Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Flashing Steel Giant rat of Sumatra no 2, the Big game!

The Giant Rat of Sumatra, a trilogy in three parts, part two

Scene two

A smoky club, senior officers sit around a roaring fire, pipes in hand. A map is laid out on a nearby table held down with the port decanter and glasses.

Captain Utterly-Bastard
“So we are agreed, this is a job for Major Humpington* and his 42nd South Dorset Wurzlers”.
“Sneaky chap your pyrat you know, wot? May I respectfully suggest that the augmentation of this force by the inclusion of that intrepid chat Captain Utterl-Batard and his picked men, my lord?”

*You will find his distant relative earlier in Trouble at t'Mill. The family being of the military sort, which means they have the good manners to breed a new officer before the incumbent goes and pops orf on some foreign field.

The Game

There's going to be a version of Flashing Steel that deals with larger forces. We cannot wait so here's an amalgam of Flashing Steel and OGAM.

From FS we have the movement, combat factors.  Leaders can activate up to  5 bases.

From OGAM we take the concept of the 4-group being the base for combat and casualty removal. So each base is rolled for on one base, factors applied and a difference of 3 causing a casualty removal.

Major Humpington Q3 C2, Leader, Sword
Sergeant Q4 C3, 2ic, Sword
Wurzler Q4 C2, Musket

Captain Utterly-Bastard Leader, Q3 C3, sword, Pistol
Sergeant O'Plonker Q3 C2, 2ic, Sword
Picked Man Q3, C2, Musket, Sword, Good shot

Musket Medium range, C+2 1+2nd range, C+1 3rd. 2 actions reload.
Pistol 1st band C+3, 2nd C+2, 3rd C+1 .2 actions reload
Roll of 1 = misfire.


Captain Q4 C1, Leader, Pistol
Bosun (2ic) Q4 C2, 2ic, sword,
Pyrat Q4 C2, Polearm, or Sword
Blunderbuss and Bomb Q4, C2, count as 4 pistol, no reload

Better Weapon pushes back if draw

Sword, Bayonet
Musket butt, Club

Reaction, can be used for any action bar group activation. Any reload must be a full reload.

Did this ever work! 
Do try something similar.

Tony took the British.

He advanced steadily until 3 1's.  I took the reactions and charged out with 2 bases straight for the Officer.  One bas pushed the Brits back, one was pushed back, not what I'd hoped for.

The Sergeants group blew one unit to bits then kept going.

Utterly Bastards men go full pelt, ignoring the group on the flank only to be faced with the crack-rat suicide squad.  Bombs away!  The front rank and Utterly-Bastard are down (and a rat to friendly IED).  The second wave don't fare so well, simply pushing them back.

Three picked men bases are taken on to by the Officer.

Meanstwhile, the Sergeants group have slowly moved and fought and shot their way forward.

The first batch of rats having being cheesed, the Captain does a runner (leaving the remnants to be mopped up) and instructs his Bosun to "Unleash the Rats of Hell!"

"You can take our lives but you cannot take MY HAT!"

The new rat horde streams into conflict with the Sergeants group, he just keeps chopping and shooting them up.  The remains of the picked men advance and it's all over.

The Captain disappears down into the depths of the temple with

"We will be back".

Coming soon in part three!

Now this is something you don't see every day - happy days!

Flashing Steel Giant Rat of Sumatra Game 1

The Giant Rat of Sumatra, a trilogy in three parts

Scene One

A Victorian operating theatre. A distinguished looking gentleman* stands before the slab upon which resides the corpse of a giant rat. The creature is a smidgeon** under 4ft tall in the body, with a docked tail, has lost an eye and a leg. His greying pelt indicative of a respectable age.

On a side table rests a brown frock coat of antique fashion, a matching plain brown waitcoat, a good quality pocket watch, a wooden leg, eyepatch, paisley bandana and a Webley pistol.

The close seats have a smattering of military of all services, senior experts and such personages going “harumph.”

