Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas from Iron-Mitten

Merry Christmas everyone and have a great new year. All the best, Simon

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tullus strikes back (campaign 49)

Febuary in the new year opened well for Tullus, with the descovery of a salt mine in Mauretania Caesariensis.
When news of Secundus's march on Rome reached the ears of Tullus, he decided it was time to make a strike of his own. Tullus had so far played it safe recruiting in Africa and the outskirts of the Empire, now, he ordered his Legate in Tarraconensis to invade Gaul. Lucius Silius Famia marched an army made from vexillations of the VII Gemina and the newly recruited III Augusta into the Gaulish province of Narbonensis.
For the first time since the war began, the two sides now faced each other across a frontier. By this simple move, Tullus had put pressure on both Gaul and on the capital, Rome itself.

Senate flees Rome (campaign 48)

Panic sweeps through the capital as Secundus and his army grow closer. Lucius Plaudicus and the other leading senaters run from Rome and buy safe passage across the sea to join Tullus in Africa.
Tullus had no idea, that when the Senate had backed him in Rome, he would end up having to feed them all and put up with their constant bickering in Africa. A ship full of politicians was the last thing Tullus wanted to see turn up as he made his plans to invade the inner provinces of the Empire.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Inner Sanctum

These are some shots I took about three weeks ago. At the very start of my Blog, I posted a picture of my cabinet as it was, so I thought I'd better post an update of what it looks like now. I've had to add three more shelves since back then, to house my ever growing Roman collection and my other eras have had to take a back seat for a while, until I have finished with the Romans.
At some point I am looking forward to returning and expanding my Waterloo range. The cherry on the cake being, the start of the British forces....I can't wait. Also, I have a large collection of Celts I am looking forward to finishing.

With the Roman campaign well under way now, the next job is to finally start to work out the points for each unit and army, for the wargaming. This will be a big job and one that I will have to set a weekend aside for. However, my friend has sent me a list of troop values he found on the Inter-net, which cover just about every troop type I can think of and one that will save me hours of work. It even includes some I thought I'd have to make up, like those of the Batavians for example.
This room has become abit of a shrine for me and one that I have come to spend hours in. Once you've painted a unit, It captures alot more than just the colours from a book, times and dates and locations are also captured and for the painter, it can be like a diary spanning back years and years and years. Woo...too deep, pull out!...that was close! Stick to the drawing simon.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Secundus marches to Rome (campaign 47)

At the head of his newly appointed German bodyguard, Secundus journeys through the north of Italy towards the capital.

The unit Secundus has trusted with his life, is made up of the renown Batavian cavalry. The German tribe paid no taxes to Rome unlike all other tribes in the Empire. This said, there was still a price to pay, for the tribe were natural fighters and Rome demanded that each year a certain amount of Batavians inlist to fight in the Roman army. The Batavians were also known for their ability to cross rivers in full armour, a skill lacking in other Auxiliary units of the time and one that was used to great effect in the conquest of Britain.

The Army of Rome

Here are a couple of shots of the Army of Rome before its defeat at Arretium. The first is of an urban cohort in the battleline awaiting orders. I love the self-importance on the face of the officer, even though he's leading a bunch of poorly trained levys. These figures are unarmoured and are from the Punic war range, Renegade miniatures. I bought them to use for all my Garrison troops in the game, here they form an Urban cohort from Rome.

Below, the Young Roman general Venantius takes some seasoned advice for the oncoming battle, It will be to no avail.

Hot off the painting table

Balearic slingers join the forces of Tullus. I decided to give some of them small shields to add alittle more variety to the unit, also I found the perfect place for one of my favourite figures. To bring these unruly stone throwers to heel, I popped a young Roman officer in amongst them. I love this figure but I have found it hard to put him into units of armoured legionaries. Now, I feel, he has found his place.

Victory at the battle of Arretium (campaign 46)

Secundus rode out to meet the army of Rome near the town of Arretium in northern Italy. The battle is long and bloody with both sides taking turns to win ground, only to lose it again a moment later. To everyones surprise, the Praetorian guard fought well and almost turned the battle at one point. However with the weight of numbers on his side It was Secundus who triumphed in the end, forcing the army of Rome down into a number of river gullies, where it was cut to pieces.

