Friday, 11 December 2015

First game of The Pikeman's Lament

We got to try another game in Dan Mersey's excellent Lion Rampant family of games recently. This time The Pikeman's Lament, described as a set of rules "for fighting battles in the pike and shot period, from the Thirty Years' War through the English Civil Wars and to the end of the Great Northern War and beyond."
Seeing as Matt has recently re-based hundreds of his beautiful English Civil War figures, we felt it would be rude not to use them.

A few new things for this set are the rules for creating a background for your officer and a simple campaign and honour system. My officer was a sly son of a rich merchant, a weasel of a man with little honour, whilst Matt's was a duellist son of a nobleman, seeking personal glory and honour. I won't mention the rule effects here, they could change before the final version but that should be enough to whet your appetite!

The game also features entirely new period appropriate unit types, which will give us something interesting to think about while playing.

My force comprised units of: Gallopers, Dragoons, Forlorn Hope, Pike and two of Shot.

They have heard that a group of stinking Royalists are transporting the King's war chest and fancy some of that sweet booty!

Fortunately, the gold was poorly guarded. Only a unit of Trotters who have just finished bathing in a stream.

We decided on route one to the treasure, with a unit of shot and the Forlorn Hope circling to the left to head off any possible escape.

Oh! There are more of them...
On the right.

Another interesting facet of this ruleset is the possibility of random events, both good and bad. One such unfortunate occurrence befell my Gallopers as they closed on the war chest. They must have spotted the enemy on the right flank because for now they decided that retreat was the order of the day! 

I'm sure the rest of the centre can get that gold...

On that right flank my Dragoons are engaged and fare worse than the royalist gallopers. Hopefully my own gallopers will arrive in time to save them.

... But they are ignored. Instead Mart charged my unit of shot and hurt them badly.

They are avenged by my horse, who eventually see some action.

An overview of the field. In all the confusion in the right, my left has been left stranded unable to effect the battle and those royalists have the gold!

As they get away with the gold, the formed pile blocks close (another change from existing rules to fit the genre is that formed pikemen can still move). 

I decide not to engage with my likes, but instead to chase the gold. I figure that they're close enough to catch the encumbered horsemen with the war chest, and with good activation rolls his pike shouldn't be able to close.

What I didn't account for is my pathetic dice rolling ability! Unable to activate, I am quickly caught.

I fight them off only to be faced with a very aggressive defence by a unit of shot.

Only the royalist officer has survived. My Forlorn Hope spot him from acrossthe battlefield and get lucky!

In time-honoured tradition, he runs to the nearest tree...

Just as things look really good, the gold gets away and my mission fails.

To add insult to injury, the royalist shot picks off my officer with a very lucky shot as they're leaving!

Naturally, he heads for a tree...

I really enjoyed this version of the rules. The new units are different enough to give a feel to the game that fits the  period well and provide new tactical choices. Events, a new proximity rule and uses for that odd left-over point during army creation are all good. The rules for field guns are also very tempting...

Hopefully we'll be trying it out again soon.

You can keep up with the latest news regarding Dan's games at his blog, here: 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Dragon Rampant armies

I took some photos of the army I used in the game at the end of my previous post.

The chap with the bloody hands is the leader. He counts as a unit of light missiles with the Summoner ability and counts for just over a quarter of the army points. 

The chaps on his left in armour are the elite foot and further over are the scouts. That's all I started the game with.

The rest of the army are the summonable units. The skeletons are heavy foot and the zombies at the back are ravenous hordes. At a single point, the zombies weren't expected to stay around long.

The next photo shows my first army for Dragon Rampant and shows how easy it can be to convert a Lion Rampant army.

There are two units of elite riders and a unit of heavy missiles. These are analogous to mounted men at arms and crossbows from Lion Rampant. I then took a unit of foot serjeants and replaced them with a single model to create a single model unit of heavy foot. I paid for him to be a wizard and that rounded off the army nicely.

Having played it, I would change one of the units of elite riders to something else so that everything doesn't go charging off when I don't want it to. That's just my preference though.

Maybe  I'll have some demonic imps as a unit of lesser warbeasts and a unit of scouts for some versatility in the woods and marshes of my mediaeval fantasy world The Barons' Marches.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Dragon Rampant at Firestorm Games

Last Friday I managed to have a couple of games of Dragon Rampant at Firestorm Games in Cardiff with Matt and Annie.

