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A New Beginning…

Tinkering with Artwork and Ideas!

The more complex the mind, the more the need for the simplicity of play.

— James T. Kirk
Let‘s go on an adventure!

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Distractions…

So in addition to our Middle Earth project I am also currently trying to progress two other projects whilst the rest, including amongst others our Core Space, Stargrunt II and Dropfleet Commander/Full Trust projects, go on hold.

What are those two projects?

Getting things painted for EBay (or as gifts to friends) and my most recent obsession, my Napoleonic Sharp Practice side project.

In the picture above you can see a bunch of movement trays I did as well as a Rune Wars figure and some Napoleonic French. The trays were won as part of a large Moria auction that was an amazing “buy it now” find. A couple of hundred Euros worth of stuff, including rare metal figures, plenty of movement trays and a veritable horde of plastics at a fraction of their original cost.

The Rune Wars figure I won as part of an earlier auction when I thought we might use Rune Wars figures but they turned out a bit too cartoony for us, very World of Warcraft. I considered replacing the skeleton rider with a Haradrim or Easterling and have it be a were-worm, which Tolkien mentions in one of his books but decided against it. It came partly painted, and to a decent standard so it was not a lot of work to rebase it and finish the painting.

However, the bulk of my time has been spent on the first five of my Napoleonic French!

A mate of mine is an excellent painter and avid wargamer. He is also something of an Anglophile. His enthusiasm for the hobby is part of what got me back in to it… but I did not feel competent enough to join him in Napoleonics. I have heard it said painting Napoleonics is like painting Samurai…. very challenging indeed!


My mate Stefan has a great blog…. and his painting is brilliant!

https://montys-caravan.blogspot.com

A while back, long before I decided to get back into tabletop wargaming, we went to the very interesting Bavarian Army Museum. He had a wealth of knowledge on the period and his enthusiasm was quite infectious.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayerisches_Armeemuseum

To be honest I thought I would never reach the skill level where I would try painting Napoleonics but the era still interested me. But having decided to finally give Napoleonics a try, as I felt my painting skills have improved a bit, I was full of optimism as I got some Victrix, Perry and Warlord Games Napoleonic French.

However, as time passed my optimism diminished and my doubt grew. Had I bitten off more than I could chew?

I decided to try just one sprue of the Perry miniatures… if it did not work out I could always sell on the other untouched sprues. It started badly. I watched several tutorial videos, did research on the uniforms and commenced to painting. It sent very slowly and I had to go back and redo things my own way when the tutorial suggestions did not always work out for me. Getting the right blue for the coats was tough… and I should have painted them before putting the packs on. Yet again I did not prime them well, the spray paint being less than great in its finish. Finicky weather condition related imperfections I think.

Eventually I got the look I wanted and in fact I am quite pleased with them. They will not win any painting contests but I think they look good on the table.

Three of them are regular line infantry. I gave them blue insignia on their Shakos to show they are second company. This ties in with my plan to make them depot battalion troops, where I read the second company was assigned to guard ships. When I started this project I was not a fan of Shakos (their tall hats) but they have grown on me as I have learned about why they were more practical than the bicornes they replaced.

So many little details! It was quite slow going work. And I learned things along the way, like what the various insignia are for and how uniform regulations changed from regiment to regiment, year to year. I finally figured out why so many uniforms of the period have so much white, even though white makes no sense to my contemporary military mind. Easy be seen and yet hard to keep clean? But then I never considered the cost of dyes, how quickly they fade and how easy it is to use clay to refurbish the white appearance. Different times, different priorities. The tall hats and plumes made little sense to me until I read Napoleon had noticed the taller hats and plumes caused enemy troops to often shoot too soon and too high.

I also made a Grenadier and a Voltigeur out of the sprue. Each the first of what will be new units to support my line company troops. Grenadiers as elite close assault troops and Voltigeurs as skirmish troops.

I went with fairly standard French uniform colors, although I considered other options. I hate painting white generally and was wondering if there was an easier color scheme to paint that still looked cool. But I knew that if I chose not to do the usual French colors “because they were too difficult to do well” I would always feel like I took a short cut and let myself down. So I stuck with it. I decided against a completely fantasy “imagi-nation” look or something like the Polish Vistula Legion despite my idea to have these be troops of the American Revolutionary Legion (more on that below).

