*
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 30, 2022, 10:18:29 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Donate

We Appreciate Your Support

Members
Stats
  • Total Posts: 1595647
  • Total Topics: 111691
  • Online Today: 536
  • Online Ever: 1675
  • (December 28, 2020, 04:48:59 PM)
Users Online

Recent

Author Topic: Age of Penda - first games and thoughts  (Read 1275 times)

Offline James Morris

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1522
    • mogsymakes
Age of Penda - first games and thoughts
« on: June 29, 2022, 09:21:11 PM »
After both getting sucked into painting up ‘just a few’ of the marvellous 18mm Wiglaf Miniatures, Nick and I got our act in gear and tried a couple of games using Dan Mersey’s Age of Penda rules. Intended for the 7th century early medieval period – my favourite era of the so-called Dark Ages that saw the reigns and campaigns of Cadwallon of Gywnedd, Penda of Mercia and Aethelfrith of Northumbria – these rules are very abstract and simple. Dan refers to them as a ‘light’ set of wargames rules, which is an apt description – they are fun and quick to play, not requiring too much space or too many minis.

The game is played on an offset grid (or hexes can also be used), five rows wide and five deep. In about an hour, I knocked up a quick cloth to try out the rules. I cut a 90 x 90cm piece of green polar fleece fabric, dusted it with a few shades of green and brown from my spray paint collection, then added a grid with brown paint and a few tufts from Gamers’ Grass. It’s not award-winning stuff but I just wanted something to get started. The grid, by the way, is 18cm squares – in Age of Penda, you need to have room for 6 units (3 friendly and 3 enemy) in each space, so with my 80 x 40mm unit bases, this was about right.

The cloth was, fortuitiously, a perfect fit for my kitchen table, which was to be the field of battle for the evening.

Army generation is very simple as there are only four troop types (armoured and unarmoured warriors, mounted warriors and skirmishers) so I was able to quickly knock up a couple of forces using the combined figures from Nick’s, Matt M’s and my collection of Wiglaf 18mm and Forged in battle 15mm figures:

SAXONS (66 points)

4 x armoured warriors (including Leader) @10 pts

3 x unarmoured warriors @ 6 pts

2 x skirmishers @ 4 pts

IRISH/ WELSH (68 points)

2 x armoured warriors (including Leader) @10 pts

6 x unarmoured warriors @ 6 pts

3 x skirmishers @ 4 pts

With that sorted, it was quickly down to business. Like Saga and boardgames such as Colt Express, the game turn has two phases: Tactics and Actions. In the Tactics Phase, players place their Tactics tokens on the chart, a sort of shared battleboard. This is great fun as each tactic can be chosen only once, therefore you have various options to stymie your opponent’s plans.

In our two games, the two Special Tactic spaces seemed to be at a premium, as they give a range of useful options, including the much-desired Charge tactic that allows a player to move and fight in the same activation. Seize The Initiative also saw a lot of use as the player with initiative gets the first placement of a Tactics token each turn.

« Last Edit: June 29, 2022, 09:28:36 PM by James Morris »

Offline James Morris

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1522
    • mogsymakes
Re: Age of Penda - first games and thoughts
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2022, 09:22:00 PM »
And so, to battle. Game 1 was over in about thirty minutes. I tried to make use of my superior number of skirmishers to pepper the Saxons with arrows, but quickly learned that unsupported skirmishers die quickly! There is a Skirmish option that you can choose if you pick Special Tactic, but I hadn’t worked out how to use it at this point and got royally stuffed by heavily-armoured vengeful Saxons.

The vengeful Saxons then charged my Welsh King and his bodyguard – which didn’t go well for me! By placing three of his armoured units into one space, Nick had the maximum amount of fighting dice (each unit has a Battle Rating of 5, meaning they were rolling 15 dice, plus an extra 1 for his leader). Hits were inflicted on a 4+ which pretty much destroyed my opposing forces (1 armoured warrior unit with leader, 1 unarmoured warrior unit and 1 skirmishers). The charger has a distinct advantage in that their hits reduce the Battle Rating of the enemy units who only fight back (‘Battle Back’) with what they have left…in my case. nothing!

This concentration of force felt quite appropriate for early medieval combat, if a bit bruising for my first big combat! The loss of my leader reduced my Tactics tokens from 4 to 3, meaning that I had less options next turn, by which time I was reduced to 3 warrior units – army broken and game over.

