Sunday, May 30, 2021

Quick Rules Review "At The Height Of Battle"

Just a quick review of the "At The Height Of Battle" rules by David Manley I recently received. This is my first time with the author's rules, but he's put out a lot of naval rules so the review may or may not sound familiar with those who've used his rules before. I was told of these rules a few months before they were released by a gaming buddy of mine (who's played a lot of Manley's rules before). As I've had a keen interest in the Imjin War, I went ahead and placed my name on the pre-order list. Matt at MT Miniatures (who retails the rules) was very good to keep me (and others on the list) updated with the release dates, etc. I got my set within a couple of weeks once it was released. The rule book, ships and gaming aids were all nicely packaged in a cardboard box (pictured below on the left - with nice cover art).

I did a cursory read of the rules, and most of the basic rules are contained within the first 15 or so pages. All of it written in simple and easy to understand language - with nice illustrations here and there. The remaining pages include, which I believe, are optional/advanced rules such as coastal fortifications and troops on shore. These additions should greatly enhance a game once I get familiar with the basic rules. Finally, there are some sections on historical information on the Imjin War and description of ships used during the period. Table of contents below.
From the quick read I've done so far, the rules seem very straightforward and easy to follow. The sequence of play is via Turns consisting of 6 Action Phases (3 per side). The Phases are controlled by a deck of 6 cards (3 per side). Each Phase has two parts: a Command Phase which takes care of incidental stuff like removing damage markers and morale from earlier phases; and an Action Phase which is the usual move, shoot and combat (boarding actions) phases of many other game systems. The completion of the 6 Phases by both sides ends the Turn. The fleets sizes are recommended to be divided into squadrons of up to 10 vessels each. The vessels within each squadron are subject to the usual distance modifiers for command, etc. There are rules for wind and current that affect movement, as well as those for shallows and beaching. Movement itself is in inches for the 1/1200th scale ships included in the starter set. However, the author understands different scales could be used - and distances can be modified accordingly.
Above are sample pages which show the nice full-color artwork.
The Quick Play Sheet and gaming aids come fully laminated - you just have to cut them apart (carefully so as not to separate the lamination - as cautioned).
The basic set of ships relating to the Imjin War that come with the starter set: 1 each Geobukseon "Turtle Ship" and Oataka Bune - these would be the command ships for either side; 6 Panoksoen (Korean "ships of the line"); and 3 each Ataka Bune and Seki Bune for the Japanese . MT Miniatures sells the separate packs of additional ships - and intends to offer Chinese vessels in the future as well. The ships are all nicely detailed and cleanly cast.

Anyway, just wanted to give a quick review of the rules and you can find more information on the MT Miniatures site. Thanks for dropping by and wishing you all the best!

Friday, May 28, 2021

Mail Box Surprise

I usually only get junk mail and bills, but today, I was pleasantly surprised to find two packages stuffed into my mail box. One package was the MT Miniatures "At the Height of Battle" starter set I ordered last month (I was actually on the pre-order list). As you may see, it comes with some very detailed ships, as well as a bunch of laminated gaming aids/cards - and a pair of dice too. 

The other package is a Perry order which I only place a week and a half ago. I wasn't expecting it to arrive so soon, seeing how the last order took almost a month to arrive (again, no fault by the Perrys - just slow postal time). The order includes some FFL for the Western Desert Campaign (sutiable opponents for the Ramcke fallshirmjager), and some Russian Hussars to add to the earlier painted plastic guys with lances.
Just a quick post to keep the blog "alive" and to motivate me to work on these two new projects. Best regards to you all!

Friday, May 21, 2021

Perry Tank Commanders and Sd.Kfz. 7 Crew

These are some of the figures from the recent Perry order. Wanted some figures to crew some existing vehicles. Two figures in the Corgi 1:50th Sd.Kfz. 7 are from another maker - who I can't recall. The two are molded as one piece and they're seated in the last row, driver's side. Most of the figures are painted up for the Western Desert Campaign, but I used one of the German TC's for the KV-1 Beutepanzer.

The Sd.Kfz. 7 has markings for a Waffen SS unit and the camo is more European Theater, but wanted to include it in my DAK force. It may someday haul an 88mm flak gun.
Just a quick blog post of a simple project, but I like having vehicles with crews, particularly TC's popping out of their hatch. Since the figures are half-bodied or seated, the painting was quick and given the Minwax stain treatment. Below is how they looked after the staining. After spraying with matte, I only gave the flesh parts a wash of Vallejo Skin Wash and highlighted.
I actually just placed another Perry order - some FFL to oppose the Ramcke Fallshirmjaeger. We'll see how long this order takes to arrive. Again, the Perrys are quick on their end, but the rest of the delivery is dependent upon the postal system. Thanks again for dropping by and wishing you all the best.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Pike & Shotte Pre-Battle Roll Call

As with the earlier posts inventorying units for Hail Caesar games which I hope to host in the not-too-distant future, here's one for a Pike & Shotte game. Granted not too many units, but as I've yet to play my first game with these rules, probably best not having too many units anyway. These are all ECW troops, including some Scots Covenanters. Probably doing something based loosely on Marston Moor where the Scots were present and also Prince Rupert and his Blue Coats - another unit I have. Again, the troops are packed together tighter than in an actual game to allow for better photos. Also, terrain is lacking and would be added for a real game.

