Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Oh That It Should Come To This!

Old T-shirts can be guardians of some great memories but none the less, even if they are beloved working shirts, one day they reach the end of their time, as do we all.  That doesn't mean they are tossed in some rubbish bin then. Old vets can still be useful, if only as a cleaning rag, and the memories of the good times live on! 

Here is the short version of the epic journey that brought us together.

One last moment together before the transformation began.

The chosen theme for the 2001 HMGS Cold Wars convention was the American Rebellion (or Revolution or War of Independence if you prefer), broken down to the early years at Cold Wars, the Middle years at Historicon and the later years at Fall In!.  Since my duties at home and at work made Cold Wars the easiest one for me to get time off, that's the one I usually attended so early years it was. Luckily, that coincided with the most relevent part of the AR for me, Mongomery's attack on Quebec. 

Now it was only fairly recently that I had started the Little Wars Yahoo Group and 54mm had become my main scale, I decided to do a game based on the 1775 New Year's Eve assault. With a number of friends providing figures in addition to my own, I focused on coming up with toy soldier versions of the walls and houses and barricades etc. (Ever wonder why I use so many Christmas village houses on my table, esp before I painted over the snow?) Everything was set, two friends from Halifax were going to travel down with me.

So much for plans. As the departure date approached, reports of an impending mega-snowstorm in New England  began to threaten disaster. On the evening before we were due to leave, I decided to launch a preemptive drive. My friend Tom was good to go with an hour's notice but our 3rd passenger, we'll just call him X, didn't have a cell phone, or a land line, and wasn't home anyway, so we cruised about the streets till we spotted him, dragged him into the car, drove him to his rooms and gave home 30 minutes to shower, pack and join us. I was driving a little Chevy Sprint, a bit crowded for more than two even without the city of Quebec, including the cliffs that separate the Lower town from the Upper town. (btw...if you ever wonder how Wolfe got his army inc a couple of canons up a goat trail at l'Anse Aux Foulons, not to mention why the French would bring boatloads of supplies there when the main road was open, French maps and orders of the time show that there was already a wagon road there, where the road is today. The first wave just missed the proper landing spot. Serendipity.) This meant more boxes than usual and as a result, whoever's turn it was in the back seat, had to sit with a box full of terrain on his lap!  (Its only a 24 hour drive in all....

Hitting the road at maybe 8pm, we reached my forewarned parents, then living in a mobile next door to my brother in New Brunswick, and crashed from about 2 am until 6 am, then rose and carried on as the snow started to come down. By the time we neared Portland, the I95 was hubcap deep and we just barely managed to pull in to a motel. By morning, the snow had stopped, the road ahead was open and the road behind us was closed for two days. Phew! Carpe diem! 

By early afternoon we were in tshirts and visiting the  The Toy Soldier museum in Pennsylvania  (btw, if you ever make the chance and book an appointment, its worth a long drive to go visit for an hour or two or....). A few hours later we were booking in to the Lancaster host and a great convention followed.

ALLLLLRight, you sluggarts! Enough nostalgia. Get to work! There's a chain saw to clean.

As I recall the game was a good one with a close result and some memorable incidents but after more than a decade of life, games, and memories, the details are gone. Its a pity that it was in the very early days of digital cameras and cellphones and a VERRY busy convention with other games to run or play and I don't have even one picture of that Cold Wars or the game that was at the core of this story. 

Still, the memories live on in the shirt, and in me. 



Sunday, August 28, 2022

Meanwhile...

What can I say, its summer, there are distractions and errands and sunshine to soak up and outside chores that can only be done when there's no snow and things aren't wet and so on and so forth. 

There was also the issue of sorting out a bag of pieces of little soldiers for the F&IW to be figured out which meant hitting the books to refresh myself and checking for new info so I could decide what to do with the next sample of 3d printed figures so as to not only try them on for size as it were, but to end up being able to fit them into to my existing forces whether I add more or not. 

A Start.

In order to fit in with my personal plans, I took the liberty of making a few slight modifactions of the figures and the resin was so easy to work with that it made me nostalgic for the early 70's when I was modifing 54mm, acetate, figures by Segom for dioramas and vignettes. 

