Popular Posts

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Die is Cast in 25mm Byzantines vs Egyptians


With the release of the Die is Cast rules we thought we could now have a bit of fun, playing in the scale that the rules were designed for 25mm. Taking two 1,000 point armies Nikephorian Byzantine and Fatimid Egyptian. The above picture shows the Byzantines deployed for battle; one unit of cataphracts in wedge, 3 units of extra heavy cavalry, 3 units of heavy cavalry and 3 units of foot archers.

Both armies were provided by Ian Crosby a long time WRG 6th edition gamer and a newcomer to TDIC.


Close up on the Byzantine extra heavy cavalry, like all the Byzantine heavy cavalry a mix of half lancers and half archers. Eight figures to a unit, which is probably on the small side for TDIC.


My hot unit in this army, twelve cataphracts with lances in wedge. Guard and veterans, capable of beating any other unit on the table.


A unit of Byzantine foot archers and two units of heavy cavalry.


The Egyptian army. Three units of foot archers, two units of light cavalry, two units of elite Mamluks and four units of Askar heavy cavalry. The Egyptian cavalry units were even smaller than the Byzantines, at only six figures each. This was to prove a serious disadvantage as the game progressed.


Close up on the Egyptian foot archers with the general behind them.


At the top of the photo, Egyptian light cavalry supported by Mamluks and Askars.


The start of the game with Byzantine and Egyptian heavy cavalry clashing. It has gone badly for the Byzantines with the Byzantine unit at the bottom of the picture reduced to only one model. But in the melee the Egyptians have been reduced to half strength preventing them from further advance.


The blue Byzantine heavy cavalry are poised to launch a flank attack on the Egyptian cavalry ripping their friends to pieces.


In the centre the already damaged unit of cataphracts, charge but misjudge the distance, exposing them the fire of all the Egyptian archers. It was enough to reduce them to half strength and stop their advance.


On the left quite an even fight. On the far left lancers are fighting the light cavalry whilst the other combats match Byzantine cavalry against Egyptian lancers.








But it was a loss. Two units of Byzantine cavalry were defeated leaving only one unit led by the Byzantine general to fight on. On the far right one of the retreating units was charged by a fresh unit of Egyptian cavalry resulting in almost certain defeat.


In the centre, the remains of the cataphracts gradually fall back taking casualties as they do so from the enemy archers. The Byzantine own shooting is mostly ineffective.

In the next turn, the blue Byzantine cavalry charge the red Egyptian archers. The archers failed their morale test and retreated. The charging lancers were shot to death and the last remaining hope for the Byzantines for victory was gone.


The Egyptian light cavalry on the right advances.


And the combat in the centre continues.


On the left the Egyptian cavalry are fighting the retreating Byzantines, break them and force them to flee.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Warmaster Ancients Carthaginians vs Indians practice game

This game was part of our introduction to Warmaster Ancients practice session at Worthy Gaming in Preston. Using a Games Workshop plastic battleboard (I hate the things) 6 foot by 4 foot and 6mm armies. 1500 points a side. The main fighting arm of the Indians were three units of heavy chariots and 2 units of elephants. Personally I try to avoid the use of elephants in WMA so had a lot more units, especially of cheap Numidian cavalry (5 units) and Gallic/Spanish warband (9 units).
Looking at the Indian army. Chariots on the left and 2 brigades of mixed; archers, spearmen and elephants in the centre.
After the Carthaginian first move, which was mainly to move onto the hill nearest to us in the picture and to move the Carthaginian infantry away from the centre and onto the flank. The Indians move in a long line to meet the Carthaginian advance.
On the far left, Numidian cavalry sneak round the Indian line making the Indian movement more difficult. This is a classic tactic I use with the Numidians.
In the centre you can see the long line of Carthaginian light cavalry faced by the mass of the Indian army, including one of the mixed force brigades.
One of the mixed brigades separates with; archers on the wings, elephants and spearmen in the centre. In my opinion this formation would be better with archers backed by spearmen and the elephants acting as protection on the flanks.
On the left, the Indian forces have been cleared away but feirce fighting is going on in the centre. The blocks of white are my unpainted Carthaginian spearmen. Nothing special with 3 attacks a base and a saving roll of 6. Apart from the Carthaginian heavy cavalry they are the best troops in my army.
Under attack from Indian chariots, spearmen and elephants, the Carthaginian spearmen quickly crumble but do destroy the Indian spearmen in the melee.
The final scene. The infantry in white are Spanish warband the last line of defence of the Carthaginian army. Things looked grim for me at this point but in one astonishing move the situation was turned and victory was won for the Carthaginians.
The reason, those huge gaps in the Indian line. In a fantastic series of dice rolls Carthaginian cavalry were able to get behind what remained of the Indian infantry and attack them both in the flank and rear. Five units of Indians were destroyed in a single turn and with the losses they had already suffered, that was enough to break the Indian army. I left the Indian elephants strictly alone as they were just too tough to kill.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Die is Cast in the final stages

