Thursday, 15 December 2016

Goblin Army

The goblin army varies with the distance from their origin.

When the great wizard Fourbytwo created them they had very little civilised experience. But over hundreds of years of wars with humans they have become quite 'civilised' and make sure that those Goblins sent out to do battle in the furthest reaches of their realm are mostly inexperienced and unprepared while the wise ones stay safely in core of the realm.

This means that on the outer reaches of the goblin realm the armies will be mostly hordes with a few bows or spears. But as the invaders come closer to the goblins birthplace the armies become much more sophisticated and deadly.

The full goblin army

Goblin spears - perfect for dealing with Knights

Goblin Artillery - the dwarves said they could never copy their guns - but it seems the Goblins could and made them bigger and better

The Goblin General with the core of the army - axemen

Goblin bowmen - ready for  a Knight out 

Goblin Wizard - self taught from searching through the tower of Fourbytwo and the experience of his less successful brethren

One of the Goblins allies, Mono - rescued from a Knights' castle when he was just a babe, he is very loyal to his Goblin bros.

A rouge wizard - who helps the Goblins when it suits him and who is not afraid of a little genetic manipulation for recreational purposes.

Goblin flyers from the mountain regions of the island - ready to do battle with the dwarf flyers - legend says that they made a pact with an ancient dragon but this is dismissed by the Wizards Council as an old man's tale.

A Goblin Horde army. Not the strongest but certainly scary

A close-up of a horde unit - Nigel is third from left in the fourth row

More hordes - there are never enough

Horde General 

Goblins Bows - a nasty surprise for the Knights hiding behind a horde

Goblin axemen - a nasty surprise for everyone


Tuesday, 15 November 2016


The Orcs are the happiest of the civilised races. Although why they are counted as civilised is a running joke for them. They are organised as a democratically elected government with regular elections for the various leadership roles. Their Commander in Chief is elected by the army and leads it into battle.

The Orcs enjoy a good fight, drinking beer around the fire, and eating BBQs. Generally they like to think that they get on very well with the other races. However, the dwarves, humans, Elves and wizards secretly despise the Orcs for their lack of civilising graces, their perpetual good cheer, work ethic, and the general feeling that the Orcs are having a really good time.

Occasionally the Orcs get all fired up by some politician or other group who get them in a fighting mood by picking on some imaginary slight and making a big deal of it. The Orcs then go off to war but generally their heart isn’t really in it, they much prefer lazing around the campfire and drinking, and after the first defeat they usually head off home.

The main part of the Orcs’ army is made up of fighters who charge madly into battle, Warbands under HOTT rules. The general’s element is also a warband.

There are also a few bow armed Orcs in case they get in a fight with others who have these or the dwarves and their flyers.

The scariest part of the Orc army is the Waaaargh – a large group of warriors who go berserk, generally by being told that all the beer has been stolen by the enemy army – this unit acts as a behemoth under the HOTT rules.

There is usually a hero in every Orc army. In this army it is Boozer.
The Orc Army

Boozer the Orc Hero

Orc Bowmen

The Orc Waaaargh

Orc Warbands

Orc Warband General - the black flag of the Orc Nation - you never need to wash it.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

19C - War of the Antipodes - Attack on Sydney

The aggressive Victorians have completed their plans and now are starting the war against NSW.
Some of the Victorian government were unhappy that the attack will be a surprise and said that the civilised practice is to declare war first. The Minister of War stared them down and stated. “We will pass the declaration of war to the Government of NSW when we occupy the NSW Parliament House! Just before they sign the surrender documents.”

NSW defenders are:
Two ray guns and a company of infantry in Sydney Observatory
Two fortress guns – Heavy Artillery in Dawes Point Battery
Two companies of infantry, one squadron of cavalry, one artillery and one Gatling gun at Hyde Park and Hyde Park Barracks
Two medium artillery guns on Fort Denison
Two medium artillery guns and one company of infantry in Fort Macquarie.

Victorian attackers are:
Three companies of infantry, Gatling guns and artillery landed on the east side of the Botanical Gardens.
Four Airships. One armed with two medium artillery and the others each carrying a company of infantry.

Victoria has landed by airship in secret a force on the east side of the Botanical gardens. Hidden in the darkness they await the appointed start time. The landers returned to their embarkation point to load up with Infantry and then go back to Sydney for the assault.