Then it was time to stop and head back outside, chainsaw in hand, well actually, it was such a calm sunny Sunday that I put a ban on power tools and headed out for 3 hours with buck saw and clippers, leaving the big stuff to another day.

Hurricane debris into firewood, an ongoing project,

Hopefully I'll finish up these three tomorrow, and be able to start thinking about a Labour Day Weekend game.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Pass In Review: Day of Battle 3d Early Medieval Miniatures.

 Its been a few years since I've been asked to publicly review a book or a range of miniatures so it was an unexpected pleasure when Chris Parker from Day of Battle Games asked if I would review some of their new 3d printed figures. It was even more of a pleasure because while I rarely buy figures these days, I had been very impressed by pictures of the minis on Facebook and had wondered if they were as good in person and just what size of 40mm they were. 


Here is the first of two reviews. 

1066 Range
(ie Saxon, Normans & Vikings)
(Available in 25mm and 40mm)


40mm 1066 Saxon, Norman and Viking 3d printed in resin, quickly painted by me.
(Look at the detail on the armour!!)

I had three main questions in mind as I awaited delivery of the samples: Will they look as good as the pictures?  What size of 40mm are they? Will my cheap craft acrylics work on them? The first answer was "Yes!". The second is below, and the 3rd was that my cheap paints worked even better on the resin than they are on metal or the soft and hard plastics used on most plastic miniatures.  

LtoR: 40mm figures: S&S, DoB, Irregular ECW, PA homecast, DoB, Triguard Scots spearman, DofB, PA homecast archer, Elastolin vikings.

In terms of height and bulk, The Sash & Sabre are the best fit (I don't have a sample of their Dark Age range but they tend to be fairly consistent.) though a few of the larger Elastolins are a pretty good fit. The Triguard is not impossable but he would be close to a 7 ft in real life so I'd prefer not to mix them on the table.  The rest of the figures are close enough to go together on my table, which is lucky because that's what I have available without further expeditures and what I wanted to mix some of these resin figures with in the first place!  

As for the figures themselves, I was blown away by the detail, the anatomy and proprtions and the natural poses. All three of these facets were better than many of the 40mm metal figures that I've painted and equal to the best that I have painted. They do not come with bases but since all my Elastolin plastics are glued to metal washers, I just super glued these figures to washers before painting and they held just fine.   

These particular figures were one piece except for the shields. The figures come with a shield but you can order packs of kite, large round or small round shields. They don't come with bases but that doesn't bother me, I was going to mount them onto metal washers anyway so as to match my Elastolins. I gave them a scrub with dishsoap, well rinsed, superglued them to washers, then just primed with some burnt sienna craft acrylic, and carried on from there. I'm probably varnish them so they fit in with my Elastolins and homecast PA Vikings but I haven'tdone it yet.


If only my eyes were as sharp and my hands were as steady as they were 20 years ago! 

In my books: *****  (5 stars) Fully recommended. 

I didn't find any disappointments or issues with these, they were easy to paint with very crisp detail, and I like the look of them. Here's a link to the website if you want to see what figures are available.:For a look at whats available, here's a link: https://www.chrisparkergames.com/product-category/miniatures/medieval/1066/


Next up: 40mm F&IW


Monday, August 22, 2022

Day 2: A Day At The Beach.

The second day was in a different location, right on the coast, within earshot of the Atlantic and a 3 minute walk to a popular beach. A few decades ago I used to enjoy the sea and the ...umh...view! at the beach on a sunny weekend but these days the table full of toys was more appealing. 

I had designed the scenario for 2-4 players and we were 4. Since the players were not familiar with my "With MacDuff To the Frontier" rules, I decided to act as GM instead of playing. That gave us a British player landing at a little fishing village at the far left hand table edge from the camera ( NE), and a Breton Royalist (Chouan) force moving on from the corner to the right of the camera (SW), a French force defending a cliff top battery (SE) and a French column starting off table, entering along the road in the far right corner from the camera (NW) on a die roll equal to or less than the current turn number. (Turn 3 as it turned put.)


