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As I nearly always play the rules that I am one of the authors of, (with the other author as my playing partner) we usually play the rules as written, discuss the result, decide what we think should have happened, then I amend the working copy of rules. If possible, we like amendments tested in play before I update the rules available (for free) on t’Internet to the io group members.
We also tend to play-test new troop types before publishing, for instance, the “Kerns” for the 17th Century Pike and Shot supplement should be appearing soon for the benefit of those who have the Ulster army of the Federation of Kilkenny.25/01/2021 at 05:48 in reply to: Do I Really want to Pay More For Wargames Figures? #149995
…[snip]… – My main point was simply disbelief at the idea I should be feeling an obligation, to actively want to pay more for figures to somehow support a mythic Grail search for the perfect figure. ….[snip]…
What is the perfect figure? Is it going to be the same figure for everybody wargaming that period? One of the reasons that I don’t really bother with 25/28mm figures any more is that many of the newer ones don’t fit on the bases that I want to use. Because of the push for heroic and animated poses, it is actually difficult to base infantry 4 wide on a 60mm wide base. Even when I can cram them on the base, you can’t get two opposing bases in front-to-front contact with each other.
Some might tell me to use bigger bases, but bigger bases mean a larger playing area. The family of rules that I am working on want a 2′ deep board for 40mm wide bases, 3′ for 60mm wide bases and about 4′ for 80mm wide bases. The rules are intended to be playable at home, so 3′ by 2′ or 4′ 6″ by 3′ is a lot better for me than 6′ by 4 ‘.
With some periods I suggest that you actually want most of the figures to be in the same pose. Do you want your Napoleonic Wars line infantry all doing their own thing? The sergeants might have had something to say about that in real life.
I have taken to using pens for shields for 15mm figures because I have started doing more stuff with difficult to paint blazons. The pens that I prefer so far are called “Staedler permanent Lumocolor”. Agree that sometimes they aren’t quite as waterproof as I would hope. What I find works best for me is:
- Paint the figures (acrylic paint) including the shield background colour but not the shield designs.
- Leave for about 24 hours.
- Use a 1/4 floor polish 3/4 water with a little Peat Brown ink as a whole figure wash.
- Leave for 24 hours.
- Use the pens to do the shield design.
- Leave for at least 24 hours after using the pens.
- Varnish figures with a diluted spirit-based varnish for wood, then base.
Must admit that I don’t like the extra time for the shield design to dry thoroughly, but it does seem to reduce shield designs running.
@general-slade – I received the 3 books yesterday, and am pleased with all of them. I have had a brief glance at them and can give you my first impressions.
“The Napoleonic Ottoman Army” by C. Flaherty includes useful bits such as the problems of spelling Turkish in the Latin alphabet, and some of the reasons for the sparsity of primary material. It gives a lot of information, much of it on the janissaries. Inevitably, it touches on things before and after the Revolutionary Wars/Napoleonic Wars period, which, given the limited information known about Ottoman Armies, and that they were very conservative in matters of uniform and tactics, is not wasted space, in my opinion. The author has a lot of pictures of his 25/28mm figure collection.
“Universal Wargames Rules Supplement 4 Napoleonic Army”, also by Chris Flaherty, has a lot of suggestions for adapting Napoleonic rules for the Ottoman army. It gives his ideas of how effective the various elements of the Ottoman army were, and how they fought. Very useful for someone like myself who is trying to cobble together a set of rules for the Napoleonic Wars. Again, as well as nice pictures of his figure collection there is a lot of “meat” there, and has information about 25/28mm figures available.
I am also glad that you also recommended “Napoleonic Scenarios 4 Against the Ottomans” by Eclaireur. This gives the orders of battle of most of what I am interested in, with additional information about the campaigns. It is written for the “General de Brigade” rules, but is clear enough for you to get an idea of what the author is trying to achieve. I happen to have a copy of the second edition of the “General de Brigade” rules, although I haven’t played them, which is useful for me.
