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Easter “Progress”

My Easter holiday ends today and thought of the mind numbing monotony of Monday to Friday are approaching. But this Easter I can’t complain about gaming time. A whole weekend at Milton Keynes and no less than three other games over the holiday period. My current average is one win every three games but who’s counting 😫. With die Kaiser preparing for a North Korean invasion, in the woods to the north of Merthyr,  it was time to concentrate on proper wargames, involving toy soldiers and not the cold….nor the dark…..nor anything uncomfortable really.

Newbie Giac was eager to see what all the fuss was about with the L’art de la guerre ruleset. A new development championed by the Barkley Vale crew is LADG 100. You get a free general and a hundred points of troops. We halved the compulsories and the maxima. It does severely limit your choices but the armies are so cute.

It is also very quick! We both had Patrician Romans. My Gothic horse struck Giac’s cataphracts and gained the upper hand. Alongside these my barbarian foot bested the degenerate legionaries of Giacs force. But, and there is always a but, on the flanks my army was in trouble.

My Huns were struck by Roman equites. Giac was intent on completing a Gladiator style assault on the rear of my barbarian foot. To add insult to injury, on the other flank Giacs horse charged into the brush and slaughtered my regular horse archers. The boy is definately learning. Suffice to say that he will never be invited back to my house😡

Now my regular reader will recognise this fellah. He’s been a bit quiet recently but he made it to Firestorm Games last Tuesday. In order to continue with my theme of financial restraint in 2017 I was looking to see if my fanatic Berbers could brave Big Don ‘s Feudal and Medieval bash in Mid May?

The answer is a sort of qualified yes. I went for the Elite spearmen and held them back. The hills and brush on the flanks was full of javelinmen and medium swordsmen. Obligingly Chris sent his Free company foot into the terrain to root them out. Meanwhile my elite spearmen managed a short advance to skewer his mounted corps. A victory for the Berbers but I’m not convinced….I may have to borrow his Swiss for Bristol.

Last but not least I played that gentlemen of the green cloth, Mike Lane. I decided against my Huns and decided to raise Central Asian City state troops to best Mike’s Persians. The idea was one that I had seen many years ago when a Saladin player at Godendag had to face the DBM super troop of the Nineties, the shooty cavalry. I raised a whole corps of bowmen. They can shoot better and further than mounted horsemen. The mounted get “impact” in the open burst I get an advantage in the first round of melee too.

Mikes troops are always a joy to behold. Two elephants and cataphracts added to my joy!

Would the Sogdian bowmen hold. Being so cheap I could also afford elite cavalry of my own.


On my right wing my heavy horse managed to avoid Mikes elephants and unhorse a number of Persian invaders. My left wing light horse were driven off in short time exposing my levies.

The city state would be paying tribute to the Sassanids I’m afraid. It’s time to invest in Khurasan miniatures Late Romans I think…..

My thanks to all my opponents. It’s the return of Flames of War next week plus more Warhammer painting from my understudy son.

Happy Monday everyone!

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Roll-call 2017 the Last Post

I now had the measure of my army. Narrowing my frontage meant my choice of a waterway. Before you go accusing me of “cheese”, regular opponent will know that defence is not my natural predisposition. A waterway and terrain for my missile troops. After just seven hours of games, I finally had a plan. Unfortunately Dave Allen had been left unplugged all night and so it was a little confused on the Sunday morning. I eventually sat down opposite a very late Byzantine force with more bloody Mongols!

The terrain was ideal, the shooty cavalry of the Byzantines would be channelised. I had enough troops to mount a stout defence. The Byzantine foot weren’t going to come into the open and my mounted Knights could match the lance armed Greeks.

Gamely, the Byzantines close in on me. Could they find a weakness?

Well, the answer was no. Most of my line was dismounted Knights. In Art de la guerre terms, they have to roll very badly to suffer from mounted archery. My crossbows had found a natural home in the shrub on the coastline. It wasn’t heroic but I was killing more units than my opponent. I survived with a draw! A gourmet meal and on to my last game, medieval Scots…

It would have been wall to wall Scots but some local rascal had stolen the army from the back of his car on the previous night. I did feel sorry for my opponent. I can’t help hoping that the thief would be disappointed with his haul of a toolbox full of figures and not tools.

My opponent had come to the same conclusion as me. A tight formation between terrain, but with heavy artillery to boot. I was wondering how to prise open the Scottish hedgehog and divided my force to avoid the cannonballs. It wasn’t to be my afternoon. I separated my corps too widely and the Scots advanced to bring the battle to me.

My poor medium infantry were torn apart and devastating flank attacks took my dismounted men at arms down. 