Royalist army at the top of the photo and Parliamentarians and Scots at the bottom of the photo.
Another view from the Parliamentarian side facing the Royalists.
The Royalist army with King Charles in the center with his entourage. The army consists of 4 small Commanded Shot armed with firelocks; two regiments each of a pike block and 2 wings of shot (one regiment being Prince Rupert's Blue Coats); a unit of Horse with sword and pistols; a unit of Cuirassiers with sword and pistols; a demi culverin and a mortar.
Royalist right with 2 units of Commanded Shot with firelocks screening a regiment of pike and shot; a mortar in the rear along with a unit of Cuirassiers.
The Royalist left with Prince Rupert's 2 Red Coated units of Commanded Shot with firelocks; his Blue Coated regiment of pike and shot; a demi culverin flanking; in the rear Prince Rupert's unit of Horse.
King Charles taking the spot of Army General in the army's center.
The Parliamentarians and Scots Covenanters army.
Scots Covenanters on the left wing - a Sniper; a Frame Gun and a 9 pounder Falcon; a regiment of pike and shot; a unit of Horse with sword and pistols.
The Parliamentarian army general - no one in particular at the moment; possibly Sir Thomas "Black Tom" Fairfax.
The Parliamentarian right; 2 units of Command Shot with firelocks; a regiment of pike and shot; a unit of Horse with swords and pistols.

Again, not a whole lot of units, but enough for a trial game of the rules, I think. Thanks again for stopping by the blog and hope you enjoy looking around. Best wishes to you all as always.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Battle of Argos - Another Hail Caesar Pre-Game Checklist

Yet another roll call of sorts in preparation of hosting games again this summer. This one is based upon the Battle of Argos, where Pyrrhus met his end with the assistance of a roof tile dropped on his head by the worried mother of an opponent. Most of the figures here have already been pictured in the two earlier posts; the exception are the two Spartan Hoplite units on the side of the allied Argive-Spartan-Macedonian army.
The allied army facing Pyrrhus with his elephants and pike phalanxes. Both sides have Gallic/Celt mercenaries.
The actual battle was fought inside the city of Argos; Pyrrhus having been secretly allowed in. He was killed within the walls of the city when one of his elephants was killed and blocked the gateway out.
The allied battle line from their right: 1 unit each of Gallic medium cavalry and Greek light cavalry - both with javelins; 2 large Spartan Hoplite phalanx heavy infantry.
The allied battle line from their left: 1 unit of Greek light cavalry with javelins; 2 units of Gallic light infantry slingers screening 2 units of Gallic/Celtic mercenary warband medium infantry with swords and javelins; 1 unit of Argive Hoplite phalanx heavy infantry.
The Pyrrhic army battle line from their right: Companion heavy cavalry with spears; 3 units of Epirote pike phalanx heavy infantry with 2 elephants interspersed between them; light infantry archers screening.
The left of the Pyrrhic army battle line: Gallic Mercenary medium cavalry with javelins; 2 units of Gallic/Celtic Mercenary light infantry slingers; 2 units of Gallic Mercenary warband medium infantry with spears and javelins; 1 unit of Greek Mercenary Hoplite phalanx heavy infantry.

The allied Argive-Spartan-Macedonian army arrayed.
The Pyrrhic army arrayed. In retrospect, I might give the Mercenary Hoplite unit to the allied army, and only keep the 3 pike phalanxes and 2 Gallic Mercenary warbands for the Pyrrhic infantry.
I may end up following the historical scenario by having less units fighting inside of the city - but this will require suitable terrain like small houses, etc. A lot of work, but would be interesting, I think.

Anyway, thanks again for allowing me to indulge myself with these "pre-game" setup photos. One thing I realize is I could use a few more command stands. Thanks again for checking out the blog and best to you all.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Hail Britannia - A Hail Caesar Roll Call

Following the previous post, I figured I'd array the forces for an EIR vs. Ancient Britons game - again using Hail Caesar for rules. As I mentioned earlier, I've not played any wargames for over a year, and more than a little rusty with the rules and troop assessments. As the Celts were already on the table for the Invasion of Macedonian set up, I went ahead and pulled out the EIR figures which have never tasted battle as of yet. No specific battle, but would be either during or soon after Boudica's Revolt. Again, the troops are pretty much massed in battle line for the sake of fitting into the camera lens easier. In an actual game, there would be more terrain and varied positioning of troops.

