Saturday, 18 August 2018

Encouraging the young and packing for a holiday

Somewhere in the last few weeks I entertained a friend from work with his young son, they played my hobbit game a while ago and I had promised them a return trip. This time I had set up another slightly larger LOTR game it’s link to the book and films seems to hit the right balance for youngsters. My aim being purely to spark his enthusiasm for the hobby.
I umpired while they fought it out with 30 or so points each side, just enough to make it feel bigger than a skirmish
With hardly any ‘fiddling’ they had a close game
And despite the warg riders Gondor just won through 
What was really great was a couple of weeks later my friend sent me the picture above of the terrain they have built since they came and them playing with their collection bravo I say.
As for my holiday, I have packed a toothbrush, my bike oh yes and a little army of grey figures to keep me busy πŸ˜€

Thursday, 16 August 2018

A Dark Age adventure or two : Lion Rampant

Somewhere in the last few weeks we played another couple of pick up games of Lion Rampant using some of our dark age/ medieval figures. We were looking for something easy and fun to play.
The local Welsh Warlord Brendan the Bold has heard tell that his neighbour and rival Duke Stanwix is attempting to abduct a local monk carrying away with him certain important relics, Brendan has gathered his forces to stop this dreadful unchristian action
Knowing there is likely to be trouble the Duke has sent a sizeable force to accompany the monk
Including heavily armoured cross bow men who hurry forward keeping the monk under close guard.
Brendan has a secret weapon his mobile, javelin wielding light cavalry who are both mobile and annoying in their ability to skirmish/ hit and run
Brendan’s forces have set their ambush in the village, whilst the Dukes men attempt to escape with the monk along the far edge of the battlefield
The fight for the centre of the village
The thunder of hooves, the Dukes heavy knights charge onto the table
The light cavalry skirmish from in the trees
....and with effective thrown weapons they whittle down the Duke’s infantry
Taking the high ground Brendan’s men are able to lure the heavy cavalry into the trees where they can be cut down
And there is no escape , the monk is abandoned and the Duke’s remaining forces run home

This is always a tough scenario and very hard to get the objective/ monk in this case right across the battlefield, so we swopped over now Brendan’s men had kidnapped the Duke’s eldest daughter and had the same objective, this was going to be really tough ......

Infuriated by the slight the Duke has filled the village with armed men looking to get his daughter back and put Brendan’s men to the sword
A light screen of skirmish cavalry leads the advance but they are going to struggle with heavy forces in front of them, this is only going to work if the Dukes men fail some morale tests............
Oooooh that was unlucky the mounted cross bowmen have to fall back..........but they will probably rally next turn ☹️
Oooooops now that is very unlucky two failed tests of double one in a row, but now a gap has opened up in the centre of the village. The Duke smiles knowing that is likely to be the end of his bad luck πŸ€”
Oooooops now that really is very very bad luck and the Duke is the only person I know that can be that unlucky, literally within 2 minutes he has rolled three double ones πŸ€ͺ
Well with that kind of luck it was inevitable that after a few more hard fought turns Brendan would manage to escape with the Dukes daughter, a rare victory in this scenario.

Two very fun games, great to get the dark age figures out again, Lion Rampant still provides a good game in my view although not as complex as some might like. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Confederate dismounted cavalry : ACW

Just a quick update of some recently completed ACW Confederate dismounted cavalry. All are Perry figures (metal) I have split the horses so I can use them as two smaller units if necessary.
I won’t feel so bad using the cavalry in games going forward. I have a similar number of Union Cavalry dismounts to match.πŸ˜€

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

More Castles and more Romans in Wales

Back from holiday now and catching. So here are the remaining highlights from Wales.
Caerphilly Castle has to be one of the most impressive castles in the area
Many features with multiple gatehouses
The main entrance is quite spectacular with I think I counted slots for 7 or 8 portcullises 
Lots of nice features in one section they have built wooden hoardings along the battlements with suitably clad defenders
They also have a good selection of full scale siege engines, apparently some days they fire these but sadly not when we were there
Overall well worth a visit if you haven’t been
Another specific reason on going to the Area was to visit Caerwent, I won’t give a long history here but it is (for Roman Britain) a really well preserved walled town. 
The walled around the town in places remains quite hig and gives a very good feel to what Hadrian’s wall would have been like in its day.

In Roman times the town was called Venta Silurum and inside the walls have the remains of several key buildings. Many others apparently exist but aren’t currently exposed. The building above is the forum-basilica
A well defined temple
Shops and dwellings on the Main Street
At the posh end of town houses with courtyards, overall a lovely location, free, easy to navigate and a good way to spend a couple of hours
We also went to Chapstow Castle, started as a classic Norman keep
A great location perched on steep cliffs
And then expanded over the centuries including like so many an active role in the ECW.

That wrapped up our short week in SE Wales. Definately worth a visit πŸ˜€

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Castles and Romans in Wales

Our history trip/holiday has seen us travel south to Wales. Our first significant stop was at Chirk Castle, just south of Wrexham. Despite its heavy modification this Edward 1st Castle is still impressive. It holds a magnificent location on elevated ground and would no doubt have given the dastardly welsh second thoughts before trying to invade England.
The view looking up from the welsh side ! According to the details inside the Castle a secondary ring wall was also conceived but not constructed ?
Must have taken some Labour to put those windows through the extremely thick walls ! Despite being a national trust Castle details on the Castle itself were slightly lacking, the focus more on the more recent inhabitants.
The Castle does have an excellent and atmospheric dungeon and lots of opportunity to dress up πŸ™‚
We have now headed further south to Caerleon near Newport to visit some of the excellent Roman remains. These were actually the inspiration for the trip when I saw them on U tube but realised I had never visited them. The small town is well worth a visit with the well preserved amphitheatre
One can definately imagine the gladiators fighting it out here

There is a small but  interesting museum 
Some well preserved baths used by the troops 
And a significant barracks complex all of these within easy walking distance and all free to visit πŸ˜€ if you get the chance there is also a lovely and esoteric cafe in the Main Street.

The Battle of Sark : 1448

It is that time of year when I have some time off with my daughter. A whole week off work πŸ˜€ we are heading down to Wales with a list of historical stuff to visit. But first up between shopping trips I managed to visit a new battlefield (for me) not too far from home. The battle of Sark took place just to the SW of Gretna in Dumfries. 23 October 1448.

The English under Henry Percy were camped close to the Lochmaben stones, which are located on the edge of the cornfield in the distance. looking at the lie of the land you can see why as you can see the location is slightly elevated. The area is bounded on two sides by the River Sark and the small Kirtle water effectively a defensive stream. Behind them is the solway. It is easy to see this as a good defensive position ! 
I wouldn’t have found the stones with the helpful advice of the local farmer πŸ™‚
The land drops away in this shot towards the west.
Unfortunately for the English the Scots under Hugh Douglas Earl of Ormonde (supported by the Welsh) made an attack in three blocks. Weathering the English arrows the Scottish stuck it to them in hand to hand. Pushing the English back who routed, according to history many were then drowned in the Solway
The Solway looking west here at low tide.
It is worth a visit if you are in the location but don’t expect a visitor Centre !