Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dux Britanarium Updates

Well, I have managed to figure out both sides in my campaign. I have enough figures painted to begin. But I can't seem to get the time to get in a game. This is slightly frustrating.

I did manage to paint up the command pack of Outpost WarGames Services minis. The drummer, Dog handler officer and standard bearer all came out fairly well. I think I will use them in some sort of foederati force at some point. I did not paint up their shaman/wizard/diapered adult figure in his odd standing on one leg pose. I also have quite a few left over Saxons. I painted up a couple of them to provide the first round of possible reinforcements for the campaign.

Next up was some Saxon cavalry. I bought well over a year ago the marvelous Splintered Light Saxon cavalry pack. Before Dux came out, I did not know what kind of command elements were needed for cavalry. So I dutifully searched and found Outpost Wargames Services. I purchased their cavalry pack which had all of one pose - Man on horse holding arm up in air. It was up to you to put either a spear or a standard into the man's hand. I managed to paint up two of the SLM cavalry and promptly left them on a painting stick and stared at the OWS figures for months. I put some paint on them this past week and have started to like them a bit. The standard bearer is nice (apart from my terrible banner painting). The skull theme fits in nicely with the SLM standard bearers. I have only bothered to paint 4 of the 9 miniatures that I have. I will paint the other 4 SLM miniatures but the remaining OWS mounted figure will sit neglected.

Next I have painted up some actual levy troops for the Romano-British. I am missing 3 to complete out the force. That is a frustrating bit. But still, I think they are turning out OK.

The only item that I am actually missing is the Hero for the Romano-Brits. I finished this too. Along with a mounted version (the start of a cavalry unit to be made later) and a "merlin" figure. Not sure what he will be used for. I need to find suitable figures for bards for both the Saxons and Romano-Brits.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Small Milestone

I just hit a small milestone today. I sold the 70th copy of The Coming Thunder. This is the most copies of any of the three books I am selling on my own. Looking back, my two North African BTH/CY6 scenario books have sold 77 copies combined.

To all of you who have purchased, you have my thanks. I hope to have my East Front supplement completed this year (well, maybe). For now, the working title is "For the Glory of Rome: Actions of the 80º Roma Infantry Regiment of the CSIR: August – December 1941". I hate coming up with titles. Anyone have any better ideas?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Distractions, Musings and Other stuff

Did you ever have one of those days where you were making decent progress on a task and suddenly "Oh Shiny" and you find yourself googling Late Roman army formations in the West for several hours? Well I had nearly completed an entire scenario for my East Front project when just such a moment occurred. All productive work stopped and suddenly I have 5 pages of notes on an army I may not buy.

On the plus side, I did manage to find several Russian language articles that are helping me with the scenarios for the east front CSIR stuff. One by Major General Ivan Terent'evich Zamertsev, who then was the commanding general of the 255th Rifle Division during the defense of Dnepropetrovsk.

Article Link

It is a really good article that I may have mentioned before. I did find another forum that was discussing the memoirs of a private soldier during September 1941 that described the conditions from his point of view. It painted a bleak picture indeed. He was a soldier in the 972nd Rifle Regiment attached to the 255th Division.

Article Link

His notes state that the new recruits were untrained, ill equipped and often went without food or water. Both articles are enlightening and go toward explaining how the Italians were able to achieve the successes that they did with so few casualties.

Then I started thinking about the Kettle Creek scenario from Saturday. The reinforcements were not coming and not having them is lethal for the Rebels. I am thinking of changing it (if I ever reissue it) to have 2 blank cards in the deck to drive reinforcements. One for the Rebels and the other for the Loyalists. Provide separate charts for each with a greater likelihood that Rebel reinforcements will arrive. Also, I will update the scenario to specify musicians for several of the big men. That was a glaring omission from the scenario.

