Tuesday 29 November 2011

Lead Spend - or - Analysis is Fun

So I was wondering whether I had received all the stuff I thought I had bought (or could remember buying), and started noting when and who and how much..  which then lead to to me thinking - some analysis might work here..  
Who Got my Money?
When did they Get It?
And what Game was it For?

Scary stuff! But less than I spent last year. Maybe I need a breather to get some of this stuff painted, and maybe I should do a correlation chart showing what games I actually get played..

Monday 28 November 2011

Cold War Redux

Ok, I admit it, I am a child of the Cold War, CND badges, Greenham Common, nuclear armageddon and admiring the EE Lightning on full afterburner take-off at RAF Leuchars..  Whooheeee .. yeah! You know what I am talking about.. 

So when I saw a pre-order on Amazon, for the extension of FoF for the Cold War: 'Cold War Gone Hot', a mere nine quid plus postage.. well..  It arrived today... because real men use SLR, and drive Chieftains.

I also see that the third mission (omitted from the book) is now online at the Cold War Hot Hot Blogspot.. so get on over there sharpish and treat yourself to some 70's and 80's goodness, when men wore bad moustaches and the German plains were a giant exercise ground.

Also in the mail today.. enough lovverly QRF WWI Highlander figures to do a desert force for HiTT - including Rolls Royce Armoured Car, 18 lb artillery, and some Vickers HMG. At some stage I am going to have to find the figures to do opponents..

Wednesday 23 November 2011

A Wargames Tart

I have realised that I am essentially a wargames tart...  I flit from one project to the other.

I think this sunk in this week, when I bid on another Johnny Lightning M1A1 Desert Storm Abrams for my AK47/Ambush Alley/FoF force, received notification that my eBay Langton's bid had been accepted and was leading, was asked how the DBMM Ayyubid Army painting was going, agreed to buy some 1/1000 Houston's Ironclads/Pre-Dreadnoughts, and a package arrived containing the LBMS 28 mm Viking Shield Transfers and a package from Foundry with their Street Violence Thugs special offer pack and British Colonials arrived at work. Last week was a Brigade Games Frontier Force, SAGA Rules and Essex later Renaissance Army...  

Other people have added counts to their Blogs with miniatures totals purchased vs painted - I would be much too scared. Maybe a New Year's Resolution?

Monday 21 November 2011

Game 6 Ayyubids IV/20 vs Early Russian

At last another Cavalry army, surely I should be able to beat the Early Russians? Stephen Hopkins and I have been playing each other since the early days of DBM, and so we are old foes. The main difference between the two armies is that the Russians have one knight and two spear elements.

This game didn't see much tactical subtlety - big long line of knight, cavalry and light horse (Russian) meets big long line of cavalry with bow supports (Ayyubid) - an early success in shooting - (much helped by Stephen rolling pathetically low for PIPS, and needing to respond to my LH probes) saw me knock over the knight, so now I had six cavalry versus four cavalry and two light horse..  too easy thinks I.  On the other wing my two light horse were successfully distracting a cavalryman and forcing Stephen to spend PIPS to support him with two psiloi. Over the course of the game, the light horse kept falling back before the cavalry who was often at 3-2 or 2-2.

On my right though, it was downhill all the way for me. A 6-1 on my general's wingman opened a gap, which I ran out of PIPS to fill, the cavalry on my right could not kill the light horse facing it, despite several attempts at 3-1 (Stephen stubbornly refused to roll low enough) - finally, we had both picked away till we were three elements down, but I had bow being advanced on by spear, and the future was looking grim..  

As the game had taken some time, we now had a few observers and I decided to please the grandstand, and go for the win by engineering two combats - in one, I would have a 2-2 with no recoil for Stephen, in the other I would have a 3-3 between our two generals with neither of us able to recoil. 

A win in both would win me the game, a win in the general combat would win me the game, a loss in the general combat and a win in the other would tie..   It seemed like the odds were in my favour..  Needless to say I then rolled 1 in the cavalry combat to be doubled at 2-2, and then another 1 cost me my general, and to add insult to injury a further nothing combat between his psiloi and my light horse and another low die roll (1) saw me lose another element...  going from 3 down to 6 with some appalling die-rolling.

Oh well. Someone had to win it, but it seemed like the extreme outliers favoured Stephen. I certainly was frustrated at my inability to beat light horse with equal numbers of cavalry, and the 6-1 in his favour certainly was opportune, but on the whole a very even game. I felt I should have won, but didn't get a breakthough anywhere early enough to finish him off before he could get his heavier foot (spear) into action.