Centurion Vitus celebrates victory after the battle with his Gallic warcry.

Senate rejects Secundus..again (campaign 45)

With the Rhine re-enforced and the German problem quelled, Secundus appeals to the Senate once more, to back his cause. Lucius Plaudicus, a haughty noble of high birth mocks Secundus in public, laughing at the thought of one of such low origins becoming Emperor. " second by name....second by nature" scoffs Lucius in the Forum.

Secundus is not known for his patience, and decides that he will not ask a third time. He mocks back in return "there is no third chance with Secundus!" Meanwhile alot of other senaters begin to realize, Secundus is alot closer to Rome than Tullus and his spainish armies. Rome is thrown into chaos as parties devide and argue over what to do.

Secundus straps on his helmet for battle and looks forward to meeting Lucius face to face.

German tribes attack across Rhine (campaign 44)

As Secundus mustered his forces, he stripped the borders of their much needed garrisons. With the XXI Rapax now marching behind him, he ventured south leaving a very under manned frontier. This of course did not go unnoticed by the local tribes in the area, who crossed the Rhine in force and destroyed two settlements and their garrisons in early april. To add to the insult, the tribes burnt to the ground two auxiliary forts before disappearing back into the dark forests. A relief column sent by Secundus was also ambushed and masscred as it struggled through the marshland to help the beleaguered Rhine settlements,

Secundus was not happy!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Off season blues (campaign 43)

The winter months passed quickly for the two would be Emperors and their growing armies. Secundus suffered alittle from a shortage of pack animals which set his road building plans back a month, however, roads were still completed in Raetia and Germany.
Tullus too took the slow, cold months to lace his new provinces with roads, seeing new roads built in Baetra and Numidia. However, building the long narrow roads in the shifting sands of Numidia was no easy feat, but Roman sweat and craftsmenship won through in the always.

Balearic Islands join Tullus (campaign 42)

The month of August saw a sickness sweep through Tullus's Northern army, the trouble was traced back to bad provisions from Gaul. This did little to dampen the spirits of Tullus, who sailed to the Balearic islands the following month and recruited the renowned slingers of the province for his army. The province openly declaired it's loyalty to Tullus and his Spainish armies. The troops of Secundus would soon feel the lead shot of these excellent skirmishers.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Secundus prepares (campaign 41)

Secundus joins the XXI Rapax in Upper Germany and prepares them to march on Rome. It's not the way he would have liked to have done things, but now he has no choice in the matter. Rome must fall to the Sucundian cause or burn!

Senate turns down Secundus (campaign 40)

The month of August started well for Secundus when a small raid on enemy supply routes paid off, however this goodluck was short lived. Secundus was now in a position to invade the capital of Rome and sent a bribe to help the process along.
The Senate turned him down flat, they took the bribe but laughed his messengers out of Rome.

Secundus took the news very badly and stormed around the camp cursing and vowing that now he had the German legions on his side, It would soon be him who'd be laughing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

XXI RAPAX marches for Secundus (campaign 39)

This tough bunch of veterans are the result of several years of fighting on the Rhine frontier. They have lost their light Pilum for the heavy throwing spear and have adopted many of the fighting techniques of their German foes. They wear local clothes and have aquired the taste for beer over wine, It would be fair to say that after seven years on the Rhine, the XXI RAPAX have gone native.

However, their constant fighting and campaigning have made them some of the best trained troops in the Empire.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Campaign map II

So here it is at last, the world as we know it. It's all pretty self explanatory really, although it doesn't look it, both sides are earning roughly the same in Province income.
Tullus still uses his armies in vexillations down in Carthage and Secundus's whole army waits outside Raetia.

Note a tiny silver mine that has been found in Upper Britannia, shown by the white triangle.

Both armies seem to be keeping their distance from one another......but for how much longer?
Game after six turns each (one year and six months)

Raetia joins Secundus (campaign 38)

Late in July, Secundus finally had a change of luck as the province of Raetia flocked to him with open arms. Secundus was pleased at the welcome news but not supprized, after all he did have a giant army behind him waiting on the border. He was hoping that the further away from the influence of Hispania he got, the more Provinces would join him without a fight.