Once home, I began to paint. I have been making some excellent progress on some leftover figures for Dux Britanarium when all of a sudden, I started to write this blog post. Hmmmmm...... I think I need to get some sleep.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Saturday's alright for fighting or AWI action at Kettle Creek

This past Saturday, Mark hosted another fantastic game of Sharp Practice. He ran the scenario "Kettle Creek" from "This Land Divided". The actual battle did not occur that far from Atlanta on February 17, 1779. The battle was joined when a force of South Carolina and Georgia Militia under Colonels Pickens and Dooly chased a large column of Loyalist militia through the South Carolina back country and into Georgia.

The Loyalists were from North and South Carolina. They were under the overall command of Colonel Boyd. The North Carolinians were under the nominal command of Lieutenant Colonel John Moore. Moore would not play any part in the action and would be among the few that reached the safety of Augusta.

I arrived a half hour late for the game after getting caught in traffic on I-285. When I arrived I was given command of Colonel Picken's force. The other two rebel players were commanding Major McCall's advanced force.

Mark's table was once again just beautiful. McCall's troops encountered a small patrol off of the main defensive line and exchanged fire with them for several turns.

Eventually, Pickens deployed to the table. Picken's force was four groups of 10 men each with two subordinate commanders. One of the commanders took the extreme left of the line and began a slow, slow advance that would get him to the fence line before the end of the game. But his unit stayed intact. The other three groups took quite a pasting. The second subordinate first received a card that he stepped in something that slowed his movement. Then he was killed by enemy fire. His group took three kills and a number of shock that effectively froze them in place. Pickens took the other groups forward and managed to drive off two enemy groups before his units had to withdraw due to accumulated shock. Pickens spent the last couple of turns removing shock and joining three different groups of survivors into a workable force.

The loyalists received several reinforcements late in the game. This would turn the tide. The Rebels received one group of 8 men as reinforcements with no leaders. Once spotted off their blinds they just stood there and exchanged ineffective long range fire with the loyalist reinforcements. The loyalists received not only troops but additional big men to supplement their forces. By the time we called the game, McCall's troops were very battered and unable to push the fight. Pickens had just gotten two groups together from the remains of three. There was one other group that was in good shape. The rebels had taken the ridgeline but could not hold it. The fresh loyalist troops would have swept them away.

At the top of the photo above, you can make out the loyalist column advancing. As you can see, the loyalists had been driven from the fence line but the rebels were too battered. It was great fun. One loyalist leader had a unit that ended up short on ammo for most of the game, then set the woods on fire and then started a cattle stampede. One of the greatest sets of bonus cards/random events I have seen in a long time.

Thanks Mark, for another great game.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pintrest - Who knew

I have spent months mocking my wife's interest in Pintrest. She spends countless hours on the site OHing and AHing over others ideas. Then I had a crash. Lost all of my bookmarks in Firefox. Guess who smugly told me that "if I had Pinned it, it would not be gone.

I kept my thoughts to my self as I like to sleep indoors. Then I poked around Pintrest. 99% of the site has no interest for me at all. However, viewed as a storage medium for my links and tracking ideas people have posted - this thing is great!

You can organize the links and it has proven itself to be pretty handy. Here is the link to my page. I don't think this has gotten much penetration into the Wargaming community. Taking a quick look, I found mostly Warhammer and the like but there was one nice Vietnam game of Force on Force pinned from an Italian site.

Who knows, maybe this will end up more than just something my wife does and I use to keep from loosing my bookmarks.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Campaign Starts - Romano-British Story

The young man removed his helmet from his head. Even with the chill of the late winter day, his hair was matted with sweat. The young man nodded to his two companions as they stood outside of the tent. The royal guards were standing fully armed and cloaked in fur against the cold. The young nobleman announced himself to the guards, "I am Bitucus ap Belator and these are my men Vindilus and Dubnus. We are here to see the kings."

It seemed so strange to say that. The twins Gwrgi and Peredur seem to have made a good beginning at protecting Ebrauc from their enemies. It was time to present himself to court. His father's death left an ache in his heart but he was prepared to take his place in the order of battle for the twin kings.