The British had 2 victory conditions. The first was to hand over a mule train carrying gold and munitions to the Royalists, the  other was to end up with a secure spot from which the Royal Navy could pick them up. It being a fairly rocky shore with reefs at sea, there were only two places, one was the fishing village at the far end, the second was a small wharf under the guns of the coastal battery. Their force came ashore in three waves: the Marines and a naval landing party, two companies of Emigres and one of Hessian Jaegers, and lastly, the convoy. Each wave took 1 turn to land, and 1 turn to clear the wharf of troops and empty boats. 

The French also had two victory conditions. The major one was to prevent the delivery from happening, preferably by capturing the convoy so they could make use of the money and munitions, the second was to destroy the British force and/or the Reactionary traitors.  The Royalists only had one objective, get the gold and arms and get it safely off table and to do so with enough force to discourage a cavalry pursuit. 

 

About mid game: the British are all ashore, the Marines first attack was bloodily repulsed but they had rallied bravely, the Royalists are skirmishing with two separate battalions of French infantry while the French infantry are making headway on capturing the port while their Hussars
are threatening the convoy. Things were looking iffy for the allies.


A few turns later... the French Hussars swept away the emigre infantry and charged into the mule convoy which was apparantly being managed by either tough sailors or fanatic Royalists (or the dice were prejudiced) because the convoy (rolling for 6's) tied the pursuing cavalry (rolling for 3+'s) forcing them to rally back. The next turn was British and the convoy high tailed it to safety.

With the convoy well on its way, and French infantry fighting in the streets of the fishing village with an eye to cutting off the British escape route, the Marines took another bit between their teeth, stormed up the road to the battery and overran it without losses to the amazement of all. (Dice! Never trust them!)
(The white flag the battery seems to have found was also impressive, I mean, it certainly couldn't be a paper napkin the GM had been using to wipe ummh, salt, vinigar and fat, or something, off his hands.)

After a few more turns of manouvres and firefights, it was the final turn and the French drew the initiative and were going first. The French Hussars were finally in range of the mule train again with only a few skirmishers in the way, while their infantry was in position to clear away the Royalists and cut off the wagon's escape route but.......... alas for them,  it seems that all those Royalist priests and the White banner of the king being wielded by a monk played a role afterall. In any case, the cavalry got tied up in a hedge (or rolled really lousy movement dice) and the veteran White coats, who charged the Royalist pikes and scythes, rolled low and were thrown back.  The convoy was clear while the Brits still held the wharf in the village and also held the wharf below the now spiked battery.

A clear win for the British and the Chouans but it had been damned close at various points.
___________

That was it for the gaming that day, the rest of the afternoon and evening were spent eating, drinking and talking. Knowing that my wife was not feeling well, I opted to drive the hour home rather than sleep over, expecting to return the next day to play the multiplayer board wargame, Brittania. When I awoke though, every muscle in my body ached and my brain felt like oatmeal. (No it was not an alcohol hangover, I'd only had one glass of beer and that in the afternoon so as to not interfere with the return trip.)  Reluctantly I sent my regrets and took the day off for napping. 

Still, despite wiping out on the last day, it was a great couple of days with old longtime friends and two most enjoyable games. 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

As Mini As A Convention Gets: Day 1

There are certainly days when I begin to think that I'm getting on. We enjoyed a 5 player, 12mm, mid-18thC, miniature wargame on Friday, a 4 player 40mm wargame on Saturday, and hopefully the remaining three are enjoying the boardgame scheduled for today even though they are short a player.  I had planned to be there, but legs and head were too tired and sore to manage the hour drive each way and learning a new-to-me multi-player board game.

The turns were too fast and furious with too much good natured trash talk, old incidents and absent friends  recalled etc etc for me to  remember to take lots of pictures or make notes during the game or check the clock. Remarkably like being at a  convention really. So here's the 1 minute a day news summary Pt 1.

Day 1

This was hosted by Les using a quicker play variation of my old Hearts of Tin rules that he had prepared a number of years ago. It was a simple, mid-18thC, 3 vs 2 river crossing scenario, including reinforcements for the defender. I think it took us about 3 hours to play through from deployment to the sad end. (Yeah, you guessed it, I was one of the defenders who almost repulsed the attackers.) 

