Category Archives: ayton

Ayton 2018

And as the first May Bank Holiday passes we complete yet another excellent Ayton gaming weekend! This was our 8th gathering and this year, as we often do on alternate years, we returned to the C18th with our ImagiNation forces. The background and pre-game campaign was run by Henry Hyde and you can see related updates on this, the weekend itself and Henry’s excellent maps of his new ‘Indian’ subcontinent over on his Twitter account: https://twitter.com/battlegames

The crux of all the pre-game shenanigans was that myself and Purps (the armies of Altefritzenburg and Cress) had secured the pass at Currybad having spotted a large enemy force to the north. This force was commanded by Jeremy and Jamie – the Ayton Virgins! Jeremy in particular has made a huge effort painting up a large ‘British’ force just for the event!

The main area of conflict (used by permission)

Day One

We took up defensive positions behind the crest of the pass, hiding our strength and deployment from the approaching enemy light troops and cavalry.

As the enemy approached the crest our forces gradually became visible.

As the enemy approached Purps threw forward three regiments of hussars! 

And echoing Purps past reputation for valiant charges, they all died horribly!

Slowly as the advance continued our full forces came into view.

I had managed to place the heavy and medium guns of the Legion on a hill to the far right and there were able to pepper the enemy advance throughout the whole game.

It then transpired (for various campaign reasons) that the Two Js were joined by the Big G as Gary P joined our table and started marching on battalion after battalion of fresh troops…

The table was getting very full and the prospect of a successful defence was looking less promising… The upshot was that the weight of Gary’s massed troops and those of Jamie were just too much for me to bear and the elite Guards Brigade was to be the hammer that finally pushed me back and prompted a withdrawal back down the pass. 

Highlights (or not 🙂 ) of the game were my valiant Jaegers skirting the rough ground to take up post in the woods on a steep hill to threaten the advancing enemy. Only to be thoroughly dislodged by heavy cavalry who in one move advanced, changed from column of march to line, and charged uphill and into the woods! I may have felt a tad aggrieved! 🙂

A similar fate was to befall my native Indians. They executed a perfect ambush of a passing cavalry column but refused to charge home! They at least had the chance to run away!

And in the centre one of Gary’s Highland units hit two of mine and rather upset them!

So that was the end of Day One. Much fun had, even if if the odds were stacked against us! Having just about held on ’til nightfall we retired back down the pass to Fizzipop where we rejoined the main army and dug in to await the assault. There are a pile more pictures from Day One in the Gallery Ayton 2018 Day One.

The other game on Day One saw the invading forces marching and assailed on all sides by native troops. I was too busy to take many pics (the odd random one in the gallery!) but there are plenty in the links at the bottom of this post.

Day Two

Day Two is the BIG ONE! 35ft table and a LOT of figures! In the past we have often faced off across the table using our own forces of infantry, cavalry and artillery. This year Dave Hall came up with the suggestion of massing the cavalry on the one flank for a huge cavalry ding dong! The central area was the fortified city of Fizzipop (which myself and Simon (Goat Major) were defending, and the right flank had more massed infantry and light troops.

As you can see, a big table with  LOT of troops. I had the pleasure(?) of defending the old part of the city with its crumbling walls against the argumentative might of Peeler(Aytonia) and Essex Boy (The Gateway). My cavalry were deployed to the left as part of the cavalry wing but were actually facing Aytonian infantry and guns.

My infantry and guns were deployed on and behind the walls and towers and in the buildings in the town.

The general flow to the left (while Dave and Gary fought massive cavalry melees!) was that my cavalry advanced. It was either get peppered by guns of try and run them down while the rest of the force engaged what cavalry were there. The glorious Braunschweig Cuirassiers charged and were met by Peeler’s tripled barrelled organs of death and one volley saw them reduced by more than half!

I sent the flaming pigs forward to try and disrupt the enemy cavalry but they were intercepted by Peeler’s Savage Nuns!

The Legion cavalry (lancers and dragoons) charged to engage Aytonian heavy cavalry. Despite getting in first strike the dice were well against me and both units were heavily defeated!

The highlight of the defence were the Medetian rocket battery who managed to not blow up and despite some very random trajectories inflicted a good few casualties on the enemy!

