Tag Archives: Chris Palmer

“Bear Yourselves Valiantly” Fantasy Battle Report

Chris Palmer      Last Friday night, we were short a game for our club’s meeting, so I volunteered on Thursday to run a scenario using our under-development Fantasy, Ancients & Medieval  mass combat rules, “Bear Yourselves Valiantly”.  So, to come up with a quick scenario for the game, I relied on an old idea that we had had success with in the past: using a scenario from one period for a game set in another.  And in this case, using a historic scenario for a fantasy battle.  So I grabbed my copy of Skirmish Campaigns’ “Russia ’41 – Into the Ukraine”, and leafed through it.  I decided on the “Supply Line” scenario, which I had run before in it’s intended WWII version, (though at a higher level, where bases equaled platoons) so I knew I had all the necessary terrain.   This scenario features a convoy of German trucks that needs to travel down a road and exit the table while a force of Russians is pressing in to try and capture it.
    So, for my version, I decided I would replace the German convoy of trucks with some Elven treasure wagons and refugees, fleeing some catastrophe that has happened far off table.  They would be defended by Elven forces.  The Goblins would take the place of the Russians, entering on the table and trying to capture the treasure and refugees. Once again, I was going to raise the level of the troops represented from the original Skirmish Campaigns scenario (which was written for individual figures), to one where each base equals several hundred men. (In “Bear Yourselves Valiantly”, each base of infantry equals roughly 400-500 men, and each base of cavalry equals 200-250 mounted troops)  In fact I used the OOB from the scenario only as a loose guide, and relied more on what figures I had at hand.
  The forces I selected were organized like this:

  Elf Force 1                                            Elf Force 2
Overall Commander                                 Overall Commander
Elven Wizard                                            Elven Wizard

1st Brigade                                             1st Brigade
Brigade Commander                                 Brigade Commander
3 stands of Elven Spearmen                       3 stands of Elven Spearmen

2nd Brigade                                             Cavalry Brigade
Brigade Commander                                  2 stands Elven Knights
3 stands of Elven Archers                                    

Cavalry Brigade                                      Treasure and Refugees          
1 stand Elven Knights                                 2 stands Treasure Wagons
1 stand Elven Mounted Archers                  4 stands Refugees

Goblin Force 1                                         Goblin Force 2
Overall Commander                                   Overall Commander
Goblin Shaman                                           Attached stand of Bats
Attached Stand of Bats                                    
                                                                  1st Clan
1st Pack                                                   Clan Leader
Pack Leader                                              5 stands of Goblin Warriors
4 stands of Warg Riders                    
                                                                 2nd Clan 
2nd Clan                                                  Clan Leader
Clan Leader                                              5 stands of Goblin Warriors
4 stands of Warg Riders                         
                                                                Opportunistic Bad Guys    
                                                              1 stand Giant Spider
                                                              1 stand of her children    
                                                              1 stands Giants
                                                              1 stand  Minotaurs


     The game begins with Elven Force 1 deployed on the table about 24″ in on the western half of the table, and Goblin Force 1 set up about 30″ in on the western half.  The Elves would get their Force 2 on subsequent turns, entering about a foot in along the northern (long) edge of the table; the Spearmen entering on turn 2, the Cavalry on turn 3, and the Refugees and Wagons would enter on turn 4.  The remainder of the Goblin forces would enter from the western half of the southern (long) table edge on the first turn.
  There were a number of main features on the 6’x 7.5′ table.  The first is the road which runs straight about a foot from the edge along the northern (long) edge of the table, with a “Y” about half way along.   There is also a large marsh which roughly splits the table along the southern (long) edge; and from this marsh runs a mostly dry stream bed that angles along and exits off  the western (short) table edge, and is treated as heavy rough for movement across it.  South of this dry bed is a hill.  At the “Y” in the road is a small Elven town, and between the two branches of the road are several fields which count as light rough for movement.
To win, the Elves need to exit the wagons and refugees off the eastern end of the straight road. The Goblins need to prevent this.
    Due to an unexpected shortage of players at the meeting, I took over command of the Elven Force 1, with Jamie Davis commanding Elven Force 2.  Across the table, Chris Davis took Goblin Force 1, and Eric Schlegel took command of Goblin Force 2.  Both Jamie and Chris were new to the rules.  Eric had played before.
    I set up my spearmen in line as close to the center of the length of the road as I could, with my archers stationed behind my spear line on my left and the knights and mounted archers behind and to my right.  The Wargs set up across from me in two columns, and immediately charged forward.

Wargs and bats surge forward across the dry stream bed, as my stoic Elves await. (Note, the brown areas of cloth are woods.  I forgot my box of trees for the game to put on them.)

