Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Battle of kleine Furz

 My Dearest Irma,
I write to you, exultant nay triumphant on the field of Mars. Oh my dear, dear sister, I have seen the elephant. Not of course one of those exquisite creatures of the order of pachydermata, although truth be told I have seen several of those, but rather the charge of bayonets, the whiff of grapeshot, the smell of powder.
Our army is presently encamped in the ‘rugged’ lands of Covonia, at a place called kleine Furz in their barbaric tongue. Let not the meanness of its name confound you my dear, this is a most pleasant place; charming hills and delightful woods abound. Why my dear I have seen several species of even toed ungulates and Bovidae, whilst Accipitridae and Pandioninae circle the skies. Although, alas, I have not seen sight nor sound of any Strigidae to remind me of our beloved Gormenghast.

Our esteemed Constable has been struck with the Gout, a veritable podagra of the metatarsal-phalangeal joint. It was most fortunate that I was present to intervene with all my knowledge of the physician’s art. The Constable has been leeched and bled and I like to think that it was only through the administration of our splendid friends the Hirudo medicinalis that the Constable was able to take the field of battle.

The encounter was a short sharp affair. The Covonians defended a ridge line in a long thin line, with cavalry on their right. A most irregular deployment, I am led to believe. Our Constable masked the centre of their line with infantry and guns, whilst four regiments of Foote, in columns, formed on our right flank. These marched ahead with such alacrity it was a marvel to behold. The precision of the Gormenghastian evolutions was such that, within a blink of an eye, they had formed two lines on the enemy’s flank. 

The High Linctus looks on aghast at the Constable's evolving columns.

Thereafter, it was simply a case of volley and charge and the end of the enemy line was put to flight. Oh how the scoundrels ran! Now the Constable was poised to roll up the enemy line but upon my word if the most peculiar incident did not occur. I shall eat my hat if it isn’t so. Why bless me if a little fellow, on a horse, didn’t dash from the Covonian lines carrying a white flag. Of course the Constable, being a complete Gentleman, was only too happy to grant them the honours of war.

So there we stood, in possession of the field, as the Covonian army marched away. And I do believe that we hadn’t lost a single fellow from the Gormenghastian ranks! If that is the measure of campaigning I do believe I may be home soon.
Please remember to water my Peace Lily.
Your most affectionate brother,

Alfred Prunesquallor, Physician to the army of Gormenghast

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Battle of Phar Hill 

(Warning: This report from the Albion commander contains violent language of a graphic nature and some gruesome hyperbole that some readers may find hilarious distressing.)

So the inevitable has come to pass.  The Gods demand blood.  Blood and always more blood.  Together they have manoeuvred us petty minded mortals to wage war in order to slake their thirst.  When the Gods have a thirst, to gain their favour Albion must be at the fore in providing it!  The ranks of her glorious infantry carrying their bayonets to the bellies of her enemies.
On a hill in the distance stood our objective.  The malignant carcass of the treacherous wretch Baron Jim Von Dastardly of Scratchpole. There he stood, cowering behind the arrayed ranks of Vulgaria, exuding his conniving, malignant stench. 
The enemy was arrayed with its infantry and guns in the centre. Woods, marsh and ploughed farmland protected their left flank.  On their right was their horse, more numerous and gaudy than our own.  Their flamboyant attire no doubt an attempt to compensate for their small, shrivelled vulgar manhoods.

The opening of battle was announced by a devastating barrage from our artillery.  Our gunners professionally handling their ordinance and smashing two battalions of elite vulgarian infantry milling around in disarray left of the enemy centre.

The massed circus of peacocks on the enemy’s right advanced and started a deadly waltz with our cavalry.  Lord Effingham issued the command for a general advance and the “LINES and LINES and LINES” of Albion’s professional infantry began their steady and remorseless cadence towards the action the Gods demanded. With bayonets levelled our ranks advanced steadily into volley after volley of the foes excellent musketry.
Many fell. Our recently hired mercenary battalion from the staunch and righteous Order of Saint Elmo pushed on till destruction, clearing the path for the following battalions to close with and over run four enemy gun batteries. So efficiently and smoothly did the Vulgarian gunners man their pieces that they seemed, at times, to be invisible!  Their blood spilt, their glorious deaths certainly a fitting tribute to any Gods thirst.
On pushed the advance, irresistible to the heroic and valiant defence of the Vulgarian infantry. Battalion after Battalion sacrificing their blood to greedy Gods. The stage was set for a great victory.  The enemies cannon taken, battalions smashed, Albion’s elite Guard battalions could see the target and little stood between them and Von Dastardly!