The defence of the town was a grim affair as the might of the Gateway began to pummel the walls (destroying a tower and gateway) and advanced en masse. My light troops (Grenzers, Jaegers and ambushing Indians) bought valuable time for the defence with the Grenzers in particular dying to a man!

But then the assault began. The Gateway light troops advanced to the two breaches but both were driven back with volleys from the Altefritzenburgers and Legion infantry.

And as darkness started to fall the Gateway infantry made their attack. In the centre they were held.

But on the right the famed Bolyn Regiment withstood a devastating volley and then charged home across the rubbled walls. Despite being outnumbered they pushed back the Legion! And gained a foothold inside the defences!

But darkness would save the day and defenders. With no success in the other side of town the assault was deemed to have failed and Fizzipop was held!

The cavalry battle to the left of the town was a bloodbath! Very few units left on the table! Jeremy was assaulting the toughened defences in the other half of town defended by Simon but wave after wave was repulsed! And on the right the massed infantry of Medetia and Cress (under Purps) stood their ground against the massed enemy commanded by Jamie.

It was a massive game. I think another couple of turns of daylight might have seen victory in the town as the assault from Peeler was about to commence (he never rushed really! 🙂 ) and I just didn’t have the forces to hold them back. All good fun (as Ayton always is) and some excellent feeding and drinking on the three nights though not to the excesses of earlier years (some of us take longer to recover now!).

The rest of my pics are in the Ayton 2018 Day Two gallery. You’ll get some idea of the scale of the cavalry battle and the sheer number of troops on the table

There are some excellent pics of both games (and the excellent modern Africa skirmish game) from Simon over on the LAW forum:

http://www.looseasswargamers.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=281

http://www.looseasswargamers.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=282

And a huge collection from Henry himself on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/battlegames/sets/72157666714688727/

As ever, thanks to all concerned (especially Henry and Peeler) and to my opponents on both days. It was a pleasure (even against Peeler and EB!).

Roll on next year.

 

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Ayton 2017 – Other stuff…

Other stuff doesn’t really do it justice. This is just a collection of pics of other peoples armies and their games. I have no idea what was going on in most of them! There are also a few pics of Tims Hall and Waudby’s 54mm game! This was a joy to behold. Excellent painting of both figures and vehicles and a great looking table.

Full gallery here: Ayton 2017 Misc

There were also some excellent armies on display in other parts of the Lion Rampant games:

As with all Ayton games everyone had put in lots of effort getting armies ready, some from existing armies they had, others painting up full retinues from scratch. It also reflects well of the whole Ayton ethos that people put in a LOT of effort creating armies in scales and periods they may never have looked at before!

Thoughts on the Games

We played a ‘test’ Lion Rampant game last year and that was great fun. Finding a way to deal with activations in larger games has been a challenge. Gary put in a lot of work preparing the background to the games and mechanisms to run them. In the first games we controlled activation by drawing a card for each player. This did mean that sometimes players got two turns in a row but as is the nature of the game it didn’t always mean you got to do much if you failed to activate anything! But it kept the game moving.

The larger Day Two game had ten players. Running it with cards would mean people possibly waiting ages for their turn so it was decided that all one side would activate and then the other. This would keep as many people ‘active’ as possible. As we also had two retinues each it was decide you could only activate one retinue a turn. This seemed to work early on but once you got a retinue in the thick of the action you had to KEEP activating that retinue to Rally troops and keep the pressure up. I don’t know how the other side of the table worked out but myself and Dave pretty well spent the whole game fighting with our one large retinue. The other retinue was further back and there just wasn’t time to bring them up. Obviously activation rolls affect this. Richie’s two retinues to my left fared better as they were both close to the enemy so it was easy to bring the second retinue into the fray when needed.

We discussed various solutions to all this:

March Moves – units outside a certain distance from the enemy get a +1 to activation rolls. We also thought of allowing double moves.

Extra activation – ALL retinues get a re-roll (on top of any leader type ones). However, to use it you have to sacrifice your leader unit’s activation. This worked well and cut down on the frustration of moving NOTHING for several turns. I know this is part of the game but if the dice go really bad it gets very frustrating. If you had already activated your leader then you couldn’t use this option.

