Friday, 8 December 2017

Lion Rampant Northern Crusades


This Tuesday night in the backwoods of Minmi we recreated an even more remote location - the Baltic regions in an unspecified medieval year. It was Northern Cusades night in Lion Rampant. This Osprey rules set is really winning people over. This makes me rather happy as i like wargaming in remote eras of the past rather than modern times. That and i get to use all my lovely dark age and medieval 28mm plastics from gripping beast and fireforge. Both are simply wonderful and great value too. 
These images are almost in reverse order for the battle so I'll have a go a retelling the battle in the same manner. 
The above image shows the turn or so before the end. The scenario was "Defend the Indefensible" and the shack and wagon were vital supplies that the savage tribes (who worship the giant forest rabbit of eastern Prussia) were eager to despoil. Here you can see the wild tribesmen and their well armoured leaders closing for the kill. At the end of the battle the crusaders activations failed them. Their crossbowmen quailed as the tribes closed in. 


The red/yellow spear unit has formed schiltron earlier and formed the main defense of the supply shack. Here the well armoured tribal chiefs were ready to charge in. Despite the additional armour afforded by the schiltron formation the chieftains proved too much to handle in the cut and thrust of melee. Their axes clove through the spearman's lines. 


Flanking the spear were two units of crossbowmen. Their deadly fire thinned the ranks of the incoming tribesmen but at the final hour the pressure proved too much and their volleys stopped. 


Here horse and bidowers attack the advancing tribesmen. The horsemen would be killed to a man in the vicious combat that followed. 




Before the rushing tribal tide came on. Flanked by bow and horse the Crusader leader felt confident. 


Not the best image but it shows the tribesmen lurking in the woods too cautious to advance into open ground where bidowers and horse threatened. A whole unit of aggressive foot was annihilated by bidower firing while they waited for support from their fellows. In an inversion of the later stages of the game, the beginning and middle saw the tribal forces sit idle as activations deserted them. 


The mounted sergeants jeered at their enemies to come forth from the woods and face their lances. 


Lock shields, men! Spear points to front. Give up not a yard of ground to the heathen. 


Aggressive foot run forward to gain the cover of the trees and try to goad the impetuous knights into an uncontrolled charge. 


The crossbowmen shoot from the cover of the cabbage patch. 


Masters of the battelfield - the armoured knights. These would only engage late in the battle due to the wild charge rule. This would have seen them careen into the woods to fight aggressive foot at a disadvantage. No-one wants to see their knights hacked apart in rough ground. 



Guarding the supply shack. 


The aggressive foot making for the woods. Crossbow fire would scythe through their ranks if not protected by the trees. 

The battle was nicely balanced by two very different forces. The Baltic tribes revel in rough terrain and are savage attackers with little defence to rely upon. The Northern Crusaders dominate the open ground with crossbowmen (against whom the tribes have little defence), bidowers, spearmen and a mix of cavalry to round out the force. Their cavalry charges are terrifying but these can be blunted by rough terrain. It proves for intriguing games every time. 

Lion Rampant is a great little game just perfect for short mid-working week games. Everyone picks up the rules in about 15 mins and not often does the rule book require consultation. Players can just get on with the business of striking a blow at the enemy. As wargames should be. 


Thursday, 30 November 2017

IHMN Into the Desert or The Case of the Urchin

IHMN Into the Desert or The Case of the Urchin

The companies used were as follows. Please note that I believe in keeping armour low and only having a 2 characters per side with low pluck. Everyone should have a chance at killing everyone else and we all love an underdog. Players always cheer heartily when a lowly askari or bandit can rise to greatness through shrugging off attacks or felling a hero.

On the evening in question one of our usual players sickened with plague so the Cult did not enter the fray.

