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Virtus Training Daze

Sometimes it’s great to play a newbie to the hobby. With their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn, the new player can be welcomed into the magnificent world of miniature warriors. This week Chris was “playing”  and he has neither enthusiasm   nor eagerness to learn. His keen tactical awareness is of course legendary and so , for our younger viewers, our top team analyse all that’s new and dastardly in the cheesy world of competition gaming…..😆

The scene was set, two steep hills were chosen by yours truly as potential islands to hide from Chris’ Assyrian chariots. The Assyrians are proxying for the Chinese of Chris’ Virtus army. An unconventional two hundred and twelve points gives Chris a powerful wing of mounted troops that he sent out wide on the flank. I borrowed a scratch army of Macedonians and was a little perturbed to note that only one of my corps commanders was above ordinary, and only competent at that. We duly checked Chris’ dice were kosher and set to battle.

The first time I had used the so- called ” Death Star” of elephants and medium foot. Once in the rough ground I could dare Chris to attack but, he had other ideas- the “50/50”. I think my commander has been a little generous with the vino!

Place two shooting units opposite the opponent and claim that they are both shooting the same target. Cheese rating 3!

My response was to flank the Chinese light horse and they soon were taking hits. L’art de la Guerre is brilliant at creating devastating skirmisher fights. Chris brought his mounted arm forward but wouldn’t move against my elephants. My archer foot skirmishers were in range and we then spent fifteen minutes “investigating” Chris backwards movement without taking a disruption loss. It costs two command points, one loss of cohesion and a lot of puffing from the other side of the table.

Look carefully at the 1960s phalanx moving into battle? Look closer because I was commanding and decided to turn it around and head for my baseline. Chris was spending valuable points on sending light horse through marsh and forest to get to my camp. However, despite him reading my list for good twenty minutes, light horse can’t capture a camp. How he laughed…..

My Thracians in the centre spotted easy victim in the shape of levy. I couldn’t claim the advantage of fighting in the rough but a two handed cutting weapon is a great asset! Heroically Chris wheeled a heavy swordsman unit within an UD of the victims and lost another point. Despite bending his metal rods, it was still less than an UD!

By skillfully pushing his figure bases underneath the terrain piece Chris was able to motor through the forest. The Chinese skirmishers were hurting me but my Companions were coming to the rescue.

We spent a happy twelve minutes discussing if his evading skirmishers could rout through my pike block. Then Chris remembered that skirmishers could evade towards their baseline! They couldn’t and were ridden down.

Three and a half hours had passed slowly. This was my first time I had used a Macedonian army and I like it. My own painting of Bactrians is progressing but this victory looks positive. My phalanx will be smaller but I will have five or six Iranian cataphracts which would have allowed me to take the battle to the enemy to a greater degree. My thanks to my noble opponent and my thanks to the reader. Remember on entering a competitive game, ” keep calm and read the rules!”

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Godendag 2019 – 19th and 20th January, Firestorm Games.

It is my great pleasure to announce that tickets are now available for South Wales’ oldest and greatest wargames tournament. The venue is the incredible home of Welsh dicemanship, Firestorm Games, Trade Street, Cardiff. Our first release is L’art de la Guerre 300 point doubles.The full details of the L’art de la Guerre lists are below, skillfully put together by the Wargames genius, Mark Fry. Mr. Colin Cavanagh will of course be organising the draw on the day. 

Details of the other systems offered will be posted this week! We have MEG, D.B.M.,  Field of Glory ( Ancient/ Modern and Renaissance), plus for the first time at Godendag, To the Strongest.It looks to be an amazing weekend of tabletop wargaming. Book early to avoid disappointment. Prizes for painting and sportsmanship.

System One- L’art de la Guerre          

 15mm doubles event – 300 points (4 commands) – 7UD terrain pieces – max 1 Ally allowed but not compulsory

(see page 76 Big Battles for changes for 300pt armies – e.g. 1.5 times mins & max – except fortified camp)


The lists below are all broadly East of Latitude: 30° East and North of Longitude: 30° North – so mainly from the Middle East, Steppes, China and Japan. East of Constantinople – North of Cairo – West of Ashigawa.


Armies to be selected must be post 600 AD from the following army lists:



122 to 124 

126 to 132 


137 to 141

153 to 159

165 to 166

168 to 171

191 to 195

197 to 200

210 to 212

214 to 218

240 / 244 / 245 / 246 / 247 / 249 / 251 / 252 

253 to 259

263 to 266


No American armies

No Allies can be used that do not come from within the above listed armies

No Medium or Heavy Knights can be fielded

No Longbows can be fielded

Lists to by January 5th . Army Builder appreciated. Please send by email and not Messenger nor facebook😅 Competitors to bring cloth and terrain if possible.