Damn those ungrateful Gods! For all the blood sacrifice of Albion’s flower.  For all the gore offered to them from the work of our most revered bayonets.  Escape was granted to the Vulgarians and their accursed charge Von Dastardly of Scratchpole. The very ground itself, irrigated by bloody tribute turned to an impassable mire stopping our Lord Effingham’s glorious host at the point of total victory!  War is hell and the Gods ungrateful.  Battle will be re-joined in due course. 

                                       The gallant Vulgarian cavalry                                                        see off the sub-standard Albion horse.

Ever the gentleman, Baron Bomburst grants his Albion opponent the Honours of War 
whilst claiming victory on the field.

Monday, 27 January 2014

STOP PRESS: War breaks out again. Putting their old enmity aside Gormenghast and Albion have allied with the Order of St. Elmo in a new partnership of villainy. The brave souls of Vulgaria, Borogovia and Covonia must make a stand against this axis of evil.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

STOP PRESS: The War is over! Craven Albion and his despicable minions have sued for peace and the First Trade War is over. The peace, however, is likely to be short lived. Even as I write emissaries and ambassadors will be making new alliances and fomenting discord among the nations.

The Battle of Littletown (on the Prairie)

Barquentine Master of Ritual was mad. Some rightly say he was insane mad. Actually, he was hopping mad. To be fair this was inevitable as he only had one leg. In fact he was angry mad. And the reason Barquentine was mad? That damn fool the Constable, that's why. The Master of Ritual was convinced that the campaign in 'the Tropics' would have been a success if the Constable had followed the proper rituals. The war would be over and Barquentine would be safely back in the familiar and comforting surroundings of Gormenghast castle. Instead 'the Tropics' were lost and here they were on the vast plains in the realm of St Elmo.

The Constable was worried; the terrain clearly favoured the, largely cavalry based, Elmovians and their scouts had been spotted in the distance, yet they appeared to be making no attempt to attack. Barquentine couldn't give a stuff; as long as that damn fool Constable followed the rituals all would be well
Despite his reservations, the Constable resolved to advance. The plain was largely featureless, except for a small abandoned town sat amongst woods and marshes and it was upon this unremarkable little town that the Constable set his sights. He may not encounter the enemy but at least he might find a bed for the night. If left to his own devices the Constable would anchor his left flank on the woods and attack with his infantry, through the marshes, towards the town. His horse and guns would cover his left rear, whilst his infantry attacked. He was also fortunate to have the services of 2 groups of Musselmen, wild irregulars from the borders. These he would place at the junction of his infantry and cavalry to scour the woods on his left. 'A damn fine plan', he mused, but what would that septegenarian idiot Barquentine think of his fine plan.

Barquentine, in fact, didn't think anything of the plan. If truth be told, he wasn't even aware that there was a plan. No, to Barquentine life was not to be planned. Why would anyone need to make plans? Surely everything was already laid down in his precious Book of Ritual, or rather in one of the many volumes of his dusty, mildewed tomes. Barquentine's immediate problem was to find the right paragraph, on the correct page, in the proper chapter of the appropriate volume. This was accomplished by cross referencing a complex and tortuous matrix that only the Master of Ritual could understand. After hours of study, accompanied by much muttering, Barquentine had the answer; the army would form in 3 lines with the Guards in front. What though of the horse and guns? In actual fact 'the Book' made no mention of horse or guns. As far as Barquentine was concerned they were a complete irrelevance.

This suited the Constable who arrayed his infantry in 3 lines of 3 regiments each. The first line consisted of the elite troops of Gormenghast, from left to right, the 1st Gormenghast, the Gormenghast Light Infantry and the Gormenghast Guards. The second and third lines mainly consisted of conscripts; raw recruits brought in to fill the ranks after the disasterous Tropics campaign. The second, third and fourth Gormenghast formed the second line, whilst the fifth Gormenghast and the first and second Fencibles brought up the rear.

His forces deployed the Constable sounded the advance and the infantry slowly sloshed through the wet and marshy ground. Soon the town came into view and, to the Constable's satisfaction, it was defended. Two regiments of Elmovian infantry supported by three batteries formed up in front of the town, whilst a third regiment formed a garrison. And what infantry! Pike and antiquated handguns! The Constable smiled to himself at the thought of what his lethal volleys would do to such old fashioned troops. But where were the Elmovian cavalry? No matter the Constable would forge ahead regardless.

The Gormenghast infantry marched forward, pausing only to reform on the far side of the marshes. Soon they were exchanging volleys with the enemy infantry. The Guards and Light Infantry wreaked havoc amongst their opposing numbers, destroying 2 batteries in the process. However, the first Gormenghast, on the left, were badly mangled by the canister fire from an opposing gun battery. Nevertheless, the Guards and Light Infantry, charging their bayonets, surged forward and swept all before them. The Elmovians then staged a desperate counterattack by the last remaining infantry regiment in their line. Supported by their last gun battery they broke the 1st Gormenghast but were in turn broken by the supporting troops of the Gormenghastian second line.

