Monday, April 22, 2024

Battle Report: Hostile Space- Escort to Liberty Pointe


The following is a battle report for my latest game, Hostile Space

The trading contract for the Freehold of New Arcadia will expire and come up for re-negotiation in the next rotations.  Traditionally, these contracts have been held by corporate interests aligned with the New Olympians, and New Arcadia was considered within the New Olympians sphere of interests.  However, the free hold is located in the Asteroid Belt, which the Earth Alliance views at its territory.   

With the contract set to expire, elements of the Earth Alliance have begun aggressively courting New Arcadia.  They have offered lucrative incentives, and coupled them with veiled threats.  In fact, some smaller trading and prospecting vessels from New Arcadia have gone missing in the region.  The Earth Alliance has cited this as a prime reason to change contracts, as the New Olympians have failed to properly protect and enforce the expiring contract.

The powers that be on NeOlympus have deemed it necessary to reinforce their alliance on New Arcadia.  To this end, they have deployed a patrol ship and a compliment of suits to New Arcadia space.  A Carrier arrived and dropped off just such a ship before continuing on its route.  The New Olympian commander on the scene has pledged to find the cause of the missing prospecting vessels.    

 Investigating the last know location of one of these New Arcadian Prospecting ships, the New Olympians had unusual activity on their scopes. The New Olympians engaged the hostiles and drove them off.  Post-battle analysis allowed the New Olympians to identify that the suits engaged were of Earth Alliance design.  However, the Earth Alliance is well known for selling their tech to anyone with the currency to buy it.  Identifying their suits would not be enough to link them to the loss of the Prospecting Ships from New Arcadia.  

Therefore, the Patrol Craft tracked their potential telemetry to a nearby Asteroid that could house a forward operating base.  En route, unknown suits were identified attempting to transit from the area.  Again, a vicious dogfight ensued, but the apparent lead suit escaped while the new Olympians lost one of their heavier suits in the fighting.   

With their leads running dry, the Captain set course for Liberty Pointe.  The Pointe was a well known haven for freebooters, criminals and smugglers, just the type of place where pirates would try to off load their ill-gotten gains.  The New Olympians hoped to pick up the trail there.  

After travelling through open space for several weeks, the Patrol Ship finally was able to contact Liberty Pointe.  Technically, Liberty Pointe was under the protection and aligned with the Outsider Confederation.  However, they graciously allowed a single New Olympian transport escorted by a few suits to enter dock at their Free Hold and pursue the investigation.  

Members of the New OIympian Diplomatic Corp as well as a criminal investigation team boarded the shuttle with their honor guard of marines.  The transport left the dock, and her escort of Ares suits soon joined her on the transit to the Pointe.  

As they approached, the traffic from other ships in Docking Orbit and their transports also increased.  When they were outside of the protection of the Patrol Ships guns, but before they were in close orbit to the Pointe calamity struck.  A Cold-Void Storage Container en route to the Pointe burst open and unknown Suits swarmed out of it and towards the Transport.  Someone didn't want this investigation to continue!  The New Olympian Escorts scrambled to engage the enemy suits. 


New Olympians

3 Ares Space Combat Suits

- 1 Upgraded with #1 - Heavy beam Cannon

1 Hephaestus Lander

Red Knights

1 Shepherd Suit

- Upgrade- Combat Shield

4 Bulldog Suits

- 1 Upgrade- Rocket Tube   

We will be using Mission 5- Escorts found in the main rule book.  In this scenario, the Attacking Unknowns earn extra VP for destroying the transport.  Meanwhile, the New Olympians will gain extra VP if the Transport escapes the opposite board edge, or avoids getting destroyed. 


This time, we are playing on a 72 x 48 MU board.  That means 1 MU is 1 inch in today's battle. I have placed large "shadows" on the board that represent other freighters, cargo containers, and other craft.  They all cover a single altitude that was randomly determined.  Each has a dice next to them for Height.  The large frieghters cover all the altitudes for this battle.  If a Suit or transport enters the area of a shadow and is at the same altitude, it is considered destroyed. 

The New Olympians deploy on a short board edge with the transport in the middle at Beta and speed 4 about 4 MU in.  The rest of the suits form a triangle around the Transport at various altitudes all at speed 4. 