Thanks again for your recommendations. There is a lot for me to digest, but it will be spring before I can paint and base the 6mm figures that I have ordered. Until then, there isn’t an immediate need to supplement my rules.
Many thanks for that, General Slade, I have ordered them (ouch!). This will give me another author’s opinions, as well as looking at what DBN says about Ottoman armies. As I will be using my own home-brew rules, I can’t just rely on what the rules tell me to do!
The shopping cart has apparently been disabled again.
By the way, the cart went up on Sunday 1st November. It was still on when I came back from wargaming so I ordered some stuff. It doesn’t say that the cart is disabled, so I presume that the cart is still up.
Have a feeling that orders over £50 before p&p might take a while to get out, which is fine for me as it is getting uncomfortable to paint outside, so I might leave full painting projects to spring.
Excuse me for being late to the party, but in my own rules, the most useful ability for mages is to to assist in communication with units or groups that would be otherwise out of command. The rules use a system similar to the “Player Initiative Points” of DBA/HoTT/DBR/DBM. Flying units and fast-moving wide-sweeping flank attacks are much less likely to get bogged down due to lack of control.
There are other things that mages can do, for instance, cast magic at individual enemy units, make the enemy army temporarily closer to meeting the losing condition, reduce the number of groups or units that the enemy general can move in their next term to one, and so on. These other functions of mages are rarely battle winners, and don’t tend to be worth the army points spent upon mages.
Thanks for showing us your army. Very useful for me – I have one to do as well (although, sadly, I will not be achieving a standard anywhere near yours).
The advice that I received when I started wargaming was that it is okay to put spirit based paints or varnish on acrylics, and vica versa, but you need to allow at least 24 hours for the previous paint to dry. (30 hours is more than 24 hours but 22 hours isn’t.) You don’t need to wait that long putting water-based paint on water-based paint, or spirit-based paint on spirit-based paint. The person giving that advice painted figures for a living at that time, and I believe them. The only time that I tried to speed things up, the figures didn’t work out as well as they should have.
Thanks for your kind comments. Yes, the core rules are a bit dry, with most of the interesting bits being in the supplements. WTF started as an ancients game, and we decided to sling in a few optional fantasy features. The number of troop types increased to the point that I didn’t want to have to bother with the fantasy features when playing an ancient or medieval game, and I didn’t really need every ancient troop type for fantasy. I nearly split it into completely 2 separate games, but by that time I had started wondering whether I could adapt it for my English Civil War armies, and began to wonder whether my Martian armies wouldn’t be better served by their own version…
Yes, you are correct in that DBA undoubtedly influenced WTF. I played DBA and HotT happily for a long time, and I am very grateful to Phil and Sue Barker, and Richard Bodley Scott for the years of pleasure I had from their games. Unfortunately, I never took to DBA version 3, and got itchy feet.
I use the sand that they sell in bags at the builders merchant in the nearest small town. On the plus side, it means that I have some that I can mix with cement and pebbles to patch-up holes in the cellar wall.
The sand that they sell by the cubic metre in the village that I live in is a little course for basing 15mm figures. It isn’t bad for basing 25mm figures though, and is good for making concrete paths.
What rules are you rebasing for, Piyan Glupak?
I am basing or rebasing my figures for the rules that I am writing “Wargames Tremendous Feats”. The only constraint in WTF is that all bases have the same width. For convenience, I use a lot of bases originally intended for DBA or Hordes of the Things.
WTF uses slightly larger armies than DBA/HotT, (usually 12 to 16 bases for a historical army). The combat mechanisms are a bit different. The ancients and medieval version is pretty much done, and the fantasy version not far behind. The version for Barsoom wants a few more troop types put in and play-tested, hence the order from Fighting 15s. The pike and shot version needs more work. I am hoping to put WTF out onto the Internet as freebies very soon.
Thank you for telling me. I find Google Photos a real pain to use. Everything shows up for me, so it seems to be something to do with permissions. I set the album to ‘share’ “Anyone with the link can see these photos and the people who’ve been invited or have joined”. I will have another go at posting:
I had a very quick look at them, and was impressed. The non-humanoid creatures look very good to me. I should be able to add Red Martian cavalry and an army for Lothar. The human-like Martians are a bit bigger than the Peter Pig ones. They will be okay on different bases, but I will have to experiment in mixing them on the same base, for instance, to get proper infantry command bases. Some of them might get a haircut because the hair styles are different.
