Sunday 25 March 2012

Seven Years War Non-project Begins

I'm going to call this pile of lead a non-project. What is the difference between a project and a non-project? A project supersedes all other painting and is the focus of paintbrush attention; a project has a finishing date; a non-project has neither.

Although a lot of the pile constitutes new units (perhaps 30) a good deal will be used to upgrade infantry units from 16 figures to 24 figures. I have never been happy with the basing method decided on by the Ilkley Lads, though it did get lots of units on the table quickly, but I conformed. Now I choose to rebel!!!!

Below are some shots of the first two 24 man units, each with 8 newly painted figures attached to them. The first photo shows before and after. Before, the figures were based 4 to a stand measuring 40mm frontage by 50mm deep. Now they are based 6 to a stand measuring 45mm frontage and 50mm deep. I think you will agree that the density (50% more figures on an extra 12% frontage) is much more SYW looking.

My first target will be to upgrade enough units to play scenario 12, Flank Attack, Scenarios for Wargamers, by Charles Grant. It is based on Leuthen. The forces will be Prussian (red) Vs Russian (blue) with cavalry increased by 50%. It shouldn't take too long to knock out the units.

Thursday 22 March 2012

The Battle of Arpi - initial deployments.

The Battle of Arpi will not be fought for two weeks due to my son's birthday falling on next wek's wargaming night. But, as a taster, I offer you some photos of the initial deployments. A full battle report, including characterisation card draws, etc. will follow the battle being fought out.

Punic War campaign - Map moves mid 217 BC to early 215 BC

This is the situation map following the Battle of Ariminum. It is mid 217 BC.
Rome plays card 56 to restore lost political control of two regions following the Battle of Ariminum.
Carthage plays card 33 and moves Mago and Hasdrubal to Dertosa and Hannibal to Beneventum.
Rome restores more political control with card 49.
Carthage plays card 27 as an event to sway Romes allies away from it. It flips two control markers to blue [Carthage].
Rome plays card 3 to gain control of neutral areas in Spain.
Carthage plays card 26 as an event and Syracuse switches allegiance to it.
The next two cards are both Roman. Using card 63 P. Scipio sails for the Balearic Islands then, using card 40, takes political control of them and further areas in Spain.

The situation at the end of 217 BC.

Both sides, as you will see, will spend 216 BC, the historical year of Cannae, consolidating their positions without a major battle.

The elected consuls, both in Rome, will be Nero and Paulus.

Of 216 BC, the most famous words of Scrotivius deal with etymology.
 "..and the people of Tarentum, seeing the Carthaginians about their city, feared for the safety of their homes, children and prosperity. They beseached the garrison to surrender, but the garrison commander, called Nutsicus, refused. The people of Tarentum rose up in a mad and distressed panic and slaughtered the garrison; then they opened the gates. Now, when children in Rome become distressed and unruly, it is said they are throwing a Tarentum."
Using card 50 (Adriatic Pirates) Mago sets sail for Tarentum.
Rome plays card 51 and Hannibals army is hit by an epidemic causing 1 CU loss.
Hannibal, using card 6, marches to join Mago. 
Scipio, using card 1, sails to Malaca in southern Spain.
Tarentum falls to treachery (see the words of Scrotivius above) on card 18.
Rome uses card 25 to gain political control of Malaca.
Hasdrubal moves to Salaria on card 52.
His sortee over, Scipio sails on card 34 to Emporiae.
Hannibal moves to Heraclea on card 17.
Rome extends political control of neutral regions on card 53.
Carthage sparks a revolt on Sicily with card 2.
Rome regains control of two of the revolting regions on Sicily with card 5.
Carthage uses card 43 to take control of the remaining two regions on Sicily.
Rome uses diplomacy (card 36) to exert further political control.
The situation at the end of 216 BC.

I'm sorry, about the jaunty angle of the pic, but it will not load to the blog the right way up! 

Marcellus is elected to the consulship and Nero gets a second term.
215 BC begins with Hannibal recruiting troops in Bruttium (card 13).
Rome recruits auxiliaries in Campania (card 48).
Carthage uses card 37 (Minor Campaign) to Split hannibals force. Hannibal marches to Arpi whilst Mago attempts to sail from Croton to Sicily but fails to leave port.
Marcellus leaves Rome at the head of a large well trained army. Hannibal fails to intercept, but Marcellus attacks him anyway.
The Battle of Arpi.

The area here is hilly. Looking at the area around modern San Giovanni Rotondo (41,42,21N 15,43,36E) on google earth you get a good idea of the terrain we will fight the battle on.

this is the biggest CU battle we have had up to this point. Consequently, we have decided to make the battle quite big. The Romans will field 3 legions (plus ala) instead of the usual 2.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

On the agenda today............

Now that all of the Punic War figures have been painted ( I am casting my mind to what I want to do next. Surprisingly perhaps, or perhaps not, I am not going to embark on a new project. Instead I am going reduce my lead pile and revamp some old collections and finish some non-projects. I'm not going to tackle any of them start to finish. Instead, over the next two or three years, I'm going to swap from one to another as the mood and scenarios take me.

