Historical Fiction is Costing me a Fortune!

And not so much for the cost of the book. Almost all fiction and about half the non-fiction I read today I read on my Kindle, tablet or ‘phone. I’ve gotten over missing the tactile feel of a new or old book as well as the lack of smell of digital editions so more and more I am downloading my books. The problem is not the cost of the book but rather the cost of the wargame figures in dollars, time and paint that results from reading the book. Within Thomo’s Hole, for example, I have noted the following projects that came from reading:

And that is just over the last 12 months. The list goes on however.

Currently I am reading two historical novels – one on my ‘phone and this one, Divided Empire on my Kindle. I had read part of this before then got distracted but I can’t recall where I got up to so I am sure I never finished. Of course, the biggest problem is that this is set in the period of the Later Roman Empire, around 400 CE and of course I am now thinking of Late Romans, Goths and what have you. This particular temptation is not helped by the fact that I have Goths left over and laying idle in the spares box after sorting and getting things ready for the Dark Age project.

Worse, there are another few books in the series and I can see myself at the minimum putting together a small set of some 6mm late Romans and Goths. Of course, if one is doing some Romans, one really should do two armies of them so that a quick civil war becomes in order so that would be a small set of three armies. Then really, one should at least have a fourth so a Big Battle DBA becomes possible. I can see where this is leading.

In a moment of laziness, I was looking through some new releases and The Black Sheep by Peter Darman popped up. I had read most of the Parthian series until Pacorus started to annoy me so thought “here is a good one to have on the list ready for when I finish Divided House, I’ll just have a quick look at the opening pages.”

The Black Sheep is set in the time of the War of Sicilian Vespers, a war I knew about in passing but not in any detail. As is usual in these things, one thing led to another and I started reading up on the Sicilian Vespers. Now I am thinking 1282 to 1302 CE and Byzantines, Sicilians, Anjou, Aragon, France, and Naples. Toss in some Turks and we have a campaign set. Best of all, some galleys as well for the Battle of the Gulf of Naples.

This will be a challenge in 6mm (and 1/1200 for the galleys I think) but hey, life is a challenge isn’t it! One a positive note, it could be the second part of a series of sets based around Sicily.

More lead for the pile! I have to stop reading.

Cancon 2011 DBA – Rajputs v Epirot Byzantine

P1000720I had lunch (the by now usual burger with the lot and Coke Zero) and in the first round following that Rajputi feast, I faced Brenton Searle and his list IV/33 Epirot Byzantine.

This looked to be a difficult game for me as apart from Brenton being a good, experienced player, the Byzantines have a number of options that really do make life difficult for an army like the Rajputs. His army list can contain:

  • 1 x 3Cv General
  • 2 x 3Cv
  • 2 x 3Kn
  • 2 x 2LH
  • 1 x 2LH, 6Kn or 2Ps
  • 1 x 4Sp or 2Ps
  • 3 x 2Ps or 3/4Bw

I could not be sure of what I was going to face until it deployed on the table. To make matters worse, this time my aggression roll was high so I was the attacked and needed to deploy second.

The force Brenton eventually settled on was:

  • 1 x 3Cv General
  • 2 x 3Cv
  • 2 x 3Kn
  • 2 x 2LH
  • 1 x 2Ps
  • 1 x 4Sp
  • 3 x 3/4Bw

That meant that there were many troops in Brenton’s army that could hurt my force effectively. I would need to be quick and decisive – the longer I took to deal with Brenton, he more time there was for his troops with a “quick kill” ability to be effective on my elements. Brenton getting to deploy second also had the ability to line up for the best match-ups.

I did not change any of my troops position. When the game started I advanced as quickly as possible hoping for a punch through on the right, holding in the centre (I expected the knight v knight combat in the centre to continue to see-saw) and delay the arrival of my left flank where I was weakest.

The game was won in the right and centre of my battleline. The photo at the top is the position at the end of the game. I had taken out two of his cavalry and two of his bows for the loss of one of my blades. An 8:2 victory for me.

DBMM Cancon 2011

I decided the other day after playing a game of DBA that I would try and play at Cancon next year. Yes, I know that playing DBA should not automatically make one want to play DBMM but it did.

It was just after the DBA game that a discussion then occurred about whether it would be in DBA or another area. We then started talking about DBMM version 2 and whether they were truly better than DBMM version 1 as a rule set. Doug seemed to think that they were so I started thinking about getting a copy and playing them.

I have 5 painted 15mm DBM armies stored under the house at Mum’s so I thought perhaps I should use one of them. The first thought was to use the Visigoths or the Ostrogoths. Having two sizeable armies of them meant I could morph into many armies from around the 5th century C.E.

I then thought of my Sumerians, a large early army. We discussed them and thought they would be good for an inexperienced player to use. My thoughts then turned to the Early Byzantines, which I have had for many years now, painted but I never got around to finishing the basing on them. Then I thought of my Carolingians. These I purchased at the bring and buy stall at Colours in 2001 and have been meaning to sort, rebase and varnish ever since.

We are still discussing the army, especially as I am in the Philippines at the moment and it will be another two weeks at least before I can get to Mum’s and collected one or other of the armies (or maybe even both :lol ). In the meantime, I ordered a copy of the DBMM rules. Given the strength of the Aussie dollar at the moment, it seemed natural to buy these from the US … so I did.

Doug and I are still trading emails on the relative worth of the Sumerians versus the Carolingians. I guess at the end of it, I’ll end up selecting he army that I think I can have more fun with. There’ll be more on the progress of this later.

Another DBA Campaign – Byzantines

I’ve always had an interest in the Byzantines, ever since my Uni days. This interest has been reawakened recently after listening the Lars Brownworth’s Byzantine Rulers podcast.

I mentioned a new project the other day, the Tribal Mongol Campaign, where I was thinking of collecting a number of contemporary opponents built to the DBA rules. Mention of the Pecheneg and Cumans by Brownworth in his podcast dealing with Alexius set an idea off in my head. The result is another collection of armies to build.

The armies i decided on are all from book III of the lists, except for the Byzantines. I will hunt for these figures as I am for the Mongol collection. The armies I’m using are three enemies of the Byzantines, one “ally” and one army that was both ally and enemy … and the Byzantines as well, of course 😆

The armies are:

  • III/79 – Cuman (Kipchak) 1054-1394 CE
  • III/73a – Seljuk Turk (Rum) 1200-1243 CE
  • III/47 – Pecheneg 850-1122 CE
  • III/51 – West Frankish/Norman 881-1072 CE (Robert Guiscard and his son Bohemud)
  • III/52 – East Frankish 888-1106 CE (Alexius paid/persuaded Henry to attack the possessions of Robert Guiscard)
  • IV/1a – the Komnenan Byzantines 1071-1204 CE

These were selected as the Seljuk Turks along with the Pechenegs attacked the Byzantines. To counter this Alexius persuaded the Cumans to attack the Pechenegs and managed to persuade the Turks to revolt against the Sultan.

The Cumans started raiding and to counter that, Alexius had the Cuman leader assassinated.

The Normans under Robert Guiscard attacked the Byzantines. To counter this threat Alexius persuaded Henry (Heinrich), the ruler of the East Franks, to attack Guiscard’s possessions causing them to withdraw.

A most interesting period and one I am looking forward to considering the figures for this army and to organise and paint them over the coming year or two.