Top seats are giver over to Yahoos in groups going “huzzah”

“My Lords, distinguished academicians, gallant officers and gentlemen, today we shall try and resolve the persistent problems pertaining to the giant pirate rat of Sumatra!”

Dramatic pause, lapels of waistcoat, peers over glasses.

“Scientific research has failed so far to discover the exact nature of these beasts, we can only speculate into what dank and noisome long forgotten temple their ancestors crept, there to nest on some long forgotten tomes of eldrich magic, that of which seeped into the very fabric of the creatures. The young, weaned on this arcane diet grew in stature and intelligence until they were able to stand before the world and wonder, like some obscene Adam and Eve. Whatever influence then took hold of these beasts, interrogation has revealed that they came to the conclusion that they would be themselves, but there was no guiding hand to shape this destiny. So they came to the conclusion that if they could not become themselves, they would become - ------ Pyrates!”
    * Insert suitable post-war actor of your choice here. Should have a refined Edinburgh accent.
** The Smidgeon is a smaller, more inquisitive, relative of the Haggis, inhabiting higher altitudes.
Mostly known for the Ides of August, when hunters from the Gorbals and Tussocks gather on lonely hillsides. Here the hunters lay down their kilts upon the heather with only their pet Sporrans*** for company and pillow. The Gorbals hunter, resplendent in his white shirt and Doc Martins waits reclined upon the kilt with his Tam O Shanter in his hand waiting for the creature to draw near. For the Trossock man, a similar pose is taken but with the clog firmly clenched in each hand ready to do battle, as Burns says ”wee ye yon wee beasty”. It is from this stalwart we get the phrase “popping yer clogs” referring to the self immolation of the hunter with his own footwear during the battle, although this happens rarely now due to EU quotas.

*** Oh no, you've had yer lot.

Game 1

Based on a real incident*. The rats have learnt of a delivery of cheese being delivered to a local shop. Unable to resist, they lay their plans. A Chinese Dragon dance is practised, the Dragon acquired and converted so that their polearms are used as hand holds.

Now, thanks to EVA foam and warbases.

Rats All: Brawler (no penalty multiple foes) Drunkard, Gang (+1 in cbt friends within short)
Sneaky (good at finding cover, which is counted as higher, hit by 1 or 2 a miss) @ 18.

Captain Q4 C1, Leader, 8+15+18 = 41
Bosun (2ic) Q4 C2, 2ic, sword, 10+10+10+18 =48
6 Pyrats Q4 C2, polearm, 15+10+18 = 43 x8= 258
Polearm always knocks down, C+1

Ambush +1 in first attack

Drunkard, if the Captains drunk they're ALL drunk (difficult Q check, needs to pass all 3)
then -1 Q, C+1 and +1 on morale.
Total 347


Sergeant Q4 C3, leader, sword, 23+15+10 = 48
5 Guards Q4 C2, Musket, 15+15+= 30 X 5 = 150
Gangmaster Q4 C2, pistol, cudgel, 15+10+5 = 40
8 Longshoremen Q4 C2, improvised weapon, Guard, 15+-3 =12 X 8 = 104

Total 342

Musket Medium range, C+2, 1+2nd range, C+1, 3rd. 2 actions reload.
Pistol 1st band C+3, 2nd C+2, 3rd C+1 .2 actions reload
Roll of 1 = misfire.

Better Weapon
Sword, Bayonet
Musket butt, Club
knife or Improvised 2 hand weapon

If beaten by a better weapon always knocked down.

Beaten by a lesser weapon combat result a further -1.

Reaction, can be used for any action bar group activation. Any reload must be a full reload.

*We got into Flashing Steel during our pirate LARP days. Falling in love 'cos we were getting results that were consistent with “real life”.

During our Bandits, Brigands and Buccaneer days, I happened to enquire of the organiser if there were any lion dancers in the area, as the mad bunch we were attached to were going to do oriental pirates. We end up with our own gated compound, the lion, oriental rat costumes complete with a naginata used to hold up the lion. After a few practices a public performance. Out comes the dragon, people gather. A few waggles and on the word of command the dragon went down, rats revealed, the naginatas levelled and the crowd charged. This had the desired effect.

