Monday, 30 January 2017

Medieval looking fences and foot bridge scratch built

I was doing a bit or necessary work on the house this last weekend which took me to our local hardware store. When there I am always on the lookout for any materials which can help me make some cheap terrain. This time I found a fly-screen repair kit from which I could make some wattle fencing for my upcoming medieval campaign (using 25mm miniatures).

Here are the steps for the fencing and also small foot bridge.

Materials used:

  • Fly-screen repair patches (which come with a sticky back)
  • Balsa wood
  • Matchsticks
  • MDF for basing
  • Paint
  • Flock
  • PVA (wood) glue

The fly-screen repair from local hardware store
Balsa wood was cut into lengths and covered with the fly-screen on both sides. It was folded over with the sticky side towards the balsa wood. I didn't worry about overlapping as it helps to improve the look when painted. I made two covered lengths for each base - partly because this was the size of my saved off cuts and also to make it look like strips of fencing were used.

Covered balsa wood
 These lengths are then stuck onto their bases and held in place until the glue dried.

Sticking covered lengths to bases
Once the glue was dry. Cut some matchsticks and glue them on either side of the fencing. Once all the glue is dry the fencing was painted a dark brown.

Matchsticks are added as posts
Paint fences a dark brown.
After the dark brown had dried off a series of light brushing of progressively lighter colours was applied. First a mid-brown quickly applied, second a light grey was more carefully applied, and finally a light bone colour was dry brushed on which really picks up the weave.

A mid-brown was brushed on first
A light grey was applied consistently
A light bone colour was finally dried brushed on
Once painted the base was touched up in green and flocked. As a final step I paint on a matt clear acrylic varnish for protection.

The final result
While all this was all being done I also made a simple foot bridge. Here are the progress pictures.

A very simple shape - the matchstick supports were later trimmed down.
Painted dark brown and when dry mid-brown stripes were painted on
A watered down bone colour was quickly used to go over some parts of the painted stripes
The ends were flocked and the river painted
The final product

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Last 3 Dark Age (Saxon vs Norman) games for 6x6 challenge

Three more Dark Ages games using Dux Bellorum were played out this week. This completes all six games of the 6x6 challenge for this period.  A reminder of my 6x6 selection and progress:

  • One Hour Wargames (Tank on Tank) SciFi Variant - this will force me to work through the rules in a series of games. 3 Played
  • Dark Ages with Dux Bellorum (Osprey) - my new project and with the rule book ordered and in the post. 6 Played - Complete
  • WW2 Naval (Pz8 rules) - a good quick game I can use if struggling with the challenge.
  • WW1 OHW - it has been a fair while since I played this period and a good excuse to get the old Peter Laing figures out again.
  • Galleys and Galleons (Ganesha Games) - I purchased these rules a while back and have not got around to making the model ships, which should not take too long to build the 5-6 models required for a game.
  • Hundred Years War using Lion Rampant (Osprey) - Recently completed the painting of these armies. Mini campaign mapped out ready to start.
The first three Dux Bellorum games I played used the rules without modification. During the games I was finding the use of leadership points to cancel hits was too powerful, even when reducing this to the cancellation of 1 hit (particularly when two shield walls going at it toe to teo). So for the last three games I tried reducing unit protection by one. So to hit a shieldwall was 5+ and a bowman unit 3+. All missile fire remained at 5+ as per the rules. To partly compensate for the increased likelihood of hits the cohesion factor  (number of hits before unit routs) was bumped up by one. I also stuck with the original approach to leaderships points with no restrictions.

The other area of consideration is where the combat loser is pushed back three inches. Not straight forward when using a 6 inch gridded tabletop to play on. During the games I tried a one square push back, ignoring the rule, and the losing unit taking a bravery test with a failure resulting in a push back. I ended sticking with the pushback rule as I had started allowing two units to occupy a 6 inch square.

After playing through the three games I was quite happy with these modifications and the last two games were most enjoyable.

Game 4 - was a quite a large game of 52 points a piece. The Normans were the aggressor and the Saxons as the repeller where positioned on the hill. The Norman cavalry moved around on both the Saxon flanks, while their bowmen attempted to soften up the centre before their spearmen units (Noble Shieldwall class of troops) pushed onto the hill.

Both sides lined up for battle
The Saxon second line of Housecarls prepares to enter the battle
The Norman attack loses momentum and is eventually thrown back by the Housecarls.
A Saxon victory! The game had been played ignoring the loser of combat being pushed back. It was after this game the decision was made to reintroduce the loser gets pushed back.

