Friday 30 May 2014

Chivalry: The Rules!

I've begun writing a ruleset for semi-historical feudal medieval combat and tourney games for my Chivalry project. Called 'Chivalry', of course!

My huge disappointment with the Crossed Lance's (authors' spelling, not mine) rules has ignited my resolve to embark on a journey into madness I'd never imagined I would dare undertake, more precisely writing up a ruleset from scratch, and I've made good progress on the Foot Melée rules.

As soon as I have pinned down the turn structure, and the movement rules (there will be separate movement rules for single combat/tourney style melée, and dead serious war-like skirmishing, the latter being less restrictive, permitting the valiant knights to take on dozens of men-at-arms, and/or scores of lowly peasants, still using their skills and abilities as when takin on fellow knights), I'll be asking for playtesters.

It is my first attempt to design a miniatures game ruleset of this kind (although I created a massed battles napoleonic rule set over a decade or so, playing in 1:72 scale plastics with my friends on my parents' living room floor), so I expect to have to make a lot of adjustments of the initial sketches.

More War Rockets!

Received these from Wargames Emporium some days ago:

I should get out the diamond needle files, but the weather is too fine to sit inside fiddling with hobby stuff, when the garden needs attention.

Attic Attack I, Part 3.

Saturday we opened with Torben and @dijit playing War Rocket. Especially @dijit seemed to enjoy the rules.

After that, Torben and I commanded Torben's and @dijit's God of Battles 15mm armies on Torben's gaming mat.

I played a 'refused flank', letting a unit of skirmishers rush forward on the left flank, sacking the baggage of the Wood Elves without encountering any resistance.

After this feat, they were slaughtered by the combined fire of a bolt thrower and some archers

I then tried to circumc.. vent Torben's crack unit, and partly succeeded, when after killing off my super highland berserker unit they were locked in combat with a unit of Orcs charging their flank (the Orcs are not repelled after losing a round of combat, and can 'pin' a much stronger unit in combat)

On the other flank, 2 big monsters kept exchanging blows.

Here you can see the Elf unit pinned by the Orcs, while a unit of beastmen warriors in the far corner picks up the scent of the Elf Camp.

The camp fights back!

Picture by @Duregar
 Torben desperately tries to fight off the beastmen, while @dijit and I watch closely.

Picture by @Duregar
 The Elite Elves finally kill off the last Orcs - but too late!

Picture by @Duregar - I think
 A bit more action - before the beastmen inevitably sack the Elf Camp, scoring the final Victory Points I needed.
Picture by @Duregar
Picture by @Duregar
Fo this size of battle, I think spending 1/3 of the points on one crack unit is not recommendable - but I guess, Torben's main objective was not winning the game, but winning over new followers of God of Battles.

I liked the game. It's simple, with a lot of similarity to SAGA in the way troops move - but with more control over movement, and with alternate activation instead of IGOUGO. Cool game!

@Duregar and I talked about playing the game in 28 mm with our LotR minis, and I'll be collecting a small army to play in the growing GoB15 community here in Denmark. In addition to that, it would be nice to coerce some Warhammer players to try the rules with their existing collections; I would think it probable that some might like the fast flow of the game, compared to the meticulous micro-management of Warhammer.

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Attic Attack I, Part 2.

After I lost the space battle with a single die pip, I left it to Duregar and Tobias to duke it out on the LotR SAGA table.

Allies running to their positions (Picture by @Duregar)
A bit of pre-battle confusion amongst the archers (Picture by @Duregar)
 We re-did the scenario with the 'what-if' situation of Isengard having overrun Rohan, and Faramir, Captain of Gondor, rallying the fugitives to take a stand with a small force of Minas Tirith, trying to repulse the invading orcish horde.

This time we used the Vikings battle board for the Isengard warband (using the berserkers as... wait for it.. berserkers), and the Anglo-Danish battle board for the alliance.

The Uruk-Hai Warlord rushes towards the small bridge, followed by a unit of Hearthguard.

Picture by @Duregar
 The human battle line advances to meet the threat

Soon, battle is joined om the right flank

And the invaders repulsed. On the left flank, the Orcs are about to charge.

After the failed attack of the Orcs.