I am looking forward to painting them when the weather gets a bit better for painting outdoors.
Edit: If you can’t see these pictures please let me know.
I am still waiting for the ex-Black Hat Martians to come. It is approaching the time to contact Fighting 15s about that. When I get them, I will do a picture of the Peter Pig and (unpainted) ex-Black Hat Martians side-by-side. Unfortunately, it will be difficult for me to do much painting until the weather gets warmer.
Edit: Just picked them up from the village post office. The postmark matches the date that Fighting 15s said that they sent them, so delay was just the Christmas post.
I like figures cast complete. I do not like sticking bits on, whether metal or plastic. I prefer metal figures unless the casting is truly woeful. As I am only painting 15mm and 6mm figures, this is less of a problem for me than when I used to use 25/28mm figures.
If you are looking for Elvish lancers and horse archers you could try East Riding Miniatures:
Human armies can be done from historical figures. When I did my Rohan army I used mainly Donnington Miniatures:
With Donnington,, you buy by the individual figure (although there is a minimum p&p that makes it worthwhile not doing too small an order). I think that I mainly used a selection of various Franks, Goths and Lombards, with Alan horse archers. Still haven’t settled on what I could use for Gondor armies.
The two main sources of inspiration for my fantasy games are Tolkein’s books, and semi-historical armies. Middle Earth themed ones are not necessarily the big name battles, they recently included Angmar reprisals against the Snowmen of Forochel for aiding refugee Dunedain from Arnor.
Concerning semi-historical games, the most recent featured trouble between Carolingian Franks and Viking Raiders. In this case, the Vikings had the aid of a hero and a mage. The Carolingians had the benefit of a priest and a mage. I have also done Early North European Bronze Age against later incomers, both side with mages, heroes and various creatures assisting.
In my opinion, the Bronze Age is an excellent source of inspiration for fantasy. Whenever I field a Greek Myth army, the humans are based upon Mycenaeans or Minoans. From what I have read, a lot of the Hittite and Western Anatolian myths were similar to some of the ones found in Greek mythology by classical times.
Leaving the Bronze Age, one of the games in the run up to Christmas had normal late medieval people living north of the Danube fighting an army of the undead. Interestingly enough, the human Vivode has been fictionalised as a vampire in a well-known novel by a certain author born near Dublin in the 19th century.
I like to think that my painting tends to be adequate for wargaming. I don’t bother trying to do better than wargaming standard. When I buy figures, I want to get them usable as soon as reasonably possible.
I like to have two or three games per wargaming session, ideally, different periods. Hence, I tend to go for DBN for Napoleonic and AWI games and Corvus for ancient naval games. I used to adore DBA, but didn’t take to version 3, tried Triumph!, but although I loved the early access versions found that I wasn’t keen on the final release. I used to love Hordes of the Things, and still see it as the best WRG game ever.
Recently, I have had a go at writing my own quick-play rules for land battles, and am fairly pleased with them, to the point that I will be looking to get them on t’Internet soon as freebies. The rules use the same basic mechanisms for various periods. I would say that the ancient and medieval version is ready, and the fantasy version nearly ready, but the Pike and Shot and Martian versions could do with a bit more work, with more troop types to add and test.
Drop-down doesn’t work for me, although I can get to the top of the forum from it. Firefox with Ubuntu.
Very good point. I have just ordered a few to see how they mix in. I am not happy about the figures that I am using for banths and caloots now, and could do with ghostly archers and Red Martian riders. The ex-Black Hat Martian Empires range is now sold by Fighting 15s. Fighting 15s say that they have a bit of a backlog at the moment, so it might be a little while before I see the bare metal. It will be spring at earliest before I start painting them, as it is inconvenient for me to paint figures inside the house.
