Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dux Bellorum solo: Normans and Saxons.

After finishing another batch of figures I thought it was time to get the Dux Bellorum project to table. Despite not having proper Norman spearmen yet, I decided I'd have a crack at a Norman / Anglo-Saxon game, based roughly on Hastings.

The Norman army had four units of knights, one spear, two bow, a foot skirmisher and a mounted skirmisher.

The Anglo-Saxons were possessed of a hill, eight units of shieldwall infantry and two units of foot skirmishers.

Both sides had the standard complement of six leadership points that are used to do things like roll an extra attack, ignore a hit, move a unit out of sequence or improve an activation roll.

The table used was an 80 x 80 board made up for my sidelined 'One Hour Wargames' project. I played in the dining room, hence the bad lighting and assorted sofas and mess in the background. Apologies!

The game turned out about how I would have expected it: the Normans chipped away at the Saxon line on the hill with missile fire and worked on getting the knights into positions to flank the ends of the line.

Once the Anglo-Saxon skirmishers were in awkward positions the knights charged in, and although the Saxons came down off the hill when they could, the loss of leadership points due to the eliminated units meant that the Saxons were unable to shore up the line everywhere. Under pressure from attacks on both flanks and bowfire in front, the Saxons crumbled.

The nasty bowmen.

The Norman left.

The Norman right.

The end is nigh.

Thoughts: the Dux Bellorum rules again proved very good to play with. There were some nice tactical interchanges, particularly in setting up chances for advantageous missile fire, and I like the simple zone-of-control rules which allow you to fix the enemy in place to attack a flank but without leading to too much emphasis on geometrical shenanigans.

I need to tweak the armies a little, but the project seems like a winner so far, and I'm glad that I've invested time and lead into it.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Dark Age batch

It's been a while between brush strokes but there are finally some newly painted figures at house Prufrock. They are all part of my Dark Age 60mm base project and there is a real mix of figures. The bulk of them are Essex (DBA pack), but there are also a few Feudal Castings chaps and some others I don't know the make of.

These have all been done with a 'block 'em, dip 'em and forget 'em' philosophy, so you won't see any fancy stuff here, I'm afraid.

As you can see from the pictures, the basing is all over the place. I tried to give myself gradations between the huscarls, bondi and skirmish types (with a berserker base for good measure), but being realistic you might say that I don't have much clue. If you were to be more charitable, you might allow that I am 'basing to my own specifications.' It's to be hoped that it turns out to be the latter!

Most of these were primed very badly (my fault of course), so for extra durability I want to give them a satin varnish, Klear wash and matt varnish before flocking the bases.

Anyway, it's good to have something to show for the year.

By the bye, I'm not sure what make these fellows are, but they are quite clearly sculpted in a different style from the rest. If you know whose they are, I'd really appreciate it if you'd leave a comment.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Black Hat Medievals

Well, the plan to order some Black Hat 15mm medievals before the Black Hat prices go up has just come to fruition. I have no idea what rules I'll use yet, but having heard good things about their Hundred Years War range, I decided it was now or never.

I intend to use these with my 60mm wide project (5 cav, 6-10 inf per base) and have ordered enough packs to field DBA influenced 12 element armies and a bit more at that size.

Now, time to get some other painting going...

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2015 round-up.

With 2016 now seven days old I thought I'd better get in with my 2015 summary before it gets too late.

Figures painted: more than the year before. Yusss! Mind you, the year before was an abominable year for painting, even by my standards!

Games played in the hobby room: some. Changed work situation sapped the time available to play solo. It was a year for setting games up and putting them away prematurely, for reading books, and for staring vacantly at computer screens...

Books read: a lot, but most of them were novels. Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time series being the highlight. Clever, humane, witty, satirical and wise. Heaving with laughter at 2am was more frequent in 2015 than in any other year I can recall.

Music consumed: Rory Gallagher. Have barely listened to anything else this year. I came to him late, but have fallen hard. Funny how with books and music they find their way to you just when you need them most.