The Unknowns are on the opposite side of the boards.  They are at various altitudes and speed 6 and all deployed 6 MU from their edge. 

Maneuver Phase: 

Generally, the first few turns are the Maneuver phase and cover the to sides coming to grips.  I won't detail every action but lump them all together an touch on key points.  

The two sides closed in on each other quickly.  They converged in the center of the board, while the Transport tried to slip around the New Olympian right in the shadow of a large freighter.  By Turn 2 the furball had started.  The initial exchange one Bulldog suit was smoking.  

Battle Phase: 

Now that both sides are stuck in, the bulk of the rest of the game will be fighting.  This is the Battle phase, and I won't detail every move, just the highlights.  

As the Earth Alliance Suits try to close in on the New Olympian transport, an Ares manages to get a solid lock with his Heavy Beam Cannon and obliterates the attacker with a single shot!  Scratch one Earthling!  The New Olympian Transport's move to the right flank has caused a few Earth Alliance suits to be out of position.

The Rocket Tube equipped Bulldog dutifully chased the New Olympian Transport, sending rockets after it, but failing to find the mark.  However, Bulldog #1 managed to scratch-up and damage Ares #4 in a close-up firefight. 

End Phase:

Bulldog #1 managed to get into a Tailing Position on Ares #4 and blow him away with his MAS Rifle.  No escape pod was detected.    

Despite the loss, the New Olympian Transport is very close to the defensive umbrella of New Liberties port guns.  It is now or never for the attacking Combat Suits.  Ares #3 manages to damage the Rocket Tube equipped Bulldog as it stays with the Transport and tries to line up a last shot.  

The Shepherd gets the drop on the Ares with the Heavy Beam Cannon, and blasts it with a Swarm of Missiles.  However, some deft flying and defensive fire manage to keep the Suit alive but in rough shape.  Return fire from the Heavy Beam Cannon cuts through the missile swarm and burns the Shepherd out of space.    

The Earth Alliance lines up its last shot with the Rocket Tube, tries to wait for a solid lock, but time runs out and he fires wildly.  The rocket goes wide of the mark.  The Bulldog's rocket tube is dry.  

Disengagement Turn: 

The Transport manages to get to safety, escorted by the damaged Heavy Beam Ares. After some swirling and shooting, both sides break-off the attack.  


Victory for the New Olympians as they blasted their way through the ambush on their transport and managed to land their diplomats and investigators on Liberty Pointe.  The New Olympians had the better of it, by scrubbing two enemy suits and damaging two others, to the loss of 1 of their own and 1 damaged.  A clear Victory.     

It is tough to tell in this report, but this battle had a lot of strafing, rotating, flying backwards, and maneuvering in space that you don't see in most airplane games.  The Erath Alliance were hindered in this mission by their shorter range weapons.  Once the Transport broke past, they were stuck chasing and had a tough time closing the distance on the fast New Olympian shuttle craft.  However, the Rocket Tube kept it interesting!  The Lower Pilot ratings moving first, and better ones shooting first also hampered the Earth Alliance a bit.  However, that didn't stop a Bulldog from getting the drop on a Ares and being able to use Tailing Fire to wax it.  Maneuver was key in this one.       

The mysterious attackers blasted a EMP detonation to cover their escape.  A few days later, the Earth Alliance Combat Suits were discovered by Liberty Pointe authorities magnetized to the side of a cargo container.  Their pilots were no where to be found.  It could only be surmised that they abandoned their suits and were later picked up by confederates at the station.  The suits had been careful scrubbed of identifying markers or data.  It could only be assumed that their Mercenary pilots were still somewhere on the station.  

New Olympian investigators on Liberty Pointe eventually were able to root these Mercenaries and their collaborators out.  However, diplomatic red tape meant that they could not take them into custody.  Liberty Pointe was neutral territory.  However, simply identifying them as part of the Red Knights Mercenary Company was useful.  The Red Knights had known ties to official Earth Alliance personnel.  The case against the Earth Alliance meddling in the negotiations with New Arcadia was stronger than ever before.  