With a slight movement, the tent opened and the two men hurried inside. The large tent was heated by several braziers making the internal temperature nearly comfortable. Only Gwrgi was present. He waved the three men forward. They dropped to their knees in front of their king and muttered "My liege" in unison. He motioned for them to stand. The men did so and pledged their swords and honor to the twin kings of Ebrauc.

Gwrgi stood and walked them to a map of the kingdom. He pointed to the northern border. The Saxons have created their own kingdom north of us. They now call it Bernicia. We have word that they will begin to send raiders south this year. We also expect more trouble from the Picts. Our friends in Strathclyde are trying to plug the borders but there is only so much he can do and the Picts love to sail their Curraghs around so they could land anywhere. The Saxons are probably bringing in more men from across the sea as well. I need your men to help guard the north. We have some foederati guarding the shore in the south. However, they have to be carefully watched."

The briefing went on for quite some time. Bitucus met several other commanders at this time. By the time they left,he and his two nobles (Vindilus and Dubnus) were weary and ready to be home. They rode through the night and were met by Paltucca near his home. It was time to raise the men.


Bitucus ap Bikk is a lordling of Ebrauc. Living near Catraeth he is of average build and a moderately wealthy man with a thief's horde of treasure to support his forces. He is a Son of a Warlord and descended from both noble Briton and Roman stock. His one failing is his lustful nature. The local priest, Father Mellitus often admonished him to settle down and get married. Instead he sought out pleasures of the flesh as the urge grabbed him.

Vindilus on the other hand is an exile of fallen Bernaccia. An older man than Bitucus by a mere five years, the man found shelter in the halls of Bitucus as well as a kindred spirit in his lustful exploits.

The last noble of the household was Dubnus. He was descended from solid Roman stock and generations back for five generations served to defend Britain. He is a devout Christian and probably the sole reason that Father Mellitus has not shaken the dust off of his feat and left Bitucus to his own folly. What drives Dubnus is his fierce ambition. He will not rest until he can command an army in the field and defeat the enemies of his King.

Lastly is old Paltucca. He was the champion of Bitucus' father and the young pup had the sense to keep him in the role. He has trained many men in the proper use of arms. It is the hope of old Paltucca that he has passed his skills of war on to enough men to hold off the pagan hordes. Hopefully they may, by God's grace, survive another year.

The troops of the household are not in the shape that Paltucca would wish. The household guard (the milites) are well trained and an efficient force. There is just not enough of them.

The Numeri are also in good shape.

However the Velites or levy are not much to be desired. They lack everything. Most are freemen farmers with no military experience. A few have been detailed off who have hunting experience to serve as skirmishers.

But the rest only make up for their lack with numbers. Many are equipped with only rudimentary weapons or farm implements. When battle comes, these poor men will be without shield nor armor. The blacksmith and cooper are attempting to rectify the situation but it may take some time.


Well, I have my base forces painted. I am lacking about 3 figures to have enough to paint up real levy troops for the game but wanted to try out the concept of peasant levy.

I figure that they would not have the ability to form a shieldwall. Possibly have a force morale of their own that is one less than the rest of the force? They should only be present when on the defensive and protecting their village/town/farms. Possibly add a hesitant troops card into the main deck that would eliminate the levy's movement for that turn unless it is in a retrograde (retreat) movement. Any other ideas? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

The Campaign Starts - The Saxon Story

The house was full to capacity. The snows had not yet started yet the fire in the pit was roaring and making the room stuffy and close. The old man's hacking cough had most of the men attempt to lean away from him until he spoke. His voice was still a strong, deep rumble. He clapped his right hand on the shoulder of his son. The fingers were grotesquely swollen from the gout. He began to speak to his assembled men. "I will not survive this winter. I am turning over command to my son, Hengst. Now that we have a home here in Bernicia, it is time to expand. Hengst will take you into battle in the spring. I count on you to uphold him as you once served me."

