Friday, 20 October 2017


Fired up by the small skirmishes of The Pikeman's Lament, our group have been looking at a set of rules for larger 17th century battles. To this end we decided to give Baroque a go last night. It's an extension of the Impetus system, which a couple of members are familiar with; the rest of us would learn as we went along.

Gary put together a couple of armies from his collection; a lot of the figures were not correct in any way at all, but he managed Swedes (in the foreground) against Poles (background).

There was a lot of variety in the troops available; this Swedish cavalry command contained dragoons, a combined horse and shot unit and caracolling pistol-armed reiters. The opposing Poles were equally diverse.

Dave observed, pointing dramatically. On this flank, Swedish trotters faced Polish hussars.

The infantry in the centre was much as you'd expect; pike and shot units, with some integral light guns (in the Swedish case) or supporting medium guns (for the Poles).

The first combats were on the Swedish right. The dragoons seized the woods to threaten the Polish flank, whilst the lighter missile-armed Polish cavalry rushed forward to engage.

Some nifty firing followed by opportunistic charges saw the Poles disordered and routed. We quickly discovered that this was a system where, if you seized the moment, you could cause things to turn very bad for your opponent very quickly.

The Poles lost two units in one turn. Some Swedish reiters who'd pushed forward very aggressively were also caught and routed.

On the other flank JohnP launched a sudden, risky, attack on the Polish hussars with one of his units of trotters. Again, the cascade of responses, counter-charges ad pursuits took hold; the hussars failed to counter-charge, and were caught at the halt, which completely negated most of their advantages. They fell back and the Swedish pursuit took them into the second unit, which also retreated. Another pursuit saw both units routed. The Poles best cavalry were gone in virtually no time at all. Their loss collapsed that flank, and put the army's morale in jeopardy.

On the other flank a swirling continued melee was won for the Swedes when the dragoons rushed out of the woods to join the fray with clubbed muskets. The ensuing rout saw the Polish flank commander captured, and their whole army breaking.

In the centre the infantry had barely advanced into artillery range, and now the battle was over. However we decided to spend the remaining time playing their action out as a separate game in its own right, just to get a feel for the way infantry combat worked, and to better understand the game's general mechanisms.

We soon learned that having the initiative is very important, and that because you resolve the actions of each unit in turn, the timing of your shooting and attacks is critical. Even deciding when to react to enemy actions is important.

The Swedes initially had the upper hand in the infantry fight, mauling a couple of Polish infantry units as they advanced. But a sudden shift of initiative saw the Poles able to exploit an advantage they'd gained, and roll up the Swedish infantry line. The important thing was that we got to try and understand more mechanisms.

Overall we were impressed by Baroque. It has a lot of risk and reward; you can push units and risk disorder, or failure to act, but if it comes off you can make attacks that can collapse the enemy fairly quickly. I suspect that use of reserves to counter this is a key tactic. There's quite a few markers involved, mostly to keep track of casualties and disorder, but you have to remember which units have reacted, which commands have moved and even which special abilities have been used. This isn't too hard, but is worth noting for people who like a clean table. The rules seemed fiddly in places, but I suspect with further play things become more obvious. We had a fun evening, and I think that's as good a plus for a set of rules as you can ask for.

On the other table, Ralph and Daniel played Black Powder - something Napoleonic by the looks of it.

In addition Gary presented Peter with a trophy to mark his victory in our Maurice campaign. He felt it was worth marking the fact that we'd finished a club campaign; something we've never done before.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Army Showcase - The Knights of the Round Table

You've probably seen enough of these figures to last you a lifetime over the past couple of days, but I thought an army showcase was in order.

Back in 2002, a fellow wargamer was downsizing his collection, and gave me an unpainted Peter Pig pre-made HOTT army - The Knights of the Round Table. I started painting them, lost the impetus and stored them away. They emigrated with me in 2008, and stayed in storage until, the other week, I realised I needed a new HOTT army for my 6x6 Challenge project, dug them out, and finished them.

The army is:

1 x Hero General (Arthur)
1 x Hero (Lancelot)
1 x Magician (Merlin)
4 x Knights
2 x Blades
Optional: 1 x Paladin (Sir Galahad)

Here's Arthur

And most of the knights.

Lancelot and Galahad, plus some friends.


And the knights on foot.

That's it really. Lovely figures, of course. Peter Pig rarely disappoints, and they're a joy to paint.

On a totally unrelated note, one of my followers said hello to my son at the 2017 ACRA awards in Melbourne this weekend. Hi there, whoever you are. It's nice to know that my celebrity and his overlap in some small way.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

We're Knights of the Round Table

With a new HOTT army on the gaming table, I found time this evening to have a couple of quick games using it. Opening up boxes, my Orcs were the first that came to hand - a mix of hordes, riders and beasts, led by a Nazgul knight and featuring some behemoth trolls.

The Knights of the Round Table consisted of: Hero general (Arthur), Hero (Lancelot), Magician (Merlin), 4 x Knights (Of The Round Table), 2 x Blades (Knights on foot).

In the first game they attacked (sorry about the dodgy pictures; I'm still getting to grips with my new phone camera).

The knights look spectacular. All that heraldry is why I stalled on the painting, but it was worth the effort.

The Orc hordes, looking very, very dark.

The knights pushed forward eagerly, towards the enemy wolf-rider.

Meanwhile the knights on foot engaged the allied wargs.

The two armies met in the centre.

Lancelot destroyed the trolls.

This left the Nazgul exposed, and he dies in single combat with Arthur, thus defeating the Orc army.

This was rather a quick game. A win in their debut game, it's true, but a rather easy victory.

I set the armies up again. The Orcs defended once more, and went with one fewer wood and an extra hill.

Arthur's nights advanced cautiously.

The Nazgul ordered a small redeployment, putting himself in the front line with his wolf-riders in support.

One element of wolf-riders was set across the front of the army to the other flank. Arthur pushed his troops forward more quickly to trap it ...

... but ran out of PIPs, and caught caught isolated from the rest of the army.

Lancelot on the end of the line faced the trolls once more. But this time they were supported by wargs and Lancelot was killed.

Meanwhile the knights supporting Arthur forged forward into the main Orc army, leaving Arthur dangerously exposed.

Merlin to the rescue - he quickly drove off the trolls.

The knights pushed too far forward and were surrounded and destroyed.

On the other flank the remaining knights pushed forward against the Nazgul and wolf-riders, with mixed success.

Merlin found himself best by more wargs ...

... and killed.

Arthur withdrew to the safety of a hill, whilst the rest of his army pressed forward once more.

But more of his knights ended up surrounded, and were wiped out, breaking his army.

A win for the Orcs. As is often the case with HOTT, Arthur was caught short in terms of PIPs at the key moment, but the army's small size also counted against it, with the Orcs able to pin elements with hordes and then attack elsewhere.

Since this is a new army, I am able to count these games as one of my 6x6 Challenge entries.

6x6 - Game 1.5
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