Tally Ho!

Friday, 18 August 2017

28mm Arabs / Persians

With the longer summer nights my latest painting project has been progressing well. I'm working on an army that can pull a double duty - both as opponents for Early Crusaders in an upcoming Armati campaign and as fantasy Persians in Kings of War. Now the core units are complete I can progress the more fantastical elements such as flying carpets.

The historical infantry

Black Guards (FT / spears and LI / bow in Armati)

Skirmishers (SI / bow in Armati)

Arab foot (more FT / spears and LI / bows) 

Some swordsmen - these are destine to be assassins for KOW

The historical cavalry

Mix light cavalry (LC / bow or spear)

Persian heavy cavalry, destined to be Ghulams
The Kings of War elements - at this stage just some sabot bases so that the units based for Armati are usable.
Horde, Regiment and Troop sabot bases

Kings guard regiment

Arquebusier regiment

Berserker troop


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Battle of Herdonia - an Armati battle for the Punic Wars

The Battle of Herdonia took place in 212 BC when Hannibal was able to lure the impetuous Roman commander Gnaeus Fulvius Flaccus into battle on terms advantageous to him. Hannibal drew-up in a conventional battle line but was able to place light troops on the flanks of the Romans by moving them through some rough ground.

The Scenario

The Roman Army had 4x heavy divisions and 4 x light divisions:
Hastai / Principes x 6
Latin allies x 6
Skirmishers (javs) x 4
Italian cavalry x 2
Numidian cavalry x 1

The Punic army had 5 x heavy divisions and 5 x light divisions

African Veterans x 2
Punic citizerns x 4
Celts (slow) x 4
Skirmishers (javs or slings) x 6
Punic cavalry x 2
Numidian cavalry x 1
Flank march = 2 x Numidian javs, 1 x Numidian cavalry, 1 x Spanish LHI



Our deployment followed the scenario map given above. The main adjustment from the core rules was to add an extra light command to enable the effective operation of the flanking force. The towns defences and the Roman camp were both purely for show and played no part in the scenario.

Roman right - the flanked side of the line

Left of the Roman line

Roman left flank - Latins guard the camp 

Roman fortified camp in the distance

The Roman right 
At first sight the Roman position appears to be a very weak one as they are outflanked. Whilst in bad position there are three mitigations though. Firstly the Roman main battle line generally has +1 or +2 FV, the flank attack is all light troops so not as devastating as if heavy, and finally the African
Veterans are in the centre of the line so not really exploiting their manoeuvrability.

The right of the Punic line

Punic left flank

A long shot showing both sides

The flankers, Spanish and Numidians

 The Battle

Both sides moved forward with their cavalry on the flanks and the Romans proceeded full steam ahead seeking to outdistance the flankers as quickly as possible. Knowing that he as at a disadvantage in the centre Hannibal advanced cautiously, mostly to deny the Romans too much space to out run the flankers.    

On the Punic left there was a fairly long-running cavalry melee that eventually resulted in the destruction of the Punic cavalry.

Cavalry slug it out on the Punic left

On the Punic right both sets of cavalry quickly came to blows. After a few rounds the Punic's Numidian allies were able to chase-off their opposite numbers and threaten the Latin's flanks. The early death of a Punic general accompanying the cavalry was a blow but somehow they mmanaged to hang until the end of game.   

Cavalry combat on the Punic right - this would last all game
So we come to the centre of the field where the heavy infantry combat took place. The initial charge to contact was a disappointing affair for the Carthaginians with lots of "1's" along the line meaning that the Celts lost their impetus and did little damage. However all was not lost as the flanking units had arrived in the Roman rear and charged-in. 

The heavies get stuck in

Flank marchers arrive in the Roman rear
We now entered the crucial final phase of the game.  On the Roman left some good rolling saw them kill two units of Celts and so open-up a flank. On the Punic left their rear attack and a line break gave them several flanks and rears.

Romans open up a flank

Carthaginians open their flank
Ultimately the Romans flank attack proved more effective and they won the battle 5-4. we played through the end of the turn and ended 7-6 to Rome.


Its hard to pin-point any specific errors made by Hannibal in this battle, but a few thoughts occur:
  • There were three 50/50 cavalry combats and the romans Managed to win three. This cost Hannibal 3 key units (inc the dead general).
  • The flakers were nasty but not as nasty as they would have been if it was heavy troops. so the scenario was balanced in that respect.
  • The Punic's dice were either poor or amazing, but the Romans got the luck when it counted most.  
Still it was nice to fight something a little more varied than the usual up-and-down games.

This now concludes the action  in the Armati Punic Wars campaign for now. We'll be back in future with two more campaign for which we're painting madly; First Crusades and Successor states.  



Sunday, 13 August 2017

Punic Wars - Armati Campaign Week 7

Hannibal's Veterans
For this battle the chance cards threw-up a Carthaginian force that was heavy on fast moving (non-key), Celts but rather lighter on heavy units and cavalry than usual. So Hannibal's plan was to use these to exhaust the Roman heavy infantry before attacking with the main line of infantry to finish the job.



The Deployment

The Roman deployment was fairly conventional with massed cavalry on the left and the Triarii positioned to act as flank guards on the right. In main line was angled to refuse the right. 

