Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spaceships

One group of items needed for Human Space were spaceships.   At this point I have decided to use Brigade Models British ships for the Federation, the German ships for the Pantharii Imperium, the Indonesian ships for the Dominion, and the American ships for the aliens.  All were given a flat black primer coating.  The various factions are covered in a previous post at
 
Two views of an alien dreadnaught in the back, a Dominion battle cruiser to its front, a federation destroyer at the bottom left, and a Pantharii destroyer at the bottom right.

I had considered using one of two different rule sets.  These are 2300 AD Star Cruiser
http://www.wargamevault.com/product/421/2300-AD-Star-Cruiser?term=star+cruiser+&it=1

and Saganami Island Tactical Simulator
http://www.wargamevault.com/product/140093/Saganami-Island-Tactical-Simulator-Rule-Book?term=saganami

Saganami is based on David Weber's Honorverse series of books.  The space battles in his books are some of the batter hard science fiction instead of the Star Wars space opera battles.  Star Cruiser is actually quite similar when it comes to types of weapons and types of defensive systems.  The propulsion systems are entirely different though.  They both take into account stealth and detection of targets.  The movement and firing mechanisms in Saganami are also more complex.

At this point Star Cruiser will most likely be the rule system that I use.  While it is a two dimensional board game the movement and game systems are easily adaptable to 3 dimensions.  It also includes a manual for designing your own ships.   Saganami looses out due to a lack of rules for designing and building your own ships.   Saganami uses the same basic rules as Attack Vector and Squadron Strike from Ad Astra Games.  Ad Astra has a ship building tool for Squadron Strike.  However, it is only available if you purchase the $60US boxed game with a serial number.  There are also some other utilities available for creating box miniatures for the game, but these require a subscription service.

The items I was looking for in a rule set were:
three dimensional movement

defensive systems like modern day stealth capabilities, electronic counter measures, point defense, armor, decoys, shields.  Shields are a bit of a question though as a shield that would stop a beam weapon or object would also tend to leave a ship blind as it would have to block all types of electro-magnetic waves/light.

sensors for detecting other ships/objects, both passive and active.   Passive would detect heat, particle or electromagnetic emissions.  Active would be similar to radar where a beam/signal is sent that bounces off the object and is returned to the sender.  Of course, this would also make the emitter a highly detectable target (here I am, shoot me!)

Weapons such as beam or missiles.   Beam weapons would have an almost infinite range as there is almost nothing in space to stop or disperse them.  However, they cannot change direction and if the target moves out of the path of the beam before contact,  that would determine the maximum range based on the speed of light, the space, and time per turn scales.  Modern day missiles have programmed targeting such as cruise missiles or target guidance systems that an operator  can use to guide the missile to the target.  These allow the missiles to track a target over a much greater distance than a direct fire beam weapon would be capable of hitting.

Sensor drones.  Devices to aid in detecting enemy ships and guiding missiles to a target.  If using active sensors then it could also allow friendly ships to "hide" behind the emissions of the drone. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Converting Hellenistic Generals

While the four main 6mm miniatures manufacturers make Greek generals, none of the mounted generals are armed with the Xyston as used by Alexander the Great, his successors, or other Hellenistic generals.  The Greek general pack from Baccus includes nine mounted generals and eight foot figures.  The foot figures are fine for hoplite armies, but the mounted figures are either armed with swords or pointing.  Baccus has also released a pack of Prodomoi for their successor range which are dynamically posed.

In order to create generals armed with Xystons some conversion work was needed.  The first picture shows the Prodomoi strip at the top and the generals at the bottom.   The tool I used to swap heads from the middle general figure to the last prodomoi figure is a rail cutter from a model railroad supplier.  This tool is designed to create a flat cut on one side instead of an angled cut on both sides.  This allows the head to be joined to the body with a smooth flat surface for both the head and body making a stronger join using super glue.

Figures and cutting tool
Converted figure on the left.

I also had a Baccus companion cavalry figure that had broken at the legs.  I cut the xyston off and glued it to the pointing figure of the general strip.   Using some scrap pieces I added the rear part of the xyston to the figure and also to the middle figure keeping the sword as the front part of the xyston.  The position of the rear general's arm and sword prevents it from being converted without repositioning it.   Checking the Baccus catalog I also noticed that the Italian infantry and cavalry had feathered helmets that might be used for additional conversions and have ordered them.  It will be a few weeks before they arrive.  The Italians will also be useful for Pyrrhus Italian allies.

Now it is time to finish painting the generals.

The other conversions.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Society of Ancients Battle Day - the Battle of Hydaspes at the Fremont Game Kastle hobby shop

On Saturday March 28th we re-fought the Battle of Hydaspes.   Charles Lee was Alexander, Ken Mackie was Porus, and Dan (Regicide) Rygasewicz was his subordinate for the first two battles.  
Sedov Svjatoslav  replaced Dan for the third game and then took over for Ken when he had to return home. 
 
