giovedì 13 dicembre 2012

A walk in fantasy part II: Kings of War!

As I've said, I'm basically a history fan, but, as Latins said "semel in anno licet insanire" (once in a year you are allowed to get insane ...) and sometime I play fantasy, in order to use my painted fantasy miniatures.
In those few cases I used to play Warhammer Fantasy Battles, but I found that these rules are better suited for "strong" fantasy gamers, because you have to memorize a lot of rules: general rules, special rules, weapons rules, army rules and so on ... too much for an occasional fantasy player, especially if he wants to introduce to wargame his girlfriend ...
Some month ago I've discovered the Mantic universe.
Mantic Games is a relatively new producer of fantasy miniatures and games; the non - declared but quite clear goal is to become a reliable alternative to Games Workshop, without the mistakes of this last one.
So: good quality miniatures but not as expensive as the the GW ones, free and simple rules.
I've bought a boxed game: Mhorgoth's revenge (Skeletons vs Dwarves), which is one of the basic sets of Mantic's fantasy strategic game, named Kings of War.

Well, I've to say that the fantasy frame is not so deep as the GW one, but here you have 100 miniatures for 40 Euros!
Speaking of quality, the package is very cheap (but the GW one is not better!), but the miniatures are very nice, especially the Undeads; the Dwarves are good too, but here you have less variability of poses.


Fantasy races are very different to GW ones: skeletons are thinner,  more detailed and more armed, dwarves have more legs (!) and shorter beards.

Skeleton Troop (spears)
Dwarf Ironwatch Troop (by Monica)
I have to say that in fantasy Dwarves I personally don't like modern - like rifles (as Mantic suggests), but you have the choice to glue more traditional crossbows, so it is not a problem!
The rules are very simple and straightforward; they have been written by Alessio Cavatore, who has been one of the best rule designers for GW before working for Mantic.
In conclusion, I think that if fantasy miniature gaming is the scope of your life, WFB is still the best choice, because the game has a unique deepness and complexity, but if you just like to sometime paint fantasy miniatures and if you are just interested to seldom play fantasy battles with your friends, KoW is a very, very good choice.

Skeleton Troop (blades)

Revenant Troop
Revenant Cavalry Troop

martedì 9 ottobre 2012

A walk in fantasy part I: Dreadfleet!

Sometime I like to flee form historical wargame and to fly to fantasy world, where I'm free to build, to paint and to invent without the frame of the historical reconstruction.
This time I've been fascinated by the GW naval fantasy wargame, Dreadfleet, and I've decided to buy the game.

Someone says that it's expensive, but I don't think so.
I don't agree with the GW market policy, because, generally speaking,  their kits are too much expensive and they change their rules too fastly in order t maximize their profits.
But their quality is out of debate, and this is the point in the case of Dreadfleet.
I can't judge the rules, because I've never played the game so far.
But I've been very impressed by the design and the quality of the models.
First of all the design: the ships are wonderful!
Someone better, someone worse, but the ships are a MUST for everyone who loves fantasy ships!
They are beautiful, full of personality and rich of details and references to their fantasy world.
In terms of quality, they are very well realized: the multiple parts fit very well each other and the moulding quality is simply perfect.
All the pieces are perfectly clear and precise.
The price: someone could say that 90 Euros are too much for a boxed game, but this is not only a boxed game!
At the moment I've put together and painted just two ships, the admirals of the fleets: the "good" Heldenhammer and the "bad" Bloody Reaver.
I'm not fast in modelling, and I've not a lot of spare time, but making each of these ships has taken to me not less than one month!
They are very detailed and complex to paint, and their quality is so high that it's a pity don't reserving to them the right amount of time.
So, if you consider Dreadfleet just a game (and it is NOT) probably 90 Euros are too much, but if you consider Dreadfleet a kit the price is right: if you have a work and/or a family and your spare time is never enough, building and mainly painting Dreadfleet will take a year of your life!
And 90 Euros are not so much for a year of fun!
My first two models (and the island, wrecks etc.) are not totally finished, but take a look: I had to put in the field all my modelling skills, but I'm quite happy with them.







sabato 14 luglio 2012

The siege of St. John of Acri

During the last months, Gianni and me have developed the siege version of "Magna Acies!".
Being a "large tactic" ruleset, "Magna Acies"" is quite not suitable to play siege rounds along a short wall stretch, but it is more comfortable with a complete siege of a complete town.
So we have decided to refight the whole siege of St. John of Acri!
We had not been able to play a complete battle so far, due to the lack of time during the week that forced us to test the rules only in the evenings, after hard working days ...
We have taken the opportunity to play the whole siege during a medieval exibition which has taken place in Brugnera (near Pordenone, in the Italian Region of Friuli, in the north east of Italy) on the 24th of June.

