Wednesday, 31 August 2016

19C - War of the Antipodes - Battlefield Sydney

As Sydney will be the location of the main Victorian attack I have recreated it in miniature. Given the size of Sydney, my limited funds and time, I have downsized it a little to fit on the game board.

First up is a birds eye view of the city from 1888. A splendid painting of the city at that time.

And below is my interpretation.

A view from the west of Sydney

Circular Quay and Fort Macquarie

Another western view

Observatory Hill

Fort Denison

Governor General's House

Hyde Park Barracks

Hyde Park Barracks with troops

Fort Denison with artillery and troops

Fort Macquarie with troops and artillery

The Secret Radium Guns hiding under the domes of the observatory

Reinforcements from Victoria Barracks and Parramatta practice their march into Sydney in case of an invasion

First time into the city is a KANGAROO

Dawes Point Battery aims out to the harbour.

Monday, 22 August 2016

19C - War of the Antipodes - Other Troops

While the main armies of the protagonists have been described, there are still all the other troops necessary for a country that is going to war.

All the 'extras' for the game

First up are the regulars that fight in defense - luckily they wear the same uniform for both NSW and Victoria so I only had to buy one group that can be used for both countries.

They are mostly artillery plus some supply troops.

This field artillery can be used to man fortresses or isolated garrisons

Fortress artillery on "disappearing" carriages - these will be used at Dawes Point Battery and Bare Island in Sydney and to guard the entrance to Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne

The limbers are used on the battlefield when artillery needs to move quickly. Hopefully I wont need more than four at any one time.

Supply horses - useful for some scenarios or for clogging up roadways - to be joined by some wagons soon I hope.

After the regulars for each side come the irregulars. These militia troops will always be on the defense so only one set is need for both sides.

A squadron of Cavalry for all the rich farmers to join

The Gatling Gun and Artillery - don't ask where they got them

Two Infantry Battalions for the unemployed, destitute and patriotic citizens who cant afford the cavalry. They wont be as good as the regulars but they can still shoot, charge and loot supplies.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Van Demons Land - Fantasy HOTT campaign.

The Wizard Daphne shook her head sadly as she watched her crystal ball and saw the Knights of Y destroyed by the goblins. Just like mankind she thought, always letting us down. Later that night Daphne sent messages to the kings of each of the races informing them of the disaster and asking them to meet at the peace village to discuss the coming war.

Before she sent her messages Daphne also bought some shares in a few armament companies, “no point waiting until after the news got out. Best to get in early and build up the nest egg.” she thought. This is why Wizards are always thought to be wise.

Over dinner Daphne let her mind wander over how it had all started nearly 500 years ago.

The not so great wizard Fourbytwo (nicked named “Thick As” at Hogwash wizards’ school) had disobeyed the Wizard Council’s decree and had been secretly experimenting with magical gene splicing. This had been explicitly avowed as illegal by the council due to many miss steps and near disasters. Many a wizard’s creation had killed him as well as many innocent locals before it could be destroyed. Luckily none had been able to breed.

Fourbytwo believed he was different and had left the continent and established a hidden laboratory in an old penal colony in Van Demons Land island which was situated south of the mainland. Here he decided to grow a new race of helpers for the civilised races that was made up by the DNA of all of them.

He included Dwarf DNA for size and mechanical ability, Orc DNA for strength, Elf DNA for a sweet visage and manners, Human DNA for humility and kindness. Unknown to him he also accidentally included some rabbit DNA.

He discovered that he hadn’t quite got all the DNA ingredients in the right order. The DNA from the Dwarves worked and he got their size and mechanical ability. But he got the visage and manners of the Orcs, Elfish humility and kindness (also known as arrogance and cruelty with a strong dash of xenophobia) and Human strength plus the ability to breed like rabbits.

Unfortunately other than these minor mix ups his experiment was a complete success and soon his creations were breeding away in the cellars and rooms of his castle and to his surprise by the end of the year there seemed to be hundreds of the little buggers. He started to try and cull them and that is when the trouble started.

As the doors of his laboratory were being smashed down by the goblins as they rebelled against their murderous creator, Fourbytwo sent out a desperate plea for help to the Wizards’ Council. 