The latest is the design of the front cover. Fairly simple with some text and a big picture of a Roman centurion.

The figure is from Wargames Factory and the painting by James Roach of the Olicana painting service.


The rules are now published and available from the Veni Vidi Vici website,


Price £14.50 each including postage world wide.

The Die is Cast features;

Simultaneous play with both players moving, shooting and fighting at the same time.
Rules can be used with any scale of figures or basing system.
Combat system uses D12's, with one roll needed to work out the casualties. No; to hit, to wound, to save needed.
Commanders of different levels of ability.
Three different styles of melee; infantry vs infantry, cavalry vs cavalry, cavalry vs infantry.
Try before you buy, the complete rules are available as a pdf.
Handy A5 sized rule book.

The Die is Cast rules forum here

Thursday, 1 November 2012

An introduction to Warmaster Ancients at Worthy gaming

Some of my friends and I have been playing Warmaster Ancients (WMA) at the Worthy Games shop for the last few weeks. And it was suggested that we organise a mini-event at the shop to bring together WMA gamers from the area, so they can meet up and generally get to know one another.

Now it has become clear that there were a couple of people at Worthy Gaming already collecting WMA armies and there has been a lot of interest shown in our small scale armies and I would like to give everyone an opportunity to join in if they feel like it.

First of all the figures, they are tiny. No reason not to play with big figures of course but the WMA rules were designed to be played with 10mm figures but a lot of us play with 6mm instead (but still use the same sized bases).

Now there is a chap down in Bolton called Jason who has spent a lot of time promoting small scale figures and I can think of no better place to link to to show you how these figures paint up, so Jasons Grand Scale wargaming blog is here


obviously a man who has got the painting side sorted.

So what can I tell you about the game, firstly it is from GW, written by Rick Priestley. An adaptation of the GW fantasy game Warmaster (epic scale WHFB). Units are made of 3 bases per unit and each base takes 3 wounds before it dies. One of the things in WMA is if you do not get enough wounds to kill a base, the wounds are removed at the end of the turn. Only enough wounds to actually kill bases matter. Each base has a number of attack dice and might have a saving roll. Each unit rolls its dice to hit, 4+ is normally what is needed (good troops just throw more dice) and then the enemy gets an armour save (if they have one) against any wounds that they have suffered. Tactics are simple, either put your really good troops against the enemy and smash your way through, or hit the enemy in the flank or rear which makes it much harder for them to fight back.

Now what makes WMA different is the way you move your troops, units (or groups 0f units) can move up to 3 times in move. With a cavalry move of 30cm, that means cavalry could move 90cm a move! But what stops the freedom of movement is that each move must be ordered by a commander. Each army can have a number of commanders, a general and some lesser commanders, depending on their leadership ratings the quality of commanders varies. Each time you want to make a move one of the commanders has to order it; if he succeeds the unit moves and the commander can issue another order, if he fails the unit does not move and the commander has to stop giving orders. Eventually all the commanders will stop giving orders to move and the movement for that army is over. The trick is to get the units of your army where you want them to be. It is not uncommon for armies to just sit there with no leaders succeeding in getting anything to move, very frustrating.

Cost of a 6mm army? well about £40. Painting is different than for normal figures and I am happy to pass on some tips. Personally I put the figures on to tongue depressors and paint them on those, then when they are finished I mount them onto bases.

