Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Hassenfhoff Ridge

The Hares advanced splendidly to the pas de charge.

The battalion deployed into divisions, with the centre pressing forward while the flanks turned outward to face expected resistance.

For their part the Rifles kept up a constant fire, potting the odd rabbit here and there.

Capt. Merciless' gun fired with more success on the Burrovian right. Each time a ball cleared a furrow of fuzzy troops, the gap was filled and the Hares marched on.

Soon the Hare center had reached the stone wall and at close range their vollies sent a company of the Rifes packing. 

The Hares had soon cleared the wall and were by default in control of the sunken lane.

About this time I realized that, as Giggers, I had spent too much attention on skirmishing and cannon fire than on positioning my dragoons to threaten the enemy flank.

One squadron was now hurriedly shifted to my right. The Rifles there had sufficiently contained the Burrovian skirmishers, to allow the Horse to threaten the left flank Burrovian division. 

On my left, the gun and rifles had reduced the Burrovian right flank division to nearly half. They were ripe for a cavalry charge!

However, here fate stepped in.

The Burrovian commander, no doubt sensing the threat to his right, ordered his centre division across the sunken lane. No doubt he felt secure in his ability to cross the obstacle before I could counter the move.

In that he was sadly mistaken.

Caught in the act of crossing the sunken lane, the Burrovians were no match for the tide of Horseorcs that thundered down on them.

A few Dragoons fell to a Burrovian volley, but with cries of "View Halloo", the Sewon and Soforths ran down their prey.

The centre was routed!

Unable to reign in the Sewon and Soforths pursued in a frenzy of hacking and slashing.

Some orcs and horse were lost jumping the wall but still they came on.

The Burrovian colonel barely got away with the regimental colours.

All the while the Merciless' gun and the Rifles kept the enemy flanks under fire.

I twas too much for Hare to bear and brave but daunted Bunnies retired to their starting line on Hassenhoff Ridge.

So, that was exciting and fun.

As mentioned before this action was based on the American Civil War skirmish at Brinkerhoff Ridge. On the day a regiment of the Stone Wall brigade, only some 300 + strong faced Federal cavalry under Pleasonton. Pleasonton actually had some 900 sabres at his disposal, as well as a section of guns, although how many of his horsemen were actually engaged is not known to me.

However the presence of the guns alone seems reason enough for the Confederate failure. The Rebs aimed to capture the sunken road and hold that line to keep the Federals off of Brinkershoff Ridge. With enemy guns on Cress ridge, overlooking the ground between there and Brinkershoff Ridge, it seems unlikely that the valley could have been held and with insufficient force to press on to Cress Ridge it seems that simply holding Brinkershoff Ridge would have been the better plan.

But hindsight is always 20/20!

Incidentally J.E.B. Stuart observed that day's action from Brinkershoff Ridge, and noting the good cavalry country beyond Cress Ridge formulated plans for a grand cavalry action the next day, July 3rd, 1863, the final day of the battle of Gettysburg.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Granny Grating Armies

Celtic army and the grating from which it was made. Rifleorc for scale.

Ever eye that plastic mesh in the craft store? I have. Tried to use it for roads but that wasn't satisfactory. Have used it for sci/fi flooring/grating and that was satisfactory.

Arthur Hannan of EZPainter had an even better idea. Arthur has made 10mm figures out of the stuff. In fact he's published rules to go with them too.

So what we really have in his "Granny Grating Armies" is two-fold, a novel method of making budget armies AND a novel set of ancients rules.

Throughout this post you'll be able to see some figures that Arthur kindly made for me as part of his Kickstarter for this project, but I really think the rules deserve a wider audience.

A Roman force: legion infantry supported by skirmishers and horse
 So how's it work then?
Each army is composed of a number of units and a leader.
The leader is given a set number of command points per turn.
Pretty standard stuff so far and this is where it gets intriguing.

Units can only take certain number of commands per turn, and these command can be issued on the fly so long as you are done with one unit before shifting to the next.

The enemy can interrupt your turn under certain conditions to issue commands to his troops. Again as troops may only act on a limited number of commands per turn, interrupting the other player now means you will have less flexibility later.

Celtic force: a small core of foot supported by skirmishers and plenty of horse
As mentioned before units can only act on a limited number of commands per turn. What I didn't mention before is that units are also limited in how much then can do by their fatigue, here called "energy" level as well.

So an all out attack early can leave you vulnerable to counter attack later if you have neglected to keep a fresh reserve.

Now this idea of tracking fatigue has its roots in some of the earliest post WWII wargames designs, but it is not a feature of many modern games. One reason, and a very good one, is that, at least in the older rules that used the concept, tracking fatigue was a chore.

Not so in GGA! There are only three energy levels; high, medium, and low. So while this does entail some use of markers or rosters the burden is minimal.

