Sunday, 24 October 2021

From the ground up

  My name is Sprinks and I have had a very stupid idea. If you are a regular reader of this den of douche you will be aware that my focus when it comes to gaming is a bit on the fantasy end of things. I have however lately become interested in more historically based gaming (not completely historical, I still like to make up silly stuff to bung in the gaps). Now the other day I was pondering how best to mesh the historical and the fantasy in a satisfying way, aside from calling it Fastorical or Histasy of course. Sort of a way to explore lots of periods of  military history without worrying about the stuff that seems to put me off, things like the minutiae of history (i like the wide view but am not at all bothered about button counting). So my stupid head came up with the idea to go back to the very start and work forward. How you probably didn't ask?. With a badly drawn map!:

 An as yet unnamed mass of land...drawn badly.

 Why a badly drawn map?, well...

 The idea I have come up with is to start with the above unnamed land masses. I can then use them as a canvas to work through the relevant historical gaming periods fleshing them out as I go, watching the land change and develop as kingdoms spring up, invasions happen, governments are overthrown and so on. So I can start by placing and campaigning with some ancient tribes, through dark age kingdoms into the middle ages and so on. In this way I can explore any period I wish in chronological order and track the actual effect battles have on the social conditions of the land in which they happen.Its fantasy gaming with a recognizable historical frame.  But how will I go about this from a mechanical standpoint?, well I plan to work as i normally do...very loosely!. I have created a few simple tools to help create narrative but they are really prompts to push this in certain directions and create a good amount of uncertainty. I will be needed to put flesh on the bones within the conditions determined by the following stuff:

First step within a new time period will be to roll 1D3+2 giving a number of campaigns to play through before that period will be deemed to be 'complete' as far as the lands history is conserned. I could always add more if needed (or I just fancy a few more). The results of the campaigns will become the history of the world itself.

For each campaign the following table will give a rough idea as to whats going to be happening:

 To help decide where things are happening or to just be able to randomize locatons if needed I have created a gridded version of the above map.

If I get sea I can always re-roll it!.

It also seemed appropriate to make the following to help determine the loose character of any notable leaders or personalities that may be involved to give a quick idea as to how they might react to any given situation:

 The above will be used by rolling 1d8 for each catagory to make a sort of character outline for the individual that will show how they may act under certain situations and pressures. It is ment to be pretty subjective, the idea being that the further towards middle the trait, the more average (or balanced) it is. For example an Influence score in the red may mean they are more likely to use fear and intimidation to garner respect where as if it was green they may be more likely to give people cocessions and grant demands to get their way. A person with red temperament will be quick to anger and  to use force where one in the green will be very laid back and prone to avoid conflict. 

 A campaign will be played using a number of linked games with whatever rules and scenarios i think will work best to create a narrative of the conflict being resolved, the results will be tracked on the map. Also I will use what I know so will lean towards British history to provide a framework to, well create a frame for all this.

  I will also need your help for quite alot of this stuff!. Any thoughts and suggestions in the comments could well be applied and I have the feeling I will be asking for help in determining the next step to take quite often!. In other words feel free to chuck in any ideas!. If you have not yet realized I am making all this up pretty much on the fly so lets build a world together!.

The nest steps are to roll up the number, size and starting locations of a few ancient tribes, Paint up a couple of armies worth of tribesmen and roll for the number of campaigns...

...'till next time...

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Command bases

  Having given Fantastic Battles a go and having come to the conclusion they are pretty darn good I decided to paint up some command bases for my multi-based forces that up until now had none. Commanders are really important in the game, the loss of them can pretty much doom your army to nuckleheaded movement and sad, sad (and kind of funny) defeat. I intend the commanders to be used for my 10mm fantasy forces.


First up are the commanders for the Iron Badgers mercenary company  

General Welchingtonne, leader and founder of the (in) famous Iron Badgers. The 3rd son of the Earl of Welchingtonne, he is a born soldier and leader with very little patience for anyone he considers below his station.

 Brother Glover, the company record keeper, padre and magic user. He never intended to join a military unit of any type, he just woke up one day in a tent belonging to the Iron Badgers after a legendary 5 week bender and has no idea how to get home. He's not even a priest, he was just wearing the cassock when he awoke. His real names Gavin...he thinks.

Captain Spalcher is the Generals right hand man and the company 'beating a man half to death for no particular reason' champion. By a country bloody mile. He is a naturally cold, hard man who has found his true vacation and plans to stick to it.

  Sargent Gifford Tappitsworth is best known for his calm, encouraging leadership style and easy manner on the battlefield. Often he can be heard geeing up the troops with phrases like 'oh come on lads, we're only outnumbered 6 to 1, we've had worse', or ' Don't just stand there, the gigantic and very angry fire breathing dragon won't kill itself, get stuck in!'. The rank and file think they like him...

  I also painted some commanders for the press ganged troops of the towns on the border of the wastes which have now been taken over by the Badgers.

