Ancient Warfare magazine

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Wargaming Life, Ancients!

If you haven't heard of the *NEW* My Wargaming Life website - started and run by wargamers - then you must have a look. This site is fantastic, allowing those who sign up to the site to upload pics, leave comments, and join the forums. Full of like-minded wargamers of all genres. What is nice about the group is that it is divided up in to separate sub-groups for different periods or genres of miniatures wargaming. Two such groups I have listed below along with the links to get there: the Ancients  and the DBA Gamers groups - both of which I currently admin.

Defffinately worth signing up and getting involved directly with supporting the ancients wargaming community. Of course, there are plenty of other groups to join as well on the site - such as Flames of War, WW II, Napoleonics, 10mm, 6mm, the Black Powder Challenge '15, and more.
My Wargaming Life (Ancients)

My Wargaming Life (DBA Gamers)
My Wargaming Life (DBA Gamers)

Monday, August 17, 2015

DBA & L'Art de la Guerre with the Tabletop Commanders!

Had an enjoyable day a couple weeks back with the online wargaming group, The Tabletop Commanders. We managed to get in a couple battles featuring the Gauls and Polybian Romans (my favorites). We had three player's in all - not including myself. I managed to pull off a win with my ancient Gauls. Pretty fun battle really. I was able to break through the left flank of the Roman battle line with a powerful (and lucky) charge.

In addition, last week saw up having a go with the L'Art de la Guerre rules as well. I again played in this one - I was the host. I managed a victory once again, although this time I won with the Seleucids v. the army of Gaul. Very fun.

Both sessions above were LIVE on Google Hangouts of course. If you want to watch the events, check out the Tabletop Commanders Playlist below. The playlist is updated soon after each event..

Tabletop Commanders LIVE

If you have yet to play on-line, I highly recommend giving it a try. All you need is Google Hangouts, a webcam -  if you want to host a game - and you are all set. If interested in joining up, contact me.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

L'Art, DBA, and Soldiers of God!

Had a wonderful time this week learning the L'Art de la Guerre rules. Played a full battle using 100 pt armies and it was a blast; a very tactical and challenging game to say the least. All in all it is safe to say that L'Art is now my "go-to" set of ancients rules for my ancient battles, second only to DBA. DBA of course is what it is... a great game that can be played with small armies on a limited space, and this is where it shines best. So therefore expect plenty more content with DBA. However, for the more 'gritty' type battles, larger, and with lots of detail, at the moment that belongs to L'Art. So both rules will be my focus at the moment. However, I will be looking back into DBMM as well, especially later this year when we can get our hands on the new version of the rules and army lists! I still feel that DBMM is one of the best sets of rules (and most realistic) out there for ancients.

Another set of rules I intend to re-visit is Impetvs, a long time favorite of mine. However, I am NOT a fan of its basing system (SHUDDDDDER) because the bases are too damn big; best played on a smooth, flat surface, which I am not keen on; I like lots of random terrain in my battles. However, I am waiting till later this year for the release of the NEW Basic Impetvs rules - yes they may actually be PUBLISHED! Hopeful Baroque and Impetvs II will follow soon after (next year?!). Regardless, expect some Impetvs content as well in the future.

With all that said, I think at the moment I know where I am sitting regarding what rules I will be using for the time being: L'Art is great for a deep, detailed battle (which I love), and DBA allows for ease of play with ANY size battle. Both are tops in my book, each deserving of my serious attention. So, we shall see what happens in the coming months if my attitude changes.

One more thing I should note is that I will be trying out Warwick Kinrade's new set of rules for the Crusades - Soldiers of God! These rules look really fun and historical. I imagine they have a lot of 'feel' for the period as well. Being deck driven is another plus as well. Anyway, I should have these rules in my hands in a matter of days now (tomorrow?). After a good look I will be plotting out some playtests. Of course, I will need to get my Feuadals based up! I also have NO arabs to fight for the Muslim cause, so I am gonna have to plan out some figure buys over the coming weeks. Full details to follow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Playing Some L'Art de la Guerre ...

