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.)


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.