Progress Update – March 2021

This month was the month of the big house move so most of my hobby stuff was packed away for much of the time. We’re now settled into the new place and starting to get things set up so hopefully next month will see me take up the brush again.

All is not lost however, I kept one box of minis unpacked to play around with. Inspired by a forum post I read asking about Trojan War skirmish rules I thought I may have some fun home-brewing my own.

I’ve not really played skirmish games as wasn’t overly interested in the few systems I’ve encountered but given I was limited in space and figures it seemed as good a time as any.

The figures were bare metal and MDF for the most part as play testing, plundered from my big battle Trojan war project, and played in a roughly 50×50 cm area. I’ll go into more details in a future post but in essence they use random activation to control a mix of heroes and standard troops. Most actions are tested using 2d6, for instance an attack would be 2d6 +/- modifiers vs the shield or armour value of the target. Idea was for it to be fast moving and fun with enough variety and flavor to build narratives. There’s also a bit of an experience system to build up heroes over time and give them more options then standard troops.

I’ve run a few games with them so far and refined a lot of the rules down. I’ve got the makings of a fairly solid core set of skirmish mechanics that can be mixed up with some flavour to make things more period specific. Here’s an example of one of the games:


A stream weaves through a copse of trees where two groups of enemies meet in the plains beside well built Ilium, that Trojan city.

The longhaired Achaeans move up to the stream, strong-hearted Demitrios crossing over and attacking some Trojan warriors like a bear aroused to anger, so did Theron’s son attack. Meanwhile an Achaean, seeking an advantageous shot from his bow is felled by a well-thrown spear.

Well-armed Ariston joins his brother Demitrios and between them, they drive the warriors back along with the Trojan Leander, son of Peadar. Ariston is struck in the rear by bronze-clad Cephalus who leapt from his chariot to join the fight.

Strong-hearted Demitrios takes the fight to the Trojans, charging like a bull into them.

The battle at the stream intensifies. Achaean arrows harry the Trojan warriors, while the long spears of the Achaean warriors strike them down. But well-armed Ariston, struck already by several blows was unable to withstand the onslaught of Cephalus, son of Tadeas. Though many blows were landed against his armour of bronze, the stout Trojan spear struck Ariston, son of Paion, and he fell to the wet earth by that gentle stream. Shocked by their commander going down, the remaining Achaeans dragged his body across the stream and fled the field of battle.

Thankfully his wounds were minor, mainly thanks to his uncle, Evander, son of Heitor, trained in medical arts, who shared the field with them that day.


The games run quickly, half an hour so a small engagement like this, which is great for a lunchtime game just lifting the laptop to the side. The base is just some old brown paper I’d been using as a desk protector when painting. The games also give plenty of opportunity for narrative reports. You can read a few more of my experiments in playing and story telling on this forum post if you’re interested.

Off the back of some of these skirmish experiments it’s given me some ideas to take back to my big battle feudal rules. While there are a lot of differences between the style of game, certain mechanics such as the activation system and the 2d6 resolution method can influence those, ditching the handfuls of dice for the more elegant 2d6 approach and introducing an end turn activation token so there’s no guarantee every command will act in a turn. While my initial focus was in feudal Japanese rules, some core aspects of feudal warfare carry across multiple periods so after some disappointments with the Crusades rules I was using I made a quick adaption to allow me to play a reasonable game using those homebrew rules in a Crusades setting and test out some of the adaptions I’d made. They worked reasonably well, and I’ve been continuing to fine tune modifiers and stats and add a few flavour enhancers. I’ll have some posts on these and the skirmish rules as well in the near future no doubt.

In other news, I started doing this:

Rebasing my ECW forces, once I decide on a figure layout. This is something I’ve been considering a while as I did them as fairly big units with very flexible basing, but I find I much prefer single bases and would rather have more units easier to put together so reducing the figures in a base and using smaller bases will allow me to get some actual games on the go. I’ve also ordered a few additional pieces to round out and add variety to the units as I rebase, some of which have arrived already.

I’ve also just received a few 10mm American War of Independence figures to try out some skirmish level gaming there, possibly with Sharpe Practice or Rebels and Patriots as the rule system. I’ve also got a couple of packs of Celts and Romans in 10mm since I feel I should have the ubiquitous “starter armies”, particularly for introducing new players. We’ll just ignore the 28mm Celts and Romans at the bottom of the drawer there for the moment.

I’ve picked up quite a few other rule sets recently as well to inspire some future projects, but more in those another time. Not sure if rule reviews is something I’ll start doing here as I tend to prefer reviewing through playing them out as I feel that’s generally a fairer review than just reading through them. We shall see!

Thanks for reading,

Matthew

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