Posts Tagged arab

Deus Vult Battle Report

Deus Vult is the Crusader era game from Fire Forge, designed to take the excellent Fire Forge figures to the table top.   Written by Alessio Cavatore,  the game plays as a cross between Kings of War & Hail Caesar with a healthy dose of moral/leadership checks mixed in.  Armies are organized in to divisions, each lead by a Battle Leader.  Game play alternates as each player is allowed to activate and command one division.  Turns run long, but the steady back and forth keeps both players involved.

The book comes with two full army lists for the 1st Crusade (Crusaders and Arabs) with example lists for European states, Crusader orders, Seljuk Turks and Russians.   The Army rosters have many options and units are well detailed, giving list creation a WAB/WFB level of number crunchiness.   I hope Fire Forge comes out with additional lists, this system is begging for more options.

Set up.  The Crusaders emerge from a line of woods.

Set up. The Crusaders emerge from a line of woods.

turn 1 right flank_1

Crusader skirmishers take the hill.

Skirmishers face the Crusader lines.

Arab skirmishers face the Crusader lines.

Crusaders ready to over run Arab battle lines.

Crusaders ready to over run Arab battle lines.

King of the hill.

King of the hill.

All flanks exposed.

All flanks exposed.



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Hail Caesar: Ghulam Division

Third and final division is the professional Cavalry Division belonging to the army general.

Unit Clash Sust’ Short Long Save+ Stamina Special
Royal Ghulams 9 6 3 0 4 6 Lance
Ghulams 9 6 3 2 4 6
Turkoman 7 5 3 3 6 6
Turkoman- small 5 3 2 2 6 4

Roughly following the WAB book: Beyond the Golden Gate, the units form the mobile hammer of the army.  The Royal Ghulams are Malmuks – full time soldiers belonging to/employed by the army commander.  Taking a hint from Ian Heath’s Armies and Enemies of the Crusades, I’ve written the unit for melee combat rather than archery. The Ghulams are heavy cavalry, but are equally willing to dismiss units at range.  The  two Turkoman units perform the traditional roll of harassing the enemy from a distance.

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Hail Caesar: Berber Division

The 2nd of three divisions, the Berber Division represernts Egyptian/North African troops recruited to fill out the ranks of the footmen.

Unit Clash Sust’ Short Long Save+ Stamina Special
Black Guard 7 7 3 0 4 6 Tough Fighters
Berbers with bow 6 5 3 2 5 6
Berbers with bow 6 5 3 2 5 6
Archers small 3 3 2 2 4

Roughly based on the WAB book El Cid, the Berber division is packed with long range goodness.  The Black Guard is an Emir’s bodyguard, tough as nails – they are the one reliable unit in the division.  Berber units 1 and 2 are mixed spear and bow.  Excelling at neither ranged nor melee – the two do manage to hold the line (most of the time).  The Berber Archers are a small unit dedicated to archery.

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Hail Caesar: Damascus Division

Hail Caesar builds armies in sections called divisions with a full army being made up of 3 or more divisions.  The Damascus Division represents local Syrian city troops called to battle against the invading Crusaders.

Unit Clash Sust’ Short Long Save+ Stamina Special
Dismounted Ghulams 7 7 3 2 4 6
City Guard 6 6 3 0 5 6
Volunteers 8 6 2 0 5 6 Wild Fighters 2 attacks, Militia
Archers – Medium 5 5 3 3 5 6

Roughly following the WAB book: Beyond the Golden Gate, the units form the hard anvil of the army.  Dismounted Ghulams are professional soldiers equally willing to fight with bow or sword.  City Guard and Archers are civilian soldiers called to arms.  Volunteers are religious fanatics called to repulse the heathen Franks – ferocious on the attack but difficult to control.

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Artizan Black Guard

Black Guard unit inspired by El Cid for WAB, configured for play with Hail Caesar. Figures by Artizan.  Flag by LBM.

These figures came to me second hand, they don’t all correspond to the Guards figures by Artizan, but I rather like the lack of uniformity.


Hail Caesar: game 3

Game 3 of Hail Caesar was a solo match against John pitting his Saxons against my Arabs.  We are starting to get a firm grasp of the rules at this point, and were busy trying out some of the more advanced concepts such as the leader Rally command & sorting out the Sweeping Advance. Once again Hail Caesar demonstrates its value by the ease with which it handles a battle of over 350 figures!

Only point of contention so far is the frequency that a division will fail a command roll multiple turns in a row.  For our game, the left flank was uneventful for a number of turns as neither John nor I could motivate our troops to move.  Not a big deal with 2 other divisions to play with – but could be frustrating in a group game when each player only has 1 division.  I’ll need to come up with some sort of “get out of jail” card when running HC as a convention participation game.

