Hmm, no, that doesn't look like your typical MacDuff game to me either.
On the plus side, I now have 1 of my HotT armies sorted and based. I will do a separate post detailing the armies of Cinneadh na Craoibhne later with detailed pictures.
My original thoughts for this sudden mini-project was that it would allow me to keep some favorite old figures but still free up some shelf space and make it easier to start getting those that are going, organized and sale-able. Well plan A & C are coming along nicely, B is a little shaky. The plan as we saw in the last post was for 4 armies, each of which was to be able to provide a standard 24 point army with a limited choice. If I were to play a double size game such as we played at Rob's, then 2 alliances would see all 4 armies in play.
Once the word got out that any figures included in a HotT army would be spare the auction block, my recruiting teams were immediately swamped with figures seeking sanctuary. The refusal of some old character figures to serve under or in some cases, even beside other old characters was an unexpected wrinkle. In no time at all, I was looking at five 48 point armies, or more.
This, of course, made nonsense of the original plan so I put it all aside for a bit and gave some thought to things. The first thing I decided was to spend a bit more time and effort on picturing who each army was and what made it different as well as what I would ask from such a project if I was starting fresh.
One of the strengths of HotT is its flexible, generic troop types that allow you to easily slot almost anything in to the simple system. Ironically this is also its biggest weakness, if an elephant is the same as a giant or a pair of trolls or a Steam Tank, why have one vs the other? The answer is to look beyond the details of the individual stand and look at the character of the army as a whole. So its not how your behemoth looks, its how it fits in to the army (in purely game terms, looks are important for setting the scene and getting the feel for each army). An army with 3 behemoths supported by shooters and some cavalry will have to act differently from an army with 1 of each type.
Given the number of troops at my disposal and my preference to have figures of a similar size and style, I started to get a bit more ruthless about sorting things out. I also decided to try to use dress to make each army distinct in addition to having a different make up. Lastly I decided to try and have space for at least 1 of each troop type and to try to have each army have at least 1 unique unit type, and to limit each army to as close to 30 points as possible without being too mean. This will leave a little room for expansion in future.
My old early, mostly minifigs, Valdurian army had naturally clumped together with the Moose Knight (nee Alexander Nevsky), Queen Joanna, my Pictish archers (S range), Dalridian tribesmen (Irish) and Valdurian light cavalry (Ancient Britains and Gauls led by Vercingatorix). Well enough, but the nearly naked woad covered Picts were more what I had in mind and the 2 male general/hero characters just were not going to work together. (the Moose Knight, one of my most successful ever, having replaced the other, one of my least successful ever, never mind the clash in style). I had quickly made uo the City army from plate armoured and late medieval types and had planned to do another army from my Flodden Scots (actually Heritage fantasy figures but drawn precisely, pose and all from the Almark book on Flodden) but I also had enough earlier Scots to confuse things. I was soon in danger of having 3 too similar armies of men. I also had not allowed room for my historical-ish Arthurian troops.
I started by taking all the trousered, Celtic figures from the forest army and moving them to support my Arthurian cavalry and the old Valdurian Royal Horse Guards who had been trying to work their way into my Persian armies rather than face extinction. This gave a new army of the Sky, 7 stands of riders, and 3 of knights supported by a handful of poorly equipped (apart from the foot guard) infantry, a magician and an eagle. The magician had been painted all in black apart from a dark red cloak and had never really fit in anywhere. I decided to bite the bullet and repaint him in sky blue with white cloak then stood him on a tall stone pillar to recite satires on his enemies. I still need to base these but for now the army is complete. The theme is somewhere between Swords at Sunset and Men Went To Catreath with a touch of magic.
To fill the gaps in the woods army, I dug out the last of my Pictish cavalry, the ones that had been providing recruits for my ECW Scots lancers. Taking only those with weapons intact, that provided 3 stands of cavalry. The highlanders from my Scots provided enough figures to flush out the army with all but 3 leaders being barelegged if not bare-arsed. This army has behemoths, beasts, lurkers and sneakers but no armoured troops. I had enough archers to field an army of shooters but that didn't really sound right. Hordes was what I really wanted with the Song of the Pict playing in my head (actually it was Leslie Fish's original playing in my head but that one's not half bad), especially since I could field 12 figures on 2 bases for the same points cost as 3 warband figures. However, Hordes are pretty useless in woods, and while they aren't likely to spend much time in woods on the table top, it just didn't seem like an appropriate choice for the People of the Trees so a mix of 4 man warband and shooter stands it is. I wanted to include another old favorite from the Nevsky range, an armoured axeman who has led many a unit. To keep with the lightly armoured look, he now commands 2 stands of nearly naked spearmen, the fulcrom of the army.
Turning my attention to the City Folk and the pile of Scots pikemen, I decided to sort them into 14th C and earlier and 15thC and later and see where that got me. The City army now has plate armoured pikemen instead of archers and halbardiers in jacks and after my eye fell on a plastic toy rowboat, has an aerial gunboat manned by handgunners in the slips. Having both a cleric and a wizard seemed less than optimal and after some thought it occurred to me that the effect of the rich merchants bribes are probably more like the effect of a sneaker than a magician, hard to stop but they do little harm unless he gets to the general or buys out the stronghold. This nicely allows the use of all 4 special units at once in a 24 pt army.
The 13th-4th C army of bows, blades and spears with a few cavalry seems a little bland even with paladin but it fills a niche and keeps some troops that I like even if they aren't that old.
This brings me to 4 armies, however, and I still have my Black General, a McEwan model I think, based on the Frazetta Death Dealer painting. He's never really had a place despite his long service but I had been going to give him my Irish and Saxon raiders. Five armies is an interesting number for a campaign. With only 4 you get either an even 2 vs 2 or a lopsided 3 vs 1. With 5, things are never in balance and if all are involved you get 3 vs 2, hard but not impossible. Still, its that much more shelf space needed. Once I started hauling out the chunky Viking and Carolingian of forgotten make, it became clear that with a bit of hard mindedness, I could incorporate some of the Irish as mercenaries and light troops and dispose of the sea raiders. Perhaps the water people came by sea, farmers from a nearby island or the shores of many lochs?
The remaining 3 armies, trying hard to sort them selves into 2.
I'm only short 1 or 2 troop types and have more troops than originally planned (with room allowed for a few more). I've decided to be harsh about the many broken figures, the Heritage and Citadel (I think, possibly) figures being especially prone to broken bows. Those that appear to have good metal will be melted down for recasting instead of being repaired, the rest will ceremioniously dumped. What is left is enough for 2 DBA armies to go up on ebay, Medieval Scots and Sub-roman British (assuming that I can find the remaining dozen, clunky, unknown make heavy cavalry again.) and of course a few stragglers.
I will, however, have to put up another 4 foot shelf to avoid over crowding, luckily there is just room.