Monday, July 19, 2021

Slingshot 337 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.

"Right, you chaps, get ready.  This is where
we do the whole 'crush your enemies' thing!"
















The view from the editor's chair including thanks to those who responded to his pleas for articles to replenish the stock and a reminder about the wealth of interesting material that originates in that other source of erudite debate, the Society Forum (check it out).


Stephen Brennan serves up some fascinating material about late medieval Hebridean mercenaries as a useful extension to that provided by Anthony Clipsom in his recent article, "An Archer’s Tale".

The Rise and Fall of Nomad Military Power, part 1 c. 1000 BC - 1200 AD - by Michael Fredholm von Essen

Asiatic nomad armies created some of the greatest empires the world has ever seen. Michael Fredholm von Essen analyses the nomad strategy that eventually transformed them from tribal federations content with opportunistic raiding into empire builders.

Solo Wargaming - by John Hastings

Given the scattered nature of the Ancients wargaming community, plenty of wargamers have no choice but to adopt schizophrenia as a recreational modus operandi and play against themselves. John Hastings discusses how it is done.

Slingshot interviews Simon Hall - by Gordon Garrad

Mortem et Gloriam has become a very popular ruleset in the Ancients community. Slingshot interviews its creator, Simon Hall, and asks him about his wargaming background, rules writing career, his experience with MeG, his futures plans, the meaning of life, and so on...

The Philistines are upon you - by Richard Andrews

Heavily-equipped but unwieldy Philistines vs. lightly-armed but agile Jews is a classic gaming setup where terrain makes all the difference. Richard Andrews analyses the historical composition of the two armies and how it applies to the wargaming table.

Game Mechanics and Realism - by Anthony Clipsom

Everyone knows that realism and playability are at odds with each other. But is that really the case? Anthony Clipsom makes the argument that you can have your cake and eat it, with sufficiently plausible realism happily wedded to enjoyable gameplay.

The Murder of Evesham - by John Graham-Leigh

Evesham ended the hopes of Simon de Montfort’s supporters (and the life of de Montfort himself). John Graham-Leigh plays a refight of the battle using DBM, with a convincing result.

Assyrian 'Kallapani' - by Daniel McLaughlin

Kallapani have been a standard part of Assyrian army lists but with highly variable properties. Daniel McLaughlin examines the evidence to see if we can know anything certain about them.

Slingshot Book & Game Reviews 

Including reviews of: 

Commands & Colors Samurai Battles by game designer: Richard Borg

Hellenistic and Roman Naval Warfare, 336BC-31BC by John D. Graingerenn.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The War & Diplomacy Podcast: ‘What is Medieval Military History?’


The War & Diplomacy Podcast: ‘What is Medieval Military History?’, with Dr Matthew Bennett.

From the Centre for War and Diplomacy at Lancaster University.  The CWD provides the historical context and strategic analysis to inform understanding of today's geopolitical challenges through discussions with leading experts and researchers.

In this episode, Dr Matthew Bennett, leading expert in medieval military history, discusses the technology, economy, and ideology of warfare in the medieval age with Dr Sophie Ambler, Deputy Director of the Centre for War and Diplomacy at Lancaster University.

Dr Bennett describes the connections between warfare, trade and finance in the medieval West, as well as military technology – from bows to armour, artillery and fortifications – and explores the concept of chivalry, the treatment of prisoners of war, and how knights and common soldiers fared differently on the battlefield. He also explains the role of mercenaries and sets out some of the eternal truths of warfare that can be identified in the medieval period.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Slingshot 336 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.

"And then Lurcio, me old mate, after wading through
all those Picts doesn't the bloody GPS pack up? 
Ye gods, it could only happen in the IXth!"

Cover Picture: Edge of Empire. Illustration by Graham Sumner.














The view from the editor's chair including news about the virtual conference weekend, the Battle Day and the (real) annual Society Conference!


Extras about archers and some corrections about Teutons.  Oh! and actual details about the Battle Day.  No, really.

Roman Britain’s Lost IXth Legion - by Dr Simon Elliot

So what really happened to the Ninth? Simon Elliot puts forward four plausible hypotheses: the legion was lost in Scotland; it was annihilated/disbanded in a London revolt; it was destroyed on the Rhine or in the east. He examines the evidence and one hypothesis emerges as most likely...

When the Rules Don’t Work - Wargaming Hoplite Battles With Hail Caesar - by Gordon Lawrence

Historical inaccuracy is the eternal bugbear of rulesets and Gordon Lawrence digs up quite a few of them in Hail Caesar, such as fixed unit sizes, Greek hoplite support lines, different parts of a phalanx moving at different speeds, and so on. Answer? A little rules tinkering...