     As the dry stream bed slowed the Wargs down, I thought I had time to try and maneuver my archers forward on the left, and my wizard moved up to offer support on the right. My cavalry were slow to activate, so were not at first able to move forward and throw themselves out into a line.

The first column of Wargs veers towards the Elven archers, who are still trying to shake themselves out int a firing line.  The Goblin infantry can  be seen slogging through the stream bed at the top right of the photo.

     The first column of Wargs bypassed my solid line of spears, and instead headed straight for the weaker archers who where trying to maneuver into a line on my left.  My wizard cast a spell on one of the Warg stands that caused it to immediately take 2 morale checks , with the result being the Wargs ended up going to Pinned condition. The rest of the Wargs got to the archers quickly, and were able to badly maul one unit, before a hail of Elven arrows drove them back, causing morale checks which they subsequently failed, and they routed back to the safety of the stream bed.

The Wargs fall upon the lead archer unit.

   Meanwhile, the unit of bats that was flying with the Wargs, made a beeline for my Wizard.  They exchanged melee and eventually my Wizard became bat-chow, but not before doing two hits on the bats (Full stands take 3 hits before being removed, small stands like Leaders, Heroes, and Wizards only take 2).  My mounted archers were subsequently able to eliminate the bats.
   While this was going on, the Goblin infantry was slowly slogging across the stream bed, and moving up on the Wargs’ right.  On the Elven side, the reinforcements started to reach the battle, with the line of Eleven spears from Jamie’s force moving up on my right.  His knights, he send down the road to our left, as the Opportunistic Evil guys were making good headway up to cut the road.

A larger view, about midway through the battle.  Jamie’s spearmen are moving up on my right, as my cavalry begins to spar with the Wargs crossing the river.  The remnants of the other force of Wargs can  be seen fleeing into the stream bed to regroup.

     As the second column of Wargs moved up to cross the dry stream bed, they were met with charges from my cavalry, and Jamie’s spears, and a viscous melee developed in and around the stream bed.  The elves badly hurt the Wargs, but did not eliminate them.  Our trouble now was we, especially my cavalry, had taken several hits and were badly weakened.  When the Wargs finally routed back to the cover of the hill, both my cavalry stands had two hits on them, so teetered on the edge of being eliminated.
  By this time the wagons and refugees had entered the table and were making their way down the road.

The Battle of the Stream Bed, as it became known. A swirling melee of Wargs and  Elves.  The Elves eventually drive the Wargs off, but have been critically weakened 

     Meanwhile on our left flank, the Giants had made it to the road to block it, just as Jamie’s knights got there and charged forward.  The Giants rolled a “Fire Twice” on their “To Stand” dice roll, and so were able to launch a hail of boulders at the knights as they closed, doing two hits on them.  The remaining knights, however, joined by their brigade leader, on the Giants’ flank, were in turn able to hit the Giants back twice.

While on the Elven left, The Elf Knights try to drive the Giants off the road.

     The Goblin infantry had now moved up and were trying their best to move around our flank just out of short range bow fire (long range fire only does morale checks, not kills). One clan broke and ran for cover of the creek bed, but the other still pressed on. The Goblin Shaman cast a spell in front of one of the units of Elven archers which caused a magic wall of giant thorn bushes to grow to the sky, effectively blocking the fire from that unit.

A view near the end of the game. The convoy has made it about half way, but the Goblins and a unit of Minotaurs have almost made it to the road to cut them off.  

    About this point in the battle we had to end due to the lateness of the hour.  The Elven wagons and refugees had got about half way across the table.  While the Elves’ infantry was still in relatively good shape our cavalry had been badly mauled, and were just a hit or two from disintegrating.  The Wargs however, while they had taken hits and routed, still had enough good stands left that they would surely be able to cause a serious threat to the wagons and refugees when they recovered.  Without our cavalry, the remaining infantry would be too slow to respond to any penetration through our lines or around our flanks by the fast Wargs.  I therefore called the game a Goblin victory.
   Both sides had a good time, and there were a number of desperate melees that happened in the game that kept things exciting and the balance of the outcome up in the air until the end.

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Test Goblins: Figures 59-61 of 265

Chris Palmer As I mentioned in my previous post, the “Song of Blades and Heroes” battle report; two weeks ago I finished the Spirit translucent figure quickly enough, that I was able to also paint up 3 test Goblin figures for use with my Orc warband for the SoBaH games I was playing that weekend.  The Goblins were from the Dungeon Attack set, and I chose one of each pose to begin with.  I didn’t want to paint them the same old green that has become so common for Goblins, so I consulted my old beaten-up copy of the D & D Monster Manual, and read up on Goblins.  It said that their skin color ranged from yellow, to dull orange, to brick red…nothing about green.  So, I decided to go with the middle of the range there and paint them a dull orange-ish.
   To begin with though, I prepped them in the usual way; soaking in water with a bit of dish soap added, giving a gentle scrub with an old soft toothbrush, then rinsing and drying.  Afterwards, I primed them with Krylon Camouflage Flat Black with Fusion.  I then glued them to 1″ fender washers with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and then glued the washers to a tongue depressor with a coupe small dabs of Elmer’s white glue, for ease of handling during painting.

