Sunday, April 13, 2014

Putin on the (f)Ritz or Crimea River

I ran a hypothetical (?!) Russian invasion of Ukraine scenario at the South Bay Game Club on April 12th.   The rules were Cold War Commander using my microarmor Russians.   The Russians were attacking against a Ukrainian hasty defense.  Both sides diced for the force they would use.   The Russians were lucky and got the strongest brigade of two tank battalions, one bmp battalion, three btr battalions, and an artillery battalion plus additional brigade assets.   The other two brigades only had five battalions each.   In addition they also had an artillery brigade of three gun battalions and one multiple rocket launcher battalion.

The Ukrainians were not as lucky when they diced for their force.   They ended up with only one tank battalion, one bmp battalion, and one artillery battalion along with the brigade assets. 
 The commanders from left to right.  Charles Liu, right wing Russian commander.  James Poli, Ukrainian commander.   Dan , overall Russian Commander,   Alan Sissenwen , left wing Russian Commander.
 Looking East from the Ukrainian side.  The game table was 6 feet by ten feet.
View from the South.
View from the North.

The Ukrainians used hidden deployment and had two sets of dummy counters for every real one.   Their forward artillery observer took up a position in the church steeple in the middle of the city.   The Russians used mobile deployment and entered from the east side of the table.   All Russian units made their first command role, but not all made their second.   Charles had a double one for his first btr battalion on his second command role.   Alan scored double ones for two of his battalions.
End of Russian first turn.   The Russians had several preplanned artillery strikes, but they were ineffective, landing on areas where the Ukrainians had placed dummy counters.
Start of Russian second turn.  The Ukrainians had called their artillery down on the Russian right wing on their turn as their only action.
Russian right wing, start of second turn.
End of Russian second turn.   The Russians experienced command control problems during this turn with only half their battalions being able to advance.   Their left wing has reached the river and is preparing to assault across it.  Their left wing artillery has laid a smoke screen across the two hills to its front.
Russian third turn.   Dan advances his brigade assets.
Russian right wing finally advances though it has a massive traffic jam crossing the rivers.
Russian right wing continues its advance.   The Ukrainians have moved an infantry company up to the back of the city.
Russian left wing is held up by fire from Ukraine tank battalion and ATGW company.   On the other flank Ukraine recon elements were able to attack the command elements of the Russian right wing eliminating the FAO for that flank, chasing off one battalion commander, capturing another.  Russian defensive fire was unable to stop the charge of the Ukrainians.
The remains of the Russian bmp battalion advance to the city.   Two thirds of its platoons had been destroyed by Ukraine tanks.   Part of the left wing Russian tank battalion has routed.   The Ukraine tank battalion would cause heavy casualties on the left wing Russian forces for the loss of one third of its tanks.
Charles bypasses the town with his intact tank battalion giving the Russians the victory.   Ukrainian infantry in the town would take out part of the btr battalion.   The remains of the Russian bmp battalion were able to capture the church, forcing the Ukrainian forward observer to flee for his life, seeking shelter with the infantry company.

The buildings are from Paperterrain and Roman seas.   All vehicles are from GHQ.   Infantry is Heroics and Ros.  The railroad track is from Hornby.  Trees from Everest Hobbies on EBAY.  Rivers and some roads scratch built using DAP brown mastic.  Other club games that day were a naval engagement, air combat, bolt action, and Seven Years War.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Conquest Sacramento