New Olympian intelligence used this new bits of information, along with their other details to piece together the potential staging point of the Red Knights in the New Arcadia region.  The New Olympians priority was to get back and disrupt that base!  New Olympian personnel scrambled back to their Patrol Ship and set course for their new target.   

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Monday, April 15, 2024

Wargame Design- Hostile Space- Anime Inspired Space Mecha Combat


Well, this is a bit of an unexpected surprise.  I have been working on this title for a long time.  Those that have been following the blog for a while probably recall my efforts to build the Mecha, and play some test games over the years.  Looks like the first battle was from May, 2021, with the big follow-up later that month.  I finally got my first Mecha done in October.  Now, three years later I finally decided to complete the rules for distribution.  Of course, I made a name change from Glittering Void to Hostile Space along the way too. 

I was very close on giving up on these rules in post-production.  Why?  Instead of making a miniature game, I started work developing it into an RPG.  There is more to come in that space, but I figured I might as well get this out into the world too.  

Those of you who are my Patrons on Patreon have had access to these rules for a year or so.  With their help I have been able to make some adjustments to altitude, modify some cards, and clarify some wording.  There help focused on finish off these rules.  As thanks, they got access to the finished product months prior to everyone else.  In addition, the Patrons have also had access to the RPG rules of Space Mecha Theatre, In Strife and Conflict Beta rules, a G.I. Joe RPG module, as well as various other work in progress games.  They also get access to my first forays into Mecha combat; JUGS: A Game of Big Stompy Robots.    

Hostile Space game came about thanks to my pet bearded dragon.  Of course, my games come from a lot of different places.  They come to me in dreams, they come to me playing other games, and they come to me when I am working on business projects.  Even by those standards, this is a weird place to start.  My lizard likes to watch genre fiction, especially Kaiji movies.  As a result, auto-play eventually brought up various samurai flicks, yakuza movies, and then eventually Mecha shows and clips.  As I went about my business, these clips started to sink into my psyche.  I wondered how to translate the action I was seeing on screen to the tabletop?  

That led me to the following design goals: 

  1. Maneuver was going to be an important element to the game
  2. More military based and not Super Robot, Kaiju, or Over-the-Top Super Mecha
  3. Piloting was going to be a critical skill from the player
  4. Feels like space mecha combat with death coming from everywhere
  5. Campaign system to build ace pilots and differentiate them from the rest
  6. Generic and scale agnostic
So, let's talk about how I tried to do this in the game.  

A pair of New Olympian Ares Combat Suits

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
One thing I love about aircraft games, is the idea that placement and maneuver are more important than shooting.  Position is critical, because without the correct position you can not get a clean shot, and leave yourself vulnerable to be targeted yourself.  If you watch a lot of Anime mecha, movement is a key component of any battle featured on screen.  Therefore, they are more aircraft games than any other wargame type.  It made sense that I would lean into the conventions of this genre more than any other.  

As you know, I am no stranger to airplane games.  I tried to re-invent them with White Star/Red Star.  However, for this game I wanted to be a bit more "traditional" in my approach.  There were a number of games to build-off of, and I was looking at games like Aeronautica Imperialis, X-wing, Bag the Hun, and Blue Max.  These have traditional mechanics such as altitude and secret maneuver choices.  However, I also was really interested in the Battlestar Galactica mechanics where ships could face one-way and move a different way.  

I wanted to incorporate these types of mechanics into the game.  In any given Mecha's turn it can change its direction of movement, do a maneuver, change height in the battlespace, speed-up, slow down, and even change its forward facing separately from the direction of movement.   This means that flying and positioning your mecha is more important than any other aspect of the game.  Plus, weapons have limited fire arcs and can only fire up or down one level.  Therefore, you can maneuver to avoid or engage and knowing when to do which is vital.    

These are skills that a player will need to bring to the game.  The actual piloting of the Mecha in your force are a thing for the player.  Is it the right scale for the conflict where each Mecha is being piloted by the player?  Probably not, but I do enjoy the "skill" aspect of these types of aircraft games.  Some of the most thought provoking and tactical games I have ever played are Airplane games.  Hopefully, I have captured that here too.  

