Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hail Caesar Playtest - The Sack of Troy VII

I finally got to playtest a Hail Caesar game using troops I specifically wanted to use with these rules. Thanks to Pat Lowinger and Mike Butcher - two hardcore WAB types, the game went off quite smoothly and enjoyably. Mike has been working on Fort Lewis for a few weeks while supporting the annual ROTC camp. He actually drove out here all the way from Wisconsin! It's been tough on him since the government is only paying him enough money to eat chow in the mess hall!  Anyway, on to the game - Mike has never played Hail Caesar before and Pat has played it before but always tries to include rules from all the other game he's played. Still, I had a great time GMing the game with these two seasoned gamers. Here are a few shots I managed to snap as I was living up to the Iliad and partaking of wine. In fact, I only started to take pictures midway through the game when Pat reminded me about it.
The rules are close enough to Black Powder for familiarity, but there are many nuances to make them different. For one, shooting isn't as big a deal as it is in Black Powder. Supporting units for Hand to Hand Combat are very important in Hail Caesar. In fact, even small units of skirmishers made significant impact on some rounds of combat as supports. As with Black Powder, the flow of the game is not only fast, but very smooth. We called the game after enough troops had been broken off the table. I think it was a Greek victory, but I'm not really too sure. Anyway, here are the two generals, Pat on the left who ran the Trojans and Mike on the right who ran the Greeks.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Trojan War Set Up - Using Hail Caesar

Well, I hope this game gets off the ground tomorrow - my buddy Pat wants to try out his Ancient naval rules he so diligently drafted this past week; after the game I hosted last Friday. Incidentally, I couldn't make today's Truants game due to some other commitments. I did however manage to set up the table for the Trojan War game. It's a basic set up with Greeks and Trojans, each with three "divisions" of various types of units facing off each other over an open plain.
I plan to use very basic stats for the several types of units - formed infantry, archer skirmishers, javelin skirmishers and chariotry. Only the Myrmidons have a special rule - "Tough Fighters" as well as being "Stubborn." I added the 6 Dendra guys for the heck of it as a Tiny unit too - I may give them some special armor save though. Here are some shots of the divisions and units.
Again, this will only be a playtest to feel out the rules. Once I feel comfortable with them, I'll likely come up with a more interesting scenario. Maye one where different allies can join in after so many turns, or if a certain unit is broken. Something along the lines of Memnon and his Ethiopians (or Cissians, according to some sources), and Penthesilea and her Amazons coming on later in the game if Hector or enough Trojans are killed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rounding Out Ancient Armies/Units

Added another unit to a WAB Campanian army - bringing the points up to 3,000. It is a small unit of 12 Warriors with light armor, large shield and throwing spear. This is actually a previously painted unit that I was going to use as Veterans in a Carthaginian army. Along with the unit are standards for the two Hoplite and Aetolian peltast units, as well as the Army Standard.
Next are the command figures to finish up the Hittite, Sherdan and Philistine units for Hail Caesar. The figures were given to me by fellow-TMPer Cheriton - who also traded me a bunch of Foundry Napoleonics earlier in the year. He answered my TMP trade request for some Biblical command figures. The Sherdan guy is a Black Tree Design figure and the Philistine leader and musician are Newline. The two figures in scale coats are unidentified figures. I added different legs to them to add height - the figures the legs came from are also unidentified. The head of one of them is from another BTD Sherdan with the disk on the helmet removed. The axe-wielding arm is also from an unidentified figure.
Here are the two mishmashed figures prior to painting.
Although the BTD guy is a bit larger than the Old Glory figures, and the Newline a little smaller, they look okay in the units as command figures.
I should be able to host a Hail Caesar playtest soon. On the home front, my oldest boy flies out for Air Force basic training tomorrow morning. He just graduated from high school with honors (including Presidential Scholar) a couple of weeks ago. After basic, he will immediately begin his technical school (what the Air Force calls their advanced individual training) - he is due to graduate that course end of March 2013. He will have a two week break during Christmas - will we surely miss him until we see him again.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Front Rank Red Lancers - Ready to Charge Home!

