Saturday, July 25, 2020

Slingshot 331 on the way

Slingshot 331 will hit the postboxes shortly. Here is a summary of the contents:



Honour and Loss - by Prof Phil Sabin
Phil Sabin recounts his long and stimulating acquaintaince with Patrick Waterson that spanned 15 years and was the occasion of many fruitful discussions and debates.

Sumerian Military Camel Riders - by Simon Watson
Simon Watson takes a closer look at the standard assumption that camels were used in armies only from about 1000 BC and produces arguments for their being used by the Sumerians domestically and hence probably in a military context a millennium and a half earlier.

In the Lab with the Legions - by Chris Hahn
How does one model the triplex acies legion on the gaming table? Chris Hahn sifts through Tactica II, Armati, Hail Caesar, Impetus and l'Art de la Guerre to ascertain which ruleset best replicates the iconic formation that created the Roman Empire.

Making 15mm Siena Military Companies - by Richard Lockwood
Siennese Contrade make for an interesting army list, comprising militia spearmen, pavesari, crossbowmen, javelinmen, archers and knights—and not forgetting the carroccio. Richard describes how he created an army that is as pretty as it is authentic.

Army Strengths in 13th Century Prussia - by Paul Stein
Just how large where the Prussian tribes that opposed the Teutonic Knights? Paul Stein uses smart research and reasoning to supply a surprising answer.

Refighting Cannae - by Dan Hazelwood
As every wargamer knows, Cannae is one of the toughest battles to recreate on the wargaming table in a way that even remotely replicates history. Using l'Art de la Guerre, Dan Hazelwood sets up a game scenario that promises not only historicity but also balanced gameplay.

What a Wheelie - by Simon Watson
Chariots anyone? Here is an overview of a skirmish-level game that covers every aspect of the troop type that dominated warfare in the Fertile Crescent for millennia. And the rulest itself is downloadable for free!

Aquae Sextiae with DBA - by Andy Offen
Using Big Battle DBA, Andy Offen manages to recreate an historical outcome between Marius's legions and their historical enemies, the Teutones and Ambrones, though the question of whether Marian Romans were better than Polybian Romans is still to be answered.

Slingshot Book & Game Reviews
  • The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece
  • Hoplites: the classical Greek Battle Experience
  • Greek Warfare: Myths and Realities
  • A Storm of Spears: Understanding the Greek Hoplite at War
  • Reinstating the Hoplite: Arms, Armour and Phalanx Fighting in Archaic and Classical Greece
  • Men of Bronze: Hoplite Warfare in Ancient Greece
  • Hoplites at War: a Comprehensive Analysis of Heavy Infantry Combat in the Greek World, 750-100 BCE
  • Armies of the Hellenistic States 323BC – AD30, History, Organisation and Equipment.
  • The Ancient War Game
  • Carthage’s Other Wars: Carthaginian warfare outside the ‘Punic Wars’ with Rome
  • The Life and Legend of the Sultan Saladin

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Slingshot 330 is on its way...

...with an Irish stew of articles.

The debate continues over the credibility (and availability) of primary sources.

Zhizhi's Last Stand

by Nicholas Spratt

Gan Yanshou’s victory in 36BCE is famous, not just because it was the only time a Chinese army would kill a Chanyu of the Xiongnu Empire, or because the Han army would have to travel 3400km from the capital to get there, but because a hapax legomenon in the Hanshu’s description has been interpreted as suggesting that China faced Roman Legionaries on the battlefield that day.

An Alternative Rant

by David Kay

David Kay follows Simon Watson’s lead and has a look at the more problematic elements of current wargaming play mechanisms, troop classifications and other bones of contention.

Have at Thee, Varlet!

by Anthony Clipsom

For most of us, ‘varlet’ is just a quaint, old expression for an example of degenerate scum. Anthony digs up the fascinating Mediaeval origins behind the word.

The Red Dragon and the White Boar

by Chris Hahn

In the absence of a Battle Day with subsequent battle reports, here are several home games of Bosworth using Armati, l’Art de la Guerre and To The Strongest! Chris Hahn makes it clear that if Richard doesn’t throw away the battle with his charge, Henry is in real trouble.

Tactica II: A Ruleset Analysis

by Paul Innes

A former editor makes a good case for why Tactica II is one of the most historically accurate and playable large battle rulesets out there, among other things creating nuanced troop types using troop category and quality, and catering for details like Roman line relief.

Slingshot Book & Game Reviews

Battles and Battlefields of Ancient Greece: A Guide to their History, Topography and Archaeology

Cities of the Classical World

The Wars of Alexander’s Successors 323-281 BC. Volume II: Battles & Tactics

Friday, March 13, 2020

Slingshot 329 is about to land...

Here are the goodies inside:

Editorial - In Memoriam Patrick Waterson


Bosworth Field 1485 Battle Pack - by Richard Lockwood 
Bosworth Field is one of the most significant battles in English history, yet some details of the engagement are frustratingly unclear, even to the location of the battlefield—until recently. Richard Lockwood gives the findings of contemporary research.