Because of the various miniatures companies I chose from, with troops from various years, their kit will not be completely uniform but I figure that is ok for a pre-industrialized military. I am hardly a button or stitch counter in re-enactment so why change for tabletop wargaming?

Much of the information I have used for this Napoleonic project comes from two sites.

The first is the blog of another gamer…

https://krigetkommer.weebly.com/napoleonics-blog#

The other is a detailed historical site.

http://napoleonistyka.atspace.com/index.html

My poor photography skills have overly brightened the colors, they are not quite so cartoonishly vibrant in person although my wife thinks they look like Nutcracker soldiers. Five down and only 100+ to go!

For my wife, as future adversaries of my French we have a broad selection just waiting to be painted, although I think we are going to be a little “relaxed” about our timeline. I am also considering the creation of fictional locations and peoples to avoid some historical awkwardness. And my French may in fact be Americans in service to France, mirroring my service to the UK. As I mentioned above, Tate and the American Revolutionary Legion inspired me.

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/w/wsfh/0642292.0039.016/–between-two-republics-american-military-volunteers?rgn=main;view=fulltext

As for the game to go with these miniatures, watching Sharp Practice videos on YouTube, it looks like great fun. However, at this rate it will be a long time before we can finally play a game of it!

And maybe one day I can finally face Stefan’s British troops on the field of battle.

In other news episode 3 of Walking Dead World Beyond was disappointing again. Slow, not much feeling of real risk, too much long drawn out character exposition and the characters that I originally liked well enough are starting to get on my nerves. The very end had an interesting bit but it felt a bit, off. Like it was written by someone who knows a few things about soldiers but never actually served themselves. As a veteran perhaps I am overly sensitive to things like this. I liked what I think the writer was trying to get at but it just felt wrong in the details, for example… youngest Sergeant Major ever. That would have played better if he had been a Lieutenant. Senior NCO’s need to be salty and they can have a similar plot motivation (trying not to spoil too much) but they would have a different attitude towards it, angrier, more cynical. At least based on every senior NCO I have ever met and the trope portrayed in most movies/games/books. Now maybe he was cast as a young Sergeant Major on purpose, cadet soldiers or trying to show that all the salty veterans are dead and the army is young. I know there are historical exceptions to this rule, the British Paras has a 24 year old RSM in 1946. But these are rare. The whole point of a senior NCO is experience. But all that said the very final scene does more of showing rather than telling and I like that.

It was recommended I check out Upload.

A bit silly at first but after the first couple of episodes it is growing on me. Reminds me of Downsizing with Matt Damon. My wife hates when I talk about downloading my consciousness into a Robobrain from Fallout… so again a show for me rather than her.

Slow going…

This last week and weekend has been busy but not with gaming… and not with finishing much! Too many side projects to distract me, too many things started but not finished.

As you can see in the above photo, I have gone back and revisited the GW Tomb Banshee that we want to use as an Angmar Specter to lead an Angmar Battle Company. I was not happy with my initial work but I feel a bit better about it now. It seems the several folks who suggested a darker wash on the hair were right. I will add that I spent entirely too much time messing around with wet blending to try to create a nice effect on the lower part of the dress… but with limited success. I think part of the problem was a gritty primer coat. This will have to do.

I finished some part painted Last Alliance Numenoreans that will head to EBay at some point.

The unit bases are Games Workshop bases that I had not expected to use. We switched over from the 8 figure bases from GW to 10 figure bases from Products For Wargamers. However it seems Sharp Practice uses 8 figure bases for line infantry.

In other news watching the new Walking Dead spin-off got me in the mood for more zombie stories…. so I gave Reality Z another shot.

This is the Brazilian take on the British zombie show “Dead Set”. I tried watching it before but having seen the original, and enjoying that well enough for what it is, I just could not get into this. However after the first couple of episodes it picked up… until the last episode which was terrible. Talk about a show where you never know who is going to die next, this one surprised me. I did see it with subtitles rather than dubbing as in the trailer, which I prefer, and there are some interesting characters but I would recommend skipping the last episode if you decide to watch this Big Brother / Day Z mash-up.

Speaking of surprise deaths, I have been rewatching the Sharpe movies in order to introduce them to my wife. We were watching Sharpe’s Enemy and when a character gets killed, which surprised me very much the first time I watched it, my wife did not even flinched. I asked her about it after the show and she said that after Game of Thrones no character deaths surprise her anymore!

One movie my Mom recommended that my wife did not want to watch, she dislikes AI, that I saw on my own was I am Mother.