The rules and army lists are no longer sold by GW but there are copies out there and I would be happy to let you read my rules and army list books. The armies available, well this is real history we are talking about, so just imagine a real army and there is probably a list for it; Romans, Greeks, Persians, Ancient British, Saxons, Vikings, Normans, Huns............. the options just go on.

So what I propose just for Red Steel members is that we set up a day for an WMA introduction session, you would not even need an army, we have some spare you can use. Get to learn the rules and then you would be ready for an open WMA day at Worthy Gaming where we invite people from the area, to come down for a days gaming.

So thats the plan, just let me know what you think.

PS, a taster day of WMA has been set up at Worthy Gaming for Saturday 19th January, I plan to run two sets of games; from 10.00 to 12.00 and from 13.00 to 15.00

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Chalons – third run at it

OK some painted figures are starting to appear on the table. The board used is one of the GW battle boards, we just ignored the plastic terrain and had the hill!


The hill is the key part of this battle. In the historical battle, the failure of the Ostrogoths to take the hill is supposed to have decided Attila to withdraw to the safety of the Hunnic camp. In previous games, the Ostrogoths had great success attacking the right of the hill (between hill and edge of table). In this game the Ostrogoths tried attacking the left of the hill instead.


Below is the moment of decision with the Ostrogoths launching a full scale attack on the left of the hill.


It was a total fail, with all Ostrogoth units being broken and driven back into the Gepid division marching up to support them. Most of the Gepids broke and ran without even getting into the fight. But the idea is sound. The Hunnic player does have the advantage of deciding the point of the attack and properly done the flanks of the hill will always be vulnerable to an attack played in the right way.

But all the players involved agree that the rules are giving both an interesting game but also one that seems to be giving an historical result.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Chalons project – painting the armies

OK so I have two armies to paint up, a total of 51 units, a lot to do.

Figures are mounted in strips on tongue depressors and painted in a production line process


Now I tried just mounting the figures simply on bases but was not impressed at the result.


So the next stage was to apply some flocking gel (which I used to sell), so


When the paste dries it looks, so


And paints up, so


I think giving a much better result.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Chalons Battle day project

In 2013 the next battle project for the Society of Ancients will be the battle of Chalons AD451, the Hus vs a confederation of allies including the Romans.
So I thought it might be appropriate to throw the new Die is Cast ancient rules into the ring and see how they fare. So lets start with an order of battle.
Using 6mm armies (I have not painted the armies so for this game we just used blank 40x20 bases with the unit ID marked on, no pretty pictures of troops I am afraid). All units are 4 bases except light troops (skirmishers) which have 3 bases to a unit. Light troop bases take 2 wounds, cavalry bases 3 wounds and infantry 4 wounds. For more details on using element based figures in the Die is Cast rules, see page 29 of the rules.
Order of Battle
1 unit Roman cavalry
HC, guard, elite, javelins, sword, shield
2 units Roman legionaries
MI, steady, veteran, javelins, sword, shield. Sheildwall
1 unit Roman auxila
MI, average, seasoned, javelins, sword, shield, loose
4 units Visigoth cavalry
HC, steady, veteran,  javelins, sword, shield
3 units Visigoth infantry
MI, average, seasoned, javelins, sword, shield, shieldwall
2 units Alan cavalry
LC, raw, seasoned, bow
2 units Frank infantry
MI, steady, seasoned, pila, sword, shield
1 unit Frank cavalry
HC, steady, seasoned, javelins, sword, shield
1 unit Allied cavalry
LC, average seasoned, bow, sword, shield
Roughly, 1600 points
1 unit noble Hun cavalry
HC, steady, veteran, lance, bow, sword, shield
8 units Hun light cavalry
LC, steady, seasoned, bow, sword, shield
6 units Ostrogothic cavalry
MC, raw, seasoned, javelins, sword, shield
1 unit Ostrogothic infantry
LI, raw, seasoned, bow, shield
2 units German infantry
MI, raw, seasoned, javelins, sword, shield, shieldwall
1 unit Frank infantry
MI, average, seasoned, pila, sword, shield
3 units Gepid cavalry
HC, raw, seasoned, lance, sword, shield
2 units German infantry
MI, raw, seasoned, javelins, sword, shield, shieldwall
Roughly, 2300 points

