Clash of Spears: Punic War in Sicily Campaign (Turn 2, Battle 1)

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , on January 15, 2023 by Sean

The holidays threw off the campaign for a bit, but we’re getting back to battle.

Battle 1: A Disagreement Over Spoils (or, Aristarchus Gets a Taste of Gold)

Aristarchus and his mercenaries moved with impunity through the hinterlands, with the Roman alliance happily looting the villas of the Sicilian farms. He of course was happy to aid in the endeavors. On a quiet morning his force happened upon yet another plantation, moving to secure the best riches. However, this time his scouts sighted a Roman force moving in from the west. His love for the Romans extended as far as their coin, so the prospect of them taking his loot would not stand. He called up his subordinates, Jason and Elarchus, and prepared for a fight.

For Turn 2, we shift to 800 point armies. The Greeks had mounted Lvl 3 commander (Aristarchus), 2 Lvl 2 foot leaders (Jason and Elarchus w/ Musician), 8 armored Hoplites, 7 armored Hoplites, 7 unarmored Hoplites, 8 Slingers, and 8 Petasti. The Romans were mounted Lvl 4 commander (Appius), a Lvl 3 foot commander, 6 Principes, 6 Hastati, 6 Samnites, 6 Equites, and 5 Velites. The Greeks outnumbered the Romans, but they had the advantage of quality. Lots of full armor and high morale.

We played the Retrieval scenario, with 3 blind objectives, with only 1 ‘real’ one, which you reveal in-game. Made it tense as we have to cover all three until the reveal. The Greeks spread out with a Hoplite unit going for each objective, with the skirmishers supporting. The Romans did the same, but were more content to let the Greeks reveal the objectives before getting stuck in.

Highlights:

-Both armies advanced slowly. On the right flank the unarmored Hoplites and Peltastsi faced off with the Samnites hiding in the trees and Velites taking position on the hill. Neither side wanted to be the one to reveal the objective and put themselves into a bad position. They mostly did nothing for the game, which was a bad position for the Greeks.

-In the center the armored Hoplites advanced forward. The Hastati were happy to grab for the objective. They revealed a dummy, so the center suddenly became less important. The Hastati loosed a volley of pilum, striking down a Hoplite despite their close formation. First blood of the game! The Velites did the same, killing a Hoplite on the left flank. The Roman ranged attacks were pinpoint accurate the whole game…

-On the left flank the big Hoplite unit threatened the objective but had to be careful to not get flanked by the Equites and Principes. A couple volleys of sling stones dropped a single Principes but they held firm, even advancing to force the Slingers to retreat into the forest. Aristarchus hovered nearby, eying the objective greedily.

-The Equites performed a javelin maneuver, killing a Hoplite and then retreating. Revealing the true objective, the Greeks needed to do some damage, so they broke formation to attack the Principes over the the low wall. The managed to push them back, breaking their formation, but only did a little damage. I tried to activate the Slingers to take advantage of the loose formation, but the dice were not with me. Their hesitancy allows the Principes to reform into close order. This was a harbinger of later luck.

-In the center, the Hoplites charged the Hastati, brutally cutting them down. Their All Out attack netted 8 hits against the Roman defenders (5 after the defense rolls), killing most. The fatigue broke them. Plutus at least was with these Hoplites.

-The Equites charged the Hoplites, crushing them. The first pass laid on fatigues and casualties. The second charge was interrupted by Aristatchus himself, who beat them back but was not able to stop their inevitable overrun of the weakened unit, wiping them out. My dice were abysmal, with not a single save or morale success in 2 rounds of combat.

-The Roman commander Appius came forward and grabbed the objective himself. With the reveal of the true objective, the whole rest of the table was worthless and the Greeks were woefully out of position.

-The triumphant Equites turned to the exposed Greek commander. They rushed Aristarchus, who parried and dodged them expertly. In return he struck down a few. After several urgent calls from his subordinate Jason, the Slingers joined in and pelted the horsemen until the remaining men broke (the Slingers just kept failing their activation checks).

– The Velites moved across the hill to help the Roman line. As they ran they rained javelins on the Hoplites. Despite their close formation the javelins struck home, killing several. In return the unit gave case, trapping the skirmishers against the pond. In a back and forth melee, the Velites were forced back into the pond, piling up fatigue.

