Category Archives: update

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 2

And so we come to Day 2. The big  game! Western Crusaders and Eastern types assaulting a castle/village/church complex. Six players on our side versus four on the other, with a couple of guns mounted in the castle facing either way. Each player has 42 points to split into two retinues. However, each turn you could only activate one of them. On the first day the activation sequence with four players was controlled by cards. This time all one side went, but as said, only one of your retinues per turn. Unfortunately, Richie was unable to attend Day 2 so myself and Dave Hall took it turns controlling his force depending on how busy we were with our own.

I split my force into a small retinue (two yeoman, two bidowers and one lot of mounted) which along with all Richie’s force were facing Bob defending the village. My main retinue (sergeants, bows etc.) joined Dave in attacking Ken and then the castle. Despite the losses on Day 1 I still chose a couple of Boasts! I went for my arrows are deadlier than my spears, and issuing a challenge. As my leader had died the day before I got to roll for two new ones and got a Great Leader and a Lionheart! So I reckoned a duel would be in order…

Let battle commence!

All was quiet in the monastery. Little did they know what was to come…
My retinues arrayed for battle!
The enemy await.
First blood went to Richie as Bob had the first of many rotten rolls with his expert archers fleeing after their first casualty!
This was my fast moving retinue on the left. This was pretty well as far as it got all game!
More bowmen brought to plug the gap.
While nearby other bowmen opened up on the approaching troops in the open. And again, the dice were not good. Three times these expert bowmen fired without causing a single casualty!
Men at arms prepare to assault the wall. The second lot of bowmen had already been pushed back and now sergeants awaited the attack.
Meanwhile, to the right, mine and Dave’s Normans began to attack Ken’s French!
As my missile troops picked off casualties my tough guys rushed to the attack.
Dave pushed forward vigorously and caused many casualties. He then challenged the enemy leader and died for his trouble!
My heavy hitters about to charge and destroy Ken’s bowmen!
My missile troops continued to harass the enemy despite losing men to the cannon in the castle and my sergeants prepare to advance.
Meanwhile Richie’s troops continue to contest the the wall.
Now much reduced after many melees my men at arms prepare to fight again as their sergeants rush to support them.
Kens much reduced forces prepare to face fresh troops.
Having exhausted his first retinue Richie’s second retinue attacks as Bob brings up his remaining troops to hold the line.
My sergeants pile in and begin to wipe out the remaining units.
Finally the Brotherhood charge forward to deliver the coup de gras!
While mine and Dave’s remaining sergeants began to assault the castle walls.
And seeing Ken’s remaining Lord the Brotherhood charged forward and challenged him to combat. This was rather ineffective…. so they charged and drove them back…
The fight for the walls continues.
And the Brotherhood finally ride down Ken’s Lord!

And at that point Gary called it a day! Although we had not taken the castle we had killed enough of the enemy to force a surrender. And for once my dice had been good! I had wiped out at least five units, killed a Lord and achieved my two boasts! A great turnaround after the dire result of Day 1! But the dice had served me well and fortunately for me Bob suffered badly with his which gave me and Dave freedom to pile into Ken! All in all a good game. Great fun and nice to win!

Another post later/tomorrow with some more pics from the weekend and thoughts in the games.

There are more pictures in the Day 2 Gallery.

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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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As Ayton looms…

…I’m finally cracking on with the figures needed. To add to the crossbowmen I finished a few weeks ago I’ve added 12 more Foot Sergeants (though they may end up as Yeoman!) and 6 Foot Men at Arms. All are Conquest Normans. And as I’m retaining the Savage Swans theme the tough chaps get the usual colour scheme! I’ve got another 12 foot and 6 mounted half done. Hope to get them finished by Friday. Then may attempt some more!

Ayton always provides a good focus for painting. If only I could realise that a few weeks earlier….

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Fire and Fury in the North!

And so the day arrived! A little later than planned as we’d been out the night before and I left everyone at a sensible time (albeit a little the worse for wear) and went to meet up with my wife at a friends party. I finally got to bed just after 4am. Vodka was involved. Had intended to get to the venue at 8.30, get the troops out and be ready for the guys arriving at 9. I woke up at 9.10!! Made it to the place at 9.30 though but the initial setup was a little unsteady… 🙂 

Some background. Various member of LAW and the Ayton games have been having the odd get together at other points in the year when one of use puts on a game (or two) in the area they live (or their home). So far we’ve played in Aberfeldy, Framlingham, Newark (Foundry) and few peoples homes (Simon, Paul, LT, Dave) with various people attending and putting games on. All have been great fun so I’d pondered a small gathering to play Fire and Fury up here in Newcastle so this weekend it finally happened and Iain (Essex Boy), Simon (Goat Major), Dave (World2Dave) and Ken (Marshall Ney) headed north (or west for Ken as he’s in Whitley Bay!) for a game. And food. And beer. The venue was the classroom at Stepney Bank Stables in the Ouseburn Valley which was ideal as the guys were staying at the Cumberland Arms just up the hill. It was good value, had lots of big tables, and the smell of the horses added a little ambience! The lighting could have been marginally better but was OK. If it had been sunny outside it would have been fine but towards the late PM it became a little dark.