Post match analysis- read the bloody advert. I saw the year of the armies and mistakenly believed that I would be fighting battles of the Hundred Years’ War. The free company is a tough army but mobile cavalry are a force to be reckoned with in 15mm games. I do need to familiarise myself with the rules. Even after all these games I forget important rules like the Scottish arty being unable to move in the last game. 

I loved the venue and the atmosphere over the weekend. I’ll definately being attending next year but with more preparation perhaps? ( I know it’s doubtful)

More Easter games to follow……

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Words from on high- Madaxeman’s annual review

He sports a tan twelve months of the year, break dancer and tireless worker for the under-privileged………..but that’s enough about me, read what wargames God Tim Porter has been working on.

From “Competition Ancients in the UK – The state of play, 1 year on”
“L’Art de la Guerre
A year ago ADLG was very much the new kid on the block, with only 8 events having taken place in the first year of the ruleset appearing at UK competitions, at which 84 players featured making just 136 entries between them.
12 months on and the picture is rather different – in the last 12 months 18 separate events have been staged, with 122 players taking part making 331 entries in total – giving ADLG the largest calendar of UK events, largest active played pool and largest number of event entries of any mainstream mass-battle ancients set in the UK today. With a large international player community it is also perhaps not surprising that more overseas players have taken part in UK ADLG events (7) this year than for any other ruleset as well.
The shorter game-time of ADLG makes it especially suitable for 1-day events, with three games possible in one day and so unsurprisingly the UK ADLG calendar currently includes 8 one-day competitions, one more than those currently staged by the DBMM circuit and with only 1 ADLG round of the 5-round Northern League included in this count compared to 5 for DBMM.
25 players make up half of all competition entries – perhaps weirdly, again an identical proportion to that seen for the other two rulesets – with 60 players having only taken part in one event across the year.
The pattern of appearance of “uniques” in ADLG is more akin to that seen for FoGAM than for DBMM, with no stand-out event contributing such a significant proportion of “uniques”. This total of 60 “uniques” is still materially higher than in DBMM or FoGAM, but is not entirely unexpected given that ADLG numbers are still growing year-on-year.
The recently-held Roll Call has been the single biggest contributor with 11 new ADLG players appearing there for the first time followed by 7 at the inaugural round of the Northern League and a further 7 appearing at the only event held in Scotland in the past year, Sighn-Dubh.
Central London Wargames Club is a particular hotbed of ADLG and has hosted two 1-day events in the past 12 months and this alone could reasonably be expected to skew these figures. However out of the 122 players currently in the UK pool, only 8 are CLWC club members who’s appearance in the rankings is attributable to these two events alone. This means that CLWC’s two ADLG events are making a smaller contribution to the ADLG player pool than MKWS’ 1-day DBMM event makes to the size of the UK player pool.”
The above was shamelessly lifted from probably the best blog in the world I heartily recommend that you read the whole article. Remember this is the gentleman whose open letter to the ancient and medieval wargaming community really was a turning point in rejuvenating the competition scene. Of particular note to me was the growing number of one day tournaments. I am a great fan of these. As Tim says they are much more family friendly and still leave a part of the weekend for non-hobby “essentials”.

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Rollcall 2017- No Serb-charge! ( Surcharge!)

Whilst investigating who planted a mine against a mosque in Bosnia, my sister’s second husband made friends with the Serbs. Whilst the Muslims hated the local police and the Croats shot at Bosnaplod’s police station (British police advisors sent to bring multicultural policing to Eastern Europe😏)- it was the Serbs who ingratiated themselves to the Brits. Loyal and ferociously proud of their traditions, the Serbs have a history to be proud of. The battles of Medieval Serbia are as real to many Serbs as World War Two to the average British person. Now the charge of the Serbian Knights was not always deployed to aid Christendom. The sneaky Ottomans also wanted to use the military prowess of these elite horsemen. My response was to sit in two valleys and await my fate.

Although my opponent had chosen this terrain I was quite happy. I just had to wait to see if the two corps of Serb Knights would concentrate on either or both defending positions.

I tried to help him choose. I sent out two hobilar units to attack the Serb right. Too many battles of DBM, I’m afraid. There were too many units not to hurt and not enough units to hold up the chivalric host. It did lead to the central corps of Knights to join together for an almighty charg on my left. That meant my heavy foot in the righthand valley could carve their way through the mix of Bosnian archers and Voynuks. 

The auxiliary archers could not stand against my dismounted Knights but the central mountain was to be used by the equally famous Serbian hussars as a path to my baggage. My longbowmen saw the threat and scored hits but the missed the vital shots that would have killed the raiders.

