Sunday, 28 June 2015

Mistakes Were Made........

That old question of how to keep the mojo flowing has been bugging me recently, do I decided to do a quick blog about the mental block I have been suffering from recently. 

The first thing that people often forget is that this is a hobby for most of us, not work. That means it's optional! So you shouldn't beat yourself up too much if you don't feel like doing anything or if you fancy a night off. Sometimes a break is good and it's always nice to do other things like spend time with the family etc. The downside to it being a hobby is that as a result, it has to be down the list of priorities. There have been times over the last few weeks when I had a real strong urge to sit down and paint, but the need to go shopping, do the chores, look after the little one or invest some quality time with the wife (this is crucial in the long run people!), has all a come first and by the time these things were done, the hobby bug had left me. It can also be hard convincing others that you want to play with toy soldiers over the important things! 

Another reason I took a hit was I messed up. I was working on my first squad of the new grenadiers and I messed up their camo. No big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it hit the mojo for a few days, then real life I've got in the way, I started putting some overtime in at work for various reasons and it all combined together to keep me away. A couple of times I walked in to the man cave and saw the messed up grenadiers and just walked back out. This has happened to me before. Most notably when I spent an age on an imperial guard command squad and then ruined them with hasty varnishing. They stared at me from the shelf for a long time before I got the courage to strip them and do them again. 

All of these things take time. Summer is coming, which for me always hit my hobby time. BBQ's, family, holidays and work getting busier all come together to hurt the time I get to myself. I suppose I might just have to make the effort to fit a little time in here and there. 

So in short, it's a hobby and best not to get too stressed about it. I've found it to be a balancing act - some days jut putting the brush down and walking away is the right thing to do, but on other occasions forcing yourself to paint can be a help. For me, I feel like I'm getting back into the groove so will hopefully have something to show for it later this week. 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Hail Caesar Battle Report

I have been playing a fair bit of Hail Caesar of late, and thoroughly enjoying it. A friend of mine, Tim, who I have met through attending several of the large games put on by Like a Stone Wall wargames group, has the most extensive mini collection I know of. He is the one who has introudced me to this game and the anicent period in general and in this game he very kindly lent both myself and my friend Chris the armies we used and acted as umpire.

So I plumped for Dacians. I had three divisions in total. Two of these consisted of three warbands and an archer unit, with the warbands split evenly in terms of Flax armed or not. The third division was my cavalry division, consisting of three light cavalry units and a unit of Sarmatian Cataphracts. There was also a looted bolt thrower that eventually did nothing.

Chris was fielding Alexanders Macedonians. He had opted for crack troops, giving him just two divisions, one of heavy cavalry (including Alexander and his companions) and a infantry division containing 3 heavy phalanxs of pike and some skirmishers. 

Here is my battle line:

I deployed the two infantry divisions in the centre and on the right flank with my cavalry on my left. My rought plan was for the cavalry to hold their ground to give my infantry time to use their superior numbers to outflank the pike blocks, two of which can be seen here:

For the first few turns the infantry advanced towards each other slowly, with my misreading of the terrain causing my right flank to bunch up (later with fatal results). It was the cavalry that stole the show in this early stage.

Chris threw his companions and other heavy cavalry unit head on into my cataphracts. In the first round of combat I was pushed back, but then in the second round my cavalry began to push back, driving the Macdonian cavalry back. Another of my light cavalry units wiped out one of Chris' and things were initially looking rosy.

In the mean time the infantry closed:

I got lucky at this point. As you can see in this picture, the very top block of pike engaged a warband. However, the middle block took some fire from an archer unit and was forced to back, creating a gap. I was then able to use on warband to pin the third block in place, whilst another outflanked it:

We discovered at this point that pike blocks don't like being flanked, and in a single round of combat they were wiped out with minimal loss to me.

It was around now things went wrong. The cavalary combat that had ground on on the flank finally went the Macedonians way, and my cavalry collapsed very quickly. Along with this, some pesky peltasts pinned my most flankward warband, preventing it turning to block the cavalry. They held just long enough to allow the cavalry to start rolling up the infantrys flank:

At the same time, my flanking warband was in turn hit in the flank by the previously pushed back pike block after the archers I had hoped to block it failed:

At the same time, on the extreme flank the griding combat of pike-v-warband went on. The warband were gradually losing and were pushed back into a second warband, dragging them into the combat as a direct result of the earlier bunching.

Then came the coup-de-grace. With my cavalary divsion already broken, in one turn the two flanked warbands went down, and the extreme fight on the flank resolved itself when the first warband lost. Unfortunatley, this took the supporting, untouched warband behind them with it, breaking a second divsion and handing Chris the game.

Overall, it was a really great game that see-sawed back and forth more than the end result suggested. Had a few rolls gone the other way I think the Dacians could have taken it. Hail Caeasr is a game I would highly recommend. I will certainly be building an army for it soon, I just can't decided which one!

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