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Had a magnificent game of Sword and Spear with my old mate Ernie last night at Meeplemart, and it was by far the closest game I’ve played. We used the standard forces I’ve been using for these forces, with myself taking on the role of the English (I gave Ernie the choice, he chose the French, so he can only blame himself. Has he  learned nothing from watching me defeat Markus’ French in every game ever?), which consisted of 5 longbowmen with stakes, some dismounted knights, some billmen, and some Welsh Spearmen, along with a General and a Captain. Ernie had 3 French knights, one dismounted knights, 2 crossbowmen, and some brigans and artillery, along with a camp to defend (and which gave him the ability to use more than one bonus), along with a general and captain. So far in this match up, the English have tended to win (one of their losses was of course when I was playing with them – kind of how a falling cat with buttered toast strapped to it will somehow manage to land on its feet and on the buttered toast at the same time, this of course meant that the English would win (because they often have) while I would lose (which I often do).   Initial positions were as follows:

Initial Positions, the English facing the French

Initial Positions, the English facing the French

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Did a few stands of 6mm Napoleonic French for the last few weekends, partly in readiness for the release of Bluecher next year from Sam Mustafa (author or Lasalle, Grand Armee, Might and Reason, Maurice and Longstreet), these new rules being a multi-corps level affair. The club I used to belong to was preparing to do a Waterloo game for their con next year too, so I was working on part of the French contingent, these first four stands being the I Corps 1st Division, 1st and 2nd Brigades, and the I Corps 2nd Division, 1st and 2nd Brigades. I’m no longer involved with that project or the club, but I’m still going to paint up these figures and lend them to whoever runs the game at the con. They’ll then form the basis for my Bluecher army, probably to be joined at a later date by some 6mm Austrians (to go with my 6mm 7YW Austrians and my 15mm Napoleonic Austrians. What can I say, I like the variety of units they have).

Here’s a pic of the 4 stands together:

I Corps 1st Division, Brigades 1 and 2, with the 2nd Division, Brigades 1 and 2 behind.

I Corps 1st Division, Brigades 1 and 2, with the 2nd Division, Brigades 1 and 2 behind.

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I got a couple of games of S&S in over the last few weeks, the first a 351 points HYW noobfest playing Anthony at the old club, the second a 500 point English vs Mongols noobfest against Dan. I took on the role of the English in both games, against Anthony’s “French” (really half of my English HYW army) and against Dan’s Golden Horde. 351 point games have been lasting us about 2 hours, so I wanted to see how a 500 point game would go too – in the end, it took about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to play too, so shouldn’t take that much longer to play. The first game was an interesting one – so far I hadn’t won a single game of S&S, and the English had always won the previous match-ups, so something had to give there. Spoiler alert – I continued my losing streak. The astute of those reading this blog will realise from the title of this post that I won the second game (about time too).

 

This post is mostly going to be a picture-a-thon, with the odd comment here and there, mostly because the first game was played several weeks ago now and I can’t remember much of it.

 

Here’s the opening positions of the first game:

 

DSC03220

 

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I umpired another game of Sword and Spear as a demo last week, with Alex taking on the role of the French and Thorsteinn taking on the role of the English. As with the other games I’ve played or umpired, it was a close run thing (most have come down to both sides being in danger of a complete rout with the loss of one more unit), with the English ascendant again. This game involved more terrain than usual (some high dice rolls for terrain), including a river across the English line of defence.

 

Initial positions

Initial positions.

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I had a game of Sword and Spear against Ernie this week to teach him the rules (and to drum up some more interest in these rules – we had a couple of people watching, and a few of the club members have now also bought these rules or are planning to do so). I have a sizable English Hundred Years War army for Impetus, and since the two games use the same basing, it’s a cinch to use them in both games. It also meant I could split my army into two equal forces, one taking on the role of the French.

I took on the role of the French for this game (same as the last time), Ernie had the English. He won the scouting, so I had to set up my units first (heavies and train, then mediums – we had no lights in this battle). Our initial positions looked like this:

Initial positions

Initial positions

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Played a short game of these new rules the other day, splitting my Impetus HYW English army into two, one side being the English, and the other side portraying the French, and so I thought I’d do a review of them. They use the same basing as Impetus (you can also use 4 bases of DB* or FoG in place of a unit), but as the Impetus bases look better with their mini dioramas, and since I don’t have anything based up for DB* / FoG any more, Impetus basing it is then. For those not in the know, that’s 80mm base widths, with varying base depths depending on type of unit, from 10-15mm for skirmishers to 60mm for cavalry. The book does suggest that the game can be played with any basing as long as its the same for both sides though.

Sword and Spear rules

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There have been a few surveys floating around recently (the Survey Monkey one for WSS comes to mind but there have been others too in the last couple of months) asking about figure scale preferences, which I’ve had a hard time answering. For me, it varies considerably, and depends on what I’m hoping to represent on the table.

 

I have a variety of figures from 3mm (1/600) to 25mm, though somewhere tucked away back in England I think I have some Naval stuff that’s smaller scale, but Naval is a category that I don’t play at all often (not in the last decade at least), and I see it as a fringe element compared to the rest of the wargaming that I do. Air is a little different, since we’ve played Wings of War quite a few times at the club.

 

Figure scale is tied up in a lot of factors. The larger the figures, the more space needed to store them, the longer they take to paint, the more expensive they are (generally, anyway – you can always find cheap figures in any scale, as well as more expensive figures in smaller scales), and the more expensive it is to buy or make scenery that fits in that figure scale, especially if you’re gaming in a variety of periods.

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