The door burst in on the hall. The flames of the great fire were nearly extinguished from the rush of air from the open door. Two men strode into the room. The room fell to a hushed silence as they watched the men approach the table and nod to the old man. Heca and Brihtric looked over the group gathered in the hall. Heca spoke, "Greetings Aethelgeard. May Woden bless you and your family. Please proceed. We wish to offer our support great ealdorman." Heca was the speaker of the twins. Brihtric simply stroked the sleeping snake wrapped around his neck. The two men were reputed to be powerful wizards.

The old man nodded. He slowly turned to the large beast of a man, "Eadbald, you have been my champion. Will you serve my heir?"

The huge man was fierce in battle and loyal to a fault. However, he was as sharp as a sponge. He started at the dying ealdorman for several moments until the answer came to his lips, "Yes my lord."

Turning to each of the two nobles that were in his retinue he repeated the question and had them swear oaths to Hengst. Once the oaths were finished, the mood of the gathering turned festive. Several of the household guard cheered the old man and Hengst. But Hengst just stared into the fire. He was already planning his first action. Taking the corrupt kingdom of Eburac from Eliffer would be difficult. The crafty Briton had many spearmen but also many enemies. His sons appeared to be competent warriors in their own right. The Picts were a sore spot for them as well as the men of Gwenddoleu. It was impossible to figure out their politics. But his most important asset was his uncle - Wulfgar. Wulfgar commanded the foederati in the town of Deira. They were supposed to protect Ebrauc from ... well him. But blood is more important than gold. Just need to find the right time.

Less than four weeks after the party, the men had reassembled for his father's funeral. Before the pyre had burned itself out, he outlined his plan to his father's, now his, men. "It will begin with a raid...."

After laying out the plan, the two nobles Osweald and Leofwig simply nodded. "At the first sign of spring, we head south. The land is ripe for the picking. We will press toward the town of Catraeth and see what is to be had. We will pay King Ida his due and carve a kingdom of our own."

Hengst was tall and strong. He has always been a capable athlete and born of a proud noble lineage just as his two nobles. He had just celebrated his 28th year in what the Christians were calling 549AD. His father's death left him in possession of all of the loot gathered from the conquest of Bernicia that his men had gathered and possessed a Tribunes Tribute.

Osweald on the other hand was short and wiry. Yet at 34 years of age, he was a veteran warrior of many battles and a master at arms. Leofwig was of a similar build to Hengst but younger at just 23 years. Leofwig is a man of an iron liver. It is a trait that will have to be watched closely. The slowcoach Eadbald is a mountain of a man and the eldest of these men at 36 years. Yet his strength was as great now as it had been ten years earlier.

Each of these men had been dwarfed by the reputation of Hengst father. A situation Hengst was prepared to remedy quickly. They would rise in reputation even if it cost him his life. The twins had rejoined him. One stood to either side. No words were spoken but apparently, the two wizards had just pledged support to Hengst.

The roles were assigned. Osweald would command the Gedridht while Leofwig would command the Geoguth. They had a small group of skirmishers to act as scouts. The twins insisted on going with them. It was going to be a very interesting year.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dux Britanium Campaign - Background

I finished off basing my Romano-British army tonight. I am actually pleased with how well they turned out. I have been trying to think where I want to base my campaign out of. I decided on the Northern Kingdom with its capital of Caer Eburac. The campaign will begin in the year 550AD, following the Fall of Bernaccia to the north. Saxon raiders from the north begin to pour into the province surrounding Catraeth. The province has a Roman Fort and town at its heart.

Historically, The Kingdom of the North ceased to exist by 580AD with the foederati in Pedwar rebelling against the locals sometime after 550AD. The tidbits of information that the rules provide is just enough to spark your interest to find out a bit more. So I began to dig.

It seems that the northern area was a kingdom under an Old King Cole (Coel Hen) (Yes the nursery rhyme guy) who was quite possibly a Dux Britanarium or warlord of northern Britain. He lived from approximately 350 to 422AD. Following Celtic tradition, his lands were divided among his sons (Ceneu and Gorbanian) following his death.