To begin, I painted all their exposed skin areas with Accent “Golden Oxide”.

Next, I painted their Tunics with Apple Barrel “Burnt Sienna”, and the padded jerkin on the archer with Accent “Mustard Seed”.  For the fur areas on the neck of the mace Goblin, and the boots of the spear Goblin, I first painted the areas with Ceramcoat “walnut” and then dry brushed with Americana “Sable Brown”.   I then painted their hats with Americana “Mississippi Mud”

I also painted the shields with Ceramcoat “Bright Red”. Then I did the backs of the shields with the “Walnut”, and then all the straps and belts with Americana “Asphaltum”.  The Quiver I painted with Accent “Real Umber” and the arrow shafts with Crafters “Spice Brown”. I painted the fletchings by dry brushing them with GW “Fortress Grey”

I then painted the handle of the mace, bow, and spear shaft with the “Spice Brown”. Lastly I painted all the metal armor, weapons parts, and buckles with Accent “Princely Pewter”.

My next step was to work on the stonework bases they were standing on.  I painted these with Duncan “Slate Grey”, and then painted the blobs of vegetation sitting on the stones with DecoArt “Forest Green”.  Lastly, I painted their teeth and th claws on their feet with Americana”Buttermilk”. When all the paint was dry,  I washed the figures completely with some watered down Winsor-Newton Peat Brown Ink.

When the ink wash dried, I added highlights to their skin and clothing by repainting some of the raised areas with the base color.  I also added some highlights to the metal parts with Ceramcoat “Metallic Pewter”, and highlighted their teeth and claws with the “Buttermilk”. Then, after everything had time to dry, I painted on a coat of Ceamcoat “Matt Varnish”.  When this had dried I flocked the bases.  Even though they were sculpted to look like dungeon floors, I wanted to use my Goblins in outdoor settings, so I flocked them to look like perhaps the Goblins were standing on parts of old ruins or an overgrown path.  After the flock had dried, I sprayed the figures with Testor’s Dullcote.

Overall, I’m pleased with how these turned out.  I think the dull orange skin really works on these figures.  Especially in contrast to their drab clothing.  And, they were nice and quick and easy to paint.

Now to work on the other 9 Goblins from the set.

Figures 59-61: Complete

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Song of Blades and Heroes: Bones Battle Report

Chris Palmer This past Saturday I went to Rob Dean’s house for a couple games of “Song and Blades and Heroes”. Rob and I decided to hold these game days using SoBaH to give us an opportunity to use our newly painted Bones figures. Like me, he bought into the first Reaper Kickstarter, and has been busy working on painting the figures from it.  He has also purchased and painted a number of Reaper’s non-Kickstarter Bones figures as well.
  Rob set up a nice looking table with some sort of ancient stone heads guarding a hilltop.  Perhaps some ancient burial ground I was guarding from treasure hunters?
     For our first game I decided to build a warband around some of my newly painted translucents.    So I decided on a force consisting of: 1 Spectre, 1 Ghost, 2 Superior Skeleton Archers, 1 Skeleton Warrior, 1 Superior Skeleton Warrior (I used the Lionman skeleton stats from the rulebook), and 1 Fire Elemental.   This gave me a group of rather mediocre troops, most having a Combat score of 2, and Qualities of 3+ and 4+.  My best weapons were the Spectre with its Terror attribute and the Fire Elemental with it’s 4+ Combat score, and short range shoot.
  Rob chose a warband of assorted Human fighters, archers and a Magic User.  He had one figure with the Leader ability in the mix, who effectively brought his warband’s Quality down to a 2+ (Lower Quality is better in SoBaH).

Team Undead: Spectre, Ghost, a pair of Superior Skeleton Archers, a Skeleton Warrior, a Superior Skeleton Warrior, and a Fire Elemental

   It didn’t help things that I badly mishandled the warband from the get go.  The Ghost proved to be useless with a Quality 4+ and a Combat of only 1.  It seldom activated, and lingered about waiting to pile on to another combat, which never happened.  I really didn’t know what to do with the Spectre  either, with it’s Combat score of 2+.  It wasn’t until halfway through the game that I realized the way I should be using it was to pin an enemy with one of my other units, and then charge it with the Spectre; thus forcing it to take a morale check (because of the Spectre’s Terror attribute) and possibly causing it to flee from combat giving the figure it was fighting a free, and lethal, hack.