Raetia, however, didn't know what hit her as thousands of soldiers decended in to her towns and settlements looking for wine and entertainment. The men had been unhappy for along time and Secundus thought it was better for them to take it out on someone else for a change, instead of his treasury!

Morale soared that month.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Senate backs Tullus! (campaign 38)

A very angry Secundus finds out that Tullus has won over the entire III Augusta in Africa and taken Carthage without a fight.

To add salt into the wound, the senate has declaired itself for Tullus and given it's full support to his cause.

More bribes next time I think......If there is a next time that is.

Recruiting in Germany (campaign 37)

The month of June saw secundus recruiting in Lower Germany. It wasn't long before there was an entire Vexillation ready to march under a British Eagle. Also in this month a garrison was built in Lugdunensis, to help control Gaul.

Although successful enemy propaganda slowed the construction by three weeks.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Stuba Bowmonica destroys raiders (campaign 36)

With the German raiding party causing mayhem along the western banks of the Rhine, It was left to Stuba and his Sarmation heavy horse to stop them. Stuba already had experience in fighting the Germans and second guessed their every move. After weeks of shadowing them, he finally tricked them into accepting open battle and with the help of the III Pannonian horse cut them to pieces. For this act he received great praise and reward and the name of his unit became one of renown.

In game terms Stuba's unit receives veteran status.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Off season blues (campaign 35)

The off season is a dark time of year that sees the income of Provinces halved due to the bad wheather and conditions. It is a time of rest for the armies and of taking stock.

The winter for Tullus's troops was spent in good cheer, due to climent wheather in and around Hispania that year. However, Secundus's troops stationed in Lower Germany found it a very different afair! Polus had thought the winters on Hadrian's wall had been bad, but nothing compared to a winter spent in a tent on the edge of the Rhine. Grim!
Worse was to come as the waters froze, Barbarian raiders crossed the ice and attacked the settlements along the river.

The new year brings death for Tullus (campaign 34)

The defected Spanish Cohorts were put straight to work on the construction of a town in Baetica, where they were to be kept under close observation for a time. They brought with them a shipment of grain they had stolen from Gaul which Secundus would come to feel the loss of, during the harsh German winter. Altogether, these three Cohorts had caused Secundus alot of trouble, something he would not forget!
With Mauretania Caeariensis under Tullus's control, the III Augusta stationed there started to enlist in Tullus's army. It wasn't long before a large vexillation was marching under the banner of the Spanish bull. Bolstered by this, Tullus marched head long into Numidia to claim it for himself. At first the Numidians offered no resistance and melted away before the army, It was only when the army was twenty miles into the Province did they attack. Attacking from both sides and cutting off any escape the Numidian horse caused havoc among the heavy Legionaries and their baggage train.
The province was finally taken with the aid of the V hispania horse, but with great loss to the advance cohorts of the VII Gemina. Tullus had lost hundreds of men for a province of dust and sand, but he was now one away from his goal....Carthage!

Spanish units join the Tullus cause (campaign 33)

Three unhappy Cohorts slip away from the army of Secundus at night. And make their way through Gaul to join the forces of Tullus, stationed along the Tarraconensis border.
In game terms, 600pts worth.

Disaster for Secundus (campaign 32)

The month of August started well for Secundus also, with the descovery of a silver mine in Upper Brittania. Store houses were also constructed in the provice of Belgica so supplies could be gathered from the homeland.
With his own force still grumbling about pay, Secundus started to enlist fresh units from the German XXI Legion and soon a sizable vexillation had been recruited. These men were a ragged bunch and looked more like the Barbarians they had been fighting than Roman soldiers, But Secundus knew they were some of the best troops in the Empire.
However, this last insault was to much for the British legions and on the 12th September three whole Cohorts of Auxillaries ( mostly spainish) defected to the army of Tullus stationed in Tarraconensis. Secundus managed to stem the flow and quickly put the other units into road building to fill up their days, but the fact still remained he had lost a third of his invasion force to the enemy. Curse the Gods!