The first game featured Matt's fantasy dark ages chaps against Annie's chaos gnomes.

Lining up for Matt:
Led by a dwarf on a bear (single model unit of heavy riders) are a unit of scouts, and a unit of bellicose foot with shiny armour. Heavy support is provided by two single model units of elite foot in the form of two giants.

Annie's chaos gnomes:
Led by a unit of elite riders (duck riders, with a leader on a chicken), Annie also had a reduced model unit of bellicose foot (evil sheep), along with a unit of light missiles and heavy foot. More heavy support in the form of a single model unit greater warbeast (evil chaos cow-dragon). Perhaps the most unsettling thing about Annie's army is that every model has bleeding eyes. Eew!

We decided to start off table and deploy in activation. Matt won initiative and was quite successful with his activations, advancing through the ruins to his left, but on Annie's first activation of her first turn of her first game she learned a harsh lesson about the Dragon/Lion Rampant rules:

Matt was left advancing across the table simply looking for an enemy to fight!

Eventually the chaos gnomes turned up to the party and we could get down to business. 

A flanking manoeuvre by the leader on her chicken and the duck riding guard looked to divide Matts army, but he sent his scouts to face them. Is that wise? Those ducks pack a nasty peck!

In the meantime the chaos gnome archers draw first blood as they pick off a couple of the bellicose foot from extreme range. The evil sheep in their woolly jumpers move up to face the remaining berserkers across a small area of woodland.

After losing out initially, the duck-borne gnomes make headway against the scouts and advance on the rear of the barbarian leader on her bear. On the far flank, the giants prepare to make evil bloody eyes cow/dragon burgers...

A flurry of activity in the centre of the battlefield sees the bellicose foot charge the heavy foot of the chaos gnomes, and then get charged in return by the vile ovine warriors in pink and baby blue.
It does not go well for the humans.

The battle between behemoths begins with belligerence, bruises and other things beginning with b. The ground shakes. This one will go on for some time...

The evil in wool has dispensed with the bellicose berserkers, shiny armour and all. They will be avenged by a dwarf on a bear and the sheep will be missed by a small girl (with bleeding eyes) who loves them.

The view from the Firestorm blimp would seem to indicate that the battle is going in favour of the chaotic eye-bleeders, but appearances can be deceptive. Although Matt only has three models on the table, those are three single model units, and they're all still at full strength.

The leaders battle; duck charging bear. Both take wounds. 

The giants eventually manage to bring their numbers to bear and pave the way for an evil barbecue by finishing off the cow/dragon. Ominously they turn and stride back towards the dear little vile chaos gnomes.

First the ducks fall.

Then the heavy foot are finished by a much heavier foot.

Only the archers are left. With blood in their eyes, they doubt their aim and flee the field looking for easier pickings.

One foolish gnome turns to look as he runs away...

Matt wins. No mercy for a first timer here.
That will have to wait until Annie's second game when she faced my mythic Greek army.

I have no photos of the second game as I was playing. 

Annie's army was unchanged. I tried something different to anything I've used before. I wanted to field a summoner. I made him a single model unit of light missiles so that he could have a bit of ranged "magic". I chose a unit of skeletons (heavy foot with fear) and a unit of zombies (ravenous hordes with fear) as my units to be summoned. Both are undead (no feelings), which will see them fall quickly. 
To start on-table alongside my summoner I chose a unit of scouts and a unit of elite foot. I would begin the game with 13 models.

Feeling exposed at the start of the battle, I rashly summoned the zombies to act as a speed bump against the chaos cow/dragon that was thundering towards me. I honestly don't think he noticed them. 1 round; twelve destroyed zombies. In the meantime the ducks were flanking my scouts. I managed to hold them off for a while but needed the help of the skeletons, who were summoned just in time to see them off. They they clattered over to help my elite foot finish off the cow/dragon beast and the sheep.

I was left with a few of my elite foot and the lone summoner (strength 12), to deal with the gnomish heavy foot and archers. I immediately lost my heavy foot and the summoner saw the error of his ways and legged it!