Game 5 - this game tried out a smaller Saxon force with additional leadership points. The Norman's pushed their cavalry around the Saxon left flank while their centre quickly ground down the first Saxon line of bowmen and Fyrd. The Housecarls were partially drawn into the centre battle and those remaining on the hill were eventually overpowered by the Norman cavalry. Additional leadership points are possibly better used for more mobile armies.

Normans see off the first Saxon line of defence
Norman cavalry attack the hill
Housecarls in their final defence just before the Norman centre joint the battle for the hill.
Game 6 - saw the surprising inclusion of some Saxon cavalry as I wanted to play a game with both sides having some mobility. The game was quite straight forward with cavalry attacks on opposite flanks. The Saxon shieldwall dealt better with the cavalry attack and soon after in the centre holes started to appear in the Norman shieldwall, which were exploited by the Saxons to win the game.

Saxon cavalry quickly move up while bowmen engage in missile fire.
Norman's counterattack on the Saxon left flank.
Saxons get the upper hand and Norman forces are whittled down

That's one 6x6 challenge successfully completed. The last few games have convinced me to stick with Dux Bellorum rules. I will be soon adding a Viking army to the Normans and Saxons - paper armies are quick to produce. I will be sticking with these paper armies and not buying any replacement Dark Age miniatures. I like them and am looking around for another opportunity to use some paper armies.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Third Dark Age game for 6x6 challenge

I managed to fit in another Dark Age game between the Norman and Saxon paper armies. Again using Dux Bellorum for game rules as I come to grips with the rule mechanisms and begin to commit them to memory.

My battle reports continue to be rather brief (apologies) as the games are a rather stop start affair as I am referencing rules. So I have not been making any turn by turn notes - only taking photos to remind me.

For this game I went with 29 point forces and thought I would try one side with some additional leadership points. I also tried out limiting the use of leadership points to offset a hit to one hit per unit (an option suggestion in the rules).

Saxon army:

  • 2 x Noble Shieldwall units (10pts)
  • 3 x Ordinary Shieldwall units (9pts)
  • 2 x Bowmen (6pts)
  • 8 x leadership points (+2pts)

Saxon forces rolled as the repeller in this game a setup for the defence of a hill
 Norman army:

  • 1 x Noble Cavalry (5pts)
  • 2 x Noble Shieldwall units (15pts)
  • 3 x Bowmen (9pts)
  • 6 x leadership points (0pts)

Norman forces prepare to assault as the aggressor
Saxons wait for the advancing Normans while bowmen exchanged missile file
Mixed results for both sides as their shieldwalls came to blows
Norman bowmen after eliminating their Saxon counterparts move in to support their shieldwall
Saxons lose half their units and survive the bravery tests, but the writing was on the wall.
I ended the game just after the Saxons had to take a bravery test when they had lost 50% of their units. While they did pass their bravery test, they were out numbered 2 to 1 with little opportunity to comeback from their predicament.

I have 3 more games to play as part of this particular 6 x 6 challenge. For the next game I am thinking of tailoring or modifying the rules in a couple of areas:

  1. The use of leadership points (LP) to reduce hits is overly effective when compared to adding 1D6 to an attack with a 6+ hit chance on a shield wall. Even when allowing on one LP to be used for defence you tend to spread single LP across more units. One thought is to do the reverse of attacking LP which adds 1D6. Instead of reducing a rolled hit, a defencive LP reduces the attacker's D6 by 1D6.
  2. The grid works well for most movement except for retreats from combat which in the rules are 3 inches. The move of one 6 inch square is too bigger step back. Not sure how to deal with this one - possibly there are no retreats. Anyway more pondering to do.

I find it interesting how some rule mechanisms seem to suit me as a solo player. For example, the allocation of LP in Dux Bellorum is great where there is an opponent and you are trying to out guess them. The rule creates a tension, but less so for a solo gamer. Generally I would say I prefer in most cases fast moving rules so when you are playing a solo game you get become more absorbed by the game.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Dark Ages game number 2 for 6x6 challenge

I have finished my second game using Dux Bellorum as part of the 6x6 challenge. I believe I now have a reasonable grasp of the rules in terms of not forgetting or overlooking a rule mechanism.

In this game the Normans were the aggressor again and the Saxons were defending a river crossing. I don't have a lot of photos of the game as I was rereading rules and the game was played of a few sessions. I did quite a bit of rereading of rules, not because the rules are overly complicated, but they are quite intricate.

