Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Kingly Gift and Other Troops from Scotland

As mentioned elsewhere the most recent troopship from Scotland contained three orders and this "wee" pressie!

A kingly gift indeed, it is about twice the height of a Flintloque orc and is painted with lovely details.

My thanks to all of my friends at Alternative Armies!

Here's a unit of twenty hobgoblin foot...

...and twenty mounted along with a standard bearer and their...


These nomadic herders and raiders will fill that function in both dark age and black powder fantasy games. I prefer to organize my goblinoids into tribes rather than units per se and to that end the hobgoblins will likely receive support from or be supported by other tribes like these goblins.

Twenty four well armed goblins spoiling for spoils. These fellows are intended to form up with my ancient plastic GW goblin archers (from their first plastic box) as well as some Marauder auxiliaries and GW metal wolf riders....

These fantastic fellows will be providing light support...or light comedy more like.

I lurve goblins me and the smaller the better.

On a more serious (?!) note the armies of the Severed Ears War continue to muster.

Here are two companies of Charge! light infantry resplendent in the uniform of the Banal-Grenzinfantrie. 

The figures are the new Rache Carabiners painted to my specifications.

Twenty four figures in all they compose a light infantry battalion.

Here we have four squadrons of the Sachsen Gotha Dragoons led by the Emperor King himself.

The Dragoons number twenty dogs and horses all told.

 The figures are from the Hundmordor Dragoons. The Emperor King is Le046 King Bonio who apparently has not made it to the web store just yet.

The paintwork on this most Regal of Dogs is superb! My heartfelt thanks to the artist.

Rounding out the SYW figures are several additional Prussian dwarf officers and sergeants. I felt my original scheme of three officers per forty figure line unit was a bit underwhelming and so each company will now have its own officer plus one for the colour guard, giving one mounted colonel and four dismounted other officers per battalion. 

Also the dwarven line figures do not have a sergeant casting. The standard bearer for the Von Rotte Grenadiers has now been cast in that role. Armed with a stout staff with heavy finial and a blunderbuss, the figure is both imposing and fits the idea of a grizzled sergeant keeping the lads in line.

There will be four sergeants assigned to each line battalion.

Finally a couple of command figures round out the orders.

General Archirat Gordon and Captain Angus McBam are two chaps I've been meaning to recruit for a while now. Just one look at them and I feel sure you will know why.

That's all for now. Back to tinkering with some black powder and fantasy rules I've been working on as well as the decidedly un-glamorous work of repainting some pom poms and tufts to reflect changed OOB's  for me.

Hope you enjoyed this review of the latest troops!

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Toad Hall Fencible Legion

"In Days of Old,
When Toads Were Bold,
And Ancestors Were Great,
They Used to Pop Off Early,
A Most Remarkable Rate"

- Mr. Toad's Ghost Song

In the 1980's television production of "Wind the Willows", dear Mister Toad sang a song about his ancestors and their ghostly comings and goings. I must confess the notion of Bold Toads has never left me since.

All these years later and my latest troopship from Scotland has brought one of those Toads to Toy Soldier Life.

I present to you The Toad Hall Fencible Legion!

An all arms force the legion boasts forty or so musketeers, two light artillery pieces, and and ten light horse...well "ram" really. 

The Legion was originally raised to deal with some unpleasantness in the Wild Wood. Despite its Fencible origin the Legion has been taken into the Line and has now seen action in Joccia, Guinalea, and Al Garvey, as well as having dealt with various Leveler. Luddite, and plain old Looters back home. 

"Uncle Hector,
He's the Specter,
On Dark and Stormy Nights,
Who Wails and Moans,
And Rattles his Bones,
And Puts Out All the Lights"

- Mr. Toad's Ghost Song

Sir Hector Toad is the Colonel commanding and of course spares no expense in kitting out his lads. Sir Hector is ably assisted by his good friend and loyal subordinate, Major Badger.

The Legion Foot, "The Wild Wooders" are formed in three companies of 13 figures each. Private soldiers are drawn from the stoats, weasels, and ferrets that so trouble honest folk in the environs of Toad Hall. These "scum of the wood" are drilled and kept in line by officers and NCO's drawn from the River Bank and towns; rats, orcs, and...Sir Hector's nephew, Mungo.

Truth be told young Mungo is a bit of a...well that might just be a bit on the nose!

The battalion is rounded out by a colour guard of two weasels, and an orc NCO led by a rat Officer, an orc RSM, and two light guns crewed by rats. Sir Hector imagines that Wild Wooders could be trained to work the guns. However erring on the side of caution, gunners are recruited solely from River Bankers.

The small force of hussars operate in two squadrons of five each, being in the main, ferrets, led by a rat Officer.

