Thursday, June 30, 2011

Warlord Sarmatians, Log Canoes and Peaches

 A bit of an eclectic post today.  First, I was very pleasantly surprised by a package I received yesterday from Warlord Miniatures, the contents of which consisted of 12 of the new Sarmatian Cataphracts!  The picture shows the models drying after washing.  Not the best picture, but the sculpting quality is some of the best I've seen.  The only trouble is I've only got a week to get them painted up for the Historicon game!

 The coming weekend here in the states in July 4th and one of our traditional activities is sailing.  The boat pictured is a log canoe and is a racing style boat found here on the Chesapeake Bay.  It's completely impractical as there isn't a keel, so the counter weight consists of crew members climbing out on 15' planks that are affixed to the sides of the boats - what fun!  I'm hoping for weekend that consists of sailing during the day and painting cataphracts at night.

Lastly, Our fruit trees may actually bear fruit this season!  The past two seasons we've lost all the peaches but hopefully this year we'll get some.  Our fig tree is producing a ton of figs and the apple trees appear to be in relatively good shape.  My wife tells her friends she loves to garden and likes to show of the grounds.  Of course her definition of gardening consists of telling me to do this or that, a skill that she has perfected after 24 years of marriage.

Oh well, this looks to be a busy weekend

Monday, June 27, 2011

Romans and Dacians Completed for Historicon

 Both the Roman and Dacian armies for my game at Historicon are ready to go.  I was about to repeat the term "complete" but is any wargaming army ever really complete?  The first shot shows an overall view of the table.  The Romans need to get the Emperor (in the lower left) to the fort.  The Dacians need to prevent that event from occurring. The game is being sponsored by Architects of War and appears to be the only Hail Caesar game at Historicon.   I know the scenery looks sparse, this is just a test game and we'll be adding a lot more flavor.

 The Roman field force consists of two commands, a force of battle hardened Legionaires (5 cohorts) with two command stands, one being the Emperor.

 The second Roman command consists of 2 units of Auxiliary calvary and 2 units of Auxiliary Infantry.  All of the Roman figures are from Warlord and have been painted by me.  The commander of the Roman Auxiliary group will have a difficult choice - turn to his/her left and face the oncoming Dacian light cavalry or turn to the right and support the main column against the Dacian main force.  Oh decisions, decisions...

 Lastly, there is a unit of Roman allied Gallic infantry holding the fort plus some artillery units.  I may add a 5th player to the game to command this group.

The Dacian main force consists of 6, 32 figure units of infantry, armed with the Legionnaire splitting Falx and a unit of Sarmatian heavy cavalry.  While the force looks like it could quickly overwhelm the Legionaires it has one drawback - only one command stand.  Since this game is a demo game, I wanted to showcase the command dynamics that are built into the "Hail Caesar" ruleset.

The second Dacian command consists of four units of light cavalry.  I still need to finish painting two of the figures but will get that done in the next day or so.

Here's a Legionnaires eye view of an onrushing Dacian infantry unit.  Those two handed falx's must have been terrifying.  The figures are from Warlord and were a lot of fun to paint up.  Barbarians allow for lots of color choices which is a nice relief from Roman red.

The Sarmatian heavy cavalry.  These figures are from Old Glory.  I'm looking forward to the new Sarmatians from Warlord and will likely be buying another 2 units worth to flesh out the force.

I still have a bit of play testing to balance out the rules and a lot of work to flesh out the table top scenery.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Roman and Dacian Command Stands

 The command stands for both the Romans and Dacians were finished over the weekend.  All of the figures are from Warlord.  I rather like their "dog" figures which "seem to be" inspired (in a non-copyright infringing way) from the movie "Gladiator".   Anyway they are a lot of fun to paint.

 I like how the emperor figure came out.  I used a purple wash (first time to try that) and I think it came out nicely.  The Roman section needs a bot of work.  The mile marker is from Architects of War.

 Here are some photos of the Dacian command stands.  The Dacians will out number the Romans in the Historicon game but will have some limitations due to only 2 command stands.  The group of the figures are the new Warlord Dacian command pack and they're an advanced copy.  The guy with 2 flax's was a lot of fun to paint.  My son refer's to him as a "pissed off Santa".  The calvary commander is just a Warlord Celt calvary figure with some minor modifications.

 Here's the one of the three painted Dacian infantry units (4 more are on the way).  These were very easy to do and I used the Army Painter dip rather then the GW washes.  All I need to do is scenic the bases and paint the stand.

 A completed Roman Cohort.  I hope to complete a full Legion by year end (10 Cohorts) but will have 5 done for the Historicon game.

