Test Of Honour New Scenario – Battle Report

The club that I normally attend is having a bit of a summer break. It seems that everybody is busy at the same time this year. So rather than go to the club, I hosted a game in my newly tidied games room AKA the garage, with Andy Callan as my opponent. When Andy organises a game at his place, he usually comes up with a well thought out scenario, usually based on an actual historical battle, so I thought that I better put some preparation into our game. The plan was to play Test of Honour and as we have fought our way through the scenarios in the book, it was time to think of something new.

As it was, I went for a variant of the Spy scenario, so not too original, but it did present some extra challenges and once again, this simple game provided a very enjoyable evenings play. The scenario was as follows. A samurai and four retainers were defending a shrine from marauding war bands. This small band of fighters were unsure as to where their allegiance lay and could be persuaded to join one of the warbands and fight on their side to protect their property. All a player had to do to recruit the defending warriors to his band would be for the Hero Samurai to persuade them that they were the force for good!

Do You want to be in my gang? I'll give you this head.....

Do You want to be in my gang? I’ll give you this head…..

The Set up was quite simple. The ‘neutral defending’ Samurai and his warriors were set up on a mid line, in cover,¬† exactly between the two players forces who were allowed to deploy anywhere along their base lines up to 6 inches into the table. The cards and tokens for the ND force were placed to one side of the table. Apart from blocking line of sight, they would not be part of the game unless ‘recruited’ by one side or the other. This process was quite simple. To recruit a neutral warrior, the hero samurai from either side would have to make base contact with the warrior. On the next activation, he would then take a test of wits. If passed, the warrior would be successfully recruited to his warband and the neutral warriors card and token would be moved to the successful warriors side of the table. On the next turn, the token (or tokens, in the case of the samurai) would be placed in the bag and he would be activated as normal and fight for his new master.

The neutral warriors were deliberately spaced across the table to allow both attacking warbands the chance of recruiting extra men. Obviously, the prize was the neutral Samurai. However, the game would only be won if one of the hero Samurai were slain or one of the opposing forces were driven back to their side of the table and the shrine secured. We set the turn time for 6 moves but if there was no clear outcome, we were happy to keep going. As it was 6 turns was enough! We were using 21 points for each opposing warband.

Archer for hire.

Archer for hire.

So how did it play out? To start with, both of the hero Samurai charged towards the shrine in an attempt to recruit the neutral Samurai. However, once it became clear that I was going to win that race, Andy decided to draw back and concentrate on moving up his war band in support of his Samurai. I had chosen bowmen as my ‘fire support’. Andy was using musketmen. I was dubious as to how effective that musketmen would be in groups – I was about to find out! I quickly persuaded the neutral Samurai to join my band and leaving him and the wise Samurai to defend the temple, the Hero moved off to attempt to recruit more reinforcements.

Wise Samurai and his new best friend under fire!

Wise Samurai and his new best friend under fire!

This turned out to be a big mistake! My two samurai were now unsupported as Andy’s warband closed the gap on them. To make matters worse, my warband was lagging behind as I used any activations to allow my bowmen to shoot rather than moving up troops. My archers were somewhat ineffective as they were shooting at long range. The opposite was the case for Andy’s musket troops. When used in a group of three, they benefit from having four dice to hit, and then four dice to kill, all at 20 inches. So musket fire combined with Andy’s Samurai both charging in meant that I lost my newly recruited Samurai and my wise Samurai in one blood thirsty turn!

Are you sure you are a wise Samurai? It's feeling a bit lonely out here!

Are you sure you are a wise Samurai? It’s feeling a bit lonely out here!

My hero Samurai had managed to recruit an extra bowman but this was small consolation. In my rush to gain recruits I had split my warband and my Hero Samurai out of position and isolated. Even worse, Andy’s musket men were now working extremely well as a team, one group firing, the other reloading and causing damage with every shot.

Newly recriuted Samurai faces the opposing hero.

