Really Big Warhammer Fantasy Battle Saturday, Aug 28 2010 

WFB 8th edition, Good vs Evil, nearly 15,000 points!  Given 25 years of collecting, you too can achieve this!

Click on the picture to go to a slideshow on Picasa, which I swear I will never use again as it has got to be the most unintuitive, clunky way of handling pictures ever devised by evil imps bent on the destruction of human mental health.  Just when you think Google is poised to run everything, they prove that they too can SUCK at something!

Warhammer 8th edition: 15,000 points

And it seems equally clear that I need to figure out how to turn off’s automatically generated, possibly related posts, which are faff.


Lovely Vintage ECW Battle Report Saturday, Jul 31 2010 

This is a lovely account of a table top English Civil War battle from 1977, on Vintage Wargames.

Off to do a Basic Baroque game tonight, armed with two bottles of Sea Dog.

Happy Gaming,


Back to Basics… Basic Impetus, that is Tuesday, May 18 2010 

28mm Punic heavy infantry miniatures

Franaine's veteran Punic infantry, the best looking unit in the game.

We are back to playing Basic Impetus, wargame of choice for me. I’m still surprised at what a taut, interesting game BI produces and usually in well under 2 hours.

Our last two match ups were Carthage vs. Rome. Both ended as decisive Roman victories. With VBUs of 6 and pila, the Legions are just brutal. I’m guessing that a Carthaginian victory requires a bit more finesse and a bunch more luck.  For now, though, we are going to try out Force on Force for a change of pace. So the rematch will have to wait.

I think that what I like about BI is that the restrictions on movement mean that your moves really matter. There is a surprising amount to think about, for such a simple rules set.

The other thing that seems to work well is the uncertainty of how much damage you will take in a combat — flub a cohesion test and your unit is GONE.  In reading the rules, I really doubted it would work. Yet it really does. There are usually great swings of fortune in the game and issue is exciting, without becoming arbitrary. I’m surprised. I really thought I’d prefer a game that allowed for a slow incremental wearing down of opponents.

I remember reading on Geektactica that he was back to playing Basic Impetus instead of Impetus. At the time, I thought “How could he stand to do that?” But BI is a very good game in its own right. Especially when you consider it is free. And you could get a pretty satisfying army out of two boxes of 1/72 figs, or about $20.

Sorry to sound like I’m the Impetus salesman. Really, I’m not on commission!

Wars of the Roses Battle Report Sunday, Jan 24 2010 

The forces arrayed at the startI finally got the pictures posted on Flickr.  Go here to view them. There are descriptions of the flow of the battle with each picture.

Or you can click slideshow, then click show info once at the slideshow.

This was just a great game!  I enjoyed it so much, I raced home and spent $152 online at Black Tree Design for a range of medievals.  Looking forward to the day they show up.


For those not Flickr inclined. Here’s a quick recap.

We set up the usual way, but with a smaller than usual table. This may not have worked in my favour since I had light cavalry who didn’t have room to move without being showered with arrows. Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, given that I set them up in the centre of my line and couldn’t get them to the flanks. I find I have a gift for being as incompetent as the historical commanders!

Franaine wanted to have a mostly infantry force, so only had one unit of mounted nobles. He also had four shooty units to my two. And he was using the Wars of the Roses Tudor list while I was using the Tudor Wars list, so my longbow weren’t as good.  However, my horse were all Bretonnians standing in as historical figures so were particularly dashing, brave and disdainful of bowfire.

At least they were before the shooting started.

Franaine pushed forward quickly and the arrows started taking out the horse FAST. In fact, it looked at the start that we might get two games in that evening, if I was up for two good trouncings.

At the same time, his troops were out of range of mine or screened by his skirmishing handgunners. Both skirmishing and using gunpowder against my horse! How thoroughly unsporting! My return fire was ineffectual against the skirmishers.

And then, things turned as they so often do in Basic Impetus. The longbow on my left took out his French mercenary crossbow and another unit, while the billmen on my right braved the gunfire to cut the skirmishers down.  The last of my four units of horse, with the General, seemed impervious to all missiles and projectiles and thundered straight at their tormentors. Oh, it was satisfying!

And then…

Another BI swing of fate: the charging general and his retainers couldn’t beat the longbows in hand to hand. My billmen were fighting admirably, but were also blocking the line of fire of half of my longbows. The other longbows had run out of targets. The other bills were slowly, so slowly trying to catch up with the general. My offensive ground to a halt. Satisfyingly, it was not just a result of the dice rolls, but because of my deployment and because of my moves. Franaine was outfighting me, pure and simple.

