Saturday, 8 December 2018

Going Viking Campaign Ideas

25mm Fight Club. PAPS. Petains against Plastic Soldiery.  "You have to be in it to win it, but only with pre 1980 style metal 25s"  The slogan needs work.

Some ideas to mull with your festive wine...

We use 4 players each of whom represents a Viking leader and follows the Longships during the campaign season, from the Viking homelands to raid, and if successful to then battle and attempt to conquer.  It is very much centred on the Vikings, and their attacks. They get their own little ship counter!

The original campaign map

I will add two more Viking tracks to the campaign map to facilitate this.  The top track will be the Isles, allowing the Celtic Fringe to come into play, then the Norse, two Danes and the Frisians.  

Each player also represents one of the 4 remaining Saxon Kingdoms in the "Inland" positions.

East Anglia

Each player also has an interest in one of the outlying nations if or when these are raided.


OK so I will fess up that I have a plan to recruit the Carolingian army...  I will do some suitable looking cavalry and front rankers, and we pool any cavalry, fyrd or bondi units to make up the rest of the army. Cavalry need far fewer figures and they offer another dimension.  

The bottom track will have an option to attack Pepin the Fat and his Carolingian Franks. They are more dangerous than the Saxons, but are richer!  They can pay three Danegeld. Normandy is however the prize.

The Irish are bog poor, and have no ability to pay Danegeld, but will rise in rebellion year on year. Pretty place but...

The Scots are similar to the Irish, but the country is big, with mountains, and it's relatively empty so it takes ages to get anywhere.

The Welsh live up on hillsides and are impossible to conquer.  They won't pay any Danegeld, but do have good church Loot for raids.

Vikings who win their raid may opt to take their Loot home, or may stay around to offer battle. "End" on the map represents that battle option.  Winning captures the Kingdom, unless the Vikings are paid off.  

A Saxon King can pay Danegeld after losing a battle to allow his country respite, sending the winning Vikings home.  (Wessex, the richest, can pay twice) This makes those Saxons a bigger target for a second attack, where the Vikings may conquer the country. Even then the Saxons may not be out of the game, since a Royal Prince may have escaped, or may just appear 12 months later, to lead a rebellion to drive the Vikings out. (Or other Vikings attack you)

Viking Players successfully navigate stages from Outwards, The Sea, England, Inland (or the name of a Kingdom) Raid,  End.  Players get 5 turns before the natives are forewarned and it all starts to get a bit difficult.  Stages are passed by opposed dice rolls, from a dice pool of 10D6.  Players must roll 4, 5 or 6 to pass 1 point on a stage (and one stage has 6 points!) But may rest the oars to recoup D6 dice.   Even if the stage is passed the risks must then be rolled.  (any passage with an R incurs a risk roll)

1.  Rough Seas, lose a base overboard.  2-3 Fighting at sea.  Risk a base head to head. Save as per shooting hits.  4-5 Blow Wind Blow, no effect.  6  Odin’s favour add 2 more d6 to your ready pile.
I prefer 13th Warrior Quotes… ‘No boy, this is no night to be close to land!’

When a Longship reaches a Raid square a raid game is played against that enemy.  Reaching the End square gives the battle game.

The A3 map

Won't look so cluttered when I've done with it.  Still a work in progress.

I'm going to do a Michael Benteen Potty time board, for tracking a Campaign season.  If you remember my textured painting canvas you will get the idea.  Counters will be Longship models mounted on pins to allow it to be used vertically.

A3 canvas
Layer of cork for sea
2nd layer of cork as land
White cliffs, chalk white horse
Cut out the river channels
3rd layer hills
Paint layer
Clump foliage woods
Mini piles of gold for Danegeld on pins
The locations and arrows from the rules.
1/3000 longships
1/6000 Model villages, palisades, churches.
15mm named Saxons or other Royal leaders.
A multiplayer day by day track that allows each players movement to be tracked, with a monk counter writing the Anglo Saxon Chronicle moving along the track.  This uses stages  (the S dice) as weeks.  This allows some players to get ahead of others.