The Morale of the Armies at Cannae - by Andrew Parrock

Everyone knows that morale is one of the most important elements in an army, but what exactly morale is and how it affects the different aspects of a unit’s cohesion and fighting ability is something that needs a closer look. Andrew Parrock does some close looking.

Computer Wargaming - by David Mason

Covid lockdowns have curtailed over-the-table wargaming to a great extent, with the result that internet gaming has become much more significant. David Mason examines computer wargaming and reviews the more popular Ancients and Mediaeval PC games.

A Quick Trawl of the Net - by Retiarius

Retiarus helps fellow lockdownees find a couple of the more useful websites that deal with pre-gunpowder wargaming, with the promise of more to come.

Timoleon Brings the Thunder - by Chris Hahn

Chris Hahn takes a close look at the Battle of Crimisus from the historical perspective in order to fine-tune the composition of the armies of Carthage and Timoleon as well as devise scenario-specific rules for the battle, to be played with l’Art de la Guerre.

The Second Punic War in the Classroom - by Dr Max Nelson

One good way to motivate students to study military history is get them to play it. Dr Nelson tries Professor Sabin’s Second Punic War simulation on his own class, with great success.

Test of Resolve - Wars of the Roses - by David Knight

Test of Resolve - Wars of the Roses is a newly-released ruleset designed specifically for that era, with careful attention paid to historical accuracy as well as playability.

Wargaming through Lockdown - by Gordon Garrad

Quite a few Ancients and Mediaeval wargamers have taken to using video conferencing software like Skype, Facetime and Zoom to play games. How does it work? Gordon Garrad describes how.

The Sui-Eet Chinese Range - by Steve Neate

Outpost Wargames and Essex Miniatures have a very impressive range of 15mm figures for the Sui and Tang Chinese dynasties, as the photos supplied by Steve Neate demonstrate.

Slingshot Book & Game Reviews 

Including reviews of:

The Army of Maximinus Thrax: The Roman Soldier of the early 3rd Century AD by Dr Jan Eschbach;

The Goths From Berig to the Battle of Adrianople by Micheal Fredholm von Essenn.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Slingshot 335 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.

Slingshot 335 cover













The view from the editor's chair including (further) news about the Battle Day and of a new Slingshot publication about the Goths.


A lively exchange of views about 'The Gothic Wagon Laager at Adrianople', featured in the extensive yet thoughtfully developed article of that title from issue 334.

The Roman Army Medical Service - by Dr Nick Summerton

Just how good were Roman military medics at treating the sometimes horrific wounds suffered by their fellow-soldiers, as well as the many diseases and ailments common at that time? Dr Summerton examines the evidence and concludes that they were not bad at all.

Bosworth with Bloody Barons - by Mark Wilson

Designed for the Wars of the Roses, Bloody Barons makes for an interesting recreation of Bosworth in which the setup rules create a different scenario each time, with different problems to solve, requiring cunning deployment, good timing, and a healthy dose of luck!

The Teutonic Order in the 13 Years’ War - by Andreas Johansson

After the disastrous battle of Tannenberg in 1410, the army of the Teutonics Knights was a very different animal from what it had been before, now consisting largely of mercenaries with very few actual Knights, but still good enough to hold off its enemies for more than a decade.

Norman Tactics - by Matthew Bennett

Why Norman troops of the 11th century were so effective across Europe has usually been attributed to the impetuous charge of their heavy cavalry. In fact, the knights were disciplined and tactically aware and part of a combined arms system with infantry spearmen and a range of missile types.

The Tertii and the Quadii - by Mark Wilson

These famous tribal troop-types have dominated the wargaming table for ages, persisting in rulesets up to the present even though the sources indicate they never actually existed.

An Archer’s Tale - by Anthony Clipsom

How is the appearance of a miniatures figure determined and what kind of research goes into deciding how he is clothed and armed? Anthony Clipsom uses an Agincourt archer as an example of how a foundry gets a figure right and (in some particulars) wrong.

The Great Revolt of the Egyptians - by Jim Webster

After the battle of Raphia in 217BC, native Egyptian soldiers in the Ptolemaic army revolted against Ptolemy Philopator, seizing the territory around Thebes. Jim Webster looks at the revolt and the kind of armies they and the Ptolemies were able to raise against each other.

Slingshot Interviews Rick Priestly - by Gordon Garrod

Everyone knows Rick Priestly wrote the rules for Warhammer, but here we get a reminder that he also created Black Powder and Hail Caesar. He answers interesting questions such as how to resolve the eternal dilemma of historicity vs playability in historical gaming.

Arabs vs Byzantines - by Ray Briggs 

Breach and Scutcheon (Slingshot 333) delivers in this game between two historical opponents, where the battle sways one way and then the next, and the outcome remains uncertain until the dramatic finale.