The figures arrived on Christmas Eve, in company with three other orders from Alternative Armies, more on those in another post! They are painted to Alternative Armies' usual high standards and Major Badger was converted from General Davvie McBaird by the very kind and talented Sam Croes. The other "stoats, weasels, and ferrets" are simply paint conversions of Joccian Rat models.

I created the standards on Christmas Day and attached them this morning. The battalion colour bears the Toad clan motto "Semper Bufo!" while the cavalry guidon bears an image of the god Pan, said to be the Piper at the Gates of Dawn by folk about the River Bank and Wild Wood.

These figures will primarily be used with Young and Lawford's "Charge!" rules but of course will see use with any number of rule sets over the coming months.

Hope you enjoyed a peek at the wee fellows and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sharke's Moria: A Flintloque Scenario

Happy to announce that my submission for this year's Orcs on the Webbe Advent Calendar has been revealed today.

You can have a look at it here.

Be sure to have a go at the rest of the site for some great Flintloque, Panzerfauste, and other game material.

Here are a few photos that did not appear with the article for reasons of format.

These were taken with my new phone, a Samsung Tab 5 which I believe is an improvement altough  I've no idea how to best work the features yet.

Hope you enjoy them, and visit Orcs in the Webbe.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Luck of the Guinaleans

"It is the 'Luck' of the Guinaleans that we must fight and die for the betterment of foreign princes far from Guinalea's green fields and fens, from family and friends,  from hearth and home"
-Wolfe Toon-

"If I had the Luck of the Guinaleans,
I'd have been born Albioniic instead"
- John Lennorc-

The Frontier of the Karoona Junta

With the turning of the leaves so too did the thoughts of the Karoona Junta turn to winter quarters for their troops.

To that end a series of small forts were constructed to cover the various passes that led into the province.

One such fort was garrisoned by the guerrilla troops of Don Julio Sinpantalones. As it happened this was a poor choice.

The Western Approaches to Fort Sinpantalones

Wolfe Toon snarled. He had formed the Guinalean Legion with the hope that the Ferach Elves would use it to liberate his beloved Guinalea. 

Now here he was in the cold, barren, wastes of Catalucia, doing the "emperor" Mordred's dirty work.

The famous guerrilla leader Julio Sinpantalones was secretly in the pay of the Empire, and at General Sashay's command had abandoned his post. It was now Toon's task to take a patrol and secure the fort. This done the rest of the Legion would come up, and supported by additional Ferach troops, prepare for a winter campaign that the Junta would be ill prepared for.

The fort did indeed appear to have been abandoned.  Toon told his Sergeant "Wee Willy" McClusky to detail two bog orcs to reconnoiter ahead and make certain of it.

The Eastern Approaches to Fort Sinpantalones

Major O'Toole, one of Wheeling-Turn's so called "exploring officers" said in a low voice. "It would appear our information was correct. Sinpantalones has deserted his post."

The Major had been sent by Wheeling-Turn to advise the Junta of certain information regarding Don Sinpantalones. Sensing the reluctance of the Junta to accept information disparaging one of their own, received from Orcs at that, O'Toole had offered to personally lead a patrol to determine Sinpantalone's intentions.

Now at the head of nine bog orcs of the Guardia Real. the Major could see that whatever Sinpanatlones' intentions were, they certainly didn't include garrison of this fort. 

Shortly after he had dispatched a pair of burly bog orc guardsmen to reconnoiter the fort, shots rang out.

Bog Orc versus Bog Orc
Solo System versus Solo System

This game has been long in the offing. I have always been a great fan of solo play AI's (so called "Artificial Intelligence") in wargames.  Indeed a design goal of mine is to one day write a game that is so written that the player (or indeed players; there is no reason a solo game need be played alone!) can run just a single character while the game rules take care of the actions of every other figure in play, both enemy and friendly, superior and subordinate. As such I am always on the look out for others' attempts at modelling the autonomous behavior of wargame forces.

My good friend Gavin Syme of Alternative Armies has authored two solo engines for Flintloque, one for the second or Reloaded edition of the game and one for the current, third edition. I thought I'd see what happened if I pit one against the other.

For this reason I wanted a fairly simple scenario, but one more involved than a simple "line them up and have at it" sort of game. I also sought to have two fairly even forces in play.

Finally I wanted to use one of my all time favorite miniatures: Wolfe Toon.

The Ferach side would be composed mainly of bog orcs and so too would their opposition. Now Albion's bog orc troops could have been used but I love the uniform of the Guardia Real and rarely use them so that was that. Only I had no Catalucian bog orc officers so Major O'Toole was brought in to lead them.

The forces were thus:

Ferach: Wolfe Toon (werewolf), Sergeant "Wee Willy" McClusky (weefolk aka halfling), and eight private bog orcs of the Guinalean Legion.

