25 March 2017

2017 Programme Posted

After a ridiculously long delay, at long last I've put the remainder of this year's programme up on this site.  Check out the UWS Programme 2017 tab above.

 

28 February 2016

Century of Tanks - a Kickstarter by David Pentland


Many wargamers have a fascination for the armoured fighting vehicle. The tank made its debut on the battlefield one hundred years ago, during the First World War. Since then, they have become the mainstay of most armies throughout the world.

UWS member and artist David Pentland is well known in the hobby for his paintings, with illustrations of tanks being his speciality.  Now he plans to publish a book tracing the history of this unique vehicle through his paintings and drawings.

Like many hobby projects these days, Century of Tanks is being crowdfunded through the Kickstarter site (see here).  If you're interested in the book, or even some prints and/or original paintings by David, you can pledge money to help fund the project. Your credit card will only be charged if the project reaches its funding target.

At the time of writing, David's project has raised more than a third of its target in pledges. With more than three weeks to go, hopefully he will get there, and this unique book will be published.

10 January 2016

Ulster Wargames Blog relaunched!

The Irish invade: a Dux Britanniarum game from October 2015
It's been far too long since this blog had an update, but I've resolved to keep it more up to date and relevant; all the more so since it will become the primary website for the Ulster Wargames Society.  I plan to upload more content from other members of the Society, which hopefully will keep things fresher and allow more frequent updates.
The UWS, which meets monthly in Belfast, remains in a fairly healthy state, with a membership in 2015 of some twenty wargamers.  That includes one or two new members, which is good to see.



11 October 2014

Outrage as immigrant lager louts desecrate church

The title of this post is a headline from the Sol newspaper (a popular 6th Century British tabloid)



In March AD 547, the Jutes under the leadership of Saebheart raided the Church of Saint Ceneu in southern Bernaccia.  Quintus the Silent rushed his men to the scene to protect the holy relics.  The recollections of Saebheart were fortuitously preserved in written form by a slave from Britain who knew how to read and write...
 
Terrain was a bit of a nightmare as the majority of it turned out to be clustered to the right of my shortest route from my table edge to/from the church and Quintus appeared on the table edge in the north east corner.
 
The church was positioned in the middle left section.  Quintus would have to pass through/round the terrain to get to me and vice versa...

 

The Jutes got 4 turns of movement before the game started which led to one unit getting into the church and another with a noble at the door…Saebheart and his elites took their time…groan.  One unit of warriors reached the north western corner of the church and had a nice view of nothing in particular.

The Jutes just missed Matins, the altar candles were still lit... It went downhill from there.

Brave brave Quintus sailed valiantly across the field accompanied by his Commanipulares.  Noble Sextus paralleled him with two units of warriors.Both sides' Missiles played their own game to the north of the church which Quintus was winning easily as Saebheart's lads caused shock and he killed. A theme that continued.

Pausing briefly to contemplate charging vengefully into the church, brave Quintus decided to charge Saebheart and his two units of adjacent elites instead. 

Things were pretty even in dice because Saebheart started the game with two Desperare and managed to draw a third… and no defensive cards. The combat threw Saebheart and one of his units back with 2 dead and one wound to no dead and a few shock.

As they battled the Jutes in the church made a successful loot roll… and the British warriors passed through the wood… one very slowly, one quickly… popping out beside the, briefly, cowed Saebheart..

 
Luckily Saebheart activated next and removed shock and threw his untouched elites at Quintus.. more shock to the Brits and one dead to the Jutes… they stepped back..

The Roman warriors with Noble charged. The dice favoured them slightly.Saebheart lost another man and retreated with more shock than men perilously close to the table edge inflicting… three shock.

On their activations the Jutes charged the warriors at the north end of the church against Brave Quintus and caused him 1 dead and several shock forcing him to step back… made a second loot test and one group from the church, minus loot, charged out and biffed less brave Quintus, killed two guys and inflicted more shock. 

With 3 guys and 13 shock Quintus was carried off against his will... and as they had lost their amphora they retreated 3D6 + a further 13 inches!

The 6 British warriors then received two groups of elites, admittedly one was of only 3 men, but suffered two dead and several shock and they retreated back through the forest.  Right beside their mates...

From a distant hill top chastened Quintus ordered a halt as the Jutes had their two items of plunder and an open road to their edge of the table.

Report by Richard Murphy
Photos by Colin Campbell and Darkdog

28 September 2014

The raid at Twin Fords Farm


And so it came to pass that in the Year of Our Lord 547, in the month of March, the Saxons for the first time darkened the shores of the province of Ynys Medcaut.  Passing close by the Holy Island itself, they headed for the mainland in their dark boats and made landfall close to a farmstead.  Known locally as Twin Fords, after the two river crossings nearby, the farm buildings must have appeared a tempting target for pillage.


However, as they fled from the raiders, the doughty farmer and his family evidently contrived to conceal their worldly goods most effectively.   Moreover, they were surely assisted by Our Lord and His holy angels, for when the hordes of the Saxons fell upon the farm buildings they could find no loot within.