This weekend I was able to host two games of Scutarii from Hoplite Research at the Conquest Sacramento convention.   The first game was the battle of Hydaspes.  The battle started at 9 and ended about 12:30
The initial deployments of both armies.   Alexander is on the left and Porus is on the right.  The are based on those in the scenario from Lost Battles by Phil Sabin with some additions to the Macedonian army.  Except for the chariots and elephants all units had two bases per unit.  This required recruiting some of the Achaemenid Persians to fill out the Indian army.
View from the other end of the table.  Start of battle.  The Indian army had 1296 figures representing 27,000 infantry, 72 figures representing 3000 cavalry, 6 chariot units representing 150 chariots, and 18 elephant units representing about 85-90 elephants.  Most of the infantry on the Indian side is Baccus with some Heroics and Ros and some Rapier Miniautres.   Elephants are from all three of them and some Irregular Miniatures.
The Macedonian army had 640 pike figures from Rapier Miniatures representing about 8000 phalangites and hypaspists, 16 figures representing 1000 archers, 16 figures representing 1000 Agrianians, 60 figures representing 2500 companions, 16 figures representing 1000 horse archers, and 40 figures representing 2500 light horse.  Cavalry is a mix of Rapier, Heroics and Ros, and Baccus.   The Companions are the new Prodomoi figure from Baccus.
The armies meet.  The Indians commanders did not elect to shift any units from the right flank to the left.
Although the Macedonian cavalry was able to defeat their opponents on both wings their light infantry evaded when charged leaving both flanks of the phalanx exposed allowing the Indians to advance and eventually attack both flanks of the phalanx.  Also, the companions on the Macedonian right had taken quite a beating due to some very good die rolling by the Indian commander and were too exhausted to continue the fight.   Almost all the elephants became enraged with most attempting to flee and attacking the infantry behind them.  The morale of the Indian infantry held otherwise they would have fled and Alexander would have won.  Instead several of the pike units broke after the phalanx had been hit in the flank and Porus claimed victory.

The second game was the battle of Asculum
This one started at 1:30 and ended too soon.
Initial deployment.  Romans on the left and Greeks on the right.  Pyrrhus elected to send his elephants and lead his guard  to his right flank.  The infantry advanced in echelon.   His plan was to overpower the Roman left flank.
The Italian infantry advances and shifts towards the left to attempt to outflank the Roman right.
The fight on the Roman left.  The Roman cavalry was able to inflict more damage on the Greek cavalry than they received
The Roman legions advance into contact with the Phalanx.   For this battle the phalanx formations were treated as double width bases per the optional rules. 
The infantry battle began on turn three.  On turn four the Romans won the initiative and elected to have the Greeks move first.  The morale checks for the Greeks resulted in a disaster.   Their cavalry on the right flank had been severely hurt during their fight with their opponents.  Previous morale tests had resulted in a couple of their units becoming shaken.  When they tested this time the shaken units routed taking the unit between them when it failed its morale check also.   Though the other units near them passed, the three routing units fled directly into Pyrrhus and his guard, sweeping them along.  Pyrrhus' flight would have caused all of his army to check for loss of the army commander.   Though most units probably would not have fled, Pyrrhus fleeing from the field gave the Romans the victory.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Raphaia Project Part 3

Ptolemy's Phalanx

I have completed painting the Ptolemeic phalanx.  The four main parts are the mercenaries, the Egyptians, the settlers and Libyans, and the guard.

This is the Egyptian part of the phalanx.   The figures are Rapier Miniatures phalangites with vertical pikes.  There is a total of 960 figures representing 20,000 men.

This is the settler and Libyan phalanx.  Figures are Rapier Miniatures phalangites with pikes at 45 degrees.  There are 1,128 figures representing 28,000 men.

The guard.  There are 200 figures representing the 5000 men of the Agema and "peltasts".  These have been painted with silver shields.  Mercenaries in the back

The mercenaries.   There are 320 figures representing 8000 men

Friday, February 14, 2014

Raphaia Project part 2

Having established the troop types and numbers the next part is to determine how many figures are needed.

The 175 elephants fielded by both sides would be either 36 units or 43 units depending on whether each unit represents 4 or 5 elephants.   With the elephants that I got in trade a while back there are enough to field 43 units.

The total cavalry is 11,000, mostly lance armed heavy cavalry.  At four, six-figure bases per 1000 that will be 264 figures.  No additional figures needed.

The only light infantry skirmishers would be included with the elephants.

There are 10,000 Asiatic infantry and 10,000 Arab infantry.  The Achaemenid Persian infantry that I have could fill in for these.  at 24 figures per thousand that would be 480 figures.  No additional figures needed.

There are 6000 Thracians and Galatians in Ptolemy's army and 2000 Thracians and others on the Seleucid side.   At 24 figures per 1000 that would be 192 figures which can be represented by the warband infantry that I have.  No additional figures needed.

That leaves a total of 96,000 pike armed infantry.   Of these, the 20,000 Egyptians would be represented by Rapier Miniatures phalangites with the pike in the vertical position.   At 48 figures per 1000 (figures are mounted 8 wide by 3 deep on a 40mm wide base) that would be 960 figures.

The rest would be represented by Rapier's phalangites with the pike at a 45 degree angle.  At 40 per 1000 (figures are mounted on a mixture of bases that are 5 deep by 8 wide for every two bases), that would be 3040 figures. 