Two Leaders – allow both leaders to activate each turn. So one larger retinue and when you fail your first activation then the other leader takes over.

We discussed other options, some similar to the Cold War Commander/Blitzkreig Commander rules where all units get a chance to roll,  but felt this was moving way from the ‘core’ of the Rampant series and could possibly unbalance games, especially those with a lot of Expert Bow involved! Getting too many shots in with those could wipe out the opposition too quickly!

But overall, everything worked. Sometimes it was frustrating, sometimes the dice went well and it was great. We were all there to have fun and that we did! No one threw any strops. No one gloated at their good fortune (except maybe Iain on Day 1 but things go his way so infrequently he deserves to enjoy it while it lasts! 🙂 ) 

From my side, I now have a decent size Norman force, already have plans to add to it, and will be painting some Saxons/Dark Age types to oppose it! I’ve also enjoyed painting plastics! I’ve always been firmly in the heft school (no personal comments…) and avoided plastics. I didn’t like the faff of sticking them together and I didn’t like the ‘feel’ of them. Lead all the way for me! But that has changed. The Conquest Normans were easy to put together and painted up well. I’ll be working on some Gripping Beast Saxons next!

And to finish, here are the chaps. Just in case you see us at a show and want to avoid us!

 

 

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Ayton 2017 – Day 1

And so our 7th Ayton has come and gone. And a great weekend it was yet again. This year, as you will know if you have followed the last few posts, was to be Lion Rampant. Gary Phillips took on the onerous task of herding us all together to fight it out and produced an excellent set of games! It’s not easy setting up scenarios to fit in timescales (2 games on day 1 and 1 big game on day 2), as  I’m sure Henry will attest! And especially with the weird and wonderful troops our lot can come up with! But Gary did a fine job. 

The basic background to the games was:

Somewhere in the Med, sometime during the Crusades . . . .
Sir Geoffrey the Indolent is on to a nice little earner. He has established a little fiefdom right on the main sailing route to the Levant. Crusaders on the way out are charged extortionately for food and board, even more on the way back! As a result, Sir Geoffrey has built up a significant pile of treasure from the Crusades, whilst maintaining a reign of terror over the local populace. He has a number of minor nobles to enforce this rule of law.
The Western Crusaders have had enough. A number of nobles have decided to remove Sir Geoffrey and have launched a punitive expedition. They want him removed and they want to dismantle his little empire and recover their treasures.
The Eastern Hordes have seen the Crusaders take their treasures and set up an outpost which threatens their shores. They want the treasures back, so have launched a raid – the objective: loot, burn and kill indiscriminately. If they destroy enough, there will be nothing for the Crusaders to defend. A renegade band of Teutonic Knights see their cause as a way to get one over on the Westerners and have joined their cause, albeit they will arrive late . . . .
Meanwhile, all is not well in the House of Geoffrey. Whilst his nobles wish to preserve the island paradise, some are not keen on seeing Sir Geoffrey prosper. They are more interested in the locals and whist they don’t want it destroyed, they won’t mind if Sir Geoffrey falls to the invaders.
Others of course have had their pockets lined and will defend the current set-up to the last. They are also happy to perform a little pillaging of the local populace and treasures on their own account. Cue chaos . . . . .

I, along with Dave Hall and Richie, formed the Western Crusader contingent as we all had broadly late C11th forces. My first game saw myself and Richie converging on a wagon train guarded by Ken and Gary. Each wagon had a unit attached to it that could defend but not abandon them to go fight. Rolling for my leader (Prior Donovan) he was ‘vulnerable’ so this looked like it may be his last campaign leading the Brotherhood of the Swan into battle! 

