In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Rudolph's Last Stand

"Christmas crackers I'm c-c-cold!" whined Tinkle the Elf as he packed more snow together into a big ball. His hands were raw and chapped. It would hurt a lot when he got back to sewing doll clothes. If he got back to the warm workshop that is.

"Hurry up slowcoaches!" bellowed Frosty, the giant, enchanted and right now, rather frightening, snowman. 

Freeble the Elf quickly jammed some twig arms and a carrot nose onto the snowman Tinkle had just made. Frosty then waved his twig arms over it and it jerked to life, rolling off to join the ranks of the other snowmen brought to life by Frosty. Frosty moved to the front of the white silent phalanx of snowmen, waved his hat in command and they all silently moved towards the front.

Tinkle was worried. For ages they had lived quietly at Santa's Workshop making toys and singing happy elf songs. When Mrs. Claus started baking extra large Gingerbread men he hadn't worried. Then the orders came out of the office to stop making toys and start on spears and shields. Lots of them. The extra big gingerbread men were now armed and defending Santa's workshop, alongside some rather scary teaddy bears. Now it was all set to end in fire and tears.

A platoon of huge nutcrackers lumbered past, arms and legs clacking militantly.

In the distance Tinkle and Freeble heard the braying of harsh horns and the bellowing of strange beasts. Wolves howled. Then a dragon roared. It's wings beating like a rush of wind, it swept low over the village. It belched flame and the Toy Express exploded in a shower of sparks. Harsh goblin cries of triumph greeted the sudden onset of doom.

"We'll see about that you foul beast of Hell!" cried a bearded figure in red cloak and bishop's mitre. St. Nicholas raised his staff and opened a huge book, uttering words of power. Multicoloured sparks crackled smiting the dragon. The fell beast roared in pain, mortally wounded and fled the field.

"Hooray! Hooray!" shouted Tinkle and Freeble as they danced in the snow. They ran to the kitchen and each grabbing a mug of hot chocolate, they climbed to the roof to watch the unfolding battle.

Everywhere they looked there were dark masses of goblins and big lumbering trolls. To the left of the smashed and smoking train was a force of black knights, goblins riding wolves and dire wolves lead by a black robed wraith with a glowing sword. "oooooh he looks scary" said Tinkle, slurping at his hot chocolate.

"But look!" shouted Freeble. A big angry goose, backed up by Snow White and her Dwarf friends, plus Cinderella and some animals were attacking the wraith. Birds and deer skirmished around the Naughty cavalry, jabbing and dashing away. The goose honked and hissed, snapping its beak at the black wraith. Dumbo the elephant flew low over the evil cavalry, pooping on them. "eeew!" squealed the Elves. "Dumbo, don't be gross!"

Under constant assault, the wolves and black knights were whittled away. The wraith cut the goose's head off, but it was too late to make a breakthrough to the workshop. Frosty had built his battle line of snowmen, who began hurling snowballs at the evil forces.

To their right, Tinkle and Freeble could see that the goblins and trolls had advanced the furthest, right up to the river. A platoon of nutcrackers stopped on the other bank, watching with impassive painted eyes as the black goblins massed opposite. Suddenly KA-BOOM! The nutcrakers exploded taking the goblins with them. Some plucky children, told by Mrs. Claus to stay back and keep out of mischief, ran forward, hurling snowballs at the survivors.

Rudolph bellowed his war cry, leading some reindeer forward across the river. Goblin and troll bellows answered as the evil horde emerged from the forest. Beasts, good and evil, crashed into each other. Scimitars and claws met hooves and swords. Reindeer fought valiantly but were ground down under a wave of hatred. Rudolph leaped from a rock into the horde of Naughtiness. A mighty troll crashed down, it's black blood staining the snow, goblins fled in panic, but a company of hobgoblins swarmed over Rudolph, cutting him down while the rest of his herd fled.

In the center, Santa Claus charged forward with some nutcrackers and abominable snowmen, swinging a sword in one hand and his sack (loaded with coal for today's naughty list) in the other. Goblins and trolls fought hard beside the still burning train. A nutcracker toppled like a mighty tree. A troll bellowed in pain and fled the field. Tinkle and Feeble spotted a black robed figure with a staff trying to cast spells on Santa, but his innate magic warded them off.

A few more goblins and trolls stumbled out of the forest on the far left, but they were disorganized and met by the hosts of Gingerbread warriors. Some gingerbread got eaten, but many more stabbed goblins and trolls first.

Soon Tinkle and Freeble could see black figures running away all over the field. "Hooray! Hooray!" they shouted, dancing on the kitchen roof, waving their cocoa mugs. "Christmas is saved!"

That was the opening game of my gang's annual holiday gaming get together. It was a massive 12 player game of Dragon Rampant. Pete and David spent about 8 months building the Forces of Nice; snowmen out of sculpy, gingerbread men and teddy bears made from buttons and thumb tacks, a few novelty Christmas miniatures and some nutcracker tree ornaments. I brought my Nazgul and the Legions of Angmar to be the Forces of Naughty. Pete says he's going to make some dedicated Naughty troops for next year.

Pete introduced Naughty or Nice cards. Anyone wearing something seasonal got an extra card. Half were lumps of coal, half gave bonuses to moving shooting etc. St. Nicholas played a card giving rerolls on misses when he attacked my dragon, scoring 11 hits and knocking 20 of my 160 points out if the game! I got lumps of coal in my cards.