This left only the small Elmovian garrison to defend the town but the Gormenghast infantry needed time to reform after their successful attack. Hence, the Constable sent forward the Musselmen, through the woods, to harrasss the garrison. 

It was at this point, just when the Constable was at his most smug and self-satisfied, that a messenger arrived from his cavalry. The Elmovian cavalry had been spotted, bearing down upon the Constable's left flank. Six regiments of Elite cavalry, led by the Maison du Roi, faced the three regiments of Gormenghast. Could the outnumbered Gormenghastians hold out long enough for their infantry to take the town? 

Night was approaching and the Constable was now fighting on 2 fronts. Miraculously, the Gormenghast cavalry did manage to beat off the first Elmovian attack, although they were seriously weakened in the process and the guns were lost. The Elmovians, sensing victory, mounted a second furious attack  that broke the Gormenghast Dragonos but the line held. Meanwhile, the Gormenghast infantry, led by the Guards, had broken into the town, routing the garrison, and as night fell Gormenghast were in possession of the town.

The Battle of Cloudy Bottom

The brevity of this battle necessitates only the briefest of reports. Borogovian forces were defending a town against an Albion attack.

The only action of the day occurred when Lord Effingham ordered his entire cavalry force to charge the Borogovian infantry and guns head on.
Although the guns were destroyed the Albion cavalry were unable to break the infantry and bounced off. Disheartened by this Effingham withdrew his cavalry and halted the entire attack. Intimidated, no doubt, by the steely glare in the eyes of the magnificently attired Borogovian battalions. C'est pathetique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre.

The Battle of Sweaty Palms

Right, here we go. Vulgarian battle report by yours truly. Right...  you at the back, yes, you with the hat and the book, pay attention. I've no intention of repeating myself. Where was I? Lost my blasted train of thought with all your shenanigans. Ahem.. ah yes, battle report.
We’d been called out to deal with these St. Elmo johnnies y’see with all their horses and pikes and thoroughly bad attitudes. Right.. you with the hat again, that’s enough. Go and sit over there if you can’t keep your hands off it.

Horses, horses, yes, blithering hundreds of them there were and blow me did they move fast. We were drawn up between two palm tree plantations y’see, nice defensible position, all pretty textbook stuff, infantry in two lines with cannon on the flanks and our cavalry in column to the rear. The enemy infantry, if you can call it infantry, were a good half mile away and the cavalry far off to our right flank behind some rough looking ploughed fields. Thought it would take an age for them to reach us but as it turned out I was rather mistaken.

Did I mention the heat? Damned heat, damn it was hot. Hot, hot, hot. Anyway these cavalry chappies came breezing through the fields as if they weren't there, apparently this Boris fella doesn't mind a bit of rough, hang on, I think that came out wrong... never mind. Ahem...
Suddenly the blackguard’s onto me flank. Rolls over me left side guns and smashes into the columns of cavalry before you can say Jack Robinson. Bish, bash, bosh. The old Comte de Finay dug his spurs in like a blasted pansy and off he went, not so much as a ‘by your leave’. Needless to say I gave him a thorough wigging when I caught up with him later, disgraceful behaviour, very poor example for the men.
During this debacle I had been turning my infantry about face and moving in on him, a couple of battalions through the wood as well to threaten his flank y’see. Truth is that by now he was trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot, his dander was well and truly up but he just didn't have enough room to manoeuvre and bring all his force to bear. Shooting fish in a barrel and all that, though why anyone would want to shoot fish in a barrel is beyond me, dashed unsporting.
Well that’s about the lot. Lost 3 units of cavalry and 2 guns which was a tad unfortunate but my infantry were all fresh and still held the field at the end of the day.
Did I mention the heat? I did... ah well. It was still damned hot whatever you say.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Battle of Redhills

Hercules Grytpype Thynne (Constable of Gormenghast) sat astride his charger and stared into the heat haze ahead. Sweat ran from underneath his tricorne hat, leaching powder from his enormous wig and dripping from the end of his hooked nose. The Constable regretted joining the army of Gormenghast; in any other army he would be a general but instead he was bound by the ancient traditions of Gormenghast. Quite why he was here fighting in the Tropics was also a mystery to the Constable but the forces of Albion were out there somewhere beyond that range of hills. Grytpype desperatedly wanted to advance with the army but the one-legged hunchbacked dwarf Barquentine, Master of Ritual, insisted that the time was not right. Instead the Constable arrayed his forces in a defensive line, as laid down by ancient tradition and transcribed in Barquentine's dusty Book of Ritual.