The wagons were rather well defended!
The Brotherhood prepare to attack
Richie’s troops were engaged quite quickly
My troops seemed a little wary of advancing too quickly…
…and the wagons rolled on with little intervention from me! However, Richie was fighting hard on the other side of the table but not doing that well…
Finally Ken’s mounted sergeants swung round to block my finally advancing troops
Ken’s VERY pretty yeomen!
I managed to form schiltron and drove off his chaps three times.
I finally got some movement as my crossbows started hitting the wagons
As Richie started to suffer losses the wagons moved on but my troops finally started to close in.
Unfortunately, The Brotherhood were clearly feeling a little vulnerable so still refused to move…
There then followed a series of melees as my sergeants held firm to drive off Ken’s. However, they still remained a threat and stop my advance in that area.
Meanwhile I finally managed to make some attacks on the wagons but failed to destroy the opposition and capture them…
And as there was no point in just sitting there my sergeants attacked Ken’s and drove them off!
Although my unit of sergeants looked set for another attempt on the wagons they ended up failing a Courage test and fleeing the table!
This left space for my Men at Arms to try as well and despite repeated battles with several units and getting shot to bits the failed to grab a wagon!

And finally failed a Rally and fled!
And in the final turn Richie’s remaining mounted troops captured the lead wagon!

And that was it. With Richie’s losses and my last two units dying we were deemed to have failed and were forced from the field allowing the wagons through. I’d misheard the Glory Points instructions and thought we HAD to pick three. And I failed all mine, scored no other victory points and so ended the game on -3. Much to the amusement of everyone there…

After a pleasant light lunch we resumed for Game 2. This time the Western Crusaders, myself, Dave Hall and Richie were assaulting a town with the intent of capturing a couple of guns that would then not be available to the defenders in the big game. The opposition was Gary and Ken on the flanks, and defending the town was the resolute Essex Boy (Iain Burt)! Dave looked at the cannon pointing down the road and the bows and crossbows massed in the buildings either side and decided to set up on the right flank! I decided that charging up the road with glorious abandon would be fun so lined up to face Iain which Richie deployed on the left (where another cannon was placed) and faced Gary.

My troops arrayed for battle…
The first sergeants and crossbows advanced while my men at arms moved to the right.
First blood as Iain’s archers opened up…
The men at arms tried to assault the building
But were driven off… as were the sergeants.
And both failed Courage tests badly and fled the field!
The remaining sergeants charged towards the gun. They had already taken casualties from this as Iain took an early shot before limbering and attempting to run…
I managed to catch them and drive them back but as not battered they took the gun with them…
And my guys got caught in the flank…
And driven back they failed their Rally and fled!
Meanwhile Dave has been battling Ken on the right but with horrendous activation rolls was making little progress and this allowed Ken to move in support of the centre.
It was now time for the cavalry! Taking casualties on the way in they battled valiantly.
The Brotherhood charged in support but their God was not with them…
And driven back they faced more arrows!
Finally Brother Donovan, grasping the sacred Banner of the Swan, died under a hail of arrows…
…and finally only the crossbows remained.
Although they tried to harry the retreat it was to no avail. The cannon escaped and the battle was lost…

Dave had rotten dice the whole game and could only get half his force into action. Richie, over on my left, got badly pummelled by Gary’s mounted troops and although he fought back well he too could not get his remaining troops into the fray…

I had rather poor dice. But it was a strong position to assail and Iain sat there and revelled in shooting hell out of me on the way in. It’s quite hard to coordinate an attack as you can get everything forward and ready and then have some bad rolls that leaves them vulnerable… especially to Expert Bow! But Iain did not revel in his good fortune and only sniggered and danced a jig on most rather than all good rolls… 🙂

Although I managed to score some Glory Points (2) I had again taken and failed three boasts…. so my total for the day saw me on -4! But everyone was sympathetic to my misfortune and were supportive and hardly ever mentioned it… especially Peeler…. Gits! 

So that was Day 1. Not exactly a resounding success for my troops but a good laugh which is the important thing. Not the points. No one cares about the points… Or mentions them…again…and again…and again…

Day 2 to follow!

More pics in the galleries:

Game 1

Game 2

 

 

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T’was the night before Ayton. Again!

Tomorrow I’ll heading down to Ayton for what will be our 7th year! This year we are playing a large Lion Rampant game so I have mostly been painting Normans! And mostly over the last month as inevitably I left it all late! 🙂 The last few days have seen me rattling off 12 archers, 12 yeoman and 12 mounted chaps!