Spent the last couple day's finally testing out the L'Art de la Guerre ("L'Art") ancients rules. Taking me a bit wrapping my head around some of the movement rules, which is otherwise a pretty straight forward game system.

The mechanics are pretty straight forward, a good "grainy" feel to them for those looking for more detail compared to DBA. At the same time the game flows very fast. Combats can be very quick and brutal - even considering the "cohesion" rule that keeps units on the table until they reach a certain loss in cohesion - 2-4 points in general. The movement section takes the longest to play out - at least for a newbie to the rules like myself.

All in all I am liking the rules. I have been looking for a good set which is a step up from DBA (which remains my favorite so far - at least for small and FAST games). DBMM and Impetvs still attract me as well. Which reminds me, if you like Impetvs, you may very well like these rules as well - much of Impetvs was drawn from concepts in these rules.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

L'Art de la Guerre is on the Way!

Been having an itch to give L'Art de la Guerre a test run. Have been giving ancients a break the past couple months whilst I do other things. One rules set I am itching to try is L'Art de la guerre. I did a fist look video on these rules a few months back and have only recently got around to giving them a good read through. - which I am still doing at the moment. However, I am eager to set up some miniatures and run through some test runs. Perhaps I can get to that by next week, Right now my games table is covered with panzergrenadiers, Shermans and of course a robust looking TIGER!

More to follow - including some pics  of my LarT play tests :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review of "Start Ancient Wargaming"

Here is a review of Sue Laflin-Barker's book, Start Ancient Wargaming. This is a 20 min. video review and worth a look. Take a look at the video below.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Making a QUICK Greek or Roman Temple

Here  a short example of how to make a quick temple for your Roman or Greek battles. Emphasis here is on "quick". However, the final product looks really good if done correctly.

(NOTE: I was in a kind of rush making the post. I intend to go back later and tighten it all up a little bit. Until then, here it is :)

I made this little gem primarily because I wanted something to represent an enclave in my DBA battles. One example the rules give is an out of the way temple. So that is the direction I chose. I can use this little temple for any battles along the Mediterranean.

What You Need
5-6 (or more) plastic drinking straws
Thick Card
Wood/MDF base, etc.
HO Scale Miniature for a Statue
Foam Ball
Metal Washers (different sizes)
Flock, sand, etc.
Paint White, brown, black, red, etc.

STEP ONE: Get you stuff together! One thing you will need is lots a card circles. These are actually easy to make. Grab some thick card, place steel washer (any size you want) and cut around the washer using scissors. When your done you can file the card a bit to smooth the edges. You can also gather any round bases you might have that would make a great platform/base for your statue to sit on. In my case I used a thick plastic round base for this.

For the dome you will need to cut a small round foam ball in half (I didn't have one around so made my own by cutting out a chunk of foam board and shaping it with a very sharp knife and sand paper.

Step Two: Make your pillars! This is what the plastic drinking straws are for. I am making this model in 15mm so my straws are about as thick as I could find. I cut a bunch into lengths of about1 1/2 " - 2"; tall enough for my needs. Remember that 1" in 15mm is approx. 10 scale feet. My roof will be about 1'5 to 20' high.

I made a bunch of these and cut little tabs that flop over so I could adhere them to the card base and roof. Simply make two cuts on each end of your straw pillars, bend down, and cut off the rest of the straw (see pics).

At this point I glued the straws (by those little flaps I cut) onto the floor of the temple. I then assembled the flooring pieces together by stacking them. You have to be careful here to make sure the straws adhere well to the flooring pieces - pressing them all together. You want the straws to stand as evenly and erect as they can. Don't worry too much if they arc outwards a little as the roof piece will pull it all together.

STEP THREE: Assemble the roof! At this point it's time to throw that roof on-top. ( took a single round card piece and glued the dome on-top - be sure to center it up so it looks right.