The game begins!
(The cavalry in reserve and the light infantry along the river were under my control as were the reinforcements on our right. The objective for the enemy was to control at least bridge and over 1/2 the built up areas.)

By turn 3 or 4, we learned that a) my light infantry needed some serious training in how to shoot and b) the enemy Hussars were not the slightest bit discommodated by leaping hedges when charging since 6's still took effect....... 



Everyone here? Allright lets go get'em tigers!

Well, at this point, technically we still held half the buildings but.......... with isolated 1 battery in the open  vs 4 infantry battalions and  1/2  squadron vs 2 more battalions there was no waay we could win even if Rob held his position on far the left and my 1/2 battalion in the white walled farm held out.

Day 2: Coming soon!


 

Friday, August 19, 2022

Before I Go...

To the first of 3 days of gaming and chatting, here's a peek at yesterday's solo  playtest of Saturday's game. 






Didn't have time to finish but I'm content that the scenario and MacDuff rules will work just fine.


Now, off to the War(game)s!

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Planning and Preparation

P&P, one of the important principles drummed into my head in younger days. Surprisingly useful in civilian life as well as it turns out.

Some of Les' 10mm Pendraken SYW collection.
(Looks more like 12mm to me but its their call...)

On Monday I gave my friend Les a hand in setting up his gaming table for a group game on Friday.

I'm looking forward to it and couldn't resist putting a few figures on the table for a quick pic. 

Now its back to preparing for Saturday's game. Last month I decided that I'd rather use this collection fot the Petit Guerre of raids, ambushes etc, and that the current version of MacDuff would do better than the battle rules I had been struggling with.  I also decided that the old 3 companies per battalion was better than 2.  I don't have room for 3x12 or even 8 figure companies  but I have used 6 figure companies in the past and am now in the progress of adding two figures per battalion with a Colonel to follow. 

The result makes each battalion pretty close to a Charge! company but I'm OK with that.

I'm also updating and reinforcing my improvised Chouans.

Right, I'd best get on with it then!

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Dress Rehersal

 I made time today to clear the table and start designing a new senario for my French Rev forces. Taking into account the expected players but keeping in mind that I won't know exactly who or how many will be there next week, I designed a scenario that contains elements of July's West Indies raid and the  Redcoats and Lobsters Virtual Huzzah game from 2021

Somewhere along the coast of Brittany. 

If the weather forecast holds I should be able to run a solo play test on Sunday. 


Friday, August 12, 2022

Time To Reset

Well, this test game is never going to be played through, but I've gotten a lot of yardwork done, the rules have been rolled back to the regiment as unit but stand removal has been abolished to simplify play and speed the game, and enough turns played to convince me that it'll work. That is, it'll work if I end up running two games


As the sun began to go down, orders came to pullback for the night.

Now I need to start preparing for the French Revolution game that will be my main effort. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

A Battle In Slow Motion

 Yep, one of those summer weeks, too many tasks, errands, duties, naps, books etc.....

Several days and two turns later....

I still have a week to get ready. If I don't manage to finish a succesful play test of scenario and rules, I'll just throw a bunch of figures and terrain in the car and haul out an old reliable scenario on the day.


Saturday, August 6, 2022

Back To Twenty Twenty Two

In 2 weeks time, a group of old friends and maybe a newer friend or two  as well, are going to be playing a couple of games over three days. I'm planned to run at least one game but will pack an extra, just in case. 

Working out a simple meeting engagement with the latest tweak. 

My first choice for a game to run is 1/72nd ACW. The figures are light and easy to transport, I have enough for several gamers aside and the rules are of the simple sort and easy to pick up. I'll also bring along the 1790's troops though. I have time for two or my friends would prefer it.

The weather is supposed to go back to normal soon so a report on a playtest will follow soon. 


Thursday, August 4, 2022

More Summer Reruns: Six Years Ago in New France:

We're still in "Hobs of Hell" mode so a patch of shade and a light breeze are more comfy than  the room under the eaves.  Here's a post from the summer of 2016 when I was getting MacDuff ready for a reappearance at Fall In! for a Dean&Macfarlane F&IW game.