The Uruk-Hai Hearthguard charges into the Rohan Warriors

But are annihilated! Things were looking rather bleak for the invaders, and as Tobias had to work Saturday, we decided to call it a night.

Some more pictures by @Duregar:

Attic Attack I, Part 1.

I've been too busy to get the pics from last weekend's first installment of Argonor's Attic Attack posted. but here comes the first batch, from Friday evening:

Tobias pondering about what game to  try first:

Picture by @Duregar

Me, explaining the War Rocket rules to Tobias

Picture by @Duregar

Enter the Galacteers:

The evil saucermen advance:

Picture by @Duregar
 Close encounter among the asteroids:

Picture by @Duregar
 The saucers getting the upper hand, as one of the Galacteer rockets crashes on an asteroid:

Picture by @Duregar
In the end though, the Galacteers prevailed, with one stunned rocket left when the last saucer was blown apart.

Thursday 22 May 2014

Historical Document!

I got this in Edinburgh in 1995, and finally I got my act together and bought a frame for it. It tells the story of my family name (though I'm not really related to the noble family bearing it), and contains a blazoning of the family arms (Argent, 3 Crows Sable).

I think I'm going to paint one of my feudal knights with this!

Some Loot!

A toy store in a nearby town has a clearance sale on, so I got these at 50% off (of even already discounted prices on some) just the other day:

At 1:48, the trucks, bus, and fork lifters will see service on any contemporary/near future table (like, for instance, zombie games).

The Schleich fruit bats will act as giant bats whenever needed.

Today they were selling stuff at -75%, so I got a whole bunch of carnival/halloween outfits for the girls. If some of them are not to their tastes, I can probably sell those on with a small profit ;o)

Sunday 18 May 2014

Getting Ready for Attic Attack!

The tarpaulins have been removed and stowed away, terrain and tabletops have been found, and both the mead bar (the dark desk to the left), and the bar/snack bar are being readied for next weekend.

The front table on the first pic is just filled with some stuff for the picture; I hope the space will be taken up by Gods of Battle in 15mm.

Below, you can see the set-up for War Rocket, for which I have commandeered some rocks to make life a little bit more... interesting... for the squadron leaders.

A View from the Back End of the Room.
I still need to find a few dice cups, and the minis for some of the other games, but things are moving along nicely - even with FAR too nice weather, keeping me in the garden instead of in the attic.

Repair done!

I finished repairing this guy (his sword nearly broke off in the mail), and putting iron rod/fencing wire into his base some days ago.

I'm not entirely happy with the way he's based (standing on the edge of the base like that), but he'll have to do for now.

With this guy back in business, I have another 8 Uruk-Hai from that batch that can be used as a Point of Warriors in SAGA, giving the players at Attic Attack I even more possible configurations to play with.

One more, slightly bigger, Garden Project.

When we bought our house about 4 years ago, a LOT of old used bricks were scattered all over our - rather large - property. Only lately, I've found a use for them - as flower bed edges against the lawn.

The edges serve two purposes; 1) they prevent the lawn to invade the flower beds, and 2) it prevents my wife from planting flowers right in the edge of the lawn, making it very difficult for me to mow it without damaging them.

It's really very easy to make these edges; the most time-consuming part of it is to remove the mortar from the bricks, but with a masonry hammer, it's not that difficult.

This is actually the 3rd edge I've done so far, but the other two are still covered in soil, to let the rain make them settle in properly. This one I could stomp on the inside, so my wife could get on with sowing flowers.

More bricks to clean and use. And I have even more in a pile in the back garden.

We have a saying in Denmark that goes something like this when translated:

'We, with house and garden
Always have something to do.'

(Vi med hus og have
har altid noget at lave)

Friday 16 May 2014

A little Garden Project.

Between the showers last Sunday, my wife and I did some work on the spice/herb garden I established last autumn:

In the front bed, we sowed parsley and chives (the plan is to sow each year, as both herbs are biennial, in two different sets of rows). The middle bed contains rosemary, thyme, and oregano for now, and we moved a lovage from the front garden to the upper bed. There's some spearmint to the right that the camera didn't quite capture.

We laid down some stepping stones to have easy access to the herbs. I think I'm going to re-do the upper stone edge - I have fouind some stones that I didn't have access to when in a hurry to finish the job.

Creating the House Altar!

