Sunday, 8 January 2023

New Year... New Projects!

Here we go again, a new year and new things to get involved in! At times like these, having a hobby, even one as peculiar as wargaming, really pays dividends, as it allows you to disappear into a carefree world far removed from the troubles and turmoil of the real one.
Starting from scratch in 2023 is a project based around the League of Augsburg's skirmish rule set, Donnybrook. It is over 30 years since I played English Civil War games and I was thinking about using The Pikeman's Lament as a way of rekindling an interest in the period, mainly because it is so similar to Lion Rampant and I already know how to play those! I downloaded a copy of Donnybrook when I was thrashing about looking for new things to do during the Covid Lockdowns of 2020, but shelved them because they are really intended for games set from 1660 onwards, when the bayonet was beginning to replace the pike. Just before Christmas 2022, I had another look and decided that they would probably work fine with English Civil War figures as some of the technologies involved are far more ancient than matchlock muskets and pikes. So, I've been reading around events that took place during the Civil War in my home county of Nottinghamshire and have the building blocks for some skirmish games involving local garrison forces, particularly those which may have been located around Welbeck Hall, a residence of the Royalist stalwart, William Cavendish, Marquis of Newcastle, and Parliamentarian forces roaming the county, possibly involved in some way with the various sieges of the Royalist town of Newark! It all needs a lot of tweaking, but Donnybrook is very much about small scale forces lead by desperate heroes and villains and, importantly, they can be fought out on a small kitchen table.

Continuing from where I left off in 2022, I've now got all my forces ready to play Dux Bellorum. Back in December, I tried out the combat system from Dux Bellorum and really enjoyed the results. My Irish warriors struggled to get the upper hand over the Romano-British shieldwall, but I think the Irish need to use some much smarter tactics than just piling in with their really good combat factor but then getting hammered because of their really rubbish armour! Some clever employment of javelin armed skirmishers and cavalry might help to tip the balance in favour of the raiding warband. I've already got ideas cooking to bring back Flavia Meretrix, the Domina of Villa Lurkio, who was kidnapped by the Irish raiders when I was trying out games of Clash of Spears with my post Roman warbands last Summer.

The Irish Warband are turning out to be the real virtuosos in my collection at the moment. The wonderful people at the Rotherham Wargames Club and Alan Cole in particular, are looking at putting on a Lion Rampant campaign at some point in the coming year. Neither of my two Lion Rampant warbands are suitable for the "Dark Ages" campaign that is being proposed but my Irishmen could certainly participate, with just a few minor adjustments from the way they are set up for Dux Bellorum. I'm currently painting up three more armoured warriors from Footsore, so that I can field a 6 figure unit of Noble Warriors. When they are done, I'll have the Noble Warriors, a unit of javelin armed light cavalry, two units of warriors and a couple of units of skirmishers, all of which I think will add up to around 24 points. Fingers crossed that the campaign gets off the ground, as I really enjoyed spending a Saturday back in November at the club, playing a multi-player game of Lion Rampant. The Rotherham club was where I cut my wargaming teeth back in the mid 1980s before Real Life intervened and cut short my wargaming career by introducing me to the concept of "Working for a Living".
Finally, I'd just like to wish anyone who happens to wander this way a very happy and prosperous New Year... may the Gods of the Dice smile kindly upon all your gaming endeavours.