Well, after getting the initial scrap out of the way, we re-set for game 2 - the rest of the battle report and pics can be viewed on my blog here: https://mogsymakes.net/2022/06/29/trying-out-age-of-penda/

In terms of period feel, the simplicity of troop types, emphasis on attacking in force and vulnerability of lone units all worked well. The grid allows very quick, no fuss movement and shooting (I was always surprised when playing To The Strongest! how much time you save by not measuring at all, and it’s the same here.) By the same token, you don’t get the fine detail of shield wall tactics as units can be arranged however you like within the grid squares, but Age of Penda is very much a ‘top-down’ game and so this isn’t really within its remit. Likewise, individual leaders do not feature, apart from the option to buy more or less Tactics tokens to represent better or worse leadership. That said, it’s a highly refreshing and enjoyable game that Nick and I are both keen to play again soon.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2022, 09:31:54 PM by James Morris »

Offline gibby64

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 838
  • Temple of the West
Re: Age of Penda - first games and thoughts
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2022, 06:57:07 PM »
Great write up! I plan to try these out soon!
Check out my small little miniatures company in Texas working on some BIG things...
TempleWest.co

Online DivisMal

  • Scatterbrained Genius
  • Posts: 2280
  • Ghazkull‘s Favorite Brainboy
Re: Age of Penda - first games and thoughts
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2022, 09:02:30 PM »
Those armies look pretty cool.
I’ve my own big collection and the rulebook stuffed away, but from a quick read, I was already intrigued that somebody dared to do something ‚different‘. Nice to read your report and have it confirmed.

Now when will I find the time to do all those spearmen?

Offline crafty

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 92
  • Slapdash
    • This Slap-Dash Life
Re: Age of Penda - first games and thoughts
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2022, 09:20:38 PM »
Thanks for the excellent write up. Your blog is great as well.

I do have naive question though...do you think the game could be played properly without the offset grid?

I already have a home-made (chess grid) mat for To The Strongest! and a bunch of 1/72 Vikings...

Offline James Morris

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1522
    • mogsymakes
Re: Age of Penda - first games and thoughts
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2022, 08:52:03 PM »
Thanks for the excellent write up. Your blog is great as well.

I do have naive question though...do you think the game could be played properly without the offset grid?

I already have a home-made (chess grid) mat for To The Strongest! and a bunch of 1/72 Vikings...

Thank you - glad you enjoyed the blog as well.

I imagine you could try the game with a regular grid but it would change the movement dynamics slightly, in that forwards/diagonal movement would have three squares to move into rather than the usual two.

Offline crafty

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 92
  • Slapdash
    • This Slap-Dash Life
Re: Age of Penda - first games and thoughts
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2022, 09:47:37 PM »
Thank you - glad you enjoyed the blog as well.

I imagine you could try the game with a regular grid but it would change the movement dynamics slightly, in that forwards/diagonal movement would have three squares to move into rather than the usual two.

Thanks for the reply. I'm going to put this game on my 'to do' list this year. The tactical mechanisms look really interesting.

Offline Frostie

  • Scientist
  • Posts: 353
Re: Age of Penda - first games and thoughts
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2022, 07:46:53 AM »
Good little report and very nice armies.  I have a huge pile of saxon, Vikings and Normans, 15mm, in my lead mountain of shame lol

Offline Golgotha

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1814
    • BMC Miniatures - All things wargame related.
Re: Age of Penda - first games and thoughts
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2022, 05:26:06 PM »
Fantastic looking game and a set of rules worth considering it seems.

https://www.wargamevault.com/product/376363/Age-of-Penda-Battle-Games-in-Seventh-Century-Britain

Offline Easy E

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1425
  • Just some guy who does stuff
    • Blood and Spectacles
Re: Age of Penda - first games and thoughts
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2022, 03:58:45 PM »
The battle board looks interesting. 
Support Blood and Spectacles Publishing:
https://www.patreon.com/Bloodandspectaclespublishing

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
8 Replies
2961 Views
Last post June 28, 2013, 04:23:54 PM
by Ebonstar
26 Replies
6861 Views
Last post January 06, 2016, 05:12:54 PM
by LCpl McDoom
11 Replies
2550 Views
Last post September 11, 2016, 08:21:06 PM
by Jagannath
1 Replies
571 Views
Last post September 15, 2017, 04:25:02 AM
by Westfalia Chris
4 Replies
897 Views
Last post November 28, 2021, 09:06:06 AM
by vodkafan