Saturday 8 November 2014

The Tractate Middoth Campaign - Game 1

1881 Templar church in the Carpathian mountains.
Rumours had reached the Carpathian Templar Grandmaster as to the whereabouts of the fabled 'Tractate Middoth' book taken to India in AD52 by St Thomas the Apostle. Its location was believed to be in a remote valley in the North-West Frontier Province of British India. Nobody new exactly where, but there was enough information for the Grandmaster to summon his most trusted Master, Solomon Kane. His task was simple. Find the book and bring it back to the Templar church.

Unbeknown to the Grandmaster, other parties in the region had also heard the rumours. Their interest was purely financial, but also piqued by the mystical properties associated with the book. The owner was reputed to gain immortality, a prize beyond the riches of man. One such party was the 'Brotherhood of Conjurors' from the mystical East.....

Scenario - Objectives (as per IHMN 9.1.1 with slight modifications as below)
  • 3 objectives are placed on the table. 2 of them are blanks.
  • 'Pea Soup' as per 9.2.2 in IHMN.
  • 'Ancient Temple' as per 7.1 in SDRS.
  • Starting Companies at 250 pts.
The Carpathian Templars (based upon the Templars in HV&F)
1 x Master with SRC breastplate, mace and pistol.
2 x Knights with breastplate, mace and pistol.
1 x Chaplain with breastplate, incense burner and 'Strengthen' mystic power.
2 x Sergeants with brigandine, halberd, bow and 'marksmen' talent.
1 x Fighting Dog.


Scratch built ruined fort or temple, one of the possible locations for the 'Tractate Middoth'.

Looking towards the deployment area for the Carpathian Templars.

The Metcalfe Models cardbaord roads. They fitted in perfectly.

The road connected to the ruined fort.
Turn 1 - Visibilty 15"
The Brotherhood of Conjurors won the initiative phase and quickly spread out and advanced towards the possible hiding places for the book. The Carpathian Templars did likewise, but could make out no figures through the swirling fog. Out of the mists came water bullets which missed the dog on the edge of the cornfield.

Both sides advance towards the possible locations of the 'Tractate Middoth'.

The Conjurors in their colourful finery.

The Templars more sombre attire.

Turn 2 - Visibility 14"
Shadowy figures began to emerge from the fog, as both Companies tried to find the 'Tractate Middoth'. The first to the Temple were the Conjurors who found the book at the first attempt! Firing by both sides was completely ineffective, but the Templar dog dispatched a Conjuror riflemen in a furious assault.

Out of the fog both sides eye each other up...

... only for the Conjurors find the prize in the ruined Temple.

Turn 3 - Visibility 5"
Mystical forces must have been at work as the fog thickened, reducing visibility to only 5". With the Conjurors winning the initiative, the fog worked in their favour as their speed meant that they disappeared from view before the Templars could react. Only the dog was able to move to try and cut off the Conjurors escape path. With the fog so thick there was no combat, but Derek the Demon, the gaurdian of the Temple appeared, only to attack a Templar Sergeant as a lowly Conjuror ran for his life with the book. Luck was with the Sergeant as he was only stunned.

The Conjurors disappear into the fog.

Only the dog can prevent their escape...

Derek the Demon surveys his first victim, oblivious to the Conjuror with the book escaping into the fog.

Turn 4 -Visibility 10"
Despite the Templars winning the initiative, they could do nothing to prevent the Conjurors withdrawing from the fight, with the book safely in their possession. Once again the shooting phase was completely ineffective by both sides. Only the dog was able to take the fight to them, bravely dispatching another Conjuror before succumbing to a flurry of sword blows. With the Demon poised over the stunned Sergeant, one of the Knights attacked, only to be killed by Derek!

The Knight comes to the rescue, only to be killed after this picture was taken.

The Templar dog, the hero of the Company, shortly before he kills a swordsman and his demise.

With the Conjurors at the edge of the board and no-one close enough to do anything to stop them, we agreed that the game was over. In the end a comfortable Conjuror win.

