Monday, 31 October 2011

Battle On The Medway

The first Battle on 'English' soil that we have any hope of recreating is the Battle of the Medway between the forces of Claudius Caeser and the British. The Celtic Bridge (or crossing point|) was where the Medway cuts through the North Downs - where the foreground Rochester road and rail bridges are located, L. This is a strategic choke point between the continent and the rich lowlands of Britain. The Celts burnt the bridge and concentrated on the right bank, hoping to hit the Romans as they crossed before withdrawing to the right to a bridge over the Thames.

The Romans probably approached along the far side of the North Downs to the left. Two legions demonstrated on the bank at point L to hold the attention of the British. Meanwhile, Batavian cavalry crossed the river to the left of point B, near the Royal Dockyard. Batavians were river specialists from Holland who could swim the river in full combat gear. They curved around behind the British and a cavalry cchariot battle developed.

Vespasian crossed the river with his legion at a point hidden from the British upstream at point V, where the modern M2 motorway and high speed Eurostar line cross the river. He then moved down the right hand (north) bank to urprise the Celts on their left flank. The British were now pinned on both flanks and the main Roman force crossed the river.

Crossing point for the main Roman force of two legions in immediate foreground.

The British were forced into a set piece battle with the Roman Army and slaughtered. Caratacus escaped north to the bridge on the Thames with other mounted warriors. He was hard pressed all the way by Roman auxilliaries and the Batavi again swam the river to outflank the Celts while the other auxilliaries struggled to find the causeway through the Thames marshes.

Caratacus escaped but his army was destroyed. The Romans poured across the lowlands. This was the battle that won the Roman Province of Britannia. They did not meet further resistance until they reached the highlands of Wales and the English Westcountry.

MF Global - Sovreign Debt Casualty?

MF Global is bankrupt. It started in the C18th in London as a brokerage and is still based in the East End.

"Since taking over as chief executive of MF Global in March 2010, Mr Corzine has sought to transform a company that began in late eighteenth century London as an agricultural broker, into a trading house that would make bets with its own money."

Corzine is a product of the Great Vampire Squid, Goldman Sachs.

I wonder if this affects his bonus?

Sunday, 30 October 2011

'Taint Right

On hearing that the FTSE 100 company directors have awarded themselves a 49% pay rise, Matthew Paris noted in his column in yesterday's Times "For every protest junkie in a tent outside St Paul's yelling: 'Down with global capitalism' there are a thousand middle income householders in Bromley, Bletchley and Barrow, studying directors' pay and muttering; 'It just isn't right'"

I suspect he may be half remembering the poem by Kipling about The Saxons (English).

Norman and Saxon

A.D. 11.00

"My son," said the Norman Baron, "I am dying, and you will be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for share
When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

"The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow – with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, 'This isn't fair dealing,' my son, leave the Saxon alone.

"You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears;
But don't try that game on the Saxon; you'll have the whole brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,
They'll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.

"But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs and songs.
Don't trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale of their wrongs.
Let them know that you know what they're saying; let them feel that you know what to say.
Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear 'em out if it takes you all day.

They'll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour of the dark.
It's the sport not the rabbits they're after (we've plenty of game in the park).
Don't hang them or cut off their fingers. That's wasteful as well as unkind,
For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man- at-arms you can find.

"Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and funerals and feasts.
Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish priests.
Say 'we,' 'us' and 'ours' when you're talking, instead of 'you fellows' and 'I.'
Don't ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell 'em a lie!"

Of course our current corporate masters lack the political skills and brains of the Normans.


The retiarius with his net is one of the key gladiator types. Shaun and I had some problems working out how the net worked, so I after the game I reread the rules. Throwing the net is fine but the problems come after the opponent is entangled. Part of our confusion had been caused because there are two entanglement charts in different parts of the rules that are almost, but not quite, the same. This is a general comment incidentally, the rules are badly disorganised.

OK, so we ignore the first table differences as they appear to be a typo and focus on the second. You entangle your opponent and then roll a die and consult the table. A 1 or 2 seems clear enough but how about a 3-5? The victim can only 'defend himself'. What does that mean? Not use an offensive weapon? Not charge? And is the entanglement permanent? How does the victim free himself? Can he free himself? The explanation of a die roll of 6 hardly helps. The victim can't use his weapon? How does this differ from 3-5?  The victim can only be disentangled by a mate? Does this mean that a 3-5 should be treated as a 1-2 for this purpose?

Problems, problems.

Gladiator is typically Forge World. Nice production values but is there no one in Forge World that speaks English well enough to edit?

Incidentally, the idea of a 'fisherman' dragging a victim 3 or more metres towards him with a rope are not realistic. The gladiator had a trident in his other hand and the net has to be 'spun' to spread out and entangle a victim.

Gladiator has gone to 50% discount within weeks of publication. At ten pounds it is a good deal as a source book.


I reckon this would work and be within the spirit of the rules.

A. Throw net as per usual rules except that it is a one-shot weapon.

B. If you get a hit, i.e. entanglement, roll a result die:
1 or 2 - net cast results in harmless entanglement
3, 4 & 5 - net cast inhibits victim's movement: -1 to all model stats (including weapon)
6 - as above but -2

C. At the start of the entangled model's movement the player MAY roll a die to try to remove the net.
1 - model stumbles, roll on stumble table, model still entangled
2-5 - model still entangled
6 - model slips out of net

Saturday, 29 October 2011

A Day at the Games

My regular opponent, Shaun, and I tried out Gladiator. This is a first try, probably with a dodgy understanding of the rukles [health warning].

