Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wars of the Roses Recruiting

Happy New Year and all that! With the rumours all confirmed and 2011 now starting after 2010 (as was planned, I imagine) I have found myself taking stock of the hobby landscape from my perspective. Although I never expected it when starting out, my activity seems to have ended up focussed on two main areas: The Wars of the Roses (WOTR,) and WW2 in the Desert. Following my recent completion of the Eighth Army, I have decided to give it a breather before tackling the DAK & Italians. For a bit of variety, I have swung back to my WOTR campaign and I have decided to give the army a bit of a revamp.

It was actually this time last year I started out with it, getting a 'Retinue Deal' of four boxes of Perry Plastic Miniatures off the Warlord Games website. It's done good service, and I have decided to once more throw some of my Xmas cash at swelling the ranks of Merrie Olde England's finest nobility (and nobility-killing commoners.) With perfect timing, the Perrys have also produced a new plastic box set for Mercenaries, bringing the variety of Pikemen, Crossbowmen and Handgunners to the fray.

I've splashed out and bought yet another Retinue Deal to double my numbers at a stroke, also got a Mercenaries box to add some variety, and I have also sent off to the Perrys direct for some Foot Command personalities for each side. Combined with my existing figures of the retinues (plus the Cannon and 4 crew I got last summer,) this takes my total collection size from an initial 160 figures to a fearsome total of 376!

With all this re-stocking, I wanted to bring some revamping efforts to the rules in use. Previously I have been using the Perfect Captain's excellent set A Coat of Steel (ACOS) but the token-heavy setup plus the large numbers of card-draws and table-consulting for combat proved a serious handicap for me personally - with my limited time and space available at present, I found I was spending far longer preparing to play a game than actually playing one! I need a new rule set, and after much pondering around I have wound up revisiting Basic Impetus.

I initially disliked Basic Impetus because of the way that it used small armies of 7 or 8 bases, but decided to separate them into broad classes like 'Dismounted Nobles' as if every noble in the army would band together to form some kind of elite foot unit. This was especially bad in comparison to ACOS, where each unit was made up of the more historically accurate mix of all-sorts bunched together because of the feudal ties that dictated they fight with their Lord's retinue. I've come round, however - largely due to a bit of tinkering with scales.

By using a generous 10 figures per base, I could field two armies of 16+ units each, which means the presence of bases like 'Dismounted Nobles' is far less intrusive and fits into the overall scheme. I was initially pondering doing little 10-figure dioramas for the bases at first, as the Impetus website does such a brilliant job of showcasing, but I decided against it in the end. The flexibility of individually based figures seemed wisest, at least until I decided I was irretrievably in love with Basic Impetus. Plus, after a quick flip through my old copy of Warhammer Fantasy Battle (from the 1980s – Old School!) I decided that it would be perfectly good for use as well, should the mood take me. I will just use the Impetus bases as movement trays for now, and a quick internet search has brought up the two sites that can supply MDF bases pre-cut to the right size - East Riding Miniatures and Warbases (both just their names with “” if you're interested) both sell suitable bases of 12cm by 6cm, so I shall shortly buy from one or the other.

As for campaign games, I have recently bought a copy of Columbia Games' block boardgame of the period: Richard III. I heard this reviewed a few months back on the Meeples & Miniatures podcast, and as I have played several other of their games (East Front, incidentally, is superb) I decided to get it. I will post a review shortly, to pass on info on it to other interested parties.

Right, that's quite the ramble! I'll shut up there, and hopefully post soon. By way of illustration, the picture with this post shows my current 16 bases of miniatures set out as they would be for Impetus - in other words, roughly under half the ultimate force I will be able to eventually assemble. I'm aiming big, as you can tell!

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