As you can see, there was a lot of people about.  To simulate this I had Emlyn drop poker chips, and a non-combatant was placed on each chip.

We did 2 games, swapping sides.  Emlyn with the rats.  They managed to sneak up and take out the sergeant and the gangboss, leading to a mass rush for the bar.  One trooper was swamped by rats, whilst the remaining longshoreman mobbed the bosun.  The Captain chased after the rest, setting fire to the pubs roof.  He was chased off by a guard and a longshoreman fought the fire with little effect.  A leap and attack on the retreating cart proved effective, the attacker falling off.  Win for the rats.

Game two.  Me with the rats.  So we sauntered up all casual like.  One rat attacked a woman to draw off the guards, but she matched him with a parasole-.  It had to happen, the guards realised what was going on and let loose with an aimed shots at near point blank.  The Captain and few remaining put up a fight, but the weight of numbers won the day.

 I'm going to rerun this game again with Tony soon.  Plus, first night at the new club, anyone in our area please come along!


Fire!  The pub's on fire!  The captain holds the door while the guard takes a shot.  The longshoreman's ready to leap in.

Single based Ancients - adding value, adding rules

Song of Spear and Shield meets DBA via Warbases prep.

I hate to have figures that are only usable for one game. As you've probably noticed I've got a nice selection of 1p and 2p bases from Warbases. 

These come in irregular and regular shapes and a wide variety of sizes. The service is very fast with email updates. I actually like the mahogany look of them and feel no need to repaint.

A recent TMP post sparked this article. DBA is a small wargame with a big feel. It's designed to recreate the feel of an army with few figures on 12 bases per army.

SOSS will use single figures. Put those figures on a base and you have your army. So there's supposed to be base sizes, so what? Just as long as they are both on the same?

Not forgetting OGAM and Battlesworn.

Here's some DBA I nicked from the web for your delectation and delight:

I/64 Early Japanese, 500BC-500AD.
Hilly. Ag: 1 before 275 AD. then 2. E = I/64, II/75, 76, 77. A = II/75
(a) Yayoi culture 500BC-274AD: 1x3Bw or 4Bd or 3Ax (Gen), 3x4Bd,
1x3Ax, 2x3Ax or 4Pk, 6x3Bw or 2Ps
(b) Kofun culture 275-407AD: 1x3Bw (Gen), 7x3Bw, 4x4Pk
(c) Kofun culture 408-500AD: 1x3Bw or 3Cv or 3Kn (Gen), 7x3Bw, 4x4Pk

The Yayoi
(available from Khurasan)
3 bow
16 blade
12 auxiliaries such as the axemen
4 pike
18 bow
4 skirmishers

57 figures, enough to have a 2 sided fight using SOSS or OGAM
These are my Medievals, blades, 2 auxiliaries, archers and cavalry.



3 x LCH Nobles/Heroes of Troy, Dardania, Anatolia, and Lykia
4 x 4Sp or 4Aux Trojan and Dardanian Spearman (MI)
2 x 3Aux Carians/Anatolian Highlanders
1 x 3Aux or 3Wb Lykians
1 x 2Ps Trojan/Dardanian (mix of slingers, archers and javelinmen)
1 x 2Ps or 3Wb or 3Bw Anatolian psiloi, Cicones/Thracian warband or Paeonian bowmen

3 light chariots, I'd go for Hittite model

16 spear
24 auxiliary
6 warband (seapeople type?)
4 javelin/slingers
3 archers

53 infantry and 3 chariots. Thinking OGAM here that the chariots & leaders will make good Legends.