A real match would have taken at most 15 minutes to resolve but would have involved brief clashes, mostly resulting in light (or no) wounds with victory going to the gladiator least affected by exhaustion and blood loss. The duelists were seperated after each wound inflicted. This was a sport; it had rules.

In Gladiator, the combatants only have two wounds before incapacity so the end can be very quick, given that a trident can inflict three wounds. Shaun's net and trident men massacred my swordsmen in double quck time, or it would have been double-quick time if we were not learning the rules.

Interesting game. I definitely want to try it more. My gut feeling is that it is better with multiple fights rather than single duels. It does have a 'choose target' table as a bolt on but I don't think it will add much to a single duel.

This definitely lends itself to a 'campaign', which could be played in a single night.

The models here are Shaun's.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Short Reviews

The Great War
This is essentially 40K tweaked. If you want to play 40K using WWI models then fine but little thought has gone into what made WWI such a terrible experience. The problem is that 40K is heroic fantasy combat with added guns. WWI was the first industrial-scale war between major powers that used massive firepower. Not recommended.

This is a rework of the Lord of the Rings system. As a skirmish system it is not entirely inappropriate for gladatorial combat but, equally, it's not especially atmospheric either. The LotR system is not great for ritualised (sport?) one on one combat. The book is full of useful and interesting information and has nice scenarios and campaign systems and can be recommended on that basis but it needs  more specific game mechanics. Recommended with reservations.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Sorry to lose you but...

I have been ebaying a tranche of my old models recently. Only a few more to go now. One must be ruthless or there is no room for more.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Elven Dreadfleet Dragonship

I think I am getting the hang of seawater.

I crossed my fingers and tried a silver and white colour scheme. I have tried this before with consistent results - consistently awful. But, once more into the fray dear friends and if at first you don't succeed throw teddy all round the cot.

I think this has worked out a bit better. What do you think?

Poland Game

 Urban Combat on the eastern front. This is a truly fabulous display game set, I think, in Poland.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Undead Skaven Leviathan - Dreadfleet

 Undead Skaven sail the foamy brine in an undead dee-sea leviathan. I elected to paint the leviathan red because it reminded me of a deep-sea angler fish. Red is a good camo-colour for deep-sea animals as seawater absorbs red light.

It's a Bargain!

The Evil Empire are selling off ALL their Warhammer Historical Rules at half price (even mine). I saved some money by picking up a couple of books that I would not otherwise have bought. Hang on a mo, shurely shome mishtake?

On the same note Wayland Games are unloading their last stocks of the pre-cadcam Uncharted Seas ships for 40% off prior to the relaunch with newly detailed models. The game isn't going to change and the old models are pretty good so - another chance to save money.

At this rate I will have saved so much money that we'll be rich. Gotta go now. My wife has the carving knife in her hand and a wild glint in her eye.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Steampunk Paperweight - Impossible Fossils

I bought this in the craft market opposite St John's College, Cambridge from Captain Hieronymus Bartholomew's Impossible Fossils. Apparently the good Captain was non-plussed when people complained about the cost of his amber jewelry when the could get 'amber from Poland with lizards in' for only two quid. He therefore set out to satisfy the market for impossible artefacts in 'amber'.

This rather beautiful steampunk paperwight caught my eye for the princely sum of £18.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Nessie Rules

This is a 28mm Plesiosaur that I picked up at SELWG. I sprayed it gey and layered grey green over the top. The red flashes are mating markers. It seems to have taken a shine to a 1:600 Dragonlord Cruiser.

SELWG - Over the Western Front

A superb WW1 display game. I like the sense of wonder it engenders in the face of the little girl. Well done guys.

SEWG - Golan Heights

It was noteworthy how few SF&F games were on display at SEWG. Historical wargaming is definitely back in vogue.

I am pretty certain that this is the '73 war on the Golan Heights. You can see Centurions, the best tank of its generation defending the ditch.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Dragonlord Warships

Spartan Games Dragonlord warships. These are three frigates, a cruiser and a Dragon Carrier.

Werelords Lord of the Rings Game

My collueage John Treadaway (in NASA shirt) and his friends at the Werelords ran a large scale (54mm?) Lord of the Rings demo  game at SELWG.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Painting Demos at SELWG

Whose Bum This Year?

 An overview of the main floor at SELWG. If you recognise your bum please let me know.

 One of the upper floors.

The B&B. The best stuff had gone when I turned up. What was left was of dubious value or wildly overpriced.

'Ello, 'ello, 'ello

This doesn't look like Ealing, Doctor?

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Aeronef at SELWG 2011

This was my favourite demonstration game at SELWG 2011 today. An aeronef battle over the Pacific Islands between American and Japanese forces.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Dwarf Bronzeclad

Dwarf Bronzeclad Battleship sails the Sea of Claws. It has launched one dirigible and a scoutboat and is preparing a second dirigible.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Dreadfleet Monsters and Cog

An undead sea dragon, a water monster and a cog. For some reason, ships boats are called auxilliaries in Dreadfleet and some are called cogs and modelled on same. It's a nice model but an oared cog with a single square sail was an early medieval coastal merchantman used in places like the Baltic. It's al very confusing. Nice models though.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Death Galley of Queen Nefertiti

The Queen of the Nile.
Sunrise finds Queen Nefertiti prowling the Sea of Bones.

The Great Dr Who Paperchase

Let the paperchase begin!

Dr Who Magazine are giving away a free army of weeping angels.

Monday, 10 October 2011

'Tis The Wraithship

'Oohh, aarrr, me 'earties. Shiver me timbers and splice the mainbrace.