Hello Mike, this one isn’t really a close-up but does show a bit more. I did John Carter using black hair (as described in the books) but using pale flesh (the shade that I tend to use for Northern Europeans). When I did the first lot I painted the hero figure with the flesh colour that I use for South Europeans, but that looked half way to the Red Martian colour. I now use that base for John Carter’s son Cathoris, and his lady.
I might try a bit more of photography some time, but it always seems to do better with a lot of light. These were done with artificial light. I think that the sunshine outside today is a little too hazy to get better pictures.
The Green Martian leader figures doesn’t look hugely different from the other lancers. I have one done on its own on a base as a Hero for either “Hordes of the Things” or “Warfare’s Tremendous Feats”. The other one (which I painted as part of the new batch) I based as a Knights/Lancer with an ordinary lancer. On the picture with 8 bases of mounted it is the base on the right end of the front row. The leader figure has one of his hands on his holstered pistol, and is holding two of his other hands up, palm outward, with no lance.
Thank you for letting me know. Google Photos are a pain, and seem to default to making albums private. I will try to put more on. If you could let me know whether or not you see the pictures, it would be appreciated.
Warning! I am neither a good photographer nor a good painter. First, some of the giant Green Martian lancers.
You might want to compare them with normal sized 15mm figures.
Here are their riflemen are artillery:
Another shot with both normal-sized Red Martians (with John Carter) and the jolly giant Green Martians:05/12/2019 at 07:28 in reply to: 6mm Ancients – Do You Do It, and If So, How Do You Do It? #127618
@Sane Max – One of the things that I like about 6mm is that I prefer all (or most) of the bases to be the samer depth. I don’t think that I could fit chariots on 20mm deep bases, though.
This year, I re-based nearly all my 6mm ancients armies on to 60mm wide by 30mm deep bases. I am pleased with the results, although they need a slightly deeper battle field. The rules that I am participating in writing would normally want a 36″ deep board for 60mm wide bases, but because all the bases are 30mm deep, with careful deployment, you can get away with a 30″ deep board.
By the way, I tried Warmaster when it came out, and thought that it wasn’t bad as a fantasy game. I haven’t tried Warmaster Ancients, but suspect that there could be worse choices available.
If you ignore the helmets and crests, maybe by looking at the height of the eyes, then the only one that I would be wary of mixing in would be the Victrix. The Black Tree are a bit bigger, but you could probably fit a couple in. When I did my 28mm Achaean army, I used a mixture of Redoubt, Foundry and, I think, Amazon figures.
My preferred scales are 15mm and 6mm (at the moment, in that order). Although there are places on the Internet that have voracious 6mm enthusiasts, there doesn’t seem as much exposure as with 28mm.
Although I have 28mm figures I find that I hardly ever use them for mass battle games as 15mm and 6mm armies are more convenient (and portable). Convenience includes playing area, storage, financial cost, painting and figure preparation. Oh, and if you make a mistake painting a uniform on small figures it isn’t usually as noticeable as with large figures.
28mm figures come into there own for skirmishing, but I am not really into skirmish games at the moment.
The “Solo DBA for version 2.2” from the SoloDBAdevelopment group has been put on the Fanaticus Wiki.
For about a year I changed from DBA 2.2+ being my ancients wargame of choice to Triumph!, although I have since started doing other things. I really enjoyed the early access versions, but when the final version came out, I had a game with a wargaming friend in another part of the country. All was going well until his Hittite chariots did not quick-kill a base of my skirmishers (psiloi in DBA terms). This was new to the final version. He was not pleased, and I decided to write my own DBA replacement.
If you like DBA, there is a very good chance that you will like Triumph!, especially if you like versions earlier than DBA version 3. Although there are aspects that I am not particularly keen on (possibly due to it being written with tournament play in mind) they give a good game, with armies often (but not always) slightly larger than DBA armies. There are quite a few more troop types. Some aspects of the troop types really impressed me, although some others not quite so much. There are very many features of the rules that impressed me. Triumph! seems to have been written as a serious (but enjoyable) quick-play set of ancients rules. The authors seem to be supporting the rules well with a forum and an extensive on-line database of army lists. Many of the features of later versions of DBA that some see as gimmicks are not included.