Rules used were Scutarii from Hoplite Research
http://www.lulu.com/shop/william-butler/broadswordscutarii/paperback/product-21971341.html
Available in the UK from Caliver books
http://www.caliverbooks.com/searchcat.php?words=scutarii&price=&period=
 
The Indian army was given a choice of three deployment options:

Arrian's 200 elephants on a frontage of 100 feet per elephant with the infantry five ranks deep.
120 elephants with the infantry ten ranks deep, but with a reduced morale rating of 8 instead of 9.
A 20 rank deep infantry formation with a morale of 9, but only 85 elephants.
The Macedonians were allowed free deployment after the Indian army was deployed.  There was also the option of arming the Hypaspists with either spears or pike.   Pike was chosen for all three games.
 
Ken chose to use the ten rank deep formation for the first two battles and the 20 deep formation for the third.  The first two games ended during the third turn when Dan slew Alexander.   The third game was a Macedonian victory as about half the Indian army fled from the field by the seventh turn.
Alexander did not lead the right wing Macedonian cavalry for the third battle, but instead stayed near the center of the army.   The first two battles saw the Macedonians attack the Indian left flank.   For the third battle Charles deployed the phalanx and most of his army on the left and some cavalry on the right.  A reverse of the historical battle.  Charles deployed the Macedonian heavy infantry in 8 ranks instead of 16.
 
We started at noon and finished at 7 PM.
 
Army values
MACEDONIAN
UNIT
ATTACK
DEFENSE
MISSILE
MOVE
MORALE
POINTS
UNITS
TOTAL
ALEXANDER
ADD 2
X
X
14
+/-2,1, OR 0
free
1
0
 
GENERALS
ADD 1
X
X
14
+/- 1 OR 0
free
3
0
 
COMPANIONS
5
5
X
12
11
10
7
70
 
HYPASPISTS 1
5
6
X
6
11
10
x
0
 
HYPASPISTS 2
4
6
X
6
11
10
6
60
 
PHALANX
3
6
X
6
11
9
4
36
 
AGRIANIANS
3
5
2"
6 OR 8
11
8
2
16
 
ARCHERS
2
4
6"
6 OR 8
11
8
4
32
 
HORSE ARCHERS
2
4
4"
12 OR 14
11
9
2
18
 
LIGHT HORSE
3
4
2"
12 OR 14
11
8
2
18
250
INDIAN
UNIT
ATTACK
DEFENSE
MISSILE
MOVE
MORALE
POINTS
UNITS
TOTAL 1.2
TOTAL 3
ELEPHANT
4
6
4"
8
10
13
30 or 21
390
273
HORSE
3
5
X
12
10
8
8
64
64
CHARIOT
4
5
4"
10
10
8
6
48
48
INFANTRY 3
2
4
6"
6
9
5
46
0
230
INFANTRY 1,2
1
4
6"
6
8
3
45
135
0
GENERALS
ADD 1
X
X
14
+/- 1 OR 0
free
4
0
0
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
637
615
 
 
 Game 1  Initial Indian deployment.  There was a one foot space from the edge of the table to the left end of the Indian army.   This placed some of the infantry and all the right wing cavalry and chariots off table
 Initial Macedonian deployment.

 Ken and Dan moving their army.
 The Indian right wing cavalry and chariots start moving towards the left.
 The right half of the Indian battle line drifted left to create a space for the right wing chariots and cavalry to move through
 Macedonian right wing cavalry being charged by Dan's chariots and cavalry
 Ken reacts to the news that the Macedonian left wing cavalry has followed his right wing cavalry and is arriving at the table edge.
 The death of Alexander.
 Game 2  Initial deployment.  This time the Indian line was shifted to the left in order to place all the infantry on the table
 The right wing Macedonian cavalry moves around the left flank of the Indian army.
 The armies advance.  The Indian army held back its left wing infantry.
 Dan's cavalry and chariots charge Alexander and the companions
 Macedonian skirmishers trade shots with the Indian elephants.
 Alexander is slain again by Dan's chariots.
 Game 3  Ken chose to use the deep infantry formation with 85 elephants
 Charles Lee positions his army

 The Indian infantry advances in a wedge formation
 Macedonian light infantry archers inflict casualties on the Indian right wing cavalry
 The Indian left wing reacts to the Macedonian cavalry.  Indian elephants drift to the left as they advance.
 Part of the Indian right wing cavalry failed its morale check and took some of the infantry behind them when they routed.
 skirmishing in the center
 Indian elephants and chariots chase off the skirmishers.
 Sedov takes over from Ken as Porus
 Indian infantry reacts to Macedonian light horse in their rear by about facing the rear units.