It was better than expected, not as good as I hoped for. I was thinking near the end that it was going to end as badly as Reality Z but the very last scene for some reason seemed to save what is really a mediocre ending at best. The movie does revolve around a key issue with the future of Humanity and AI, mathematical logic and morality. Whilst I love the idea of AI developing, I am terrified that Humanity will fail to deal with AI ethically, which may create a crisis in empathy and morality that will result in the extinction of Humanity.

Speaking of the end of humans… Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 is here! This caught me by surprise. I was keen to find out what happened to one of my favorite Zombie Apoc characters, Morgan.

The episode surprised me, with mixed overall results. I do not want to spoil it for you. It could have been better, it could have been worse. It was definitely better than the second episode of the other Walking Dead spin-off, which was very disappointing. I hope that series gets better as it goes.

Made to go…

This week I managed to get a few things finished but almost all of it destined for EBay or gifts to friends. A few things, like the lizardmen I painted from scratch but most of the others I built on the paint work from the previous owner.

One of the figures, the GW Banshee is destined to become the Spectre leading our new Angmar Battle Company. I am not sure that I am happy with my paintwork on it. I thought I would like this look given I have liked it in photos from others, including my mate Tom. But somehow mine just does not seem quite right.

In addition to those above, I surprised myself and got this one done today…

I have to admit that I have been distracted from our Middle Earth project by our Napoleonic Sharp Practice project… that and trying to raise funds for the various kickstarters around the corner. Especially Firelock Games newest Blood and Plunder Expansion and Battle Systems newest Core Space Expansion, both later this month.

Whilst we do not intend to play Blood and Plunder per se, we do want the two sloops and multi-part plastic sailors announced for the Kickstarter.

We are also currently considering the Icy Wilds from Monster Fight Club.

So what have we done for Sharp Practice?

My wife treated me to a beautifully print out of our PDFs from Toofatlardies….

…. and a whole bunch of assorted sprues from Slogger777 on eBay.co.uk!

A medley of assorted sprues, much kitbashing is planned. For example I want to stretch the fashions of the era a bit with some ACW and AWI figures becoming bandits, pirates, militia and guerillas.

We still need to figure out what to use for game markers.


If anyone has suggestions for cool shock markers we would love to hear them. I had thought the Bolt Action pinned markers from Warlord Games on small bases with a die but that is quite a bit of work….

Credit to Zitadelle

https://kriegstheater.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/schockmarker-bauen/

…. so leaning towards MDF numbered damage marker tokens from 4Ground.

In other news we watched Enola Holmes, which was better than I expected.

And the first episode of the new Walking Dead spin off series “World Beyond”, …. which was also better than I expected. I did not like the proposed concept of the show (teen drama 10 years later) but the execution of the concept is not the disaster I was expecting.

Gryph… what?

A lot going on around the house that is cutting down on my painting and gaming time. But I did manage to get a few things done. Product improvement as I call it rather than fresh builds.

The forest terrain piece originally had large standing stones that I was not a fan of. I removed them and used my now defunct hot glue gun to add some beat up looking trees from my terrain bits box. Defunct you wonder? Do not operate a hot glue gun without fully reading the instructions. Lesson learned. Attempting to unload what appears to be a jammed glue gun results in hit, melted gooey glue going all over the place.

After that debacle I tried to improve the trees with more foliage, added a bird, a bunch of undergrowth, more grass to match our current palette and tried to make it look less like an overgrown road.

I think it works ok for now.

The GW Dark Elf was missing an arm but painted to a decent standard. I rebased the mini, replaced the arm, did a few little changes but in the end we decided it does not fit any of our current projects so will head to EBay.

Same with skeletal horse.

And the gryph-hounds. Gryph what? Small, wingless gryphons. My wife loves the sculpts but the paint work from the previous owner, whilst skillful, are too high fantasy for our current projects. I only did some minor bits and rebased them. They look cool but rather over the top. I thought about using them with our Lizardmen … and we may well yet do that but I am not sure. We will probably keep one though as memento, hence the slightly different base.