 Mike B

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Cerignola 1503 

When  you are recreating Cannae, Agincourt or the Somme, in order to get semblance of what happened, you need an opponent who will be so obliging as to charge blindingly forward. Mr C Jackson is such a man……

However, on seeing wall to wall entrenchments on the field of battle, Mr. Jackson started whining and claiming that the game was unbalanced. Honestly, if only the battles of History were balanced. It would be yours truly who would have to step into the shoes of the Duke of Nemours and attempt to reverse fate…

All troops were based on the ever wonderful L’art de la Guerre ruleset, with the addition of arquebusers. We classed these as ” crossbows ” in game terms, replaced by firearms, with two U.D. Range and conferring a protection value of zero on everything except light foot and light horse. After discussion of using our Renaissance variant, we decided that the core, ancient and medieval rules would be worth a try. 

Order of Battle

Spanish Neopolitans

Left wing ( Pedro Navarro)

Two light horse arquebusers, three heavy guns, four Genitors light horse( impact)

Centre ( Gonzalo Fernandez de Córdoba )

Six  Spanish arquebusers, six Landskneckt pike, four sword and Buckner ( medium swordsmen)

Right ( Prospero Colonna)

Two light horse arquebusers, four Genitors, four men at arms ( heavy Knights impact)

The French

Right wing ( Duke of Nemours)

Four Gendarmes ( Heavy Knights elite and impact), six Stradiots  light horse javelin.

Centre ( Pierre du Terrail)

Eight Swiss pikemen ( elite) , two Swiss arquebus light infantry.

Rearguard ( Yves d’ Alegre)

Four French Pike (mediocre), eight light infantry with crossbows, one light horse arquebus and no artillery! The 40 French guns never made it to the battle!

As mentioned in the introduction, how do you simulate the over confidence of the French? By repeating it of course! The Duke of Nemours attacked the Spanish left. Yes, the flank covered by three Spanish cannon , ditches and embankments!

The accompanying Stadiots carved through the Genitors but the French gendarmes were suffering from the artillery from Cerignola. The Great Captain was obviously feeling nervous as a Landskneckt pike formation was moved to sure up the flank. Nemours wasn’t going to press the attack but obligingly, El Capitan promptly withdrew all his horse within the field fortifications. The lure of all those mediocre French men on the other flank was too much to resist.But, the Gascon crossbowmen were holding their own ….

As the Spanish swarmed out on their right, they could only present a narrow frontage and the French crossbowmen had a field day! Once the vanguard of the Spanish attack had been discomfited it appeared to be time for Terrail’s Switzers to attack! The entrenchments had been weakened by the Spanish move to the flank and the omens looked opportune…..

The Spanish commander realised the danger of a concerted attack by the reinvigorated Gendarmes and the menacing Swiss. Defying convention, the Spanish foot masked their artillery and clambered over their fieldworks. Lances  were broken and buckles swashed in the melee but the lightly Armoured Spanish were slaughtered!

The day went to the French. It would be the French who ended the battle with the “toque de oracion” or call to prayer. The battle had worked smoothly with minimal changes to the core ruleset. It would be the development of the Spanish infantry formations that would be problematic in extending L’art de la Guerre to past 1510.

Thanks for reading and prepare yourself for the grand release of tickets for Godendag Wargames weekender!

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L’art de la Guerre Unholy War 

They say that all is fair in love and war. A certain Mr. Hayes certainly thinks so!

Mr. Hayes deployed his effette Fatamids army around the oasis. His Ghulams watched the flank of his host, but where was his corps of Syrian lancers? The brilliant Christian commanders, myself and Chris, decided to reconnoiter with all available knights, travelling at the greatest possible speed!

Having seen that the Fatimids had a flank march, I decided to ignore it. Unwise I hear you sneer, especially so when Martin threw a six- the flank march was on its way! Once my sub-commander realised he wasn’t facing the Syrian lancers, he became bolder. The only way I thought Chris and I might “cooperate” was to have three uncontrollable corps. But, Chris’ pilgrims were quite sedate.

Instead of evading when my elite Knights came within range, the Ghulams stood and shot. All sixes along the line gave the holy warriors something to think about! The charge, when it came, resulted in more losses. All sixes again, from five units? Even I became suspicious!

How we laughed as Hayes described it as bad luck. How we groaned as Hayes refused to pass the dice over. How the infidel squealed as the dice was forceably removed from his clutching fingers. How red did Chris go when the dice was from his dice box!

As a solicitor was called, Martin’s lancers began the long awaited flank attack. Without their magnificent dice gift from Allah, the Christians were through the opponents to their front and out the other side. The brave Frankish knight commander held off the Syrians as the rest of his command headed for the camp. With luck going the Christian way, for a change, the heretics were reeling.