Post Game Thoughts
In the end the game was over much more quickly than either of us expected. The Conjurors finding the book on the first attempt, coupled with the visibility being reduced to 5" for that turn was largely responsible for this. Never-the-less we both enjoyed the game, especially as it was the start of a narrative driven campaign.

The undoubted hero of the game for the Templars was the dog, who dispatched two Conjurors unaided. Without his speed the Templars would have been unable to do anything to the Conjurors, as their shooting, when it came, was so ineffective. To be fair the Conjurors were in the same boat.

So post game the Knight survived, as did the dog, but the latter would have to miss the next game to recover from his swords cuts. The Templars only managed to earn 4 victory points, not enough to use next game, but would be kept for future use. It could have been worse.

The Conjurors lost one man dead and the other must miss the next game. However they did gain 22 victory points, which would allow them to replace the lost man and to allow the Conjuror leader to gain the rather nasty sounding 'heart rending' mystical power from SDRS. He will certainly be someone to be reckoned with on close combat in future games.

We both thought that shooting has been pretty ineffective so far in all the games we have played. I think we are both re-evaluating the usefullness of the longer ranged weapons given our experience. We still have more games to play and other weapons to use, so maybe things will even themselves out a bit more, but only time will tell...

Campaign Continues
It will be some time before we can meet up for the next campaign game, but so far we've had the following thoughts:
  • The figure in possession of the 'Tractate Middoth' confers immortality on it as per post game rolls in IHMN.
  • Derek the Demon is pretty miffed at allowing the book to be stolen. He will re-appear at points during the campaign, as and when we see fit.
  • The next game will move towards a small town, with either the Templars or another Company persuing the Brotherhood of the Conjurors.
As with many games, IHMN works best as part of a campaign, where the story is either set out in a fairly detailed manner to start with, or like our campaign, is very narratvie driven and takes on a life of its own. I'm already looking forward to our next meeting, but have plenty of work to do on scenery etc before then. Until next time.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Metcalfe Models

Of late I have been busy making scenery and terrain for a forthcoming 'In Her Majesty's Name' campaign that Craig and I are running. I used to have quite a bit when I played a lot of 'Mordheim', but lack of space led to all of it being given away or sold off. As with 'Mordheim', scenery is pretty crucial to having a good game. Buildings have been covered with some purchases from Sarissa Precision (and lovely they are too) as well as some scratch built ones. Woods I already have and some flock glued to brillo pads has given me some serviceable hedges. Walls are currently a work-in-progress, but are not needed for the first few games (I hope).

Generic tarmac roads were easily sorted out by speckling some 3mm mdf in a variety of greys. However they are a bit too modern for my tastes as well as for use in general built up areas for the period covered. Some searching online last night came up with Metcalfe Models, a company that I knew of from their pre-printed card buildings. I vaguely knew that they offered block prints of various building materials, such as red brick etc. Some searching revealed that they also made road surfaces, with the paving and cobblestone sheets of particular interest. Fortunately my local modelshop had them in stock, so a quick trip at lunchtime allowed me to see them 'in the flesh'. 

I was very impressed with the quality looking through the pack and for the less than Princely sum of £5.80, you get 8 sheets printed on thick card. I thought the paving sheets fitted my immediate needs and bought these as a trial pack. They exceeded my expectations to be honest and although you can see the dot matrix of the print if you look closely enough, they are more than adequate for the wargames table.

When cut out I was left with around 4' of paving at just under 4" wide, with another few feet of narrower paving at around 2" wide. There were also four 8" x 8" squares that are prefect to combine together to make town squares or cut in half to give more 4" wide 'streets'. I was suprised at how much paving I got from the pack, way more than I was expecting to be honest. My plan initially was to use these just for town or village type scenarios, but having seen them laid out, they are prefect for sub-terranean scenarios or in a cathedral etc. Add in some extra scenic items as required and you have a very usable set of 'roads'. I may even go back at look at the cobblestones in light of the above.

The only slight draw back is that due to them being printed on card, they are rather light weight and would most likely move around the table fairly easily. Only time will tell but they could be stuck to thin mdf, plastic etc to give them some 'heft'. Pictures of them 'in action' will appear soon as our campaign starts in a few days time.