Spear, archers, auxiliary


1x 3Bd Myrmidons (including Achilles)
2x 3Wb Thessalian, Phthian, and Abantean rank and file
1x 2Ps Skirmishers, including Thracians
1x 3Bd or LCh Achaean nobles
1x 3Bd Mycenaean warriors
2x 3Aux Mycenaean rank and file
Southwest & Islands
1x LCh Pylian eqeta (chariot warriors)
2x 4Pk Pylian and Island close order infantry
1x 2Ps Pylian and Island bowmen

2 chariots
12 blade
6 auxiliary
8 spear
6 warband
4 skirmishers

Spear, auxiliaries, warband & skirmishers

Wars of the roses

6x 4Lb, 1x 4Bd, plus any five out of the following: 4 x 4Lb, 2x 4Pk (Yorkist only), 2x 4Sp (Scottish schiltrons - Lancaster only), 1 x 2Ps, 1x Art, 1x 4Bd, 1x 3Cv, 1x 3Ax, or 1x 3Kn/4Bd.
40 longbow
12 blade
8 pike (Yorkist) or 8 Scottish pike/spear shiltron (Lancastrian)
1 artillery
3 cavalry
3 knights
3 auxiliary

63 infantry Ideal army to make from those plastic figures.

I hope I've given you some inspiration and an excuse to rummage around for all those figures lying around in the back of the wardrobe.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

OGAM Japanese

OGAM hits the spot because it gets you where you grew up.  We all have cultural myths and legends and all wargamers became interested it history at some point.  For me it was being read the Greek myths at primary school and reading the Norse sagas (via Tarzan and Jules Verne) as I hit my teens.
Daleks were primary school, the first programme to open my eyes to future possibilities outside of my poor working class near-Victorian rustic environment.

The first stirring of Japanese was when I bought a hand beaten dish featuring an Oni converted to Buddhism at a church jumblesale for 6d.  My mother claimed it was proof of witchcraft in the area.
Seven Samurai next, who remembers Minifigs first Samurai range?

OGAM Japanese

Here's our first 900 points attempt:
Amaterasu* @ 212

Legends (max 1/3 = 300)
Mounted Hero, Good Shot, Legendary shooter 136
2 Heroes @ 80 160
Sub total 296

Samurai Shooter (long) 8 @ 29 = 232
Followers (warriors) Bow medium. Armoured 4 @ 25 = 100
Followers Armoured 4 @ 20 = 80
Sub total 332

Total 920

Raijin** @ 368

Legends (again, 300)
2 Tengu @ 80 = 160
Dai Tengu 106

Sub total 266

Goblin bandits (cheating here, don't tell Andrea!) 16 @ 15 = 240
Bandit archers 2 @ 20 = 40

Sub total 280

Total 914

* Eurika's Lady
** Eurika's Shugenja

First game.

Lesson 1, the first unit placed on the board will be in the wrong place, so choose a fast moving or less important unit.

Lesson 2, use Legends to whittle mortals down, reduce unit to below invocation limit.

Lesson 3, Gods love the big battalions, don't pick the most posy unit, go for numbers. Choose an 8 unit to place last, protect it, cherish it and get those dice to your God.

Lesson 4, Gods kill Legends, Legends kill mortals, mortals can swamp Legends.

I was Amaterasu and the attacker.

I started by attacking a unit of 8 goblins with 4 followers and a hero. We'd all got into contact but no combat. On the other flank my mounted hero went for Raijin but a Tengu used a reaction to get in the way, shot at but no hit.

Changeover, Raijin gets a couple of dice from the other large goblin unit. First he lightnings my in-contact hero in the back then drops down on my mounted hero and flattens him. First Tengu goes for my other hero and flattens him, gets pushed back by small archer unit on a reaction.

I'd used reaction to move Amaterasu closer to the goblin unit, 'er and the followers grind them down and push them off the board. Meanwhile I got the large unit in place hoping to kill some Tengu by massed archery. That didn't work.

My hero before getting zapped in the back

Number one Tengu grinds follower archers down, then moves onto the large unit repeating the performance. When the archers are down to 1, the Tengu's pushed back. Go figure.