Earth Alliance Suits close in on a New Olympian Ares

Model and Scale Agnostic
I made the game scale and model agnostic, so you can bring any sized mecha you want to the game.  I actually designed the game with Dream Pod 9's With The Lightnings range in mind.  However, I ended up using some cheap plastic robots that I modified for the game.  Therefore, when I wrote the game I wanted a model and scale agnostic system.  

That said, I did not include a "Build your own Mecha" system into the game.  Instead, I created a background and factions.  These are there so you can quickly get a fun, thematic game to the table quickly but the game works fine if you eject the background in the book.  Instead, there are some fairly straightforward unit designs from each faction that can fit into a variety of archetypes.  

Why did I avoid a "Build your own Mecha" system in the game?  The main reason is that they are too hard to build, too hard to articulate, scale arbitrarily, and are impossible to balance.  Once they leave my hands, they are way to easy to cheese, and there is no system I can design that a player could not simply break.  Of course, players are always free to design their own Mecha and homebrew what they wish!  The Mecha designs I have in the book should be easy to break up and use as a baseline for your own creations.         

An Earth Alliance Lander is escorted by a pair of Combat Suits

The rules have a campaign system that can be used to link games together.  Your squadron can also gain experience and become Aces.  Their is skill progressions and special maneuvers that Aces have that other pilots do not.  Plus, the campaign has a definitive end point with a "Final Battle" scenario. 

There is a variety of units besides just Mecha in the game.  There are interceptors, long-range launchers, ground defenses, mines, defensive weaponry, and more.  These different units allow a squadron and player to deal with a variety of tactical challenges.  

There are 10 different missions that your squadron can fly, so you never have to play the same mission twice.  I also spent some time adding in a variety of "terrain" beyond simply asteroids!  This includes dust clouds, gravity convergences, radiation fields and more.  These features give the game a lot of tactical elements to be exploited and adds to replayability. 

A Mastiff tries to dismember a New Olympian Ares

Final Thoughts
It's amazing that this took me about 5 years to get this game to where it is today.  I am so happy that it is finally ready to join my stable of games on my Wargame Vault page.  Post-production really is a bear!   
My playtest games were very tactical with a lot of decision making every time I touched a model.  The rules were easy to grasp, understand, and put into practice.  However, put it all together on the table and to counter your opponent was a lot harder to do.  I played several times, and did not find that I had "solved" the game.  The hardest part was trying to "guess" what my opponents were going to do, and to be there to intercept them, or to try and avoid them.  There was a lot of thinking and considering as we moved.  This slowed the game down somewhat, but in a delightful way. 

I look forward to seeing how you all use the game, and what you think of it.  

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Monday, April 8, 2024

Wargame Design: All Sizzle and No Stakes


I love B-movies, and I have for a long time.  The hey-days of Golan Globus, Cannon Films, AIP, and many, many more.  Now-a-days, they are much easier to track down and are often available for free.  Streaming services are starving for content, and B-movies provide it in spades. 

A famous B-movie schlockmaster, perhaps the infamous Roger Corman himself; had an old saying about a good B-movie.  If I recall correctly, it went something like; "Give them the sizzle and the steak".  Basically, he meant give the audience an interesting premise or titillating idea and then deliver on it.  Give them a reason to keep watching, and deliver on what your premise leads to.  If a movie was all sizzle and no steak, the film didn't deliver the goods.  It was a weak film in his mind.    

This saying came to mind when I was thinking about wargame design recently.  I was thinking about what made an action scene in a film compelling, what made a combat scene in an RPG exciting, and therefore what made a wargame interesting to play.  Through this thinking, reading, researching, and analysis I came to one conclusion; Stakes.  

What are the Stakes

Put simply, the stakes of a fight are why the fight is happening in the first place.  People generally do not engage in physical battle just for the luls.  It hurts and is painful.  The risks are high.  They fight for a reason.  Clausewitz said, "War is the continuation of politics by another means" or something to that effect. 

Stakes are essentially, what bad things happen if your side loses.  Of course, for individual soldiers it can be life or death.  The Stakes are very personal.  However, reading historical accounts, watching soldier interviews, and talking to soldiers; those stakes are not why they are fighting.  So when we talk about the stakes, survival is one of them; but not the most compelling one.  Survival is a baseline.   