Overall the 3 wins from 6 games probably reflects the Ayyubids inability (on the day) to finish off an opponent who has been outmanoeuvred. In the games vs Scott and Owen, I had several bounds of combat where all I needed to do was roll the same or higher than my opponent, and 8 times out of 10 it didn't come off. Against Stephen, I just needed cavalry to beat light horse, and couldn't.

I could put it down to luck, but that seems unfair to my opponents who are all strong players. I will see them on the field of battle next time.

Game 5 Ayyubids IV/20 vs CACS

Steve Vassallo was running the Kn version of Central Asian City States, with essentially a whole bunch of Kn and Bw. I didn't fancy this one much. Again I was the attacker, but Steve placed three tiny terrain pieces so we essentially got a billiard-table.

Being defender Steve deployed first and elected for a cautious interspersed deployment of basically knights then bow, then knights, then bow, and so on. I was more scared of him massing the knights in block for an all out charge and massing the bow in a very strong defence on another wing, and I thought the slow speed of the knights would mean a swift attack could be done on one part of the line in numbers before supports could come over to assist him.

So I decided I would (again) mass the mounted on my right one wing and hold back with the foot troops - after swaps, Steve ended up with about 5 Kn vs  my 6 cavalry and 2 LH, which I sent forward in a deep formation. Steve didn't bottle it, and in true knightly tradition charged forward to meet me. In a huge melee, Steve didn't kill enough before his Kn were sucked forward into multiple double overlaps and finally finished off by the LH/Cv combo.

This was an ideal game for the Ayyubids, being able to mass numbers and engage before an oppoennt could effectively redeploy. Dice were fairly even with me perhaps having a slight advantage in combat.

Game 4 Ayyubids IV/20 vs Trojans

At least I think this was game 4...   Things were getting Hazy..   anyway - Scott (Trailape) is a top bloke to play against, hard but fair, and up for a laugh. As was customary by now.. the Waterway went down.. (groan). His army was a mix of Spear and Chariot cavalry led by Hector, looking splendid in his red chariot and shining armour.

Hector on my right, this wasn't the final deployment.
This wasn't the final deployment, with Hector switching to the centre and a Blade element (more of him later) moving to support two chariots on my right.

See those blokes with the bald heads second from the left in the front rank?  Grrrrrrr.... 

I decided to mass my cavalry on my right and overwhelm the two cavalry in front of me then turn the line. Scott decided the best form of defence was attack and as I threw the column foward beside the waterway, he charged me with his two cavalry chariots - I had bow turning behind the column, and suddenly realised that the two Bw elements turning behind couldn't be pushed back and could cost me dearly!  Luckily for me, the dice gods smiled on me, (oh.. how were they to turn!) and I threw off the first assault at 2-3, then moved out to get my own overlap and got a 4-1 to take out one of his chariots.

By now I had elements pouring into the space on my right, behind and flanking the spear and blade that were left there as the second Trojan chariot succumbed. On my left I kept Hector and his other Chariot amused with Auxilia and Bw in a wood, supporting my remaining cavalry and LH that were facing off his Sp line in the centre.

I had some extraordinary luck holding the Spear off (in one bound I had 5 combats and rolled 4 x 6 and a 2..  unfortunately the two was against that pesky Blade.. and the sixes weren't enough to do damage to supported spear). I was lucky not fleeing & sticking too much, as that would allow the Spear to contact me front and flank, but in the meantime, victory was turning to disaster on my right. I managed to kill the Sp with Cv in front and side at 3-3, but the remaining Blade (remember him?) was beating off all attacks..  and then to add insult to injury, got a 6-1 to kill a cavalry in front of him.

I took a chance at a flank attack on his main spear line, which didn't come off at 3-3, and in return lost the cavalry attempting it. by this stage I was now two elements down,  Scott was three down, and all I needed to do was kill this last Blade element, which was now completely isolated and surrounded by LH and Cv. For several bounds this went on, either sticking or throwing me back, I threw a bow in behind a spear hoping to recoil it into the bowmen with my cavalry, another fail... and lost the bow..  By now it was 3 elements each.

I shot at his charioteers at 4-3.. several times, another fail, and still I couldn't kill the axemen as Hector drove his red chariot the width of the field to crash into the rear of my horsemen attacking the axemen, who again threw their opponents back, to die beneath the hooves of Hector's chariot horses.  Game over, and I had gone down.

A fun game, but one in which the dice played a disproportionate part. I was lucky to get away with surviving the first chariot charge, but after that the combat dice were not in my favour. Where I didn't need high dice, I was getting them as in the centre vs his spear, and yet time and again, needing to roll 3 or higher to get that last element I just couldn't do it. Scott's Blades should be rewarded with dancing boys, gold ornaments and some clothes.  But yet again, I was left thinking that my troops didn't have enough punch to finish an enemy off when I felt he should have been on the ropes.