Next, we glue the roof piece on top of the pillars which should be nice and dry now from previous assembling. Again, we glue the roof pice on to the straw tabs we cut in to the straws - just like we did for the floor. For some added stability I used a few small pieces of tape to hold all together while it dried. Be sure to get everything lined up and straight - you don't want any leaning pillars.

STEP FOUR:  Add the Statue! At this point I primed up my HO scale model to represent my statue. I glued this onto the top base of the floor (again, I used a plastic round base to represent this). I used a brown primer for the statue - a good color for shading an off-white color which the temple will be painted at the end.

STEP FIVE: Paint up and texture! At this point I added spackle over any gaps between floor pieces, where the statue sets on the floor, where the foam dome meets the card ceiling, and around the joins of the pillars and card. The goal here is to smooth things out. Once this is dome we can add some sand to the spackle and cover the entire model with the spackle (adding texture).

Next up we give a nice base coat to the entire piece - using brown or white paint. Brown makes a nice shade or undercoat for any off-white stone work.

The pillars deserved some special attention. I wanted to show that each pillar was made up of stacked smaller stone pillars. To do this I used a brown ink to go around each pillar about five times, thus showing deep recesses between the pieces.

At this point it was time to finish the painting. I painted a black strip at the base of the dome to provide contrast and a shade for the red that would be painted over it. Of course you can use any color really. I like red as it really stands out and "looks" Roman or Greek.

The whole piece was painted with an off-white. I use  pure white to show highlights on the dome top. Once dry I finished off the entire piece by adding flock and what- not. Perfect.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Seleucids Getting a DIP!

Recently dipped some of my Seleucid troops to add more depth to them - not to mention that "on campaign" look and feel to them. I am happy with them. However, I must say they did turn out a little darker than I expected. I used mid-tone Army Painter dip so I am not sure why they came out so dark. Perhaps I didn't mix the stuff enough - it has been sitting about for months since I last used it.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Official To The Strongest Rules Forum!

Good news for fans of the To The Strongest!! There is a new official forum set up covering the rules. The author Simon Miller is a member of the forum so rest assured rules questions and future developments of the rules will be covered. Check it out.

Official To The Strongest Forum
Click here to get to the forum!

Also check out Simon's blog here on Blogger - The Big Red Bat Cave!. A great resource and you can get your copy of the rules there.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Caliban-somewhen... the Blog!

Hey everyone. Here is a great blog my friend has here on blogger. All kinds of wargaming stuff - in particular ancients.  Currently he is working on a Numidian army - of which I myself am as well. Also a recent write-up using the L'Art de la Guerre rules. Campaigns, scenarios, and more. You can't go wrong here!

Check out the Caliban-somewhen blog.
A recent L'Art de la Gurre battle.
Some fantastic Numidians!

Monday, April 6, 2015

DBA Campaign II: Rome and the Gauls! (Part I)

Another campaign has begun! This time  we decided to have a go with my newest addition to my collection - the Gauls (II/II)! Going against them will be my favored Polybian Romans (II/33).

Besides trying out a new army, we decided to give some of our newest additions to our own campaign rules a try. So far I am quite happy with the basics of the whole system (very simple). This time around we are testing some new ideas - that of some post battle random events. Basically, the loser of a battle gets to roll on a small table to gain some advantage over the enemy (things like swiping the enemy battle plans, poisoning the enemy general, or even causing enemy allies to be a bit reluctant to fight, etc.). Little things really, but interesting none the less. The winner of the battle gains a simple "laurel of Victory" (as I call it at the moment) which allows him to re-roll any single combat or pip roll once in the next game. Again, simple.

The campaign itself is a five battle mini-campaign. Campaign victory points are gained for winning battles, sacking camps, getting a decisive victory in a battle, or winning a victory against the odds. Things like that. The side that has the most victory points at the end of five battles wins a victory (the level of victory will determine how well a side has won, or even if the campaign was so close that another sixth battle will need to be played!). However, a side winning three battles in a row automatically wins the campaign. So a campaign can last anywhere from three to six battles.

