Monday 20 July 2015

Franks at Wintercon 2015.

The annual Wintercon competition was held at Exhibition Park in Canberra over the weekend, and organised by Michael. The theme was shamelessly stolen from the 'Men of Iron' theme as seen on the site. Eligible armies can be seen here:  

Playing conditions were 400AP with an extra 15AP allowed for stratagems.

I had a whole lot of lead that I had purchased from Lancashire Games a couple of years back that were badged as 'Goths' but would be suitable for pretty much any western late classical period army  - so, as is my wont, I decided to enter them as Middle Frankish, Burgundian - so I would be forced to paint up some of the lead mountain. I elected to go for approx 590 when St Guntram, (War Raven) with his trusted general Mummolus, was campaigning in what is now France.  
A second sub was Childebert II and the Provencal (Gallo-Roman) allies, were led by Chilperic.

The army structure was very simple. I figured I needed maximum Knights that could be deployed in waves, enough warband to scare the daylights out of the expected support troops in theme.. I expected plenty of Bw and Sp, plus the non-impetuous Gallo Roman ally so I could at least hold one flank, but with small numbers. A boundary hedge if I could get one would be very useful for these guys in defence.

St Guntram     1 Kn(F) General - 10 Kn(F) + 1 Bge(O)
Mummolus     1 Kn(F) General - 10 Kn(F) + 1 Bge(O)
Childeric II       1 Wb(S) General - 32 Wb(O) + 4 Ps(O) + 2 Bge(O)
Chilperic          1 Cv(O) General - 1 Cv(O) + 8 Sp(I) + 2 Ps(O) + 2 Bge(O)

Stratagems - Ambush, Exaggerated numbers.

My basic plan was to use the exaggerated numbers to make it look like there was one massive Kn command..  which would either make a juicy target or scare the living daylights out of people. Then either Flank march or ambush. In hindsight, I probably should have made Mummolus command smaller so the entire command could be ambushed.

Game 1 - Zac Russell, Picts with Scots-Irish Ally 365AD. 

Picts?  Bloody Picts, with 20+ LH and a bunch of chariots? If I could get into the Pk(F) with the Wb I should be ok, but I was going to be hard -pressed not to be hit flank and rear by the ultra mobile Pictish army.

I invaded and placed a Sea/Waterway on my right, the only other significant terrain was a small wood on the left just in his half of the table, a large gentle hill occupying my right centre but in his half of the table, and a road that ran all the way along his baseline.

I deployed with the Gallo Romans next the water on my right, Wb in the centre, and a large (exaggerated) Kn command on my left - echeloned back as the flank was too open, and flank marched Mummolus on this side. 

As expected Zac's Pk(F) sat on the hill, while his Scots Irish advanced on the Gallo Romans. His LH and Chariots started a wide flanking move round my left. On bound two he brought out a further mainly mounted command from ambush behind the hill and started to move it over to my left.

On bound two I rolled the 6 for Mummolus (lucky!) - and Zac was caught with low pips and multiple groups of LH and Chariots from two commands trying a wide flanking manouevre.

I sent St Guntram forward to engage the LH, and spent a few, meanwhile Mummolus was starting to catch isolated LH and finally the general of that command as his pips dried up, additionally I used the lateral road to send two Kn at high speed across the battlefield into his baggage. His Scots Irish were getting into trouble as I got a lucky 5-1 result with my Cv vs his chariots and started to exploit overlaps, while big pips let me peel off a couple of warband to tackle the other end of his Scots-Irish and this command was soon in trouble.

In the meantime, my CinC was losing Kn(F) rapidly to a combination of Chariots and LH, enough to take his command out, but with Kn behind them, Zac decided he needed to do something radical, and pushed his Pk(F) forward...  my large Warband command was only too happy to oblige, and his army collapsed.

In the end, I was lucky my flank march arrived so early, and the early good dice split against the Scots Irish, but the last die roll of the game cost me a warband element, and that was enough to push me to 30% army casualties - so a 19-6 and a reasonable start to the day.
Game 2 - Nick Rogers, Romanian Franks. 
Apologies, no pics with this one, I was enjoying the game too much.