-After resting, the angered Aristarchus sighted the prize, held by Appius. His supposed ally would yield or die. Aristarchus charged, wounding him twice, but Appius would not give up the loot. Exhausted, and with the Principes so close, Aristarchus was forced to flee and watch the Roman commander retreat with the loot. With that, the Greek force broke. The Greeks had 2 break points, plus 2 more from the objective held by the Romans, versus 3 (almost 4) for the Romans from casualties. Based on most of the dice rolling during the game, the army’s heart hadn’t been into the battle much anyway. The Slingers might have been sacked after the battle, having left far too many opportunities to attack wasted.

-With a combination of units extended out too far on the wrong flank and poor activation rolls, my army never had enough command points to push the objectives effectively. The Romans on the other hand performed well, able to fix their line quickly.

Takeda: Bow and Spear 弓と槍 (Yumi to Yari)

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , on January 6, 2023 by Sean

The Takeda Clan builds for the Commands & Colors custom army. This batch is most of the Samurai, and the last of the Ashigaru.

First are the foot Samurai, bearing Yari and Naginata. Their armor is bright and colorful, befitting members of their class. I also allowed them to be a little more colorful compared to their enemy force, the Uesugi, based off references of the difference of their respective lords’ characters.

Like their counterparts in the Ashigaru, they wear sashimono with their individual lords’ colors and mon. From left to right, they are Anayama Nobutaba, Takeda Shingen, Baba Nobuhara, Takeda Katsuyori, and Sabada Nobutsuna. They again have a bit more variety of colors compared to the Uesugi, including an unusual mint green for Sabada. In every group of unit types I try to include one of the Takeda lords to keep them ‘on-brand’, in the same way that least one member would always be a Uesugi lord in that force.

The next group are the Yumi Samurai. They wear the colors of Tsuchiya Masatsugu, Takeda Nobukado, and Obu Toramasu. The unit for Obu are infantry embers of his infamous ‘Red Regiment’, each wearing armor and banners the color of victory.

Here are the Yumi cavalry Samurai. They wear the sashimono of Ichijo Noutatsu, Kosaka Danjo Masanobu, Obu Toramasu, and Itagaki Nobukata. I made sure the units included both Masanobu and Obu, whose cavalry both were pivotal at the 4th Battle of Kawanakajima.

Last are the final unit of Ashigaru, carrying yumi of their own. They wear sashimono of lords we’ve seen already, with one unit an outlier, the white and red stripe of Sanada Yukitaka.

Just the Yari Cavalry and commanders left of the Takeda force. I can see daylight…

Clash of Spears and Katanas

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2022 by Sean

I’ve been wrapping up skirmishing units for my Greeks for use in Clash of Spears and Saga: Age of Hannibal. The latest unit is a group of Slingers. I’ve used parts of the unit for games so far, but I needed to expand the members to 12 to use as Levy in Saga. I kept the details simple, with basic leather bags and belts, with a mix of colors for their chitons. I added a sort of command group with a ‘captain’ with a raised dagger and a musician with a salpinx. The models come from the Victrix Balaeric Slingers kit, but I used them as generic Greeks.

The other new unit is a complete departure… These Ashigaru are yari (spear) for the Uesugi Clan. This is the first 5-man group, out of a final unit of 8. The army will be used for Clash of Katanas, the new expansion for the Clash rules. 3 men brace their yari for a fight, while a fourth stands ready, and an officer directs with his katana. These are the plastic set from Warlord Miniatures.

Based on my searching, the Uesugi Ashigaru were pretty uniform, with blue kote (armored sleeves) and black lacquered dō (cuirass) and jingasa (conical helmet). I allowed for some different colors for the trousers to keep it from being too identical. They all wear sashimono with the symbol used by Uesugi Kenshin, the daimyō of his clan during parts of the Sengoku era of Japan. The mon, the kanji 毘, the first kanji of the name of the War God, Bishamonten (毘沙門天) was worn by Kenshin’s troops.

When it came time to pick a clan army list for Clash of Katanas, I decided to go with the Uesugi, since I have recently finished a 15mm army of Kenshin’s forces for the Battles of Kawanakajima.