Gianni (who is the "expert" of Crusades) had prepared the following battle order:

Rules: "MAGNA ACIES!" (with Siege adds - on)
Battlefield dimensions: 150x180 cm
Scale 1:2500 (1cm=25m)
1 infantry stand: 1.000 infantrymen
1 cavalry stand: 500 cavalrymen

CRUSADERS' army (Gianni):
1.000 knights (Templars and Hospitaliers)
16.000 sergeants and other infantrymen (Templars, Hospitaliers, Teutonic Order, Kingdom of Jerusalem, English, French, Italians)

MUSLIMS' army (me):
60.000 cavalrymen
160.000 infantrymen 

Game length: 8 rounds

- attacker (Muslim) major victory: if, at the end of the game, he has been able to conquer both the town-walls;
- attacker partial victory: if, at the end of the game, he has been able to conquer the first circcuit of the town-walls;
- defender (Crusader) victory in all other cases.

Gianni "the besieged" tries to improve his town walls!

Last inconclusive diplomatic efforts between the two enemies

St. John of Acri: view from south

St. John of Acri: view from north
After some rounds of fire of the siege machines, the assault begins.
The north side of the walls is held by the military Orders: from right (west) to left (east) Templars, Hospitaliers and Teutonic Order.
The north-eastern corner is held by the English.
The east is held by the French and the Italians: this is the weakest point, due to the smalness of the garrison.  

The north side of the walls, held by the Orders, assaulted by the Muslims

Other inconclusive assaults against the north side

The fierce defence of the Templars and the Hospitaliers in the north side

The weakest part of the walls: the east side, held by French and Italians

A desperate sortie of the Orders'knights in the north side

In the seventh round, William of Beaujeu, Master of the Temple, leading the sortie, is killed by the Muslims

Despite the fierce resistance of the Crusaders and the sortie of the knights, it is impossible to stop the overcoming number of the Muslims.
Al-Ashraf, the Muslim commander, has detected the weakest point of the defenders.
While he launches other massive attacks against other sides of the town walls, he decides to concentrate the efforts against the eastern stretch, held by a small division of French, Genoese and Pisan infantrymen.
The defenders take many casualties and, at last, the Muslims are able to raise their flag on the top of the walls.

The massive Muslims'assault against the east side of the walls

The neighbouring English decide to leave the first wall and to retreat to the second circuit

Muslim troops on the top of the east walls

At the eighth (and last) round, the Muslims have taken the most part of the walls' first circuit.
But the Templars are standing, and, despite the heavy casualties, they insist to defend their stretch.
Due to this, the victory of the Muslims is less than partial.
Obviously the disproportion in troop number advantages the Muslim: at the end he will win the battle and he will conquer St. John.
But the game length has been well balanced, so the Muslim leader is forced to carefully plan his efforts in order to fatigue the defender and to launch his attack waves in the right moment.

Eighth round, the outcome of the battle: the first circuit of the walls has been abandoned by the Crusaders. Only the Templars follow to defend the very western side of the first wall

After all, we enjoied a lot the game.
The rules fitted perfectly the situation, even if they had been developed for pitched battles and not for sieges.
Despite this, we have added not more than a page of small rules in order to tune "Magna Acies!" to sieges.
Now we'll concentrate our efforts to details, developing proper and more detailed rules for mines, countermines and siege machines.

St. John's towers reflecting their shapes on the sea

venerdì 18 maggio 2012


Last Saturday I have been to San Marino, to visit the most important italian event in wargame: DADI.COM.
A very nice location in a large hall of the Best Western Palace Hotel and a good number of participants, with very interesting wargame tables.
Due to the efforts of Lorenzo Sartori and his staff, another successfull edition of this important exibition.

by AMS Verona

by Classe 4H del Liceo Scientifico G.B. Grassi di Latina

by Manorhouse
Buildings by Manorhouse

by CAWE Bologna

KIEV 1240
by CAWE Bologna

KIEV 1240

KIEV 1240

10mm Campanian cavalryman by TB Line

by Wargames Club Garibaldi Genova



by Grand Armée Parma



New game by CAWE Bologna

by Marzio Valeri e Stefano Magliocchi
by Anonima Wargame Romagna
Centurio of Legio XIII Gemina, Rimini

  Exibition of 28mm and 54mm figures