Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Second Battle of Blue Sky

 Our group decided to give this Battle another try using the same forces as last time. Tom Condon and Ron Berry played the Romans. Brad Philpot and I played the Armenians. We rolled for terrain according to the rules(3 rolls each) and the Romans received a flank Steep Hill and a regular Hill. The Armenians could only manage one Steep Hill. ( It's possible to get "clear terrain" when rolling). No woods came up. I divided up the Armenian Horse Archers into two units of eight instead of one unit of sixteen used in the previous battle. We're using the playtest version of the Tactica II rules by Arty Conliffe. Following is the roster of troops used. All are Veteran troops. Total points value is 1076 points for each side.

No.     Size      Type     Name
1     14     HC     Roman Javelins
1     12     LC     Allies   Javelins              
9      8     FT     Legion I Cohort Pila/Swords
1     16     FT     Legion I Cohort Pila/Swords 
1     12     LI     Tribal Javelins
1     16     LI     Auxilia  Javelins               
1     14     SI     Skirmishers Bows
1     12     SI     Skirmishers  Javelins 
      Army Breakpoint=     71   
      Size      Type     Name
2     8      LC     Armenian LC Bows
1     18     CAT(I)     Katoikoi  Lance               
1     48     PH     Phalanx Pikes
1     32     PH     Phalanx Pikes
1     24     COH     Imitation Legion  Pila/Swords               
1     16     LI       Iberians Javelins
1     12     LI     Armenians  Javelins                
1     12     SI     Armenian Bows
1     12     SI     Armenians Javelins
      Army Break Point=83 

 Here is the set up from the Armenian Side. LI and Horse Archers on the Wings. Pikes on Right, Cataphracts and imitation Legionaries on the Left. Had to use my phone camera for these first two photos. Almost fifty percent of the Armenian Army is tied up in the Pike Units. This means if the Romans can't Break at least one of the Pike units they must break every Armenian non-Pike unit in order to win.

This is a view of the Roman set-up.  They had all their cavalry on the Right flank plus one LI unit. Only one LI unit on their Left flank. All but one Cohort is "reinforced" ( i.e doubled up). Romans have ten "Massed" units to fight with. Armenians have eight.

Deployment and Opening Moves

In map above and photo below, Armenian LI is overwhelmed by the Roman LI and HC and soon routed. Armenian horse archers decide discretion is the better part of valor, do an about face and evade away from the more numerous and better fighting javelin armed Roman light cavalry. In the middle, the skirmishers launch missiles at each other and the Armenian javelinmen melee the Roman Archers in an attempt to take them out.

Opening Moves on Armenian Left

Mid-Point of Battle, Roman Left Collapses

At mid-point of the battle, the Imitation Legionnaires are no match for the regular Roman Cohorts and are soon defeated. The Armenian Horse Archers are still evading away from the roman light cavalry staying just ahead of them. The Roman Heavy Cavalry swings around and catches the Cataphracts in rear leading to their demise. Over on the other side its the Roman Cohorts that aren't doing so well. One Cohort breaks which causes morale checks by the others. Gods are against the Romans this day as the cohorts fail their morale tests and find themselves fighting disorderd against the Armenian Phalanxes. They are soon overwhelmed by the Pikes and sent packing. Right most Phalanx swings over to hit the Roman Light Infantry in flank quickly routing it. With loss of six Cohorts and the LI unit, the Roman are getting close to their Breaking Point (71).

Roman HC Breaks giving Victory to the Armenians

 Both sides, now having defeated the enemy's left flanks, attempt to wheel around to engage the remaining enemy units. The Roman Heavy Cavalry manages to catch the large Armenian Phalanxe in the side, but it is a wing attack, not a flank attack (See Photo diagram below for more info). One Armenian Horse Archer unit boldly charges into the Roman Heavy Cavalry to assist the Pike unit. They are in turn caught on the side by the Roman Light Cavalry. The Armenian Horse Archers are soon routed, but not before putting a few kills on the Roman Heavy Cavalry. The Roman HC is now at eight Kills and they break at nine. In the last melee, the Roman HC unit rolls badly not doing enough damage to the large Armenian Phalanxe. They in turn however receive several kills from the Phalanxe and they Rout away giving Victory to the Armenians.

It was a hard fought battle by both sides which could have gone either way depending on the die rolls.

Last Melee of the Battle

Critical Moment of Battle
 Roman HC attempts to make a Flank Attack on the Armenian Phalanx. This Photo has been modified to show the initial and ending position of the Roman HC. For a Flank attack to occur the attacking units whole Front edge must begin behind the target unit's Front line and the attacking unit's whole unit must end up behind the target unit's Front line. Neither of these two requirements occurred so the attack is deemed a "wing" attack which does not Dis-Order the target unit. In a "wing" attack the attacking unit gets Double Dice. The Roman HC started out with 6 figures in the Front rank and must divide their melee dice against all opponents. So they get three dice against the horse archers and get six dice(3 doubled ) against the Phalanx. With the Roman HC being one figure short of Break Point, there was no way for them to win. If they could have made a Flank Attack, then things might have been different. The Phalanx would have been disordered ( getting half dice) and if out scoured, would have had to make a morale test.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Small Tactica Game- Romans vs Armenians

Our last game held 19th October at Blue Sky Hobbies in Bremerton was intended to be part of an Ancients Campaign that Tom Condon is running. However, only Brad and I showed up and he had to leave about half way through. Fortunately, the new guy Kevin Walker had showed up and was able to finish the game for Brad.