There are a few more Greek units to wrap up, and I’ll be getting to work on my Uesugi soldiers ongoing.

Baratheon: Lord of Light

Posted in Miniatures with tags , on December 14, 2022 by Sean

I’ve been adding to my Baratheon force for A Song of Ice and Fire. The starter set is done, and I’ve finished extra units and characters to round out the numbers and give myself more options.

The first unit here is the Sentinels, the sort of skirmishers and flankers. They are as armored as the rest of the force, and pack a punch, so the flowing capes help differentiate them. I like the dynamic posing, though it does make it a little difficult to rank them up easily. I kept to the same color scheme as the other units, but allowed for some individual details for there capes- bright yellow, dull yellow, yellow/black, etc. Their long ribbons (?) trailing off their helmets also bring some brightness to the unit. The standard bearer got a blue lining for his cape to further visually break him out of the mass.

As is typical for games, the unit has an attached Master Warden. I have two of them, so I included the one I’ve modified with a red topknot on his helmet to tie him in to the Sentinels, though his black/blue cape sets him apart.

The next unit is the Lightbringers. These devotees of R’Hllor, the Lord of Light, give my force a nice ranged option. The army is remarkably slow compared to many others, so some ability to threaten at a distance is nice. The unit used the yellow surcoats and heavier armor as expected of the Baratheons. I added scorch marks on the trailing ends of some members to account for the burning oil they employ in battle. It was weird to actually paint faces and hair on the rank and file, as aside from characters, all models are armored head to toe. I kept them simple and added a few ashy markings.

The little fire effects were interesting, but I could have taken longer on the fire blending. The idea was an oily dirty fire, as it was caused by volatile oils on the arrows. Maybe I’ll return to them at some point.

I have more characters to work on, and a converted Dragonstone Noble to add.

Clash of Spears: Punic War in Sicily Campaign (Turn 1, Battle 2)

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , on November 26, 2022 by Sean

The first battle of the turn over with, Aristarchus led his forces against the Carthaginians.

Battle 2: My Money!

The estate had been rich once, before the opposing forces had plundered its outer reaches. Scouts had reported that the main building and immediate area still held riches. Aristarchus was a man with a golden tooth, so the treasure would be his. As his army advanced, they spotted the vanguard of the enemy Carthaginians. They would not take what was his by right of the gods. Elarchus rushed ahead with the skirmishers to secure the main building.

This time the Greeks met the actual enemy, a force of Carthaginians. The Greeks used the same models as the first game. Elarchus took over as the Lvl 2 leader for the force, as Jason lay wounded in camp. He must have added his voice to Aristarchus’s speech, as his men cheered in a grand roar of support, earning me a second reroll for the battle. Carthage fielded a Lvl 3 leader, another Lvl 3 leader, 2 units of 8 African Spear, 8 unarmored Citizen spear, and 8 Libyan javelinmen. The scenario was Retrieval. 3 objectives lie on the center line of the table, and both forces try to suss which objective is actually the real one. Once found, they must try to escape with the treasure off the table edge.

Highlights:

-The battle began with the Slingers scrambling through the field to the first objective. If they could find the treasure the game would be over fast. As such, luck was not with me, so the game continued.

-Both forces slowly advanced, initially careful to stay out of range of each other’s ranged units. The Carthaginian Hoplites advanced in a solid line, while the Greeks were forced to break around the estate house. Skirmishers took both flanks.

-A volley of javelins from the Libyans on the central Greek unit caused casualties, requiring the use of both rerolls(!) to redo bad saves and morale tests. The Greeks held but now I was without any recourse.

-Things get spicy when the middle African spear found the treasure, buried under a family sepulcher. Instead of retreating, the Punic spear charged the disrupted Greeks. However, their defense proved impenetrable, and the Hoplites merely gave ground behind their shieldwall. They formed up and counter-charged for no real effect other than the loud crashing of bronze shields.

-The Slingers broke cover to rain stones on the Carthage line but did little damage.

-On the left flank the other Hoplites rushed around the building, while the Peltasti maneuvered to get around the isolated Citizen spear. They were able to disrupt the unit with repeated javelin attacks.