Not that I need distractions but I also started down my Naopleonic path…

I have been learning a great deal from this fellow, with his amazing blog.

https://krigetkommer.weebly.com/napoleonics-blog#

I have some crazy ideas for an alternative history Earth with the French Revolution going as it should have rather than did. Napoleon staying Consul rather than becoming Emperor. Slavery remaining outlawed in all French territories. America siding with the French Republic early and subsequently freeing all slaves as well…. leading to domestic trouble in some Southern former colonies. Think of it as a proto-Civil War. Canada split in civil war between English speaking Monarchists and French speaking Republicans. Civil war in Spain where England is the invader this time rather than France. French agents stirring up Russian serfs against the Czar with that most powerful of weapons, education. Proxy wars all across the globe as France and her allies seek to spread enlightenment and where required revolution..

And with that political backdrop a series of Sharp Practice campaigns focused not on the big battles but instead skirmishes in distant lands whilst on a mission of discovery.

Long time no see…

Apologies for the lack of recent blog posts. We have not had much time to game or paint due to various real world distractions.

As you can see above I did manage to add some improvements to one of my dwarves. Since he became a “hero in the making” I thought he needed some additional touches to convey that.

You may notice the new background surrounding him… that is the Dwarven Forge cavern pieces we received from our friend Tom. Thanks Tom!

My wife and I fell in love with the Dwarven Forge cavern pieces at Spiel (a gaming convention in Essen) last year but it was outside our financial means. We love the quirky aesthetics and muted color palette, which we hope will go well with the Hagglethorn Hollow pieces when (if) they arrive.

Tom made it possible for us to get started collecting Dwarven Forge pieces… which lead us to making a pledge on the recent Dwarven Forge Wildlands Kickstarter.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dwarvenforge/wildlands-by-dwarven-forge-handcrafted-modular-game-terrain

We did not make a large pledge but we hope to be able to add to it during the pledge manager… so we have been trying to gather spare funds to that end.

Some of our money was diverted to pledge on the second Dungeons and Lasers Kickstarter.

My wife and I like both the sci-fi and fantasy sets but we have ALOT of Battle Systems terrain for sci-fi already. And we have some concerns how the fantasy sets will look next to Dwarven Forge. But we can not afford Dwarven Forge dungeon pieces at this stage anyway as we are focusing on the Wildlands pieces.

The real gem of the D&L 2 Kickstarter though is the stretchgoal freebies. These are considerably more useful than the stretchgoal extras of either Hagglethorn Hollow or Dwarven Forge Wildlands. We are going to get the legacy stretch goals from D&L 1 as well since they are being offered at such a great price.

Another figure we needed a bit of an upgrade was Victor, one of Ozzy’s Outlaws. We wanted him to have poison blades and armor. We try to keep things WYSIWYG… what you see is what you get. If a model has even just a helmet for example it is considered armored. So I gave Victor a helmet… a battered, rusty old bit of loot… which he is generally too lazy to wear unless he has to!

The strange green substance on his knife is a deadly toxin…. that allows him to reroll when he rolls a 1 to wound.

I also decided to go back to a figure I finished recently and change him from a Dunlending to a warrior of Rohan. I think he looks better this way. A lot of people recommend a Viking look for Dunlendings and a Saxon look for Rohan. I am thinking instead to go Celt for Dunlendings and use a mix of Viking and Saxon for Rohan. I have not fully decided about Normans but at this stage they may go Rohan or maybe Black Numenorean.

I did manage to get some things painted for eBay and/or gifting to friends.

We have gotten rid of a lot of things to try to refocus our projects. More is likely to go as we are finding our original plans for giant Strategy Battle Games in Middle Earth Are turning into smaller Battle Companies focused skirmishes instead. It just suits us better. So lots of things I got as inexpensive proxies to bulk out our forces are going. Same with our Core Space sci-fi project. We are going to focus more on official Battle Systems Core Space items rather than branching out into bigger sci-fi battles that I planned to use Stargrunt for.

Part of this is down to Battle Systems intending to have a new Kickstarter later this year to expand Core Space!

I have no idea where we are going to find the time for this all… but it gets worse!

We backed Reaper Bones 5 largely (pun intended) to get the “pirate ship”… I am thinking more of a 6th Rate (Light) Frigate or perhaps East Indiaman.

That is a picture of the prototype design… delivery is still a long way off but I have been trying to decide how best to game with this beast. I looked at Blood and Plunder from Firelock Games, they also have another Kickstarter around the corner in early October. I thought about writing modifying SBG for a blackpowder era game. But then I fell down the Sharp Practice hole while researching Black Powder games…. and an idea started forming in my head.