Game 3 Ayyubids IV/20 vs Early Hoplite Greek

Game three and Mark Baker and his Early Hoplite Greek. A stunning looking army, and what was also lovely was that Mark had commssioned some beautiful terrain pieces that really made the board look stunning. A beautiful Vineyard for the camp, small tree groves and a suitably rocky waterway (yes.. Waterway no. 3), curse those DBA 2.2 Terrain rules!

Essentially the EHG are all Spear with 1 element of Cavalry and 1 element of Auxilia (Thracians). And Mark had little option but to extend his line and try to deny me room.
First we dance this way and force Mark to respond
I did the dancing Ayyubid trick, meanwhile eyeing off the two vulnerable parts of his army (the cav and Auxilia.. )
The Cavalry and Auxilia get isolated.
 Once I had forced him to respond, I was able to switch elements back, and Mark unluckily lost his cavalry to a bad die roll, and very rapidly the situation deteriorated for him with two split spear wings, and my cavalry free to pour through the centre. he tooks some risks to retrieve the situation which didn't come off, and it was soon game over.

With a relatively decent open area to play in, the Ayyubids did what I wanted to do with them. I was lucky in the early combat, but Mark simply did not have the mobility to respond to multiple mobile threats, and I had the PIPs to exploit when necessary. This was how I had hoped the Ayyubids would work.

Game 2 Ayyubids IV/20 vs Medieval Scandinavian

Blade gone, and the Bw about to disappear
Owen was using his Medieval Scandinavian, which the pictures will show were 10mm figures - largely undercoated black, and very difficult to distinguish visually. As he has had them for 2 years or so, I reckon it is about time he splashed some paint on them. Especially as I had basically painted the Ayyubids in 10 days.

Be that as it may, he is a very careful competitor - makes few mistakes and knows the rules very well. He also has no compunction about exploiting the rules as written. Accordingly, when I was attacker, he laid the standard waterway, and a BUA, knowing I had nothing that could take it (Auxilia being my most powerful foot element). And when I deployed away from it, he then did a defender swap to put artillery in the BUA.

I saw he had deployed with a weakness on his left, with his line broken up and only a couple of Bowmen and a Blade to cover his flank, so I immediately piled 4 cavalry and 2 LH through the narrow gap between a marsh and the Waterway, and got stuck into his isolated elements. Meanwhile I had to use PIPS to redeploy away from the Artillery in the BUA, virtually leaving me with a narrow strip of about 4 inches wide to play in.

My assault on his Bw/Bd combo supported by his Kn general was initially successful, I was able to go in vs his Bw at 3-3 (with overlaps) and rapidly took two elements, and a flanking LH ensured his Bd was gone. 

General in trouble...
Ayyubid Psiloi arrive to support

By now his General was in serious trouble, having pushed forward and in danger of being hit both flanks and rear for a 3-2 shot. What I had forgotten though, was that DBA 2.2 allows a breakoff even by the slower element (I have been playing too many other sets of rules). And he was able to break off his General and pull three more bow across from his left (he had been moving them slowly and gradually to support, having had a series of 5 and 6 for PIPS every bound), and they immediately shot down a Psiloi and two Cavalry to add to the LH I had lost to the other Bowmen in the initial assault. Game Over. I had gone from a position of being 3-1 elements up, with his General isolated and hard-flanked, and just been outrolled across the board.

I commented to Owen afterwards that to my recollection, he had not rolled a single 1 during the game, his PIPS had been exceptional, and that in the final few rounds his combat dice seemed to be all 5 & 6's. 

Not a happy game for me, it showed the worst cheesey excesses of 2.2 terrain and deployment rules. I don’t like slow-moving troops being able to break off, and my dice didn’t do me any favours. Or more accurately, Owen's dice did him a lot of favours.

Shows the area between the 5" Artillery range from the BUA and the Waterway

Game 1 Ayyubids IV/20 vs Anglo-Norman

I always end up playing Jason in DBA comps, he is a very good player and makes few mistakes. The Anglo-Normans are also a very powerful army, I wasn't looking forward to this one. As usual I forgot to take pictures, but his Anglo-Normans are also beautifully painted, so it makes for a very visually appealing game.

I was attacker, and Jason laid down a waterway to narrow the table, (the first of four games where this was the case) then he deployed a line of supported spear and Kn across the width of the table, with the cheesey shooting War Wagon on his extreme right. I decided to mask his line for the most part and try to pull his general forward into double overlaps.