So we have 6 Conquest plastic Normans: 12 Conquest plastics done as yeoman and with round shields as a sort of local force: And 12 Conquest plastic archers: And finally, the Brotherhood of the Swan! Three Perry Hospitaler command and three Conquest plastics. I intend to pick up three more Perry’s to make these a full unit. And Brother Donovan carrying the sacred banner!

Not bad for a week’s work! I’d hoped to get the force to the 42 points we need for Day Two but it was just too much. The remaining figures from the boxes will go to make some bidowers and once I have the Perrys, another mounted unit. So the force for Ayton is: Needless to say there will be a full report after the weekend! Really looking forward to it!

 

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Ayton 2016 Day 2 – AAR

And so we come to day two. Having failed to score a resounding victory on Day 1 the Grenouissian allies were forced to retire and converge their forces outside the city of Lit de la Riviere. Having retired to the east my own forces and those of Whyeydia were pursued by Medetia and as a major battle loomed my Altefritzenburgers formed the left flank, again facing Medetia, while on my right the battered but brave Whyeydians now faced off against the massed forces of Lord Peeler’s Aytonia!20160501_102650

It is impossible to recount the events elsewhere on the table. Too much going on and too many troops to keep track of! I have created a gallery of ‘other’ pictures and left the comments open so if participants wish to comment on their own events they may. And the bulk of the pictures from Day 2 are in this gallery – Ayton Day 2 – Left Flank

Now, back to the left flank. Dave and myself made similar agreements to Day 1. Artillery would be halved and batteries not massed. And as we also had lots of cavalry (some newly raised) we decided the open ground to the left was the ideal place for a gentlemanly cavalry ding dong! I also had the small Grenouissian contingent on that flank and I was to be very grateful for them too!

These allies were to push up along the far left, then my own cavalry supported by the Grenouissian dragoons and guns occupied the main open ground. And in the centre, left to right, were Braunschweig, Savage Swans and Altefritzenburg infantry, screened by jaegers while the rest of my light troops (Grenzers and Natives) rushed to occupy the small wood in the centre of our right flank. Whyeydian jaegers were to do the same.20160501_102703

I shall deal with the action from left to right as that is roughly the sequence in which ‘action’ was concluded.

The Grenoussian chasseurs pushed into the woods on the far left and after a small skirmish pushed the Medetian skirmishers out and eventually inflicted such loss that the enemy retired. They outnumbered the enemy so I expected this outcome. The Grenoussian gun battery on the small hill was to play a very useful role in damaging the advancing Medetian cavalry, while the infantry were able to help cover any possible breakthroughs.20160501_113519

First into action were the Braunschweig Kuirassier. Slightly depleted from the losses in the previous battle, they charged headlong into the first Medetian cuirassiers. Sweeping away the first squadron they ploughed into the second but were by now spent and a catastrophic melee that lasted 3 turns finally saw them dispersed.

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Meanwhile, the newly raised 1st Altefriztenburg Kuirassier piled headlong into more Medetian cuirassiers. Again, they swept through the first squadron but hitting the second did not end well. As their second squadron joined the fray they were not to be so successful and a catastrophic dice roll saw them flee the field! The curse of the newly painted unit strikes again!

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My dragoons tried to move to the right to threaten the enemy infantry but artillery and volleys saw them off with great loss…

To plug the gap in the cavalry line the Legion lancers charged but despite getting a strike in first they were no match for the dragoons and forced to retire and reform further back.

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It was now the turn of the Grenouissian dragoons to charge. They punched right through the remaining Medetian cuirassiers, and though the dragoons to their rear but then, faced with light cavalry, and much depleted they too were forced from the field.

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The Grenouissian guns and infantry fired on the enemy cavalry when able and were to do great service in halting the collapse of the flank. The last remaining Medetian dragoons charged for the rear but were stopped by infantry and the reformed Legion lancers.