Take RPGs as an example.  Some players feel like a character potentially dying is the "highest" level of stakes.  However, having played many RPGs myself, survival is never the goal.  That is a baseline for completing your objectives or avoiding the stakes.  Life and death in a wargame is not an interesting stake either, that is the baseline threshold to achieve your actual objectives.  

The true stakes are the consequences if you fail.  In real-historical terms the stakes are often who is the victor and who is the spoils.  In a stories and film, it is if the protagonist gets to continue complete their character arc or fulfill the larger plot points.  In RPG, it mirrors stories; but is focused on the group completing their quest or your character evolving over time.   

So, what are the stakes in a wargame?  This is much harder to discern.  Battles are one-off affairs.  Their is a winner and a loser.  Is that the stakes of a wargame?  Is that it?  

Is Winning a Compelling Enough Stake

Winning and losing are not compelling stakes for prolonged replayability.  Winning eventually gets boring if you think the game is solved.  There needs to be something more, or why keep coming back to the game? 

Winning is a baseline for accomplishing a players larger objectives.  That might be to "Get Gud", gain social status with their group, or some other personal reason.  However, winning by itself is not a long-term compelling reason to play any game.  Eventually, games that only focus on winning will get shelved.                  

There are two ways wargamers themselves try to deal with creating stakes for themselves: 

1. They create a community

2. They play campaigns

Both of these options create tangible and intangible benefits for winning and losing any single game.  Communities do this by creating a shared social experience of camaraderie and (hopefully) friendly competition.  This is often expressed in the form of a Tournament, but can also be shown with shared experiences and story-telling.   

Campaigns give direct consequences and rewards for playing.  Benefits that carry-over to the next game or consequences that happen.  These are tangible rewards.  The intangible rewards are opening up new scenarios or moving a storyline forward.  All create Stakes for winning or losing in any given game.  

You can even do both options! 

The Designers Role in Making Stakes

As designers, we know that the two ways to build Stakes into your game, and help create replayability ; follows two paths.  Therefore, you can incorporate these paths into your game.  As a designer, you can provide the tools and rules the players themselves will need to create a community or a campaign.  

I would argue that these rules are not Chrome.  They are essential to creating a fully rounded game experience.  A game where the only stakes are winning and losing will soon be shelved and fall out of favor.  

In addition, making these part of your core rules allows for you to showcase the soul of your game.  This can be done for any scale game, any time period, any genre. A lot of the flavor and feel for your game can be expanded upon and mined creating the setting or intended gameplay experience.  It should suggest ideas for the community to grab onto for discussion, storylines for campaigns, and add depth to the world the players are engaging in.  By doing so, players now have the tools to make their own stakes for the game beyond winning and losing.  Now, they own part of the game world too.  

Final Thoughts

Wargames as a stand alone battle often have no stakes.  Games without stakes will soon fall by the wayside and no longer drive player interest.   For longevity and replayability, designers need to add elements for community building and campaigns into the core rules of the game in order to create stakes.  Games with stakes are more compelling and interesting to play, and will therefore be more usable by the players.   

Bonus Content

We are getting to the end of Turn 1 of the campaign, and the forces of Chaos are surging across Powellington.  

The corruption has struck deep into the city, so deep that the Cathedral of St. Augustine in the Arcopolis was under threat!  Chaos forces attempted to breach the holy shrine by accessing maintenance tunnels beneath the Arcopolis.  The Order of St. Augustine Martyred mobilized scouting forces to go down into the underbelly of the Cathedral and deal with this sinister threat.

My Sisters of Battle were finally tapped to take action in the campaign as I was paired up with a Chaos opponent this week, Black Legionaries.  This would be a tough battle, as we also had an unusual board.  It was a board from the old first edition of Kill Team that took place inside of an enclosed area.  It was designed for tourneys, and essentially was a mirror match board.  Interesting and all news to me!  

The Heavy Bolter sister held down the right flank, and was the hero of the match.  She accounted for 3 of the 4 Chaos kills.  My left flank completely collapsed as the Chaos Possessed broke loose and the demon rampaged through the Sisters stationed there.  The interior buildings made it hard to spread out enough to avoid getting multiple Sisters in combat with the beast at once!  