FAll IN! 2016 (click)
One of the many British raids up and down the St. Lawrence during the Quebec Campaign. 

(Largely omitted by British accounts apart from the occasional diary entries etc but still remembered somewhat bitterly by some of the descendents of those whose homes, winter supplies and livelihood were destroyed. )
 
The majority of the 40mm figures are from Rob Dean's collection. (http://sharpbrush.blogspot.com/) 

_______________________________

Take the Hill!

Right, back to the game. I deployed the four companies of French Regulars as a battalion in line on the hill and placed the militia skirmishers in the fields and woods on the right leaving the woods on the left to guard themselves. Switching sides I decided to lead with the Highlanders and Grenadiers. Looking at the French position and considering the limited number of turns and the advantage of my Grenadiers I decided against any attempt to flank the enemy and instead deployed the Highlanders on the left to  hold off any attempt by the militia to flank the attack and deployed the rest of the army in line for a frontal assault.

I then diced for the reaction of the French player. First for the militia. 5,6 advance aggressively against the British flank. 3,4 wait in position but shift left to flank an attack on the centre as it goes in. 1,2 Hold until something changes. The result was a 5 and the militia moved to attack the flank. For the main line I rolled for hold or preemptive attack and got hold.

Game 1, Turn 3 The Highlanders are in dead ground on the reverse slope while the main force deploys and the French regulars wait patiently.
It didn't take long for the old confusion about when a battalion is a battalion for movement to arise as companies deployed from column and moved to join the battalion line and by Turn 4 I scrapped the revived battalion movement part. Shortly after the fighting started, with some companies engaged while others were out of range, I also scrapped the revived battalion morale/combat rules. OK that confirms the 2014 decision.

Practicality wins over Pedantry.
      
As the first assault goes in the fighting is fierce and bloody but the French line holds.
In many games the Chance cards have little effect but in this game the poor British got walloped by them. For starters, 2 of the 12 cards  I drew turned out to be Jokers which skip a turn thus shortening the game. This might indicate a later start than planned, a heavy rain shower or just some indecision but the turn limit went from generous to extremely tight! Then, just as the British Grenadiers were lined up ready to fire their First Volley at close range and then charge, a Red Jack popped up allowing the French to pick a unit to freeze. No moving and no shooting except to return fire if fired upon. They chose the Grenadiers and chose to fire their first volley first. The firing rippled up and down the line and several companies of Irish followed up with the bayonet. On the far left the company in summer dress blew huge holes in the Irish ranks and stood firm in the ensuing melee sending them reeling. In the centre the line held but casualties were heavy.

As the British rallied their repulsed troops and prepared to send in the Grenadiers and the last fresh company of Irish, the cards again favoured the French and they got the initiative. Their losses had also been heavy but the sun was low in the sky (well the  the activation deck was low). The French pulled their line back beyond close range and closed in towards the centre. The British followed up and drove the line back in disorder but on the French commander risked his life to rally his men and when the last turn ended the battered remnant of the French line still stood across the road. Victory to the French!

One French company is almost wiped out but the sole survivor rallies defiantly atop the hill. The British line sorts the survivors while the Black Watch is hard pressed to hold the skirmishers from the rear of the army. 
On the whole the game was quick and enjoyable, so  a success, though I was surprised that such a small, simple game still lasted 1.5 hours.  Apart from having restored the ability to fire then move or move and then hold fire to be used as a reaction only, and a small tweak to the morale test, the rules once more back to the 2014 QRS version. I decided to reset using 12 man companies and the same battle plan to see how that would compare. After hauling out a few more figures, the French defended with 3 x 12 line infantry and 2x8 militia skirmishers. The British attacked with 2x12 Elite infantry and 3x12 line infantry. This gave both sides fewer units but slightly more men with the British gaining more despite now having the same number of units as the French. I also reshuffled the cards and drew a new activation deck.
 
Game 2. The British line forms and advances under a heavy but ineffective long range fire.
I kept the same battle plans but the smaller number of larger units made the whole thing seem clearer and easier to manage. The British line looked much more impressive once formed and the Highlanders could cover just enough extra ground to let them be a bit more aggressive on the flank. The first turns passed more quickly and the British had enough time to line up the attack, pausing where necessary in hopes of moving second on the turn that he closed into close range so as to let the card initiative determine who got the first volley. With no second line, the attack was liable to be all or nothing for both sides. A little nerve racking.