The Roman's figure count and unit sizes are on the smaller size, but will give them stats to match the larger-sized Celtic units.
The EIR army battle line. I used the same units/troops for the Celts in the previous post, so left them out here.
From left to right above: 4 units of light infantry Auxiliary archers screening; 2 units of Praetorian medium cavalry with spears/javelins; 2 units of Legionary heavy infantry with pila; 2 small units of Praetorian veteran heavy infantry with pila; behind them 2 units of Auxiliary medium infantry with spears; 2 units of Legionary heavy infantry with pila; 2 units of Auxiliary medium cavalry with spears/javelin.
The right of the Roman battle line.
The center of the Roman battle line.
The Roman left. I made the standard size for Roman infantry 12, and 4 for cavalry.

Since our governor recently announced our state will be back to "normal" in June, figured I'll be hosting games again this summer so wanting to take stock with the figures I have on hand. Although I'll likely be capping the player count to 4 (2 per side). I usually go with 6 (3 per side); and may up the count later on if all goes well.

Thanks again for checking out the blog and wishing you all the best.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Celtic Invasion of Macedonia - Hail Caesar Setup

Here are some photos of a setup for a hypothetical battle between invading Celts and Macedonians. Hypothetical in that the Macedonians are led by Pyrrhus and not Ptolemy Ceraunus or Sosthenes. Historically, Pyrrhus was still having a great time in Italy and Sicily during this invasion. However, didn't want to give the Celts too easy a time as they did with Ptolemy Ceraunus or outnumbering the troops Sosthenes had. The photos are a bit dark as I took them at night, and the flash only helped out a little.

As it appears we may be getting back to normal soon here in Washington State, figured I had better refresh myself with the rules for Hail Caesar, Black Powder and Bolt Action. Part of this setup is to inventory and familiarize myself with the units. I also wanted to see how they'd be grouped into divisions.

For an actual game, I'll add a bit more terrain and the units won't be so bunched up. It's easier to get them into the picture this way.
Looking forward to hosting this Hail Caesar game in the not too distant future - probably in the summer.
Below is the Macedonian-Epirote army. From left to right: Companion heavy cavalry; Hypaspist elite heavy infantry; behind the Hypaspists, 2 units of Samnite Warband light infantry; a light artillery bolt thrower; Mercenary Hoplite phalanx heavy infantry; 3 Macedonian-Epirote Pike phalanxes heavy infantry; interspersed with 2 Elephants - with Light Infantry archers screening them; another Mercenary Hoplite phalanx heavy infantry; behind the Mercenary Hoplites, 2 units of Light Cavalry armed with javelins.
Next, the Celtic army; left to right: 4 units of Light Infantry skirmishers with slings screening main body; 6 units of Warband armed with swords and javelins - 2 of these units are nobles in army and classed as heavy infantry; 2 units of medium cavalry armed with javelins; in the rear, 4 units of Light Chariots.
ADDENDUM: (some closer-up shots of the units)
Macedonian right: Companion heavy cavalry; Hypaspist elite heavy infantry and 2 units of Samnite warband light infantry.
Macedonian center: Mercenary Hoplite heavy infantry phalanx; Macedonian pike phalanx heavy infantry and elephant - screened by light infantry archers. Army general (Pyrrhus with standards in the center).
Macedonian center, continued: Epirote elite pike phalanx heavy infantry with elephants on either side and light infantry archers screening.
Macedonian left: Macedonian pike phalanx heavy infantry and Mercenary Hoplite phalanx heavy infantry. 2 units of light cavalry with javelins in the rear. Division general is an "actual" Pyrrhus figure by Relic Minis 
Celt left: 2 units of Noble heavy cavalry with javelins and swords; unit of light infantry slingers screening a unit of Warband medium infantry and a unit of Noble Warband heavy infantry - both with swords and javelins. Chariot squadrons in the rear.
Celt center: 2 more units of light infantry slingers screening 2 Warband medium infantry with swords and javelins. Army general Bolgius to the right with raised shield. Boudica's great, great, great aunt Hazel commanding the center. Chariot squadrons (total of 4 with 2 chariots per) in the rear.
Celt right: Warband medium infantry and Noble Warband heavy infantry, screened by light infantry slingers; chariots to the rear.

I think I have enough units for a 4-player (2 per side) game. Probably going to hold off on larger groups for awhile. On another note, my Perry finally arrived a day ago - no fault to the Perry's as the shipping label shows they mailed it out on April 13th. Their website does say "within a month" for orders being sent to the USA. I was just spoiled from my earlier orders which arrived within 2 weeks. Thanks again for dropping by and wishing you all the best.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Amati 120mm ECW Pikeman

Added highlights after the Minwax staining; I like the way the stain defines the details before going over with washes and highlighting.

Next to a stand of Warlord Games 28mm pikemen below.
Used a 12" bamboo skewer for the pike - the pike head and butt spike came with the kit.
I'm likely not going to add a wooden base below the one with the figure as the pike makes it hard to fit in the display case already.
This was a fun kit to paint up and seeing it going for under $15 USD on ebay made it hard to resist.
As I liked the finish on the armor left by the Minwax stain, I masked those areas before spraying the figure with a matte finish.
Just a quick diversion while awaiting the arrival of Perry figures. Thanks for stopping by and wishing you all the best!