One Tengu did all the work, one threatened flanks and the Dai Tengu never moved.

Now the scene was set for the inevitable clash of the gods. No real contest here, pumped up by his tame goblins and able to do a long move Raijin delivers a +2 strong strike and game over.


For our second game we wanted to do the Temple Under Siege scenario from the rules.

The attacking side gets an extra 20% (180) to play with, but the other limitations in place.

Amaterasu  (This is what I'd pre-planned.)

Armed peasants are cheap, so lets have the max 8 @ 10 = 80

2 more armoured followers makes up the 40. Or swap all non bow followers as Monks @ 19 for a saving of 6.

Amaterasu @ 212

Legends (max 1/3 = 300)

3 Heroes @ 80 = 240

Sub total 300


Samurai Shooter (long) 8 @ 29 = 232

Followers (warriors) Bow medium. Armoured 6 @ 25 = 150

Followers Armoured 6 @ 20 = 120

Armed peasants 8 @ 10 = 80 

Sub total 582

Or naginata armed Followers swapped for Monks, 6@ 19 = 144

Sub total 576

Total 1,032 or 1026

Version 2, revision after game 1, still to make 1,034 this is the one used.

(900 basic, 20%= 120 and the 14 overs from above):

Amaterasu, plus combat upgrade @ 300

Legends (max 1/3 = 360)
4 Heroes as per list @ 80 = 320

Mortals (414 left)
Samurai 8 (not archers) @ 22 = 176 (this is my come & get it unit)
Followers (warriors) Armoured 8 @ 20 = 160
Armed peasants 8 @ 10 = 80 
(this is my to-be-protected unit, not bringing it on denies the god dice, bringing it on requires redundancy to protect it)

Sub total 416

Total 1,036


Legends still have 34 left, plus the 1/3 60 = 94.

An Oni at 84 fits the bill.

Bandit archers 2 @ 20 = 40

Raijin @ 368

2 Tengu @ 80 = 160
Dai Tengu 106
Oni @84
Sub total 350

Goblin bandits 16 @ 15 = 240
Bandit archers 4 @ 20 = 80
Sub total 320

Total 1,038

I was defending with Amaterasu, unit of Samurai holding the Temple and a Hero as mobile defence.

Tony started with a U formation and started with repeated swooping attacks by his flying units.

A quick turnover and I was able to start bringing on my remaining heroes, one tasked with guarding the peasants and the other two an outer defence of the temple.

This Samurai took on a goblin unit until releaved by the Followers unit.  He managed to reduce them then take out the Dai Tengu.

He later died by lightning strike.


 The Goddess finally on, swoops in and gets her revenge!

 Then she tries her luck with a Tengu, but up pops the god again and she's dead!

My morale suffered more than his, mostly because I had units closer to the table edge.

But without a unit able to call the Goddess back, I lost.

 If Tony had failed to get the god back, I'd got my lot praying which would have been the end of the Tengu.  Who knows.

Go on, your turn, have fun!


Goblins at pray, the D10 is an aide memoir  My hero takes on the Tengu sheltering in the rough ground
How can they lose?
Poker chips make ideal flying markers

Hai Greenbaku-san!  My new basing method shows up well here.  I use a base layer of no more nails to give texture then add a (dried, used, good quality) tea leaf and flock mix.  The PVA makes the flock go "down" leaving the tea "up" or proud if you prefer.  Warbases penny bases, I rather like them plain.


Monday, 2 June 2014

Battlesworn Japanese Fantasy 2

Battlesworn Japanese Fantasy 2  (they're hee-er)

There is a Kami of Ganesha Games. When I order from, I always buy at least one item from this range:
So I get this, thinking of a certain ruler and his sweet old lady.
Then Tony looked at and said – Baron Silas Greenback!

Now I'm also reading the first Tomoe Gozen book featuring a Bakemono, his human wife and Oni retainers.

 I have the leader, very Brian Blessed, of my goblins.