In the center, there was a stand-off between the Chaos Heavy Gunner and a Melta Sister.  No one wanted to open the door separating them.  This allows the Sister Superior to rush ahead and grab some objectives deep in Chaos territory.  However, in the end it was too little and too late to stop the forces of Chaos.  


This was a challenging board for my girls to play on.  Their Bolt guns range did not help them too much, compared to the Legionnaires who were mostly tooled for up-close work.  In addition, the 3 APL for the Chaos forces had them move into position really quickly.  However, the Emperor's Guidance was very useful to me as was the Icon.  The relatively simple Compendium rules worked well for this old man's brain!  I think the ladies held their own, and a few even survived!  

The end of Turn 4 saw the Sisters left collapse and allowed the Chaos troops to secure and defend a key objective marker.  One more Turning Point, and I probably would have killed all the Legionaries but I still would have lost on Objective Markers.  They got there the quickest with the mostest this time.  

Chaos forces won across the board on this True Crit Gaming Guild day.  The forces of Chaos look like they will be ending Turn 1 with a lead in all warzones. 

Until next time! 

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Monday, April 1, 2024

Battle Report: In Strife and Conflict- Scouting Engagement in the Levant


Now that the armies for Kadesh are sorted, I figured it was time to do a playtest of the basic rules.  I have done some playtesting using templates previously, but this will be the first time with actual miniatures!  Exciting.  

I Ramses the II, he who makes mortals tremble, have marched north past the fortress of Tjel.  My intention is to reclaim the city of Kadesh and the Kingdom of Amurru.  The foolish rulers there have turned from my munificence and have taken council with King Muwatalli II from the North.  I shall teach them the error of their ways.  

As part of this effort, my might army has probed the coast scouting the best way forward.  Local vassals of the Muwatalli have come forth to challenge me.  Foolish mortals.  We shall sweep them aside like so much dust. 

At some point, the Kingdom of Amurru which was led by the city-state of Kadesh.  They had been vassals of the Egyptians in previous centuries, but overtime had drifted to the Hittite orbit.  This angered Ramessess II who wished to rebuild Egypt's empire in the Levant and return the region to Egyptian control. The year prior to the Battle of Kadesh, Egyptian forces were all ready active in the Canaanite lands.  

Today's battle will represent some of the scouting and blocking forces engaging in southern Canaan.  


Today's battle is speculative in nature.  Therefore, we will be using the standard Lines of Battle to choose forces up to 24 points.


1 Light Chariot  
- Composite Bow 

1 Levy Infantry
- Bow 

1 Auxiliary Infantry

1 Archer


1 Heavy Chariot

1 Light Chariot

Levy Infantry


We will be playing the Scout the Area scenario found in the main rules.  The intention is not to destroy the foes, but to understand the terrain.  

For ease, we decided not to use any complications for the raid scenario.  

We are using a 48 x 48 MU table, with 1 MU being 1 inch.  Therefore, a 4 by 4 space.  

The Western edge of the table is the Mediterranean Sea.  The Egyptians get the South, and the Hittites the North.  We divide the area into four zones and randomly determine terrain per the rules in the booklet.  The North side is 1 and 2, and the South is 3 and 4.  

1 = 2 level hill
2= Pond 0r Dangerous Terrain
3= Grove or Difficult Terrain
4= No terrain  

Hitties in distance with skirmishers, Levy, Heavies, and Lights. 
Near side is Egyptians with archers, levy w/bows, Auxiliary, and Lights

As normal, I am covering this battle in three phases.  I will not be talking about each individual decision, unless it is relevant.  However, I took careful notes of the outcome as this is a playtest game.  
The first two turns are the Maneuver Phase, Turns 3-6 is the Battle Phase, and turn 7-8 is the End Phase. 

Maneuver Phase
The speed of the Hittite force pays off, as they are able to grab 4 of the 6 objectives early.  

The Egyptian light Chariots go out dangerously ahead of their support to grab an objective as well.  The last objective is under the bows of the Egyptian archers, and the javelins of the Hittite skirmishers.  The skirmishers overlook it from the hill top.  

