close enough. Marc is not to blame as I knew better. Actually I was kind of curious to see what when his horse hit the artillery. If they survived, they would have torn a hole through the Chinese centre.

The Chinese moved first as I recall, pushing their horse out on each flank and advancing the right flank bow. We responded with some monumentally good pip dice from Marc. He pushed his left flank command forward, lining up to clip the edged of the Bw(X) and take on the Cv in his area and advanced his second command to just out of reach of the artillery. Meanwhile, I pushed my Cv command forward with their Lh component prancing deep around the Chinese left flank. The smattering of Lh connected to the Hd command also moved forward.

With 300+ points on each side, the game took us almost 4 hours to complete so I'll spare you the gory details (not that I remember many). On the right, my intent was to push forward to protect the baggage, and wipe out George's horse which should have been achievable. Instead,  I got tangled up with George's horse command. I pushed the Hd cavalry forward in support taking a bit of a risk due to some nearby Chinese bow. That shooting combat came out to a 6-2 roll in George's favour, costing me a general. The rest of my dice rolling was similarly dismal*, and George as usual managed to thwart my every move. This cost me the other command breaking both my commands.

On our left, Marc re-thought the Battle of Balaclava deployment and instead used the Mongol's mobility and his high pip rolling ability to move his right command back behind his left into support of his attack on the Chinese right wing. My understanding was that his combat rolling was also abysmal, but at least he killed some Sung. In the end, my two dead commands coupled with Marc's losses were enough to call the game.

Despite the dice rolling of doom, it was an enjoyable game. Many thanks to Pat L for hosting (Did I mention there was a cheese board? This is high class gaming for sure)  and thanks as always to George for bringing his toys for us to play with.

*I normally don't blame the dice in place of my tactical errors but this time, I don't think I killed a single Chinese element even with double overlaps or hard flanks.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Between Breaker Morant and half of Letters From Iwo Jima, I have finished the bulk of the painting of my warband. There remains some minor details to complete like metallics on the weapons, hair and the final touch ups. But soon - I'll be basing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Another Crushing DBMM Defeat

George was back with his toys again last night but this time we had my friend Marc along for the ride. It was 325 points of Macedonians versus the same of Persians again with me taking the Persians this round and Marc and George splitting the Macedonians.

I set up with  a spear block on the left slightly ahead of centre, cavalry in the middle and light cavalry on my right. All my troops were in blocks of columns to allow for rapid movement and deployment.  George set up with the companions on his far right, pike centre and light horse left. However as he does everytime, he managed to slide his troops to line up his pike against my spear.

I didn't have much luck with the pips and as usual found George's pike stomping across the board to hit my spear before they could deploy. The box formations of columns coupled with the low pip die and poor rolls made it impossible to deploy the spear properly before the pikes hit. and who was supporting the pike? The Companions of course. The middle and right flanks were better with my horse pushing forward. Pip starvation didn't help speed things along and Marc was able to form a ragged line to block.

As expected the main combat was on the left with pikes, elephants, and Companions grinding my spear to a pulp. Some piss poor rolling on my part stopped my cav from crushing the right wing and that decayed into a series of inconsequential fights. With the left flank crushed, my baggage was exposed. It bought a little time by running away from the Companions but that doesn't work for long. With the baggage gone, it only required a few horse casualties to break the army.

I always enjoy playing but I am consistently missing something. Last night I actually got angry - not just ticked at bad die rolls but angry enough to want to chuck the game. I just can't seem to get tempo in any of my games. I will not blame it on bad pips or dice rolls - there is something I'm just not grasping.

Flames of War - a trip to the twilight zone.

Last Sunday, I was able to head down to the club for an hour and watch a game of Flames of War. So my impressions? It is a very pretty game. The standard of modeling and terrain by the club members was excellent.

And that's about it. The table size was heavily compressed with off board artillery and front line troops all mashed together. I can understand the need for a logarithmic ground scale to allow off board artillery on board but it failed when in one game where Italian off board artillery came under fire from Aussie HMGs and in another where a Panther platoon drove off the main battle field directly into the Russian artillery park with no delay (poor Katushya).

The ground scale had further effects on the mechanics. I saw JS2s firing on Panzer IVs at a model distance of about a hundred yards. the resolution counted side armour factors, movement and cover into the equation. Mis-match between model size and ground scale is a given in most games but the distances on the table were more of the kind used in games where one model represents a platoon or company rather than one tank yet single vehicle combat mechanics were used. It just didn't look right.