Initial setup
A fairly bare battlefield with a dominant hill on the right of the Roman line. Table 6x4 foot at Portcullis games, Bolton.
In the picture above the Romans (red marker pen) are nearest us and the Hunnic forces on the far side of the table. Special rules for the game:
Romans were passive so they cannot start moving until an enemy unit comes within their charge reach.
Huns tried to take the hill first so the Hunnic player can only move 1 division of their army until they have contacted a enemy unit on the hill. In this case the Hunnic player decided to use the Gepids to take the hill, in the actual battle the Ostrogoths were given the task (and they failed).
The Hunnic cavalry certainly fought hand to hand and there has been some debate about how to represent them. In this game we are simply going to suspend the normal rule that light troops cannot charge other troops frontally and make the Hun cavalry rather good, with high morale and combat weapons as well as their bows.
Once the Romans have broken an enemy unit, then the entire Roman army can start to move freely.
Move 2. Showing the hill lined with Visigoth infantry in shieldwall and their leader (Thedoric a 3/2 general).
Move 3. Gepid cavalry moving round the hill toward the Visigoth cavalry, who are there to prevent the enemy getting round the infantry flank.
Move 5. On the hill one of the Hunnic units of German infantry attempted to charge but instead became Shaken and so the Visigoths decided to take advantage and launch their own attack, downhill. The combat went to the Visigoths (Roman) and the Germans were forced to Retreat.
Move 5. Overall view, with the Hunnic forces in contact with the defenders on the hill, the rest of the Hun army is free to move.
Start of move 6. The Germans have retreated, followed up by the Visigoths but that exposes the Visigoth rear to a charge by the Gepid cavalry. In an attempt to put the Gepids under pressure the Visigoth cavalry now declares charges on the right.
With a miserable pre-charge morale roll of 4, one of the Visigoth cavalry units instead Retreats in the face of the enemy. One of the principles of the Die is Cast is the morale roll, you can do anything you like with your troops so long as they are under your control. Fail a morale roll (as above) and all of a sudden, they are doing what they want to do. Morale rolls are taken; when attempting to charge, receiving a charge, taking casualties from shooting and when losing a round of melee, for example. In other sets of rules a command and control roll is used instead.
The above situation now leaves the Visigothic infantry on the hill to its fate and a lone unit of Visigothic cavalry to fight against two units of charging Gepid cavalry (who with lances have a slight edge in combat anyway).
End of move 6 combat. The Visigoths lose on the hill. The unit on the far right, sandwiched between the German infantry and the Gepid cavalry is literally annihilated and taken off the board (little pile of counters on the end of the hill). In the centre the Visigoths break and flee and on the left the Visigoths are defeated but led by their general are merely forced to retreat. The Hunnic player tried to stop the Frank infantry from pursuing the retreating Visigoths but failed the morale throw and had to make the pursuit move, exposing their flank to the Visigoth cavalry on the far left of the picture.
End of turn 7 combat. The Visigoth cavalry have lost a full base and have taken 2 wounds (yellow die) on another base. They are forced to recoil under the pressure of two enemy units attacking them (they will fight with 4 dice against 6 enemy
Thats all we had time for in this gaming session, in total it took about 1 and a half hours to play through and was a lot of fun for both sides. With a full day to game (perhaps 3-4 hours) two players could fight this through to a conclusion I am sure.

26th of September we tried it again, this time with the Ostrogoths attacking the hill. As per the original game the  first action was the Hun player trying to swing round between the hill and the edge of the table. Both cavalry forces (Visigoths and Ostrogoths) threw their javelins, resulting in one unit of Visigoth cavalry Retreating (just as in the first game) and a unit of Ostrogoth cavalry Routing. Continued pressure saw the remaining unit of Visigoth cavalry first Shaken then Routing and the following wave of Ostrogoth cavalry attacking the flank of the Visigoth infantry on the hill and breaking them. So that is the way will play the next run of the game, which should involve some painted figures, Ostrogoths attack the hill, defended by Visigoths. The early part of the scenario works, the next game should see a full run through.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Die is Cast Carthaginians vs Republican Romans