The moment before the right half of the Indian army routs.  Every unit from the point where the rear lines are separated and the front line angles would flee from the battlefield.

The Indian army had 96 cavalry figures, 6 chariots 50+ elephants, and 1104 infantry figures.  The Indian army was mostly Heroics and Ros and Baccus with some Irregular elephants.

The Macedonian army had 560 phalangites and hypaspists, 96 light infantry archers and javelin men, 32 light cavalry, and 84 companions.   Companions were Baccus, light cavalry a mix of Rapier and H &R,  light infantry H&R,  phalangites and hypaspists Rapier.

Raphia at Conquest Sacramento

The forces of Antiochus III and Ptolemy IV Philopater met near the town of Raphia to determine who would control Cole Syria.   While Antiochus followed normal Hellenistic practice by placing his best troops on the right of his army, Ptolemy choose to do the opposite and placed his best troops on his left.
Stuart Blain was Antiochus III
Bill Clark was Ptolemy IV.  
Stuart was to win the initiative for the first four turns of the battle and chose to have Bill move his army first on turn one of the battle.   Bill chose to refuse both flanks and advanced his center in echelon towards the opposing army.  He moved his elephants forward to delay the flanking forces of the Seleucids.
 Stuart held his infantry in place as its overall quality and fighting ability was not as good as the opposing infantry.  He moved his cavalry off to the flanks to go around the elephants.

On turn two Stuart chose to move first and his elephants engaged their opposites.  His cavalry continued its sweeping movement around the flanks.  Bill continued to advance his infantry in echelon and adjusted his cavalry to face the flanking movements of Stuart. 

The Seleucid elephants were able to wear down the smaller African elephants of Ptolemy, eventually causing most of them to flee.   This was to be a mixed blessing as the fleeing elephants prevented the Seleucid cavalry from engaging Ptolemy's cavalry.  A few Seleucid elephants also decided that they had had enough and fled back towards their infantry.

The Seleucid cavalry was finally able to attack Ptolemy's cavalry on the fourth turn.  Some of the Seleucid elephants on the right flank were also able to attack Ptolemy's left wing cavalry.  The two opposing  commanders faced each other in combat.  



Meanwhile Ptolemy's infantry had finally reached the Seleucid infantry.   His infantry charged into the center of the Seleucid line and casualties began to mount.
 
The combat between the two commanders was intense as both sides inflicted three hits on each other.  Both commanders narrowly escaped death.

On turn five Bill won the initiative and elected to move first.   Some of his left wing cavalry broke and fled from the elephants they had been fighting.  On his right flank some of the Galatians and Thracians also fled from the field.  The situation was looking desperate for Ptolemy's army.  Almost all his elephants were dead or had fled from the battle field.  The Seleucids had the advantage on both wings and would be able to turn in on the flanks of Ptolemy's infantry. 
 
Then disaster struck the Seleucid army as Antiochus was slain.  News of his death swept through the army.  Though most of the Seleucid army was unscathed or had only a few casualties, the die rolls caused units along the battle line to become shaken.

At this time we elected to call the game.  Though the Seleucid army still had its part of the fifth turn to fight at least one group of units near the center of the infantry line had suffered heavy losses and was shaken.   It would likely have suffered additional casualties dropping its morale further.  Even if the Seleucids won the initiative and elected to move first on turn six it was quite likely that that group would break causing the other shaken units next to them to rout also.  While it was possible that some units might pass their test for routing friends there was only about a one in ten chance of doing so.   If Ptolemy's army won the initiative and chose to move first the Seleucid infantry would have received casualties from two rounds of combat and their morale would have been reduced even further.

We started shortly after 9 AM and finished before noon.

All the phalangites are by Rapier Miniatures.   All other figures are a mix of Baccus, Heroics and Ros, and Irregular.   There are 4000 phalangites, 276 cavalry,  50+ elephants and escorting light infantry, 720 other infantry, and 28 generals with escorts for a total of over 5000 figures.

Rules used were Scutarii from Hoplite Research
http://www.lulu.com/shop/william-butler/broadswordscutarii/paperback/product-21971341.html
Available in the UK from Caliver books
http://www.caliverbooks.com/searchcat.php?words=scutarii&price=&period=

Additional photos of the game
 
Turn 3 advance of Ptolemy's center

Turn 3 view from Seleucid side

Turn 3 west end of battlefield
Turn 3 east end of battlefield
Turn 4  Egyptian infantry prepares to launch its attack
Turn 4 west end of battlefield
Turn 4 east end of battlefield
turn 4 east end of battlefield final positions
Turn 4 east end of battlefield.  Cavalry forces have engaged.  Some fleeing Egyptian infantry.
Turn 5 east end of battlefield.  Some Seleucid elephants flee.
Turn 5 west end of battlefield.