Battle One: The Sword is Drawn!

The Romans

My army was pretty standard for me. I like to have lots of blades, although having the allied (aux) elements is real handy as you can have a little tactical variety in your army by including them.

1 x General (3Cv)
1 x Equites (3Cv)
5 x Hastatis/Principes (4Bd)
2 x Triari (4Sp)
2 x Velites (2Ps)
1 x Allies (3Aux)

The Gauls

This army was new for us in DBA. It has quite a few hard hitting warriors (4Wb) along with a couple warriors that were "fast" warband types - again, hard hitting but a bit more mobile. Having the advantage in cavalry would also be of some benefit over the Romans - one would think. Mobility was a key for this army if they were going to have success against my Romans.
1 x General (3Cv)
2 x Cavalry (3Cv)
6 x Warriors (4Wb)
2 x Warriors (3Wb)
1 x Skirmishers (2Ps)

We rolled off to see which side would be the invader in the campaign. Both sides have an aggression factor of three so it could go either way. After both of us rolled a d6, the Romans turned out to be the invader - no surprise! - and thus would be the attacker in the battles to be fought (unless some special rule from the campaign kicked- in). At this point all was set and ready to go; the campaign would begin!
We had decided that although the Romans were the invader, the Gauls had made a rush from the mountains in the north to quickly begin burning and raiding the Roman northern provinces. To stop this my army was sent to crush these interlopers. I would in fact be leading the Romans on a mission to drive these barbarians from Roman civilization. A lesson had to be taught and class was about to begin.  With some sacrifices to the Gods, we marched. Aiding us would be a small contingent of Thracians (3Aux). Thracians?! Yes! Thracians indeed. (I was never a fan of Thracians. I have never used such troops in any of my battles - only to fight against.)

As the defender, the Gauls laid out the battlefield (arable). I wasn't surprised to see the first piece be a BUA (a bad going edifice -  temple in this case). This was followed by a wood (bad going) and a small gentile hill (good going). Looking at the layout I decided to let the Gauls have their wood and chose the side with the slight rise in ground - might come in handy considering how dangerous warbands can be in an open charge). I was a bit concerned however at having two decent sized bad going pieces arranged to either side of my deployment. It's a good thing I have my velites, and yes, Thracian Aux.
An army of Gauls approach the deployed Romans!

Deploying his forces first, the Gauls spread out in a central position with their cavalry and hard hitting warbands making up their battleline. In the wood to their right was deployed a couple "fast" warbands. To his left were the skirmishers. My concern right away was he was deploying to take advantage of the bad going terrain on both flanks. There was no way I would fall for that trap. I would have to lure him out and strike hard at his center.
Like my army composition, my deployment was pretty standard for me. I spread out in a double line with the Triari in reserve along with my bold general. The camp was kept safe behind my forces and the high ground - a nice central position. To my left I placed my cavalry and some velites who I planned to strike out ahead of my army early. On the right I placed more velites as well as those curious Thracians, whose task would be to watch the temple grounds for the enemy and harass any who approached that flank.
The Gauls would have the first bound. Right from the get go pips were low. Both sides rolling ones, twos and threes. Not a good start at all!  It was at this point I started to think the Gauls would hold back and wait for me to come to him giving up my my strong position on the high ground. He did manage to get some warbands and skirmishers in to the temple grounds however. I didn't let such moves distract me for the moment. Prefering to focus on luring his right flank out and away from that wood, beyond which lied the Gaul camp itself. With that in mind I began to advance on my left while maintaining my position along the high ridge. I advanced some Triari of the reserve up along the hill position to fill the gap left by my advancing left flank.
(Rules Note: I made a tactical mistake here. By advancing far ahead of my general I failed to take into account the hill! This reduced my command distance for my general to 4BW for those units opposite the hill! Fortunately I would catch this soon after before any problems developed.)
While the Gauls move into the Temple grounds, the Romans advance their left forward to draw the enemy into a fight. Some Principes support the advance.
As I advanced on my left I noticed (one bound later) that I had left the hill between my general and forward elements on the left. This of course  limited my command range from my general to these lead elements to just 4BW! I quickly fixed this by moving up my general to support my advance. Little did I guess that such a move would bring my general into the heaviest fighting of the day.
In the meantime, a high pip roll allowed me to strike quickly on the right  flank of the advancing Gaul battleline. I quickly seized the moment and engaged with all that I had - and both sides generals would soon get sucked into this little drama on the flank. Unfortunately this would only begin a long see-saw battle that would last almost the entire battle. I would end up losing my velites (Ps) in the initial attack!