A very enjoyable afternoon's gaming. It was a pleasure to see Annie's imaginative army. It has a whole backstory that she's written for it too. Apparently the chaos gnomes used to be a dangerous all-conquering army until they were turned to plastic by a curse and sold at a car boot sale to a girl who discovered a passion for wargaming...

Thanks to Matt and Annie, and to Firestorm Games for providing a superb venue.




Thursday, 4 June 2015

WDM Proteus assembled

Just a quick pic before he goes into the spray booth.

The Proteus went together really easily. I pinned several joints where I felt the extra support would help, including through the feet, but the resin reacts well with superglue  and seems to form a very strong bond.

That's squad c from the kickstarter at his feet, they are 17mm to the top of their heads.
The Proteus comes in at a whopping 70mm!

Looking forward to getting stuck in...

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Second evening of Dragon Rampant

I cobbled together a motley bunch of undead figures tonight to play Dragon Rampant against Matt. He turned up with his newly painted Greek myth army, and very pretty they were too.

Matt's army had to transport a precious artefact across the table and off my side. All I had to do was stop him. Easy, right?

Well not with my dice it seems. My necromancer's black bolts of death failed, he couldn't summon the banshees when he wanted them and my prize wights went down under a withering hail of sling stones and javelins. The less said about my zombies the better!

A great game, as usual. Dan Mersey has done it again with another great set of rules.

Photos of tonight's game can be seen on Matt's blog;

White Dragon Miniatures MTU kickstarter

White Dragon Miniatures have a kickstarter for their 15mm sci fi ground troops. It reached its target of £2000 within 4 hours and is currently sitting at almost £5000.

I mention this because I have had the pleasure of painting some of the figures. I'm proud to say that they were on display at Salute next to a set painted by none other than David Woods, better known as Dwartist, somebody whose work I very much admire. (Check out his blog at

The digital sculpts are beautifully cast in resin by Prodos Games, with practical no moulds lines and hold a fantastic level of detail. Best of all they look absolutely superb, really great little models!

I've got a Proteus mech and an Armadillo support bot to paint for them now, too, so I'm really looking forward to getting started.

The kickstarter runs until 14 June and can be found here;

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Painting with Isabel

Friday was rained off, and it was my turn to do some half-term babysitting whilst my wife went to work. Cue Daddy/daughter painting day!

I chose to complete a couple of Thunderbolt Mountain Orc drummers I had previously started, whilst Isabel (8) chose an old Harlequin miniatures Elf that was probably older than her!

It was only the 4th figure she's painted and I left her to choose her own colours, with just a bit of advice here and there. She decided that he would be a red alien with yellow armour and a blue sword. She even taught me a novel way of blending the paint. When she painted the hilt gold, I caught her blowing on the miniature to "blend it into the blue blade a bit"!
Here he is in all his glory, we're both very pleased with the result.

For my Orcs, I wanted the drummer to be a tough, scarred old Orc with anger management issues, so I painted his wrists with scars as if he's been bound regularly. He has whip scars on his back and for no apparent reason I wanted him to have a scald scar across the left side of his face, chest and thigh. Didn't turn out too bad IISSM!
The poor old chap carrying the drum is as close to green as I'll paint an Orc. I wanted him to be a bit paler and less healthy looking, so the slightest green tinge was called for. 
The drumskin is a wonderfully sculpted dwarf skin with arms, legs and head still present. Lovely!

A lovely day spent painting with my daughter. She wants her own army of the elves, so there will be plenty more to come. 

Friday, 29 May 2015

First games of Dragon Rampant

Played a couple of games of Dragon Rampant on Wednesday and thoroughly enjoyed them. Not surprising really considering the similarity to Lion Rampant.

The major change is the inclusion of magic, which Dan has seamlessly added to the rules. There are a few other differences that will make any selection a bit more interesting too, but for obvious reasons I can't write about the rules here.

Didn't manage to get any photos; my phone is still convinced it has no space despite me having a clear out! Luckily, Matt did. They can be found here:

For the latest news regarding Dragon Rampant, head over to Dan's blog at:

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

...and then there were two.

Finished my second Thunderbolt Mountain Elf tonight. The glue on the base is still wet.
This is another noble, and Tom Meier has given him a lovely haughty expression, so I painted him as a High Elf rather than a Wood  Elf.

Next up is a brace of Orc musicians...