First lead pile. This is my WWII non-project. Things for the Desert November 1941 - January 1942.

This 15mm scale collection, which is short the Italians at present, was supposed to fill the times when I am bored of painting 28mm men. I've painted about 60 packs since this photo was taken. Unfortunately, I've added at least another 60.
The second lead pile. Italian War collection additions.

Until Christmas last, when a kind relative gave me 100 new TAG Italian figures, this pile was almost exclusively purchased from ebay. There are about 450 figures here. They are mainly Italian pike, and arquebusier and crossbowmen of various types. To this pile I will add about another 50 cavalry (mainly light) and another 250 or so pike.
The third lead pile. 1:144 World War I aircraft and 1:600 gallies. Another non-project (WWI) and some fleet additions. 

45 models all told. The aircraft have been sat in a box for over 5 years. It's time I did something about them. 
The fourth lead pile. Seven Years War collection additions.

Like the Italian Wars stuff, this lot was obtained from ebay over the last 5 or 6 years. They are Foundry with some Front Rank. Initially I was collecting stuff to build my existing infantry units up from 16 to 24 man units - keeping army size the same. I went a little mad. There are about 700 infantry and 125 cavalry here; to which, to balance up the armies (Prussia, Russia, Austria) I need to purchase another 150 infantry 10 guns, and 72 cavalry.

Of all the piles, this is the one I'm most looking forward to tackling. This is partly because, at first, I will be adding to existing units (I only need to paint 8 figures to get a unit of 24). But, mostly I'm looking forward to reducing this pile because I have a hankering for some big horse and musket battles.

I'll tackle the Prussians and Russians first. The infantry figures I still need to purchase are entirely Austrian. I wonder if Austrians don't appear much on ebay because I miss them; because people always paint the Austrians they buy; or because people don't buy Austrians so have none to sell - one to ponder.

This morning, in a rare spare moment, I spray undercoated 16 Prussian infantry and hand undercoated (in Humbrol 225) 12 Panzer tanks. We are underway!!!!!

Sunday 18 March 2012

The Battle of Ariminum 217 BC (note ammended battle result)

The Roman centre advances slowly. The Carthaginians counter with a bold move on their right.

The Carthaginian move causes the Romans to dispatch an ala to counter it.
Hannibal's newly found Gallic allies occupy the woods.
The Romans know that time is against them. The legions go forward (with a triple move). 
The Gauls in the woods charge. The effect, charging into the flank of the legionaries or downhill upon them is too much for the Romans.
The demise of the Roman left has begun. 
The Gallic hordes.
The fight becomes general along the entire front. The Carthaginians keep rolling maximum die results - the Romans die by the hundred. 
The Roman withdrawal begins. 
The Romans in the foreground are the only ones that will escape.

With so few Romans escaping, and the Carthaginians in such fine fettle, it was decided to declare the result a 4 card battle with a double envelopment finish. Note that the Roman result has been ammended due to the rules being misread initially.

The Romans rolled badly on the battle casualty table and took 2 CU casualties. Then they rolled very badly on the retreat table - the army was destroyed completely in the resulting rout. Fabius was displaced.

Hannibal was unlucky, he rolled a 6 and lost 2 CU and both elephant CU. His army now only musters 6 CU - for the first time in this campaign I feel a bit exposed, but I have a cunning plan.

Gunny noticed that I'm using a different set of morale chip cards than that published in MW. I sent the wrong copy off for publication. The deck has the same 'characterisation' cards but the chip cards we are using are:

6 x 6 MC
10 x 8 MC
10 x 10 MC
6 x 12 MC
6 x 14 MC
3 x 16 MC
1 x 20 MC

Saturday 17 March 2012

Punic Wars figures painted

I started to paint stuff for this project in September 2009 - certainly by mid October I had painted 200 figures. Today I finished painting the last figure for my 2nd Punic War collection and tacked it to its base. There is still some basing left to do, but at least the figures are now finished. So how many are there? Roll call!

The Romans:
8 x 24 figure units of hastati,  8 x 24 figure units of principes, 8 x 12 figure units of triarii, 8 x 12 figure units of velites, 8 x 8 figure units of cavalry, and 7 command stands with 5 cavalry figures and 10 infantry figures in total. Total figures: 655 (including 74 cavalry).

The 'Africans':
8 x 24 figure units of Libyan spearmen, 1 x 24 figure unit of Numidian 'Roman trained' infantry, 7 x 8 figure units of Numidian and Libyan javelinmen, 2 x 8 figure units of 'Greek' archers, 8 x 8 figure units of Numidian cavalry, 1 x 8 figure unit of Carthaginian cavalry, 4 x elephants plus attendant crew (24 figures), and 6 command stands with a total of 11 cavalry and 2 infantry figures. Total figures: 397 (including including 83 cavalry) plus 4 elephant models.

The Spanish:
15 units of Scutarii in units of 22 to 24 figures each (341 figures total), 8 units of caetrati in units of 11 or 12 figures each (92 figures total), 4 x 8 figure units of Balearic slingers, 6 x 8 figure units of cavalry, and  5 command stands with a total of 9 cavalry and 2 infantry figures. Total figures: 524 (including 57 cavalry).

