Saturday, November 19, 2022

AAR Late Romans vs Scots-Irish

 We had a good game of To the Strongest last night at Curt's man shed.  Two equal armies tasked with holding.a dominant hill with a 10 turn time limit.  Each side had one command on table with another arriving later.

Photo AAR below

After early moves, Romans to the right with archers edging onto the hill.

Roman battle line of 3 veteran auxiliary units

Irish warriors

Roman commanders Jeremy and Curt

While Sylvain's Irish reinforcements arrived early, they had trouble moving further  on to the table.  Curt's Roman cavalry arrived piece meal but the first to units swept forward quickly.

Curt's cavalry command

Getting closer

The infantry scrum commences while both side's left flanks wheel to face.

Victorious Attaccati roll onward!

Close to the end.  Curt's heavy cavalry tried to run over some skirmishers but Sylvain successfully evaded three times running. Now out of position, the cavalry all falling back with Sylvain in pursuit.  

In the end the Irish came very close to breaking the Romans, having eliminated two cohorts and some archers.  However, when the time bell rang the Romans held the hill and won the day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

More Late Romans

Some pictures of another unit of Late Roman Infantry, the Auxilia Palatina Batavi Iuniores.  This unit was one of the crack regiments in the Gallic Field Army and was sent to Britain under Count Theodosius to quell the Great Conspiracy.   

I chose to model them partly because of their role in 367 CE, partly because I like the shield design, partly because they have a cool reenactment group and partly because a lot of Batavian cohort served in Brittania over the years.  I did them up in lorica hamata chainmail, but there is debate about which if any infantry units wore armour at this time.  I have decided that this was a pretty crack unit and that they'd likely acquire armour themselves if it wasn't provided for them.

Figures are all Griping Beast plastics.  The GB Roman infantry box comes with 8 spurs each with five figures, 2 armoured with sword/spear, 2 unarmored with sword/spear and two unarmored archers.  There is also a command stand with officer and a second figure who can be a standard bearer or musician.  I think there are 8 o the armoured torsos, 2 of the unarmored spears and two command figures in the unit of 12.  Despite there only being one torso of a ranker in lorica hamata (chain mail), I found that by choosing different arms and helmets I could come up with a pretty good variety of poses.

The weapon hands in chainmail include one with sword, one with spear overhand and one with spear underhand.  There are also three variants on the shield hand and several helmets to choose from.  Mixing and matching along with slight variations in position mask the common torso on 8 of the 12 figures, although somehow I mangled to get guys in similar breeches lined up together.  I painted the spear shafts red, which looks cool and has some historical basis.  I'm not sure why I did  the vexillum shaft in blue!

I free handed the shields, so they look way better on table than they do close up  in the bright light box.  The shield in the ND is shown below, with the the helpful description that it contains a mammal!  I figured that I could paint an unspecified mammal, but it looks like a fox to me.  Certainly not a platypus, pachyderm or moose.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Late Romans

Some photographs of my recent Late Roman units which I completed earlier this summer.  The unit names and shield designs are taken from the Notitia Dignitatum (ND) of c395CE. 

First up is a heavy cavalry unit Equites Honoriani seniores which the ND assigns to the field army under the Comes Britanniae although it is also listed attached to the Magister Equitum's Gallic command as well.  The Honoriani title is a reference to the Emperor who had recently succeeded his father Theodosius the great.  I shouldn't really use the title, since I am really looking at gaming the campaign's of Theodosius' father after the Great Barbarian conspiracy of 367-9.  But never look a gift title in the eye!  The shields are most likely grey wolves on a red background and are shown below as they appear in the ND.  The nice thing about these medieval manuscripts is they set the sheild design artistry bart low enough that I can achieve similar results.

Figures are all Gripping Beast metals from a variety of packs depending on what MeepleMart had in stock on my visit to TO.

Gotta love a Draco!

Next up is an infantry unit from the field army of the Comes Britanniae.  The Secundani iuniores or Legio Secundae Britannicae is believed to be descended from the old school Legio II Augusta from the Early Imperial days.  In its earlier guise this unit appears in many histories and novels covering the Claudian, Flavian and Trajanic periods.  The shield is a stylized wagon wheel in red on yellow, and easy enough to paint up

Mostly Gripping Beast plastics with an odd metal figure from as a command presence.  I added some archers to the back rank for extra firepower. 

These guys have a hornist instead of a standard.  Should really do a Capricorn vexillum to do Legio II Augusta justice.

Let up is a light infantry auxiliary archer unit.  I'm representing these as part of a Cohors Lingonum, two of which were listed as limitanei under the Dux Britanniarum.  As these are limitanei units and not part of the field army under Comes, we don't have shield designs for these units.  I've free handed a Chi-Rho pattern in white on blue.  The blue tunics with white trim come from costumes worn by modern re-enactors and I now think that white with red or blue trim was more typical.   But they look nice.

All GB plastics, including an officer who I've attempted to show as following the arc of the arrows.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Barbarian Conspiracy AAR Pt 3

 Essentially things came down to the gods of battle but the key events were as follows.