Unfortunately they were at a big dinner and didn’t get it until late the next day when the hangovers had calmed down a bit. Needless to say they were pretty pissed off and the informal opinion was to leave Fourbytwo to his fate. However, wiser (though sorer) heads finally prevailed and they sent an away team of young and relatively sober apprentice wizards to investigate.

The away team reported no sign of Fourbytwo other than some torn robes and a few human bones with teeth marks on them. The team tried to kill the goblins but they disappeared into castle’s dungeons and the surrounding countryside. To stop the spread of the goblins the team built a magical wall across the peninsula the castle stood on and left it at that.

The Wizards Council decided to lay the blame on the humans as Fourbytwo was one of theirs. The kings of the humans finally agreed after receiving a number of threats to their persons plus some revelations of embarrassing information about their lives that they didn’t want public.

Knowing that there were always plenty of stupid aristocrats’ sons ready to join any worthy cause that involved excessive violence the human kings set up the Knights of the Alphabet. The Knights would have responsibility for keeping the goblins on their peninsula and hopefully eradicating them. This gave the kings a good excuse to do very little while also having a convenient scapegoat to blame if things went wrong.

The Knights of the Alphabet had a sad history. After a hundred years of fighting they still had not eradicated the goblins on the peninsula. Then after one very costly expedition inside goblin territory when they had been cut off and nearly eliminated and with only a few survivors making it back to the wall, the goblins had counterattacked and swarmed and killed the remaining defenders and finally tore down that wall.

From that time on the goblins continued to spread across the island. The Knights of the Alphabet built many castles from where they would go riding out from to slaughter the hapless goblin communities. The knights boasted of their prowess and bravery but as time went by the goblins grew in power and took one castle after another, and returning the knights’ favours, slaughtering all the Knights and their supporters.

After each castle fell the Kings of the humans would send out a rousing call for more volunteers to man the next castle. For 400 years it was a great way for the dukes and barons to get rid of unwanted boys who were a bit thick and easily convinced to go. In fact, over time it became a reason to question someone’s intelligence if they had ever served with the Knights of the Alphabet.
Many people started to think that the goblins were learning from the Knights. “How to be pig headed, violent, stupid and stubborn” they sniggered.

Daphne finished her dessert and a third bottle of red wine. The second last castle had fallen and now it was time for the elder races to show the humans how it was done.

A few days later at the peace village of PeaceManTown, the Elves, Orcs, Dwarfs and Wizards met. The first bit of business was easily negotiated and they issued a communique laying full blame on the humans. The humans countered by saying “stuff you and we are not going to help”.

Then there was several days of acrimonious discussion of which army was going to fight. As this was following two days of negotiations of who was going to sit in which chair and the shape and size of the table. It is hard to find a table to suit everyone, the Orcs refuse to sit on the floor and the Dwarves refuse to sit on bar stools unless they are drinking. Plus another day negotiating how many advisors each king or ruler could have. Daphne finally had had enough.

Daphne stamped her wizard’s staff on the ground and let out an ear piecing scream. “That is it! You are all going to provide one army. The Wizards will provide one too! We shall resurrect some dead humans so the lazy ignorant buggers do something as well. Go home, get your armies, you shall all meet at the ferry point on the south side of the continent in two months. We will take your armies over one by one and you can start your campaign from Castle Z to destroy the goblins.

I will prepare a map so that each of you attacks and destroys the same number of goblin settlements and you all meet at the peninsula goblin ground point zero at the same time. There we can join together in one army and finish the goblin menace once and for all.”

The armies would have to advance through the goblin island, Van Demons Land, and destroy the goblin armies and then each settlement with a Thaumo-magical Weapon of Mass Death that the Council of Wizards would supply.

As they advanced from their starting point they would get less and less replacements. The leaders of each race argued that this was right as obviously if they were advancing things are going well and there is no reason to spend any more than necessary.

On the contrary, if they were still close to their starting point things are chancy and it is best for the rulers if a maximum effort is put in by their subjects.