-Greed overcame Aristarchus ‘s men as the treasure was tantalizingly close. The left Hoplites charged around the building, forcing the second unit of African Spear back, exposing their brothers’ flank. The Hoplites turned the flank before they could react, crushing the formation. The Spear held on, barely, only for the the original Hoplites to overrun them. The unit was slain to a man, dropping the treasure.

-To Aristarchus ‘s rage, the Carthaginian leader plucked up the objective and raced away, leaving his men to their fates. Blood boiling, he screamed, “That belongs to me! Kill them all!” With that in mind, my strategy changed from anything complex to doing as many casualties as possible.

-The bloodthirsty Hoplites charged through javelin fire to crush the Libyans, while the other unit turned on the second African Spear. Meanwhile, the Carthaginian leader managed to escape further and further away.

-The Greeks’ violent assault was too much for the Carthaginians, who broke and fled the field. The Greeks managed to stack 4 Break points (casualties) against the Carthage force, compared with 3 (casualties and the treasure objective almost off the table). The treasure was mine! Major Victory for the Greeks.

The fields were littered with the dead, the light troops chasing the Carthaginian remnants from the estate. Aristarchus sagged in his saddle, grinding his teeth at how close the treasure had been, then taken from his grasp. “Master! Plutus and Ares both smile on us,” yelled Elarchus, running up with his Hoplites, a small chest carried on their shields. Aristarchus raised his head, gazing in wonder. He leapt from his horse to open the chest. His men cheered as coins and jewels poured forth. The battle had been worth the effort after all.

Clash of Spears: Punic War in Sicily Campaign (Turn 1, Battle 1)

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , , on November 25, 2022 by Sean

My local group is running a nice involved campaign, based around the Punic Wars as they roiled through Sicily. My mercenary Greeks from Syracuse have joined forces with the Romans, with the hope of fortune for my leader, Aristachus. He doesn’t really cares who wins in this scuffle, but money is money. To Plutus, god of coin!

The first turn uses 600 point forces. For the turn, the Greek army is Aristarchus (mounted Lvl 3 leader), Jason (foot Lvl 2 leader), 2 units of 8 armored Hoplites, 7 Slingers, and 7 Peltasti. My force played two battles this turn.

Battle 1: Allies? Never Met ‘Em

Aristarchus stood outside his tent. His men were mustering near an estate, waiting for orders from the Romans. He could see across the fields to the camps of his fellow commanders. His curiosity (and greed) grew as he surveyed the rich tents and banners of the Epirites to his north. While supposedly allies, he felt no kinship to those distant Greek foreigners. Perhaps a little scouting would serve his purposes. He called his nephew Jason and his second, Elarchus to plan out an excursion.

The campaign allows for battles between armies on the same side in the campaign, so the Greeks from Sicily met the forces from Epirus on the table. We played the Pre-Battle Scouting scenario. Both armies want to get units near the enemy table edge and return with their reconnaissance. The forces of Phyrrus were Bradicles (foor Lvl 3 leader) with a Musician, another Lvl 3 leader, 2 units of 6 Pezhetairoi, 9 Slingers, and 9 Hoplites. They also had a Soothsayer to look at the omens, giving them a extra reroll. Aristarchus gave a rousing speech, but his men gave him only the usual level of zeal, so no extra rerolls.

Highlights:

-The skirmishers on both sides moved up the flanks. The Epitite Pezhetairoi took each flank, facing off the Greek Slingers and Peltasti. The Hoplites on both sides faced off, but kept a respectable distance.

-The Epirite Singers rained stones on the closest Hoplites, felling one, but they held steady and hid behind their shields. A few more volleys did no more damage, and threatened by the Hoplites the Slingers fell back.

-On the right flank the Peltasti and Pezhetairoi exchanged javelins. Unfortunately for the Epirites, the javelinmen were more accurate. Despite beseeching the gods (using a reroll) the Epirites lost half their unit. A few more volleys of javelins finished the unit off.

-On the left flank, the Greek Slingers were less successful. They killed a single Pezhetairoi, but the light spearmen powered through and rushed them, killing some of the skirmishers and forcing them back.