Mayor Duckett, leader of the town of Wayward-Nowhere, the largest settlement bordering the wastes  He is a stickler for detail in all folk he deals with, even if he does often have half his breakfast down his breastplate.

Sargent Digby 'red fury' Dibbleswort, scourge of the wastes, or so he tells everyone. Basically he has a bit of a temper and thinks it's some kind of virtue.

  Corporal 'tally ho' Wilkinson, currently in command of the border town of Spillin-Over (population 76). Has a can do attitude and can't get on with those that don't. He tends to lead from the front, normally because most of the lads know they can push him out ahead to attract arrows.

  Sheriff 'Sparrow Hawk' Callhoon, Meanest lawman in the wastes. Known for being hard but fair. I.e. he always works hard to prove his targets guilt once he's decapitated them. In fact it was his creative police work that got him transferred to Wayward-Nowhere in the first place.

  I thought it would be an idea to do some for the Badgers current opposition and scourge of the wastes The Bastard Sons of the most black'ed Crow

  Ol' Papa Crow is the devious patriarch of the Crows, ruling over his extended brood with an iron fist.

 Big Bear Crow, current bearer of the Crows whistling totem known as the 'dinner bell'. He is the largest of the gang, it has been rumoured he ate a whole Ogre in one sitting , making him a legendary figure among his peers.

'Dirty' Ma Crow, witch of the wastes. Ma is not really a member of the Crows, although she is believed to be the mother of more than a few of them. She lives away from the Crows, traveling where ever her gut takes her to sell her various cure all's and potions to travellers and outlaws she encounters. She also serves as Papa Crows eyes and ears in the wastes,  settlers that get a visit from Ma can expect the Crows to not be far behind.

  The black Weasel, outlaw, outcast and all round git. the man known only as The Black Weasel has been exiled to the wastes for years. He was Chased to Wayward-Nowhere after he pushed his luck too far in proper society and was chased from there by Sheriff Callhoon shortly after. He was found half dead and definitely mad by the Crows and was spared the pot as he convinced Papa he has inside knowledge of the border towns that could prove useful... 

...'till next time...

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Rather fantastic battles

   I managed to get the opportunity this morning to test out Fantastic Battles by Nic Wright. 

They are currently available to buy Here.

The rules are designed to be scale and setting agnostic and use multi-based units with no casualty removal. Which sounds right up my street quite frankly. They include some sample army lists for fantasy and ancient forces but encourage you to come up with your own giving full rules for unit generation. 

The rules are really simple and clean mechanically with an easy to follow turn structure. It uses a base of troops as the basic unit that can be formed into groups if you wish. Command sections are separate and key to keeping your army in the fight but they can join units if desired.

 The rules work on a random activation basis with troops outside the influence of the forces commanders often doing exactly what you don't want them to!.

  There are also rules for random objectives, flank marches and pre battle misfortune that can befall your units (which I forgot to use this time like a massive tool).

First impressions are very positive, I might have to put together a few small forces to explore further. I used my 15mm dark age forces  for this game, 4foot troops/ 2 cavalry to a unit. 

 The battlefield ready for battle. Norman' attackers at the top of the picture, Saxons at the bottom.

The Norman's center made up of Norman infantry and their  Saxon subjects.

Archers protect their left flank.

  The other flank was held by the flower of the Norman nobility.

  For their part the Saxons deployed foresters and spearmen on their right.

  Their center was held by more spears and a unit of mercenary Viking axemen.

The hill on the left was guarded by the Saxon archers who intended to fill the opposing horse with arrows.

An archery duel broke out on the Norman left while the Saxon spears prepared to take the hill.

  The Norman center advances.

Likewise the cavalry who take exception to the rain of pointy sticks coming from the hill.

   Things begin to get bloody  as the Vikings slam into the Norman subjects.

  The Norman spears crest the hill.

   With their commanders out of range the archers take matters into their own hands and charge off the hill to attack the Norman horse!.

  On the central hill opposing shield walls face off.

   During which opposing champions prepare to have at it!.

    Which goes better for the Saxon half!.

  Over on the left the archers feel the sharp end of the Norman's swords as Saxon spearmen rush to reinforce them.

   And get there just in time to get charged themselves.

  During the fight the forces general s meet.

   While to hill in the centre turned into a massive scrum.

  The Norman leader is downed by his opposite number, ending the battle in the favour of the Saxon defenders.

  As I said, decent rules that I'm looking forward to using again. Definitely worth a look...

...'till next time...

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Iron Badgers?

 To the most honourable general Welchingtonne, 

    Sir, I have recently made the most favourable acquisition and request the services of your good self and your company in its recovery and subjection.

