Saturday, 18 February 2017

Yet more army lists for The Pikeman's Lament

Top man that he is, Michael has been beavering away on some ever more exotic sample armies for The Pikeman's Lament. You can find them over at his blog, HERE.

Now, as I've explained before, I bow to Michael's knowledge of the pike and shot period, being no more than a dabbler in the military history of the period (political history of the ECW, on the other hand... fascinating!). Therefore you may not be surprised to find out that I'd not heard of some of these conflicts and had to scurry away to find out the basics - Michael is not only a great adapter of my rules, but a top-class educator too!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Video review of Dragon Rampant at Boardgamegeek

Over on Boardgamegeek - one of my favourite homes online - I discovered a new(ish) video review about Dragon Rampant, my fantasy wargame rules.

I thought this was a decent review, and worth sharing. You can watch it HERE.

I especially liked that the reviewer has picked up on the idea of being able to use just a handful of models and designating each of them as a unit in their own right with 12 or 6 'hit points', making a true skirmish game (in miniatures gaming terms). I've not seen this mentioned too often, but I play in this way fairly frequently.

*edit* Whoops! I realise now that I have shared this before! In my defence, it's recently popped up on BGG as a 'new' video. Still worth watching though.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

New army lists for The Pikeman's Lament ... and 'army lists' for my rules in general

Michael and I have had a few queries about additional army lists for The Pikeman's Lament. Most of these have been requests for scaled down versions of 'national armies'.

Now, The Pikeman's Lament is really intended as a large skirmish game ('grand skirmish' as some describe it, although putting 'grand' in front of anything just makes me think of coffee shops), so there's no real need for 'national armies'. But as I've found with my other rules, a lot of gamers like to use them, so as Michael has said, 'Who are we to say no?'

So over on Michael's blog, you will find a number of suggested army lists.

Check them out HERE on the Dalauppror blog.

As always, I'm keen for gamers to pick and choose what they use from my rules. The army lists are not set in stone, and may be tweaked or ignored as you wish. I'm a great believer in collecting an army based on your own research or whim, rather than optimising your list for maximum 'winningness'.

I'm told there's someone who hangs out at The Miniatures Page never missing the opportunity to point out that the Lion Rampant sample army for the Scots doesn't work for the skirmishes he fights ... which is rather missing the point that you build your own retinue based on your research rather than ruining your own game by using the SAMPLE lists I provided. I suspect he has missed the text that says, 'There are no ‘official army lists’ in Lion Rampant, and Section 3 includes suggestions for further reading to research your own retinue in detail.' But hey ho.

The (rambling) moral of this post is: Do as much or as little research into the army you are collecting as you wish, but above all else, please have fun collecting an army and playing the game!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

A new record for me: two articles in one magazine (Wargames Illustrated 352)

A little belated news, as I've had very little hobby time recently...

Wargames Illustrated 352 (February 2017) sees a new milestone for me: two articles in one issue. Anyone would think I had a lot to say for myself!

The two articles in question are:

Wargaming went all educational last year when Dan Mersey was invited to Edinburgh to speak on this topic. Professor Gianlucca Raccagni, the organizer, tells us all about the concept.

Dan Mersey takes a look at both the historical and Shakespearean versions of Macbeth, one of the most intriguing characters from Scottish history.

The first article is a transcript of a talk I gave in Edinburgh (previously mentioned on this blog), and the second is a fuller account of the Macbeth Lion/Dragon Rampant army I've previously detailed here. If you've read them, I hope they were of interest to you.

Elsewhere in the issue, Henry Hyde makes mention of two of my upcoming Pen & Sword wargaming books (1066 and the Anglo-Zulu War), there's mention of using The Men Who Would be Kings for a colonial scenario, and there are two adverts for The Pikeman's Lament (one from Osprey one from North Star). All in all, that's a lot of me in one issue.

Some people would say too much of me. Especially the photos of me in the Edinburgh article.

Friday, 27 January 2017

First (independent) review of The Pikeman's Lament that I've found online...

And it comes from David Sullivan at the wonderfully named 'I live with cats' blog. It's a good breakdown of what the rules are about and how you can use the different troop types.

Please check it out HERE.

Incidentally, the cat in the blog's header looks just like our fine old chap who passed away last year and is much missed.

Thanks for the review David!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

The Pikeman's Lament officially publishes today

Rejoice! Today is the official publication date of The Pikeman's Lament, the pike & shot adaptation of Lion Rampant written by Michael Leck and myself.

It's available in all good bookshops and hobby shops - and some bad ones too - and via your favourite online hobby and book stores.