Rob advances his troops. 

   The Fire Elemental I sent on a foolish flank march to get at Rob’s wizard, but the hill slowed it down to a point where it had hardly got halfway across before the rest of my force had been decimated…which is what happened.  While my Spectre and Ghost flounced around being ineffective with their Quality 4+ activations, Rob was able to efficiently start taking out my skeletons with melee attacks. When I did try to get my Spectre into combat it rolled miserably and lost the fight, falling to the ground.  At which point it was swarmed and dispatched by the enemy.  In a matter of a few turns I was reduced to below half strength, and we called it a game.

My Spectre’s big chance.  It knocks the enemy down, but subsequently has such poor activation rolls that the enemy is able to stand up and knock it down in return before it can react.

Next up, I had prepared an Orc and Goblin warband.  I was able to paint the Goblins up quick after the Spirit figure this past week, as the Spirit didn’t take that long, and I will feature them in an article on Monday. Rob reused his warband of Humans, and who could blame him after their great success in the first game.  So this time I was tasked with defended the great Orc holy stone head alter from Human interlopers.
  This will be a short report, as I must say up front, I do not think I have ever had a game go bad for me so quickly.

Team Orc: (Back row) Orc Warchief, 3 Savage Orcs, 1 Superior Orc Archer, (front row) Goblin Elite Archer, 2 Goblin Warriors, and 2 Spider Swarms (I used the centipede swarm stats from the rulebook) 

The Orcs, like my previous warband, suffered from less than average Quality of 4+. I had learned enough from Rob’s last outing with Orcs (See: Bones Battle Report ) to include a figure with the Leader attribute to effectively bring my Quality down to 3+ .
     So, on my first turn, I get about half of my stuff activated including an Orc Spearman who is pointed up as a Savage Orc.  He gets two successful activation rolls and races forward.  After my second mixed result activation, the Spearman is about a move out front, with everyone else following up at various stages.

The beginning of the end:  the Orc Spearman goes charging forth.

At this point, two of Rob’s fighters who have also been racing forward, reach him.   With their better Quality, they roll and get 3 activations each, so they still have the ability to strike the spear-wielding Orc when they get to him.  The first one knocks him down, and the second manages to inflict a Gruesome Death on the poor Spear Orc.  About 5 of my figures are in range to see this and must test morale.  Since most have hardly got two moves onto the table, when they fail their morale they are close enough that the rout carries them off the edge.  So, four end up running off the table.  This immediately reduced my strength from the 10 models I started with down to 5 remaining by the third turn.  Rob, easily enough, gets one more kill on me by plugging my archer with an arrow, which drops me below 50% strength. In the ensuing morale check, everyone else, but the swarms, run away.  

The end.  The spear Orc meets a Grusome Death as his clanmates look on in horror, possibly wetting themselves and crying like babies, before running off the table.

  So, it was not a good day for my warbands.  Rob and I discussed afterwards that we really need to figure out a way to make lower Quality and high quantity warbands work; since in the games we have played so far, the warbands that have the superior Quality always win.  I look forward to our next rematch.

To read an account of the battles from the other side of the table, visit Rob’s blog: The Sharp End of the Brush

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A 10mm Elf Building Made From a Tropicana Orange Juice Lid

Chris Palmer    Ok, to begin with, let me say I am not a big orange juice drinker. So, it came as a surprise to me when I was browsing the drink aisle at a convenience store while travelling over the holidays, that Tropicana had these cool arched design lids on their drinks. When I saw it, it immediately said Elvish architecture to me; and was a perfect size to go with my 10mm Fantasy minis.  So, I bought one to bring home and work on, and I finally completed it this past week.

The main problem I saw with the lid was that it has the name “Tropicana” embossed on the top.   So, to hide it, I glued a large 1.5 inch plastic base over it. A 2″ one may have been better, as the size I used didn’t quite fully cover the embossing, but I didn’t have a spare 2″ one on hand.  And the 1.5 inch gives a nice stepped look.

I first sprayed it with Krylon Flat Black with Fusion to act as a primer.

And then I gave it a spray with Krylon Flat White.

I then painted it white again, with regular bottle acrylic paint, to help hide the black undercoat, and added some blue trim.  Lastly I painted on a door and added some paper windows I printed out with the computer.

The finished building shown with some 10mm Elves for scale.
  The bottle and lid I got were the 12 oz size.  I since noticed in the grocery store that a large lid come on their large juice bottles.  While it is slightly larger in diameter, it is actually about s millimeter shorter in height.  It might make a nice large version of the building, or a neat two story structure.

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