Blood in the sand (campaign 31)

The month of August seemed to go smoothly for Tullus and started well, with his scouts capturing a baggage train belonging to Secundus. He fortified the town in Lustitania and built another in Holdrianus, the Tullus war machine looked unstoppable. With his feet firmly planted in Africa, Tullus set his sights on the city state of Carthage with it's mighty port and prepared to invade Mauretania Caesariensis. To sweeten the process of invasion, Tullus paid a bribe to the Governor, who greedily snapped it up and opened the gates to the town. However, the local tribes and their chiefs were not so easily bought and Tullus's advance force was badly mauled on entering the province. This was the first setback Tullus had come up against in his bid for the throne.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The legend of Tullus grows (campaign 30)

It was while in Africa, that the story of Tullus's failed assassination attempt started to circulate amongst the men. Tullus had killed two assassins while in Hispania single handed, this figure now rose to eight with Roman propaganda. With the story bounding around the camps, Tullus's popularity grew and his men loved him all the more for it. Here was a man truely favoured by the Gods.

In game terms, Tullus is now classed as a 'good General' and receives a +1 on certain tables, this plus is also applied to his stats on the game board.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tullus lands in north Africa (campaign 29)

Tullus lands on the beach of Mauretania Tingitana and claims the province unopposed. With this province rich in income and olive oil comes the chance to enlist the dreaded Numidian light cavalry. Now with Tullus's beach head secure, the rest of Africa lies open for the taking.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Game map and abit about the rules

Here is the game map after two turns each, which in game terms is equal to about six months. Tullus has split his army and fortified the border with gaul, whereas Secundus has kept his entire army together and invaded Lower Germany. Although Tullus's area may look more impressive, it brings in the same Denarii as Secundus's.
A province is worth 100 denarii, with 100 denarii for a city, 50 denarii for a town and 20 denarii for a small town each per turn.
After the income for a turn has been calculated there is the 'table of the Gods' to roll on. 'The table of the Gods' is a table with 1oo events both good and bad that may effect the turns income e.g troops mutiny over pay loose 285Denarii.
After this the player may choose a province to invade. For this he rolls on a table which is effected by factors depending on the situation. If the roll is successful the province comes over, if not he can either leave it or attack it. If he takes the province by force he rolls to see just how much damage was caused in the assault, again certain factors add or subtract before the result is reached.
The rules are alittle more complex than this of course, with resources that can be bought and that increase a provinces output each turn, but this is just to give you a rough idea of how the game works. After three normal 'campaign' turns the fourth is an off season turn. With Winter setting in, there is another D100 table to roll on and all provinces output is halved. The off season table can be quite harsh and it is a time of mostly spending out large amounts for repair etc.
Where there is a legionary base, new armies can be raised by spending your Denarii/points to buy the new armies. A field army is about 2000pts in Warhammer terms but can be split to make smaller units of 1000pts (vexillation). 1000pts worth of troops is the smallest unit that can be fielded on the map. And a player cannot use an army until it has reached at least the 1000pt mark.
Ports work by subtracting Denarii/points from the expense of sea travel. A section of sea costs 200 Denarii to cross, for every port owned a hundred Denarii is subtracted from the total cost. So with two ports, small crossings will basically be free due to the amount of ships available to the player.
I don't want to bore you so i'll leave it at that, just sit back and enjoy the cartoons if nothing else, and if anyone is interested I will try my best to answer any questions. These are still early days and the rules are still being added to and changed, but they appear to be working quite well and i'm pleased with them. Lastly, when big battles do arise they will be decided on the game board using the figures you may recognize from the Blog.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lower Germany (campaign 28)

A tired Secundus receives the Legate of the XXI Rapax for talks.......and a small bribe or two.

A red dawn (campaign 27)

After the mutiny, Secundus was not in the mood for knock backs, so when the province of Lower Germany refused to receive him he ordered a full scale attack. This was a risky thing to do for the province housed the XXI Rapax Legion and it could of gone very badly for Secundus. However with all these new Emperors running around the XXI were unwilling to commit to one side or the other and so stayed out of the action. This meant that Secundus was able to take the border defences with minimal losses. He now owned a province with a legion to recruit from, although that would take time and money to buy their loyalty.