Slingshot Book & Game Reviews 

Including reviews of:

Rome, Blood & Power: Reform, Murder and Popular Politics in the Late Republic 70-27 BC by Gareth C. Sampson, reviewed by: Aaron Bell;

Militarism and the Indo-Europeanizing of Europe by Robert Drews, reviewed by: Andreas Johansson;

The Army of Ptolemaic Egypt 323-204BC. An institutional and Operational History by Paul Johstono, reviewed by: Jim Webster.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Slingshot 334 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.

Slingshot 334 cover


The view from the editor's chair and brief news about the Battle Day, responses to the plea for articles, the forthcoming virtual Society conference and the Slingshot contributors’ prizes.


Yet more, erudite exchanges between members about recent articles.  Passionate yet polite.  Informed yet open minded.  Still, there's time.  It's been a cold February but the Ides of March approach.

Sea Eagles of Empire - The Classis Britannica, Roman Britain’s Regional Fleet by Simon Elliott

The Society’s new chairman examines Britain’s first navy that was Roman and proved crucial - and highly effective - in the Empire’s piecemeal conquest of most of the island and in its subsequent invasions of Scotland.

T’ang Fastic Outpost by Steven Bowns

The T’ang Dynasty took China to its greatest territorial extent. Steven Bowns examines the T’ang troop types available in 15mm at Outpost Wargames and takes us through his creation of a complete DBMM T’ang army. Have a close look at how he makes spears: it’s brilliant!

Arthurian Campaign by Martin Smith

Looking for campaign rules for post-Roman Britain that are simple, easy and, above all, fun? Martin Smith’s system perfectly fits the bill, not only as regards the campaign aspects but also the battles themselves, fought with some unique mechanisms that produced a number of surprises.

The Gothic Wagon Laager at Adrianople by Jens Peter Kutz

How big was the Gothic laager at Adrianople? What was its shape? How was it constructed? How many warriors could it accommodate? Jens Kutz investigates these questions using careful historical research and comes up with some fascinating answers.

Roman Tactical Acumen at Cannae by Justin Swanton

Hannibal’s Italian campaign is commonly viewed as a military genius who effortlessly defeated Roman armies one after the other. Hannibal however did not always win in Italy, and at Cannae he would need luck as well as ability to beat Paullus’ shrewd generalship so overwhelmingly.

Placing Table Terrain for Double DBA3 by Neville Dickenson

Neville Dickenson offers an original way of setting up terrain for double DBA, with a new method of using dice to make the process fun. DBA fans are encouraged to try it out and let us know how it works for them.

Slingshot Book & Game Reviews 

Including reviews of:

Greece Against Rome: The Fall of the Hellenistic Kingdoms 250-31 BC by Philip Matyszak, reviewed by Duncan Head;

Talons and Fangs of the Eastern Han Warlords: A study of warriors and warlords during the Three Kingdoms era by Lu Yimin, reviewed by Duncan Head;

The Crisis of Rome: The Jugurthine and Northern Wars and the Rise of Marius by Gareth C. Sampson, reviewed by: Jim Webster.

And last but not least the ...

Results of the SOA Championship 2020!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Slingshot 333 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.

Slingshot 333 cover


The view from the editor's chair but also, again (I suspect, though he hasn't actually said it), a plea for more articles!  Maybe it'll be OK.  Maybe lots of members are scribbling, typing, sketching, researching and so on, but I doubt we've refilled the bucket yet. Gosh, I mean, the editor has even asked me so he must be desperate.  I fobbed him off with an excuse but the guilt is getting to me.  Ah me, where's my quill and parchment?


Not this issue!  The Guardroom antipasti is held over to issue 334 to make room for all the 'carne' (or should that be carnage) to be found in the main articles, which are ...

Over the Top - by Nick Harbud

Nick Harbud analyses the last battle of the Hundred Years War, at the very end of the Society’s historical period, and discusses how to game it with some popular rulesets.

Does Armour Matter? - by Mark Wilson

Armour is important, obviously, but just how useful were the different pieces of armour as fighting men with more means were better encased? Do rulesets accurately represent this? And do they accurately represent anything about warfare at all? And should they? And...

Once More into the Breach! - by Ray Briggs

Wargamers, naturally, cannot help themselves when it comes to not liking everything about their favourite ruleset. And fixing it. And turning it into a new ruleset.

Seleucid Elephants in 150BC - by Jim Webster

The Seleucids are commonly believed to have had no elephants between 162BC and 145BC. Jim Webster brings forward evidence that this was not the case and suggests tweaks to DBMM army lists for the Seleucid Empire that could be adapted to other rulesets.

Absent Generals - by David Kay

Creating an authentic fog of war joined to an equally authentic command structure has always been a big problem for wargamers. David Kay comes up with a creative solution, producing a trial scenario that got a thumbs up from his playtesters.