Thank you for the information, Mike Headden and Nic Wright. I placed an order with Rapier about a couple of weeks ago and am currently suffering from the ”I placed an order at 5 PM last night and I still haven’t received the figures even though it is nearly 9.30 AM” syndrome. The weird thing is that it is likely to be next summer before I paint them. Patience is not just for solo card games!
Of the games that I play, DBN uses ‘attrition markers’, and Corvus uses various markers to show the state of the vessels.
With DBN, I use 6mm figures on a 60mm wide base. One of the advantages is that I have enough room to add up to a couple of the casualty figures that I use as attrition markers. Casualty figures are not perfect, but in 6mm they seem to be a reasonable compromise. I think that most people play DBN using 15mm figures on 40mm wide bases, using little balls of cotton wool as attrition markers. I think the attrition system works well for horse and musket periods.
With Corvus, there might be 60 ships on the table. You need markers to show whether each ship is going forwards, backwards or is halted. (You can’t ram from a halt, and get a reduced move.) You also need markers to show whether a ship has oars sheered, has been captured, is on fire, or is currently attached to an enemy and the marines are banging it out bravely. I don’t see any easy way to do without markers for a naval game with lots of ships.
One idea that I started to explore the last time that I was considering knocking up some home-brew mass battle ancients rules was ‘breakpoints’. A breakpoint is a bit like an attrition level except that it is for the whole army, not one base. Instead of having 2 or 3 before the unit is destroyed or legs it off the battlefield, you have quite a lot (at least 20 for DBA sized armies). When all your breakpoints are used, the whole army breaks. A destroyed element (base of figures) means that you usually lose 4 breakpoints, a camp 10, and an element with general 12. Nearly all recoils, and some combat results that don’t do much else lose 1 breakpoint. An element fleeing temporarily, but remaining on the board loses you 2 breakpoints.
One advantage is that the 2 little pots for breakpoint counters per army are off the board. Another is that games do get resolved. Although I am a big fan of DBA, it is possible to have two spear or blade based armies bashing away at each other if the flanks are protected, with no result in a reasonable time. With breakpoints, you get a result sometime, although it might seem quite sudden if all you are watching is the table. A expansion that I was going to explore was that very well trained armies (mid-Republican Roman or Marian Roman for instance) can have a few more breakpoints than a less well organised or lead army, perhaps 24 instead of 20.
Breakpoints represent morale and exhaustion more than casualties. I have the idea that pre-gunpowder battle casualties tended to be about 10% per side before the loser’s line broke. (Then the casualties of the losing side would increase rapidly.) If you see your comrades being knocked about the battlefield, then I imagine that it wouldn’t be good for your own morale.
I tend to my painting, and a fairly high proportion of my wargaming, in the summer, although when it gets to nearly 40 degrees Centigrade I find myself slowing down, or stopping. I tend to do my painting in an outbuilding that lacks several window panes, so I am in the shade, but still the open air. (I haven’t wanted to replace the panes because housemartins sometimes nest in there.)
During the winter, I spend more time playing train. That also tends to be the time that I use to make messes of perfectly good wagon and coach kits. During spring and autumn, I tend to find a lot of calls on my time from the jungle err… I mean garden.
I am a solo gamer now, and all the wargames that I expect to have will be at home. The largest table that is available is 6′ by 30″ (about 1.8 metres by 75 cm). It is usually inconvenient to use all of it (because of toy train bits and pieces), or have a board that overlaps it. A 2′ or 30″ deep playing area is a lot more convenient for me than a 3′ or 4′ deep board. The boards that I use most often are the 2′ square and the 30″ square boards. The largest that I have are 5′ by 3′, and 4′ square.