Lastly, here are some Gauls that I purchased on E-Bay.  They will be acting as Roman mercenaries and defending the fort.  Hmmmm, I wonder if one can always trust Gallic mercenaries to remain loyal???

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Uncivil War Playtest: Prep for Historicon

 Tonight I was able to help out with play testing one of the "Uncivil War" games that Architects of War will be putting on at Historicon this year.  I will not go into a lot of details about the game so I don't spoil all the surprises.

 The game centers around a Yankee raid to gather supplies.  There are a lot of townsfolk for the Yankees to interact with and not all of them are happy to great their Northern invaders.  As the game goes on more Southern militia show up to drive the Yankees out of the town.

 The game table will feature great scenery that Ernie's games and company are well known for.  I think it will be a fun game.  There are still a few slots left for the demo game on Saturday, July 9th (games #'s 260 and 261).  The South won tonights game by shooting the horses of the supply wagon.

There are a lot of options with the rules and it's turning out to be a great structure for skirmish gaming.  I'm also making good progress on the Dacian army for my Hail Caesar game at HCON on Friday July 8th.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hail Caesar Playtest Report

Sorry no pictures of the game (I forgot to take any!).  Overall the scenario worked well, with the Romans barely eeking out a victory by getting the emperor to the fort (that was the objective).  Both sides saw a division broken after a good bit of fighting.  Hail Caesar does a great job portraying see-saw fighting and many melee engagements went for multiple turns with each side gaining then loosing the advantage.  The Dacian Infantry force eventually chased the Legionnaires from the field.  The Roman Auxiliaries did the same to the Dacian calvary.  Unfortunately for the Dacians, the Emperor managed to slip through during the fighting.

I got a lot of great suggestions from my players (Bob, Dick, Les and Mike) on how to improve the scenario for Historicon including:

- Open up the terrain to create more room for maneuver.  The forrest sections I borrowed from Ernie are very impressive but they created narrow channels that essentially dictated play and nullified some of the advantages the light calvary has.  I plan on replacing them with the superb Architects of War forrest plates, which will also be much easier to transport.  
- Add a Sarmatian heavy calvary unit to the calvary force to provide it a bit of punch
- I'll also be tweaking the Roman forces and may add an extra cohort and an unit of Auxiliary archers

Many thanks to the guys for agreeing to test the scenario and help me learn the rules (they did get a kabob dinner out of this shindig).  A special thanks to Dick and Les who also showed up with a painted Dacian infantry unit each.  I've got three done (including their two units) and it looks like I'll get all the required painting done by my game at Historicon.

Back to painting Dacians....

Friday, June 10, 2011

HCON Hail Caesar Test Game Tonight

 I just finished setting up a rough test game of my planned Historicon "Hail Caesar" demo game for a run through tonight.  The scenario has a Roman column that must get the emperor to a fort on the other side of the table.  Of course, the opposing Dacians have other, more gruesome, plans for the Emperor Trajan.  The first picture shows the Roman column strung out along an invisible (aka yet to be made) road trudging along to the fort.

 Here's a picture of their objective - a small fortified camp somewhere along the Dacian border.

 The fort is defended by some artillery units and a band of mercenary Gauls.  I'm sure that the allegiances of those Gauls is beyond reproach.

 Hey wait a minute - paper Dacians - now that's cheesey.  Sadly, the Dacians are not completed so we'll be using some paper stand-ins.  At lest there are some graphics (you'd be surprised how images of "ancient Dacians" comes up on a Google Search.  The Dacians are divided into 2 forces - a group of four light calvary at the far end of the table.

 The second, a bigger force consists of six infantry units and a unit a Sarmatian heavy calvary.  The Dacians are armed with Falx's which count as a two handed weapon and thus reduce the saving throws of my plucky Romans - very dangerous chaps.

Here's a close up of the Sarmations.  These are Old Glory figures that were painted by Pictor's Studio.  I think the did a first class job - as you can see in the next picture.
 Very nice indeed, one day my painting my come up to this quality.  I'm looking forward to the upcoming Sarmatians the Warlord will be producing.

 Speaking of painting, I have finished one Sarmation infantry unit which is still drying from being dipped.

I also received an advance copy of the new Dacian command group from Warlord - it's a fabulous set.  The guy with two Falx's is the best mini I've ever seen!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Painting Miniatures Outside

The temps outside today in Maryland are unseasonable cool today and hopefully through the weekend (mid 70's F).  It's a rare opportunity to be able to paint mini's outside in the summer and not have to race before the paint on the wet palette dries up.

I move the painting station outside this afternoon and plan to spend most of the weekend painting away on Dacians and Romans.  My goal is to at least one unit of each done by Monday.  We'll see how dedicated I am.

Have a nice weekend everyone.