Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Accountability post for 15th Jan

[Okay that answers the nagging question I had when I woke up this morning: no I didn’t hit publish on this post last night. :)]

Late start, because I stayed up far far too late watching the Vikings beat the Saints last night. (One of the perks of not having to be up early on a Monday just at the moment!)

Day then royally messed up by iPhone touchscreen packing up, much faffing around trying to persuade it to work for long enough to let me back it up. On the good side, my man Tony thinks it's a 30quid fix if I'm lucky, and I get to go visit him again tomorrow. If I'm not lucky, time for a new phone :(

Compendium progress: largely note-taking and thinking today. Had a long think (and talk with Tom at the club) about battles again. While I think we have a kind of solution that improves on what's in the rulebook, it doesn't quite have the right feel. Need to think some more.

Also, club scenery audit, so I came home with a box of stuff needing repair.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Accountability post for 14th Jan

I'm allowed a day mostly off, right? It is Sunday, after all!

A bit of restructuring and reformatting (Mac OS X Pages is brilliant for that) of the Compendium, and for those who missed it, I gave my writing chops a workout and wrote the next piece for the Linnius Campaign, at least partly inspired by Bad Squiddo's figure range.

Oh, and I built Warbases's sightscreen from their Cricket Pavilion kit. Need it for Dead's Army :D I'd upload a photo, but the touchscreen on my iPhone seems to have literally just packed up.

"To Britain's Shores" - Chapter 17 - Spring

At last. A morning where it isn't just miserably wet and grey. I was starting to hate these British winters.

This past one, particularly. Strange, as old Theobald used to say about Leofric the Drunkard, how you don't miss something till it's not there any more. No Ecgwine, blue eyes aflame, brashly questioning the Young Wolf's decisions. No Lavinia, with her head of raven-dark hair leaning next to his unruly straw-pale mop, slim hand on his arm and the quiet word that tempers his rashness. Truth, we'd seen less of that this last year, as he'd started to learn wisdom from all of us, and she'd thus had to do it more infrequently.

But Ecgwine's dead, a British spear in his side, and she... who knows? Left in the night on Aelfric's second-best horse. The Cyning's Hall in Caer Lind Colon - Odin's blood, that's still a barbarous mouthful of a name - seems that bit darker without them both, and we...

We have become grim.

Resolute.

Cold.

Iron.

The ring of metal on metal has been the music of the Hall most days, with none questioning our Cyning's resolve to make us harder, better. Which is why I'm here in one of the Hall's outbuildings, sorting through a batch of new-made spear points. That and it gives me something to do.

We're missing Beornwulf too this winter, sent on a thankless task to bear news of his son's passing to Ecgfrith across the great sea - Ecgfrith the Cyning, Aelfric's father's brother, who charged us - me and Aelfric especially - to take care of his son and make him a man. "You can't argue we managed one of those...."

"Mmm?" Aelfric, damn him, still has a habit of sneaking up on me.

"I... uh. Just musing aloud." He eyes me for a moment, with that maddeningly prompting look of his. I sigh. "Ecgwine." Again the regard. "Your uncle. 'Keep him safe. Make him a man.'"

Aelfric nods, "We tried." A pause, then, ruefully. "And we were..."

"Ho there!!!!!" It's a yell from the gate, young Hedric. "Someone's coming up the round. A band of men..."

The Young Wolf treats me to a sudden grin. "I'll bet you it's Beornwulf."

I grin back. "Not taking that bet. I'll catch you up when I've tidied this lot away."

I head for the gate, slipping through between a couple of the buildings to join the throng: there's much backslapping of Beornwulf, and the group of warriors he's brought across the sea with him. Hel's teeth, he's even managed to persuade the tall, rangy Deorwine, one of Ecgfrith's Gedriht that I actually don't have any grievance with, to join him. He's a skilled horseman, and a fine warrior, quiet yet intelligent: never a score of words when two will do. I'm just about to clasp him by the hand when a slap on my back nearly knocks the breath out of me.

"Not dead yet, then, Godric?"

I really should have spotted that distinctive hair amid the small crowd, but she isn't tall, certainly not among men. The voice, though, is unmistakably hers, a low alto rasp. I allow myself a second or two, as Deorwine gives me a knowing wink, lips quirking in an amused grin, before I turn. "Gytha."

There might be even more grey in her locks, but other than that she hasn't changed in the time since we left. Hair the colour of iron down to her shoulders; the same well-worn mail; axe and sword at her belt; the white line of a scar the length of her cheek from a blade; eyes the grey of a winter sky.

A smile, rendered slightly crooked by that scar, quirks her lips. "Miss me?"

She always did start with the difficult questions.

Now if I could actually find the box that has Bad Squiddo's shieldmaiden warriors blister in it (which I'd link to, but I can't find it on Annie's site either!), I'd have Gytha painted up by now. Unfortunately, I suspect it's somewhere in the stuff we cleared out of the workshop so the builders could do their stuff, which means I have almost no space to move stuff into to search for it. That and it's cold out.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Accountability post for 13th Jan

Well, that didn't go as planned!

Responded to a post on the Facebook Dux Britanniarum page for Dux stuff in the TFL Specials, to find there were two articles I had omitted from consideration due to not being aware they were Rich's.