One of the things my wife and I thought about gaming was a sci-fi setting that was a sort of Star Trek exploration type thing. You know, planet of the week tv serial stuff. But our ideas seemed too big, too expensive and too difficult to store.

But what about an early 19th Century exploration ship that is also constantly dragged into colonial entanglements? Imagine a broadly learned scholar being sent to chase down rumors by his patron…. the Emperor, Napoleon!

Think the French version of the Doctor in Master and Commander.

Think ancestor of the French villain Belloq from Indiana Jones.

Think the French zoologist from Brotherhood of the Wolf.

Think the forces of Napoleon bringing reason and enlightenment even to places that do not wish it…


….and…


…..and….


Think French Dragoons fighting Native Americans and their Sasquatch allies! Think a mob of angry Transylvanian peasants protecting their odd Count. Think bestial lizardmen and dinosaurs in the Amazon jungle…..OK….I may be getting carried away.

Then again, I found this somewhat inspiring….

https://toysoldiersanddiningroombattles.blogspot.com/2018/09/ihmn-there-can-only-be-one.html

“Tame the Beast”… an Elven and Dwarven Battle Report

Following the defeat of the large pack of Wargs, the Elves and Dwarves continue North. Passing travelers and the people living on the scattered homesteads they come across talk of a rampaging Cave Troll. Picking up tracks of the beast, the two groups continue in their unspoken competition….

Having come across the Troll at the same time the Elves and Dwarves surround it and attack from two sides. The Dwarves seize the initiative and the Troll, sensing this, slowly advances towards the Dwarves.

The Dwarven archers fail to injure the beast but the Elves have more success. At first Cailon appears to fail to wound the Troll but in fact does (a reroll). With a mighty effort Randil manages to hit and wound the Troll as well.

The Elves seize the initiative and the Troll charges the Dwarves, heading straight for the Esgil the Vault Warden at the tip of their wedge. Not wanting to miss out on the kill the Galadhrim knights charge the Troll and trap it between both forces.

All three parties fight with great effort, at first it appeared the Elves had won but in fact due to the skill of the Troll it came down to a chancey thing between Rori and the Troll. Luck favored the Dwarf though and his axe felled the mighty beast!

Three cheers for Rori Trollsbane!

A very quick game, that to be honest could have gone very differently.

My wife started yet again with a large points value disadvantage. She had 9 rerolls and therefore 9 Bonus Influence at the end. She chose not to use Fingaerion’s Eldar Foresight to change the priority rolls because she got the priority she wanted. I was disappointed my archery and thrown axes all failed miserably.

Once the melee started we both forgot that we used the partially completed mounted version of Fingaerion to proxy a different Elf that had been promoted so thought the Elves had won the fight since all three sides had rolled a six… but once we realized our mistake we thought the Troll had won. I was fortunate to notice Rori had improved his fight value and equaled the Troll, so it came down to a fifty fifty chance on who won. Talk about sweaty palms when I rolled that die! I do not gamble money but the sense of elation I felt when I rolled success on that d6 gave me insight on how folks must feel in Las Vegas.

The Elf heroes Randil and Cailon both leveled. Iareth the Elf warrior leveled and was promoted to a Galadhrim Knight with shield. My wife spent 5 influence (due to our house rules) and got an Elf Sentinel!

Rori got a free roll on the hero leveling chart for killing the Troll and got the ability to act as a banner… a very tasty special ability backing up that of the Raven. Reroll one duel die in each fight. This is an amazingly powerful ability, especially when combined with multiple attacks.

Finnbar leveled and was recognized for promotion but since he I already an Iron Guard he instead got D3 Influence due to one of house rules, resulting in the Dwarves getting another 2 Influence.

Although the Dwarves won, my wife and I both left the game feeling we “won” in part because of the cooperative nature of how we played the scenario but also because we both had very positive post game results.

“Wolves Attack”… an Elven and Dwarven Battle Report

The Elves of Fingaerion’s Spear and the Dwarves of the Company of the Golden Boar have finally met face to face. The tense but not openly hostile meeting has been interrupted however….

Yet again the Wargs of the Evendim Hills stalk the heroes, yet this time without the leadership of a chieftain. An unspoken challenge has arisen between the Elves and Dwarves, the product of the many years of frosty relations between the two.

As the numerous Wargs charge the two Battle Companies archers ready and loose arrows. Both Onar the Dwarf and Cailon the Elf each Fell a Warg with their arrows, then the melee ensues.