Ok, this was one matchup, Kn(S), that I had been expecting to see at least once over the weekend. His Franks invaded my Franks, and terrain ended up being a whole bunch of bad going dominating the whole of the left side of the battlefield, a long gentle hill on my right centre, a boundary hedge extending from the right table edge parallel to the rear edge, a wood on my centre left and my rear centre had a gentle hill. A transverse road again ran across the battlefield, this time in my deployment zone, and a small BUA was on my extreme right.

I deployed first with my warband 11 wide and three deep on the hill, 4 Ps in ambush in the wood on my left, and the Gallo Romans defending the boundary hedge, in my front centre was St Guntram, with an exaggerated command of 20 Kn. Mummolus again flank marched, this time to my right.

Nick deployed with half a dozen Kn(S) on my left, a larger command of Kn(S) + Ps with the bowmen in front, and a small command of 3 Kn supported on the right by a couple of flank guarding cavalry and a longer column of another 5 or so cavalry.

In the centre, Nick advanced rapidly (after the game he told me he had seen 20Kn(F) as a target, virtually allowing him to win the game in one smashing charge). He cleverly advanced behind a bow screen, and I was at a loss what to do about it. A quick calculation showed me I could kill all the supporting troops, but it still wouldn't break the command witout at least one Kn.

Two things happened almost simultaneously in bound three, Mummolus got the six he needed to come on (lucky again!) and the exaggerated numbers stratagem disclosed, 11 Kn(F) on his flank was very bad news for Nick, but he had half decent PIPS and was able to get most of the cavalry away, simultaneously starting to re-deploy his right (my left block of Kn).

In the centre Nick now pressed on with the centre command and the three Kn on my right. I decided to hope for the best and throw my Kn at the bow, and just hope that when the Romanian counter charge arrived, it wouldn't be too devastating.

Action was now happening all over the field, I killed a few Bow, others were spent by the Kn countercharge through them, while some Kn were fled. I did get lucky on my right and kill one of the Kn in the sub-general's command, but these were now also being pressed by the Gallo Roman spear, in slow motion as while I had some PIPS, Nick was having to use some of his to try and preserve his cavalry.  St Guntram broke, though he and another two Caballari hung around heroically, performing wonders, while Nick was finally able to charge the Warband, who had unfortunately had to come off the hill, thanks to an inopportune 1 PIP. Ultimately the couple of Kn I had detached from Mummolus got his left-hand commands Kn in the rear and they broke, just as this was in time to strip off much of the protection from his small Kn command who had now deployed to face off Mummolus, from memory, 9 Kn(F) inc General vs 6 Kn(S) inc General, and 3 disheartened Cavalry. My first charge punched a hole, in his bound his now broken cavalry fled, and to add insult to injury, his S bonus was repeatedly just one short.

I was starting to lose warband, but very slowly, only two in the initial charge, and army casualties were beginning to mount, but with the cavalry of his broken command now gone, in my bound I was lucky enough to get the PIPS and wrap two of the Kn(S), factors up in my favour at 4-2 and 3-2, he lost three of them to break that command, and game over. 

Again the Saint's command had been lost - and with other casualties, 30% of army, another 19-6 and something of a pattern was beginning to emerge. Again I had been lucky the flank march arrived early, and one or two dice rolls went my way in crucial places. But the beauty of an army like this, is that you can sustain the bad dice rolls, due to size.

Could day two see the pattern broken?

Game 3. Bye!

I managed to get every single traffic light between home and the venue. So instead of the usual 25 minutes - it was a 40 minute trip, Sunday morning, so people were dawdling too.

Anyway, when I got there, Michael the organiser was all set to play Greg as I was running so late. Well, Michael is a stand up bloke, and he put in a lot of work organising, so I told him to play and I took the bye.