The Fatamids tried to regroup around their artillery park but the medium foot were no match for the Christian Knights. Once again the knightly host were through the defences before the Syrian lancers could attack their vulnerable rear.

Above- the brave Sir Baldwin acts as rearguard!

It was a little perturbing to see a small group of onlookers giving Martin Hayes a good kicking. I shouted to see if help were needed, but the assailants said that five was probably enough. A red faced Chris Jackson left shortly after……..

Post-script- fired up by our middle Eastern frolics, I ‘m off to the printers to get our campaign map run off. The idea is to use the simple and much loved Risk mechanism to generate tabletop games. Keep an eye on next week’s instalments.

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Wargames painting – I can see clearly now!

Historians have written about the great turning points of history. The development of grass- seed in Mesopotamia , the three field system, the steam engine , all these maybe described as ‘transformational!’ But, were they really? Can they really compare with the revolutionary potential of L.E.D. Modellers’ magnifying lenses?

They may not look much, but for a mere fifteen pounds, your world will be changed. Although they do carry a certain fashion baggage, do we care? Although  an impulse purchase my acute fashion awareness prevented me from initially investing. I was reminded of the dad character in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, hunched over the kitchen table looking like a 1950s Sci-fi film extra!

But, it was horror rather than elation to begin with. My ageing eye sight had failed me. With the 3.5 magnification, every little slip up is …….erm…..magnified. The faces were my greatest area of weakness. In this respect my old 15mm minis looked a lot better than the newer 28s. Using a black undercoat is problematic because when you look at it under magnification, it appears streaky. I looked at my professionally painted minis and the answer seams to be, more layers. And so the weekend past, in a mixture of elation and frustration.

The elation came from correcting mistakes but I warn you, it is time consuming. Pete Gregory mentioned on Facebook that you don’t really look at minis this close but I had made some real errors in my myopic , pre – glasses state. The uniforms stood up to examination quite well but I would have to check the last ten years output….

By working through the night and not talking to my family I was able to correct the most recent and start on my Napoleonics. One unwelcome discovery was how poor my brushed are. A good number were relegated to the stirer pile or broken in frustration. 

I would heartily recommend this Barkmann product. This particular one comes with five different lenses and has a built in LED light. It makes a world of difference and I for one won’t be painting without it from now on.

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For whom the bell tolls…..

After about a week of holidays I was ready for a break. I had gone on family outings, visited the inlaws, taken the kids out but still something was lacking. The wargamer of course has to feed his addiction or else end up like Gene Hackmann going cold turkey in French Connection Two. I do sometimes show an interest in more politically correct topics but these are rare and usually end in “awkward” scenes. We visited the majestic Llantony Abbey in the Black Mountains. Here, the soul searcher can seek solace amongst the most picturesque ruins…..

The boys and I sought out the Stone of Vengeance on the trail to Tretower. Hidden amongst the bracken our Welsh compatriots ambushed a Norman Lord who had upset the locals. My youngest reenacted the deadly bow fire by throwing sheep dropping at a passing Duke of Edingburgh Award Scheme group. This will one day be an interesting  scenario for SAGA perhaps, the Welsh Dark Age ambush rather than the irate teenagers evading the cascade of pellets.

On returning to the campsite, I thought I might teach them more of Dad’s bushcraft but all they learnt was a few more swear words. Has anyone ever started a fire with a twirling stick? I used a box of firelighters and two flares to get the furnace going. Our sightseeing also included Hereford and its gem of a museum that I had not visited for nearly forty years, and it hasn’t changed much.

I did try and show an interest in smocks and milk pails but there was ‘proper stuff’ to look at. Roman and Saxon finds are well represented, with a range of interesting artefacts. There are Saxon spearheads, the seal of Owen Glyndwr and weaponry from the Civil War.

It was a gem of a place to visit. They had moved with the times, there were child- friendly exhibits but that did not detract from the experience of simply being in a place where you could simply stand in wonder. My favourite was the Marden Bell, forever linked to King Ethelbert, murdered by Offa ( who was after his wife) and held, if the legends are to be believed, by a pond dwelling mermaid! Now try and find those stories on your Twitterfeed!

Of course, after I gave my two boys a synopsis of Dark Age Mercia, son number one hit son number two with a milking stool and I thought it time to leave the treasure trove. The longer the holiday lasted, the more I realised that boredom is indeed boring and travel really does broaden the mind. Nowhere is this more evident than in our annual place of pilgrimage, Portsmouth.

I love this city. Southsea beach has everything for me. As the family longingly gaze at the hovercraft and fair, I can be found alongside the memorials and museums with eyes glistening. Son number two was again to be found re-enacting the Relief of Dehli by the time I had finished my patriotic ramblings- again with stones but this time against visitors who may well have been relatives of the Mutineers at a guess.

