Monday, 23 April 2012


Well, with the camera fully charged and the Tesco bags for life packed with the wargaming chaff I have built up over the years ready to be flung on the Bring and Buy I left for Salute, excited as a kid at christmas as always.  i arrived at Excel at 8.25am, and the day was nearly ruined by the useless parking machines.  Paid £15 to park all day and only got a ticket for £5 hour's worth of parking! I had purchased a pre-paid ticket again this yea and just hoped we didn't have the same farce that happened last year, with the paying queue gettting in before the pre-paids.  The pre-paid queue was already snaking its way along the mezzanine of ExCel and I think I got there at the right time as half an hour later and the queue went crazy.  We also finally got in to the hall at 9.40am bonus!!

The ExCel as a venue is really just a big metal box but it does give you loads of space. Once through the door it was remarkably spacious, (but this might have been due to a few notable companies not being present this year, Wargames Foundry for example) Although with over 100 odd traders and numerous games, easy access was available.

Battle of Corunna 1809
Battle of Corunna 1809
The games were of a consistently high quality and it is probably a bit unjust to select some over others but the ones that especially caught my eye were an amazing land and sea Battle of Corunna 1809 and the Crooked Dice, On Her MajestiesCrooked Service game.

Spending wise I had a set budget and this would be bolstered by any of the books and miniatures I had on the Bring and Buy. I can say that I did not waver and stuck to my pre-determined shopping list. A full run down on my Salute 2012 haul, posted up next.

Gurus Control Room
Cable Car and Mountaineers
On He Majesties Crooked Service
I did check a variety of games out, first being as mentioned, Crooked Dice’s On Her Majesties Crooked Service. Set on a wonderful created snow covered mountain retreat, very reminiscent of the James Bond influence, this was a six player participation game and I took control of a squad of Villainous snow troopers with attack dogs and was matched against the heroic machine gun toting Olympians. The poor bloke running the Olympians hardly had a chance as I took out his whole group with well aimed shots and a couple of Huskiset missiles (Husky attack dogs).
The Dark Age skirmish game Saga that Gripping Beast are publishing in the UK got a look in next with various purchases made and a quick demo using the new limited edition Skraelings that I picked up.

A number of forthcoming releases caught my eye. The Warlord Pike and Shotte rules looked great but after hocking all my English Civil War years ago I resisted the urge just to pick the rules up. Warbases and Sarissa had some new wonderful laser cut buildings, but again as much as I was tempted these will have to wait for the Christmas list. 

Scarlet Thunder
One of the main games I wanted to try out was the South Londons Warlords Scarlet Thunder game. This was a 28mm adaptation of the old Rolling -Thunder boardgame and was set in the Captain Scarlet Universe, with the concept of various Spectrum Agents protecting Col White in his MSV. As a huge Capt Scarlet fan I was looking forward to this, unfortunately my enthusiasm was dented by having to wait nearly half an hour for various members of the Warlords to decide if they were actually going to help run the game. The game ran really slowly and the guy running it more or less told us - the players where to move our vehicles – not much free reign for us, we basically just rolled a dice. The rules and stats they had worked out seemed very one sided as well. The MSV was the toughest vehicle on the board and you needed 3 hits to take it out. Well I only played 4 turns and the MSV had not been hit once and was ¾ of the way towards being safe!! Disappointed in that game but maybe others had a better experience with it.

Cutlass by Black Scorpion
Freebooters Fate
Pirates seemed to be in good attendance with two very nice boards for Cutlass and Freebooters Fate.

Fiddlers Green
Mists from Mars
A few more games of the Crooked Dice 7TV short Episode demos were in order as I really love the concept of this game. Fiddlers Green was set in a quaint English Village where the two heroic agents had to make a phone call from the phone box near the shops, for extraction. Mists from Mars pitted Time Lift Security and the Man from 2000 against scary zombie Astronauts and the Canning Town Caper had the Boys in Blue trying to arrest the Duchess and her cronies in the East End docks.

Canning Town Caper

The only thing I didn’t manage was a demo of the cracking Empire of the Dead game published by Westwind Productions. Andy and Wendy who run Westwind are a lovely couple and I have been involved with their Secrets of the Third Reich game for a few years and ran demos of MERCS for them at Newbury. Empire of the Dead was pretty much packed out every time I went over, but if that means it sold well and I missed a demo, never mind.

Empire of the Dead
Overall Salute 2012 40th anniversary show was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed the day, bought some great new toys, sold old unwanted stuff and played some great games. The following pictures below of some of the tables that caught my eye throughout the day.

Carnivale by Vesper-On Games
Infinity Table with Sarissa Terrain

Fantastic japanese samurai table by Oshiro
Bushido by GCT Studios

Friday, 20 April 2012

Off to SALUTE 2012

Well thats me all organised and packed for a hopefully cracking weekend attending SALUTE 2012.  The camera is all charged and a full show report will be posted after the weekend.