The game was won by the Normans after a bit of a slug fest in the centre between Norman Spearmen and defending Saxon Fyrd. It was the flanking cavalry which were the difference drawing away and eventually defeating the Saxon second line.

In the next game I will only be allowing 1 leadership point per unit be used to reduce a casualty. It is one of the suggestions in the rules to make a quicker game. I must confess I did lose a bit of interest towards the end of the game, as most of the forces were engaged in combat. For a number of turns I was just rolling for combat between the same units with hits being cancelled out with leadership points.

A view from the Saxon side shows Norman spearmen advancing to engage Saxons defending the river
A view from the Norman side with their cavalry crossing the river on their right flank
A Norman view as the Saxon defence collapses and they flee the battlefield

Also, my preparation for my Hundred Years War mini-campaign is done with the completion of some scenery. A model ship and the goal for the English in the campaign as they try and escape across the Channel from the pursuing French.

Medieval Ship - Flat model made from MDF, balsa wood and cardboard

The campaign will be played out using Lion Rampant rules on a tabletop with a 6 inch square grid. I first plan another Dux Bellorum game.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Medieval Campaign for 6x6 Challenge

As background to my 6x6 game challenge I am setting up a small medieval campaign inspired by "The Agincourt Campaign" from "War Game Campaigns" by Donald Featherstone. The aim is for an English army to successfully move their baggage and commander (Prince Riddick) across the map from the starting point top left hand corner to their ships waiting in two top right hand corner squares.

No diagonal moves are permitted on the campaign map.

The challenge is rivers can only be crossed at bridges and fords, so there is no straight forward route and the French have forces stationed in castle keeps at various strategic points. On top of that they are being chased by a French army.

The symbols on the map will determine the make-up of the tabletop terrain which will be placed on the tabletop by dice. More details on this with later posts.

The forces being used are all that I have in my Minifigs collection. Although it is very unlikely they will all be present in any game.

Minifig Hundred Years War

1 x Mounted men at arms
3 x Mounted sergeants
3 x Foot men at arms
2 x Foot sergeants
4 x bow
1 x Baggage (represented by a tent)

Commanded by 1) Prince Riddick, 2) Sir John of Chewford and 3) Sheriff of Lockdrew

All English commanders begin the campaign on the start square (top left corner).

3 x Mounted men at arms
5 x Mounted sergeants
4 x Foot men at arms
2 x Foot sergeants
3 x Crossbow
1 x Baggage (represented by a tent)

Commanded by 1) Duc Bonnet, 2) Marquis Duclos, 3) Comte Mallot, 4) Baron Bechard and 5) Baron Chastain.

Commanders numbered 3-5 start on a castle keep square. The remaining commanders can arrive on the map in the start square once it has been vacated. The English commanders are required to leave the start square and are not allowed to remain their to block French entry.

On the map each of the commanders is represented by a marker and the baggage also has a marker which must be in the same square as a commander. There is no stacking limit.

All commanders move one square on a successful 1D6 roll. The French move on 4+ and the English on a 3+.

The French commanders and forces are not living off the land, and must always be within one square's move of the baggage or a square containing a keep, town or village. The position of rivers (with no crossing point) and English forces can block them and cause the commander to be eliminated. As the English are foraging for food this does rule does not apply, which is why they get to field fewer units (see below).

Whenever two opposing forces are on the same square a battle will be played before any other map moves are made. When a battle occurs the following rules will determine the make-up of the forces facing each other.


  • 5 x units drawn from foot sergeants and bowmen.
  • For each commander present 2 units of the following type: mounted men at arms, mounted sergeants and foot men at arms.

  • 5 x units drawn from foot sergeants and bowmen.
  • If in a map square with a town 2 x any unit type
  • If in a map square with a village 1 x any unit type
  • For each commander present 2 units of the following type: mounted men at arms, mounted sergeants and foot men at arms.
The battle is played using Lion Rampant, but without special leadership rules.

The loser of the battle must move out of the square in a direction selected by the winner of the game.

I Have no idea whether this is a balanced campaign, but I am hoping after 6 games it should be clear as to who the winner is. If not some special campaign rules will be added and the campaign played out to a conclusion. (Starvation and desertion spring to mind.)

I am hoping the English army gets to the finish for no other reason, than I am in the process of building a ship for their escape. It's a flat ship for scenic purposes only made from MDF wood for strength and covered in balsa wood. The paper soldier have influenced me to not always do 3D models.