When the Tribune Aurelius, known as Magnificus (the Magnificent), having been on patrol nearby with his forces, heard the alarm raised, he at once hastened to the scene with his elite Commanipulares.  Furthermore he relayed orders to the remainder of his men to make haste in his wake.  As an exile from the Lost Lands of Ceint, the noble Aurelius was all too well acquainted with the depredations of the ravening hordes of the Saxon, and knew he must act decisively and with rapidity.

On approaching the farm, Aurelius called on his trusted deputy Tutgal to proceed to the easternmost of the two fords with the two groups of Milites, to prevent the Saxons from crossing the river there.  Urging Donault Beata (the Blessed) to make best speed in his support, he made his way to the western ford, which was the closer of the two to the farm.  So the two heroes, in company with the Comanipulares and three groups of newly-levied Numeri, approached the scene of devastation wreaked by the plague of locusts that were the Saxons.
Observing the approach of Aurelius, the Saxon Lord responded by sending a group of spearmen to contest the western river crossing. He also despatched two groups to protect the eastern ford from Tutgal’s Milites. Forming his troops into a shieldwall, the latter bided his time, knowing that Aurelius had instructed him not to attempt to cross the river, but rather to prevent the Saxons from so doing. 


With a mighty shout the Commanipulares, led by Aurelius and his Champion, Gwalchafed, rushed across the western ford and struck the shields of the Saxon group with their own, thrusting their spears deep into the mass of mail-clad men to devastating effect.  But these Saxons were themselves clearly battle-hardened and selected by their Lord for their warlike character, for although falling back they had acquitted themselves honourably and formidably, causing no little concern to the brave sons of Britain.



Then a frenzied cry arose from the ranks of the Saxons, and fresh spearmen poured into the fray, throwing a flurry of short spears and other missiles as they came, which sorely discomfited the Commanipulares.  And so the clash of shield, spear and sword raged on until the river ran red with the blood of brave men.  In the confusion a giant Saxon burst through the line of shields and made as if to strike down Aurelius – and moreover would have succeeded had it not been for gallant Gwalchafed, who stepped in front of his Lord and took the brunt of the blow intended for him.  Though sorely wounded on his sword arm, Gwalchafed continued to fight alongside his Lord.


As the battle raged on and even the strongest of men tired, more and more gaps appeared in the lines on both sides, allowing swords to be thrust past shields with deadly effect.  Again the giant Saxon attempted to take the life of brave Aurelius, and although Gwalchafed struck him with a mighty blow that all but killed him, again he was wounded by the Saxon’s sword, this time mortally.


Aurelius in his turn avenged his loyal servant with a telling sword thrust that despatched the Saxon, who by the evidence of the angry cries from his countrymen that greeted his demise, appeared himself to be the Champion of the Saxon Lord.


Meanwhile, at the Eastern ford, Tutgal’s shieldwall had been assailed by two groups of Saxon warriors surging across the river.  Though sorely pressed, Tutgal’s men held firm, and one of these brave Britons managed to strike a blow on the enemy nobleman who led the attack, wounding him and drawing fierce curses from him and his men.




Eventually the soldiers of Aurelius and Tutgal prevailed in their separate struggles.  While Tutgal obediently stood his ground as the Saxons fell back across the river, Aurelius seized the initiative and approached the farm, where ever more despondent Saxons were bemoaning the dearth of treasure to be found.  However, on seeing him approach, the Saxon Lord ordered his men to call off their search and instead launch a fearsome attack on the battle-ravaged Commanipulares. 




Rallying his weary men, who were supported in their task by one group of the Numeri who had also crossed the river to stand alongside them, Aurelius fought tenaciously but was eventually forced to withdraw from the battle line.  Donault Beata then led another Numerus into the gap vacated by the battle-worn heroes, and though sorely pressed they succeeded in forcing the Saxons into retreat.


Aurelius, aware that his men had been grievously tested and wearied by a long day’s fighting, allowed the Saxon withdrawal to proceed uncontested, giving his band of heroes some respite to bury their dead, tend their wounded and plunder the corpses of the fallen Saxons.  Then the body of Gwalchafed was carried from the field, borne on his  shield by four of his closest comrades, and taken back to Ynys Medcaut for a hero’s burial.


In the aftermath of the fray, a few youths who had accompanied Aurelius told tall tales of slaying with their slings many Saxon archers and spearmen at the eastern end of the field, near the great wood, but this idle boasting of the common rabble was not heeded by Aurelius or any of his spearmen.  For in truth it is said that Victory has many fathers, each claiming the credit rightfully due only to the noble, courageous and pious.  The people of Bernaccia will undoubtedly, and rightly, acclaim Aurelius Magnificus for his brave and triumphant despatching of the Saxons from our shores.


As Aurelius himself is doubtless aware, however, it is undeniably true that these Saxons, or some of their brethren, will return one day.  Let us all pray that that day is far off.



Verbosus Prolix,

by God’s grace Bishop of Ynys Medcaut and loyal subject of King Morgan Bulc of Bernaccia.

Report and photo of Aurelius by Jeremy Dowd; other photos by Colin Campbell