Unit values are mostly based on the Damascus scenario from the main rule book. The list was balanced vs. John’s list by having the same number of Heavy and Medium units, by matching the number of Useful Rules (Bows for me, Axes for John) and by having the same number of small units.  Hail Caesar Arab 12 unit army list

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Arab Cavalry

Arab Cavalry for my Caliphate WAB army.  If I may say so, I’m rather pleased with the results.  Strong highlights in saturated colors allow the figures to stand up well on the table top.  Heavy use of GW washes and a bit of black lining add definition to the figure.  The shields even have a touch of free hand work (hardly Golden Demon work, but its the most I’ve done in years).  The unit took about a month to complete – don’t know what it is about horsemen that take forever to paint.

Models by Perry Brothers Miniatures purchased via The War Store.


Return to the Caliphate

After a year long detour into the ancient world, I’m back working on my Arab army for Warhammer Ancient Battles.   Now armed with a copy of Beyond the Golden Gate, the army will be created using the Early Caliphates list.  After far too much work (who knew understanding an army list would take two weeks) I’ve settled on the Hamdadids sub-list.  The list allows for all types of Ghulams, backed by upgraded Hamdanid heavy cavalry, with infantry support.

Given the cavalry emphasis of the list, a shopping trip was required to fill out my available models.  I was glad to find that The War Store had reduced their prices on the Perry Brothers models, and proceeded to order a wide selection of figures from the Muslim Armies/Crusaders product line.  The sculpting on the Perry Bros models is splendid – very fine and very detailed.  But this level of quality does come with a cost – the figures require a lot of clean up with casting vents dotting the figures, the rather slight weapons all required straightening, and some of  the horse legs are twisted and/or broken from the figure mount.  The figures fit well with my Gripping Beast/Magister Millitum models, with the Perry Bros being thinner and noticeably more detailed.  Despite these negatives, I would enthusiastically recommend the line to anyone looking for Crusader era figures.

Army List:  1000 points

Unit Number Points Equipment and notes
Amir 1 164 General, Horse, heavy armour, shield, bow, thrusting spear, superior cav
Turkish Senior Ghulam 8 239 CMS, heavy armor, Shield, Bow,Kontarion, Superior Turkish Cav
Hamdanids Heavy cav 6 165 Heavy armour, shield, Kontarion, Superior Arab Cav
Mutatawwi’a 21 162 Shield, throwing spear, Warband 1&2
City Militia- skirmishers 10 60 Buckler, bow
City Militia- skirmishers 12 56 Buckler, hand weapon, javelins, Naffatun
Turcoman Cav 7 154 Skirmishers, Nomad Cavalry

In the army’s first outing the list did well against a force of Normand invaders.  The Turcoman literally ran circles around the opposing cavalry and the skirmishers drove off a large block of spearmen with the Naffatun.  With the game well in hand by the 3rd turn, my opponent wanted to see what would happen if my Ghulam unit and his Norman knights unit were to tangle.  Always one to make a game more interesting, I accepted the challenge.  All I can say is lances are bad news….  and that Ghulams come with bows and BS4 for a reason.

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Quick Links: Jons Mini Blog- Saracens

Wonderful unit of Saracen infantry at Jons Mini Blog.   Even if you not into historical figs, you’ll want to check out the brush work.  Strong unifying color with individual accents to both bind the unit and keep each figure unique.

I’ll be sure to return to Jons blog when I get back to my own Arab army project this summer.

Photo credit:  Jons Mini Blog


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Magister Militum vs. Gripping Beast Arab Miniatures

Reinforcements have arrived!  For the second phase of my Arab army I selected Magister Militum miniatures.  Customer service was excellent – each of my emails was promptly answered.  The order took four days to process and about a week to ship from the UK to the US.  All of the figures are well cast with minor flash and mold lines.  Sculpting quality is average to above average, although there does seem to be a bit of flattening from the spin casting process.

I believe this line of miniatures used to be called Navigator – I don’t know if Magister purchased the product line, or simply re-sell the product.  In any case – the Magister web site is still a work in progress.  In the two weeks since I order, prices and packaging methods have changed.  Even with the changes – the unit deal (24 figures) still seems the best way to buy in.

The Magister Arabs fit well with my existing Gripping Beast (cast by Old Glory 15).  Foot solders match well for height – eye ball to eye ball the figures are the same size.  The Magister minis are a bit bigger about the chest and perhaps a bit longer in the arm.  I’ll have to mix a few into a unit, but I suspect the size differences will naturally blend as normal human variations.

Magister on the left.  Gripping Beast on the right.

The Syrian Heavy cavalry are a more mixed lot.  The riders are very upright (side effect of a one piece figure) and sit taller in the saddle than the crouching bowman.  Trying to get the riders to fit their mounts will take a bit of pliers work – the legs are either too narrow or too wide.

Magister horses are a bit thin, short in length but stand taller than the Gripping Beast horse.

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