Still to add the sails, flags and some colour

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Saxon vs Norman Paper Soldiers Game

This weekend I was able to play a game of Dux Bellorum using my recently completed Saxon and Norman paper armies. While the rules are technically for the period AD367-793, I thought I would still give them a go.

I was trying out the rules on a gridded wargame table. Having read the rules through they seemed to fit quite well to a 6 inch square grid. Foot units move 1 square and cavalry 2 squares.

Armies lined up
For my first game the Normans had...

3 x Foot bowmen
3 x Noble Shieldwall
1 x Mounted Companions
2 x Ordinary Riders

And Saxons...

1 x Foot Companions
3 x Noble Shieldwall
3 x Ordinary Shieldwall
2 x Foot bowmen

The Normans were the aggressor and the Saxons the repeller force defending the hill.

After initially exchanging a few volleys of arrows the Normans advanced
The Saxon Ordinary Shieldwall proved remarkably effective
The Saxon Noble Shieldwall waiting for the Norman assault on the hill
The first Saxon line had done its job and a weakened Norman attack was soon routed

I found the rules worked well for me. The decisions a player has to make with their leadership points to weigh up whether to assist units (or groups of units) with their movement, attack and defence made for an enjoyable game. Even for the first game which can be a bit stop-start as one gets used to the rules and have to look up rules.

This will be counting as my first game of Dux Bellorum 6x6 challenge.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Second 6x6 challenge SciFi game

I have now completed my second 6x6 game challenge using Scenario 12 from One-Hour Wargames - "an unfortunate oversight" for the game setup. To cater for some unit movement range the depth of the map was stretched placing the objective a communications array further away.

Narrative to the game...
Having suffered a setback when ambushed while advancing towards the mining colony X374 on the world of Dranus. The Space Marine command assembled another force with ordered to push on towards X374. They found a Necron force encamped around the colony buildings. Under cover of the atmosphere storms which typically ravage planet an advance party of scouts identified a suitable and undefended crossing over a lava river.

Some units involved...
Some example units with there stats for the rules used (see tab at top of blog) and an opportunity for some close up pictures of the models themselves.

Moves 1 square, attack range 3 squares, armour is 11 and has a power weapon.

Moves 3 sqaures, attack range 2 squares, armour is 11 and one had a blast weapon and the other an assault (rapid fire) weapon.

Moves 1 square, attack range 2 squares, armour is 7 and with sniper rule.

Moves 1 square, attack range 2 squares, armour is 9 and with psychic attack rule (3 squares).

Tactical Squad (command section)
Moves 1 square, attack range 2 squares, armour is 8, with veteran and power attack rule.

Tactical Squad (support section)
Moves 1 square, attack range 3 squares, armour is 8 and with power attack rule.

Terminator Squad (leader)
Moves 1 square, attack range 2 squares, armour is 9 and with blast attack rule.

Assault Squad
Moves 3 squares, attack range 1 square, armour is 8 and with flamer attack rule.

The game in pictures...
Game setup with the Space Marine objective (communications array) in the foreground
Necrons quickly redeploy units to defend the communications array
First Space Marine casualties as their support arrives
The first wave of the assault begins
Necrons hold their ground while the Space Marines regroup
Psychic unit moves towards the buildings to hold Necron units there
Accurate Space Marine shooting allows a final and successful assault

Summary of the game
The Space Marine attack was a bit slow off the mark, but did capture the objective in the end. The two Landspeeders proved to be very useful after their destruction by providing cover for the advancing units behind them.

A couple of attacks on the colony building complex by the space marine tactical squad, while unsuccessful, were sufficient to occupy the Necron units and stop them from moving to defend the communications array objective.

With a couple of successful attack dice rolls at the end by the Necrons could have easily swayed the fate of the game to them. So a close game and played to a conclusion in 30 minutes. I am quite liking these rule mechanisms from the on Tank on Tank board game and the speed at which they play, which seems quite appropriate for units armed with powerful weapons and speedy vehicles.

Most rule mechanisms are working. Troop units suffer badly when caught in open and try to move from terrain to terrain. Failed assaults are punished as attacking units get left in exposed in the open.

A couple of modifications to the rules for the next game.

  1. Psychic range is always 2 squares for powerful psychic and 1 square for weaker psychics.
  2. I am going to try a D12 rather than a 2D6 when making attacks to even out the changes of a hit.

Unit of the game is going to the Dreadnought who's supporting attacks reduced Nercon units to smouldering wrecks towards the end of the game and paving the way to a Space Marine victory.