-Aristarchus’ nephew Jason moved to shore up his flank, charging the fatigued Pezhetairoi. Unfortunately his eyes were larger than his stomach, so to speak, and he whiffed several attacks. The spearmen managed to bring him down.

-The Slingers recovered their fatigue and rained stone and bullet on the remnants of the Pezhetairoi, finishing the unit off. This left the flank open for them scout ahead.

-On the other flank the Peltasti advanced around the estate building, but the Slingers had retreated to cut them off, dropping a few and sending them back to their lines.

In the end, we ran out of time. Neither forces had accumulated enough Break points to retreat, and neither side had gotten to spy on the enemy camp. Chock it up to a little argument between rivals (a messy Draw oh well). Jason was carried back to camp, but he was revived. His folly cost him, leaving him injured for the rest of the turn. Elarches would have to take over his duties.

Aristarchus mused over the stalemate. The sun had set before his scouts could spy on the enemy camp. The skirmishers had exchanged javelin and stone but neither side could push through. While the flanks had cost several lives, the shield walls of both sides had simply faced off across the field. His right hand, Jason, had fallen, carried back to camp. He had foolishly confronted superior numbers and proved wanting. What a disappointment his nephew had been in his first real battle. He would spend the rest of the season bedridden.

He looked across the map to his subordinate, Elarchus. “The next time we arm ourselves, let’s make it worth our while.” He tapped the southern cities. “Here. Plunder that the Carthaginians won’t ignore. That’s where the fights will be.”

Commands & Colors: Takeda

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , on November 12, 2022 by Sean

With the Uesugi Clan army finished for Commands & Colors, I turn now to their rivals, the army of Takeda Shingen. The armies are nearly mirrors of each other, with Ashigaru, Samurai, Cavalry, etc. The only difference is that Takeda has 1 fewer Ashigaru Teppo unit, but 1 more Yari Samurai Cavalry.

I’ve finished the Ashigaru armed with yari and pikes. This matches the Uesugi composition. The Takeda sashimono are more colorful than the Uesugi units. The stands follow the same design, with each bearing the colors and mon of their respective lords. The Takeda diamond is a common element.

Starting from front left: Naito Masatoyo (red diamond on white), Baba Nobuhara (white waves on black), Takeda Nobukado (white diamond on blue), Okidaira Sadamasha (red stripe on white). Takeda Shingen (black diamond on red), Itagaki Nobukata (yellow crescent moon on black), Sanada Yukitaka (red), and Tsuchiya Masatsugu (white kami gate on black). These sashimono will show up in the rest of the army.

The other grouping is the Teppo Ashigaru. They bear the sashimono of Sanada Yukitaka (black circles on red), Takeda Nobukado again, Takeda Katsuyori (the kanji dai, meaning big, on white), and Kasaka Masunobu (black sunburst on yellow).

The Takeda units were more or less colored the same way as the Ashigaru of Uesugi, with primarily black lacquered armor and helmets over mostly white sleeves and blue and brown trousers. I did add a bit more color here and there. The warriors of Shingen himself got red armor to further distinguish them, while Baba Nobuhara’s men got blue armor. The handgunners under Kasaka got violet armor which offered a nice contrast from their yellow sashimono.

On to the archers!

Baratheon Justice

Posted in Miniatures with tags , on October 26, 2022 by Sean

I’ve returned to working on my Baratheon force for the A Song of Ice and Fire miniatures game. I also got in a recent game, a good kinslaying fight between Stannis and Renly.

I’ve had most of the starter box complete for a while, but other projects got in the way.

First off are some the characters I like to use in games.

Here we have Ser Andrew Estermont, Shyra Errol, Stannis Baratheon, Ser Davos Seaworth, and Alester Florent. I always use Stannis (the Mannis) for my army commander, but I swap the others around.

Andrew Estermont go a simple color scheme, with the standard shining armor and golden yellow surcoat. He carries a shield marked with his own sigil, the turtle of Greenstone on Estermont. I drew the sigil since little turtle transfers are pretty rare.

Shyra is fairly understated, with golden blonde hair and a violet dress (use those complements to maximum effect). She brings some bright color to the otherwise dull and dark colors of the rest of the army.

