Sunday, 16 September 2018

Huge, enormous and very good

Since late 2016 we have played some very good games, involving an enormous number of figures. They were all very, very good meetings with a lot of good things happening. Genius that I am, I won them all.

This post will showcase these things, very good things, that have not yet been reported. It's going to be a huge post, chiefly a pictorial summary of each game, with only the simplest commentary.

ContentsBattle of Laüs, 390 BCBattle of Mt Vesuvius, 73 BCSpartacus v LentulusBattle of Sahay, 24th May 1742Hundred Years War—fictitiousCaesar's first invasion of Britain—redux 1 & 2Battle of Sentinum 295 BCBattle of Agincourt, 25th October 1415Kolín 260 + 20—Carry-on up the KaiserstrasseLate Republican Roman-allied v SuccessorPyrrhus v CarthageBattle of Asculum, 279 BCBattle of Chaeronea (86 BC)Successor v GaulsBattle of Hexham 1464Battles of Shrewsbury and Harrowgate (fictitious), 1403

Battle of Laüs, 390 BC

We played two games of this battle on 19th November 2016, using Impetus rules. Mark used that 'book of wargames' inspiration', John Drogo Montagu's "Greek and Roman Warfare: Battle, Tactics and Trickery" to design the scenario.
Extract (poor quality, sorry) from Montagu's book outlining the battle

I took the Lucan forces first, while Mark was commander of the Thurian (Greek) forces. We then swapped over.

In the first version,

Lucans at left, Thurians at right.

Thurii commander not having a good day; down one command level.

Surprise! Lucans descended the slopes to the left and right of the Thurii.

Phalanx rolled on.

The flank attacks were parried.

The hoplites engaged and steadily wore down the Lucan infantry...
... to breaking point.

Second time around,

Thurii began on a narrower frontage.

Surprise (again)!

Hoplites engage.

It was a closer run thing the second time, but a Thurii victory nonetheless.

So, two games of the battle and a Thurii (Greek) win in both, contrary to the history. Most likely the Lucans should have been more numerous and it was this, plus the quality of the hoplite phalanx, which won the day--twice!

Good fun, as ever, and always enjoyable when there is time and inclination to play a game twice.

Battle of Mt Vesuvius, 73 BC

I picked up some gladiator figures which let me feed my 'Spartacan' bug. Having painted some sufficiently (to my now-all-too-common 3/4 completed stage) we 'blooded' them with a game of the first battle of the third servile war.

This game was played on 3rd December 2016, using Impetus rules. Mark took the Spartacans, me the Romans.

Praetors Claudius Glaber and Publius Varenus with 3 000 troops (Rome's town militia) faced off 10 000 Spartacans who had gathered on Mt Vesuvius.
The gladiators and slaves rushed down from the hill to attack the Romans...
... surrounding and defeating them in detail.

So, our game largely followed the recorded history,
Varinius Glaber was sent against Spartacus, then Publius Valerius. Both of these, leading not regular legionnaires, but “forces picked up in haste and at random” were beaten. Spartacus captured Varinius’ horse, nearly capturing the general in the process.
The Civil Wars, Book I. In. Appian’s Roman History. Volume III. Chap XIV. pp 215–227.

Spartacus v Lentulus

Mt Vesuvius having played out well, but in short order, we re-set the troops and played a quickly composed game of the battle between Spartacus and Lentulus, once again using Impetus.

This was much like a 'regulation' ancient battle.
Cavalry combats on each flank.

The legionaries advanced.

Some of the Spartacans wore captured legionary armour and clothing.
 Facing regular legionaries, the Spartacans came off second best.
The 'design on the run' of this scenario meant that it was not as well constructed as it might have been. An enjoyable game nevertheless.

Battle of Sahay, 24th May 1742

Another scenario from Grant's Refighting History, in this case Volume 2.

We played our game of this battle on 3rd December 2016, using Zimmermann's "The Wargamer's Handbook" with adaptations for 18th Century games.
(You may just be able to guess which side I was on.)

 L'armee française

 The evil Austrians!

 The French army advanced.

Austrian cav. trying to be tricksy on the French right.

 The French infantry march on inexorably.

 Cav. mêlée on the French left, with success for les francaises.

 Turn 3 was set for a biggie.

 First firefight in favour of the French.

The next exchange of musketry was more even, but the Austrians, being at 1/4 losses, needed to take an army withdrawal test.

This they failed and we celebrated appropriately!

Hundred Years War—fictitious
25th Feb 2017

Wilko decided to scratch is mediaeval itch. This was the first game using the figures which he had expanded with the addition of some recently painted Warhammer knights and Perry foot.

We played the game twice, firstly Julian (English) and Mark (French) and then me taking Julian's place, but as the French commander, in the second outing. The photo report is of the second game.

Knnnnnights everywhere!!