Last week I put up a little IKEA-shelf over my TV ;o)

For once, a DIY project that went quite smoothly, and didn't take long to do.

I even got it precisely level, which the last picture proves!

LotR: Mines of Moria, Part 6. Just a little Family Photo

I promised Doomhippie over at the LAF a close-up of my Cave Troll, so I thought I'd better get it done ;o)

Thursday 15 May 2014

Chivalry, Part 6: Crossed Lances Foot Melée and Archery.

The second (and currently last) book in the Crossed Lances series deals with dismounted fighting, and archery, thus letting squires, gamekeepers, or other retainers grab a bow and participate actively in the tourney.

The Foot Melée.

This a different cup of tea than the previous tome; the language used is pretty clear and straight forward, and only the 'foul' result on the combat result table, for some reasom marked as minus results, seem a little weird (you won't actually bestow hit points back on your victim when making a foul hit, will you?) It seems the fouls beign 'minus' has carried over from the jousting table, where you count points scored instead of damage done, to both the Grand and Foot Melée - which again brings me back to the really poor editing done on these rules.

  • The game uses a set of movement tiles similar to those used in the Grand Melée. I like that!
  • It would seem that the authors have given up on the '1 Turn = 3 moves', and simply allow the combattants to play 1, 2, or 3 movement tiles per turn. I like that!
  • The game introduces rolling an extra 'critical hit' die. I like that!
  • As mentioned under the Grand Melée, In the Foot Melée one dice is attack, and one is defence (in effect, your sword and your shield). The rules state, that in order for your combat result to count on the table, you have to beat your opponent's defense with your attack. I like that!
    However, the example, fully in the style one has come to expect from these authors, shows Attack 5/Defense 5 vs Attack 4/Defense 3, and BOTH generating a result on the combat result table, although Attack 4 clearly does nor beat Defense 5!!
  • The game uses the cards in the same way as the other two contests. I don't like that! I think the damage done should be a result of the combat dice roll +/- any modifiers.
  • The game introduces hit points for shield and helmet, and the possibility of either to be destroyed (and replaced) or get lost (and picked up or replaced). I like this very much, and clearly, it belongs in the Grand Melée, too. However, the rules state that the lost item 'scatters' 1d6, and in a direction decided by a d12, and there is no clue as to HOW the d12 shows the direction. Now, I can make a template, or use my good old watch, but, again, remember that I paid £20 (plus postage) for these rules.
There sure is some good ideas in the Foot Melée rules, but as the authors cling to the same system as in the previous two contests, they are, sadly enough, poorly used.

This is NOT a complete game, though. The rules use the Lord/Personality cards, so far only found in the first volume, which makes selling the rules separately for £20 a complete rip-off in my book. The games component section contains some additional Lord/Personality (Champion) cards for use with the campaign rules, and you might use those instead, but they are all marked with a rather high bonus, and the differences won't be the same as when using the intended cards.

As with the previously reviewed rules, I'll have to change this into the game I want to playm, but I'll use much more elements from this section than from the other two.


In these rules, for the first time, the authors let the use of cards influence the dice roll, which, directly affects the result. It's a no-brainer, really, but this is the first time the cards make any real sense.

I won't write a lot about this section, as I think I'll have to try it out before forming an opinion; they actually look playable right out of the book:

You roll a d12 to determine which section of the target is hit, 2d6, then refer to the archery table to see which part of which 'ring' is hit, an extra 'critical' d6 to take the arrow further in or out on the target, and add or deduct the bonus/penalty of your archer card and skill card.

I do think, though, that I would like to give the player a bit more control over the skill cards, maybe allowing a 'hand' of cards to be used, and maybe the option to affect the performance of other participants (the idea came to me when thinking about the foot melée rules), but I'll have to tinker and try...


Crossed Lances should never have been published in its current form (save, perhaps, the archery rules). The 2 tomes are not worth the paper they are printed on, and £20 for either is a rip-off not even GW would dare. They need a re-write, and some heavy editing and updating of the tables, and the second volume should contain the Lord/Personality cards to make it self-contained and not requiring an additional purchase to use properly.