Early moves saw me throw LH forward towards his WWG, and Jason was forced to use a lot of PIPS to turn his war wagon lengthways to cover his open flank, and advance the rest of his line. I threw cavalry into the front of his general and his wingman, and got a lucky kill on the wingman at 3-3, his general won the combat, (but not by enough to kill) and advanced..

Jason had to spend PIPS shoring up his line, and having pulled back my LH, I used my PIPS to put a LH into the front of his general with double overlaps.. I lost the first one I tried this with, but the second one finally killed his general and it was all over.

The manoeuvrability of the cavalry offered little advantage, but Jason was really hampered by low PIPS and having to manoeuvre to cover the threat of my LH.

Sorry - no pics of this one.

Landwaster Done

Landwaster X done & dusted, and a disappointing 3 wins from 6 games. Lessons Learned:

1. If you take a cavalry army, people will lay down a waterway every time. Some people will even put down a BUA and waterway so you only have one choice of board edge.
2. You can beat knights with cavalry, but only by mobbing them repeatedly, and they will fight off almost every attempt to kill them at evens or better when hard flanked (as will Bd).
3. Playing with miniatures is a visual experience, and it is time some people painted their army.
4. I hate 2.2 terrain rules.
5. Cv can't beat LH - or to be more precise, my Cav can't beat Stephen Hopkins' LH.
6. It doesn't matter what you roll, ort he advantages you engineer as long as your opponent keeps rolling 5 & 6's.
7. If you take 12 x 50/50 shots, don't be surprised if only one comes off.
8. PIP starvation is death to a cavalry army.

I enjoyed playing with the Ayyubids, but I think I will enjoy them more when 3 is released, terrain becomes more random, and 30" boards are legalised... 

Pics to follow...

Friday 18 November 2011

Ayyubids Finished

Finished up the Ayyubids..  a quick lacquer spray tomorrow and that's it. I should really be getting more decorative and painting on patterns and dots, and stuff...  but I have bene doing a couple of hours at least a night and I am over it..  besides which, these will form part of a whole DBMM army, and I have another 21 Cavalry elements and about 30 Light Horse elements to paint, so I want them all to be sort of consistent. Basing is the excellent Baccus Basing Kit - with some GW dry/dead grass. All up, I am pretty happy with them.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Ayyubids.. still WIP

I thought I would make myself feel better by getting the Ayyubids photographed. They are by no means complete, but much further along. There are horse harnesses and leather to complete, plus some further decorative effects but I am pretty happy with the results so far. As always I need to work on my photography, but at least I am now reasonably confident they will be finished in time for Landwaster on Sunday.

Sunday 13 November 2011

Why Credit Cards & Alcohol are a Bad Combination

It seems that while drink had been taken, I jumped online the other night...  and ordered 24 figs from Foundry, a die-cast M1A1 tank, and an Essex Later Polish Army pack...  oh well, I can add them to the Gripping Beast SAGA rules and the Brigade Models SAC Frontier Patrol Group that arrived this week...  Must learn self control, must learn self control...

There is only One!

Well, somehow yesterday despite drink being taken, Thomo and I got to play the Rajput vs Teutons game - we finished the DBA Cancon Championships last year with me unbeaten, but we didn't actually play each other. Ever since he has been teasing me that as I hadn't beaten him, it didn't count.

Finally last night, the might of the Teutons faced the Rajputs...  unfortunately, no pictures, and somehow the goose-steppers prevailed. So there is only one. I understand a slightly used Rajput army may be up for sale shortly...

And in other news, it seems Thomo managed to take pictures, and remember what happened...  note that his account may contain traces of bias.... 

Thursday 10 November 2011

There Can only be One

Thomo is due to come over this weekend, I hope he brings his Rajputs, and we can finally play the DBA final we should have had at Cancon... 

Wednesday 9 November 2011

DBA Redux

David Lawrence has been a fantastic asset to players of DBA in Canberra and the surrounds. He runs a number of competitions which are always well attended, and has been running Landwaster since 2002. So David being a proactive organiser, started harassing me about what army I will use on Nov 20.

I have cast around, have lots of options - but decided it was a good chance to force myself to finish painting the Ayyubids:

Ayyubid Egyptian, IV/20

1x 3Cv (Gen), 5x 3Cv, 2x 2LH, 1x 3Ax or 3Wb or 7Hd, 2x 4Bw or 2Ps, 1x 2LH or 2Ps 

Not a very competitive army, but should look pretty. The Mirliton minis are nice.

Quick - to the painting cave...