We were using small Tactica II Armies of only 1076 points. This is about half the size we normally play with, but makes for a simple and quick game. I decided to do Armenians vs Romans this time to give the Ponts a break. Since the Romans are more complicated to play, I gave Brad the choice of which side to play. He chose the Armenians.  Composition of the armies is as follows:

No.     Size      Type     Name
1     14     HC     Roman
1     12     LC     Allies                 
9     8     FT     Legion I Cohort (Note: Romans deployed as reinforced cohorts )
1     16     FT     Legion I Cohort   
1     12     LI     Tribal
1     16     LI     Auxilia                 
1     14     SI     Skirmishers
1     12     SI     Skirmishers   
      Army Breakpoint=     71   
      Size      Type     Name
1     16     LC     Armenian LC
1     18     CAT(I)     Katoikoi                 
1     48     PH     Phalanx
1     32     PH     Phalanx
1     24     COH     Imitation Legion                 
1     16     LI       Iberians
1     12     LI     Armenians                 
1     12     SI     Armenian Archers
1     12     SI     Armenians Javelin
      Army Break Point=95 

Opening Moves

With the exception of the Armenian Cataphracts which were part of the main battle line, both sides deployed their Cavalry and Light Infantry on the flanks. Armenians placed their Phalanxes on the right side of the main battle line with Imitation Legionaries in the middle and Cataphracts on the right. Romans put their reinforced 1st cohort opposite the largest Phalanx and their Heavy Cavalry on the side with the Cataphracts. With more men tied up in the Pike blocks the Armenians had two fewer units than the Romans to fight with. The Roman player was therefore hoping to be able to flank one of the Armenian Phalanxes.
Initial Deployment

In the opening moves, the Roman Light Cavalry (no doubt some reluctant Gauls) were sent packing by the Iberian Light Infantry. Over on the Roman right flank things were more even. The Armenian Light Infantry managed to get into position in the woods and drove off their Roman "tribal" counterparts, ( probably also some less than enthusiastic Gauls). The Roman Heavy Cavalry, however had no trouble defeating the Armenian Horse archers and advanced hopefully to be able to catch the Phalanxes in the rear. (Note: I forgot to have the Roman HC roll for "pursuit" which might have had them purse the Armenian horse archers, but in the long run it didn't matter. Game was over before they could make any difference).

Crunch Time,  HI in Melee

Mid- Game
The right two Roman cohort units advanced to occupy the hill in front of them and decided to wait for the enemy Cataphratcs to attack them. Meanwhile all the Heavy Infantry of the Roman left and middle met near the center of the field and began to slug it out. The Cataphracts eventually advanced to take on the two Roman units on the hill. The Armenian Light Infantry seeing the Cohorts locke din melee advanced out of the woods trying to take the end cohort in its flank. The Iberian Light Infantry on the other flank advanced to engage the Roman lights in the woods on top of the hill. The Roman Heavy Cavalry continued its attempt to get behind the Armenian Phalanxes.

The Armenian Cataphracts and the Imitation Legionnaires eventually broke leaving a huge hole in the Armenian Battle line. Unfortunately, the left two Roman Cohort Units broke soon after leaving the Romans perilously close to Break Point.  Using a break through move plus a couple of turns movement, the large Armenian Phalanxe caught the engage Roman Light Infantry on the hill in the flank and it was all over. The Roman Heavy Cavalry couldn't move fast enough to make a difference.

Final Positions
Armenian Phalanx catches Roman LI in Flank
In retrospect the Roman Units on the hill should have engaged sooner.They might have been able to make a difference, but sometimes it doesn't matter what you do. In order to win, the Romans had to break at least one of the Armenian Phalanxes. This they didn't do although one was fairly close ( 16 kills vs 21 needed to break). It was an enjoyable game however and thanks to Brad and Kevin for playing.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Using Army Painter "Quickshade"

I bought some of  The Army Painter Quickshade and decided to try it out on some Northwest Frontier Ral Partha figures. I had obtained some used figures from Dennis Trout but they were in pretty bad shape. I also bought some from Great Endeavors http://www.greatendeavours.co.uk/colonials/ as the ones I got from Dennis were limited.  Below is a picture of what the used figures looked like.

Here are some after "repainting"

This is a picture after they were dipped in the Quickshade. It gives them a Glossy look, but does a nice job of shading.

Here is what they look like after spraying the dipped figures with some "dullcoat".

Next is my paint job on a Ral Partha British figure.

Here is the same figure after "dipping".

Finally the finished figure after spraying with "dullcoat".

All in all, the Quickshade does a nice job. The British figure looks much better than the photos show. I now have almost a full TSATF unit of Afghans done. Working on the Brits now. Gawd how I hate painting. With the Brits it isn't too bad. I spray paint them khaki and then there are but 6 other colors, flesh, white belts, brown rifle, shoes and straps, off-white haversack, dark blue puttees, steel gun barrels. Next up Gurkas and then some more afghans.