Saturday, 19 June 2021

Siege of Troy - Dux Britanniarum & Too Fat Lardies "Sacker of Cities" 2017 Summer Special

For our first meeting since lockdown began, Chas took us back to a socially distanced Troy, circa 1250 BC. The scenario was set during the siege of Troy, with the battle outside the walls of the city, between the Achaens and the Trojans. This was a Homeric tale, rich in the heroes of the Iliad.

The encounter was fought in 28mm to Dux Britanniarum rules, using the "Sacker of Cities" supplement for the Trojan era, found in the Too Fat Lardies Summer Special 2017.

Figures used were from Redoubt and Black Tree Designs.

We had two commanders on each side, led by their respective heroes. Chas took Paris and half the Trojan army and I had Hector and the other half. The Greeks were led by Achilles and his Myrmidons, whilst Ajax and his contingent, headed up the rest of the force.

The scenario was that a trophy of importance to the Gods had been lost at a ruined temple between Troy and the beach. Both sides set out to claim it.

Ajax and Paris seek a trophy

Before leaving to fight, both forces' heroes made proud boasts about what they would achieve that day. These boasts became part of the objectives of the game. Together with achievements
or disgraces in battle and retrieving the trophy, these affected the level of "kudos" gained by each hero.

Siege of Troy - Dux Britanniarum & Too Fat Lardies "Sacker of Cities" 2017 Summer Special Achilles swore he would kill more heroes than any man that day. Ajax that he would kill more men than any other hero. Paris that he would kill a hero with an arrow and Hector that he would slay Achilles.

With the stage set, Paris took the Trojan left and Hector the right. Achilles faced off against Hector and Ajax was opposite Paris.

Things started with some long range bow fire, to little effect. On the Trojan left, Paris sent some skirmishers and spearmen to contest the temple site, whilst exchanging bow fire with Ajax's forces.

On the Trojan right, Hector sent his bodyguard unit forward supported by spear armed units, whilst his skirmishers moved into rough terrain.

Hector and Achilles forces clash

Across the battlefield, both sides accumulated shock from missile fire, but the spear armed troops ground on and locked in combat.

The Trojan spear units were getting the worst of it, with several units falling back and a couple running off, but shock tokens were building up on the Greek units too.

Sighting Achilles in his chariot, Hector decided to try and break through the line and challenge him. Several battered Greek units broke under his attack and the way was clear to Achilles.

Meanwhile, Ajax was setting about the Trojan left and several units broke. Ajax's pile of kudos tokens grew accordingly. However, the situation in the temple area was more finely balanced.

Hector and Achilles charged into combat with each other and a desperate struggle developed. Both sides made the most of favours from the Gods and their heroic abilities.

Paris attempted to get some glory, firing his bow at Achilles, but he could not find his one vulnerable spot. 

Hector spies Achilles

Paris stabilised things somewhat on the left, but he was still under intense pressure from Ajax.

On the Trojan right, Achilles and Hector fought on in an epic battle, with Achilles eventually succumbing, adding to Hector's stack of kudos tokens.

Both sides retreated to their camps to lick their wounds. This was going to be a long and bloody siege.

The scribes on both sides wrote of their heroes' great deeds and severe losses. Another chapter was added to the Iliad.

A good game, well run by Chas, to an interesting variant of the Dux Britanniarum rules. I particularly liked the way the game emphasised the heroes and the fickle whims of the Gods, all through a card based mechanism.

Many thanks to Chas for running the game, as a practice for one of our offerings at "Clotted Lard 2021". The rules were easy to pick up, especially if you had ever played a Lardy game before.


Sunday, 13 June 2021

Somewhere in Spain, Circa 1810 - Fistful of Lead, Bigger Battles

Battle of Cacabelos Bridge - Richard Simkin

Editors Note: Unfortunately with a new variant of COVID 19 affecting parts of the UK and finding its way into the south-west, now with the holiday season underway, together with time needed for second vaccinations to take full effect, several of the club's members, including myself were not able to attend this, the first club meeting since we were forced to close our doors back in March 2020.

However it gives me great pleasure to post Si B's report on the game he ran, one of three run at club yesterday, to formally record the Devon Wargames Group is back up and running in this, our club's fortieth anniversary year, and looking forward to being able to welcome not only club members but eventually new prospective members as well.

Napoleonics is a popular theme and the Peninsular War is a favourite of many, so we have a good game to kick-off our new start with.


So, for the first post Kung flu meeting, we tried ‘Fistful of Lead; Bigger Battles.’ It was our first game with the rules and the first outing of Si’s plastic Napoleonics.

Fistful of Lead Bigger-Battles Rulebook

The rules are deceptively simple. They are card driven, with players being dealt a card per unit to form a hand. The cards activate units, being played in sequence high to low but the players choose the unit to be activated. However several cards also give bonus actions such as Shock removal, quick reloads or stragglers returning to their units. This makes play much more interesting and also allows players to sequence their actions and prioritise according to a plan. Wild cards add a layer of unpredictability with cards being kept hidden until their turn.

We played a version of Scenario 4 from the rule book, although the attackers had a 2:1 advantage. This was mainly to allow for three players with manageable forces. The two French players, Steve and Steve (of course) had five units of Line infantry each, a field gun and a unit of Dragoons. The defending British initially had two units of Rifles, a field gun and a Line unit, reinforced by two cavalry units and three Line infantry units over subsequent turns.

The scenario requires the capture of the ridge with the defenders set up in place and the attackers entering the table from the nearest short edge.

The French on the right made a straight advance for the ridge, pausing to exchange musketry with the British rifles and the field gun. On the left they slowly moved around the woods which only gave space for a single unit to engage the second unit of British rifles. As a result, the rifles got the better of the
first exchange, easily repulsing the first French unit. However the following French units repulsed a cavalry charge and drove off the rifles.

In the centre and on the right the French numbers slowly asserted themselves, with Voltigeurs gaining the ridge and driving off the British gun crew. Having abandoned their gun, they’ll be wearing white lanyards for a while.

British cavalry on their left made a quick charge into a unit of French Dragoons, forcing them back, then into a French Line unit, seeing them off completely. However the French Dragoons rallied and against the odds put the British cavalry to flight having lost all but two of the unit.

The British rifles in the woods on the French right finally succumbed to overwhelming numbers, the last man eventually being forced out. By this time the British had been forced off the ridge all along the line and could only fire up at the French from the reverse slope. They didn’t have sufficient numbers to push the French off but both sides were seriously depleted, so we called it a French victory.

The rules gave a fast action packed game. We played about fifteen turns over four hours with eight British units and fifteen French between three players and an umpire. It only took a couple of turns to get the basics but the card play took perhaps an hour to grasp the full implications of some of the effects and combinations. 

Fistful of Lead is a great club game, easy to teach and good fun. There’s enough nuance and chrome for it to give a good impression of a Napoleonic skirmish and certainly a good alternative to some other similar rules. 

All in all, a good afternoon’s entertainment but particularly good to be rolling dice with friends again.

One thing I forgot to mention, figures are all toy soldier plastics, mostly Zvezda and Hat with some Italeri and Airfix.