As French player, I decided to open fire at long range hoping to wear the British down while they formed. It didn't work quite as well as planned. Actually, across the board the French shooting dice were abysmal for most of the game. On the flank, the larger Highland unit was bolder than last game and drove the militia back with heavy losses.
The charge of the Irish Grenadiers
This time, the critical initiative went to the British. The Grenadiers fired a deadly volley and charged! The French replied rather unsteadily and ran. Towards the centre the line was steadier and held but with the Grenadiers on their flank had no choice but to pull back. An attempt to bring the militia over to attack the flank of the British line went awry when they rolled low for movement. The single unit that was left was quickly chased off by the Highlanders.  There were still 4 turns left when the second British charge went in, sweeping the hill. 

This was a simpler, slightly larger but faster, game and more exciting to boot since the fate of each unit counted. I'm back to proof reading and preparing for more test games. I need something with cavalry and I need to play more rifle era games and something with some spear armed charging native warriors. Next month I should also set up the extension and try the largest game that I can fit to see how that goes. 

Work, work, work but I'm happy to do it. 

____________________________________________________
Hmm, it is time I got bck to the 1750's....... but not this month. Plans are afoot for some face to face gaming before August is over!  

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

From The Archives: The First 'Battle Game of the Month'.

Summer continues to interfere with gaming so here's another peek down the 21stC memory lane .

When I decided to "move with the times" and switch from my old webpage, ('With MacDuff On The Web' used to be on the Wayback Machine if anyone is bored enough to look it up  or check this blog post for a look back at a 2001 battle report from my old page) I decided to NOT stick with the MacDuff label for my blog. Having been one of the original, pre-publication, subscribers and a minor contributor, I felt invested and with Henry's permission, decided to include 'Battle Game' in the title and to play each of the Battlegames Tabletop Teasers, one per month.  I never did finish, something I should remedy, but not today. Today is a reprint of the post-game report of the first Battlegames Table Top Teaser. 

(hmmm why aren't the TTT  posts labelled? Something to fix on some rainy or snowy day . 

A Bridge of Boats: Battlegames Tabletop Teaser #1 Refought

  Note: for those who are starting with this post, what follows is a refight of the Pontoon Tabletop Teaser from Battlegames Issue #1 using prototypes of Mede and Lydian armies using the basic Warhammer Ancient Battle Persian and Greek lists.

Skythian border guards, startled to see King Alouettes' Thracian mercenaries on their side of the river,  leap onto their horses and ride madly off in all directions to get help.
  The game opened with the Lydian commander dicing to see how many troops had managed cross during the night. This turned out to be two units of mercenary Thracian peltasts and one of javelinmen. The javelinmen moved off to occupy a village to the left while the peltasts hunkered down on a hill overlooking the bridge. Two units of light cavalry and one of foot archers were left on the near shore. There were six Skythian mercenary horse archers on border patrol based on a farm overlooking the river. Two of these stayed to keep watch while two rode off north and two to the south to call for help from the main army. The scenario is designed for a 24 turn game so I halved the time to build the bridge and the arrival times thus making a 12 turn game with the bridge being completed on turn 7 and Mede reinforcements arriving on the turn number equal to or greater than 1/2 the sum of three dice, arriving at 1 of three points decided randomly.
Lydian pioneers pole a boat out into the stream as the bridge gets well under way.
Two of the Mede units rolled 3 ones and arrived on the 2nd turn, a unit of Persian infantry, with spear and bow, and a unit of Skythian horse archers.  The Persians deployed and advanced down the center. The Skythians rode forward to shoot at the peltasts. To my surprise, the peltasts were able to advance into javelin range and hold their own in the exchange of missiles. By the time I decided that the horse archers would be better off falling back to long range, the peltasts had advanced 1/2 way across the table and the Skythians had lost nearly 1/2 their strength. Luckily, help was at hand as a regiment of subject archers supported by Ethiopean mercenaries arrived right behind them. 
Turn 7 and the air is thick with arrows and javelins, but the bridge is complete.
In the center, the Immortals had arrived to support the Medes and behind them came heavy cavalry, massed Skythian archers, Cappadocian light cavalry and some Kurdish javelinmen.  The 2nd regiment of Thracian mercenaries advanced to expand the bridgehead, only to be driven back by a storm of arrows. On the far flank, more Skythian foot archers, a regiment of Medes and some slingers arrived and were supported by the 1/2 regiment of Skythians that had been on border patrol and had now regrouped. The Medes moved to the center while the rest moved against the village, expecting to shoot the javelinmen out of it.