Finally got the motivation to finish these guys - and glad I did. Here they are on some beautiful Hotz Works mats.
Eric sent me a bunch of these mats to sample and I am proud to post them here on my blog. The are truly nice pieces and as with all of his works, of the highest quality.
Oh, and the Front Rank guys are also top-notch. I am happy to say that they are a pleasure to paint as the details are not only excellent, but have the painter's brush in mind.
The lances are brass rod with hammered spear heads. The pennons are made from a basic design found on the internet and printed out on plain bond paper - I did add some highlights to them though. The eagle is from a spare Old Glory 2nd Edition guy.
The horses were sprayed with Krylon Brown Boots - which I found at the local Walmart. It works perfect for a base coat color for horses. I will be using it a lot in the future.
This what they looked like prior to a stain of Minwax Tudor Satin. I gave them a finish of Testors Dullcote when dried. No other highlighting was added. Of course, the musician's horse was given a base coat of white.
Without a doubt, using the Krylon Brown Boots spray and Minwax stain is the fastest, and easiest way to get horses done. BTW, the Imperial Eagles on the horse blankets were painted for effect, rather than accuracy.

Truants 2012 First Game - Ancient Naval Gaming

We kicked off the third season of Truants with an Ancient Naval game today at The Game Matrix. Having just received the excellent 1.5" hexed mat from Hotz Works, I figured it was time to get my 1/1200th Ancient fleets bloodied. I chose a free set of rules called Diodochi for the inaugural event. These rules are amongst the many listed on the Hotz Roman Seas site. I have Roman Seas too, but figured for fleet action with multiple squadrons, Diodochi may work a little better (read simpler and faster-playing). With some, or maybe a lot, of great suggested tweaks/improvements, Diodochi was agreed upon by the experienced Truants as a decent set to work with. There were 9 players with me GMing (or pretending to be). Each of the players ran about an 8-ship squadron. Everyone started out with their squadrons in Line Abreast - the best way for attacking.
 I even got to use some of my Roman Seas (1/300th scale) markers.
Even a gigantic Grapple marker that Al just had to use!
It was a very close game with the red fleet narrowly beating the blue. The rules include missile fire, combat with ram, raking, grappling and boarding rules. I intend to run this at conventions and similar venues where no prior-rules experience being needed.
All of the gamers, except for one, have years of experience with many sets of rules, including naval, so this was a great play test which I received a lot of great feedback and suggested improvements. Stay tuned for more Friday Truants' gaming posts. Disclaimer: I stole all of the photos off of Adrian's Facebook.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

WAB Campanian Army

Using existing units, I came up with a 2,800 point WAB Campanian army. It looks pretty potent on paper - for instance the Oscan Horse have WS 4 and can take several types of allies including Pyrrhic forces.
In the photo above, starting from the right flank - first row: Pyrrhic Guards as Light Infantry with thrusting spear and javelins, Aetolian Peltasts and Cretan archers; second row: two units of Hoplites in phalanx formation with thrusting spear and large shield, and a unit of Warriors (Light Infantry) with javelins; last rank: Oscan Horse with light armor, shield and javelins, Army Standard (still needing an appropriate one), Army General, and another unit of Oscan Horse, this time with light armor, shield and thrusting spear.

This unit of Oscan Horse was converted from A&A Macedonian Companion Cavalry. Added some shields and swapped their xyston with thrusting spears. All the shields are plastics from a Wargames Factory Numidian Light Infantry box - they are attached using tack putty and can be removed without damaging the paint on the figure. The standard is also from the Numidian set; LBMS transfers are added to to the shields - luckily I had just enough left over from past projects. The Army General is the Pyrrhus figure by Relic.
Here is what the A&A guys looked like in Macedonian wedge:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Front Rank Red Lancers - WIP +1

Here they are sprayed with Dullcote and some highlights added. One of the things I've started to do after using Dullcote is dry-brushing the metallic colored areas afterwards. This seems to liven the metallic up again; otherwise those areas seem very dull and muted. I need to make bases for the horses before I start painting them.
The trumpeter is painted in a variation of the normal colors - the czapka is usually portrayed as white, but I have it in red; the trumpet banner is sometimes shown as dark blue - like the facings, but I also read somewhere that it could be red.