It must be because boredom is so unbearable that the mind compensates. After hours in amongst the arcade games I was ready for tales of Nelson and daring do on the high seas. The Naval dockyards are fantastic and also are home to an amazing militaria dealership. The curators are so knowledgeable and approachable. As a family we were entertained by the stories of the ship’s surgeon and the armourer. Done well, living history can bring so much to an understanding of in this case H.M.S. warrior. Obviously I was in tears by the time I reached the place of Nelson’s demise. By then however, son number two was eyeing up the cannonballs and I thought it best to beat a retreat.

The holidays are now over of course. We did have one final visit to Ogmore Castle but by now the whole family was getting restless even before I claimed that we were related to the twelve Norman knights who conquered Glamorganshire. I have also claimed previously that we are related to the Count of Flanders, the Norman Duke of Boulogne and of course the leper King of Jerusalem. I think I’d better moderate my claims for our surname before they start doubting?

So, there you are, I admit it. Modern people may not survive life without their internet connections. I can’t stand to be amongst the mundane and those places without a history, and usually a violent , exciting history at that. I do think that a few hours spent completely away from the world of work can have a most positive effect and let’s be not too ashamed if our interest is in the great tales from a rich history. Who cares if my holiday pictures from Mallorca are somewhat….erm…specialised!

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L’art de la Guerre Renaissance

As we wait for the official Renaissance supplement from our favourite rules author, the Tercio continue with our stop gap set

The play testing so far has been set in the English civil war and is due for version 1.1 ASAP. Colin Evans is currently bringing his computer like mind to the task of compiling a larger, more ambitious set which will be published here too. Our game this week was the biggest so far and necessitated leaving our usual source of DBA lists. Martin and Chris were today’s play testers but are both slow readers so could not read the three page ruleset in the two weeks before this battle. Martin chose the Imperialist army from the Second Polish Swedish war , just before its conclusion in 1632. An exciting area of combat with some new and exotic troop types.

The Catholic Germans included;

Three ordinary generals, fifteen Pistols ( ordinary), four pike units, eight musket units, a regimental gun and an artillery piece. 

This was the first time we experimented with “units”. The pike and musket regiments had to stay within three UDs of each other. The other option is covered by the Baroque ruleset and early leaks of the ADLG Renaissance set, I.e. A single large multi unit base. See what you think? Should muskets stay within three UDs of the parent pikes?

Chris “lead” the Polish Lithuanian Rzeczpospolita

Three ordinary general’s, five Hussars ( Lancers fast), four Polish Armoured Cossacks ( heavy cavalry), three Polish unarmoured Cossacks ( lighthorse with carbines), six Haiduks ( shock shot), three Registered Cossacks ( shock shot), two elite Livonian Curassiers and two artillery units.

Martin and Chris followed the usual ADLG set up rules. Chris shielded his Cossack corps behind a low ridge on his right. He set up his cannon in the centre to the right of a long line of Haiduks and their ferocious looking axe rests.

Martin’s Imperialists positioned  just a single battery of cannons to hold his left. His pike and shot units filled most of his frontage, with massed heavy cavalry in the woodlands.

The musketeers and artillery units can shot in both turns so casualties usually accrue quite quickly. At Martins suggestion we experimented with downgrading mounted carbine fire to minus one. Chris’ Poles were already advancing across the whole length of the plain.

Martin had to wheel one of his German foot regiments to face the encircling Cossacks. Having supporting lay downgraded his fire, Martin also suggested that his deep formation Pistols should not get rear support. The mounted carbine fire did score a number of telling hits on the Hussars.
In the following combat, more Hussars were lost but their victories benefitted from “ferocious charge” and tore gaps in the Imperialist horse. Martin’s rear  ranks could not move due to poor manouvre rolls. Chris brought up his second line of Armoured horse and the line held.

The Livonian Curassiers carved into the Imperialist infantry regiment to the side of the cavalry melee. But, it was in the centre that the German foot was outclassed by the fearsome Haiduks. We classed the Haiduks as “shock” infantry so a winning score added to their opponents disorder. The more conventionally armed Germans could not hold. On the other side of the field, the Cossacks were running rings around their foes.

The imperialists conceded defeat as their cannons were taken by the Cossack raiders. It had been a close game and we need to consider the following additions to the rules;

1. Do the units of pike and shot need to stay close together. My inclination is not as the Polish foot are not so constrained. Plus, our definition of a unit is one that is capable of independent action.

2. Pistols should be two UD range. Carbines are minus one for shooting.

3. Pistols should indeed gain a support from a rear unit!

4.Furious charge works for horse and foot, Hussars and Haiduks.

5. We need to work on point costs

As always, thoughts and ideas are most welcome. Thanks for reading!