French skirmishing crossbowmen sent to inflict some damage on the English line.
Some sent around the English right flank.

The 'skirmishers' were completely unsuccessful.

Flank attack blunted by English knights.

On came the main French lines.

We are the knights who say "charge!"

The French commander could not lead his horsemen to success.

Caesar's first invasion of Britain—redux 1 & 2

Redux 1
We once again played a game of Caesar's first invasion of Britain, using the Impetus rules We employed a few scenario tweaks; chiefly having the Britons begin further back from the beach.

Same result as previously. Under Impetus, the Romans being disordered in the ocean is too much of a disadvantage.

Redux 2
On 25th March 2017 it was on again; this time using some 'new' rules!

This time a clear Roman victory--yippee! Chalk one up for Zimmermann. The disorder losses in Impetus seem to be the cause of the inability to recreate Caesar's landing. Always problematic to me, especially when they come as a 'winning loss' (i.e. one passes the discipline test but still receives a loss). A failing of the rules, or merely a change of scenario design required?

Battle of Sentinum 295 BC
6th May 2017, using the 'new' Zimmermann rules.
Venue, figures an' all courtesy of Wilko!

Sentinum was the final, decisive battle of the Third Samnite War and a major Roman victory.

The armies deploying:
Gauls on the right, Samnites on the left.

Roman cavalry attacked.

Legionaries advanced.

Warbands need luck and they had none this day.

The Gallic left flank n'existe plus!

With their allies defeated, the Samnites withdrew.

Roman victory: Gauls 1/2 losses, Samnites 1/4, Romans 1/3.

Battle of Agincourt, 25th October 1415

 'Twas a foggy St Crispin's morn.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

The French advanced.

Mounted men at arms attacked on each flank.

Unsuccessfully in both cases.

The French dismounted men-at-arms and heavy foot drive for the English centre.

Harry was killed—unnoticed in the fury of the mêlée!

A crisis in the English centre.

They held though and French losses mounted up until their break-point was reached.

As we had not been able to charge in the mounted men-at-arms, we had an extra, unofficial turn and in they went, only to be roundly defeated.

Kolín 260 + 20—Carry-on up the Kaiserstrasse

We played this game of the Battle of Kolín (18th June 1757) two-hundred and sixty years (plus 20 days) after the original battle.

Wilko, our C18th specialist** set this one up.
**He has even been heard to say that he prefers C18th wargaming over the real stuff (i.e. Napoleonic). I know, dear reader, such blasphemy should result in expulsion or at least reprogramming à la "A Clockwork Orange"!!

 Panorama of the table

 Old Fritz on the Kaiserstrasse, outside the inn.

 Initial Prussian attack 'unearths' some pandours.

Cavalry mêlées on either flank...
and in the centre.

The Prussian infantry drive for the 'hinge'.

Prussian "high-water mark".

Frederick just simply did not have sufficient troops. Seeing their opportunity, the Austrians counter-attacked, beginning with a right-hook.

Game results

Austrian victory
Prussian 120, Austrian 83
Victory points
Prussian 31 Austrian 18

Late Republican Roman-allied v Successor
1st September 2017

Mark put together this fictitious scenario to enable us to use Zimmermann Ancients with many troop types.
Mark's scythed chariots went awol and charged one of his phalanxes (which saw them off).

His elephant failed to charge, but mine went in!

It was going so well for me and then all ended badly. Mark charged his elephants once more and they got in. I decided to stand with velites, to break the attack up a bit. Bad choice. They got beaten, ran away, lost command and half of my legionaries decided to go with them—a low, 1 in 3 chance that occurred for 3/4 of those that tested! You get that. Mark had had all the poor luck until then...!

His new phalanxes came through okay.

A fun night out.

Pyrrhus v Carthage
7th October 2017

My Carthaginians got the better of mêlées in the centre.

Pyrrhus' left crumbling (and not much better on the right).

Elephants hoping to turn the game!

Victory to Carthage!

Pyrrhus on his white charger sent packing along with his bodyguard cavalry, despite being victors of three mêlées!

Great game, thanks to Wilko who supplied surtout!

Battle of Asculum, 279 BC
10th Nov 2017

 Pyrrhus vs Republican Romans

Early cavalry mêlées.

The main lines go in.

It was blow and counter-blow.

Julian having to leave, Mark and I continued into the night

Romans retreated from the field.

Roman 188, plus four standards captured
Pyrrhic 144

A classic Pyrrhic victory!

Battle of Chaeronea (86 BC)
18th Nov 2017

Sulla v Archelaus (a general of Mithridates). Giving Impetus a roll.

Could Sulla repeat the bona fide 'history' in which 10 000 Mithridatic soldiers were killed for the loss of 12 Romans. MacGyver eat your heart out!

Oh dear. A huge Pontic victory lead by the Galatians cleaning up the Roman right flank. Even the late, lucky capture of Archelaus (on the hill) did nothing to blunt their enthusiasm!