Tomorrow, I plan to playtest the Delos Ancient Naval rules - that is, after my oldest son's high school graduation ceremony. This will be the second high school graduation ceremony I'll have attended; the first one was several decades ago - my own, which I have no recollection of.

Speaking of Ancient naval stuff, I went ahead and finished the three CinC merchant ships:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hotz Mats

The Hotz mats I ordered just about a week ago have arrived! Thanks for the quick shipment Eric!

Here is one that will be used for a set of home grown rules that Bruce M. of Company B came up with. Actually, the rules are for his "Bots" game using robots, but can easily be adapted for gladiators. This is the larger (23.5 X 23.5") Sand Brown version that is bit richer in color than in the flash-washed photo.
This is the Sea Blue-Gray mat with 1.5" hexes. The mat is 72 x 45" and should be large enough for the 60-odd 1/1200th ships I have. Plan to use it next Friday at one of our annual Truants games - this is the third year  the few of us who don't work on Fridays (at least during the summer for our educators, Kevin and Mark) meet for ad hoc gaming.
For the naval game next week, I'm thinking of trying out either Delos or Diodochi, a couple of free rulesets that are listed on the Roman Seas website. I think they may work better for the scenario - larger fleets (30-plus per side) and no player experience. Not to mention the GM, me, being quite the novice with Roman Seas.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

This Ain't Sparta...

But I picked up a nice Corinthian helmet off of ebay for $35.00 - about $50.00 total with shipping. I submitted a "Best Offer" as it has a small dent on the top right of the helmet (as you're wearing it). Looks like battle damage and adds to the flavor, I think.

Here's the little dimple damage - barely perceptible; and I plan to add a transverse crest which will disguise it even more. I'll also add some padding inside the helmet for a better fit and comfort while battling Persians and such.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Front Rank Red Lancers - WIP

Thanks to another great TMP deal I started on a unit of Red Lancers. These are excellent Front Rank sculpts - they seem to have been sculpted with the painter in mind. By that I mean it seems all the details you normally have a hard time getting to with the brush seem to be easily accessible. Here they after a very basic block paint job over a red (yes, red) undercoat, and a Minwax stain of Tudor Satin. After they are thoroughly dried and given a finish of Testors Dullcote, I'll add highlights to the red areas.
This is how they started out - spray coated with a $1.50 can of Walmart red.
With a basic block paint job - no highlights or black-lining. I pretty much just gobbed on the paint.
I should've been a little more careful painting the nicely sculpted eagles on the ammo pouches - but I was being lazy. Also, I figure the Minwax stain will help define the details.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Old Glory Biblicals - Completed

Here are six units for Hail Caesar - of course, they can also be used for other rules, but I want to give Hail Caesar a try. Five of the units actually still need a figure each; the Sherdan bag came with an extra figure - which sometimes happens with Old Glory.
Two units of Philistines:
Two units of Sherdan mercs:
Two units of Anatolian spearmen:
I also picked up some Front Rank Guard Lancers from a TMP sale.  Plan to paint them up as Dutch Lancers - might even give them a basecoat of red spray paint.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Old Glory Biblicals - WIP

Pulled a marathon and painted up the three bags of OG Biblicals today. These are the Anatolian Spearmen, Philistine and Sherden packs. Here they are freshly stained with Minwax.
They were given a very basic (if not crude) paint job prior to the staining. They are broken down into six separate units.
They'll be given a finish of Testors Dullcote once dried; plan to base them on 40mm squares - four figures per..