Victoria's plans. Objectives are red stars. Red arrows are the first phase and yellow arrows the second phase.

The Victorian airship troops will land on Fort Denison, Fort Macquarie and Dawes point battery and take them by coup-de-main. With these forts captured the remaining Victorian ships at sea can safely dock a Circular Quay and land the follow  up troops of EMU’s and Cavalry plus additional artillery, Gatling guns and Infantry replacements.

The Victorian airships

The troops landed in the Botanical Gardens will march across them to capture the Governor General in his home and also the NSW Parliament building. They will also threaten the Hyde Park Barracks to prevent the troops there reinforcing their comrades in Fort Macquarie or Dawes point.

The Victorian troops from the Botanical Gardens

Once the immediate objectives are secured they will march south and create a line across the city to defend the unloading of the EMU’s and other troops. Hopefully the NSW troops in Hyde Park Barracks will destroy themselves trying to get through the defence line.

As soon as Fort Macquarie and Dawes Point Battery are captured the airships will return to base for more reinforcements and guns to take the place of those destroyed in each of the forts. The Fort Denison troops will be transported over to the city once it is taken and reinforce the assault there. The remaining gunship airship will stay on patrol over the city to destroy any resistance.

NSW Plans
NSW’s leaders are feeling confident and the troops are not on high alert. With the announcement of their new ray guns to be made early the next month they think Victoria has missed its chance to act. To protect their secret ray guns they have placed a company of infantry there. Victoria is unaware of this new force and have left them out of their plans.

Fort Denison has two guns facing out to the entrance of the harbour. Dawes Point Battery has the main guns of the defence but they also face out towards the entrance. Only Fort Macquarie has the artillery and infantry available for all round defence. The guns cover the approaches to Circular Quay.
The main force in the city is in Hyde Park Barracks with another company of infantry camped in Hyde Park. The NSW army commander is also there ready to lead.

NSW troops deployed

Special Rules.
Victoria will move first but their placement on the board will be their first move. All NSW troops and guns will start at red reliability and must use the action points they get each turn (if any) to raise their reliability to blue – each action point raises reliability by one level. If during this process they are attacked or use their action points for movement or fire they can no longer raise their reliability. This means that Victoria has to strike hard while NSW are still getting their act together.

Turns 1 and 2
As the sun rises in the east the Victorian army moves onto the board.
NSW starts to wake up.

The Victorian Armoured Infantry land on Fort Macquarie and assault the defenders

Dawes Point Battery under attack.

Fort Denison under attack

NSW is quickly overwhelmed

Turn 3
Victorian Turn

At the end of the Victorian turn the Victorian flag flies over most of their objectives. The Governor General’s Home, Fort Denison, Dawes Point Battery and NSW Parliament house are all flying the Victorian flag and under their control. The battle is going well and fighting in Fort Macquarie should soon be over and the ships waiting at sea can approach and unload the occupation force.

NSW Parliament House is occupied and Hyde Park Barracks is attacked.

NSW Turn
The Victorian Airship is flying down Macquarie Street with its guns pointing menacingly to each side. The NSW Cavalry squadron moves out of Hyde Park barracks to go to the assistance of Fort Macquarie. They are then followed by the infantry company from Hyde Park. The NSW officers and troops look up in awe at this monstrous machine floating above. They know what it is but were not expecting one in Sydney. And why is it flying the Victorian flag!!!!

Victorian Airship flies down Macquarie Street

The Captain on the deck of the airship is feeling smug and secure, knowing that he is in the most powerful vessel in Australia, immune, he supposes, to any realistic threat. He bellows out orders to his guns to get ready to fire on the NSW troops below.

Just then, from the Sydney Observatory comes two great coherent light beams that smash into the airship causing mayhem and destruction. “What the hell was that!” screams the captain, “prepare for evasive manoeuvres! Get me engineering on the speaker!” 

His ship is barely afloat. Then another two beams of light crash into his ship sending it rocking but seemingly no more damage is done.

Below the NSW troops tentatively cheer. They hope that whatever did the damage to the airship is on their side.

"Target acquired and capacitors at 100% sir!" "Fire!"
From Observatory Hill the whole city is visible.

Turn 4

Alas for the Captain of the Victorian Gunship, Engineering does not respond to his frantic calls (he rolls a one and gets no activation points), the airship moves forward a half move and remains in line of sight of the Observatory.