Most of my wargaming is now with 15mm or 6mm figures. I do have 25mm and 28mm armies, but I don’t use them very often now, because I find the 15mm armies that use a smaller playing area much more convenient. For 6mm ancients and Hordes of the Things fantasy I tend to use triple sized armies, which need either the 4′ by 2′ board, or if I am feeling like giving them a lot of room, the 5′ by 3′ board. My English Civil War armies are in 6mm. The Napoleonic armies are a bit of an oddity in that I use 6mm figures on 60mm by 30mm bases (artillery on deeper bases) and use boards that I would otherwise use for 25 or 28mm armies. (I would play Napoleonic games more often if I didn’t use the larger bases, as I really like the DBN rules.)
Whilst I don’t see myself getting rid of my 25mm and 28mm armies in the foreseeable future, I have no ambition to buy any more figures in those sizes. I do still occasionally buy 15mm and 6mm figures.
I have used Hordes of the Things, and to a lesser extent, DBA for massed battles. I don’t know why, but on the whole I liked the feel of HotT better, although I tended not to use too many fantasy specific troop types. For instance, if Gandalf didn’t do any major magic against the enemy army he didn’t count as a magician. On the other hand, I have used the WADBAG house-rule ‘Brutes’ (permanently double-based warband for 3 points) for Ents.
For skirmishes I have used my own skirmish set ‘Wilderland’. (I believe that ‘Wilderland’ used to be on the free wargames rules site; it was certainly on my website when I had it.)
If it is something simple , then it might well be obvious, so no instructions needed. Maybe I have been lucky with wargaming stuff, but even doing 28mm chariots, I haven’t found sticking bits together more difficult than it needs to be because of lack of instructions. On the other hand, some wagon kits for my toy trains I find much more lacking in that department.
Are they alternative fantasy, though? I only read the first four books but I recall them as Celtic-leaning low fantasy with Tolkienesque elves and dwarves (no orcs or other “wicked” races, though), only the elves lived a nomadic tent-camp existence and the dwarves lived in hiding, and neither race had all that much of an impact on the human-centric story. I also recall magic being quite low-key, and another Middle Eastern-style human civilisation to the south of the Celtic-type lands. [snip]
I am not sure what your definition of alternative fantasy is. There are dragons later. (In fact, one of the main protagonists gets converted into a dragon for two or three of the books, before being restored to humanity.) There are also ‘were-otters’ [my term, not the one used in the book] and the ‘Horsekin’ (in urban and tribal varieties). None of the races are intrinsically wicked, but a nasty monotheistic religion based upon a false goddess arises later in the series. Most of the sentient creatures have more than one faction or state (as in City or nation state), and in the case of humans, elves and horsekin, more than one culture. Later in the series, the elves, dwarves, horsekin and dragons do play a larger role. Underlying most of the day-to-day action is the struggle between the practitioners of good and evil magic, the politics of the The Guardians, and redemption of souls through multiple incarnations.
The armies tend to be reasonably small, so would suit HotT, or individually based figure wargames rules more than DBA or DBM/DBMM in my opinion. The warfare in the earlier books seems predominantly cavalry oriented. Later books are a bit more interesting in that infantry is used more, and can be effective.
Magic seems capable of affecting whole armies by morale, deception etc. unless countered, but is more effective in dealing with smaller numbers of people. In my opinion, you would want magic rules for battles and skirmishes as well as scenario-based mass effects.
From what I’ve read of Vance (the Lyonesse trilogy) I consider him alternative enough. I liked how the Lyonesse books were for the most part a pseudo-Arthurian low fantasy, but there was the occasional jaunt into some extraterrestrial realm or god-governed land of amazing wonders. …[snip]
I must admit that the concept of Jack Vance’s Lyonesse has occurred to me. Unfortunately, my copy of the trilogy is a Kindle copy, which makes it hard to look at the map because there doesn’t seem to be a way to zoom into it.
I even considered setting my toy train layout in Lyonesse, with the fictional assumption that the railways company would have been the Southern Railway, with the lines originally opened by subsidiaries of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway and the London and South Western Railway.
Another possibility might be Katherine Kerr’s Deverry series. In my opinion, the later books get rather female-centric, but if you like cavalry armies and magic, it might do.