Roman left - cavalry and lights

Roman centre

Roman right with classic wargames point
Hannibal's deployment was more interesting due to the decision to launch an assault with the Celts to weaken the Roman's main line.  The front rank was entirely of fast Celts with a second line of the heavy infantry. On the left flank was the main attacking force of cavalry and Hannibal's veterans. As a compromise the right flank was elephants and lights. Hannibal had considered deploying some heavy cavalry here too but was fearful this would leave the veterans exposed to enemy cavalry and so prevent them from launching a flank attack. The Punic heavies were in a separate command to the Celts so they could be advanced slowly with the aim of the main line and flank attacking Veterans arriving at the same time.  

Long shot of the Punic lines

Punic right - elephants and lights

Celts backed by heavies

Punic left - veterans and lights with the cavalry just visible

 The Battle

The deployment meant that both sides had a strong flanking force essentially facing an open field or weak force, so both pressed ahead on their own lefts. As Hannibal's plan depended on beating Roman centre before he was flanked, he also pressed forward quickly in the centre.
Roman left moves to attack the weak Punic right

The Celts surge forwards

The outnumbered Punic right tries to hold out

Due to their high movement speed the impetuous Celts soon came to grips with the Romans in the centre and managed to achieve a few advantageous combats on the flanks due to them be deployed wider (+1 in Armati). However the results were very disappointing for Hannibal as a series of "1s" saw the Celts make no impression and lose their impetus. 

Celts have limited impact
On the Punic right their light infantry and elephants were killed by a combined Roman assault but did manage to last a few precious rounds.  Celtic performance improved slightly and after a few turns they made some impressions into the Roman line or did at least exhaust them.

Triarii and Peltasts see off the Elephants 
Punic heavies ready for action against the tiring Romans

It was all a little too slow though as the Roman's flank attack was able to come to bear against the Punic line and cause the required 5 hits to win. So a 5-3 victory for Rome.

Romans ready to turn the flank 

Romans get into the Punic rear


It was good to try a different approach to using the Carthaginians, and the presence of lots of Celts favoured this anyway. In previous battles the Celts have proven to be damaging opponents to the Romans but on this occasion the very poor dice made them a disappointment. Never-the-less the basic plan of weakening the Romans was working, just too slowly to win the game.

In hindsight some things may have helped Hannibal:
1. A stronger right flank - perhaps placing a unit of heavy cavalry on that side.
2. Breaking-off the Celts after the first charge, although that would have lost the initiative.
3. A slightly different configuration of the heavy divisions with the Celts and heavies echeloned, but risking the HI being pulled forward by impetuous tribesmen.

Across the campaign games and scenarios its now 4-3 in favour of Rome.    

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Kings of War - game 2

This weekend I travelled down to Fishponds for my second game of Kings of War. Once again I was fielding Ratmen, this time reinforced by some Lizardmen. Most of the figures are original Warhammer from back in the early 1980's. As last time I was facing The Kin (Dark Elves).

This scenario involved both players attacking with the person getting the largest numbers of units over the halfway line at the end of the game the winner. Hordes are worth 3 points, Regiments 2 points and Troops 1 point.

Long-shot of the table


My plan was a simple one. I would refuse on my left where all the missile troops were deployed and hope to sneak them over the halfway line later. I would attack on my right with my heavy-hitting beasts and finally grind forward in the centre with my large hordes in the hopes of securing victory.
Ratmen horde and beaats

Ratmen and Lizardmen hordes

Refused left flank with missile troops
The Kin choose a very similar plan but reverse; a refused right, an attacking left and a steady advance in the centre.
The Kins left flank with most of the heavy hitters

The Kin's centre 

The Kin's refused right
After an initial advance both sides began to come in range. One of the quirks of KoW is that when charged you don't fight back immediately but must wait until the following round, assuming you are not broken by the initial charge. As The Kin on the flank were all  faster  this would mean my troops were bound to be charged first and would have to withstand an assault before they could fight back.

In the initial Kin attack the Brutes were able to hold-off and then destroy the archers, but the Ratman ogre was destroyed by the Kin's cavalry, who then rallied back.
Ratmen Brutes maul the archers
In the centre my Hordes pushed forwards looking for some targets and seeking to support the units on the left. The downside though was I would have to come within charge reach of the enemy and so inevitably be charged first. 
Ratmen centre attacks
Fortunes were mixed in the centre. The Lizardman phalanx made decent progress through the woods thanks to their Pathfinder ability and attacked 2 units to their front. The leading regiments of shock troops were charged and annihilated (ouch) with the Kin spearmen then engaging my Ratman horde. 

Lizardmen trundle forward

Ratmen shock troops are swept aside
Over on the Ratmen's left they found themselves facing waves of Kin shock troops, who with their greater move could manoeuvre into position and launch a series of attacks against the  Brutes / supporting Horde. Although they hung-on gamely they caused little damage and were broken after a round of combat.  
Brutes stand ready 
Oh dear - heavily out numbered

Ratmen get exterminated 
In the centre the Ratmen and Lizardmen suffered a bad round - despite each of their Hordes having 25 attacks they were only able to score a single hit each. With that the game was done and The Kin won again.

In KoW the battles are supposed to last 6 turns and then the victor is adjudicated. We lost count so stopped after about 2 hours play. So its possible we played rather more than 6 turns.



In this scenario The Kins additional movement with their better units was certainly an advantage, enabling them to launch the initial assaults without answer from the Ratmen. The army was also better balanced perhaps as it was designed rather than being made-up on whatever figures were available. The lesson: Regiments of hard-hitting troops with good mobility seem to be the order of the day in KoW with some cheaper dross in-front to soak the initial attacks.