I'd also bought a Chimera (and more skeletons) for my Hades OGAM force.


The little light goes on again, not a Chimera but a Kirin as featured in 47 Ronin. Easy conversion and it gives me a nice set of wings and a couple of heads to play with. Sorted. Proper Job.

I've watched some manga, but nothing ever hit the mark. The Tomoe Gozen books are spot on for me. I'll re-read the series and come up with a definitive list, although I've hinted at several below. I used to referee Bushido RPG changing the setting to match the above.

A quick note on the buildings, they're from Timecast's Vietnam range and get used from Trojan War to Victorian.
I have an idea for Buddhist vs Shinto game, but this is very difficult. Although the gods of all sizes are Shinto, as are the animalistic monsters such as Naga, Kappa and Tengu, to which could be added Ninja. That leaves the Oni and Goblins(?) on the Buddhist side. Defence of a shrine or temple, set at the introduction of Buddhism would seem ideal. Watch out for OGAM. Please help, creative criticism is welcome.

The basic set, one of everything :

Transpose one of the elements from the previous lists. Tengu in place of cavalry as Flying/Brute, Oni for Brute, Tank, Goblins as Rabble. I'm not sure what to do with the rest, so suggest you add to goblins. Tempted to suggest schoolgirls as Brutes, though.

Army of the Shugenja
Leader/Sorcerer (2) (you can use a schoolgirl or spare Oni or Tengu)
2 Oni Tanks (2)
2 Tengu Flyer/Brute (4)
4 Fighter goblins (4)

Army of Tomoe Gozen and the Golden Naginata
Leader/Brute/warmage (3)
4 Fighter Samurai/monks (4)
2 Rogue warrior Monks (2)
6 Rabble (3)

Army of the sleeping sorcerer
Leader/Brute ensorcered Tomoe Gozen (2)
4 Fighters ensorcered Samurai and larger goblins (4)
3 Rogue goblins (3)
6 Rabble ensorcered peasants (3)

Oni (or Bakemono) Diamyo
Leader/Tank/Warmage (3)
2 Tank Oni`` (2)
4 Fighter goblin spear (4)
3 Shooter goblins or 6 Rabble (3)

Army of Nagato from 47 Ronin
Sorcerer (1)
Raised Tank (1)
5 Fighter Samurai (5)
5 Shooter Samurai (5)

Basic pack plus goblin pack
Goblin Warband
Leader/Rogue (2)
4 Fighters with spear (4)
3 Shooter armoured goblins (3)
6 Rabble (3)

Dutch (why not?)
4 fighters with cutlass or spear (4)
4 Arquebusiers (4)
4 Rogues with pistols, axes etc. (4)

Leader/Brute or Tank captain in plate (2)
4 Fighters Pike (4)
3 Shooters crossbow (3)
1 Arquebusier/Sniper (2)
2 Rabble sailors (1)

So I bought the basic pack, which gives you one of each sculpt. Two goblin pack gives me another 24 goblins. That makes 30, thinking of OGAM that's 3 units of 8, a skirmish unit of 4 plus a couple to turn into standard bearers or officers. Plus one more sword bearing Tengu to make a unit of 4 or one Dai Tengu.

I did a knee-jerk reaction buy of £52 on Eurika's Medieval Japanese (followed by a frantic painting sessions to the limits of my poor old eyes). My collection already included a few Oni bought a couple of years ago when there was talk of a Japanese rule set from Ganesha. I spent about half what I expected on the fantasy, but I'm sure there will be more to come. We spent a similar amount to watch Godzilla.

I was looking around for inspiration on painting Oni's and I got it. But I need one more, and something from Museum Miniatures, a bit of conversion and we are there. Can you guess?

OGAM next while pondering Sword of Spear and Shield, or some other rules?

See previous post - "higher class" Medieval force
Less civilised Medieval Samurai.
We tried a Cav/Archer force, the upgrade isn't worth the points.
This Follower Archer took out 1 mounted and 2 dismounted Samurai before getting shot.