Google+ Followers

Monday, 21 November 2016

Better Late Than Never

About 7 years ago there was a flurry of excitement among C19th Wargamers as the Carlist War hove into view in the form of some excellent figures from the Perry Brothers and a first class supporting book from Conrad Cairns.

In my time, I’ve thrilled at the sight of the Rias of Galicia, poured Cider libations in Asturias and delighted in the Basque country but it was all 28mm and so it passed me by.  Until now that is.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed QRF had produced some 15mm figures for the First Carlist War.  I enquired about the new range and Chas told me

 “We intend to have the Cristino command – and flank Companies, in production within a fortnight.  These will be followed by Carlist infantry.  The intention is to have a range similar to the old 28mm rang that we used to make some years ago, so we will be doing French and British Legions, plus cavalry and artillery and possibly the Portuguese too.”

As a 15mm gamer you could not ask for more and I know from experience QRF always deliver so no fear of half completed armies. I ordered some figures and you can see some of them here.

I also bought the Cairns book from the Perry’s-great service and a fair price. The book is just what’s needed for anyone coming new to the period.

I also had a poke about the Bits Box and assembled enough figures (Black Hat) to make up three Cristino battalions.  You can see one of Cazadores here.

Finally, I ordered some British from ERM for the Irish Brigade of the British Auxiliary Legion. You can see one unit of them here.

The flags shown are all from Steve at who kindly makes them freely available.

All in all, a good start I think.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Next Play Test

As you know I was happy with the last play test of At the Ends of Empire but I feel the need to try the mechanisms further before I’m fully satisfied.

The next play test will be another away game for the Romans this time against Sasanian Persia.  Getting a grip on how Persian armies worked is a bit tricky as academic opinion varies and changes.  Some things seem clear enough we are certainly talking about major missilery and lots of armour, more in fact than the Romans, nor were the Persians afraid of close fighting.  They also had elephants which the Romans loathed. 

To this we can add large numbers of very agile horse archers recruited from the nomad population of the Persian Empire.

The Persian cavalry had the edge on their Roman counterparts until the latter adopted the Hunnic bow and up armoured.

The Roman infantry was good and seems to have thought nothing of attacking the Persian cavalry.  The Persians had some good infantry but mostly they were not fit to stand up to the Legions in a close fight.

I’m inclined to think this should be a big battle with lots of troops on the table.  More soon.

Monday, 7 November 2016


The purpose of a play test is to see how things work or don’t, as the case might be.  So how did it go?

Most pleasing for me was that the Drungus and Chariot rules worked, the latter less spectacularly than I might have wished, but it seamlessly delivered both a missile platform and battle taxi.  

The Drungus showed its strength, and the reasons for its longevity, when an unarmoured unit of Roman cavalry sent twice its number of Pict spear men reeling back at no loss to itself.  It showed its weakness when the same cavalry got emmeshed in a second group of Pict spearmen and lost half its fighting strength.

The Legions did what they were supposed to do and routed everyone in front of them-but they were trained and armoured and fighting unarmoured part timers.

Unarmoured Roman close fighters didn’t do as well but could still take on greater numbers and if not prevail at least hold their own.  The artillery wasn't ready but it will be there next time.

Archery worked but unarmoured archers were vulnerable to both Missilery and Melee.
Armour and luck allowed the Roman cavalry survive against twice their number of equally well motivated and skilled but unarmoured, and in dice terms unlucky, Drungus using Pict noble cavalry. I’m comfortable with that level of combat uncertainty.

The Picts won in terms of holding the field and achieving their own pre-declared battle objectives but they lost two units and had the Romans not ran out of steam (Army Morale Points) would have lost more.  

The terrain fought for the Picts as it should for any competent defending force.

Leaders had to work to keep their troops fighting and surprisingly none of them were killed.

The Romans did not lose a single unit but might have lost the Army had they continued beyond their last Army Morale Point.  As it was, a despatch home might have said something like “I Remain in the field having inflicted losses on the enemy”.

I’m happy with At the Ends of Empire so far, but the true test will be a much bigger expedition into Persia against a very different enemy.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

End Moves

To continue with the Picts where we left off.

Card 3 Lull- no action. Card 4 Melee- Casno’s spear men wreak havoc among the embattled Roman cavalry causing shock and heavy losses before they can get out of contact. Fighting continues in Pict Centre with no clear advantage.
Card 5 Missilery- the Pict archers shoot at the retiring cavalry to no effect but the Roman archers receive sufficient casualties to drive them out of the line of battle leaving them in shock. The charioteers hurl javelins at the agile Roman cavalry who escape harm. The Pict cavalry have more success driving their opponents back with loss.
Card 5 Army Morale- no action. Card 6 Group Move- The Pict cavalry renew their assault the charioteers dismounting to fight at close quarters but the Romans grimly hang on.

Army Dice: Rome 2 v Pict 4. Two cards in play.
PictsCard 1 Command- an attempt to rally the routing Pict war band fails. Card 2 MissileryPict shooting causes the retiring Roman archers to move out of bow shot.

RomeCard 1 Melee- the Romans play their last Tactical Advantage Card and their cavalry drive back the Pict cavalry and turn on the charioteers, in the centre the melee continues. Card 2 Artillery- no action as it is not with the army.  

Army DiceRome 12 v Picts 4. 

Eight cards in play. RomeCard 1 Group Move- the Legions roll high and even and hit the flank of the Pict Centre inflicting losses and driving their opponents out of position.  