It took me a while to get my head around the fact that it's the other Vikings you are competing against rather than the Saxons.

Top track...
Isles Start, 3S+R, Onwards, 1S, the Sea, 3S, splits Scotland/Ireland, 3S, splits Wales/Raid, Ireland Wales Raid, Scotland End, Ireland/Wales End.
Bottom track splits from Onwards to have an option to attack the Carolingian Franks.

Ideas for the Multiplayer game.

In many battles of the period two leaders would confront a pair of leaders on the other side.  Ashdown, Brunanburh, Clontarf, Nissa, Fulford Gate, Stamford Bridge (many others are available) It could be the King and a Prince, or a pair of veteran Ealdormen.

Two options.

1.  The army is divided between the controlling player, 3 main units, and a non interested party, 2 main units.
2.  Seven main units are used, divided 4/3 and the table is extended two hexes at each side.  An allied general is used.
3.  Double armies are used.  This may need some fudging of figures and widening of the table.
4.  2 tables 2 games?

My suggestion is that we do an initial campaign year to see if it works.  If I get my 15mm going perhaps as an email game.  I'll finish the map pretty quickly...

Friday, 7 December 2018

Multiplayer game: A Night in the Queen's Head.

I inflicted my En Gardé "Bishop's War" on Durham Wargames group...  Something a little different...

The Bishops's Guard cleaned up, with Lee doing his usual amount of killing.

Quilp and his Smuggler's/Pirates were almost wiped out, Whitemoore and his men ravaged the Inn, before joining in with the customers drinking.

Rathbone and his men finally realised that the Priest had hidden in the barn, and rescued him, but only after having kicked a pig, and the potboy away from the Inn door.

We all admired Rathbone's moral rectitude in spurning the advances of a pair of shady ladies...

Meanwhile Sir Toby Belch sampled Doll Tearsheet's charms and then proceeded to stagger around the table, before looting a jeweled crucifix and making for the Inn to get drunk.

Not a typical wargame, but pretty much an ordinary evening out in Durham.

The Fat Knight confronts the Bishop's
Witchfinder over an upturned table...

Jim the keg boy at the Inn door

A brawl in the street outside.  Captain Lee
Kills around half a dozen men.

The Inn Patrons hold on, getting progressively more drunk, as Mistress Quickly's pig escapes up the alley

The bemused "is that a pig inside the Inn" question betrayed the fact that some members of the group have never been on a night out in a Durham pub.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

25mm Dark Ages

The first rule of 25mm fight club.  Don't talk about...

OK,  so the Marshal Petain Gentleman's club have a nostalgic and historic link to 25mm figures.
Some would say unhealthy.

The 2016 Dux Bellorum game, using Minifigs, Irregular and sundry other archaic ranges bears this out.  Some of those figures were older than one of the players!

...And I strictly mean 25mm by the way, none of your giant 32mm giant guys purporting to be the true scale!

We were discussing rules when the club secretary made a fateful suggestion... again.  He does this sort of thing to us.  25mm Dark Ages.  He  has Saxons, the President has Danes, and I have an ace up my sleeve!

To qualify for entry to the project I dug out some venerable 25mm types.  I'm quite pleased with them.

Bases are 40mm plastic squares, the origins of which are shrouded in a mystery wrapped in a puzzle, dipped in an Americano.

It's high time Ubba Half-Arsed, a Frisian, got onto a base and left his windswept island.  I reckon he has about 6 months to get set for it.  If the project goes ahead, and that's a big if for one of our plans, I will paint up Ubba's five crews, and maybe get some Welsh or Irish into play.

The Jarl Ubba  and his House Guard


I need 24 figures for my boat crew, almost enough for twice that here.

More Huscarles

40mm square basing.  They would probably fit on 30mm! 

With some archers.  Better get the shipyard going too!