Worse, Franaine does this irritating thing: he keeps a reserve.

Sure enough, my general eventually routed the bowmen, only to be charged by Franaine’s horse and swept from the table.

In the end, I came within a point of breaking his force. It turned into a tense and interesting game, even though it looked like it would be a cake walk at the start. This seems to keep happening in our BI games, I am happy to report.

Happy Gaming,


Basic Baroque ECW pictures and battle report Sunday, Jan 17 2010 

I’ve put our first Basic Baroque game up on flickr. The picture quality ain’t great, but it gives a feel for the game.

To view:

  • Go to the ECW photo set.
  • Then click ‘slideshow’ in the upper right.
  • Then click ‘show info’ in the upper right, to get the battle report.
  • You might need to change your options to slow it enough to read.

It was a fun game, I have to say.

ECW ‘Basic Baroque’ game Sunday, Jan 10 2010 

Faint heart never kissed a pig!

Well, Basic Impetus produced another enjoyable nailbiter of a game last night!

This time we played an English Civil War battle using the Basic Baroque rules. We had Scottish Covenanters facing Late Royalists outside of a small town somewhere in northern England.  The spoils of war were — what else? — a six-pack of Newcastle brown ale.  So it was a hard fought battle.

I took the Royalists, anchoring my right on the village. I put my cannon in the middle of a nice ploughed field that would slow down and disorder any Scots who might charge it. The cannon dictated my strategy entirely.  The Scots had none, so I thought I’d let them come to me and get blasted to smithereens as they did so.  This would come to haunt me.

The Covenanters facing me consisted of five Pike & Musket infantry regiments, with two units of cavalry on each flank. My three pike&musket were better shots, but not as good at ‘push of pike’. My Galloper cavalry were clearly superior to his, though again I had only three to his four.

Battle is joined

I won initiative and didn’t move a thing, letting Franaine come to me. Having surrendered the initiative, I lost it every turn but one thereafter.

The Scots advanced all along the line. At first my cannon did little, but in the second round they took out a unit of his lancers on my right. On my left, my Gallopers with General attached charged his reiters and swept them from the field. I found myself stuck in front of his advancing infantry, too close to my own table edge to do the double retreat movement. Allowing him to advance was a mistake for my cavalry, who did not have room to manoeuver. In game terms, there must have been a river or forest to their backs. In the real world… our table was a bit small for 28mm at 3.5 feet across and a bit over 5 foot wide.

Since retreating wasn’t an option and about facing then moving would see the cav get shot to pieces, I decided to charge the infantry on the Scottish right. We rather liked the idea of the infantry being able to shoot at cavalry charging them frontally, so used that rule (even though it technically is part of only Impetus, not Basic Impetus). On top of it, the cavalry don’t get their impetus bonus when charging pike and the pike&musket units end up having a VBU of seven vs their six.  All in all, we conspired against Royalist success!

Still, it made for a taut game. My cavalry charged repeatedly and were repulsed repeatedly.

Elsewhere, my infantry were acquitting themselves well, despite being outgunned. They drove off the Covenanter cavalry on my right, as well as a unit of pike and musket. The way that the shooting table works, it makes as much sense to move in close as it does to stand and shoot. So I pushed my infantry forward aggressively, knowing I needed to do some real damage before losing my cav.  Initially, this didn’t work well. I screened my own guns and rolled miserably for two consecutive turns of musketry.

At this point, the Covenanter general’s unit had neared my line. It was fresh, accompanied by the general, and his musket modifier of -2 meant that he had a further point of VBU advantage on me in melee. I quite sportingly pointed this out to Franaine, but he was already well ahead of me. His infantry charged forward to push of pike.

It was a truly satisfying seesaw battle. First he drove me back, then I pushed him back, then he regained the upper hand, and finally my men prevailed. Or at least the survivors did — my unit was down to a VBU of 1, just barely able to fight.

Throughout this, my cavalry charged, retreated and charged and retreated.

When I lost my second cavalry unit, though, I was done.

Thoughts on the game

Once again, we have the really rather simple Basic Impetus rules producing a fine game in yet another historical era. Once again, I came within one point of breaking Franaine’s force. Once again, there were great swings of fortune (Franaine thought he was toast after losing two units so quickly on turn three… but thereafter had the upper hand). Once again, there were epic combats — the push of pike in the centre and the repeated cavalry charges on my left. Once again, we were able to finish a game by 11:30… instead of the usual 2 a.m. finish when we play Warhammer.

All in all, I am pretty impressed.

We did have some rules questions, which I will post about on the Impetus forums.

Happy gaming,