Card 2 Command- The Romans have half of their units near to breaking point and need to rally and recover unit integrityFalco begins and rallies his cavalry losses at the cost of 2 Army Morale Points. Another Roman cavalry unit is rallied at a cost of 2 Army Morale Points.  Card 3 Army Morale- no action. Card 4 Missilery- no targets. The Romans have no cards left unturned so both sides reshuffle their decks and a new turn begins.

Army DiceRome 9 v Picts 8.  Rome: One card in play. Card 1 Group Move. The Roman Centre advances, the archers shoot to no avail, one unit slaughters the Pict archers but the other is badly beaten by the High King’s warriors losing the last 2 remaining Roman Army Morale Points.  The Army must now disengage. 

Monday, 31 October 2016

Part 5 - Hand to Hand

The Romans get to turn 8 Cards and in order to maximise their chances will spend Army Morale Points where ever possible to inflict maximum damage on the more numerous Picts.  Doing so is a gamble but the commanders think it is their best hope of victory.

Roman: Card 1 Move- Poor dice for the Roman Centre and cavalry, there is not enough movement to reach the enemy so they remain in position. Marco rolls high and even, his cavalry forms Drungus and storms uphill into Casno’s fresh war band but comes unstuck and is held in melee.

Card 3 – LullCard 4 Army Morale – no action. Card 5- Manoeuvre- no action. 

Card 6 Move- This is what the Roman General has been waiting for.  Falco’s troops rush the Pict centre but one Roman unit is driven back by archery. The other makes contact but is held by the Picts who enjoy the advantage of numbers and ground, Falco’s archers shoot into the Picts Shocking them.

The Legions roll high and even and turn to face and then assault the two Pict War bands that form the link between the Pict Centre and their flanking cavalry.  They throw their spears before contact routing one unit and driving the other into the safety of the forest.
The Roman cavalry roll low and don’t move.  Card 7- Manoeuvre, no action.  Card 8 Command – Falco rallies his unit.

PictsCard 1-LullCard 2 Move. The Pict cavalry rolls high and even and envelops their Roman counterparts. The melee begins with missilery with both sides playing Tactical Advantage Cards and Army Morale Points for Specialist shooting. The Romans are outnumbered two to one and suffer the most losses but manage to drive back one of the Pict units.  The other Pict commanders roll low and cannot usefully move. The Picts have six cards left to play.  

More soon.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Part 4 – The Crisis of Battle

Picts: Card 1- Missilery No targets, Card 2 Melee-no contact, Card 3 Move The remaining Pict cavalry move out to form Drungus. Card 4 Melee-no contact. Card 5 Command, Casno fails to rally of the Unit Integrity losses from his warriors. Card 6 Manourvre -no action. Card 7 Lull- no action.

Army Dice: Rome 10 v Pict 5. Five Cards in play.

Rome: Card 1- Missilery. The Romans pay 1 Army Morale Point for Specialist shooting against the Centre Pict Warriors causing them to become shocked. Card 2 LullCard 3 Missilery. The Romans pay 1 Army Morale Point for Specialist shooting against the shocked Pict Warriors causing them to retire out of range.  Card 4 Manourvre- no action. Card 5 Command- no action.

Army Dice: Rome 10 v Pict 5. Five Cards in play.

Rome: Card 1- Missilery. The Romans pay 1 Army Morale Point for Specialist shooting against the Centre Pict Warriors causing them to become shocked. Card 2 LullCard 3 Missilery. The Romans pay 1 Army Morale Point for Specialist shooting against the shocked Pict Warriors causing them to retire out of range.  Card 4 Manoeuvre- no action. Card 5 Command- no action.

Picts: Card 1 Command. Casno finally fully rallies his battered war band paying 1 Army Morale Point. The High King rallies his shocked men and leads them back into the battle line. Card 2 Manoeuvre. On the other flank the Picts align themselves with the legions open flank. Card 3 Amy Morale – no action. Card 4 Move. The Pict cavalry out flanks their Roman equivalents and the archers move into range. Card 5 Manoeuvre- no action.

Army Dice: Rome 10 v Picts 2. Eight Cards in play.

The Romans now have all their forces in position and having seen the totality of the Pict army are about to launch a ferocious offensive.  The Picts have made the best of the terrain and their numbers and if they can hold the Romans they might win. This is the crisis of the battle.

More tomorrow and thank you for reading.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Part 3

Army Dice Roll Romans 7 v Picts 1.  Six Cards in play. Romans: Card 1- Manoeuvre-no action. Card 2- Command, archers rallied but the lost Unit Integrity remains. Card 3 Melee- no contact. Card 4 Artillery reload- no artillery. 

Card 5 Group Move, the cavalry, winning on even, form Drungus and move out to mark their Pict opponents. Card 6 - Army Morale- no action.

Picts: Card 1- Lull- no action. Card 2- Move-Casno moves his weary warriors out of the front line into the woods and brings forward another unit. The Pict archers retreat behind their spear men.  The High King moves to the Pict centre. The Pict cavalry form Drungus and the chariots appear. Card 3 Melee-no contact. 

Card 5-Missilery reload, the archers reload. Card 6- Command, Casno fails to rally off lost Unit Integrity from his battered war band.

Army Dice roll Romans 11 v Picts 4.  Seven Cards in play.  RomansCard 1- Lull-no action, Card-2 Army Morale-no action. Card 3- Melee-no contact. 

Card 4- Move, The Roman flank cavalry roll low and so choose not to move. The Roman Centre crosses the boggy ground. The Legions roll high and even, changing formation and moving to secure the open flank. Card 5 - Melee- no contact. Card-6 Command- Some of the archers lost unit integrity is recovered. 

More next week and thanks for reading.