Which ended with me breaking my lead pledge after 6 months, and costing me money at the Hall of Heroes and Olympian Games trade stands...  so be it. I picked up some of the old Gladiator Feudals range, as I have always liked the period and they were heavily discounted. Now I just have to figure out what army in period I want to do.

Enough - on to Game 4!

Game 4. Greg Russell, Medieval German.

Before the comp, I had mused about the metagame, (part of the reason for taking warband), but I had also wondered if anyone would pick the Med German with Bd(X) that looked like a great bargain in a Knight-Fest. Well, Greg did.

I invaded Germany (where apparently there are wooded hills but no such thing as woods on the flat..) - I placed a couple of wooded hills 2, 1/2 FE and one full FE, with the 1/2 FE hills falling on my centre left, and my far left, with about a 4 element wide gap between. The one FE wooded hill fell on my left, and I positioned them with a nice gap between that I could fill up (about 11 elements wide actually).

Greg placed two rough hills on his left and right creating a narrowish valley between.

I decided not to Flank March, as his army, being mainly regular would easily be able to respond, and I worried that I was pushing my luck after the timely arrivals in the previous two games. I also decided not to use the exaggerated numbers stratagem. I was hopeful that as I had used both in the previous two games, he would be expecting them, and he might manage to second guess himself, or mistake genuine numbers for an exaggeration stratagem.
Deploying first - he put horde in position to deal with a flank march between the rough hills and his base line, on my left was a command with a Kn general, a Bge(S) - a bunch of Irr Bd(X), and 8 Bw(O) mainly on the rough hill. In the centre an entirely Kn command of about 8 Kn(O) + DBE Kn(S). The other flank (my right), a bunch of Bd(I) with a few Psiloi, another Bge(S) and a Kn general. 

Instead I decided to make it a frontal assault - and rely on weight of numbers.

I deployed the warband 11 wide front and centre, with their 4 Psiloi on the frontal slopes of the wooded hill on my right. The Saint was deployed directly behind them with his Caballari all in line, and Mummolus was on my left centre, but in double column facing to my right. In support of Mummolus, the Gallo-Roman spear were between the two leftmost wooded hills, with their Psiloi hanging round on the furthest one. I had also stuffed up by forgetting that I was only allowed one ambush as the attacker. Greg then rolled 5 & 6 for his two scouts, which rendered the ambushes pointless anyway. He pointed my mistake out, but very generously let me deploy them there anyway. 

His first PIPS were good and it became clear his plan was to rush the Bd(X) forward towards the wooded hill on my lift and use that as an anchor to beat up the Kn, his central Kn command started to shake itself into line, and the Bd(I) started to move to my right and form column.

The shape of the game was obvious from that point on...  I was going to force the centre with an enormous mass of 33 Wb and 22 Kn(F), while on either flank he was going to try and mess it up with the Bd(X) and Bd(I), and face it frontally with Kn(O), while I was going to use the Gallo Romans to try and loop round his right.

I was lucky to have reasonable PIPS to keep driving the Wb forward, meanwhile peeling off the two left-hand columns and a couple of Kn to keep the Bd(X) amused, and then on my right, 3 Kn with support from Guntram's Psiloi to stop the Bd(I).

I was on him fast enough that his Bd(X) were kept busy by the few elements I detached, eventually killing a couple of Kn, and with the help of that Commands General, some warband. But the General kept following up into contact, and I was able to bring the Gallo-Roman psiloi across to the wooded hill to threaten rear attacks on Bd and force him to spend a lot of PIPs, in the meantime, the Gallo Roman cavalry, General and the spearmen were creating lots of problems for the Bow.

As I got closer to the centre, now that the Bd(X) threat was being occupied, I passed Guntram's Caballari through to confront his Kn(O).

On my right the Psiloi and Knights managed to deal very effectively with the Bd(I) with the loss of one Kn.