  • On the Roman right, Stacy wanted to use his three cavalry units to charge the Irish before they got a chance to close.  The Roman cavalry advanced to be next to the Irish but could not close home as a result of there TtS activation system.
  • An Irish counter charge caught the cavalry and Stacy opted to stay and fight rather than evade and risk getting caught in the back.  This led to a long melee and eventually the loss of a Roman cavalry unit.
  • On the other flank there was an exchange of missiles and then the infantry closed, with honours about even with both sides losing a unit.
  • On the extreme Roman right, Curt winkled a unit of Irish javelin men through the woods and into the flank on the right most roman cavalry and eliminated it.
  • This sealed the deal as the Romans were over their break point.  

    Stacy moves up to the Irish but did not manage to charge.  TtS uses a grid system, so  while the units are in adjacent gird boxes they did not close.  Curt's grid lines are very subtle FYI!

Close up of the melee once the Irish charged home.

Curt's flanking manouver!

The action from the other flank!

Everybody except the lights are engaged now.

The infantry melee with holes in both lines.  the Irish trying to swivel and attack.

The melee from behind the Irish lines.  One the left the first Roman LC unit has been eliminated

All in all we had a fun game, and the rules were easy to play.  There were things I forgot or got wrong and from to impose on both sides.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Barbarian Conspiracy AAR Pt 2

Continuing onwards.   My rough sketch map left the flanks pretty clogged with woods, so both sides advanced to have at the other side.  Stacy was hoping to catch the Irish in a cavalry charge, while the Irish looked to use their light infantry javelins to work around the flanks.

A unit of Roman light infantry archers. I was quite pleased with these GB plastics.

The Irish from the Roman side

Jeremy moves his skirmishers and warbands forward.

Closing in!

The view from the Roman right.  Note Curt's skirmishers in the woods.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

TtS Late Romans vs Scots-Irish AAR Intro The Set Up

 Last week we got my Barbarian Conspiracy Armies c367 CE on table for a battle using To The Strongest.

Curt hosted at the Clubhouse but it was my toys in use.  The Romans and some of the Irish darted from the most recent Painting Challenge, but more from a spurt of painting in late June when my wife was away and the temperatures were above 30C.  The rest of the Scots Irish were rebased from a WAB Viking Age project dating back 15 years ago.

I field two armies of equal points for a simple head to head as it was our first time with the rules, although we'd played the ECW development For King and Parliament several times.   Curt and I had a series of texts the day before that went like this.

  • If you have a rough sketch of your battlefield I can prep the table.
  • How's this
  • Sketched in less than 5 minutes over lunch.

  • That’s a good example of ‘rough’. 😊
  • Here's what he did with it

A skilled digital archivist can extract valuable info from the worst digital crap.

I assigned Stacy (or resident Mediterranean) as the Romans and Curt and Jeremy took the northern barbarians.

Barbarians at the gates

Stacy points to squirrels in the woods while I check rules.

Monday, August 15, 2022

I Have been to the Royal Chelsea Hospital!


Blogging and gaming have been on hold due to a sudden influx of real life events, most of which were really good. But it did include a detour into an unexpected location in the form of the A&E at Royal Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

My wife and I were in the southern UK for 3 1/2 weeks until very recently.  It was very much a family based vacation, seeing relatives, going through my dad's effects and catching up with our daughter.  All good stuff until the very last moment.  We started and ended with stops in London for a few days after arriving and departing via Heathrow.  On our very last day we were out on a walk through Kensington Gardens en route to Notting Hill Gate.  We made it to the history section of the Waterstones before my wheels fell off.  

I suddenly came on very dizzy and week, but it was a heatwave and we'd been out walking so I did the standard grab a chair and a drink of water and let things settle.  Only they didn't and I got a very nasty bit of Vertigo - room spinning, unable to walk and then was violently sick.  If you are in that particular book shop and it smells a bit off then blame me.

The bookstore staff were very helpful, ushering me not their staff washroom, calling an ambulance and staying onsite late until they got there.  The ambulance crew were incredible (as were all of the NHS folks I met) but gave me a real scare.  I was thinking heat stroke or food reactions, but they quickly went to stroke.  Nothing like that particular S word to shake you up, even if you are clinging to the floor and toilet unable to move a muscle without throwing up.

A night in hospital, a couple of CT scans, multiple IV drips and multiple visits with docs later I got a visit from the neurologist.  He did some checks and threw me around a bit (literally) and decided that it was most likely benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV and not a stroke (although he didn't absolutely rule that out).  By the time I was done, we'd missed our flight time.  But my wonderful wife had managed to cancel the flights in time to get a credit (we think), book a new room at our hotel and move our kit and caboodles between hotel rooms without a minutes sleep while I was incapacitation by vertigo or sleeping.

Flights were rebooked at considerably higher prices than we originally paid and we made it home two days late and thoroughly exhausted.  My wife tells me we're on a diet of rice and beans once we've eaten down the freezer and any new hobby projects are on hold for now.  But we are home, mostly healthy and had a mostly wonderful trip.  I post about some of the non-HNS related stuff in a while.