The area I am interested in was ruled by Ceneu (circa 382 to 450ish). He allowed Saxon settlement in Deywr (later Deria) in recognition of the Saxon foederati under Octha and Ebissa in Ceneu's campaigns against the Picts and Scotti to the North. Again, the kingdom was divided among his two sons following his death. Gwrast took the western half of the kingdom and Mor took the eastern half with the capital of Ebauc/Eburac/York.

Here is where the tale begins to raise eyebrows. Mor is also called Uther Pendragon in some places. He has a son named Arthuis as well. Mor was born around 420AD and had two sons. Apparently he died close to 470AD. Unlike others, it appears that only one son inherited - Arthuis.

Arthuris was born around 455AD. He had two sons as well. Eliffer Gosgorddfawr (or many spears) and Pabo Post Prydein. Eliffer lived around 473AD to 560AD. He apparently ruled the kingdom on his own.

Of Eliffer's sons, they co-ruled the kingdom. Peredur Arueu Dur/Peredur Paladr Hir and Gwrgi fought a number of battles. Notably, they fought in the Battle of Arfderydd/Arthuret against the King of Caer-Wenddoleu named Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio. They then formed an alliance with two other kingdoms (Strathclyde and North Pennines) and fought Gwenddoleu again and killed him in 573AD. This is probably the battle of Arthuret but some sources seemed to treat it as a separate battle. Gwenddoleu ap Ceidio's bard, Myrddin Wyllt (or Merlin) goes mad after witnessing the defeat.

Eliffer's sons begin to have a spot of bad luck. Seven years after their victory, they go to war with the Saxons of Bernicia/Bernaccia. Both are killed by King Adda at the battle of Caer-Greu. Within a year, the Derians under King Aelle (remember the foederati that King Ceneu gave land to?) rise up and sieze the kingdom and Ebrauc (York). The children of Gwrgi and Peredur Arueu Dur flee for their lives.

This actually gives a good spread of possibilities for a campaign. The kingdom repeatedly fights not only Saxons, but Picts and other Britons as well. This should provide for a dynamic campaign to run. The more I read up on the period, the more fun I think I will have.


Friday, September 7, 2012

25K Page Views and 60 Followers!

Well I have been attempting to get caught up in reading the blogs that I follow and I noticed that I hit a milestone for this site. 25,000+ visits. That was a pleasant surprise.

I have been attempting to fight off a bad cold for over a week now. Because of this, very little work has been done on my miniatures. I did dip the last few of my Dux Britanarium figures last night. I managed to ruin one with my home made magic wash. Somehow the Future floor polish leached out of the mix and I ended up coating the figure in what looks like a heavy layer of mud. He has to go back into the repaint bin. I hate repainting.

What is left for my Dux armies? Good question.

1) Replace my Romano-British peasant levy with levy troops as described by the rules. I have half of what I need and need to order one more pack of Splintered Light minis to round them out. Also need to paint my Romano-British hero. Seemed to have forgotten him.

2) Get a pack of Khurasan Germans as a mercenary force to add to my troops (either side).

3) Get some cavalry for my Romano-British. I really like the Splintered Light stuff and want to have both light and heavy cavalry. I have a group of heavy Saxon cavalry that is even half painted already too.

4) Paint up some Picts. I have 3 Old Glory bags just sitting there waiting for some attention. They would initially serve as mercenaries and possibly raiders.

5) And lastly, more terrain. I want a few more hovels. Splintered Light sells 2 buildings. An 'A' Frame house and a rectangular one. I have the rectangular one and love it. Unfortunately, he seems to be sold out of both at the moment. I need some wattle fencing for my sheep, goats and cattle. (We run a kosher dark age farm on my gaming table.) And ultimately a mile fort for Hadrian's Wall and possibly a watch tower.

Anyway, a big thanks to all of you that stop by and read this and a huge thanks to all of you that comment.