The Dwarves Brimir, Finnbar and Rori all cut down a Warg each. Gaewen the Elf is also successful in cutting down a Warg. But there are many more…

The Dwarves Onar, Bili, Brimir, and Gundin each fell a Warg. Fingaerion the Elf dispatches a Warg with his pike but the Wargs pull down Gaewen’s mount! The Elf deftly survives the fall as Faeril is also bitten, although a mighty intervention of fate keeps the Elf champion on his feet.

The melee continues, with new Wargs replacing their fallen pack mates. The axes of Rori, Bili, Brimir, Hanar and Snorri all take a terrible toll on the Wargs, each of them dropping a Warg. The Elves Alion and Randil cut down a Warg each. Then with a mighty blow Fingaerion cuts down a Warg. However, Gaewen is savagely bitten by a Warg and is out of the fight.

Not many of the Wargs remain but still they fight on. Fingaerion cuts down a Warg, as does Orcondil and Faeril. Randil wins his fight with a mighty effort but fails to wound the Warg. Brimir and Gundin finish off the last two remaining Wargs.

As the corpses are checked and the wounded tended to a count is taken. The Elves have accounted for nine of the Wargs, the Dwarves…. fifteen. The smugness of the Dwarves is quiet but obvious.

A fun game. The Elves started off heavily disadvantaged in points values. The Dwarves have been remarkably lucky in reinforcement rolls and promotion rolls, making them a very expensive company in points value.

My wife started with a disadvantage of 125 points, resulting in 8 rerolls and 8 additional influence. Her rerolls went very poorly but the extra influence has been quite the boon.

Gaewen and her horse had full recoveries.

Orcandil leveled and was promoted to a Galadhrim Knight with shield. Quite the promotion, an armored horse, a shield and the ability for the horse to treat wooded terrain as normal. That in particular can be very powerful. Five influence points of value for “free”. It is moments like this that the power of the Lothlorien Battle Company becomes evident.

For the Dwarves, four of them leveled. The heroes Rori, Bili and Snorri. Onar the warrior also leveled but yet again failed to be recognized. That is the sixth time! There is a 50% chance to be promoted or become a hero, yet time after time he fails.

One of the interesting displays of dice rolling was Rori winning a fight but rolling two 1’s to wound. We have a house rule giving battle companies their SBG army bonus where applicable and that means the Dwarves reroll 1’s to wound. I then proceeded to roll a second set of snake eyes!

My wife was pleased with the bonus influenced but irritated that almost all of her rerolls failed to improve on her original roll.

It was nice to play cooperatively together against the Wargs but my wife in particular missed the greater challenge of a “live” adversarial opponent with tactical freedom rather than a somewhat one dimensional AI enemy, ie charges the nearest model.

What was nice was that we both felt like we walked away from this game with something, that there was no overt winner or loser.

More odds and ends…

Last weekend was a “build weekend” rather than a weekend for playing games. We have several things on the go but managed to finish a couple. The focus for me was stuff for eBay and/or gifts for friends.

These five were pieces I won on eBay as parts of various larger auctions. Each was painted to various degree. I just tidied them up and finished them.

This is some terrain I did which does not quite fit our project so will go to others that can make better use of it.

Next is a terrain piece we will be keeping. This was a joint project from my wife and me, but she did the bulk of the work.

And finally here are some pieces that were originally done to pass on but I like them enough to keep them. I modified the original helm on the spearman and added a missing right hand & weapon to the fellow with the axe. Both are a bit more high fantasy than my usual taste and they may jar a bit in Middle Earth but for some reason I like them… as Dunlandings I suppose. I won them already part painted and originally I had painted them blonde… when I thought they would not be staying with us. I tried red hair on both when I decided to keep them but that did not look right, so I switched to the darker hair…. so there would be no confusing them for “strawhead” warriors of Rohan.

In other news… just finished reading another Horseclans book by Robert Adams. I am rereading the entire series and there is a great deal in the books I do not remember from when I read them as a teenager.

As a veteran myself there are elements of the books regarding soldiery that rings true. Lots of great little details on arms, armor and tactics. But there are socio-political elements that are quite out of step with contemporary liberal values on one hand and conservative religious values on the other. I used to wonder why the Horseclans never made it into the big screen but now I can see how difficult it would be to make unless heavily edited.