Victory in the right hand valley but now two corps of Serbian Knights could concentrate on my inferior men at arms. The hussars looted my baggage as ten elements of Serb Knights tore through my six units. It was time to go home…

Two losses and one victory. My hotel room at Cranfield University was calling me. Tomorrow was another day.

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Roll call 2017 – From despair to where?

Game two was the Mongols, of a sort, once again but thankfully there was a less mobile infantry corps albeit armed with nasty looking two handed cutting weapons. Also, not all the Yuan Chinese horse had missiles. There was hope.

Stephane in round one had used his cavalry to sweep around and hit my medium infantry. This time I decided to be more cautious and nurse my missile troops more carefully. The terrain was still too open for comfort but this time I did have a plantation to anchor my flank.

My plan was to send my knights again down the flank and wheel around the plantation. The Chinese cavalry once again went for the week refused Free Company flank but light infantry with javelin are surprisingly tough. The light horse went into the plantation and started losing units. To the left of the plantation my mercenary crossbowmen were busy unhorsing the Yuan heavy horse too.

The advancing Chinese charged home and used tribal javelinmen to flank my line through the edge of the trees. My javelin armed skirmishers could take horsemen on in the terrain but would not fare too well against the auxiliaries.

However, on the other side of the field my knights were masters of the situation. The accompanying longbowmen disrupted the Chinese heavy horse then the charge of their Knights made short work of the corps. Two Chinese generals hit the floor and the battle turned. An expensive victory but a victory nevertheless.

The sun was shinning, pastime and chips was being served in the main hall and all was good in the world. I tried to retain my usual composure and not let the victory go to my head. The last thing I wanted was for people to realise that I don’t win very often.I moonwalked out of the gym and hugged a stranger. I think I got away with it.

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Roll Call 2017 L’art de la Guerre -the triumph and the tragedy!

It’s the start of the Easter holidays and something new is brewing. Not for us, the glamour and glitz of nightclubs and casinos. No, what better way to spend your holiday than following the international Wargames fraternity invading a primary school to the east of Milton Keynes.

Parting is such sweet sorrow…..

  That’s Easter! Witty banter, fried food and model soldiers.
My regular reader will remember that my choice for the 15mm competition was the Free Companies. This gave me a corps of heavy knights with the advantage of “impact”. The rest of the company comprised a mix of dismounted men-at-arms with either crossbowmen or longbows. It was a tough army but small. My first opponent had come all the way from Southern France to avenge the “liberation” of his country by my happy band all those years ago.

Stephane had brought the super mobile nomadic Mongols. Could I bear the ignomony of sitting in the corner whilst my steppe opponent attempted to shoot me to death. The gentle hill would not suffice to anchor my flank so I thought to advance 90 degrees and push him off the table…..

The advance onto the plain begins….

The flaw, there’s always a flaw, was that my refused corps was getting stretched. The Mongols evacuated the central rise but already my keen eyed foe was sending his minions to assault my crossbows.

A few bolts found their mark but no enough before this…….

The centre of dismounted men-at-arms would not be dented by Mongol bows. My knights were within reach of the yurts but the slaughter of my right left my plan in tatters (tartars😰😷)

Game one was lost and worse still Colin C had won in the 25s. The break would be full of dice related West Country anecdotes😔. I had the destination feeling I needed more missile troops. Not a complete disaster though…..not yet!

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War toys?

I’m not responsible! My wife wasn’t keen on my sons following their dad into the world of toy soldiers. It’s not my fault! My “father” bought “me” a train set , I hated it. My wife believes in the naughty step, I believe in shouting and threats. I’m not to blame! I cheer when the Nazi tank gets blown up in the film. I well up when the redcoats sing the Men of Harlech as the native Africans attempt to highlight issues of cultural and economic imperialism. My sons have discovered wargaming….
It may be the twenty fifth anniversary of Games Workshop’s Space Marines but I have never even played 40K. I admit to collecting the fantasy miniatures but the chapters of the Imperium were before my time. One must admire the staff of the local Warhammer store. My eldest son got an invite from his school Warhammer club to visit the store. Within an hour, both my sons had been shown how to construct and then paint their first mini. My wife looked strangely perplexed. I thought it best to suppress any smile.

With alcohol for Dad, Sunday flew by!

A weekend of glueing and cutting. My sons blocked the colours in and then washed the pre-mixed colour over the base. A drybrush of light blue and they were done. Now all I need to do is tackle the rulebook. My own experience of school wargames clubs leads me to believe that a knowledge of the rulebook is not wholly necessary but that’s true of “adult gaming too. Thanks to the much maligned evil empire of Warhammer, I now have wargaming sons. Bless you Warhammer!