Newly recruited Samurai faces the opposing hero samurai, his new best friend having already been dispatched!

My archers continued to be ineffective even as the range closed. Despite their best attempts to keep Andy’s Samurai at bay, they closed in on my hero.

Archers fire!

Archers fire!

With his spearmen drawing my archers fire, my own Hero under musket fire, his Hero and wise Samurai closed for the kill and cut down my hero Samurai to win the game.¬† The moral of the story being never listen to a man who wants to be your friend if he is holding someone else’s head….

Once again, Test of Honour had delivered an excellent evenings entertainment and this apparently straight forward rules set has enough depth to keep you coming back for more. Maybe I need some more musket men….

Incidentally, once we had finished that game we moved onto a game using mounted Samurai. I know from the feedback on facebook there is a feeling that these are over pointed in the current rules. I certainly feel that this is the case, so we made some minor changes to their rules. First up, we allow charge at 9 inch range – it seems daft not to. We allow a 6 inch move and fire for mounted archers. We also allow an extra dice for avoid when targeted by missile fire. It all worked very well but to be fair, we both had mounted Samurai. It will be interesting to try these amendments when one player has a warband on foot only and see if the game is still balanced.

If you haven’t had a go with Test of Honour and would like to try it, we have all the sets currently available as well as the superb Sarissa scenery in my shop here:

SAMURAI 

 

 

Jonas Jones Part 3 – Napoleons Foot Guides

Napoleons Guides, converted Trent Miniatures

Napoleons Guides, converted Trent Miniatures

Once again, I’m happy to bring a guest post from a regular contributor ‘Jonas Jones’. Jonas likes to look for interesting and obscure subjects to model using the Trent Miniatures range as the start point. Now that should give you an idea of who Jonas is! Converting metal miniatures can be quite a challenge, unless you are talented with the ‘green stuff’. However, sometimes a simple head swap can lead to some interesting options. It is in this field that Jonas excels. In the first of his articles, ‘Off with his head #1’, a complete decapitation was required. OWHH#2 was more of a trepanning than a complete decapitation, but with the same end in view. In this short piece Jonas just replaces the headgear rather than the full head!

guides 2

The Trent Miniatures Legere in Mirletons (FLe01) are very nice figures in their own right, but cut (saw) off the Mirleton and replace it with a plumed Bicorn and you will have a passable likeness for Napoleons Foot Guides as they appeared in Northern Italy and the early days of Egypt. The appearance of the Foot Guides in Italy would be a bit of a ‘what if?’ as Napoleon left them behind to guard his base HQ. They were only a couple of companies strong at this point. However, at the time of the invasion of Egypt, they would have been built up into a small battalion, more than 400 strong.

guides 3

Later in Egypt, they were issued with a new uniform, like the rest of the army. For the early months they would look quite resplendent in green coats, red breeches and tall red plumes. Jonas has chosen to vary the breeches on some of the figures – a reflection of the rigors of campaigning! The plumed bicorne that Jonas has used has come from one of Toussaint Louvertures officers in pack CAR08 but a spare plastic one from a Victrix or similar set would do – you may just have to build the plume up. All of the figures shown have been painted according to information from Knotel Prints.

guides 4So just enough of an excuse to build a small unit of guides to field with your army and confound your opponent when he questions the colour scheme of your new unit! Regardless as to whether Napoleons Guides is to your taste, perhaps there are other units that you can make with a simple head swap. Sometimes, a simple conversion is faster than waiting for you favourite figure manufacturer to produce the unit that you need to finish your army!

guides 6

Backwards to go Forwards

I’m afraid that my modelling and painting have been very much curtailed this week. I decided that it was time to tidy out the garage, or as it now is, my wargaming room and have a good tidy and cull of some of the ‘rubbish that I have been collecting. I think that ‘collecting’ or hoarding, to be more accurate, is a spliced on gene that most wargamers possess.

Tidying the workshop started with dusting down some of my own models.