Mostly this year is going to be a major shopping and gaming spree with the hopes of off-loading the old unwanted gaming chaff at the bring and buy.

Major wants this year are the Gripping Beast SAGA Northern Fury rules and new warbands.  Crooked Dice will be visited for the usual zealous spending on 7TV merchandise and a few new Bushido models are on the list as well.

Games - well South London Warlords have Rolling Thunder, a Captain Scarlet game I cant wait to play.  7TV On Her Majesties Crooked Service game will get a look in and going to try the demo's of Gripping Beast Muskets and Tomahawks.

Thats basically all on the agenda but im sure ill get sidetracked and waylade by lost more gaming goodness on the day.

See you at Salute !!!!

Monday, 16 April 2012

'Spring Tide' SAGA Campaign 15 April 2012

Held at the Green Rooms in Sheffield.

JP from Wargames FC put on an awesome campaign that was great fun and had a brilliant narrative. Three factions had converged around Shrewsbury and the Welsh border for control of the Area.  The Welsh wanted to push East and gain Shrewsbury, Vikings had come down from the North West, burning pillaging and taking what they could and the Anglo Saxon/Danes were trying to remain in control of that part of Mercia.

I entered into the Campaign with my Welsh warband, led by my Warlord Owain ap Padraig, a self made half Welsh half Irish juggernaut, who would not be stopped by anything.
The Warband all day was as follows:

Warlord (Owain)
2 x Units of 4 Hearth-Guard
2 x Units of 8 Warriors

This is the SAGA of Owain ap Padraig

1st Game vs Kierons Vikings (Clash of Warlords)
[Kieron would go onto win the most sporting, very nice guy to play against]

Owain had moved his force into the Pant Mounds and encountered a roving Viking warband led by Hogany Stefanson.  The Vikings had surprised the Welsh by moving quickly in the centre through a small valley.

Owain planted his banner on the highest point surrounding the potential battlefield and stands his ground taunting the Northmen and awaiting Hognay’s attack.  The Vikings surge forward and receive a deadly hail of javelins, which whittle down the Bondi warriors.  The remaining Bondi clash against Owain's Welshmen forcing them to disengage for a short while before being flanked by another group of Welsh warriors and another rain of javelins come down from the hill from Owain and his Hearth-Guard.

Owain taunts the lethargic Hogany and his Hirdmen and with the Vikings raging forward, he counters and nearly destroys them to a man.  Owain then charges down the hill screaming his war cry and slams into Hogany, slaughtering the pagan Norseman in a single round of combat.

                                                                Welsh deployment

                                                                           Viking Deployement

Viking advance in the valley

                                                               Before Owain charges from the hill

                                                                            Hogany defeated

2nd Game vs Kevs Anglo Danes (Challenge)
[In this game one unit of warriors was allowed a free activation once]
After heroically defeating the Viking excursion around Pant, Owain was challenged by the local Anglo Dane Ealdorman Arthur Godwin.  Accepting the Saxons threats, Owain meets Arthur in a small wooded area West of Shrewsbury. 

Arthur bravely stands in the centre of the field with his whole shield wall collected behind him whilst Owain moves into the woods to his left and lets fly with his javelins, grinning to himself as he watches one pierce Arthurs mail and cause a grievous wound.

Arthur back peddles towards his lines and steels himself for the Welsh advance, knowing they will take delight at dancing through the woods and peppering his force with their javelins.  Arthur sends warriors on his right flank to counter the Welsh in the woods and they are charged by Owain and his Hearth-Guard which push them back.

The encounter slowly becomes a stalemate with Arthur dropping back more and more because of his losing blood, and slowly leaves the field to seek the attention of his household. Leaving Owain, again victor on the field.

                                 Starting positions - Anglo Danes at top, Welsh at bottom - Arthur stuck in the middle

                                                             Anglo Dane Shieldwall
                                                                  Where's Arthur  ????

3rd Game Me & JP vs Tom (Anglo Saxons) & Mal (Anglo Danes)
[In this game Levy counted for Saga Dice generation!]

Owain after successfully countering the Challenge from Arthur has teamed up with Tristan ab Llewellyn after learning that other Welsh forces are also moving towards Shrewsbury. The Anglo Saxon/Danes have been noted as withdrawing from a lot of the surrounding area and Owain and Tristan have encountered a joint force led by Elfric Hairypants (Saxons) and Leofric the Grim (Danes), holed up in a small hamlet centred around an impressive church.

Owain and Tristan rapidly advance towards the hamlet as they can see it is lightly defended as the Saxon troops are still deploying East of the village.