Catalucia: Major Seamus O'Toole, Sergeant Patrick Cakes, and eight private bog orcs of the Guardia Real.

All were rated average and all those toting firearms carried standard muskets.

Rules used were Flintloque, mostly Reloaded. That is to say the alternate activation of third edition has been modified for use with second edition rules.

The scenario was as outlined above. An abandoned fort guarding a key mountain pass. Winner  must hold the fort at the end of play.

The terrain was pretty plain. Given that the fort would have had its environs cleared to give good fields of fire, and that each figure was a single combatant. the table was four foot square with the fort centre. Each side set up 15cm from the fort entrance, or about 30cm apart.

The Solo Engines: The Ferach, being the more advanced Nation were controlled by the third edition solo rules. They were rated Aggressive. The Catalucians were controlled by the second edition rules and rated Aware.

What are the Differences Between the Solo Systems?
A fair question! The second edition rules cross reference a figure's circumstances with a die roll. For example if a figure has no enemy in sight he might use one column of the table, however if an enemy were in melee charge distance he would use a different table.

The third edition rules  cross reference a figure's distance from the enemy with a chit pull. The chits are weighted to make certain results more likely than others. There are three different results in all with 10 chits for the most common, 5 for the second, and 3 for the third. Once a chit has been drawn it is not replaced until the next turn so the actions of each figure have an impact on the likelihood of following figures taking a given action.

At once one can see that in the first case the actions of each figure are fairly random in regards to what other figures on its side have already done. While the table gives a range of actions with the dice weighted to favor some over others, there is nothing preventing every figure from taking the same action in one turn.

Conversely the latter system, while providing fewer possible actions, ensures that most figures will take the most common action while a few will likely act differently.

The Game.

It was mad! The Ferach boys rushed to the attack. The scouts fired and missed and then went in with the bayonet.

The Catalucians on the other hand, advanced in dribs and drabs, firing as they came. Some went off in random directions but the constant fire began to tell and soon one Legion soldier was down, and a couple more wounded.

While O'Toole wisely, if randomly took up station behind his impromptu firing line,

 Toon and McClusky rashly charged into the fray.

McClusky was shot down before he could say "They're after me lucky charms!"!  

Toon engaged a Guardsbogorc, forcing him back.

Which turned out to be rather unfortunate for the poor werewolf who was promptly looking rather sieve like as at least three balls found their marks.

With the loss of their section leader, the Ferach force unraveled. Only three proved willing to fight on after the loss and as the Catalucians still numbered a full ten strong (with two of those wounded mind), I ruled that that three Ferach bog orcs that were still game simply covered the withdrawal of the rest. Also one bog orc that had suffered two wounds and was closer to his foes than his friends was ruled to have surrendered rather than attempt flight.

Not really sure yet. I thought the Ferach would easily carry the day, acting in concert as they were. Yet the far more random antics of the Catalucians prevailed.

One theme I will definitely explore is the role of commanders. When it comes to the solo engine, officers and some sergeants are just considered melee troops rather than leaders, and perhaps that's not far wrong given the close in nature of the game. Still had Toon and McClusky been more interested in directing their troops than engaging in derring do perhaps the outcome would have been different.

Another aspect to look at is how troops can act in concert. For example in Flintloque 3rd figures are activated two at a time which mirrors Light Infantry practice by the end of the Napoleonic Wars. With that in mind perhaps solo figures should be activated in teams of two. In this way both figures would carry out the same action with the exception that only one would fire if the team were so instructed. The other would load if it needed two or just move with the first ready to cover him while he reloaded.

Fun game although as expected given the nature of the thing I was merely a spectator.

Hope you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fort Dale: The Guns Fall Silent

Following on from last time.


 As daylight began to fall the battle raged on,

As the militia slowly progressed through the north woods they were met with howls and gunfire.

Savage Orcs!

Meanwhile two fresh Gondoggian battalions moved from their posts defending against any amphibious movement and joined the attempt to hold the redoubt.

Alas poor trooper Schmidt did not live to bring new orders to Right Column.

And lacking orders to withdraw into reserve, Right Column continued its assault.

The Reserve had finally started advancing and I quickly scribbled off another note directing them to support rather than supplant Right Column.

The defenders of the redoubt, running low on ammunition were slowly forced back.

The repeated exchange of vollies in the centre also took its toll of Gondoggian resolve.

Soon almost the entire Gondoggian force was in rout,

Only two battalions kept their discipline and covered the withdrawal.

The field was won and Fort Dale surrendered.

Naturally the defenders were granted the Honors of War....which might have been a bit generous given that they allied with savages.

So what happened?