But it was the centre where the game would be won or lost. We exchanged a couple of Kn elements, but I could afford to do so, this created gaps in his line for which he had no reserves close enough to deal with the gaps, and his general kept beating his opponent (but not killing), and following up into the mass of knight/warband. He was getting the low pip dice and with the general in combat was getting only one move a turn..   the DBE only got into action late.

I kept peeling off rear ranks from Mummolus' command to keep the Bd(X) at bay, but even so they had taken 4 Kn out of Guntram's command to dishearten him...   so now Guntram's Caballari were no longer making spontaneous advances...   and the Wb passed through them.

Poor pips on my part kept me from finishing off the general but eventually I rolled high and was able to wipe him out with a Kn in his rear. With the accumulated losses + the ME transmission, the Bd(I) command broke - and that was game.

I had lost 6 Kn plus a few Wb, mainly those peeled off to keep the Bd(X) busy,and a couple of the Gallo Roman Spear (to shooting), totalling 20% losses, so with the Disheartened Saint that was a 20-5 win.

I think that Greg was well prepared for a mobile game, and his tactics were sound, but the sheer mass of the Franks meant I could easily afford to trade bad dice splits. Spending a chunk of the game with his generals in combat in exchange for a few warband was a good exchange for me, and really hampered him, negating the regular status, whereas I had a very simple plan, and being impetuous - didn't really need PIPs to maintain the pressure.

Great comp, and second place with 58 points from three games was enough to get me an Essex Miniatures Australia voucher :-)

Overall winner was Greg, who had actually played 4 games (unlike me) and ended up on 71 points.

Third was Dave Quilty, with Later Crusader, well deserved, as Dave always puts in a consistent showing. Gary Plachetta with a very attractive Fedual French army and who was playing his 1st or 2nd game of DBMM on the Saturday morning, received the encouragement award. 

And some pictures of the other games:

Crusader (Dave) vs Medieval German (Tim)

Viking Raiders (John)

Gary's very pretty Feudal French knights

Feudal French (Gary) vs Sicilian (Lawrence)

Medieval German (Greg) vs Sicilian (Lawrence)

Some more Knights, not sure whose these were!

Vikings (John) vs Picts (Zac - yet to fully deploy)

Vikings vs Picts again

The Fitzroy Pavilion at EPIC

Vikings (John) vs Crusaders (Dave)

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Frankish Banners

The Lancashire Games Goths come with moulded on Draco standards, but I wanted to add a little more colour, and also match dice colours for the DBMM commands to the figures.

A quick Google showed not a lot for the Franks, so I decided to use a bit of artistic licence. The Commander is St Guntram or 'War Raven' so I found some suitable Raven iconography (there are loads around for Vikings, but I wanted something different), Mummolus, his favourite general got some early version of the Burgundian ragged cross, Childebert II the bees that were later appropriated by Napoleon, and Chilperic, being a loyal Gallo-Roman of Provencal, got a pretty standard 'Byzantine' style Labarum.

They were all drawn onto standard paper freehand in pencil, and then painted carefully by hand.

Guntram's War Raven banner
Chilperic's 'Late Roman' Labarum
All of them together
 Overall, while I took a quick and dirty painting method for these guys, I am pretty happy with the overall result.

Saturday 11 July 2015

All set for Wintercon

New, 192 Foot, 109 mounted, but the baggage is old, and needs refurbishing - otherwise - good to go!

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Done! - LoadsaFranks

Ok, finally finished up the painting of the Franks for Wintercon. I'm actually very happy with these.
The Foot

The Mounted

Saturday 4 July 2015

More Franks

And productively using a couple of hours i added another 32 warband today. These aren't based yet as i have another 36 to do plus another 24 mixed command figures that i will mix through so that i can use them for dismounted knights, in DBMM terms, Wb (S).

Once these are done, I have some Huns, loads more Gallo-Roman spear, and a load of bowmen that will give me the basics to morph the army into a range of other armies, like Goths, Patrician Roman etc.

Friday 3 July 2015

More Franks

Progress is steady with the Franks but plenty of time. Two weeks to go, another 20 elements of warband and the basing to finish.