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Sengoku Jidai

This week saw us wheel out another old favourite. As all the regular tables at the club were already booked we were left with the small table in the library. Hence, I needed something that would work on a small table with multiple players. As Peter Pig games are usually designed for a 5 by 3 foot playing area something from this stable seemed ideal. Therefore, I blew the dust off my Samurai collection and put on a game using Peter Pig's 'Battles in the Age of War'.
Shockingly it seems that, although I bought these when they were first released in 2008, we have only had a couple of games so far. A pity really as they do give a really good game; essentially I think we're just spoilt for choice these days.
The rules are actually based on the Bloody Barons game engine, the Peter Pig Wars of the Roses rules, and we have played that game rather a lot.
On the day we mustered 6 players. Four of us had played quite a lot of Bloody Barons in the past and two players were completely new to the game. Although really designed as a 2 player game, we have found that Bloody Barons plays really well with up to three per side, with each player taking a battle or ward. The Samurai version also divides each side into three, this time termed clans, but also adds an overall commander. Thus I suspect the game would easily handle up to four players per side.
The concept of the overall commander, or Daimyo, is one I really like and adds much period flavour. For the most part the Daimyo does not take an active part in the battle but commands from a screened enclosure, the maku, by sending out messengers from his elite  messenger corps, the tsukai-ban. I have two of these screened enclosures, representing the headquarters of my Tokugawa and Takeda armies.
Takeda Shingen. Figures Peter Pig, Two Dragons and Naismith. Maku by Peter Pig

Tokugawa Ieyasu. Figures Two Dragons and Peter Pig. Maku curtains and platform Museum Miniatures

For the game, we dispensed with the pre-game and ignored the deployment restrictions; partly to accommodate the narrow table and partly for speed. 

The armies deploy. Takeda on the left, Tokugawa on the right.

Unfortunately, I became so engrossed in the game that I forgot to take many photos and I only recall the events on the Takeda right flank where I was commanding.

Tokugawa Left Flank

Tokugawa advance

Opposing Takeda mounted samurai

Takeda Charge

Takeda mounted Samurai make a breakthrough

The action far far away - the Takeda left flank

We ran out of time in the end, which with new players and a large game was only to be expected really. However, the game was very well received and all the players picked up the game mechanisms really quickly. The consensus seemed to be that everyone would happily play again, so I take that as a win. Let's hope it's not another 10 years before we play again!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Multiplayer Game: Mistress Quickly's Olde Sack

On my return to Durham from Cyprus in a couple of weeks time I'm planning to play some 54mm multiplayer games of En Gardé.  My figures are for the Bishop's War, early 17th Century.  Weapons are  swords, firelocks and one very nasty blunderbuss.

I will run through the rules with the Players, who will be given: 
  • A simple QR sheet that is pretty much unnecessary after you have played a couple of turns
  • A detailed index card for the characters in your trained band, explaining their actions and abilities... as well as individual character weaknesses.
  • Drawing Minor Objectives for victory Points, as well as Loot. 
  • Explain the Scenario and assign warbands.
  • I will control the Inn patrons, objectives and any plot points.  
  • Depending on the Number of players I can have up to six trained bands but that can be reduced down if necessary

Once again the Queen's Head Inn is the focus for trouble in the Prince Bishopric.  It is 1634.  Thomas Moreton, Bishop of Durham, employs the Bishops Guard to keep the peace in the Prince Bishopric and along the border.  They are tasked to defend against robbers, Smugglers, Scotchmen, fanatic Puritan Preachers and treasonous Catholic Aristocrats.

A Catholic Priest has been seen in the County.  It is suspected that he is hiding in the Queen's Head Inn on the Durham Road.  At the same time smugglers are delivering barrels of Olde Sack to the Inn.

The game is set for up to six players but this number can easily be reduced by combining forces.

There are four trigger areas on the map for random events specific to this scenario.

The Scenario

Two sides will attempt to take control of the Priest, all sides want that Old Sack.  

• Forces: All sides are of equal points value.
• Terrain:  For this scenario the Catholic Priest is located inside the Inn.  
• Weather: Not inside the Inn, but outside dice for rain as per rules. No slow match can be lit or kept lit in rain, outside the Inn. 
• Time of Day: Afternoon
• Deployment: Edge deployments.