If you’ve followed the blog over the last few months you’d see I’ve been trying to get my 15mm ACW forces sorted out and having the game as a target and focus has been a great help to getting units done, markers and scenery. I’d thought of just doing one of the scenarios from the books but none of them seemed to work in terms of forces required, table size, game length. So I visited the old Fire and Fury UK webpage and picked some of their Random Armies. These would hopefully give two ‘balanced’ forces for what would effectively be an encounter type action. I did roll on the Random events table and the Union got a caisson for artillery re-supply (no low-ammo within 12″) and an battery and brigade deployed in advane up to half way line.  Rebs got some captured guns and a flank march. Myself and Dave took the CSA with two decent corps. I sent the two brigades of Bright’s Div. on the flank march.

Here are the OoBs.  This was the table (about 8×5 using my 6×4 Mat-o-War with hills adding to the width and woods extending the flanks):In the centre is the town of Aytonsburg where a Union brigade has taken residence with an accompanying battery deployed behind the wall enclosure to their right. The river could be crossed using half your movement, the two fords only costing -3. The CSA objective was to take the town, the Union to halt the CSA advance and inflict as much damage as possible. 

The CSA deployed on the hills with the Corps Batteries on the heights. The plan being to push forward with elan and gain a foothold in the town before the main Union forces advanced. Which would have been fine but for the Union moving first! Tonkiss advanced Peeler’s Div. and his cavalry to occupy the town.McGarry advanced up the centre and took and took up strong positions with his guns and veteran troops behind the stone walls.Burt’s green troops could be seen in the far distance advancing through the woods.McMaster’s corps made a caustious advance against the town.And Hall’s veteran corps advanced up the centre and deployed to the flank to face the threat from the Union flank march.Peeler’s Div took up strong positions in and around the town and awaited the assault.Meanwhile, Hall’s troops lined up to face Burt’s flank attack.The attack up the centre had stalled when faced by several batteries and three well deployed brigades.McMaster’s assault on the town was struggling. Having driven the first brigade out from the outskirts three brigades lined up to assault the right side of the town held by only a single brigade.This was to be a crucial battle as the Union threw back attack after attack before finally being driven out! The time they gained was crucial.

Buff and Morrisey’s divisions pushed out the cavalry and tried to push down the road into the face of the battery there. Luckily they silenced the battery and were able to drive it off.  While all this was going on Tonkiss’s flanking brigade encountered some old foes charging from the woods! Although they did no damage the native did hold up the brigade for several turns resulting in them still being in a good position when Bright’s flank march arrived!These swept the brigade away and then advanced rapidly across the rear of the town to engage McGarry’s zouave brigades that were deploying to bolster the flank. Unfortunately at this point the valiant defenders of the town rallied and charged one of the brigades in the rear, sending it fleeing to the rear. They then charged again into the rear of the other brigade and finally their luck ran out!The CSA now took possession of the town and tried to push forward further into the rear. Meanwhile, Hall faced the massed troops of Burt’s corps. Contesting the crossing of the river the battle ebbed to and fro as the weight of numbers began to tell but finally, with guns brought up in support, Hall threw the Union back across the river and the remnants (three brigades were down to one stand!). Meanwhile, the attack around the rear of the Union line was thrown back by McGarry’s crack troops. At this point, with the day drawing to a close, we decided to call it a day. Burt’s attack had been repulsed but he still had strong forces to being to bear and was preparing another assault. The town was firmly in CSA hands and Buff’s Division prepared its defence. Morrissey’s largely untouched Division deployed along the left of the town along the road as along with Hall’s battered troops the attack on the centre could resume as McGarry had re-deployed troops to hold the flank. With plenty of fresh troops still in play we called it a draw as even with another couple of hours play it could have gone either way. The table at the end.

It was a great game. The d10 extremes did play a part on occasion (the CSA only one combined ALL their batteries against one target…and rolled a 10!) and I think Dave felt he rolled more than his fair share of 1s… I had made up LOTS of markers and we hardly used any. Maybe half a dozen disordered markers each and the odd low ammo. I think we missed the odd low ammo effect amidst the joy of rolling a high number! I managed to capture one Division commander and had one of my own disabled. The close combats were generally worked out OK. We had a couple of queries when two brigades hit one and we were unsure if ALL effects were added e.g. if one unit was fresh and the other spent was that a net 0 (-2/+2)?. We played yes.

And some of use felt that with the CSA have smaller units, even if veteran of crack, they struggled against large green Union units as losing even one stand lost them their fresh status. 

But overall the rules played fine and we had a great time. Thanks to the guys for coming up and playing in such good spirit. And it has been good to get the armies into a playable state!

There’s a gallery with more of the pics in here: Fire and Fury Newcastle 2017

Now. What do I need to paint for Ayton? 🙂

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