For the goblins the opposite is true. The goblin communities far from the peninsula were young and inexperienced. They were mostly made up of hordes of young goblins with little in the way of weaponry or organisation. The goblins near the peninsula had had time to work out different technologies and techniques and even had some wizards. So the going would get tougher as the Elder Races’ armies advanced.

Van Demons Land had always been known as a place of strange and deadly creatures, that is why it was chosen as a penal colony. It had worked well until one day something ate all the prisoners and guards and it was abandoned after that. So Daphne knew they might meet some other foes during their expedition. Hopefully none had made common cause with the goblins.

Campaign rules

The invading armies (Wizards’ Undead Army, Elvish Army, Orc Army and Dwarf Army) start off with a full 24 AP points from the HOTT rules. All armies must conform to the HOTT rules. As the invading armies fight battles they will only be able to replace the number of AP as shown in the table below. This means that they may not be at full strength for the next battle. Unused replacements cannot be carried forwards.

When the invading army wins a battle it moves forward one area. If it loses a battle it goes back one area. The invading army receives the number of replacements for the area it moves into.

Wizards Undead army
Elvish Army
Orc Army
Dwarf Army
Castle Z
6 AP of replacements.

Castle Z
6 AP of replacements.

Castle Z
6 AP of replacements.

Castle Z
6 AP of replacements.

Area 1   4 AP of replacements.

Area 1   4 AP of replacements.

Area 1   4 AP of replacements.

Area 1   4 AP of replacements.

Area 2   3 AP of replacements.

Area 2   3 AP of replacements.

Area 2   3 AP of replacements.

Area 2   3 AP of replacements.

Area 3   2 AP of replacements.

Area 3   2 AP of replacements.

Area 3   2 AP of replacements.

Area 3   2 AP of replacements.

Area 4   2 AP of replacements.

Area 4   2 AP of replacements.

Area 4   2 AP of replacements.

Area 4   2 AP of replacements.

Peninsula 2 AP of replacements.

Peninsula 2 AP of replacements.

Peninsula 2 AP of replacements.

Peninsula 2 AP of replacements.

As the armies approach the goblin home territory in the peninsula the number of hordes in each army will decrease

Area 1                  each goblin army contains 12 AP of hordes
Area 2                  each goblin army contains 8 AP of hordes
Area 3                  each goblin army contains 4 AP of hordes
Area 4                  each goblin army contains 0 AP of hordes

Peninsula             each goblin army contains 48 AP and battles the combined armies of the Wizards, Orcs, Elves and Dwarves, or at least those that make it that far.

19C - War of the Antipodes - New South Wales Plans

The government of New South Wales met at the Governor General’s home near the harbour. In the ground floor dining room they were updated by the secret agent Chesty Bond who had infiltrated the Victorian government and discovered their plans.

After his update some of the ministers were extremely agitated and afraid. The Victorians were nearly ready to strike and New South Wales was completely unprepared. How could they withstand this vicious onslaught by the Victorians. The Prime Minister stood with his Minister for War and calmly stated that there was nothing to worry about. “Plans and preparations are afoot, and I apologise for the secrecy but you can see the issues at stake – our survival and that of our state!” he told the cabinet.

He went over to the cupboards and pulled out a map of Sydney, a map of Australia and some strange drawings.

A birds eye view of Sydney in 1888 - Fort Macquarie is located on Bennelong Point - where the Opera House is now.
The Governor General's House is behind the fort in the Botanical Gardens. Further back is Parliament House. The Observatory is located by itself on a hill on the right hand side of the view.

A map of NSW used by the government in planning their defense against Victoria.

“Gentlemen, we are prepared. Our army does not just consist of our brave soldiers, our red coats and lancers, cannon and artillery, our defences in Sydney do not just consist on Fort Macquarie, Dawes Point Battery, Fort Denison and Bare Island. Victoria has its secret weapons and so do we”

“When Francis Greenaway designed the first buildings on Observatory Hill, he wanted to build an arsenal in the fort there to help defend the city. We have made that dream come true. Our scientists have developed weapons of inconceivable power that can strike down any of these new airships that they can see with a range of over five miles. Within the walls of the observatory are two of these ‘radium’ guns, fully operational! Furthermore, additional radium guns are being prepared to defend our major towns of Newcastle, Bathurst, and Nowra.”