This would require purchasing an additional 696 vertical and 1600 other phalangites and several weekends of painting.

Total numbers of figures:  43 elephants plus some light infantry escorts, 264 cavalry, 4000 phalangites, and 672 other infantry.   Grand total approximately 5000 figures.  About 600 more figures than used for the battle of Asculum earlier this year.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Burning of Buck

On February 2nd I ran a game of Scutarii using the fantasy variant rules at the Game Kastle in Fremont, CA.    The forces involved where two bands of Orcs commanded by Kirk Bollinger and John Leary.  They were allied with some Elves commanded by Ken Mackey.    Their objective was to eliminate the human settlement that had been cutting down the forest.   Defending the village were Dan Rygasewicz and Kent Reuber.  Kent commanded the local defense force and Dan was bringing a human relief force to aid the village.   There was also another relief force of Dwarf infantry that Kent would later command.  The store opened at 11 and the game started about 30 minutes later.   We were able to finish by 3 in the afternoon.

The elves were all elite drilled regulars,  the orcs were undrilled militia (think Celts),  the dwarfs were average, drilled, and treated as Roman trained infantry,  the village defenders were untrained militia, and the relief force were drilled militia with the heavy infantry treated as Roman trained infantry.  The elves had 5000 infantry and 1000 cavalry.   The orcs had 10,000 infantry  and 4 giants (ugly elephants) in each force, with 60 chariots in one group and 3000 wolf riders in the other.   The village defenders numbered 6000 infantry.  The dwarfs had 10,000 infantry.  The human relief force numbered 1500 heavy cavalry, 1000 light cavalry, 2000 heavy infantry and 1000 light infantry.

The local defense force started on table guarding the village.  It was an equal mix of spear armed infantry and archers.   The Human relief force was composed of infantry and cavalry with a mix of light and heavy for both.

The attacking force was coming from the south.  The elves formed the right flank of the attackers with the Orcs forming the central and left groups.   As the left group advanced through the woods it came across a burned out manor.   One unit was sent to investigate and find any loot or supplies while the rest continued their advance.  After a couple of turns rummaging through the ruins they were suddenly attacked by a group of skeletons.  It took a couple of turns for them and another unit of Orcs to destroy the skeletons.

On the other flank the elves advanced quickly.  On the third turn the human relief force arrived on the road heading to the village.  Upon seeing the elves they formed a battle line with their entire force instead of continuing to move to the village..   The elves left their cavalry to watch them while their infantry moved towards the village.   There was a marshy swamp and a stream between them and the humans that gave them protection from being attacked by the relief force.   However, they passed to close to the swamp and were set upon by the swamp dwellers.   After taking some damage from them they were able to drive them off and continued on to the village.   The elves were able to get into a position just to the right of the central orc force and between the relief force and the village.

The central orc force had advanced up the road leading to the village and launched an attack with their chariots.  After several rounds of fighting the chariots were routed, but the orc infantry held and renewed the attack against the village defenders.   One group of orc warriors decided to loot the tower in the middle of the table.  This turned out to be a bit unwise.   The tower was occupied by an elderly wizard who did not like to be disturbed.   He quickly stormed up the stairs to the top of the tower, took one look at the orcs, and proceeded to cast a huge fireball at them.   Unfortunately for him the spell backfired (he rolled a double 10) and both he and his tower were blown to pieces leaving a mushroom cloud over the pile of rubble that remained.

The human defenders were now in trouble as they were being attacked from the front by the central orc force, being threatened on their left flank by the elves and about to be attacked from the right by the wolf ricers of the left orc force.  

At this point the dwarf legions started to arrive on the northwest road.  The western orc force turned to face them, seeking to contain them.   By the time most of the dwarfs had arrived they faced a blocking force of orc infantry, wolf riders and a giant.  

Meanwhile the village defenders morale collapsed and the orcs overran their positions.  With no where to run the villagers were slaughtered and the orcs proceeded to pillage and burn the village.  One group of orc warriors went mad with blood lust and attacked a unit of elves that was next to them.  

On the eastern end of the battle the human relief force was not able to get past the elves.  They had done some damage with their priest and archery, but not enough to affect the morale of the elves.  Eventually the priest cast one too many spells and dissolved into a pile of goo.