As the Gauls move forward, the Romans strike! Velites and cavalry rush the enemy battleline supported by legionaries.

Both sides on my left would engage and get flank attacks. However only the flanked side would get any success - recoiling the attackers. This continued for several bounds. At one point the Gaul general himself got involved but still could not slide victory over to his side.

The velites are destroyed! just as the Gaul warbands move out of the wood to flank the Roman cavalry!

A critical combat develops. The Roman cavalry have a factor of two, while the Gaul general has a four: a two point advantage to the Gauls. in addition, if the roman cavalry recoils, they will be destroyed due to the warband making flank contact with them!

... A TIE! Both sides in the combat score a seven! Stand-off!
As combat develops on the far left, the Thracians and velites move into the temple grounds.

None the less, my lines were intact and holding. I was down only one element in the battle so far (my velites) and had to get a kill somewhere quickly before the Gauls were able to reach my main lines. I continued to pursue an attack on his right. If I could grind his momentum down and bring a halt to his advance I would soon be in a position to actually strike with my main line off the ridge. A risk perhaps. But the little adventure to lure his troops out of the wood had preoccupied both of us. What was a small distraction soon developed into something much more critical; both sides throwing more and more effort into that flank.

Heated combat develops along the left. More Gaul cavalry engages the hastati. Both sides have factors of three. However, after rolling and adding an extra d6 the Romans win by one point!

Over on my right there was somewhat of a stand off  going on as my Thracians and velites held some ground in the temple. Facing them was two Gaul warbands and some skirmishers as support. Obviously they were distracted by the wonders of a Roman temple!

My opponent had a somewhat puzzled if not frustrated look about his face at this point. Perhaps commanding such an army of barbarians puzzled him - he prefers Hellenistic armies with all their fancy pikes, elephants, and suicidal chariots! Either that, or my tactics were proving to be quite challenging. I myself was convinced his "puzzlement" was simply a ploy; something to throw me off. I new my opponent well and the forward rush and assault was not all his style - at least not without a hefty pike block to lead the way.

Here is a mistake we caught early. The Gaul cavalry element lost the combat with the Roman cavalry and recoiled as a result. However, because the Gaul element was contacted on its flank by my Triari, it should have been destroyed. So we removed the Gaul element instead.

With the Gaul cavalry element destroyed, the warbands wheel forward to engage the Roman general and triari.

As the brutal back and forth combat continued to distract both of us, my general committed to an assault on his center. Destroying one of his cavalry elements, I pursued further and drew the attention of his main battleline. I have to admit I was a bit worried at this point. Fear of  the barbarian charge? Perhaps. I steadied myself putting faith in my triari supporting my general. Onwards the Gauls came.

It was about this time that the fighting on both flanks became intense as well. I managed to take out the Gaul skirmishers in the temple who were supporting their warband friends. Both sides on that flank would soon after settle themselves to nothing more than shouting insults and hurling stones at one another - with no real effect. I was not about to be distracted from what was really going on further down the line.

Over on my left, little did I know what fate would have in store. The Gauls were obviously frustrated at this point, pushing hard to break my left flank assault force - even with their general leading the way.