The French at Bosworth - by Duncan head 
The French contingent at Bosworth was an important part of Henry’s army, but how large was it and how was it equipped? Duncan trawls through the sources to give a nuanced picture of mixed-arms infantry that were the beginnings of a French standing army.

Tactica II - A Personal Perspective - by Simon Watson 
For Simon Watson, Tactica II strikes the ideal balance between ease of play, historical feel, the player’s decision-making, aesthetics, and the richness of troop diversity.

Providing Your Warhorses - by Jim Webster 
Heavy cavalry has always been expensive, but Jim Webster shows just how expensive it was for the Frankish kingdom to raise good quality warhorses.

Numbers in Some Roman Battles - by Julian Lorriman 
The standard wisdom is that Gallic armies consisted of vast numbers of warriors. But reading between the lines in the sources, Julian Lorriman comes up with a different picture.

Trouble in Paradise - by David Beatty 
A good bout of bloody warfare in the peaceful islands of Hawaii where visitors in the 15th century were more likely to be met with spears than wreaths.

In One Side, Out the Other - by Chris Hahn 
Interpenetration—one unit passing through another—in most wargaming rules is limited to psiloi and sometimes light horse. But in the past other troop types possessed this ability. Chris Hahn examines the evidence to see which ruleset best replicates the historical record.

Slingshot Book & Game Reviews 

To give participants in the Society Battle Day time to prepare, the Bosworth Battle Pack can be downloaded ahead of time here.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Society news & other items of (possible) interest to members as of: Janu.., oops, let's make that February (sorry) 2020

Over at Dales's Blog there's a developing thread on the topic of 'Playing One-Hour Wargames Virtually'  (the link is to the second post in a series which happens to focus on playing a medieval game, so I felt justified in including it).  This post and those prior all have some interesting and potentially very useful information for gamers who might be thinking along these lines.

While at Ancients on the Move, Phil Steele gives a pretty thorough review of the UK DBA League - the 2020 Welsh Open, held at this year's Crusade Show, run in Penarth, South Glamorgan ('oh for a glass of Brains Dark, the true, the richest Hippocrene, with creamy head and ... ah me, the memories),  by the aptly named Penarth & District Wargames Society.  Of course. the surprise discovery in this oyster full of pearls is that Phil, ex-SoA President and avid DBA player, had hitherto never been to the show.

And for those who may have missed it, at the same blog, a 'Review of the 2019 Year' for the Society's Shows North team.

A quick reminder that there's lot's going on for Ancient and Medieval Wargamers under the auspices of the British Historical Games Society.

Check this link to get news of The BHGS Challenge 2020, to be be held at the NEC in Birmingham, alongside UK Games Expo, over the weekend of 30th & 31st May and including events focussed on games with FoG:AM, DBMM and L'Art de la Guerre, in a variety of scales.

And also Britcon (7-9th August, Manchester), The London GT BHGS Historical Teams at the end of June, and of course the almost-sold-out Roll Call coming up this April.

Over at The Wargames Website Ancients forum, news of more 15mm plastic Romans (Imperial, by the look of the pictures) but this time from Grenzer Games.  Where will it all end?  With a lighter wallet, most likely.

Meanwhile, the Devon Wargames Group have been bathing in blood, figuratively speaking, with a goodly sized skirmish, using Daniel Mersey's 'Lion Rampant' rules, between  plucky Romans and pesky Huns.  Or vice versa.  Hmmm, what's the correct name for the fear of seeming Hun-phobic?

And to close, some nicely depicted medieval eye-candy, complete with rock garden.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Slingshot 328 is with the printers ...

... and should be posted out to you all in the next few days!  Here is the cover picture, together with a list of the contents and a short summary of each article.

On the cover, the original 8 hoof drive, all terrain Roman crusher with optional rotary drier!
On the cover, the original 8 hoof drive, all terrain Roman crusher with optional rotary drier!

Committee Report - by Roy Boss

A Wargaming Rant - by Simon Watson

Simon Watson writes a Grumpy Guide to Wargaming. Like many other historical wargamers, he has issues with some rulesets in that the marriage between historicity and playability seems ever to be an unhappy one. And all those dice throws. Rules writers, take note!

From the Ground Up - by Chris Hahn

Following on the ‘When the Going Gets Tough’ article in Slingshot 327, Chris Hahn gives an overview of terrain from the perspective of the importance wargamers attach to it, how it is treated in the major rulesets, and what the ancient writers actually had to say about it.

The Field of Cynoscephalae: Battlefield Archaeology using Google Maps - by Richard Taylor

Thanks to Google Maps and Google Earth, it is becoming easier for wargamers to form a fairly accurate idea of what the terrain actually looked like at battlefield sites. Richard Taylor runs through the use these tools with Cynoscephalae as an example.