Another of our small scale games using DBA lists and the Die is Cast rules. The game was played with 15mm figures, mostly Donnington Miniatures.
The Carthaginian army; 2 bases of Spanish cavalry, 2 of Numidian cavalry, an elephant, a base of slingers, 2 bases of Gallic warband, 2 bases of spearmen and 2 bases of peltasts.
The Republican Roman army (under my command); 3 units each of 2 bases of hastati/princepes, 2 bases of spearmen and 2 of cavalry. I decided to use the 2 bases of velites as separate units to both give me extra flexibility and because I believed that under the rules once these light units had taken any casualties they would fairly much be useless, so best give my opponent two units to target.
After the first move. All the Carthaginian cavalry move over to the left to face the single unit of Roman cavalry, whilst I push my Roman infantry forward as fast as they will go.
View from behind the Roman front line.
The Roman infantry press forward but the Roman cavalry turns back and moves away from the Carthaginians hoping to delay combat but still remain as a threat to stop the Carthaginian cavalry and elephant from attacking the Roman infantry in the flank. The Numidian cavalry and a unit of velites hurl javelins at one another. With only 1 die per base firing (as they are light troops), all dice hit, the velites are destroyed and the Numidians take a hit. The Numidians fail their morale test and rout, rallying at the end of the turn. 
On the left, the Carthaginian (Spanish) cavalry charge, supported by the elephant. Rather than face that lot, the Roman cavalry try to evade and are caught by the cavalry – they outdistance the elephant. Under many rules that would mean that the Roman cavalry would be automatically broken but is not the case in the Die is Cast. The Roman cavalry will fight back but count as shieldless and unformed. With the charge bonus and fighting shieldless enemy, the Spanish cavalry needed 7’s to hit but only scored one hit (see picture above), the Roman cavalry needed 3’s to hit (no charge bonus and they were fighting unformed and with only one die per base, as they were hit in the rear. The Romans scored no hits and lost the melee by one hit.
However the Romans roll good morale dice (keep the 6, 4 and 2. Discard the 1) and stay in the melee. But they cannot turn to face the enemy and can take no action (unless it is to run away) when the elephant charges in.
On the next turn the elephant duly charges in, the Roman cavalry pass their morale check and fight on. This time the combined attacks of the Spanish cavalry and elephant inflicts 4 hits on the Romans whilst the Romans get really lucky and to do 2 back on the Spanish (rolling 2 dice and needing 3 or less!). So the Romans lost the melee and are now down to half strength, so they roll 3 dice and discard one of those. As can be seen above, they rolled well, kept the 5 and the 4 and Retreated out of the melee. pursued by both the cavalry and elephant.
In the centre at the same time as the cavalry charge is taking place the Roman infantry charge along the front. The Carthaginian light infantry and cavalry are driven off and the peltasts totally wiped out (although causing 3 hits on the Roman infantry on the far right of the picture). In the centre the Gallic infantry take 4 hits (the blue die) and lose a base, half the unit strength, roll 3 for morale and rout. The Roman infantry took 1 hit and pursue into the Carthaginian spearmen behind (who have their flank to the Romans).
The routing Gauls can be seen in the background, running away. The Carthaginian spearmen have been hit in the flank with another unit of Romans coming up behind them. On the left the Numidian cavalry have returned and are throwing javelins into the Roman infantry, causing another hit (the yellow dice are hits taken throughout the game).
On the next turn, the Roman infantry charge into the rear of the Carthaginian spearmen and the Roman spearmen replace the previous Roman unit fighting (using the Legion special rule). These combined attacks reduce the Carthaginians to 50% strength and they lose the melee, roll 3 dice (5, 4, 3) and discard the 3. Even with a roll of 9, the Carthaginians flee and are pursued by both Roman units.
To the left of the picture, the Roman infantry have charged and driven off the Numidian cavalry.
The end in the centre, the Romans have broken through. So even though the Roman cavalry has been destroyed, their sacrifice allowed the Roman infantry to get into combat and do what they do best, fight.