My plan was sound. Given the restriction of not being able to move my CP and not knowing anything of the enemy's deployment, I lucked out. I didn't order my dwarves into the trap that was laid on for them. I used my questionable militia to hold my left flank.

The concentration of effort along the lake shore proved well chosen.

That's really all I can say. I didn't muck it up.

Well I nearly did, didn't I? 

What if poor Schmidt had gotten through to Right Column and they had gone into reserve just as Center Column was left facing the full force of Gondoggian regulars?

No. Fortune was clearly on the side of the stout today.

As to the combats themselves, each was fairly equal in and of itself. 

The elves and dogs were outnumbered at the point of contact when the redoubt was located but they were IN a redoubt after all. It took four assaults to crack that defense.

There followed a prolonged firefight with the Gondoggians slowly taken the worst of it.

Luck? The innate superiority of the fighting Dwarf?

Who can say.

Whatever it was it saved my bacon today.

Some Technical Notes

The combination of Charge! and Fields of Honor worked brilliantly. My two minor complaints with Charge!, first that combat is so very bloody, and second that units fight on until they have lost half their number and then retire, were both addressed by the addition of the morale rules from Fields of Honor.

In the first case, Fields of Honor stipulates that all casualties are provisional until a morale test is taken. Afterwards half (rounded up) of those casualties become permanent and the other half are returned to play. This neatly let the casualties inflicted under the Charge! rules to have their effect on the outcome all the while avoiding having units evaporate after a few exchanges of musketry.

The second aspect gave the game some seeming "life". Some units fought on doggedly until the last cartridge. Some fled at the first volley. Most performed somewhere in between those two extremes.

The moral rules also introduced the elements of Fortune and Calamity that in this cased helped my side achieve victory. Both sides suffered/gained in this respect but in balance the dwarves came out on top.

For example the Troupes de Marine raised there status from Line to Guard after repelling the assault of the Loyal Orcs. That was not enough to save them from the follow on assault of the Abdeckers.

The Abdeckers benefited doubly. First they achieved Guard status for their assault on the Troupes de Marine and then when routing the Woodelves, a stray round struck the Colonel of Aquitaine Sekcunder routing that battalion as well.

Further the much put upon Koniglich battalion, now left on its own to defend the redoubt ran short of ammunition! What a sad series of events for the hopes of the Gondoggians.

The loss of poor trooper Schmidt worked in my favor although at this point I should mention the difficulties faced by couriers was a feature o the scenario and not either set of rules used in this case.

Finally the orders system of Fields of Honor worked very well. If you like that sort of thing I strongly suggest you find a copy of these too long out of print rules.

That's all for now.

Thanks for stopping by!

Here's a link to the first part in case you tuned in at the end of the show.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fort Dale: Fortune Shows Her Hand

Following on from last time.

First the Royal Orcs assaulted the works.

It was a valiant attempt.

They were repulsed by the Troupes de Marine.

Then the 55th had a go.

They were repulsed with some loss.

Meanwhile couriers were sent out with my revised plans, The right column was to go into reserve, while the grenadiers were to move forward and take their place.

The 46th were the third, and last uncommitted unit of the right column, to assault the works.

They gained a foothold, driving back Aquitaine Sekundar.

It was at this point that four more regiments of dogs came into view. It now became clear that  the enemy had expected my forces to charge straight over the hill and up the middle. Their works would have taken me in the flank while their main force pressed my lads inward.

The timing was good even if their plan was based on a false assumption. My entire right column had now been repulsed and was in need of reordering.

My courier to the reserves had been delayed and so they had not moved forward, and my courier to the right column had not had time to arrive either at this point.

Yet even as the 46th were forced to retire, the Abdeckers from center column forced their way into the works.

They dispersed the Troupes de Marine and with one volley sent the Elven Militia packing as well.

It was here that Fortune lent a hand.

A stray ball felled the Colonel of the shaken Aquitaine Sekendar. The battalion panicked and joined in the rout!

The enemy left dissolved entire!

Even as their centre advanced.

By Drong! The Lonely Mountain will once again belong to the Dwarves!

The  next phase of battle will be crucial.

I've only one, fortunately large, battalion available to face the four battalions of dogs approaching.
My Orc Militia is wandering about in the woods to the north and may make an appearance...although I've little regard for their martial prowess in any event.

The Center Column consists of two large-ish battalions. The Abdeckers need to solidify their hold on the works and keep the enemy rout going. Only IR 44, the Kampfe Vier, stand before the advancing Gondoggian brigade.

The three battalions of the Right Column have regrouped. However as they have yet to received my order to form the reserve, I cannot count on them in the coming fight.

I can only hope my courier gets the Reserve moving soon. This is just the time to commit the grenadiers to the fray!

Until next time,
Thanks for stopping by!

Link to part 4.