With Dawes Point under their control, the Victorian infantry urgently heads towards the Observatory while the airship that brought them there turns and smartly exits the battle, flying low and dodging the many ships in Sydney Harbour it manages to escape the Observatory guns. Soon it is flying safely away to get reinforcements.

Likewise on Fort Denison, the Victorian flag is left flying and the infantry company re-embark on their airship and head for Circular Quay to assist with the rest of the battle. Once again with threat of the Ray guns the airship makes good time (it rolled a six for three activation points) and is able to unload on Circular Quay.

In Fort Macquarie, the Armoured Infantry only get one activation, no doubt caused by the consternation of the Observatory firing, so they can only fire at the artillery guns and cause some damage.

The first Ray gun on the Observatory again targets the stricken airship with two blasts. The first blast hits dead on with potentially 8 damage, but the Victorians make all their saving rolls and the ship just rocks under the bombardment, its Captain still frantically screaming at engineering. 

The second blast also hits dead on with another 8 damage points, despite making another 7 saves the eighth save fails and the ship crashes to the ground in flames on Macquarie Street just in front of the NSW cavalry.

The Victorian Generals shake their heads and wonder what else is waiting in store for them. Only 5 minutes ago everything was going to plan.

Turn 5

The Victorians race towards the Sydney Observatory to knock out the Ray guns. 

The NSW red coats form a perimeter around the Observatory while the Victorians rush from all directions. 

The NSW troops, still unaware that Fort Macquarie has fallen look to go down Pitt Street now that Macquarie Street has been blocked.

The Victorian airship crashed in Macquarie Street

Turn 6 and 7

Observatory Hill is surrounded and assaulted from both sides and eventually falls, but not before the crews of the Ray guns have made their escape after destroying their equipment.

The Victorians assault the Observatory

NSW are forced to retreat under the relentless Victorian assault and build a final line around the Townhall. Everything else is under the control of the Victorians.

The final positions. Only the Townhall remains out of Victorian hands.

So the battle ends. 

Will NSW counter attack before the Victorians get their reinforcements ashore? The Victorian Generals hope that there are no more surprises from the NSW army.  They set up their command post in the dining room of NSW Parliament house and discuss their next move.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Elvish Longbow Fascists ELF

The Elves have built a civilisation based on the concepts of beauty, elegant design, high culture, epic coolness, total superiority, and a complete disdain for any of the other races.

Their leaders are a family of tyrants, the WhiteCheats, who have passed the superbly designed and elegant crown down their family over thousands of years. So well designed the blood stains wash right off.

The cities of the Elves are creations of great wonder and fantastic design. It is a pity so few of the other races ever see them as it would raise their opinion of the elves from a distinct loathing to an envious dislike. The Elves are very particular of who they let into their cities and towns which are surrounded by woods and lakes of great natural beauty. The Elves happily slaughter anyone they find sneaking about them and it is a favourite pastime for the younger elves to lurk around the woods, enticing unsuspecting visitors to enter, to lead them astray, and then kill them in entertaining ways.

They naturally hold the other races in contempt. The Orcs are crude and disgusting, the Dwarves are disgusting socialists and despised as a race of regicides, and the humans barely tolerated.

The only members of the other races that the Elves will voluntarily talk to are wizards, who by dint of great knowledge and skills can be considered to be worthy of some respect, despite not being elves.

The main weapons of the elves are the bow and the sword but they also employ wizards on the battlefield.

The Elvish Army

Elvish swords men

An Elvish Heroine

The Elvish General

An Elvish Hero

Elvish Bowmen

Elvish Bowmen

Elvish Wizard

Friday, 30 September 2016

19C - War of the Antipodes - VSF Rules


To play my VSF campaign between NSW and Victoria I needed a set of rules and I decided to write my own.

Link to Rules

I wanted something relatively simple, of only a few pages (similar to FUBAR) but which had enough rules for morale, machinery reliability (from GASLIGHT) and also able to manage reasonably sized armies of toy soldiers.

I was not going to attempt to create a realistic set of rules with lots of detail as these would be very long and time consuming both to write and to play. To this end the rules represent many factors in a very limited fashion or ignore them completely. Hopefully I still get some of the “flavour” of the period they are set in.