Both sides are attempting to take control of the objective.object. To count as having control, a model must be in base-to-base 
contact with the priest or brandy, not be Engaged and to have subdued him/hoisted it.  
If one side controls the objective at the end of the game (or has been able to remove it from the board), it gains an additional 5 Victory Points.

The game lasts for 12 turns.

Triggering Random Events within 12"

Roll D6.  5 or 6 to trigger an event
Doll Tearsheet the prostitute and her latest client run from the location heading for the Inn.
The Fat Knight emerges from the location still in the process of  relieving his bladder
The jakes
The Ancient Pistol emerges without his pants or hose.
The West Copse
Mistress Quickly`s prize sow bursts from the location charging for the nearest group
The South Copse
Jim the Keg boy emerges from the location with a suspicious air about him.  Just what is in that keg anyway?
The barn
Bubbles McGurk attempts to lure one of the nearest group into the location, price 1 shilling.

Aims and Objectives

Inside the Inn: The Fat Knight is in the tavern with his cronies.  He wants to rob any travelers he meets, but he is a mighty coward and only attacks on his terms.
The Knight and his henchman "The Ancient Pistol," are drinking with Father Dick Emery, a Catholic Priest, who is also the Scarecrow, a smuggler.  Mistress Quickly, Doll Tearsheet, Bubbles McGurk and Jim the keg boy. (Jim is employed to randomly carry kegs around the Inn)
The Priest will move to the Priest hole to hide if strangers enter the Inn.

The West Road:  The Duelist and Swordsman Basil of Rathbone starts on the West Road.  He wants revenge on Captain Lee for the death of his brother.  He is going to the Queen's Head.  Rathbone is a Catholic and has been asked to protect the priest!
Rathbone's men are Fang, Snare, and Feeble. (Note that Soloman Whitemoore has an ancient grudge against Feeble, who he claims is the actual devil) 

The Durham Road: The Bishops Guard begin on the Durham Road.  They have heard that the Queen's Head is the source of smuggling in the area, Captain Lee of the Guards, with Kinsky his henchman, Lieutenant Cushing, Corporal Nym, and the swordsman Bardolph.  Accompanying them are the Puritan Solomon Whitemoore, the Bishop's Witchfinder, with his man Tipple.  Whitemoore is hunting Catholics!

The Sunderland Road: Starting on the Sunderland Road is Captain Quilp, the Pirate and Smuggler, with his crew Fenton, Vile, Perkins and Snare.  Quilp has three barrels of Olde Sack he must deliver to the Inn.  

The North Road: 
Sir Oliver Crumble, MP, Master Stanley Lorrel and the Army of Parliament.  Sir Oliver has armed his men well, and intends to seek out the smuggling gang to buy their brandy or take it by force.

Rathbone (4)  Rapier and Pistol.  
Justice Shallow  (3) Rapier and dagger
Vile  (3)  Longsword and buff coat
Feeble  (2) rapier
Fang     (1) sword
Snare   (1) sword
Dick     (1) Matchlock
Travers  (1) Matchlock

Captain Quilp (3) Pistol and rapier, mounted
Sir Huge, the Fat Knight (3)  Pistol and rapier 
Ancient Pistol (2) two pistols
Solomon Whitemoore, Puritan  (4)  Pistol and rapier 
Bardolph  (2) Longsword and dagger
Nym    (2)  Rapier
Fenton (1)  Matchlock 
Perkins (1)  Matchlock 

Captain Lee (4) Longsword (Command, Duelist)
Lieutenant Cushing (3) Pistol and rapier  (Command, Duelist)
Kinsky the Hunchback (2) (Agile)

Father Dick Emery, a Catholic Priest (1)
Mistress Quickly, (1) (Beguiling)
Doll Tearsheet, 
Bubbles McGurk (1) Dagger (Backstabber)
Jim the keg boy. (0)

Plot points
1.  The monologue of a villain
2.  The purloined letter
3.  The Lady's ring
4.  A well known dagger
5.  The curse of a dying man
6.  A purse full of silver
7.  A Catholic crucifix
8.  A riddling poem by John Milton
9.  The token of a lover
10. But I know this man!
11. My brothers will avenge me
12. "This is Treason!"