Have you read the series? What did you think of it? I recommended it to a friend before I started rereading the series and he was far from impressed by it. I feel like I may have offended him with the recommendation, but whether from the socio-political aspects or the annoying habit of repeatedly going over the same scenes over and over again in flashbacks, I do not know.

“Ambush in the Hills, Part 2”… A Dwarven Battle Report

Rori and the Company of the Golden Boar continued to follow Fingaerion’s Elves North, lagging slightly behind them but doggedly trying to overtake them. Brimir, the scout of the group, led them to what appeared to be a recent campsite of the Elves. It looked like some blood had been spilled but there were no bodies in evidence.

With the sun setting and a thick mist settling in Rori decided to make use of the same campsite for themselves. There were a great many Warg tracks but likely the Elves had driven them off. Suddenly the howl of a Warg interrupted the usual bickering and grumbling of the Dwarves. It was followed by a blood chilling chorus of Warg voices in reply, and they sounded like they were close….

“Ready yer axes lads!”, roars Rori. Out of the mist speed several large Wargs. Brimir and Onar draw and loose but in the rush they both miss. Finnbar manages to drop one Warg with a thrown axe.

The Wargs continue to close. Brimir manages to deftly hit one Warg with a well placed arrow and it collapses. Other Dwarves are drawn into melee. Hanar cuts down two Wargs with his axe. But Bili gets savaged by another Warg, only with a mighty effort does fate keep him on his feet.

Some of the Wargs appear afraid of the campfire but not the Warg chieftain. Rori throws and axe at the chieftain but fails to wound it. Both Bili and Rori charge the beast but it viciously tears into them with claws and fangs. Both of the Dwarven heroes are quickly incapacitated. At almost the same time both Snorri and Onar cut down a Warg each.

The fighting continues as Wargs keep trying to get the Dwarves without having to get too close to the fire. Brimir cuts down two Wargs. Hanar cuts down one. But Finnbar is mauled by a Warg and falls. The Warg chieftain bites Snorri but fate saves the Dwarf adventurer.

The Wargs sieze the initiative from the Dwarves for the first time. Despite this Snorri kills another Warg. The chieftain bites both Onar and Brimir. With a mighty effort fate saves Brimir but not Onar, and the hapless Dwarf collapses to the ground.

The fighting rages on. Gundin kills a Warg. Hanar hits the Warg chieftain twice, wounding the beast but it remains on its feet. Brimir is bitten by another Warg and falls. The Dwarves are broken but not defeated!

The courage of the Dwarves holds strong. Snorri kills another Warg.But the chieftain uses a mighty effort to win the fight against Gundin (2 might!) and the Dwarf falls.

Snorri kills yet another Warg but the chieftain incapacitates Hanar. Another Warg leaps into the air and snatches Oren the Raven, injuring the bird.

Snorri is attacked by the chieftain and two Wargs…. Snorri wins the fight and slays the chieftain! The Wargs are broken but the battle is not over yet (rolled a 3!).

Two Wargs flee. Two remain but are too afraid to approach the campfire. One Warg charges Snorri and he kills it.

Finally the remaining Wargs flee, only Snorri remains on his feet. Neither a victory nor a defeat but the Dwarves continue on….

As Snorri begins checking on the wounded he is relieved to find almost all of them should recover…. except for one. Rori is not breathing. The leader of the Golden Boar is dead. Snorri hangs his head, grief welling up in his heart. Then suddenly Rori gasps and sits up. It would seem his reputation for being rather hardy is well earned.

A very different game from what the Elves had, although in some ways it was the same.

Every member was wounded except for Snorri… even the Raven. All made full recoveries except for Hanar, who received “wounds of a hero” and 2 Influence points.

And of course Rori.

I had left Rori for last and was feeling quite confident given how well the rolls had been going. When I did roll one die stayed in the tray, one spilled out and went under the couch. I glimpsed the 1 on the die in the tray as I recovered the other with a sense of trepidation. My wife was stunned when I rolled a second 1. Rori was dead. It did not seem possible. My wife was feeling terrible about it. I was thinking that I should have rolled both dice rather than just the one but that would have been taking advantage of the situation.

Then I remembered his special lieutenant skill. We have allowed each lieutenant to take a special faction skill from the Johnathan Baker house rules. My wife for example has Foresight of the Eldar. I took Hardy for Rori. I almost chose the other skill that makes it harder to be trapped but my wife convinced me Hardy was more useful. She was right! It is quite a thing to consider continuing your company after your leader is killed.