As tradition decreed the elite Gormenghast Guards and Gormenghast Light Infantry formed the left of the line. The First, Second and Third Gormenghast Regiments of Foote were arrayed to the right of the household troops and behind them, a second line of infantry deployed, consisting of the Fourth and Fifth Gormenghast Foote alongside the First and Second Gormenghast Fencibles. A small battery of artillery took post on the left of the infantry line. To the rear and right of the line stood the 3 Regiments of Gormenghast cavalry, in column and led by Filip Koreczki who took post with the Gormeghast Hussars (The Death Owls).

As the morning wore on and the troops began to wilt in their hot and heavy (but very traditional) woollen uniforms, the thunderous sound of hooves echoed over the hills and a veritable host of cavalry appeared to line the ridge ahead. This was followed, soon after, by vast columns of swift moving infantry which appeared on the Constable's left flank. Galvanised into action, Grytpype drew his sword, with a flourish, and yelled 'prepare to march'.
'Ahem......ahem....', a dry dusty cough came from the bundle of rags that was Barquentine. 'The time is not right damn ye.   it'''s......... not in the book', he spluttered apoplectically, turning slightly purple.
'I suppose, sir, that I am to be allowed some manoeuvre!', bellowed the Constable.
'You must not alter the sacred alignment', came the shrill reply from a now spitting mad Barquentine, 'the Guards must form in front, so it is written'
'Stuff and nonsense sir! Then I shall manoeuvre my second line', came the Constable's riposte, and with that the Constable ordered the second line to march to the threatened flank.  Long months of training in cadenced marching and advancing at the oblique now came to fruition, with the 4 regiments forming two lines facing the Constable's left flank.

Albion commander, Lord Effingham of Grimbold contemplates his cunning scheme while the Constable consults the Book of Ritual. Note strategically placed kitchen towel for the mopping up of casualties.

By now the infantry of Albion had formed themselves into 2 brigades and soon launched a furious attack on the Constable's hastily formed line. The Gormenghast Fencibles stood firm and prepared to unleash the 'lethal volleys' for which they are justly famed. Alas, in their haste to form a defensive line to the flank, the Fencibles had omitted to load their muskets and the order to fire came to nought. Grytpype well knew the Albionites' reputation with the bayonet and seeking to pre-empt them ordered the charge. The Fencibles made a spirited attack but were thrown back on their second line. A counter charge by the Albionites sealed their fate and they were swept from the field. The 4th and 5th Gormenghast, forming the second line, came to the rescue with a lethal volley, followed by a charge that broke the Albionites' lead brigade.

Now the remains of the battered second line faced the cream of the Albionite army, in the form of their elite Grenadier brigade. A bloody fight followed with the 4th Gormenghast putting up a heroic defence and repelling 3 bayonet attacks by the Albionite Grenadiers. By now Grytpype, overuling a deranged and frothing Barquentine, had wheeled the Gormenghast Guards out of the first line and they were pouring lethal volleys into the enemy Grenadiers. Both sides were now on the brink of collapse but one last push by the Albionite Grenadiers finally shattered the 4th Gormenghast and the Constable's broken and battered force fled the field.  

Gormenghastian forces before the battering and the fleeing.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Our ImagiNations Campaign at Durham Wargames Group kicked off last night with a couple of cracking games. We are using the Maurice rules by Sam Mustafa and a mixture of Napoleonic and various ersatz figures to fill the ranks. Players are already embroiled in the frantic figure buying, painting and sabot basing necessary for such endeavours. As the weeks progress I shall try to keep this blog updated with what is going on; in detail when I can be bothered, in jist when I can't.

Anyway, here is a map of the campaign world. Please refer to the tabs above for information on individual countries. Their Epic Point levels will be updated each week.
The campaign world has a potentially limitless series of wars. A war always has two sides, in this case of 3 countries each. There is never more than one war happening at a time and it continues until peace is declared. The wars pair up players to fight tabletop battles which are fought simultaneously as a series.
The winner of the campaign is he who is the first to accumulate the specified number of Epic Points.

Epic Points are awarded for a number of reasons, most commonly for fighting battles, winning battles by various degrees and, of course, winning a war. But they can also be awarded for such things as accepting a surrender or being a gracious captor. Note that EPs can also be spent by players to, amongst other things, buy cards, transfer a unit during peacetime and get rid of a useless Notable character.

STOP PRESS: The belligerents have gravitated into 2 opposing factions. The Triple Alliance of Gormenghast, Borogovia & Vulgaria and the Tripartite Pact of Albion, Covonia & The Order of St. Elmo.