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At this point the remaining Medetian cavalry were blown. Two squadrons were at almost 50% loss and any further advance would be under the Grenouissian guns and their infantry who were now deploying to secure the flank. The cavalry action was over, the slightly stronger Medetians claimed the day but were unable to exploit their victory. The battle would be decided in the centre…

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I had two lines, three battalions wide advancing. Initially partially screened by jaegers. And facing three lines of Medetians except on the left where there was only one. But the Braunschweig troops attacking these would do so under the gaze of the Medetian heavy guns on the hill. Although the batteries on either side would cause some casualties on the advancing troops once the line of site was blocked they again would engage in counter battery fire, and again, my guns proved the more effective at this.

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As the rightmost two blocks met there were a series of volleys from both sides, some significantly more effective than others. The first Altefritzenburgers battalion suffered great loss and was unable to advance against the Medetians facing them and had to retire in disarray. The second battalion went forward and was eventually able to drive off the first line.

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The Swans had a similar fate. Trying to advance and fire they took heavy loss in the first round and never really recovered. However, the second line were most effective and the other Medetian front line battalion was driven off.

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It was now that the devious Medetians revealed there second line to be elite grenadiers! The first volleys wrought carnage with the first battalion of Swans thrown back. But the line held and a serious fire fight ensued!

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Meanwhile the Braunschwieg troops advanced. As expected the first battalion suffered from the guns and were finally driven back by disciplined volleys. And as the second battalion formed up they spotted Grenouissian infantry advancing on their left in support.

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On the far right our respective light troops rushed to occupy the small wood in the middle. The Medetians got there first but I advanced my feared native troops who charged into the woods whooping and hollering! Unfortunately, the Medetians having encountered them before were little afraid and the ensuing melee saw them get the edge on the natives. Realising that they could be exposed to great danger if forced from the woods into the open ground of a formal battlefield the natives decide to retire to safer ground and begin scouting avenues of retreat should they be needed. And leave the formal battle to the regular troops. And it was nothing to do with rolling double one for the reaction test!

20160501_111147 20160501_113534The enemy were eventually dislodged from the woods and my Grenzers and jaegers took up occupancy.

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As the volleys were exchanged in the centre with neither side really gaining the edge my troops looked to their right where the forces of Whyeydia were suffering greatly at the hands of Lord Peeler (not a pleasant experience!) and it was clear the field could not be won. After a gentlemanly discussion with the Medetian ADCs both sides decide to draw back as further loss would be pointless on both side. My troops had fought on longer than they should have but it was clear the Medetians had the edge. However, we both felt that no one could claim victory though the Medetians would soon claim the field. The remaining Medetian cavalry were blown and fragile and would suffer at the hands of the Grenouissian troops if they chose to advance. My infantry, though badly mauled in their attack could retire under the cover of their guns and the Medetian infantry, though still with fresh units would suffer from those same guns should they choose to press forward.

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And newly promoted and famous Brigadier Weisswurst was left to ponder the fate of his cavalry brigade!

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And things had not fared well along the whole line. The armies of Granprix had secured enough of a victory to force us from the field. Although not in disarray it was clear the invasion had failed and Grenouisse and her allies would retire across the border. Until the next time…


It was great game again and I was content with the result. The Medetians had the edge (in numbers and quality) in both the cavalry and infantry battles but were unable to exploit that. And my troops had attacked for longer than sensible for a campaign game – but where’s the fun in holding back! And as ever, Dave was a great opponent.

And what did I learn from this game? NEVER buy dice from Paul! On the Sunday morning I bought two small black D6 from his box of goodies! I wanted some distinctive dice to roll all the command and reaction tests. They were to be my doom! Twice they rolled double one (seeing off my natives and cuirassiers) and managed a few threes on other occasions which didn’t help! My guns performed well and in the volleys and melees we both had some killer results with Dave maybe having the edge on those. But the dice weren’t horribly skewed in anyone’s favour and it was a good old fashioned clashing of the lines where in the end numbers and quality told. But occasionally the dice gods chuckled…

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And so another Ayton is over. It was a pleasure seeing all the chaps again (even if my liver and kidneys are still protesting!) and also seeing the new troops people had acquired since the last C18th game. And thanks must also go to Henry for running the campaign and giving us something to fight over!

Next year we will adopt our usual alternating of periods but rather than the C19th Gary Philips will be running a large Lion Rampant campaign for which the Swans and Altefritzenburgers will be making an appearance in yet another era!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the reports and pictures.

 

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