The Gauls:
18 x 22 figure units of warband, 10 x 8 figure units of cavalry, 4 x units each of 3 chariots (24 crew), 4 x 8 figure units of sling and bow armed skirmishers, and 6 command stands with a total of 4 cavalry, 8 infantry and 1 chariot with 2 crew. Total figures: 546 figures (including 84 cavalry) plus 13 chariot models.

Grand totals:
2122 men
324 horses
4 elephants
13 chariot models

I'm not sure, but I don't think I'll ever tackle this many figures as a single project again. By the end of it I hated every last one of the little bastards. Now that the painting is done I can relax and enjoy playing with them for the rest of my life.

Thursday 1 March 2012

The Battle of Ariminum

The Carthaginians draw 9 Army Characterisation Deck cards. They draw 75 morale chips, a 'deft cavalry, command' card and a 'stratagem' card for which an '8' was drawn for definition - 'Rally again'. 
Carthaginian right. Numidian cavalry, Gallic cavalry and elephants.

We decided to define the hill as a 'type I + cover' hill. This means that it is fairly easy to traverse but not that easy to fight on.

The wood is a 'type II + cover' terrain feature.

The stream is 'type I + firm bed'.
The Carthaginian centre. Two commands comprising Gallic warriors and Spanish / African troops. 
The Carthaginian left. Elephants, Numidians and Spanish cavalry.

The ridge is 'type I'. The boggy ground is 'type III'.
The Romans draw 6 Army Characterisation Deck cards. They draw 46 morale chips, a 'look sir, army morale' card and a 'like hail, missilery' card.

The Roman left: Allied cavalry. 
 The Roman centre: The legions.
Roman right: Roman cavalry.

Some Campaign Rules

OK. There are the forces deployed. Now here are some rule of thumb rules that we have come up with for CU and officer quality conversion for an Ager Proelii table-top battle.

CUs are fairly easy. The unit integrity value of a Roman consular army (68) plus any for special allied units is divided by the CU total. This is the multiplier for Carthaginian unit integrity - CU x multiplier - plus any elephants.

Officer quality is dealt with in the following way. We think this might work well, but it does need some testing.

Battlefield quality 1: D8 C-in-C plus D8 sequence deck. No Roman troops count as armoured. Spanish troops are not swift, Gallic troops are not fierce, Numdians are not specialist.
Battlefield quality 2: D10 C-in-C plus D10 sequence deck. Triarii count as armoured. Roman (not allied) infantry are stubborn.
Battlefield quality 3: D12 C-in-C plus D12 sequence deck. Triarii and principes count as armoured, Roman (not allied) infantry are stubborn. Spanish troops (for Carthage) are veteran.
Battlefield quality 4: D12 C-in-C plus D12* sequence deck. Triarii and principes count as armoured, Roman (not allied) infantry are stubborn. All Italian troops (for Rome) and all Spanish / African formed troops (for Carthage) are veteran.

ACD cards are dealt as standard except that the command quality of the commanders is compared. The commander with the lower quality reduces his card draw by 1 per the difference to a maximum of -2. Any further diference is added to the higher - E.g. Qualty 1 fights Quality 4: Quality 1 reduces draw by 2, Quality 4 increases by 1.

Hannibal always adds 1 ACD card, as do commanders with an ability relating to battle under Hannibal R Vs C.

Map moves for end 218 BC and 217 BC

The situation following the Battle of Nemausus 
Campaign card play following the battle. Scipio returns to Rome - he's been hurt and he wants his mummy.

Longus marches north to cover the north of Italy.

Hannibal wastes time foolishly around Massilia, losing a CU in the process.

218 BC draws to a close.

Truce has been played (but not enacted) so the deck is reshuffled.

Turn 2: 217 BC

Carthage recruits as standard, 2 CU in Spain for Hasdrubal, 1 CU for Hanno in Carthage, and 1 CU is given to Hannibal.

Rome recruits 5 CU in Rome. Scipio, for services rendered, is made pro-consul. The elections bring Fabius and Varro to the consulship. Varro goes to Rome to join Scipio. Fabius takes over from Longus at Faesulae.

Card play for 217 BC.

Carthage starts the turn by playing card 31. Hannibal uses it to cross the Alps (between Druentia and Taurini) taking 2CU loss attrition as he does so. Mago is left in Massilia with 1 CU.

Fabius activates on card 9 and moves to cover the soft route into Italy at Mutina.

Hannibal recruits Gallic troops on card 14.

Rome uses card 29 to gain political control of areas.

On card 62, Hannibal seeks to advance into Italy but Fabius, as is his want, tries to avoid battle until he is in Italy proper. Hannibal and Fabius will come to grips at Ariminium. Hannibal plays card 59 to reduce his enemies army and increase his own.

The map situation (above) and the CU situation (below).

The next post will be the Battle of Ariminium set up and some rules dealing with CU conversion and Leadership conversion from map to table. Peter and I discussed this last night, and we think we have come up with something a little more defined. We don't know that it will work, but we shall see.