17 The Case of the Urchin’s Arse
Professor Hardwig’s Archaeological Dig
Name
FV
SV
Speed
Pluck
Talents
Equipment
Hardwig
+2
+2

4+

Sword, Pistol

O’Connell
+4
+2
+2
3+
Martial Arts, Tough, Duellist
Pistols, Combat Knife, Lined Coat
Old Tom
+2
+2

4+
Numb (Age)
Carbine, Combat Knife, Lined Coat
Timbo
+1
+2
+1
4+
Bayonet Drill
Military Rifle, Bayonet
8 Askari
+1
+2

5+

Carbine, Knife
The role of the Dig Team is to secure crates by dragging them to safety and keeping Hardwig alive.
+2 VP per crate secured AND +5 VP if Hardwig survives.
May not shoot Klinck, Dias or the porters.

Desert Bandits 1
Name
FV
SV
Speed
Pluck
Talents
Equipment
Tippu Tib
+4
+1
+2
3+
Tough
Sabre, Blunderbuss, Lined Coat
Kibonge
+3
+1
+1
4+
Terrifying, Fanatic
Halberd, Combat Knife, Pistol
8 Bandits
+2
+2

5+

Rifle, Sabre, Combat Knife







Klinck
+2
-
-
4+
May only defend.
Camera
2 Porters
+1
-
+2
5+


The role of the Bandits is to shoot Dig and Expeditionary forces. +1 VP per kill. +5 VP for Hardwig or Savage. (On the evening I removed the VP's for Savage's survival.) 
Additionally to capture photographs of British forces fighting Bandits. +5 VP per photo from table.

Desert Bandits 2
Name
FV
SV
Speed
Pluck
Talents
Equipment
Rabeh Zubair
+3
+2
+1
3+
Tough, Fanatic
Two Handed Sabre, Pistol, Knife, Lined Coat
Al Hurun
+3
+1
+1
4+
Tough, Numb
Sabre, Buckler, Lined Coat, Pistol, Knife
8 Bandits
+2
+2

5+

Rifle, Sabre, Combat Knife







Dias
+2
-

4+
May only defend.
Camera
2 Porters
+1
-
+2
5+


The role of the Bandits is to shoot Dig and Expeditionary forces. +1 VP per kill. +5 VP for Hardwig or Savage.
Additionally to capture photographs of British forces fighting Bandits. +5 VP per photo from table.


Scotland Yard
Name
FV
SV
Speed
Pluck
Talents
Equipment
The Detective
+4
+1
+2
3+
Erudite Wit, Duelist 
Sabre, Pistol, Lined Coat
His Chum
+2
+2
+1
4+
Bayonet Drill, Medic
Military Rifle, Lined Coat, Pistol, Bayonet
Officers (4) 
+2
+1

4+

Lined Coat, Pistol, Baton

Officers (4)
+1
+2

4+

Lined Coat, Baton, Military Rifle
NB: No member of the Yard may shoot at any Desert Bandit.
The role of the guard is to render unconscious to Expeditionary force. +1 VP per man.
The Detective and his Chum may engage Klinck, Dias or the porters in hand to hand only. At this close range their disguises are revealed. +5 VP for Klinck or Dias or +1 per porter (+2 if has photo.)
Deploys in Turn 2 via the Tunneller. May not surface within 6” of ruins (the Detective won’t do it.)

British Egyptian Expeditionary Force
Name
FV
SV
Speed
Pluck
Talents
Equipment
Savage

+3
+2
+1
3+
Inspirational, Numb
Lined Coat, Pistol, Knife, Sabre
Lacoste
+2
+2

4+
Fanatic

Boy
+1
+0
+2
5+
Numb
A Decanter
10 Askari
+1
+2

5+

Rifle, Knife
The role of the Force is to protect Professor Hardwig at all costs and shoot as many Bandits as feasible. Need to keep Savage alive - + 5 VP.
(MINUS) -1 VP per bandit shot.
May not shoot Klinck, Dias or the porters.

The Cult of Akhenaten
Name
FV
SV
Speed
Pluck
Talents
Equipment

Abir
+1
+1
+1
3+
Intuitive

Lined Coat, Pistol

Ray of Ra (Spitfire) + Water Bullets
Sairah
+3
+3
+2
4+
Fanatic, Stealthy
Combat Knives + Throwing Knives (Poison)
4 Nubian Guardsmen
+3
+1

4+
Fanatic
Lined Coat, Scimitar, Muzzle Loading Rifle

5 Cultists
+1
+1

5+

Club or Pistol (see model)
Mummified Priest
+3
-
-
3+
Hands are clubs.
Wrappings (lined coat), Harden spell.
The role of the cult is to kill everyone. Can’t win – just here to wreck stuff.
Cultists may deploy in Turn 2 within 3” of any sphinx on the table.




