Saturday, March 24, 2018

Slingshot 306 about to hit the streets

...or at least the postboxes.

Here are the contents:

Battle Day Pack - Paraetacene - 𝘣𝘺 𝘙𝘪𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘓𝘰𝘤𝘬𝘸𝘰𝘰𝘥
Paraetacene with l’Art de la Guerre - 𝘣𝘺 𝘊𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘴 𝘏𝘢𝘩𝘯
Holiday in Cambodia, Part 1 - 𝘣𝘺 𝘕𝘪𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘢𝘴 𝘚𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘵
Twilight Triumph: the Battle of Chalons - 𝘣𝘺 𝘑𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘯 𝘚𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘰𝘯
Wargaming Belisarius vs the Vandals - 𝘣𝘺 𝘚𝘪𝘮𝘰𝘯 𝘔𝘢𝘤𝘋𝘰𝘸𝘢𝘭𝘭
Slingshot Reviews: Scipio Africanus - Greater than Napoleon - 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘋𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘥
Slingshot Reviews: Pyrrhus of Epirus - 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘛𝘪𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘺 𝘔𝘺𝘢𝘭𝘭
Slingshot Reviews: God’s Wolf - 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘕𝘪𝘤𝘬 𝘏𝘢𝘳𝘣𝘶𝘥

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Saxon Shore is Burning

The deluxe second edition of the popular Society of Ancients game is now available for order. With the mapboard and counters now doubled in size, the counters printed on extra-thick board, and the artwork completely redone, you have a game that gives full value for its price.

Here is an extract from the ruleset:

This is a two-player simulation of the Barbarian Conspiracy of 367 A.D. Against Roman Britain. In that year the Scotti of Ireland, Atacotti of Western Scotland, Picti of Eastern Scotland and the Saxoni of Upper Germany/Lower Denmark joined forces to take advantage of the withdrawal of the province’s three legions to the continent in one of the interminable Imperial Succession disputes. Britain was rich and prosperous but under-defended, so the Barbarians were able to loot and pillage up and down the country, running riot and killing the Count of the Saxon Shore. The Romans were eventually able to restore order and by 369 A.D. the province was secure again, though permanently weakened.

The game components consist of 
  • a mapboard - two sections measuring 58cm x 42 cm, together forming a map of Britain 58 cm x 84 cm
  • 400 counters, each measuring 18mm x 18mm, with replacement and spare counters
  • a reference sheet
  • a rulebook
A 6-sided die is also required.

The counters are printed in thick card and will require cutting out. They are one-sided and do not need to be glued back-to-back with each other.

The game is designed for 2 players, but may be played by 3, 4 or 5 players. there is one Roman and four Barbarian factions: Scotti, Picti, Atacotti and Saxoni. One player takes the side of the Romans, the others take the side of the Barbarians. In a 2-player game the Barbarian player will control all the Barbarian factions. In a 3-player game one Barbarian player will control the Scotti/Atacotti and the other the Picti/Saxoni. In a 4 player game one Barbarian player will control the Scotti, one the Picti and one the Saxoni. Barbarian players dice each turn for control of the Atacotti. In a 5-player game each Barbarian player controls one of the 4 barbarian factions.

At the beginning of the game the Roman player has at his disposal a single fleet, two commanders (one Dux and one Comes), 36 steps of infantry and 24 steps of cavalry, and initially controls all the towns. He is also able to set up 23 forts along the coastline in Roman territory.

Each Barbarian faction has one chief and 40 steps of infantry. The Scotti and Saxoni each have three fleets whilst the Atacotti and Picti each have two. The Roman are thus heavily outnumbered but start from well-fortified positions.

The game lasts for 10 turns. The objective of the Barbarian player is to destroy as many Roman towns and forts as he can, and demolish Hadrian's Wall, whilst the Roman player must hold on to as much as possible until the end of the game.

A turn sequence incorporates attrition for units in woods or bog, lightning strike raids by Barbarian troops transported by fleets, overrunning of small detachments by larger forces, pitched battles, desertion of demoralised Roman troops, the sacking of towns and forts, and the arrival of reinforcements. Roman commanders and Barbarian chiefs play their part in organising attacks and contributing to their forces' combat factor.

 Combat can be resolved either by dice or by using 'scissors-paper-stone' (quicker and more fun).

The game plays to a tense finish, as the Romans yield as slowly as possible, using their cavalry and strong fortifications against a numerically superior foe until the last turn of the game, when the legions finally arrive from the continent to save the day.

The game is available for £15 (£12 for Society members) from the Society website. Click here for more details. And happy gaming!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Interactive map of the Antonine Wall

The Antonine Wall was, from AD154 to AD 162 and a few years after AD208, the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire in Britain. Built of turf on a stone foundation, it was about 10 ft high and 16 ft wide, punctuated by string of 16 forts with small fortlets between them.

The interactive map on the Heritage Daily site gives detailed information about each fort besides pinpointing its location in the wall. More here.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Triumph! ruleset - refining DBA

Triumph! is an Ancients ruleset based on DBA and partly on DBM but with many refinements of its own. Produced by the Washington Grand Company in the US, it incorporates the largest set of army lists of any pre-gunpowder gaming system - 648 armies and growing, freely available online.