Gaming with others: got some in. A few blokes locally are quite keen on getting together for boardgames now, so that's been really good. A shame it's come about when I've been most pressed for time! My traditional board wargaming days with Pat numbered just one this year, I think; the traditional miniatures gaming days with Luke were, perhaps, two.

Blogging: have lost a little direction, to be honest. Have posted a quantity of rubbish this year. Down on things interesting, amusing or useful and have tried to compensate with incomplete filler.

Wargaming in general: seems rather less important than it did a few years ago. International events as well as family happenings have meant that gaming has taken more of a back seat. Unfortunately, I've let some of those other concerns slip into my blogging. My intention was always to keep the blog lighthearted, bouncy, and free of anything personal or political, but 2015 saw a little of that other stuff sneak in. Apologies!

Bought, sold or wrangled: nothing sold; quite a lot bought - not all of it clever - and some wrangled. Wrangled included an email from the editor of a mag I wrote an article for some time ago offering payment for said article. The result was a large order of high quality Crusades figures. Most decent! Another thing was a reader here gifting me a supporting membership at TMP. Very kind of you sir!

Projects: finished off the second of my late Republican Roman armies and am very happy about that. Also made a start on and got through quite a bit of my Dark Ages/1066 project. Happy about that, but the painting tailed off more towards the end of the year more than I would have liked...

Blog Readers: there has been a very loyal group of readers and some who pop in now and then to leave a well-timed comment. Thank you all very much. You know who you are, and it's greatly appreciated!

Particular satisfactions: seeing Simon Miller's To the Strongest! rules doing so well.

Final 2015 note to self (ha, as if I'll listen!): when you do finally tackle a long-stalled project, just finish the damn thing!

Cheers to everyone, and best wishes for 2016!


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Battle of Barnet on a board

I'm on a bit of a boardgame binge at the moment. Latest to the table is a War of the Roses game Blood and Roses by Richard Berg (not to be confused with Richard Borg...) and from GMT Games. Blood and Roses is the third in the 'Men of Iron' game series that focuses on battles of the Mediaeval period.

The rules to this contain features common to many games at this scale from the GMT stable:

- activation is by individual leader
- there are activation-order interrupt mechanisms
- combat uses a single d10 with lower numbers hurting the attacker and higher numbers the defender
- combat modifiers are based on troop match ups as well as local factors (terrain / disorder, etc)
- victory is decided by troops lost

Like Berg's American Civil War battle series 'Glory', this game uses neither quality modifiers (all units of a particular troop type are here treated the same) nor casualty tracking. There is a simpler morale based attrition system (disorder, retirement, elimination) instead of the casualty AND morale tracking systems found in the 'Great Battles of the American Civil War', 'Great Battles of History', or 'Musket and Pike' series.

The battle I'm going to do is Barnet; the reason being that I picked up one of Don Featherstone's books the other day for a browse and it included a Barnet scenario.

Gloucester's battle.

I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. To be honest, I'm not a great fan of the 'activate by leader' and 'you may attempt to trump said activation' system when I'm playing solo, so I don't know if I'll get through the entire battle, but you never know!

Monday, January 4, 2016

First wargame of the year.

The first game of the year for me (best wishes for the new year to all readers, by the way!) was a battle from a Second Punic War campaign I've got going which uses a modified version of Reiner Knizia's simple area control / card battle game Hannibal vs Rome for the strategic action and Lost Battles to resolve the combats generated.

This particular encounter is set in Hispania, north of the Ebro (said in one's best George Lazenby voice), and pitches a card value 5 Carthaginian army against a value 4 Roman army.

When converted into my Lost Battles OOBs, the 4 value card gives the Romans 74 points of fighting value and the 5 card produces Carthaginians with 78 points of fighting value.

Units in the Roman army: 10 x legionaries, 2 x heavy infantry, 3 x heavy cavalry, 2 x levy light infantry, 1 x light infantry, 1 x light cavalry, 1 x average commander.