Purses of the wounded and slain  D6 shillings
Loot from the surroundings in this scenario.  D6 plot points.

If this game runs through quickly a follow up game will be Save the Priest/Burn the Priest where Our Heroes have to save poor Father Dick Emery from Public execution outside the Queen's Head.  

Action off the Roche Bonne 27th May 1794

HMS Satyr has been shadowing a Squadron of French two deckers westwards from the Basque Roads.

27th May 1794
3 bells in the Morning Watch

Masthead view HMS Satyr
A wind change during the night Captain.  Mr Blair was on watch and you were not woken and informed.  Nor was Mr Pipesmoker or the Master.  Clegg gives you an "I told you so" look.   The First Officer is visibly annoyed with the young Lieutenant. 

The wind has come around to blow from the North East.  It has dropped to strength 4 (God Bless Admiral Beaufort)  The French Squadron have accordingly eluded you. 

Worse, dawn has revealed a large French Frigate bearing down on you.   Pipesmoker goes aloft himself and reports that she is a 36, "Audacieux"  or one of that class I believe Sir.   6 NM distant, coming on with all plain sail.  Pipesmoker also hails "She's run out sir, the cheeky beggar is keen."

HMS Satyr orders

Clear for action. Reduce sail to battle sail. Mr Clegg be so good as to set a course to bring us in at point blank range on her starboard side. We will give her a broadside and then cut across her stern and rake her.
Mr Pipesmoker will take charge of the gunnery. We will hold fire until at point blank. Double shot the guns if you please Mr Pipesmoker!
Lt Sheridan, I want your sharpshooters in the rigging. Have the rest of your men ready to sweep the enemy deck as I mean to bring us in close. If we have any swivel guns available use those as well. Target the quarter deck and wheel if you will.
We will close fast to save our rigging but I do not want to be drawn into trading broadsides. 
Mr Blair you will assist me on the quarterdeck. If we survive I mean to have words!

Ships Log

Satyr reduces to battle sail and runs out,
Audacieux also reduces to battle sail, but this is not done in the ordinary sloppy French fashion.  This ship has a seasoned crew, and has not been stuck in port during the Revolution.  It`s part of the French Caribbean Squadron, one of the food convoy escort.  

Satyr and Audacieux pass, Satyr's fire is into the hull, causing significant damage with the first broadside (three hull boxes two crew and three guns.  Why is Satyr shooting so low?)
The French fire has the unfortunate effect of removing the third Officer, although witnesses swear Lieutenant  Blair  ran below...
There is some spar damage on the main and mizzen.

The two ships circle, but a well timed jibe across the wind allows Satyr a shot into the French bow.  More damage to the French but it`s better timed and this time the French lose spars.

Another cross and the Frenchman's pumps have to work as he loses two more hull boxes leaving only two.  The French hull is cracking.  Dickie Attenborough Ships Gunner, is firing low!

A view of Satyr as she knocks sails down on the Frenchman.  The return fire kills Lieutenant Cameron   The ships Sailing master reports water in the bilges and has the pumps crewed.

But the Frenchman is done.  Audacieux begins to settle but does not strike.  Captain Quilp orders another broadside into her.   

With wreckage and men in the water Audacieux sinks by the stern, having broken open her hull.   Satyr has her pumps going and the First Officer wants to fother a sail over the hull damage.  "If we try to sail her she will ship water and settle Sir," the Master explains.   He seems a little upset that you broke his ship, and he did try to warm you about Blair...

Marked off the wrong sails boxes!
A costly victory.   A sea anchor is deployed and repairs begun.  24 hours!
(but we know that a French Squadron is around here somewhere, you may not have those hours)
The French Captain is fished out of the water and hands over his sword, don't know how he swam with it (You may return it if you are feeling honourable, but it's a nice one)

Lieutenant Blair has been confined to quarters by the First Lieutenant who found him hiding on the Orlop in a state of distress.
Preserved Parker is muttering about damage to his galley "which it is broken."  HMS Satyr is battered.
If its any consolation HMS Nymphe is in a far worse state!