On the western end of the table the dwarfs and orcs were hacking away at each other.   Heroes on both sides fell as the combat went first to the dwarfs, then to the orcs, and back to the dwarfs.   The orc general died leading his warriors against the dwarfs, causing the morale of a number of units to falter.  Their giant fled the field shortly after this.

At this point, the two relief forces would not be able to get to the village in time to save any of it.   Half the town was already destroyed and the other half was being torn apart.  The Elves and orcs were declared the winners as they had accomplished all their objectives.   Human losses were the 6000 infantry guarding the village along with the village and its inhabitants.   The elves lost the one unit of 500 infantry attacked by the orcs.  While the orcs had lost a war lord, several heroes, their chariots, and some warriors.   Dwarf casualties were minimal with only a few dead and wounded.

Thanks to Dan for bringing the trees and thanks to all for participating.

 Ken Mackey on the left commanding the elves and Kirk Bollinger commanding the central orc force
 Kent Reuber commanding the village defenders.
 John Leary's torso commanding the left orc force. My apologies to John as I thought had had got his head in the picture also.
The orcs advance.
 The village defenders await the orc onslaught.
 Dan Rygasewicz in the back with the human relief force arriving on the road.
 The village under attack.  The remains of the wizards tower at the bottom right.
 The swamp dwellers attacking the elves.
 The dwarf legions arrive.  They would eventually form a half circle and attack the orcs to their left, front and right.
View from behind the orc battle line prior to the chariots routing.   The tooth pick factory has been destroyed at this point.
The elves and humans face each other across the stream and marsh.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Raphaia Project part one

After being asked about the battle of Raphaia,  I decided that I would take a look at what was needed for the armies.  The first part will look at the composition of the armies.

There are a couple of different interpretations regarding troop strengths and who was armed with what.   I have tended to follow Bar Khocva;s interpretation in his book "The Seleucid Army".  Professor Phillip Sagin also has a similar interpretation in his book and game "Lost Battles" as does Duncan Head in "Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars"

Ptolemy's army totalled 5000 cavalry, 70,000 infantry and 73 African elephants.
The Seleucid army had 6000 cavalry, 60,000 infantry and 102 Indian elephants.

The elephants on both sides were accompanied by light infantry so each base would be 4 or 5 elephants.  This would be 15 to 18 units of elephants for Ptolemy and 21 to 25 for Antiochus

Ptolemy's infantry included:

6000 Galatian and Thracian peltasts
8000 Greek mercenaries armed as phalangites
20000 Egyptians armed as phalangites
25000 Macedonian settlers armed as phalangites
3000 Libyans armed as phalangites
3000 Agema armed as phalangites  (infantry guards)
2000 "Peltasts" armed as phalangites (this was another unit of guard infantry)
3000 Cretans and Neo-Cretans as elephant escorts

His cavalry included

700 Guards
2300 Settler horse
2000 Mercenaries  (possibly a mixture of light and heavy)

The infantry of the Seleucid army was a bit more diverse.
It included

10000 Argyraspides armed as phalangites (the infantry guard)
20000 Macedonian settlers armed as phalangites
5000 Greek Mercenaries (brigaded with 2000 phalangites so may also be phalangites)
10000 Arabs
5000  Medes, Cissians, Cadusians, and Carmanians
5000 Daae, Carmani, and Cilicians,
2500 Cretans and Neo-Cretans as elephant escorts
1000 Thracians
2000 Agrianes and Persians archers/slingers as elephant escorts
500 Lydians possibly also elephant escorts
1000 Cardaces

The Seleucid cavalry totaled 6000.
2000 were the guard cavalry (Agema and Companions)
the other 2000 on the right were settlers
The 2000 on the left flank may have included the mercenaries that deserted to the Seleucid army the year before and may have been a mix of settlers and mercenary heavy and light cavalry.

The armament of the Greek mercenaries is open to question.   Their position to the right of the 5000 light armed Asiatics would tend to indicate that they were probably Thureophoroi, but the inclusion of 2000 phalangites with them could also indicate that they were phalangites.  Bar Khocva and Phil Sabin consider them to be phalangites, while Duncan Head does not.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Scutarii now available from publishers web store

HR Games has released Scutarii.   It is now available on their web store at HR Games   A Yahoo Group has also been  Domus Scutarii

 The first edition can be found on Amazon at
original version of the rules

A later color version of the original cover