Archive for May, 2011

Fair Game, new FLGS

I had a chance to visit a new game store in my area – Fair Game.  Big surprise, I used to game with the owner (Josh) and the manager (Eric) back when Brain Snacks was still open.  Downers Grove has been without a game store for about a half a dozen years  – good to see a new store moving in.  Fair Game carries a wide range of board games, Magic cards and a few RPGs.



El Cid African Invaders List

River City Hobbies, La Crosse WI is hosting a Warhammer Ancients tournament on August 13th.  In a rare hobby appearance outside of Adepticon, I get to attend….which means I need to get working on a 1500 point list.

First draft from the El Cid African Invaders army list.

  • Emir on horse 175 pts
  • Army Standard Bearer  86 pts
  • Mercenary Spearmen 18  with Lt armor and large shield  267 pts
  • Berber Spearmen 16 + 8 archers with large shield  204 pts
  • Berber Spearmen 16 + 8 archers with large shield  204 pts
  • Mercenary Crossbowmen 10  125 pts
  • Mercenary Knights 10 with heavy armor and warhorse 335 pts
  • Andalusian Archers 9  45 pts
  • Andalusian Archers 9  45 pts

The list has a solid core of 3 strong spear unit, moderate shooting with 34 archers plus the crossbowmen and a hammer in the Knights.  Over half of the army is made up of mercenary units and will be subject to a d6 check at the start of the game and will be unable to use the general’s leadership.  One merc unit can become the general’s body guard and avoid these restrictions – the list was written to add the general to the knights, but I may instead put him on foot with the merc spearmen.  This way the rock of my battle line can take advantage of both the general’s ld9 and the ASB re-roll.  The list is also lacking any good way to chase off skirmishers which are common in the armies I normally face.

At the next club night, I hope to take the list out for a test drive & see how it works.  Comments and suggestions are welcome.

On a related topic, GW has come out with their annual price increases along with announcing other assorted unpleasantness.  BOLS has a reasoned response with pricings for sample 40K, WFB and PP armies.  I’m happy to say that my El Cid list with 106 figures comes in between  $185 and $235 (depending on figure sources).   These prices compare well with 40K and WFB in the $400 to $550 range, and even PP (and its handful of models) at $175 to $250.



Five new pirates for the High Seas campaign I’m playing in.  Figures by Black Scorpion, except for the figure with the spyglass which was the promotional miniature for High Seas.

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Reading List: Crusades

Crusading Warfare, 1097 – 1193 by R. C. Smail

A socio-economic description of Crusader warfare practice.  Well worth reading, this book provides a discussion of the crusades I’ve not found else where.  The text focuses on the nuts and bolts of maintaining a Crusader state.  Following the creation of the Latin states, the Crusader leaders moved from a pitched battle strategy to a  stand off strategy.  Campaigns  became periods of watching the opposing army.  With the threat of an intact Crusader force, Arab forces where unable to conduct sieges and without the ability to capture hard targets – campaigns ended in tactical failures.  Pitch battle became a rare occurrence as neither side wanted to risk a direct confrontation.

The primary weapon of the crusader army was the horse.  The warhorse delivered the devastating charge  of the knights.  Great efforts were taken to preserve steads while the crusaders maneuvered.  Marching columns placed infantry on the outer edge with the knights in the middle.  Arrow attacks from Turk horsemen were taken on the armored (replaceable) infantry  rather than on the irreplaceable horses.  In addition to direct attack, horses were frequently lost to lack of water or eaten to stave off starvation.  As an example of a horse poor force, King Richard, during the defense of Jaffa 8-5-1192, commanded a force of 2000 men and all of 10 mounted knights.

When battle was joined, the Frankish armies deployed in squadrons of matching knights and infantry.  Once more, the infantry was used to screen the cavalry unit the critical charge could be executed.  For the battles recorded in the text, Crusaders deployed in 3 detachments with a fourth in reserve.  Frequently, the opposing Arab army would either outnumber or be able to out manouver a Frankish force.  As a remedy, battle lines would typically use a terrain feature such as a hill to anchor one end.

An Illustrated history of the Crusades and the Crusader Knights by Charles Phillips

Provides an adequate over view of the crusader states (mostly from the western perspective).   While not of gaming quality, the book does contain prints of period paintings and current photos of contemporary castles.  Troop counts are few and far between but we do get an account of the King of Jerusalem’s army consisting of only a few hundred knights with Turkopoles, Lebanese archers and Armenian & Syrian infantry numbering 20,000.

‘Men of Iron’ name given to the crusaders by the Turks based on the impressive amount of chain mail armour worn and their determination when fighting.  Other references in the book contrast the relative light weight armour worn by the Turks versus the armour of the Franks.  (A point that WAB does not seem to reflect in most army lists.)

Nation states in the region (1140) include:   MAP

  • Kingdom of Jerusalem
  • County of Tripoli
  • Principality of Antioch
  • County of Edessa
  • Cilician Armenia
  • Byzantine Empire
  • Fatimid Caliphate of Cairo
  • Emirate of Damascus
  • Sultanate of Rum

God’s Warriors by Dr Helen Nicholson & Dr David Nicolle

An Osprey reprint of three earlier books (Hattin, Saracen Faris and Knight Templar).  The text provides a pleasant overview of the three main forces in the conflict.