Tuesday 25 February 2020

And now for something completely different!

Way back in May 2019 at a local free to enter wargaming show in Norwich called Diceni, my wife and then six year old son played a couple of games of a fantasy skirmish sort, my son seemed to be drawn to the models.
During a break from the game I was helping to run, he dragged me over for a game. The game turned out to be Kings of War Vanguard by Mantic Games, their warband skirmish game set in the world of the Kings of War mass battle game. The person demoing the game had selected to use only the core rule mechanics which had helped my son get the hang of the game basics quite well. As we played another couple of quick games he added the power dice into the mix which added a bit more complexity to the game but not enough to unduly confuse my son.

Needless to say my son was quite enthused after this, but as is the way with six year olds this passed over the following days as no immediate purchase was available. I did however download a copy of the rules from Mantic's website, most of their rulesets are available for free download!, for further investigation.

Fast forward to the Other Partizan show in September which I attended with no spending planned. Looking around I saw various starter warband sets for the game discounted, a quick call to my wife and the idea of a family Xmas present was discussed and decided upon. So two warbands were bought including the one my son had preferred at Diceni, the Nightstalkers.

Nightstalker starter warband.

The other warband purchased was from the Northern Alliance faction.

Northern Alliance starter warband.

The special power dice had to be bought direct from Manic as nobody at the show had stock.

Power Dice.

So November came around and I thought I'd better get started on these figures if they were to be ready for Xmas. So out they came and assembly started. This proved to be a bit of a pain due to the various types of plastic/resin that Mantic produce their kits in, but finally all were assembled, fixed to bases, also fiddly due to some of the poses and material again, and primed.

I decided to start painting with the Nightstalkers and went with basic block colours, washes, dry brushing and some highlights. I also used some Citadel contrast paints for the first time which seemed to work ok.

My attempt at Nightstalkers, basing and varnishing to do.

After getting to this point it was the turn of the Northern Alliance warband. Again the same problems due to material types and some thin components but nothing insurmountable. The majority of the figures painted up well just some soft details here and there in the castings to make it "interesting" at times.

Christmas arrived and the empty boxes were wrapped as presents, complete with the handwritten letter from Santa explaining that he had left Daddy in charge of completing the painting of the figures due to his busy schedule. My son instantly recognised the figures upon opening and regular update reports as to when we can play have been requested since.

So fast forward to near the end of February 2020 and both Warbands are painted and based, including my first use of tufts, and ready for varnishing.

Northern Alliance Warband

Close ups

Close ups

Nightstalkers Warband

Close ups

Close ups

So that's the warbands finished, except for varnishing, next on this project will be painting up some MDF terrain I have purchased. More on that later.


Thursday 13 February 2020

"Villamanca" 1812. Game at NBHW.

Last Weeks game at New Buckenham was a fictitious encounter set during the Peninsular War using the Shako II rules.
The premise was that a small French force had seized a large village with the aim of drawing nearby Spanish forces into a trap, the French having additional forces ready nearby.
The Spanish, ignoring Anglo/Portuguese intelligence, planned to attack the "isolated" French force, destroy it and capture supplies to distribute to local guerrilla bands.
The Anglo/Portuguese, having had their intelligence dismissed, reluctantly decide to send a relief force to try and rescue their allies from being trapped by the larger French force awaiting them.

The field of battle, with the soon to be French occupied village.

With the exception of the French force in the village and the Anglo/Portuguese rescue column the other French and Spanish commands rolled dice for random entry points. The entry turn for all had been set by the game umpire.
As it happened both the French and Spanish entered at the far end of the table, in the picture above, the Spanish from the right the French from the left.
The Anglo/Portuguese would arrive along the road over the hill at the near end, and would have to march straight to the assistance of the Spanish, unless directly threatened themselves by the french.

I had command of the infantry component of the Relief force, all Anglo/Portuguese were figures from my collection.

"Villamanca" occupied

Voltigeurs deployed

The bait awaits.

The Spanish arrived and duly drove straight for the village and soon a skirmisher firefight erupted around the olive groves outside the walls. Spanish battalions followed closely behind, all eyes on their target. To their flank the first French reserves appeared including a cavalry brigade. This cavalry obviously contemptuous of the Spanish threw caution to the wind and charged pell-mell across the field at the infantry to their front.

Skirmishers fight amongst the olives while French cavalry charge the following infantry.

However to everyone's, not least the French players', surprise the Spanish skirmishers got the upper hand over their opponents while the line battalions calmly formed square and received the charge of the dragoons and chasseurs, while this cavalry was in turn counter charged to their rear by newly arrived Spanish cavalry.

The Spanish squares stand while Spanish cavalry surprise their French counterparts.

With the French cavalry sent fleeing to the rear the Spanish horsemen now turned their attention to the French and Polish infantry who now found themselves, suddenly, without flank support. Hurriedly trying to form square, two battalions were caught before completing the manoeuvre and were cut down. The others survived, for now.

The Spanish press on to the village.

Last French cavalry threaten the flank.

As the Spanish forced the French skirmishers back and began to form for the assault on the village the last of the french cavalry swept around buildings and threatened their flank. These horsemen were met with Spanish squares and pulled back to reassess. The final French brigade now arrived and moved towards the back of the village in support.

Spanish move in while Anglo/Portuguese troops appear
over the far hills.

At this point my Anglo/Portuguese infantry and the British light dragoons with attached horse artillery arrived over the hills at the far end of the table and headed towards their Spanish allies to "rescue them".
The artillery started to bombard the village to try and soften it up for the Spanish while the light dragoons made for the remaining french cavalrymen.

It was obvious to me and my Anglo/Portuguese colleague that the Spanish hardly needed rescuing at this point but the scenario decreed I march to the area of combat, ignoring other options, unless threatened.

Back over on the right the French squares, still threatened by cavalry soon came under murderous artillery fire and were shot to pieces.

The Spanish now threw themselves at the village only to be thrown back five times by the defenders.

Spanish assaults.

The British light dragoons soon got amongst the weakened french chasseurs and chased them from the field. With this threat removed the Spanish squares shook out into column and moved to assault the other half of the village.

Spanish move to assault the rest of the village.

The French brigade to the rear of the village now turned to their flank to face my oncoming British and Portuguese infantry, freeing me up to now alter my direction of march, away from the perfectly happy Spanish, towards this final French brigade.

Anglo/Portuguese move to pin the french brigade and prevent it supporting the village.

The sixth Spanish assault finally captured half of the village and a halfhearted French counter was seen off. The final French battalion on the left flank also dispersed despite seeing off two simultaneous cavalry charges, one to it's rear, whilst in line!

With the Spanish obviously in the ascendancy and in no need of rescue the Anglo/Portuguese command sat back and engaged in a bit of skirmish and artillery fire and let their allies get on with it.
Their presence on the flank did however occupy the remaining French reserve and prevented it from supporting their comrades in the remaining half of the village when the final Spanish assault went in.

Just before the final Spanish assaults.

Final positions.

With the village now in Spanish hands the French trap had obviously failed and there was nothing more to do but try and withdraw with what forces they had intact. So the game was called as a Spanish victory, as the Anglo/Portuguese had mostly been admiring spectators.

A fun game with a great result for the Spanish, so often on the receiving end. Also great to get some of my figures out on the table again.

As usual more pictures and AAR in the club Facebook Album