Another scale issue was that of the Italian tankette armour. It was up against Universal Carriers but had the advantage of being closed topped. There are several levels of regular armour ranging from soft for no armour, through 0, 1 and 2 to 6 (I think) for Tiger level armour. However, there are only two or three top armour ratings with zero being open top and 1 being the minimal level of top armour. The end result was that the Semoventes with zero all round main armour had 1 armour on top - very odd. A final bit of strangeness was the Australian assault on the Italian trench line. The Australians slaughtered the Italians to a man then ran away leaving the tench vacant.  I understand the "win the firefight but fail the morale check" approach but again it didn't seem right to me.

So what good points were there?  It was fast playing, it was pretty and most importantly, the guys playing it - especially a young lad out with his dad - were having fun.

The verdict - Not my cup of tea and I'm not going to invest anything in it but if you're looking for quick beer and pretzels World War Two with some miniatures flavour it might be for you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A weekend of painting

Lots of painting going on this weekend. I have nearly completed 6 bases of Ps slingers, I have based up my chariots and will even be flocking them and I will be working on  28mm1890 colonial brits for weird Victorian later today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

DBA with Marc last night.

I have played a fair bit of DBMM but wanted to try out DBA because it is popular locally. I had my friend Marc over to pit his flat Vikings against my flat ancient Britons. We went with flats based to 15mm for economic reasons and while I have a bunch of warband - they are still on the painting sticks. I must say, the vikings glued to bases looked good and store in a tiny tin.

What a different game from DBMM. Movement is much more limited, there is less of the feel of different troop types (Blade, 3, Blade 4 - all the same), impetuosity works completely differently (what do you mean my Wb don't advance automatically?). I have to say I don't like it nearly as much as DBMM. However - it is very fast playing.

To the results:

I sent a pair of light  horse around the Viking left. Marc responded by turning to face and there was a minor skirmish killing one of my ponies. However, I split his forces which was my aim.

I was pip starved generally so took a while to move the centre and right flank up. My chariots went out to the right and the warband straight up. I was able to contact Marc's left with the chariots while finally getting my Wb into striking position. One of the chariots was blocked by the Wb, denying me overlaps on both flanks. There was a tussle with between the blades and chariots seeing me lose one but this opened up space for the warband to get in.

The finale was a tense pair of bounds where I was just able to save a pair of flanked warband that would have cost me the game with good rolling. I countered with warband on blade taking 2 with a flanking quick kill for the win.

It all came down to two die rolls - but we had fun!

A good game and I will play again but it isn't DBMM.

Work space

This is where I paint:

Just a corner of the garage but I have good light, tunes and I'm away from the women ;)

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Rules!

Hordes of the things arrived in today's mail! And my dwarves are on the way after a small paypal mix up.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

DBMM Game 6 Mongol vs Sung

This one never got posted for some reason.

Game 6 saw a Mongol - Sung rematch with me taking the Mongols again. The big difference is that we used terrain this time.

Pre-game saw the Sung come up as invader - something I hadn't really expected. The terrain went down fairly easily with only one patch of rough going to give me trouble.

The game rapidly turned into a shoving match between the horse and bow. The (S) was a life saver to the point that in a couple of fights with Bw(X) as Sp(I), the S made the Cv un-killable.

Another new thing for me was using a stratagem. After reading up on the Mongols I took feigned flight.

I probably sprang it too early but it was pretty pointless - my Lh flipped the Bw(X) the bird and ran away waggling their tails seductively. By the time they finished their flee move, Only a couple of Bow were in range to go impetuous. Pretty much a waste of points.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Recruits

Here are the new boys ready for priming:

More Troops!

As well as a good game, George brought over some of his Celts needing a good home. I now have 95 more figures to paint up and base but my barbarian hordes are on the way.

Since I walk to work everyday, I have taken to listening to podcasts and E-books as I go. Most recently, I downloaded 60+ episodes of Meeples and Miniatures and I have been working my way through. In 2008 I think, Neil interviewed Pete Berry of Baccus 6mm. Neil raved about Pete's 6mm Napoleonics so I decided to go have a look. I was also smitten but by the fantasy and ancients lines. I ordered up a dwarven army for HotT to see for my self and have been checking the mail constantly in over eager expectation. I'm committed to 15mm Celts for DBx but if the 6mm are as good in person as they are on the web, I will probably go 6mm for future ancients while keeping the 15mm standard basing..


Though the ground cloth wasn't the best for table top use due to cats, it has worked well as a cover for the redneck gaming table. To go on that, I have started working on some terrain. I purchased some 1/8" MDF sheet, cut some rectangles to DBA, 1/2 FE, 1 FE and 2 FE sizes then free handed some ovals and cut them out using the band saw. I then beveled the edges using the belt sander. If you are going to do this, a dust extraction system and mask are highly advisable. I put a 1/2 FE and a 1 FE aside to become swamps for my Scots-Irish. The rest were painted green giving me generic tree or hill blocks.