Chances Are - by Nick Harbud

In this article, based upon a presentation given at the Society of Ancients Conference in November 2019, Nick Harbud outlines the science behind the Cosmic Cube of wargaming.

Early Mediaeval Picts - by Hugh Coleman

Many wargaming army lists have Picts suddenly change into Caledonians with substantial alterations to their clothing and weaponry. Huge Coleman makes the case that in military terms Picts and  Caledonians were pretty much the same.

Wargaming My Way - by Gordon Lawrence

Like many wargamers Gordon Lawrence plays solo, but unlike many (the Editor for example), he has a fully equipped wargaming HQ shed and over 20,000 figures. Read and envy...

Slingshot Book & Game Reviews

Covering: 'Battles and Battlefields of Ancient Greece', 'Armies of Celtic Europe, 700 BC-AD 106', 'The Pope’s Army. The Papacy in Diplomacy and War', 'The reign of Emperor Gallienus. The Apogee of Roman Cavalry', 'Lost Legion Rediscovered. The mystery of the Theban Legion', 'The Battle of Edgcote 1469'.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Society news & other items of (possible) interest to members as of: December 2019

There's an interesting discussion going on over at the Fanaticus Forum (where the focus is anything even vaguely to do with DBA), concerning the Plastic Soldier Company's plans to start releasing a series of 15mm ancients ranges early in the new year.  Read it here.

Some further thoughts on playing 'Commands and Colors Medieval', this time from Richard aka Doctor Phalanx.  This is beginning to sound like another game that I should get access to, the only question being how I can do that without reducing investment elsewhere?  Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

And talking of medieval (well, early Medieval, as the cognoscenti would have it now), some of Victrix' forthcoming Dark Age & Ancient ranges are previewed over at Beasts of War.  My advice is don't look, it won't end well for your wallet.

Meanwhile, at Paul´s Bods blog, here's a little something for those of a certain age (i.e. much the same age as me) - a wonderful series of conversions from the Airfix Robin Hood and Sherrif of Nottingham sets.  Looking at the picture of Paul's initial pile of figures I'm reminded that I have almost exactly the same set of figures languishing in my own spares box (right down to the Roman auxiliary archer).

Maybe that's enough about figures but what about some new rules.  Here, over at the Wargaming Miscellany blog, is a review (well, more just a mention) of Graham Evans' relatively recently published rules 'To Ur is Human', a set of rules focussed entirely on the wars of Sumerian Mesopotamia.  A topic about which even Michael Caine knows little.  So maybe one for the specialist round in your New Year quiz?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Slingshot 327 is being posted out ...

... and should land in your postboxes in the next few days!  Here is the cover picture, together with a list of the contents and a short summary of each article.

'Come any nearer and I'll throw it, I'm warning you!'




Gerald the Great on Battleaxe Hill: Part 2

Mick Hession concludes his fascinating analysis of warfare in 16th century Ireland, with a focus on the battle of Knockdoe  ...

Wargaming Knockdoe

... and then gives some insights on how it can be recreated as a wargame using DBMM.

When the Going Gets Tough

A thread on the Society’s forum prompted David Kay to consider the role of terrain and its representation on the wargames table, and to suggest aspects for further investigation or discussion.

(Perhaps a timely article?  Does terrain on ancient wargames tables sometimes seem to lean towards 'sparse'?  If so, does this reflect a degree of terrain phobia among gamers or is making terrain just another job that's hard to get to the top of the lead pile?)

Paraitakene with Big Battle DBA

Paul Murgatroyd suggests that Big Battle DBA hits the sweet spot between the panorama of a large game and the playing speed of a small one, even for complex armies.  He also explains how and why.

The Chronicles of the Teutonic Knights

No, not by Dan Brown but even better, the only English translation of the little-known 'Chronicle of the Prussian Lands' (by Peter von Dusburg), which is the oldest account of the origins and spread of the Teutonic Knights.  Translation by Elaine Graham-Leigh with comments by Paul Stein.

Carthage vs Rome with Hail Caesar

What it says on the tin and illustrated with some great looking photos of a very attractive battlefield (almost an echo of points made in David Kay's article).  By the way, don't be worried by the pictures, I'm sure no Teddy bears were harmed during the making of the terrain. Article by Steven Neate.

The Continuing Story of DBM

Despite being considered old school by many, DBM remains a popular ruleset that has stood the test of time. John Graham-Leigh gives some reasons for that longevity.

The Play’s the Thing

A wonderful piece of one-to-many counselling, from Gordon Lawrence, for those of us (well me, for sure) who suffer from wargamer-modeller's catagelophobia (particularly, for wargamer's, the fear of not meeting the required standard of painting and basing).

Slingshot Book & Game Reviews

Covering 'The Last Years of the Teutonic Knights', 'The Great Illyrian Revolt', Roman Legionaries: Soldiers of Empire' and 'Ancient Dynasties: The Families that Ruled the Classical  World'.