I feel that reliability of machinery is important for this era and it was something I wanted to include in the rules. However I do not want it ruining the game, if due to bad dice rolls, a machine can just sit there all game doing nothing. 

To cover unit morale and experience I decided to combine machine reliability with human training and morale for a single “reliability” indicator that would cover them both.

As casualties or damage are taken reliability will decrease for both troops and machinery. This is reflected by the decrease in reliability levels during the game. Reliability effects the ability of units to carry out actions and their effectiveness in combat and so is also a proxy for morale.

Action points were included to give some variability in units’ reactions and to create some of Clausewitz’s friction or fog of war. Each turn units will roll to see how many action points they get that turn and then can spend them performing different actions.

Action point generation are biased to give each unit the chance of acting each turn. High reliability / trained troops are likely to do more than less reliable/trained troops and to ensure that troops will not stand around (staring at each other in embarrassment) both high and medium reliability troops will always do something.

Action points also give the opportunity for highly trained undamaged units to out shoot less trained or battle damaged units as each turn they are likely to fire more and with greater effect.

I also like the idea that when your troops are out of enemy line of sight your troops can move further as this gives more reason to hold reserves, switch attacks, etc. than if troops can only move the same distance all the time. On a large enough board you can do flank marches with some (but not complete) confidence that the troops will get there in time. To do this I have included the ability to move multiple times if a unit is only in the enemy’s LOS for one of the moves - as long as you get enough action points.

Multiple moves can give an attacker an advantage but only at the risk of an attack becoming disjointed as some troops move faster or more often than others.

Suppression is inspired by that in FUBAR where initial losses are not permanent but can be recovered. Action points spent on removal of suppression levels can represent damage control on machines or taking cover for other troops. If the decision is to press on regardless of the damage or fire then the next casualties or damage will be more permanent.

The markers on the bases are to remove the need for bookkeeping or having dice next to the figures, or in the case of FUBAR having troops on their side. Using the blue, green, yellow and red bars as markers is inspired from computer games where these indicators are common on screen.

I didn’t want any type of troop type to dominate the game so I think they all have trade-offs and benefits. The practice battles seemed to go the right way and to be reasonably balanced. The other side of troop types is being able to represent everything but without having too many rules or special cases. I think this has happened and the generic nature of the weaponry, saves for damage, and the reliability factors mean that many things can be represented within the rules.

Army Commanders were added to the rules simply because I had painted and based them for each of my armies. The rules give them the ability to affect the battle, to “rally” troops and get them to do more, but only in a limited area. These abilities seems to be consistent with the role of commanders in a battle.

The rules have turned out to be fairly “bloody” and combat and unit destruction is fairly quick. I think that this makes a better game (though not very realistic).

Combat is also biased towards the unit that fires first and in a fair fight, the unit that fires first will win. However, this seems to conform to reality and just proves that when attacking you need to concentrate against defenders with at least double the forces.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

19C - War of the Antipodes - Battle Report 3 - Battle for Bare Island

This is the third battle to test my new rules 19C VSF.

Bare Island is just inside the entrance of Botany Bay and on it is constructed a small fort to protect Sydney’s rear door.

The game described below is actually a repeat. The first game ended in only two turns with both the Victorian ships sunk. Which goes to show that you should never attempt to force an entrance past a well defended and ready fortress. In this game I am starting all the NSW forces as unprepared with a reliability level of red. They have to roll on the Activation points table each turn and for every activation point they get their reliability increases one level.

NSW defenders are:
One ray gun
Two fortress guns – Heavy Artillery
Two companies of infantry

Victorian attackers are:
Two ships, one carrying two companies of infantry and one carrying a squadron of cavalry and one company of infantry.
Two Airships. Each armed with a medium artillery and a Gatling gun.
Opening positions

Starting positions - Blue troops on bottom right are the troops in the Victorian boats

Turn 1
The Victorians advance.

The ships coming through the entrance directly in front of the NSW guns with one ship heading for the shore line in front of Bare Island to disembark its two infantry companies while the other makes a beeline for the wharf behind Bare Island where it can disembark its cavalry squadron and infantry company. The airships have cleverly flown over land and approach Bare Island from the south where the guns can’t fire.

NSW starts to wake up. One of the fortress guns goes to Yellow reliability as does the infantry in the fortress.