(Note: I'm not necessarily restricting additional stuff in the Compendium to Rich's, but I do already have his blanket permission, and I know that in general his additions are designed to fit in relatively seamlessly with the original rules. That said, if you have an article or scenario you think adds to 'core' Dux or Raiders and would fit in the Compendium, let's talk. I can't guarantee I'll use it, as I have a definite vision for certain sections of the book, but it can't hurt to ask.)

Today, then, I spent tidying, condensing and editing the weather rules from the Christmas 2012 Special: there's a lot of additional descriptive text which has a place in a Special article that really doesn't need to be in a rules compendium, and of course cutting and pasting text and tables from a PDF always leads to entertaining issues.

Tomorrow, back to consolidating the campaign advancement tables, including Rich's other article, into Appendix 1.

Battle Report - 30 Dec 2017 - Napoleonic Command "The Battle Of San José"

My second game in the Twin Cities, again courtesy of Jeff Knusden and the guys at the delightfully named ATF group (yes, that does stand for what it usually does: Scotch, fine cigars for those who will, and wargames!), hosted at expat Brit Elliot's house.

The rules were Warartisan's Napoleonic Command... very very different to anything I'm used to, and very thought-provoking. Essentially, units have areas of influence that extend out in front of them, into which they assert Threat points. These get matched against a target unit's Cohesion modified by a dice roll, and that determines what happens to the unit.

Also? You start out in column of march, and part of the tactical headache is how to deploy for the battle.

The dice mechanic is interesting - every roll is d6 minus d6 (largest minus smallest) - makes for an interesting probability table.

Annotations by Jeff
The rules are 42 pages, including diagrams and photos (the actual rules take up 12), and the QRS is one side (not double sided) of paper. If you want to learn more, check out Jeff's brief intro on his site.

Anyway...

British Foot in column of... erm... yomp.
A Peninsular scrap, in which the British and the French are converging on the Spanish held town of San José. I got to command the British, and... well... It could have gone better.

The plan was the lead British division (red arrows) yomp for the town, while the cavalry cut across to distract the French. All very well, except that there's a hill on the road, which (perhaps with hindsight) we might have been better skirting round rather than letting it slow us up.

Chasing off the French cavalry
By the time the first division had crested the rise, a unit of French cavalry were most of the way round the back of San José and heading towards us, the valley between the roads was turning into a massive cavalry scrap, and the first French foot were almost in the town.

Those cavalry proved to be a right pain - obviously I couldn't ignore them, and they could get between me and the town. Cue a lot of cautious manoeuvring, until I finally got enough units to bear to drive them off.

And here come the French infantry...
By then, of course, the French had taken the town, and were on their way up the blasted hill as well... It's all a bit of a horrid logjam, since half my infantry have been blocking the road sufficiently that I've only just got my artillery to bear on the cavalry melée, and poor David commanding the rear division hasn't broken out of column of march yet!

Not an auspicious début as British CO.

I'd love to go back and try again :D


For more pictures, and Jeff's description of events, see his Flickr album. Again, a huge thank you to Elliott, for hosting us and running the game, and everyone else for excellent company.

Friday, 12 January 2018

"Setting The Scene" book, accountability post for 12th Jan

Oddly quiet day, apart from showing Reuben round the building works and feeding the builders tea.

I have been mostly doing something I should have done a while ago, namely re-reading the two Dux Britanniarum books and making notes: had an awful moment of wondering whether I'd screwed something up in our campaign to my detriment, but sadly not :D I aim to spend a chunk of tomorrow making sure I have the rules from all three books for a Lord's advancement properly amalgamated.

Other than that, seems to have been a day for life-related admin (oh the joys of being technically unemployed).

Today's arrival, though?

Silver Whistle (Pat Smith)'s rather fabulous "Setting The Scene" book, on terrain building, specifically a winter table.

Gorgeous pictures, and I've always found his scenery work an inspiration - check out his SP/War of The Roses table. Recommended buy, definitely, with just one teensy criticism: given the amount of white space available on all the 103 pages, it might perhaps have been a kindness to those of us with failing or recovering eyesight to up the font size on the text a bit. But that's my only gripe on an otherwise absolutely beautiful book.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Accountability post for 11th Jan

Probably a sign that I've been busy that all you're getting is an accountability post today.

So:

Compendium:

  • Quite a long tidy-up pass on formatting. I know I kinda don't need to bother yet, but seeing what I have done neatly formatted to match the look of the rulebook and Raiders is somehow motivating;
  • Extended the 'Campaign Chronicles' section;
  • Completed first draft of one of the remaining Raid scenarios.
Club:
  • Booked us to take the infamous 'Dead's Army' game to RoBiN in Nottingham next month. (Which necessitated adding a bunch of stuff to the todo list including building the Warbases cricket pavilion...)
  • Placed an order with PE2 Collectables for some Warlord Home Front bits (one each Operation Sea Lion - Defenders of the Realm, Smith Gun, Northover Projector and Blacker Bombard). Some of these may or may not put in an appearance in Dead's Army.
It is freakin' 'uuuuuge.
Other:
  • Unpacked the Mythic Battles: Pantheon KS box to check contents. Unlike Neil's and Mike's, it all arrived in one 75 x 55 x 50 cm box. Now I just have to decide what the heck to do with it.
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