The day was also the inauguration of Dick's basement of toys and his TWENTY-FOUR foot gaming table. The next round we did a game at each end. Dan put on a game featuring Canadian Peacekeeprs in Somalia trying to keep rival warlord factions from looting the UN Camp. At my end we played Pig Wars; four bands of Vikings all looking to get a piece of the Bishop's treasure. I didn't win, but I didn't lose as badly as some of the other guys.

After dinner most of the crew left, so the six remaining die hards played What A Tanker using some tanks from Dick's 1:32nd scale collection. This is I believe, is exactly what WaT was made for. Something fun after the main games are done. I didn't blow up.
Ceiling mobile 

Dick's 1:32nd scale tanks 

One end. Pont du Hoc top shelf. Minas Tirith next shelf. ACW and The Alamo on the lower two shelves. 

Close up of LOTR toys

The other end of the room

Seating in front of movie screen 

Food was eaten. Dice were rolled. Fun was had. A grand way to see out the old year.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Elves at Christmas

Some hobby time over the holiday meant that I've finally finished off that lot of second hand Vendel Elves I got back in May of 2017. So the Lord of Hollin now has 4 units of elite foot plus, since I hate leaving figures in the box, the king now has a Close Protection Detail of two spearmen (So he's still a reduced figure unit, just with 3 figures instead of 1).

The original owner sold them off because of some issues. A lot of non-fills and the standard bearer had this big tumor of flash on his cloak. I was preparing to do battle with it when I remembered that I work in a machine shop.... well a few minutes with some of the grinding and buffing tools during an evening shift had this sorted.
"Help me!"

Here are the new troops.  Did half with white trees to match my original yellow tree company. The other six with a curling leafy design taken from fellow Middle Earth gaming blogger Iron Mitten, so I'll have to figure out a banner to suit them.

The "Two Trees" Regiment 

The nobles were initially doomed for the lead pile. But the small scale Reaper wolves gave me the idea to paint them as dogs and then make them into a unit with the three nobles. The shields had designs cast on, so I tried to paint them along the lines of elvish heraldry as painted by JRRT himself.

Since they are fleet of foot hunters with quick dogs I may make them elite riders too. Perhaps each noble with dog is a reduced figure unit? Elf lords are supposed to be pretty scary.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Sunday Solo Solace

The black robed figure sat on the horse at the edge of the forest, surveying the village surrounded by fields and rich pasture land. It had a memory, as faint as one of the tendrils of mist coiling about its horse, of being a child in such a place. Learning to ride and handle spear and sword. Helping with harvest and herd. But the humans it had lived with were long dead and moldering in forgotten barrows.
It whispered a command to the orc captains cowering nearby "Kill everything.  Burn everything."

I just wanted to play with my toys so I set up a solo game of Dragon Rampant last weekend.

An Evil raiding force is hitting the settlements in Eriador. So 40 points of wolves, wolf riders, goblin scouts, some human heavy cavalry and three companies of orcs (light foot with mixed weapons) lead by a Nazgul.  I added some trolls later when I realized that all those points spent on fast movers were kinda wasted. The Men had 29 pts worth: a Big Damn Hero (elite rider with enchanted armour and sword) some scouts and a lot of light foot most of whom had javelins. Marching over the bridge to help was a unit of heavy foot.

With the hedges, I had been thinking maybe an elf settlement in Hollin,  but then I decided that the hedges, defended by my Elf archers would be pretty nasty! So I opted for men as defenders instead.
Yes, I rather had Buckland or Bree  in mind while setting up! 


Beor watched his page, Torvald, grooming his horse, "That's good . Work his flanks. He likes that. This afternoon when chores are done we will work on your sword skills."
A chorus of wolf howls broke the morning, answered by the harsh braying of orc horns. Beor shouted to the men around him "Foes are upon us! To arms! To arms!" He seized Torvald by the shoulder.  "Quck now! Help me arm and then get your bow!"

Flocks devoured 
The great dark pack of fell wolves swept over the pastures, ripping the throats of terrified sheep and shepherds. They ran to the hedge to be met by a flight of arrows. Howling and snapping, they swerved away. Goblins riding other wolves followed, running up to the hedge to hurl spears and wheel away from the answering arrows.
Boer and his retainers muster
Beor mounted his horse in front of his hall, his thegns gathered there as well. The huntsmen, herdsmen, sons and poorer villagers were already lining the hedges, ready with javelins and bows to drive off the raiders. 
Villagers line the hedge with bows and javelins

Beor the Brave leads his hall thegns up to the gate
Black orcs swarmed across the fields carrying broad shields and ragged black banners. With strong bows of horn they shot at the villagers lining the hedge.
Evil troops swarm across the fields

The Nazgul drives back the defenders from the gate

Watching the boys march by

Reinforcements are welcomed by the Lady of the Manor 
Some good shooting from the orcs drove back the villagers but the men brought up more defenders from the side hedge and Beor got to the gate in time to hold it, his thegns around him. Black feathered orc darts and arrows rained down, the thegns recoiling and rallying a couple of times.

Eventually the Nazgul drove his orcs forward to assault the hedge, hacking and thrusting with spears as the men hurled javelins and stabbed back. The orcs fell back broken.
Desperate fight along the hedge 

Then a follow up of good shooting from the hunters with their bows and another volley of javelins caused two of the orc companies to rout. Wounded himself, the Nazgul realized that he didn't have the troops left to take the village and went in search of easier pickings.
End game 
Played over two weekends I forgot the Nazgul's 'Goader' trait on the second Sunday and his spell casting, but some therapeutic dice rolling was had and I got to try a village  protected by a high hedge before I do that in a game with someone else.

Obviously needed less cavalry and more trolls.