Screaming their taunts Owain entices a Dane unit of Warriors into moving around the church into the open.  Owain’s Warriors occupy the church and prepare to ambush any Danes that try and storm it while his other forces slaughter the Dane Warriors and a small unit of Axe wielding Hearth-Guard. The Anglo Saxons fully deployed now hurtle towards Tristan’s force and smash his units of Warriors in a bloody whirlwind and take down Tristan just as easily – although they themselves are sorely depleted in numbers.

Owain carries on his dutiful destruction of Leofrics forces, bringing his Warriors out of the church and cutting down Leofric and his followers, Leofrics son narrowly escapes the slaughter and vows vengeance on Owain for the death of his father.  Owain then turns to accept the charge from Elfric. With the light fading the Saxon and Dane forces depart, moving further East but not before a devious sneaky Saxon hurls a spear in the gloom, hitting Owain.

Counting the cost the Owain was found to of won the feast of crows yet again!!

                                                                   Owains Warband

                                                               Anglo Danes defending the church

                                                                        Welsh flank the church

                                                         Taunting the Danes out
Taking the church

                                                                 And moving in to finish Leofric
4th Game Me and Dave (Welsh) vs  Gaz (Vikings) & Mal (Anglo Danes – again) [Mad 12 player game over 3 tables – players could move forces across tables to support allies]
After the destruction of the Saxon/Danes outside Shrewsbury Owain again joined forces with another Welsh Warlord Gryffd whist various other Welsh allies where countering the Vikings and Saxons elsewhere. Advancing along one of the main roads Owain and Gryffd encounter Leofric the Younger (Son of Leofric the Grim – remember him from the last game hehe) who is hiding cowardly in a wood by a major road junction, also a small Viking warband led by Eric Bloodbeard is lurking nearby.  Seeing Owain and Gryffd marching along the road Eric decides the better part of valour is to run away or he won’t have enough men left to row his ships, seeing this Leofric sends some troops to engage him in combat leaving Eric with a rather diminished looking Viking warband who hastily escape.

Owain now catches up with Leofric and taunts him by waving his father’s captured banner dripping in blood, and taking out his Axe armed Hearth-Guard easily, Owain’s Warriors skirt into the woods and hurl their javelins at Leofric, but being more agile than his father he dodges through the trees, abandons the battle and runs.
With no one left to fight Gryffd charges of towards the junction and towards the sounds of battle to the South whilst Owain storms after Leofric, determined to wipe out that house once and for all.  Coming out of the woods, Owain can see Leofric slightly in the distance, it looks like he has been held up by other forces belonging to who knows who blocking his retreat. Grinning manically he unleashes his forces with a below that would cower a god and pounds towards what could be a destiny changing encounter.........Owain and Leofric clash in a slam of shields and a fluffy of steel and blood...Owain stands at the end with Leofric motionless at his feet and ravens carrying the news that the Welsh warlords have a major Mercian town to sack!!!
                                                       If you go down to the woods today   
                                                                        Owains rampaging warband
                                                                                   Daves Welsh
                                             Welsh advance whilst Dane slaughters Viking
                                                     Leofric the Younger about to run away

                                                Leofric dodges the javelins and exits table right

                                              Owain chases him down and slaughters him

The Final Standings

Welsh dominate

One of the best campaign days I have played for some time and considering I have never played SAGA before I ended the day unbeaten and 3 out of 4 enemy Warlords slaughtered.

My Warlords glorious SAGA will continue..

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Starting with SAGA

Artwork from the Gripping Beast website

I have started on the road to a heroic SAGA, a wonderful Dark Age skirmish game by:

Gripping Beast and Studio Tomahawk

After joining the Studio Tomahawk SAGA forums, asking a few questions and reading some battle reports, I decided I would start with the Welsh. They struck me as the outsider faction with more quirks than the others (being Vikings, Anglo-Danes and Normans). After ordering a starter Warband and a few extras I was ready to start assembling and painting!
I have now thrown myself in at the deep end and also registered my Welsh Warband for a Campaign tournament in Sheffield on the 15th April 2012 – it will be posted here whether I have gained more territory for my Prince or suffered defeat and thrown myself off the top of Snowdon!!

Although I'll probably add some changes to the warband at present it is made up of my Warlord Owain ap Padraig (self made half Irish half Welsh hard barstard) two units of heathguard and two units of Warriors.
I am still working on a unit of mounted Hearthguard, a unit of mounted Warriors and a unit of bow armed Levy.

Gripping Beast Welsh Warlord

2 Points Welsh Heathguard

Gripping Beast Welsh Teulu Miniatures

1 Point of Warriors:

1 Point of Warriors:

2 Points Group Shot of Warriors:

All Warriors Gripping Beast Miniatures