I had been hoping to have finished the Saxons in time to post them this weekend, but life has got in the way. Microbial life that is. I hadn't been sleeping well since last weekend, which told me that I was probably fighting off an infection. That left me feeling absolutely knackered all week so I got very little painting done. Anyway, the cold finally broke yesterday and the tiredness seemed to go with it, but has returned today.
So, yesterday I made good progress with the Saxons, in between the expected bouts of coughing, sneezing and nose-blowing. I've done a bit more today and should have finished the painting by tomorrow evening, but it may be a day or two before I can finish the basing and post photos of them.
I've also been prepping the 30YW "horse" and managed to prime them with Gesso this afternoon. I'll probably be able to make a start on painting them on Monday evening.
I've booked 5 days off work - this coming Friday (for travel to Usk for the FoG doubles tournament) and the Monday to Thursday of the following week, so I probably need to prep some more figures. I think that the next batch will be some 28mm Normans - I've yet to decide whether it will be foot or some knights.
Quick pic of current painting projects:
Last Monday's Practice Game
Dave and Andy kindly agreed to give myself and Simon a practice game for the doubles tournament. They were fielding an Early Ostrogothic army with Early Vandal allies (mostly impact heavy foot) against our Early Alans, so a potentially historical match-up. They won the initiative and opted for agricultural terrain (so at least Simon and I were able to select two pieces of "open" terrain).
Both armies deployed - all the terrain is open fields apart from the steep hill on our left flank.
The Early Alan line - non-skirmish troops can now deploy 12" in rather than 10"
Our opponents' right wing - notice the foot on their left? Rather tempting, eh? Eh?
The Vandal allies with some more Ostrogoths.
Dave and Andy deployed in two blocks with a gap between them. Unfortunately for us, most of their initial deployment was on their left wing, with the right wing going down later, which made our deployment more awkward. With hindsight, we would have been better off deploying more heavily to our right, to take on their left wing, leaving just a blocking force to slow down their right wing. We kind-of-did-that anyway, but from a less ideal position.
As the game developed, it was quite clear that a practice game was a very good idea - it had been a while since I'd played FoG:AM and there were the new rules to get to grips with. The main problem was poor "traffic management" on our part. Another thing we found was the difficulty of moving so many battle groups with just 4 "troop commanders". In FoG V2, a new rule has been introduced to limit the number of battle groups a commander can move:
Troop Commander (TC) - 2 BGs
Field Commander (FC) - 4 BGs
Inspired Commander (IC) - 6BGs
That makes a big difference compared to V1, where generals can move as many battle groups that are in edge-to-edge contact as are in the general's command radius. In theory (if 14 of them are in column), a TC *could* move up to 16 BGs as a single battle line. Not that you'd want that many BGs in column as a massive block.
Another major difference in V2 relates to shooting by mounted and light foot bowmen. The effective range has dropped from 4" to 3" for light foot, light horse and for cavalry in single rank (bow cavalry in 2 ranks still have a 4" effective shooting range).
There are two changes which could help make armies like the Early Alans more viable. The first is that protected cavalry in 2 or more ranks are less vulnerable to shooting - only longbows and crossbows get the + POA for shooting against them (in V1 longbows, bows, javelins and slings got the + POA). the second is that when they are in single rank, they can (if they pass a CMT to do so) turn 180 degrees, retire and turn back 180 degrees, just like light horse. However, the distance of the "retire" has dropped from 3" to 2".
The combined effect of the reductions in effective shooting range and the turn-retire-turn mean that there is a greater chance of skirmishing cavalry being caught by charges.
A further change that will help a lot is to the rules about rear support. In V1 the supporting bases providing rear support all had to be directly behind the battle groups they were supporting. In V2 this has changed and bases adjacent to those directly behind also count towards the number needed.
Well, that's enough of the rules changes for now. Back to the battle.
As I said earlier, we did kind-of divide our army into a blocking force on the left wing and an attacking force on our right, but should probably have committed more troops to the main attack. Now I sit down and look at it, I've realised that the only difference between our forces was that I had the light foot BG - we both had 3 lancers, 2 shooty cavalry and 2 light horse. Perhaps I should have pinched one of his lancers and maybe a shooty cavalry?
As the more experienced cavalry commander (Simon is used to commanding a Pyrrhic army which is mostly heavy foot pikemen) I took the attack force. My plan was to overlap and turn the right wing of their left wing (if you follow my drift) whilst holding up the left-left wing with m light horse and shooty cavalry. Unfortunately crap dice, the aforementioned traffic management problems and only having 2 TCs to move my force caused things to go less well than I'd hoped and I was only able to get two of my lancer BGs into the attack at first.
Meanwhile, our blocking force were also suffering from some traffic management issues, but so were their opponents (which included a BG of Superior Alan light horse! How the heck do they get superior Alan LH, when the Alans themselves can only have Average LH? Harrumph!!). Their right wing did have a very tempting target for our lancers though - 2 BGs of unprotected medium foot bowmen in the open. One BG of lancers charged the archers on the end, whilst another fended off the Ostrogothic lancers.
"Errmmm, aren't average unprotected medium foot bowmen in the open supposed to crumble when charged by superior armoured lancer/swordsmen?"
Lancers versus medium foot in the open - should be a walkover, shouldn't it? Hmmmm, that unit repulsed the lancers not once but twice and it was only on the third charge that they finally got destroyed.
Back over to my attack, where my skirmishers were doing their job of teasing the impact heavy foot and hid left-left wing cavalry. Unfortunately my shooty cavalry were suffering a little from some poor positioning which meant only one of them was able to expand into single rank. The other one was stuck in 2 ranks and was therefore unable to evade when his foot charged it. If I'd had the space, I would have turned them 90 degrees and wheeled them back to face the foot but a little further over. Mind you, the one which had managed to expand only just evaded to charge by a cigarette paper!
Phew! Just got away!
My lancers were having a hard job turning hid right-left wing as their opponents were almost an even match. the melee dragged on for ages, but eventually one of their lancers buckled and broke, allowing mine to turn in for a rear-charge which broke the other, leaving my lancers in position to attack one of his impact foot BGs (which had turned 90 degrees to face and was therefore in column) frontally and in the flank. The 3rd lancer BG in my force had just broken having been fragmented by the impact foor it was fighting and then being charged in the flank by some Ostrogoth cavalry.
Back over on the left, one of their lancer units had decided to sneak around the steep hill to try for a home run against our camp. All that Simon had available to send against them at that point was a light horse BG. This proved to be of similar quality to those damned medium foot bowmen - at one point having lost a base and having dropped to fragmented (so it only had one dice in the melee) it managed to win a round against 4 bases of steady cavalry (= 4 melee dice), which had the advantage in armour so needed 4s against the 5s the LH needed. Oh, and the LH had managed to kill the Ostrogoth cavalry's general!
We called the game at about 10.20pm as that was roughly where it should have finished under tournament rules. Surprisingly we had won, but would have caused our opponents to rout in the next turn as they were just 3 points away from breaking - we were about to take their camp and break another BG. I think we had lost 3 BGs broken and had one fragmented.
Simon's blocking force accounted for most of their losses, whereas most of ours came from my side of the battle.
It was a tense and exciting game and we all learned a lot from it. Not to forget, it was a win for myself and Simon!