Units in the Carthaginian army: 1 x veteran heavy infantry, 11 x heavy infantry, 1 x levy heavy infantry, 2 x elephants + skirmishers, 1 x levy light infantry, 1 x veteran heavy cavalry + average leader, 2 x heavy cavalry, 1 x veteran light cavalry, 1 x light cavalry, 1 x average commander.

Turn one:

Rome moves first, dominating the center with light units and moving the cavalry out onto the wings.

Carthage responds by advancing elephants and heavy infantry. Unusually, the heavy infantry is here used to screen the elephants. It costs a lot of command points but we need the jumbos fresh for use against the legionaries.

Turn two:

Rome attacks with the light infantry and scores a double hit on one zone, meaning that both the heavy infantry and the elephant are flipped to their spent sides. So much for the screen! After this the main body advances. On the Roman left the heavy cavalry charges in from a distance, but cannot do any damage. The other flank remains in place.

Carthage also advances her main infantry line into contact and most of the Roman skirmish screen is dispersed. The cavalry battle on the Carthaginian right begins well with a strong attack causing one Roman unit to become spent.

A close shot of the Roman left centre.

Turn three:

Rome makes a number of attacks but the success rate is negligible. With an attack limit of three rather than four in place for this battle, only three foot or two cavalry units can fight out of any Roman controlled zone, making it harder to score hits.

Carthage has better results, particularly in the cavalry battle on her right, where the Romans are close to breaking already.

Turn four:

Rome is still finding it difficult to manufacture successful attacks.

Carthage has no such problem: her cavalry is dominant, and the right wing breaks through.

Turn five:

Rome has some joy in the centre, scoring two hits, but it is slow going elsewhere.

Carthage's left wing now drives off the Roman cavalry opposing it. The right wing commences enveloping the Roman legionaries. The Roman infantry line is still formidable, however: half of the units are fresh and legionaries are always stubborn in a fight.

Turn six:

Rome yet again fails to press the attack conclusively.

The Carthaginian cavalry now hits the Roman line from the rear and casualties begin to mount.

Turn seven:

The Romans manage three hits this turn, but the end is coming fast: the consul is wounded while trying to prevent a rout, and the Roman centre collapses.

Turn eight:

The Carthaginian cavalry finishes the job it started, and the survivors flee.


A strong Carthaginian victory to begin the campaign against Rome. The next battle will likely be in Sicily or Sardinia as Rome tries to strike a return blow against the foe. Both sides have four battle cards remaining. Rome holds cards 1, 2, 3 and 5; Carthage cards 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Civilization before Christmas

On the day before Christmas a few of us got together to play a first game of Avalon Hill's classic boardgame, Civilization.

The Peoples in play were Italy, Thrace, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt and Africa. Proud Thrace and Cruel Assyria began in the most forthright fashion, vying between themselves for the title of best and strongest. They continued to compete for honour and glory until the Thracian in his pride was hit by a series of calamitous occurrences (internecine warfare, drought, pestilence and still others we shall not name) that brought him low.

The brown jacket of our Assyrian looks particularly wolfish in this light.

On the other side of the Mediterranean world the Pius Italians suffered grievously - twice-in-a-row grievously - from the wrath of Vulcan, which allowed my (Cartho) Africans to throw a few sacrificial youngsters to Moloch and welcome Sicily into their commonwealth of Punic perfidy.

Assyria (in pink) grown fat on the misfortunes of others (all right, and due to his magnificent grasp of the mathematical model underlying the game, but don't tell him that!).

Noble Egypt - plagued somewhat by accounting difficulties - and the Virtuous Woman of Babylon made do the best they could, but as the sands in the hourglass were dribbled first this way then that way it was the Cruel Assyrians who arose the deserved victor.

The Hand of Babylon...

It was a lot of fun and a rare thing in this day and age to find a group of people willing to get together and have a crack at a game this immense. Well done to all the participants!

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