Just about a month ago, the authors stated that the price of the rules was right, priced accordingly to other products, and that they would never consider lowering the price, nor offer a discount for a combined purchased - in their delusions of grandeur seemingly confident that they had a premium(!) product to offer. Just recently they made the 2 books available for £30, thus discounting 25%, so the huge public interest they claim when promoting this polished turd may not be as massive after all.

Here's a link to another review of the first tome:

And I think that it speaks for itself that a vendor selling the game + scenery for it doesn't want to lend his name to an appraisal of the rules (he does give another explanation for it, but...):

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Chivalry, Part 5: Crossed Lances Grand Melée.

Well. I don't really know what to make of the second part of the first Crossed Lances rulebook.

As with the first part, this review is based solely on the assumption that I have understood the meaning of most sentences in this second part of the rules. I know for certain, that some I haven't understood. I'm pretty sure, some don't make any sense at all, but, please, prove me wrong!

I like the movement part, at least the use of the special movement hexes. However, I find it very strange, that a knight opting to make a charge in the first of 3 moves in a turn will have to be a sitting duck for the 2 reminding moves, having no more movement to spend, while the slower moving opponents can outmanouver him. Silly. Just silly.

Again, the (randomly chosen) shield/skill cards are not used to influence the results of the combat roll, but are, in conjunction with the lord/personality card, merely used to inflict some hit point damage. I have NO idea how this works, however, as the authors manage to give 3 (three) different explanations in as many pages.

  1. In 'the sequence of play' it is stated that 'the difference in 2 points are awarded to the winner and scored against the opponent'. I have no idea what this sentence means. Can somebody please help me out??
  2. In the 'Attain Strike' section, it is stated that: 'the winners scores 1 hit point for each +1 difference against his opponent'. Sounds as the logical solution?
  3. In the 'scoring points in the 'attain melée' section, it says: 'the winner scores 2 hit points for the skills over the opponents, and any that are equal are shared 1 hit each.'
Either this is VERY bad form (and some of it bad English, too), or I must have sunken into dementia...

I could just chose one of these (one that makes sense), but, again, remember, I paid £20 for these rules. A bit of clarity isn't too much to ask for, methinks...?

The actual detailed beating in skulls happen with the usual 2d6. It works a bit different than in the jousting rules, in that one dice is attack, and the other defense. Interesting mechanic! Ah, no, wait, that's the foot melée rules in the second book (I'll get back to that in another post). But why the authors have decided to NOT use this - perhaps the nicest feature in the two books in their entirety - for the mounted melée as well as the unmounted, totally eludes me.

Again, the chord snaps, as two different explanations are given:

  1. In the 'scoring points in the 'attain melée' section, it says that the highest roll scores 1 point, and then both results are checked on the attain melée table.
  2. In the following example, though, the winner scores 2 hit ponts - and only the higher roll is checked on the table.

Again, in my opinion, I shall have to make radical changes to the rules if they are to become playable.
  • For instance, I need players to be able to play 1, 2, or 3 movement cards every time they move. I'll probably add a rule, that a horse that has charged is 'blown', and may not charge again this turn.
  • Again, I also need more control over the skill cards, and have them influence the outcome of the dice roll.
  • I'll probably use the attack/defense dice system of the foot melée rules.
  • I'm not sure if I'll use the combat result tables at all, other than for the jousts. Maybe I'll create something based on the critical damage system of Strange Aeons.

It may well be that this game, being quite spectacular to look at when set up with spectator stands, tilts, archery range, et al, attracts a lot of players at conventions. It also very well may be that the players are having a good time when the authors are running tings, so they won't have to check any rules in the books.

I dare say though, that if the participants buy the rules and try to recreate the game at home, they'll have a really hard time doing so, as the rules are a real mess, badly writtten, hopelessly structured, and seem simply not edited at all.

I really regret having spent £40 (+ postage) on these two books, as it would probably have been much easier for me (and 40+ quid cheaper) to create my own rules from scratch, than to work these into something useable. But now I have them, and I'll see what I can do about it...

Monday 12 May 2014

More Walking Dead

Finished the last 3 of this batch today.

And before anybody asks: Yes, I have given up painting eyes on WF plastic zeds. These have to finished in great numbers, so fiddly detail has no place; PJ needs to be fast, easy, and gory, and from now on I'll prime them white, to make the lighter colours cover better (I simply block out the colours and wash with Devlan Mud or the equivalent).