On the far left the Romans and Gauls pull-back from almost constant combat. As the Roman general prepares to meet the warband assault in the middle, the velites and Thracians engage the Gauls in the Temple - the Gauls losing their skirmishers as a result.

Eventially both sides on my left pulled back from the heavy fighting - to regroup. One more Gaul assault perhaps. However, it was in the center that my general had managed to draw the attention of the Gaul main line. I formed up my triari supporting him and waited on their assault. Would this tell the tale of the battle?

Things turn dire for the Romans as the Triari are swept away by a murderous charge. The general is almost surrounded on all sides and must fight a desperate battle with no support. Is his factor two enough vs. a factor of only three for the Gauls?!? The dice are rolled...

The Gauls slammed into my general with complete abandon! The triari were quickly swept away and before I knew it, my general had been all but surrounded! Calling upon the Gods my general held his ground. Two bounds of fighting, two bounds of Gauls being recoiled. Jupitor was with us indeed.

The Gods are with us! The general recoils the Gauls! Take note of the Gaul General and warbands on the left. They are about to risk all in a headlong charge on the Romans before them.

Things were tight at this point -desperate even. I was down three elements and my general was at great risk. The Gauls had lost only a cavalry element and a psiloi element. It was a long hard battle with both sides charging and counter-charing trying to gain a flank or any other advantage they could.  The Gaul general led one last charge with his warbands against my left assault. My troops held firm and I found an opportunity to flank them! The Gaul general had recoiled from the fighting by my hastati, I quickly swung them in to gain a flank and trap the rushing barbarian warbands currently engaged with my cavalry! Little did I realize that victory was at hand. Two elements of charging barbarians destroyed by my cavalry and a flanking element of hastati! A good thing as well. My general had moved back away from the rushing Gauls whom almost over-took him after slaughtering my triari.

Defeat! On the far left can be seen the Roman cavalry supported by some legionaries. Together they defeated (destroyed) two warband elements. This ended the battle.

The Gauls and Roman light troops stand off after some indecisive fighting in the temple.

The Roman general escapes an almost certain death.

The battle had come to a brutal conclusion. My Romans had endured countless charges by the Gauls. Even their general could not make victory take his side. My plan it seemed, worked.  I never abandoned my strong position on the hill however - their was no need. I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised by this. When victory came, it came quite sudden and quickly. The determination of my legionaries was to be commended. There would be much celebration in the camp tonight.

The battle had ended with a Roman victory: 4-3. Close, but quite dramatic. It was a good start to the campaign. I would gain 2 VP for this victory (pretty standard actually).

Campaign Score
Rome: 2 VP
Gaul: 0 VP

The losses. The Gauls lost four elements, the Romans three.

All that was left now was to determine what elements come back for the next fight. As it turned out, I would get back all but my triari (4Sp). The Gauls would get back two elements as well and these turned out to be the cavalry (3Cv) and a warband (3Wb "fast"). With that done we were ready for the next battle Of course we will also check for some random event type things. But I will save the results of that for the next write-up ;)

Observations: This was a fantastic and very intense battle. There was a lot of individual element moves as we both tried to out maneuver each other for tactical advantage. Almost everything was decided on my left flank. I have to admit I didn't expect that. Both sides were bouncing off of one another bound after bound. Very intense. Even with flank attacks elements managed to survive and throw the enemy back (recoil). The Gauls just didn't have it in them.

One thing I tried hard to do was avoid a straight up fight with his warbands. It isn't hard for them to get a quick kill on my blades, I was quite cautious about this. I did try to engage his cavalry wherever I could, managing to kill one.

I was quite surprised at how both generals managed to stay alive. We both committed them very early in the battle - something rare for both of us actually.

Anyway, was a very enjoyable battle. Great first run with the Gauls. Certainly not as crushing as the first battle in my last campaign!

Stay tuned for part II coming shortly.

Check out my other campaigns and write up in the Battle Reports link above to. Lots of good stuff there for DBA and more.

Some disinterested Roman camp followers.