  You have no doubt come to hear of my good fortune at the card table, besting lord Carpingshire and lord Fossdirte in a hand of slippery fist to the tune of ten thousand gold marks apiece, however also humbled in said hand was that most lackwitted fool lord Stribblessorth, who upon learning my victory was too rich for his like was forced to hand over his claim on his remaining lands north of the upper marches. I am now soul owner of the last uncharted realm!. 

 Towhitt I wish to employ you to sail to Friggit bay at all haste with as many men at arms as you can muster with a firm view to claiming and subduing my new lands. The men (such as they are) of Stribblessorths' former holdings will provide support with lodgings, supplies and some leve troops for you to add to your ranks and use as you see fit. And pay no heed to their tales of giants, ghosts, goblins and the like, such stories of the wastes may dupe the peasantry but men of Valor such as us will not mess our gussets at the likes. 

  What say you sir?, Adventure and a great deal of coin awaits you upon your acceptance.

Lord P.D. Crimpletoppe esq.

P.s. those limp wristed dribble mouthed quill jockeys of the royal cartographers guild wish to send a team to map the lands as part of your force. The King's behind them as ever so try to keep them alive there's a good chap.

    The above letter was recovered from the Welchingtonne estate, sent to the famous mercenary General Armando 'rabid hamster' Welchingtonne, leader of the much feared Iron Badgers, the meanest licensed sell sword company of their age.  

The Iron Badgers in all their glory.

The Iron Badgers latest new fangled contraptions...TANKS!!!

They are 15mm Da Vinci tanks from Alternative Armies. I think they scale well with 10mm troops. 

The 'lands north of the upper marshes' referred to in the letter are believed to be the area known as the northern wastes, the last unconquered 'wild lands' within the realm's of King Fiddius the 14th, who's deeds would be passed around for a price between the lesser nobility. Many lords attempted to subdue the lands but none returned alive, the people's living on the boarders claiming that the 'devils and monsters' within would have done for them. No attempts had been made for many a year before this letter was sent.

 'Volunteer' troopers of the upper marches, now under the rule of Lord Crimpletoppe.

   So hopefully I will be using the above as the basis for some honest to goodness fantasy campaigning. I reckon I can collect and paint forces while the Iron Badgers attempt to subdue the ones already sorted in a series of games. However my gaming area has been invaded by one of The Amazing Mrs Sprinks' latest projects:

She assures me she's planning to turn it into a cupboard... however I think she may be trying to tell me something!.

...till next time...


Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Bag o' Bastards


Just a little ditty to set the tone


  Well it has to be said that things have been interesting here at chez Sprinks to say the least. Sprinklings 2: Son of Sprinks and 3: The Revenge have seen a huge spike in their Tourettes symptoms, so much so that both now hit, kick, throw and swear compulsively and in the case of Sprinkling 2 have tics in their legs that mean they require a wheelchair most of the time. To top that off the amazing Mrs Sprinks is having considerable back troubles meaning she is also struggling to get about. However we are muddling through and the kids are taking it in stride as much as possible so it could be worse.

But on the bright side I have finished my 10mm not Mongol army I mentioned Here.  It seems like a trivial thing with everything else going on but it's been surprising just what a great refuge a few hours hobby time can be 

The Bastard sons of the most black'ed Crow ride out to commit some form of dickishness or other!.

  They are a much feared gang of inbread raiders, excelling in ambushing and riding down trader caravans, trafficking contraband, raiding isolated settlements and providing mercenaries for anyone that needs them (and can stomach having them around). They are expert scavengers motivated to feed their greatest and grossest habit, that being the consumption of human flesh which takes on the center of their disgusting religious customs. The Sons are one of many such groups across the wastes that form an uneasy network to swap information and trade stolen goods and captives. When threatened the groups band together for mutual protection and can form an impressive and powerful army...if they can work together long enough.

My basic idea for the theme of the army was basically a medieval fantasy version of the classic American biker gang, but if they were cannibal rednecks. Sort of Sons of Anarchy meets Sawney Bean with a hint of Deliverance and the hills have eyes chucked onto the mix.

The latest additions:

2 units of veterans, mixed Lance and bow to follow the Mongol list I'm using as a base for the army.

The army's nobles. Heads of the extended family that is the Bastard sons.

 A couple of wasteland great eagles raised and trained from chicks by the sons. Most people think these creatures are noble and majestic beasts, however all dwellers of the wastes know them to be pricks. The eagles are used by the Sons for scouting and tracking potential pray.

 These eagles came from a job lot of painted bits off of evilbay, I just based them.

The army is now in a playable condition, I do have extra units of light and veteran horse waiting for paint but I have the required 8 units so I'm calling them done for now.

A Burgundian force attempts not to be eaten by horse riding wasteland loonies.

 If you are wondering why the pictures have an odd black shadow in the bottom corner it's because it turns out I can't be trusted to keep a phone in one piece!.  My device took a nose dive while I was completing some basic household chores and the screen and camera lenses seem to have lost a few hit points in the process. Hopefully I will have it sorted by my next post.

...'till next time...