Stannis himself stands proud in a dark outfit, with a black and blue cloak and leather vest over his surcoat and armor. I figures this reflects his generally grim attitude and avoids the flamboyance of the other would-be kings. His yellow coat peaks out to give him a little life. On his left pauldron, he bears a black and yellow checker pattern. I couldn’t help but add just a little decoration to his armor- Stannis is proud, believing himself the rightful heir after all.

Ser Davos Seaworth also eschews gaudy colors, being at heart still a humble smuggler. So his colors are neutral and darker. I avoided any of the colors use by the other characters.

Alester Florent wears clothes befitting a lord, with a sumptuous deep red cloak and blue-black cape and collar. His cape is the reverse of Stannis’ cape. Maybe it represents him as a turncoat?

Last are the second unit of Wardens. They are pretty much the same as the first unit. However, I came to the conclusion that the Warden design could get pretty dull with so many identical suits of armor. So I opted to add red topknots to some of the the helmets as a flourish. These came from the Victrix Gallic Warriors kit. It was simple but really helps to add more life and motion to the faceless soldiers. In-game the red topknot men get distributed through both units.

Next are the Sentinels and more characters.

Commands & Colors: High and Low

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , on October 14, 2022 by Sean

The Uesugi clan samurai army for Commands & Colors is complete!

It’s always fun to actually finish a project. Some would say an army is never really done, since there’s options and extra units, et cetera, but in this case the force has been built to specific ends and numbers. I saved the overall Commander stand to the end.

First is the field camp of Uesugi Kenshin himself, daimyo of the Uesugi Clan. He ruled Echigo during the Sengoku period, dying in 1578. He had a great rivalry with Takeda Shingen, with the Battles of Kawanakajima (1553-1564) becoming the stuff of legend. I’ll be painting Shingen’s army next.

Here we see Kenshin sitting in his field camp, with the gunmaku (軍幕) wrapping around. The curtains bear his personal kanji, including the Bi kanji of Bishamonten, the Buddhist god of war. Kenshin himself is a simple conversion- I swapped the standard helmeted head with a monk’s hood wrap, since Kenshin was a devout Buddhist and wore the costume of a monk. His other set of armor is displayed behind him, as well as his hata-jirushi war banner. His second sits beside him, and both are flanked by guards.

With the amount of space the base afforded, I decided to add extra details of interest. An officer passes on orders, directing the horn-blower to signal. A messenger crouches to the side, ready to carry orders to his lord’s subordinates. In the center, a samurai has arrived to present a head taken from a vanquished enemy, an important ceremony following a battle.

Most of the samurai carry the Uesugi sashimono (blue with red sun), while the head-presenter bears a Kenshin variation (blue with white stripes and the Uesugi mon). The messenger bears the Bi kanji, befitting a personal courier.

Next is the Bodyguard unit for Uesugi Kenshin. They are armored samurai with yari, and one carries the hata-jirushi. I had to recall my Japanese calligraphy to create the banner.

Finally, from the heights of the daimyo, we descend to the peasantry. Here are Peasant Levies, simple farmer militia carrying spears. A few are fortunate enough to carry real yari, but most have humble bamboo spears. They are all dressed simply, in neutral tones and washed-out colors. They also get to be the few stands that aren’t studded with sashimono.

Next, I tackle the force of Takeda Shingen. It will be an almost exact mirror of the Uesugi force, with only a few stands different. The color schemes will be different, as the Takeda banners have much more color variety than Uesugi.

Commanders & Colors: Bow and Banner

Posted in Miniatures with tags , , , , , , on September 30, 2022 by Sean

The Uesusgi army for Commands & Colors is almost finished. Only the Army Commander left- Kenshin himself in his camp.

The next units are four mounted Samurai stands, carrying yumi bows. Like the other Samurai, they bear the sashimono of their respective lords.

Next are the army’s subordinate mounted Commanders. Each is the leader and one or two retainers carrying his personal nobori. The lords are (from left to right): Uesugi Kenshin, Mastumoto Kageshige, Kakizaki Kageie, and Yasuda Nagahide. I found it incredibly difficult to find good reference for the lords…most images I found were either anime versions or for video games. Real historical imagery can be hard to come by.

Almost done!