The whole stew of commands, units, and energy blends together nicely to give an enjoyable game.

A few other points:
*The game only uses six sided dice.
* In combat each unit just simply rolls their FR, (Front rank number) unless they are below half FR then they roll that number.
* Each troop type is rated for a score need to cause a casualty. It is this number or more that you need to score a hit. Modifiers apply.
*Although designed to be played with multi figure stands, individual casualties are tracked.

This last point makes it very easy to use the game with figures of any scale along with some adjustment of ranges and  so forth.

Finally the GGA armies look great. Cute when viewed up close and impressive enough when viewed en masse at table top distance. I may even go this route for  my 1812 Russian campaign armies.

GGA is supported by a very friendly Facebook group at: 


If you are on FB come on by and say "Hi".

Arthur is a convivial host and his enthusiasm for this project is quite evident.

If you do give these rules a go, do stop back and let me know how it went for you!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Not a Miniatures Post!

The weather here has been absolutely dreadful for the last couple of weeks.

I finally got outside for walk with this week's reprieve and just want to share some photos.

Mind you the excessive heat also kept me away from gaming so there is much catching up to do with writing, playtesting, reviewing, and so on as well.

All in due time.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hare We Go, Hare We Go, Hare We Go!

From his position on the ridge Giglamps could see Laringo Spasm deploying his Rifles across the valley floor.  The Rifleorcs deployed with their usual alacrity with the strange gait of their kind.

On the left some skirmishing broke out along the wood line. That much was to be expected. The Burrovians were hardly likely to have left the orcs unobserved.

In the centre Spasm's orcs were just about at the foot of Hassenhoff Ridge when the drums sounded.

Captain Merciless of the RHA turned to Giggers. "Sounds like one of Stephonsorc's demmed engines, if ya' ask me!". Giglamps merely smiled politely to himself.

Soon they could be seen cresting the ridge, Ears first, then shakos, by Sentinnel there were a lot of the fellahs!

Six hundred rabbits at least. A full battalion. And to hold them only three companies of Rifles, two squadrons of the Sewon and Soforths, and Merciless' section of guns.

It was going to be hot work....

And so it begins.

It's been too long since I've put pen to paper on a set of rules. 

While I have been re-working "Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures" over the last few months, it is time to take a break from the world of Sword and Sorcery and plunge back into the smoke of the black powder battlefield.

For a number of years I have been trying out various systems for a "company level" game set in the world of Valon. "Flintloque" is an excellent game for up to twenty or so figures per player, and "Slaughterloo" an excellent game for recreating division sized black powder actions. However I still think there is a niche between the two that can be usefully filled.

In the past I have tried simply streamlining "Flintloque". It gives a good game but there is a better way.

Also I have played these games using rules I've written for Two Hour Wargames, and while these give a very good game, I want to develop something non-THW for this project,

Which brings me to the secret project which hopefully will not remain secret for too much longer. It is a variation of that system that I am now adapting to Valon.

To be clear this application is not official and entirely just because I think it will be fun to play.

More as it happens and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 23, 2016


The raising of the Clans

Received these very colourful, painted and based figures from Alternative Armies in Scotland!

As usual you may left click on any photo to see a larger version of it.

Bonnie Prince Charlie

They are from a range designed for the Culloden Museum, however they are not currently in production.  However if you ask nicely...

My requirement was for about one hundred figures to take part in both historical and black powder fantasy games...well and just plain fantasy if you add in "The Tragedy of MacDeath".

There are four clans each of 24 fighters and two women with babes in arms to cheer on the menfolk.

 Each clan has a leader,

a standard,

two pipers,

a drummer,

and a mix of figures with,


Lochaber Axes,

and the odd musket.

A fine and fierce looking bunch they are too!

In addition there is a figure of Bonnie Prince Charlie himself, a standard bearer and this lovely sword dance vignette.

For the black powder fantasy side of things there is an alternate leader...

 Wee Woolie Prince Charlie, the King Under the Glacier.

Wee Woolie Prince Charlie was quite incidentally thawed out of his icy exile when Mordred, Emperor of the Ferach Elves used his power to enforce the Ban of Wylde Magick from Valon.

Since that day the wild humans of Joccian along with some of the wilder ratmen of the realm have rallied behind Prince Charile, styling  him "Mammuthus Primigenius",  Rightful Kyng of Joccia, Guenelea, Taffsea, and Albion.

Naturally the reining Kyng of the United Kyngdoms, Gorge the III of the House of Hunvaria is having none of this, and has mobilized his orcs, hobgoblins, and loyal ratmen to put down the rising.

Oh the mammoth is actually a war mammoth from Alternative Armies' sister brand, 15mm.co.uk .

Another absolutely sterling job by the Alternative Armies painting staff and my thanks to Jim Syme for offering to have these cast up for me.

As always hope you enjoy the post and thanks for stopping by!