Triumph has a far more diverse set of troop types than DBA/M - 26 in all, each of which has a points value from 2 to 4. An army is chosen from a list and totals 48 points or less. 

Destroy 16 points of your enemy's army and you win the game. Movement is by group or individual stand but with nuances setting it apart from DBA. Terrain placement and deployment also have new and interesting ideas.

More on the Washington Grand Company website.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sllingshot 315 with the printers

Slingshot 315 is with the printers and should appear shortly. The magazine has undergone a facelift whilst preserving its original style. We hope readers enjoy the (somewhat) new format.

Contents include:
  • Is Goliath a Distraction? - by Alastair McBeat
  • A Bit of Fun with Phalanxes - by Chris Hahn 
  • The Battle of Heraclea (280BC) - by Periklis Deligiannis
  • Battle Day - Arsuf with DBA and HotT - by Martin Smith
  • Battle Day - Arsuf with Sword and Spear - by David Reynolds
...and plenty of reviews, including an overview of the boardgame Northampton 1460 by Richard Lockwood.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Incredibly detailed 3500 year old Minoan relief

An intricately carved gem, or 'sealstone', only 1,4 inches wide, has been discovered in a 3500-year-old Minoan tomb of a Bronze Age warrior in south-western Greece. The detail and realism of the carving - a battle scene in which one warrior kills another whilst a third lies dead at their feet - overturns all previous notions about Greek art in this period.

 The sealstone along with other artifacts was discovered by an archaeological team from the University of Cincinatti two years ago, though the sealstone itself was only fully revealed a year later after it had been properly cleaned.

"What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature that one doesn't find again until the classical period of Greek art 1,000 years later," explained Jack Davis, the university's Carl W. Blegen professor of Greek archaeology and department head. "It's a spectacular find."

More here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Society Conference October 2017

Here is an account of the Society of Ancients Conference held in Kenilworth, Warwickshire on the 14-15 October, by Roy Boss, Society President.

The second 21st century SoA conference was an excellent event which combined scholarship and learning and some good gaming!

Matt Bennett took us through the development of the mediaeval cog...a round tub of a ship used in the Baltic and demonstrated some Russian card models (actually its a sort of foam board sandwich which has the ship sections printed on it). He then ran a game in which four cogs bristling with attackers assaulted the sea wall of a castle with a race to get over the walls and into to the interior of the fortification first. 

The defenders cleared the wall walk with missiles and placed ladders from the ships, meanwhile under fire from the crossbows, catapaults and boiling oil throwers. Eventually they all got onto the parapet and fought their way inside. What it showed was that the defenders have a tough time once one attacker gets onto the walk on even terms as they then cannot concentrate against the next ladders going up.

 Mark Fry gave an extensively illustrated presentation on Khmer armies from temples that he had visited and photographed in SE Asia. He went into great detail on the various weapons, costumes of different nationalities and elephant gear, also why it is likely that there are few cavalry and less chariots. It would appear that a major part of the armies was individual elephants, crewed by the nobility with supporting teams of infantry, that sought out opposing nobles on elephants for single combat. Very impressive with stacks of pictures. Hopefully to appear in a future Slingshot.

I gave a lecture on Procopian Warfare which covered the Romans and their main enemies and dealt with such questions as why the Vandals chose to fight with swords only at Tricameron, why the Goths run away and come back so many times, how the Franks used the combination of angon and axe to effect, How the Moors aimed to overwhelm with masses of javelins and had some 'heavy' infantry too and how the Roman horse archers actually operated...oh and how Sassanian tactics worked and their basic similarities to Goth and Roman tactics. Lastly, how far can one really project the tactics of the Strategikon back to the earlier Procopian period. 
After the talk there were three Procopian games, based upon the battle of Dara against the Persians, Rome against the Goths and the Fields of Cato with the Romans under John Troglita against the Moors.
Mark Fry umpires the Battle of Dara game

Sam Marks opened with an illuminating talk on Polybius' view of Mercenaries and how his own background as a Greek and believer in the virtue of a city defended by its citizens and desire to accommodate Rome to that model may well have biased his account of Hannibal's army.

Phil Steele ran an involving game using the Tony Bath collection of flats and very retro it looked too.

Richard Lockwood, heroic organiser of the event , put on several games of Dux Bellorum one of which I had the pleasure to watch, where it seemed very necessary to kill off your opponent's skirmishers in order to restrict their ability to support their units and once done it was a one way street. Richard had modified the Dux Bellorum rules to better reflect the need to fight in line so it looked more like a battle between armies rather than just retinues. 

Richard Lockwood explains the basic mechanisms of Dux Bellorum to the players.

Simon MacDowall set up what appeared to be a huge table with a substantial chunk of Tunisia represented and using 6mm figures refought Ad Decimum with Vandals against Belisarius, which I understand the Vandals won. Simon had gone to considerable lengths to bring in the inability of the combatants to see each other and their own troops. The Vandals won, I understand, possibly because we underestimate their cowardliness!

Lastly Will Whyler used large scale DBA to recreate Kadesh, both the camp and the city being on the table, with the Hittites having the advantage in surprise and numbers, but being constantly thwarted when Will, as umpire would dictate that this or that group must now loot the baggage before it could be redeployed after some tactical victory. We were joined by Phil and Sue Barker and enjoyed some expert help from Sue with the nuances of DBA in the Kadesh game.