“But what of our soldiers outside the city. Surely they will be destroyed or helpless in the face of these Victorian EAMMUs. We can’t just defend the city, we need to defend the state!” said the agitated minister of farming.

“Sir, all is in hand. For I have not yet finished describing our weapons. Like the Victorians we have also developed a new terrifying weapon of war. The Kingsgrove Armoury Novel Ground Assault Rapid Offensive Operations, or KANGAROO. Roo if you like” he smiled. “These weapons can bounce large distances, are armed with cannon and Gatling guns of the latest type, armoured against rifles and shrapnel”

“We believe that the Victorians do not intend to strike too soon. When the radium guns are installed in each of the towns we can make all of this public. The Victorians will have to back down and peace will reign across this continent at least.”

The meeting broke up after the fourth bottle of port was finished and the ministers retired to their homes.

The main NSW barracks is the Victoria Barracks located a few miles south of the city center.

The NSW army on display

The NSW army. From the left, Infantry, Artillery and Gatling guns, the famed NSW Lancers on the right and at the back the KANGAROO's

The NSW Infantry Battalions - five strong

A close up of the Gatling Guns and Artillery

NSW secret Weapons - Radium Guns and KANGAROOs

A close up of the Radium Guns

A profile of the KANGAROO - the Commander is in the front pouch and the gunner sits in the body. The head contains a cannon while the two arms are Gatling guns. Any excess steam escapes from the chimney tail that also serves to balance the KANGAROO when it is at full speed.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Steam Valley Chapter 6 - Reverend Darkwin

Reverend Darkwin was fascinated by the theory of evolution and decided to put it into practice.

A resident of Essex the Reverend moved to Steam Valley to avoid the trouble that his types of forced genetic evolutionary experiments tend to generate. Luckily he was able to secure an old church for his base so he felt right at home.

The Reverend has already provided some income to his backers.

 His first experiments were concerned with breeding flying monkeys. These have been a great success and teams of flying monkeys are now delivering telegrams in many of the major cities of Europe. In London, they have thrived in the densely populated metropolis and living off pigeons are now a welcome sight as they flap and glide across the sky. Many large homes now have a landing area specifically for the monkeys.

Flying Monkeys on their landing platform.

His other experiments have also been successful but have raised many worrying concerns. The Reverend has expanded the brains of his captive gorillas and made a small army. The gorillas are armed with specially modified guns that are suitable for their large hands. The Reverend has suggested that they be used as light infantry and therefore their uniform is the same colour as the English Rifle units from the Napoleonic wars. The Reverend anticipates that they will fight in the same way, moving through the bush and woods, attacking the enemy where they least expect it and then disappearing into the terrain when the battle is done.

Gorilla Light Infantry
To assist them he has also evolved a very large silver back gorilla that carries the squad’s artillery piece, especially designed for use by the gorillas. With a monkey spotter perched on his shoulder and an assistant gorilla to load the artillery rounds, they make a valuable addition to the fire power of the unit.
Gorilla Artillery Team

They are led by their unit commander “Caesar” who has a penchant for cigars.
The British army, can see the usefulness of the unit, when teamed with a steady unit of red coats of course, in dealing with the pesky natives in the various jungle ridden parts of the Empire.

The Reverend and his daughter, plus Ceasar and at the back Mr Charles Darlost - an early failed experiment

Thursday, 4 August 2016

19C - War of the Antipodes - Victorian Airships

One part of the Victorian plans of continental conquest was the requirement for an Airship that could carry their armies at great speed in either attack of defense.

Not able to build them of the size and complexity of those in Europe, nonetheless, they were still able to do the job at short notice and with the limited manufacturing capabilities on hand.

A combination of river barges together with small railroad engines to supply the motive power, these airships with their anti-gravitarium thrusters below were going to carry the Victorian army to victory. Or so the Victorian government hoped.

Here for the first time are photos of the airships.

As one of the airships leaves its "hanger", another flies overhead.

The airship on a test flight

Here we see the entire Victorian airship force in line astern flying over the barracks in Melbourne. Their cleverly painted blue colour and white steam from the funnels lets them merge into the sky.