Last Tues evening saw a 5 player game of IHMN occur. Please read the written precursor to the game in the previous post as to what it was all about. We modify the rules slightly by moving two figures at a time per player to speed things up with so many and also by moving clockwise about the table from the person that rolled the highest initiative. 


The table was set out with rocky hills, scattered stands of palms, a hamlet and many Egyptian ruins. I really like the look of my desert terrain and one of the reasons I designed this scenario was to use it all once more. The companies were all designed by me. I tried to be reasonably fair - but rarely do I use the point system.I like armies that are dominated by "poor" troops - Pluck 5 was average. 


The Hardwig archaeologist expedition. They were vulnerable in the centre of the table but had good cover. The red counters represent boxes of treasure to be dragged off the table. 


The British Egyptian colonial force. They took to the table quickly eager to find and secure the Hardwig expedition and eradicate any threats. 


The Bandits of Rabeh Zubair deployed from the flank. Dias is shown here with two porters. His aim was to take pictures of the British aggressively attacking. We treated the photography as a missile attack needed 7+. 


The men of Scotland Yard arrived in a dramatic fashion and in disguise. 


Here are the bobbies of the Yard in mufti. Once combat was joined their wigs would fall off and their poor burnt cork blackening would be revealed. 


Other bandits crept between the ruins eager to set up a firing position to snipe the British. 


These bandits quickly engaged. The British proved only too willing attempting to overwhelm this attack with their superior numbers. 


The bandits relied on the Arabic superhero - Al Hurun - whose cutlass whirled about him cutting soldiers down. 


Dias tried again and again for a picture. 


The other Belgian agent - Klinck - approached with his camera and porters too. These swift natives were ready to run once an incriminating negative was secured. 


Here too, alas, a photo was not forthcoming. 


The Yard were now revealed and pounced on the British forces, not to kill but to subdue. This would prevent an international incident. 


Major Savage, British commander was beset by the Consulting Detective and Watson. His men fell quickly but his servant, Boy, held on with grit and determination. 


The Bandit leader, Kibonge, wielded his spear with deadly effect. 


Al Hurun continued to swing his sabre but was beginning to tire. Savage repeatedly threw men toward the Arabic superhero. 


Hardwig's men seemed paralysed for much of the game until a sudden burst of enthusiasm drove them from behind the hill they cowered behind. By this time the Bandit leader, Rabeh Zubair, has charged recklessly and did battle with a lone askari - who somehow managed to fend of the blows of his enormous curved blade. 


In a display of insurmountable courage - Boy (who has just smashed his only weapon - a decanter of scotch - over Watson's head without effect) - then used his drinks tray in a improvised fashion. He struck down Dr Watson to the delight of his master - Savage. (And resounding cheers from all players!) 


Bandits battled askari. The hero - O'Connell - proved a dangerous opponent once more with both pistols and fists. 


Dias lined up yet another attempted photo. 


Battle raged across the table as four companies engaged in bitter melee. 


At last! Dias secured a picture. But two of the Yard's finest were in pursuit. 


O'Connell safeguards the Egyptian artefacts but none are securely taken from the table. 


The posthumous hero of the hour - Boy. For his fortitude and exceptional bravery his was awarded the highest accolade for a man of colour - the Tin Watermelon. (I can't remember who won our other player award for best in game heroics - the Iron Turban. This can only be won by a figure with poor pluck, few weapons and no skills.) 


Dias urges on his porter to run for the table edge with the precious negative plate. The next game would see the British trying to secure this before it leaves the Dark continent. 


No doubt the men of the Yard will be playing a key role. Although Watson will have a ringing headache and a large indent in his forehead from a silver drinks platter.