Back on the river, the bridge was finally completed as the Lydian cavalry rode up. On the Lydian right, the mercenaries, faced with a  regiment of foot archers, raised their shields and charged. The archers fired a quick volley but  their nerve failed them and after a show of resistance they fled taking the Ethiopeans and the remnants of the Skythian horse archers with them.  The Thracians deployed into skirmish order and waited for the promised relief.   
The first climax of the battle, the Mede heavy infantry converges on the bridgehead but the Thracians have cleared the Mede left from the table as the Lydian cavalry rides forward into the gap. A second regiment of Persian cavalry lurks just off the bottom of the picture.
Reacting quickly, the Persian cavalry and Skythian foot archers wheeled left and moved to plug the gap. The Thracians, unable to fall back safely, took the desperate measure of charging into a column of Persian cavlary, catching them by surprise. (in other words when I moved the cavalry forward, I expected the battered remnants of the Thracians to fallback but once I took over as the other side, it no longer seemed feasible and I suddenly remembered that the cavalry get no rank bonus.) The first round was closely fought and the Skythians were forced to drew their hand axes and charge in to rescue the cavalry. This time the issue was not in doubt but a handful of Thracians outdistanced the pursuit and rallied in some rocks on top of the hill.

In the center,  the Immortals pressed forward under a shower of javelins from Thracian cavalry and the fire of the supporting archers from  across the river. The broken Thracian infantry rallied on the bridge, blocking the progress of the mercenary hoplites. Things looked bleak as a regiment of Ionian Greek cavalry braced themselves to charge in but suddenly the Immortals broke under the shower of javelins and ran back towards the shelter of their friends. (25% casualties and boxcars on morale, what can one do?) The Thracians swarmed back over the bridge followed by a regiment of hoplites. The heavily armoured Lydian  lancers lowered their points and charged into the Whitecaps, a regiment of lightly armoured Mede cavalry. On the left, the javelinmen were more than holding their own against four times their numbers. Victory seemed at hand for the Lydian army. 

Ahh but fate is fickle. The Lydians crashed into the Medes with advantage of weapon and superior fighting skill and....whiffed! The Persians did not. With dismay the Lydian general watched the Persian and Mede infantry stand firm as the Immortals rushed past them. (Even the morale 5 Armenians stood firm!) Raising their bows, the sky was darkened by the stream of arrows and the Thracian cavalry was crushed and routed, carrying away their countrymen with them. On the hill, the Medes again forced back the Lydian cavalry and routed them. In their flight, they swept away their supporting heavy cavalry. At the sight of the cavalry thundering down on them as they stepped over the bodies of the Thracians, the hoplites that had crossed over the bridge panicked and rushed to the rear. Evening drew a veil over the sad spectacle as men were trampled under foot or threw off their armour and tried to swim the broad stream.

   Panic overcomes the Lydian army.
So ends the first battle between the not quite historical Mede and Lydian empires as I refurbish my OS 25mm ancient armies. (See Gathering of the Hosts blog ). What better cause could the King of the Medes desire to excuse a counter invasion in May?  ( A mini-campaign)

So also ends the first month of the Battle of the Month blog. Two solo refights of the Battle of Marathon and the Pontoon Tabletop Teaser  from Issue one. Next month, the ancients will take a rest. We may see the Centurion tanks of the Hants Heavy Horse take the field or else the armies of the Red Queen.     
We shall almost certainly see a BKC2 battle, possibly the debut of my nascent Russian Civil War forces.

OK, Back to the present for the next post. Hopefully.