Battle Phase
The Hittites get the initiative and begin the attack! The heavy chariots manage to rumble towards the Egyptian lights at a gallop.  The Egyptians try to evade, but can not get away fast enough and are caught by the Hittites.  A swirling melee ensues and the Egyptians are pushed back.  The battle is joined by the Hittite light chariots, and things look bad for the Egyptians.  All is not lost, as the Egyptian Auxiliary infantry manages to charge into the fight.  

The Egyptian Archers manage to get the last objective, but are under threat from Hittite skirmishers on the hill top.  

Meanwhile, the Egyptians disorder the Hittite Heavy Chariot, but their Chariot forces and Auxiliary infantry are forced to fall back!  

The Archers are hit by a rain of javelins from the hill, but keep enough courage and discipline to fire on the Hittite Levy.  Along with the fire of the Levy Egyptians bows, the unit is reduced to half courage, but stays in formation. 

The Hittite Heavy Chariot hits the Egptian Levy in the flanks.  Despite the flank charge, the Levy put up fierce resistance.  Both sides are heavily injured and disordered.  The Hittite Levy join the fray, and further demoralize the beleagured Egytpians.  

The Egyptian Archers and Hittite skirmishers trade shots, but the cover of the Hilltop gives the Hittites the advantage.  

End Phase
In the fight in the center, the Egyptian Levy manages to send the Hittite Heavy Chariots and Hittite Levy packing.  However, the Egyptian Levy also have to fall back.  

However, Javelins from the Hittite Skirmishers also rout the demoralized Egyptian archer unit.  This leaves the field to the Hittites. 

A Hittite victory no matter how you slice it!  I did not have the speed for this mission compared to what the Hittites brought to the table.  My focus on needing to dash forward also restricted my ability to shoot and scoot with my Light Chariots, their main advantage over the Hittites.  

The Hittites grabbed 4 objectives, and I grabbed 2.  In addition, my forces were completely routed.  We did some damage to the Hittites though.  We routed their Heavy Chariots and their Levy infantry.  We also pinged some courage from the skirmishers, so it wasn't a completely 1-sided victory for them.  

In reality, I would image the Hittite Light Chariots in my rear would have made sure very few of my Egyptians made it back to the Sinai and out of Canaan.     

King Muwatali II am displeased with the Egyptian dogs entering the kingdom of my vassals.  Gather the soldiers o Hattusta so we can whip these mutts back to the desert where dogs belong.  Our mighty armies will teach them a lesson not soon forgotten.  Let us march to Kadesh! 

Final Thoughts
How did the game play function?  Well, chariots were much faster than any foot mounted troops.  That was exactly as how it was intended.  In addition, skirmishers in cover were hard to dislodge.  Everything else seemed to work as intended.

Evasion by the Light Chariots against foot foes would have worked great, but I was charged by chariots that also had Pursue.  Therefore, the two options sort of negated each other this game.  I think I need some more playtesting using evade and pursue with chariots.  I have seen Egyptian Light Chariots with bows very effectively employ hit and run tactics, but not today.      

I went back and tweaked the set-up rules a bit, because as written now they overly favored the defended.  I also did not notice that once all tokens were gathered, the game ended!  Whoops. I played that a bit differently.        

Overall, I was pleased with how it all went.  It was relatively easy to wrap your head around, with the most questions coming around joining a combat that had all ready been resolved.  I might want to add an example of play to clear up how this section of the rules works.  It is not 100% intuitive 
 as it is delayed support + charge dice rather than a full attack dice + charge dice.  More to come in that space. 

Bonus Content
I painted up a lone, 28mm Whizkids pre-primed model for a member my RPG group.  I was not super impressed with the "pre-prime" and recommend anyone else just prime them again.  They did not work well with Speedpaints at all.  Instead, I had to use my standard base and wash techniques.  

Nothing special, but now we have a full party of painted minis when we play.  Our current campaign is pretty OSR and "Combat as War" so far, so the minis on a battle mat are pretty nice to have handy.  If we are using minis, I prefer for all of them to be painted.  I'm strange that way!   

Until next time! 

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Monday, March 25, 2024

On The Painting Desk: Battle of Kadesh - The Soldiers of Hattusa March!