Here's what Osprey has to say about the book:

Recreate the action and drama of 17th Century warfare on your tabletop with The Pikeman's Lament. Start by creating your Officer - is he a natural leader raised from the ranks, the youngest son of a noble family, or an old veteran who has seen too many battles? As you campaign, your Officer will win honour and gain promotion, acquiring traits that may help lead his men to victory. Before each skirmish, your Officer must raise his Company from a wide range of unit options - should he lean towards hard-hitting heavy cavalry or favour solid, defensively minded infantry? Companies are typically formed from 6-8 units, each made up of either 6 or 12 figures, and quick, decisive, and dramatic games are the order of the day. With core mechanics based on Daniel Mersey's popular Lion Rampant rules, The Pikeman's Lament captures the military flavour of the 17th Century, and allows you to recreate skirmishes and raids from conflicts such as the Thirty Years' War, the English Civil Wars, and the Great Northern War.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Dragon Rampant: Hyperborean Northern European Bronze Age Warband

Dragon Rampant, my big skirmish fantasy wargame, allows you to take to the battlefield at the head of a warband of around 50–70 models. Most gamers stick with classic fantasy armies: orcs, goblins, elves, dwarves, ratmen, or the undead. There’s nothing like leading the type of army you’ve read about in books or seen in three-part movies, it’s a wonderful feeling.

But alongside my dwarves, elves, and goblins (my Dwarves of the Gleaming Hills are my warband du jour, resurrecting my favourite 1980s Grenadier Miniatures stumpy-legged, beardy folk), I’ve mustered a few armies that feed from my other fantasy love: British myth and folklore. 

I posted a couple of these previously (Arthurians and MacBeth), but hadn't listed my Bronze Age Europeans. This warband is built using 28mm Foundry models, and appeals to me because I used to work on an amazing archaeological site named Flag Fen.

By demonstrating how I’ve built my warbands, I hope it might give you a few ideas for your next force... From the warbands I've seen online, Dragon Rampant is gaining a growing following of players fielding non-canonical fantasy armies, and that is brilliant to see. Let your imaginations run wild (or like me, raise semi-historical forces as and when they take your fancy)!

Anyway, here you go:
Hyperborean Northern European Bronze Age Warband
Not quite the same as the famous Hyborian Age of Conan, or indeed Tony Bath’s now legendary wargames campaign, the Hyperboreans come from Greek mythology. They are a people of the far north who live in a land with 24 hours of sunlight, and who – naturally enough – worship the Sun. 

I’ve chosen to interpret this as the early European Bronze Age armies of Scandinavia and the British Isles. Why? Quite simply because I really liked a range of historical models for this period, that I had no other use for (so, an excuse!), and because as an archaeologist I worked on one of Britain’s most important excavation sites from this period (a personal connection).

With this in mind, I looked at the models available, and worked up the following 24 point warband:

Heavy Foot + Spellcaster + Leader @ 8 points
The chieftain and his shaman, along with their Sun-disc bronze banner, several intimidating war horns, all backed up with a half-dozen tough spearmen. The shaman is pretty powerful, able to choose his spells from the full list in the rulebook.

Heavy Foot @ 4 points
Ordinary warriors armed with long spears.

Heroes in Chariots @ 6 points
I represented this unit with 2 chariots and 4 extra models on foot to remove as Strength Points. This looks good as warriors would often dismount from their chariots to fight.

Heavy Riders @ 4 points
A handful of warriors ride mounted into battle, giving this army a little extra mobility alongside the chariots.

Scouts @ 2 points
These are the youths of the tribe, equipped with bows, javelins, and slings.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Looking for info about The Pikeman's Lament?

My co-author, Michael Leck, has been busy adding plenty of information about our up-coming rules over on his Dalauppror blog. Rather than doubling up with the same details, I'm pointing people in his direction... Check out the excellent Dalauppror blog HERE.

As well as being far more of an expert in the period (Michael did the majority of period-specific amendments for the rules, I just twiddled my thumbs, contributed mechanisms, and generally got in everyone's way!), his blog is full of great photos of TPL games in progress and his superb collection of Companies (armies) for our rules.

Pop by and have a browse!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

British tanks at Bovington

Just a few more photos from my recent visit.

This time, it's a selection of British AFVs. Plus one imposter.

Watch out, it's armed with a, oh, erm, a smoke mortar.
The A10 is such a beautifully ungainly beast!

Especially when compared with the thoroughbred lines
of the A13! 
"Why Mr Churchill, you appear to be breathing fire
today. Rough night on the spirits?"


Front view of the Cromwell.

Sherman Firefly.

Okay, so this one's not a British tank. It's the tank from
the Brad Pitt movie Fury. It looks great with the
weathering and kit added.

Lovely Medium tank, fine gloss finish too!

The tank we didn't want... the Vickers Six Tonner.
I like the factory finish, but I do wonder what climate
it was intended for.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Tanks a lot

It's been too long since I posted some tank photos. Everyone likes tank photos, so I shall post these without further ado...

All from a recent Bovington trip.

"Aim here". Valentine side view.

Crusader III. One of the most pleasing AFVs to look at.

Perhaps the best camo scheme I've seen. Panther viewed
from the turret of a T34/85.

The Panzer III grows on me every time I see it. 

Side detail of the above.

The Stuart has got itself a funky new camo scheme.

Tiny, tiny Valentine.

Desert War friends and enemies.