Tidying the workshop started with dusting down some of my own models.

Fortunately, Julie, my wife, has been away for a break so I could get on with making a mess whilst sifting through some of my collection of models and spare bits. Quite why I have kept so much of it, I really cant explain. I guess you never know when you are going to need that off cut of Teddy Bear fur to do some thatching on a Dark age building and those bits of balsa are sure to come in useful one day. Some of the stuff is just weird – bits of electrical appliances, widgets from beer cans ( yes, seriously!), even deodorant bottles. I wonder what other modellers keep in their bits boxes, just in case…..

To be fair, I have been building models for some 54 years now! I’ve been through many phases, from radio control Airplanes, Boats and Yachts; Scale plastic models in all scales, Science fiction Modelling – yes, Star wars and Dr who, through to wargaming via 40K and now Historical. So, another clear out was due to make way for the next lot of useful bits that I might acquire! The biggest problem that I have is getting rid of models that I have completed. I just don’t like to sell them. As well as being a record of my hobby, they hold many happy memories. Occasionally, one gets broken beyond repair and ends up in the spares box, but by and large I have kept many of my models – here are just a few of them taken at random.

At-AT diorama

At-AT diorama

This At-At diorama was built some years ago when I was into my Star Wars phase. I think that the kit is an MPC one produced back in the ’80’s. I have a number of Star Wars dioramas that I have built – Unfortunately Jar Jar Binks cured my of my Star Wars obsession but the latest films have perhaps redeemed the franchise. Here’s a picture of me building the AT-AT with my son – as he is now in his 30’s, you can see that it was a while ago…

Building the AT-AT

Building the AT-AT – home made work board!

I also had a thing about Dr Who. There was a series of models made by a company called Sevans. The models were large scale and took some building as they used a variety of materials. The intention was to build a collection of characters, including the Tardis. I managed three models as below.

Cyberman, Dalek and Ice Warrior

Cyberman, Dalek and Ice Warrior

The Dalek was radio controlled and had LED lights in the ‘head’. Unfortunately, the motor interfered with the Radio control so after a few crashes I gave up on it! It did amuse the family though! I may yet get back to this collection. I have a model of Davros in the loft somewhere!

From Science Fiction modelling, it was an easy step to get drawn into wargaming with Games Workshop 40k figures. I was an early adopter of the new ‘Rogue Trader’ rules and figures. However, due to work commitments, I initially did very little gaming but spent much of my time painting and modelling. I do enjoy the process of scratch building, although at the time, a lack of both money and to be fair, availability of the models pushed me in this direction. The cabinet below contains my own scratch built Bane Blade and Variants – all made with recycled plastic card and based on plans in White Dwarf Magazine.

Taleth Heavies - just one part of my Imperial Guard Army!

Taleth Heavies – just one part of my Imperial Guard Army!

My last phase of 40K was the Necrons. A shame that I actually got tired of waiting for GW to update the Codex and release new models as I have a huge collection of Necrons – some 7000 ‘old points’ and at the time every variant that they had released. In fact, to introduce some variety into my army, I started to convert and build my own models.

Necron Destroyer variant with 'drone 'Scarab.

Necron Destroyer variant with ‘drone ‘Scarab.

I still have a soft spot for Necrons and might just add some of the later models to the collection if ever I am bored or fancy a change from painting my historical armies….

Brixham Trawler Valerian

Brixham Trawler Valerian

The model above was actually scratch built by my Dad. Its a working scale model ( in that it sails!) of a Brixham Trawler, The Valerian. It is of course very precious to me and a reminder that it was my Dad that got me into the hobby. It’s given me endless hours of pleasure and an escape from every day life and its ups and downs. I profoundly hope that your hobby does the same for you.

Thanks for reading a bit of a self indulgent blog this week. The Man Cave is just about finished so I should get back to painting this week. The aim is to get back to painting Napoleonics – I have a regiment of Lifeguards to finish!

British Life Guards

British Life Guards – more to come!