My latest rules project was focused on Assyria.  The focus would be chariot warfare, Bronze Age, and even early Iron Age warfare.  Of course, that meant one of the historical scenarios had to be the Battle of Kadesh.  Despite not having any Assyrians in it, I started building armies for Kadesh as I figured it would make a great display game and demo!  It is one of the most famous battles of all time.  

In 2023, I finished off my Egyptian army for the battle (and other scenarios) here: 

These are all 6mm from Baccus and mounted on 60 x 60mm bases.  

After finishing the Egyptians, it was time to turn to the Hittites!  I have all ready finished most of the army.  But I still have the Royal guard, with and without Bow support, and the rather large chariot corps.  

Here is the Hittite army so far....

With two infantry units left, I got to work on those first.  These guys represent the core of the Hittite army and the most disciplined of the King's forces.  I had two units, one with just the infantry, and the second with bow support built-in.  I have to say, the Baccus minis have an amazing level of detail for 6mm models and they looked great! 

My camera has a hard time getting good detail shots at 6mm!  However, I used my standard techniques and soon had two more units of Hittite infantry done.  Here is a quick photo-montage of the process.  If you have been following the project on the blog, you are well aware of the steps I take.  

So, the Guards got finished up and added to the rest of the Hittite infantry force.  Here you can see them in action at the forefront of the army. 

Next up, was the Chariot corps.  The Hittites actually made use of two types of chariots.  They used a lighter 2-man chariot and a larger, heavier 3-man chariot.  The why's and the how's are still a but up in the air.  However, many feel they used their chariots in a more "shock attack" and charging role than the Egyptians.  Egyptians preferred a mobile archery platform.      

Anyway, I realized right away that my typical techniques for painting 6mm were not going to work.  I had a hard time getting the chariot draught pole and yokes attached.  I decided to skip having those as part of the models.  It was not going to be worth the effort.  

That means I also had issues mounting them on the sticks to paint them.  I was going to have to change everything up.  I started by undercoating the horses, and then I tried to mount the light chariots and horses to their bases.  Then, I undercoated the Cars and Crew from there.  Overall, this was much harder than my preferred method.  For the Heavy Chariots, I just undercoated and did some painting separately, but again it was not as easy as the Egyptian chariots.  

Hittite Light Chariots

Once assembled on their bases, I went ahead and painted them all up and got ready to finish them off.  This was a bit harder than doing them on the sticks.  However, it was easier than I had feared.  Thankfully, the models have pretty decent detail and painting 6mm models is more like sticking a dot of paint in the right place than any real detailed painting.  

Heavy Chariots in front, Light to the rear

You will notice that like the Egyptian Pharaoh, I gave the Hittite King a four horse chariot to help them stand out a bit.  I also tried to color-code the units to help differentiate who-was-who a bit better.  Heavy's are White, Purple, and Yellow; while the Lights are Red, Green, and Blue.  This will make them easier to ID on the field at arm's length. 

From here, I finished up the bases using my usual method.  Territorial brown, a drybrush of khaki, some green ink, and black around the edges of the base.  

With that, the last step was to take a few action shots out in the arid lands of the Levant.  I also wanted a group shot with the rest of the Hittite forces.  The soldiers of Hattusa march to Kadesh under the command of King Muwatulli II.

With the armies done, I still had one last thing to complete for this project.  That was the city of Kadesh itself!  You may recall that my friend Kelly made a 3D printable version of a Bronze Age city for me.  Well, I had to get it painted up for the demo game! 

I primed it Seer Grey and busted out my Big-Box Acrylics.  I used the same basic colors as I used for the bases; Territorial Beige, Khaki, and Nutmeg Brown.  I used a few spots of color on the marketplace tents in the design.  After the base coats, I washed them with a Light tone wash.  

I made up a QRS and put it in the main rulebook this time.  I am learning!  Now, the last steps is to play-test the basic rules a bit more and the Battle of Kadesh scenario specifically.  Then, I think I am ready to take this around as a demo game for wargaming.  

Until next time! 

Become a Patron and get access to all the cool stuff, a peak behind the curtain of Blood and Spectacles, and early-access to playtest games!  

You can follow Blood and Spectacles Facebook page or Instagram for more fun! 

Check out the latest publications and contact me at our Blood and Spectacles website

Or purchase all out games at the Blood and Spectacles Publishing Wargames Vault Page!