Battle of Hexham 1464
13th Jan 2018

Wilko was inspired by an article in Miniature Wargames, using a 'new' set of rules that he found, on his shelf...

Brave York fellows advance to attack the Lancastrian usurpers!

Coming to grips

York ascendant. Grey routed, as was Greystoke. Somerset killed, his command routed. Mêlée on-going 'tween Willoughby and Grey.

It's all over. Willoughby's Yorkists were broken in mêlée, but Grey was killed and his command also routed.

In the centre, Montague's boys enjoyed hacking into Somerset's fleeing troops.

Successor v Gauls
10th Feb 2018

We played a fictitious game of Successors v Gauls as a test of the rules "The Die is Cast" (free version).

Chariot attack!

Elephant eliminated by a warband?!

Now turn 4 and it was getting hot in the centre.

The outnumbered Gauls in the centre-left of this photo failed a test, *not* because of their situation, but purely and simply due to a bad die roll.

Turn 7: game over. Successor victory.

The rules were *okay* for four turns, but the glitches and difficulties became more apparent as turns became more involved. As you get tired you are less tolerant of rules, but also see more of the silliness. For all the testing, failing morale was more to do with die roll than situation.

Battles of Shrewsbury and Harrowgate (fictitious), 1403
30th June & 28th July 2018

The King Henry IV's men move to attack Henry (Harry) Hotspur Percy (junior)'s men on the ridge.

Young Harry, the Prince, was losing contingent commanders and forces quicker than you could say...

Then it was Hotspur's turn as Blackadder (!) hit the dust.

On the King's right, Stafford pressed on.

King Henry advanced his centre contingent,

while Stafford was making headway on the right against Umpriville.

Aerial view of the battle at its peak. The King's men in mêlée at top left and centre. Douglas, having seen off the Prince, stood ready to strike.

Disaster for Percy's right; Umpriville was slain and his contingent retreated.

Douglas mounted up his knights and struck at the Prince's fleeing men.

Hotspur's men were beaten in the centre and withdrew.

Percy had been defeated, but not decisively and, most importantly, remained 'at large'.

Part two: Battle of Harrowgate (fictitious), 1403

The failure of the King to win a conclusive victory at Shrewsbury lead Mark and Julian to consider what would happen next. So it was that they designed a fictitious follow-up battle near the town of 'arrowgate. The King had put out a call for more troops and so was reinforced, though with fewer men-at-arms, while Percy (Hotspur) was joined by his father and his forces.

Here's something new (stakes). King's men in defence.

Daddy Percy trying to do better than the young fella.

Suffolk pushed back on the right, Norfolk held on left. King Henry IV now attacked in centre too.

A good round for the King. All Percy forces bettered or parried. Most importantly Douglas and Talbot have come over all dead!

Weeeell, Norfolk's men rout, Norfolk and Mowbray captured, but the King and Suffolk still holding strong, despite the loss of Chirleton.

Brave Sir Umpriville runs away (tactical withdrawal actually), while it's Percys v Henrys in the guts.

The Percys defeated. Centre routs, left joins them, but ex-Douglas' troops withdraw with Norfolk and Mowbray as captives, but...

Percy snr and jnr captured by the King and Prince.

Julian’s epilogue: The King graciously pardons Percy, Norfolk rejoins the throng, and the throne is secure. Hurrah!

Congratulations if you have made it this far!

This post brings us up-to-date with all of our past games; save for Jena, which I will be the subject of a separate post, and Turin that Julian is drafting.


  1. James! This is a real tour d'force of gaming! So many games, so many different rules, all delivered in rapid fire succession. My senses are overloaded! I will be returning to this post to savor these works.

    Great stuff!

  2. That's some post James! I will be returning for bite size chunks, great photos as ever.

  3. Thank you gents, that is most kind. It's really *too* much for one post, so apologies are in order, but having had them 'sitting around' so long as headings in draft, I decided to just get on and do a post of them all^, as a record for our own memories! :) There was the factor of distraction from more pressing matters as well... (ha,ha).
    (^Hopefully being mainly pictorial allows me to get away with it to some extent...)

  4. Now THAT is a LOT of BIG games, James! Glad you have not been idle these past 2 years!

  5. We had a "tremendous" amount of fun Peter ;)
    Most credit to Mark whose painting output and desire to scratch his various non-Napoleonic itches enabled the majority of what is posted here.

  6. A rich post James. I needed a lie down half way through. Some beautiful looking games, the Battle of Laüs was just amazing, the WAS and 7YW ones too especially. I'm guessing Veni vedi veci rules are out.

    1. Well done on making it to the end. I'm not surprised; I had to push through a couple of barriers when doing it!
      Yeah, Veni Vedi Vici would need to have had a complete re-write to allow it to 'trouble the scorers' again!