The swamps had their centres routed out for the water bits. Even more dust and honestly not really necessary. The deep routing caused the boards to warp and I had to back fill the large central cavity with wood putty to provide a surface for the troops to stand on. Next time I will just route out a few selected pools - much less work and dust that way.

The next project was trees. Back in my model railroad days, I had been given a pine forest. I dug these out and prepared them as per instructions. Since I would need to be able to move the trees around the the troops on the field, I cut out some MDF disks using a blind hole saw and beveled the edges using the belt sander. Small MDF disks can really fly. I painted the disks green and drilled mounting holes to spec for the trees as I epoxied them into place. A quick snip for any trunks projecting  from the bottom and a kiss from the belt sander and they were flat and ready to go. Last step is to put the flocking on the branches.
I'm well pleased with the result.

Last Wednesday's DBMM game

George was back over with the Successors and Persians. I set up the redneck table again so there was lots of room for a 300 point game. I put my companions in the centre with the pike command on the left and the Cv on the right.  I was able to adjust my line a bit and lined up the companions against the spear group, horse on horse on the right and pikes against Cv. I started well up the map and pushed forward. The result was as expected - I lost. The Companions stuck into the spear and gnawed away at them almost bursting through by the last turn but not without getting chewed up themselves. The horse on my right stared at each other angrily without doing much. The pike ground forward. At turn two I split the double ranks into two lines - I had learned my lesson about useless deep formations of pike.

Lessons learned:

  • I need to learn to handle the Companions better but at least I didn't dither about with them
  • I need to move away from a three block deployment. With that much horse on the board, I could have spread the pikes out in a long line and covered most of the field.
  • I need to pay more attention to ME.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Last night's DBMM game

George brought his Macedonians and Persians over again last night. With the redneck table disassembled for the moment, we were restricted to the kitchen table. At 300 points each, we were able to get 3 commands on the table but there was not much room for maneuver. 

George set up a long line of Persians, mostly horse of various types backed in the centre by a spear command.
I setup a group of  'nellies and Companions on my left rear, a 4 deep pike block in the centre then more horse on the right in line with the pikes. My plan was to advance with the pike and grind through the centre of his line while protecting the right wing with horse and the left with the elephants. As it happened, I screwed it up.

George ran his horse forward winding up right on my troops on right and centre while he threatened the left of the pikes with more horse.  I pushed into the Persian ponies with my own and the pikes. Seeing that the pike were not threatened on their left I left the 'nellies and pretty boys standing. Yup that's right I did nothing with my preeminent strike force. 

My right flank horse held up well for a couple of turns but were rolled up and ultimately broken. The pikes ground away at the horse but since they couldn't use full depth eventually started to crumble breaking the army. The nellies and companions got caught up in pointless Lh chasing to keep them off their rears but eventually got stuck into some horse where the elephants did some good damage.

Lessons learned:

  1. Things happen very quickly on shallow battle fields - Start deployed rather than ready to march.
  2. Pk factors are indeed very nice when 4 deep but don't work against horse. Setting up second I should have deployed them in line - maybe 2 deep but certainly not 4 deep column.
  3. Nellies are very nice. Too bad the Celts don't have any.
  4. I was pretty happy with my handling of lights. 
  5. I need to play a lot more (Aw too bad)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Little time for gaming

Life has been a vortex of busy again. I have been able to rebase the celts ont MDF and I have 2 1/2 ME hill shapes cut out and painted.  This afternoon, I'm going to work on the game board and try my hand at forming the base of a swamp terrain section.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

George Gamow’s Tank Game

A simple game for 3 players and a referee. It looks like it has lots of potential.

George Gamow’s Tank Game

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Took my DBA worth of Scots/Irish/Picts off their crappy cardboard bases and put them on new MDF. Much sturdier (and square too)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Still dealing with real life

Not much happened over the holidays. I didn't get any new lead :-( but I got lots of other nice stuff. Had a great game last with with George, Patrick L and Nicholas. It was a four way hundred years war with Patrick L and George's French knights slowly crushing Nicholas and my English. Nicholas' mounted bow made a valiant effort at an outflanking maneuver but the centre slowly crumbled.

This weekend past, I took advantage of some power tools on loan to knock out a box full of bases. I also have wood aside for a board suitable for DBMM 100/200 and some MDF for hills etc.