After how well things went for my wife I was over confident. It was the Warg chieftain’s High fight value that was my undoing. I was also irked that I had overlooked the scenario win condition that I must not be broken…. so when I thought Snorri had won the game it was a bitter pill to just draw and therefore miss out on the reward table.

I am more worried about the Cave Drake in the final scenario now.

Atleast Brimir leveled and got poisoned weapons…. which I thought odd for a good character, I guess as a scout he puts Wood Wose poison on his arrows?

Hanar also leveled and he got +1 Fight, bringing him up to Fight 5.

Gundin leveled and has become a hero in the making, choosing the Path of the Warrior and getting Deadly Strength (Burly, no -1 duel roll with 2 handed weapons).

Finnbar also leveled and was recognized for promotion but he is already an Iron Guard so as per our house rules he got D3 Influnce instead…. bringing our total influence to 5.

I am not sure when we will get to our next game. My wife needs to paint her promoted Galadhrim Knight and armored horse. Once that is done, unless we use a proxy, it will be the Dwarves and Elves in a competition to slay the most Wargs in a co-operative scenario.

“Ambush in the Hills”… an Elven Battle Report

Continuing their travel North, the Elves of Fingaerion’s Spear stop for the night in the hills of Evendim. Their presence has not gone unnoticed and a large pack of Wargs have decided to hunt.

The hills echo with the howls of Wargs and an eerie mist settles around the Elven camp as the sun sets. Fingaerion has a campfire built but before bedrolls can be laid out for the night shapes can be seen moving about in the mist. The Elves turn their backs to the fire, draw their weapons and prepare for the attack they sense is coming…

The Warg chieftain howls and his pack charges. As the Wargs run forward the Galadhrim Knight Alion rides off to East hoping to either draw off some of the Wargs or to get behind them as they attack his companions. The Elven archers loose but none of their arrows find their mark.

The Wargs try to seize the initiative but Fingaerion uses Foresight of the Eldar to keep the initiative. As the Wargs charge home, lead by their chieftain, a melee ensues but not all the Wargs have the courage to approach the fire.

The Warg chieftain has bitten off more than he can chew, with both Faeril and Cailon wounding him. But other Wargs in the pack incapacitate Anduniel and Iareth.

The Elves maintain the initiative. Fingaerion strikes a Warg a mighty blow and fate fails to save the Warg chieftain from Faeril’s spear. The terrible beast is slain! The rest of the pack flees in terror….. victory for the Elves!

Iareth recovers fully and Anduniel has “but a scratch”, meaning she will need to rest during the next scenario.

Randil was leveled and rolled +1 Might.

Faeril leveled and rolled Heroic Strike.

Gaewen leveled and was promoted to a Galadhrim Knight!

My wife unfortunately rolled a 1 on the victory reward table, meaning her reward was one Influence point. A bit underwhelming compared to the other possibilities. Given she had one Influence stored, got four Influence for winning and the one reward, she is still at -2 Influence due to our (I really had to work hard her to convince her to accept it) decision to backdate the 5 point recruitment cost for Elves and Dwarves we added to our house rules.

A very quick game. Three turns to be precise. We were both surprised by this but Faeril is quite the hero. Once the Warg chieftain is killed the Wargs become broken and the game ends with a 1 or 2 on a D6 and my wife rolled a 2.

We did have a pause in the game as we checked the pike rules and discussed them. I have tried to house rule the pike for the Galadhrim Court Guard (ie Fingaerion) to be a decent weapon for a single character since the Elves are not going to get massed pikes. So we have made it a two handed weapon with +1 Strength, which the Court Guards are trained to use for shielding as well as not having the usual -1 duel roll for two handed weapons. What I overlooked was pikes can only support a second pike not a spear. Fairly useless in absence of massed pikes… so we now have a house rule for pikes to be able to be a second support for a spear supported combatant.

I also realized we have been making a mistake with how we have been promoting warriors to heroes. Once they roll to become a hero we have been letting them choose their path and roll on that path chart rather than waiting for them to level again, which is how I think it is supposed to work. We decided that since we have been doing it for everyone it is balanced and there is no reason to try to backtrack and correct the heroes in the making skills. And we will continue doing it the way we started. It may lead to a little skill inflation but we do not think it will break the game, especially with our house rule experience system.

Next blog entry should be about how the Dwarves handle the same scenario.

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