Victorian ships - air and sea advance in a coordinated assault.

Turn 2

More movement. The Victorian ships disembarks its two infantry companies on NSW territory and the other ship continues to the wharf. The airships move forward to attack the fortress from behind.
NSW continues to wake up. The Raygun rolls a 6 and gets two activation points so moves to green reliability. Both fortress guns get one activation point each so one moves to green reliability and the other to yellow. The infantry in the fortress also move to green reliability. The infantry on the shore stay asleep.

End of turn 2

Close up of the Victorian landings on "Sword" Beach

Turn 3

More moving from the Victorians.
The infantry on land advance against the Raygun. Capturing the small tower will help them to isolate Bare Island fortress.

The ships and airships move forward.

NSW is finally awake enough to fight back.

The Raygun fires at the Victorian VII infantry and score 9 hits with 9 damage. Two bases are lost and reliability moves to yellow.

One of the fortress guns fire at the red hulled ship and gets 8 hits with 5 damage and reduces it to yellow reliability. But it is nearly past the fortress and it should be an easy run to the wharf.

The other fortress gun moves to green reliability and the infantry on the fortress move to Blue reliability. The infantry on land stubbornly stick to their beds and won’t get up.

End of turn 3

The Victorians sneaking past the fortress

Turn 4

The Victorian infantry continue their advance on the tower.

The ships move forward. In the air one of the airships blasts at the fortress guns but despite getting 3 hits causes on damage. It fires its cannon at the raygun and also despite getting 2 hits causes no damage.


The raygun blasts the Victorian VII infantry and gets 10 hits and causes 9 damage. The infantry is reduced to one base and has red reliability.

With the red hulled ship past the fortress the guns concentrate on the green hulled ship. Together they get 18 hits and cause 6 damage.

The NSW Infantry in the fortress move to cover the walls as the Victorian ship moves past.

The infantry on land refuse to be woken early and keep to their beds.

End of turn 4

Turn 5

The Victorian Infantry on land continue their advance towards the tower.

The green hulled ship fires its Gatling gun at the fortress artillery but despite getting three hits causes no damage.

The red hulled ship continues towards the wharf, safe from the fortress guns.

Airship III fires its Gatling gun at the fortress artillery and gets one hit and causes one damage.

Airship II fires its cannon at the raygun and gets four hits and causes two damage.

The Raygun gets two action points and pivots to fire on the Victorian infantry and scores 7 hits and cause 5 damage. The Victorian infantry lose a base and go down to green reliability.

The fortress guns fire on the green hulled Victorian ship and cause 2 more damage points which sink it.

And finally on land the NSW infantry finally rolls a 6 and goes to green reliability. It is ready for action. Maybe all the guns firing woke them up.

End of turn 5 - looking at the photos I realised I should have shown the sunken Victorian ship just with its masts sticking up out of the water.

Turn 6

The Victorian infantry get two action points and close assault the raygun destroying it with 3 damage points to none. As the raygun must retreat but cannot to move it is destroyed.

The Victorian Infantry occupy the tower just in time to thwart the lay-in-bed NSW infantry.

With their only threat now destroyed the Airships now target the NSW infantry near the tower. They get 19 hits between them and then 12 damage. The NSW infantry lose two bases and go down to red reliability.

NSW is really had it now. They cannot target the airships or the ship. All that is going to happen is that Victorian troops will stand off and destroy the remaining NSW infantry before assaulting the fortress. So the white flag goes up and Victoria is Victorious.

End of turn 6 and game over for NSW - I need some white flags

Lessons learned from this play test.

The ships are too vulnerable. I will decrease their save roll from 3 to 2. This should make them twice as strong.

Airships were too slow. I will increase their speed to 30cm and ships to 20cm.

The one move action if in LOS of the enemy is too restrictive. Infantry and Cavalry will be able to use one action point to change formation, line to column or reverse, and also a second one to move if they manage to roll two or then close assault if they got three action points.

Infantry loses its reliability too quickly and then becomes useless. Therefore I will change the rules so that Infantry and Cavalry gets to save their reliability decrease if they roll equal to or less than the number of bases remaining in the unit, including the command base. Also, if they win a close assault they automatically do not lose any reliability. If they lose a close assault they automatically do lose reliability. This will add some flavour to the game and give these unit types more power.