Mutiny in camp (campaign 26)

With the lack of spoils and the bad wheather it wasn't long before the mood of the men turned ugly. When the troop's pay was stopped to save for the campaign, rioting broke out in two of the three camps. And Secundus's treasury was drained to keep the men in order, Secundus was livid, but helpless to refuse. A general is not a general without an army to command.

Tullus digs in (campaign 25)

May, saw the construction of miles of earthworks and defences along Hispania's border with Gaul, as Tullus dug in to protect his provinces from invasion. Tullus's trust in Lucius Silius Famia had been well founded and the new Legate was showing his worth.

Tullus down in Baetica still was having run of good luck. After a failed assassination attempt on his life, he strode on to cross the Mediterranean and take Mauretania Tingitana, with not a drop of Roman blood being spilt. And in July, he started the construction of a port on the coast of Baetica. The Gods were indeed in his favour.......for now at least.

Secundus takes Belgica (campaign 24)

With the the bad wheather dampening everyones spirits, morale was lifted by the province of Belgica, who flocked to the Secundus cause gladly (with a small bribe to sweeten the deal). Belgica had been unhappy for some time and they jumped at a chance to change their fortunes. However, the currupt governor, Titus Vedius back in Britannia had diverted alot of the army's pay into his own estate and properties, this was a minor setback for Secundus and one that saw the Governor on the end of a sword by the months end. With the Britannia free of her armies, he wouldn't be the only one who saw their chance to make it rich quick. Secundus didn't know it at the time but Vedius actions were to have grave repercussions two months later.

Tullus strikes south (campaign 23)

With Secundus now marching through Gaul, Tullus Holdrianus Hispanus decided to make his own bid for the power. In the march of 200 AD Tullus split his army into two Vexillations, taking one of them south into Baetica, which offered no resistance and welcomed the new Emperor with opened gates. It was in this month however that his progress was slowed slightly by bad supply lines and Tullus stayed in Baetica for another two months improving roads and supply routes.

The other half of his army was now given over to an old comrade of Tullus's, Legate Lucius Silius Famia. Stationed in Tarraconensis, Famia was to watch the border and organize troops in the area. Hispania had turned from a back water province to one of frantic activity in the space of three months. Tullus was on the move.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Gaul (campaign 22)

Centurion Manius Valgus Celer of the 2nd wasn't shy of using his vine staff on the march. The men joked that it was to beat out his own frustration at being scared of this new land. Still the men were glad to have him at their front, for his nickname of 'Celer the bull' was well earned.

Stuba Bowmonica's Samation horse can be seen here scouting out in the wake of the army.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gaul (campaign 21)

With the rain dropping away at last, travelling becomes easier for the men of the 2nd.
A shot of the heavy armoured legionaries with their re-enforced helmets and arm guards.
As the sun finally breaks through the clouds, it reveals a man with alot on his mind.

The II Augusta trudges through Gaul (campaign 20)

After the Auxillary Cohorts came the main force, the 2nd Augusta with it's black shields glimmering in the rain and the clank of it's armour echoing off the forested walls of the valleys.

Even though the rain was bad, Pollus was still glad to be back.

Secundus marches on Gaul (Campaign 19)

The heavy rain has made movement by roads almost impossible, here the lead elements of Secundus's guard forge their way through the Gaulish countryside.
So much for good wheather...ever since the march began the heavens have thrown every thing at us. The Gods are very unhappy about something and alot of the old veterans are grumbling about bad omens. Still, I'm glad somethings are constant.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

On to Gaul! (campaign 18)

Finally the troops are moving, for months they have sat around doing nothing and growing, they are off to war. Morale is at an all time high for the promise of plunder and spoils has made the men eager to get started. Pollus, for one, is glad to be leaving this cold, wet little island behind, with the thought of seeing his homeland again.

Cohort after cohort prepares to board the transports that will take them to Gaul and victory. The ground seems to shake under the weight of thousands of hob-nailed sandels. And the air rings with the blast of the hundreds of cornicens. Victory must follow such an army as this, surely?