Characene - by Jim Webster

Characene, as a distinct and sometimes independent political entity, existed for three and a half centuries and was an important regional power. Jim Webster suggests some amendments to army lists that better reflect its capabilities, especially its naval strength.

How to Use Elephants in Tactica 2 - by Simon Watson

Before Xanthippus used them as a steamroller at Bagradas, elephants were usually deployed by Indians and later by the Successor States as an infantry screen. Simon Watson looks at why this was so, using Tactica 2 to demonstrate the efficacity of the elephant screen.

And just like the Guardroom antipasti, the Formaggi e Frutta and the Dolce of...

Slingshot Figure Reviews

along with the Caffe e Digestivo of ...

Slingshot Book & Game Reviews 

... are also held over to issue 334, probably to make room but maybe just to remove these temptations to wargaming extravagance and take the pressure off your finances following Christmas!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Slingshot 332 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.

Slingshot 328 cover


The view from the editor's chair but also a plea for articles.  It seems we're running short.  Time to put quill to parchment, pen to paper, fingers to keys, whatever method floats the boat.  Hmmmm, that probably means me, too.  Dang.


Featuring further, gripping developments in the continuing debate about those little cubes of fate that dog our every gaming move.  The cold, cold hand of fate, the cruel talons of the dice demons or simply random fluctuations in the quantum field?  However you see it, Lawrence Greaves adds his take to the lively discussion about probabilities in wargames that was kicked off by Nick Harbud's article 'Chances Are' from Slingshot 328.

Every Man’s Hand - by Matthew Bennett and Roy Boss

Mediaeval jousts originally did not consist of lists and two knights charging each other with couched lances, but of open fields in which groups of knights, supported by infantry, fought mini-battles. Here is a ruleset that recreates this older and more military form of jousting.

Garamantes - by Jim Webster

The Garamantes were a nation of oasis-dwellers who lived south of the Roman frontier in Libya. Though not capable of fielding a heavyweight army, they did put interesting troop-types on the battlefield. Jim Webster uses their history to fine-tune the DBMM army list.

Going Back to Gaugamela - by Chris Hahn

Playing Gaugamela with l'Art de la Guerre produces an interesting game in which Alexander's Companions perform much like their historical counterparts whilst Parmenio's left flank does much more than just hold the line. Is that enough to defeat the Persian host? Read to find out...

The Sound of Battle - by Anthony Clipsom

How effective was a general's ability to control his troops through sound signals like musical instruments and shouting on a Mediaeval battlefield? Anthony Clipsom does the research and comes up with some interesting answers.

An Armati List for Cyrus the Great - by Rodger Williams

The Persian armies between 550-530 BC are rather under-represented in Armati army lists. Using DBM as a starting point Rodger Williams makes up for that defect.

Counting the Enemy - by John Hastings

How big was the Caledonian army at Mons Graupius? In answering the question John Hastings tackles the problem how how much trust can be placed in the primary sources when they give the size of friendly and hostile armies, and shows that the sources can actually make good sense.

Telamon in Anaheim - by Andrew Gledhill

DBA is alive and well in Southern California, where a refight of Telamon produced an interesting and pretty game that was clean and exciting, in the best tradition of DBA. A second Telamon was fought after lunch. Another battle report is hopefully in the works?

T’angoed! - by Nicholas Harbud

The T'ang dynasty marked the territorial apogee of ancient China. Naturally, conquering so much real estate required the services of a very effective army. Nicholas Harbud breaks down the composition of the T'ang miliary machine and his recreation of it in 15mm.

Warfare in Antiquity Conference - Rodger Williams

Rodger Williams outlines the topics discussed at the King's College conference that cover fields of particular interest to pre-gunpowder wargamers.

Slingshot Figure Reviews

Peter Studd reviews the new range of plastic 15mm ancient figures produced by the Plastic Soldier Company in connection with Simon Hall’s Mortem et Gloriam wargames system.  (I really, really mustn't read this.  I shan't.  I ... . Aiieeee! Somebody, anybody, hide my wallet!)

Slingshot Book & Game Reviews 

Including reviews of:

Mortem et Gloriam, Battles of the Great Commanders, 1. Age of Attila by Richard Jeffrey-Cook (hmmm, that name, it sounds familiar);

Mari: capital of Northern Mesopotamia in the Third Millennium (The archaeology of Tell Hariri on the Euphrates) by Jean-Claude Margueron;

Jean de Bueil: Le Jouvencel by Craig Taylor & Jane H.M. Taylor;

The Armies of Ancient Persia by Marek Adam Wozniak;

Infamy, Infamy! by Too Fat Lardies (A review of the rules by Nick Harbud?  Or maybe a cunning and unexpected flank move, by which means Nick brings reinforcements to the battle of 'Chances Are'?  You can make your own mind up when you read it.)