Sunday 11 May 2014

SAGA - First Game AAR - LotR Proxies.

Monday May 5th my gaming pal Ulrik (@Duregar) and I player our first game of SAGA - and loved every bit of it!

I had just received a bunch of painted (and even more unpainted)minis from Gibby at the LAF, so I could construct two 6-points warbands of Isengarders and a mix of Gondor/Rohan, respectively. Well, actually, in all the excitement, I miscalculated the Isengarders, and they played with 7 points - but that did not make the game less enjoyable!

Here are some shots of the table setup with all the minis on it. I played the forces of good, using the Anglo-Danes army list and battleboard, while Ulrik led the evil onslaught, using the Norman rules.

The troops were repositioned a bit before the first turn, taken by the attacker (Ulrik).

The evil center surged forward towards the small river. The read beads are fatigue-markers.

Faramir ordered his 8 hearthguard (sword warriors of Minas Tirith) with him into the forest, while 2 units of Warriors (Warriors of Rohan) advanced around the other forest, and the last unit of warriors (spear warriors of Minas Tirith) circled behind the levy (Minas Tirih and rohan archers) towards the left flank.

View from the other corner

Smelling the scent of human flesh, the Warg Riders (mounted warriors) cross the stream to engage Faramir.

Not the wisest of moves.

Faramir quickly dispatched  several Orcs and their ferocious mounts, pushing the remainders back outside the forest.

At first, we forgot the 'disengage' rule, so you may notice that the Warg Riders haven't been moved back in one of the next pics from this turn

Below you'll see the Hand of God raining damnation on... er... no, wait...

The 16-strong Orc warrior unit advances to the stream, countering the threat of the Rohan warriors.

Seemingly unimpressed by the martial prowess of Faramir, the Warg Riders press on.

Only to get hammered by the hearthguard. Note the fatigue building up!

On the far left, a unit of Uruk-Hai warriors run though a gorge (but where are Merry and Pippin?). They were among the painted minis I got from gibby.

An overview of the situation.

The Urul-Hai warlord runs forward, and the Orc warriors find it wisely to move forward and attack the smaller unit of Rohan warriors. The humans, outnubered 2 to 1, are pushed back.

The Uruk-Hai warriors engage the other Rohan warriors, who, disencouraged by their comrades' retreat, are also beaten back into the forest.

Things have begun looking bleak for the human defenders...

Faramir takes a chance, challenging the Uruk to single combat, but is beaten back.

The hearthguard got too close to the Uruk-Hai warriors on the flank, so had to charge them on their second activation.

The Uruks are pushed back, but at a cost. 2 hearthguard buy it, and the unit is now exposed to enemy fire.

In the meantime, the Uruk-Hai hearthguard (4 Uruk-Hai Berserkers) jois the Warlord.
Faramir tries again, this time calling in the hearthguard.

This fight was decided by a completely unlikely roll of dice. I think I rolled 19 dice or so, failing to land more than 4 hits (or thereabouts). Faramir is pushed back, and decides to fall back and regroup at a nearby pass to try stopping the invaders.

I'm a bit in doubt, whether we used the rules 100% correctly all the time, but it was a great game, only tarnished by some very bad rolls by both sides (but we are both notoriously un-lucky when it comes to rolling d6s, so that was hardly surprising).

Positioning your troops - especially your missile armed levy - is very important (mine didn't fire a single shot, I think - in effect a point wasted), as is carefully using the battleboard abilites, and fatigue.

Ulrik used more units to full effect than I did, and I should have combined the 2 units of Rohan warriors, as there is a lot of strength in nubers when you can only attack with one unit at a time (a feature that may take a while to get used to). Given that, and that I was facing superior numbers, I harvested as sown - but there's still time for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to prove his quality!

I really like how the 'disengagement' rule makes the battle flow back and forth, and I would actually like if missile fire could also drive back the target unit if it takes casualties.

I expect to be playing SAGA a lot, both with LotR minis (and I have some fan-made battleboards especially for games set in Middle-Earth), and with historicals.

I can see Rohan used as Normans, with lots and lots of cavalry, and Royal Guards as hearthguard, and I think I'll be making at least one Isengard list based on Vikings.

That's it for now from the Secret Lab in the Middle of Nowhere!