Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Amazon horse archers

Just painted up these Casting Room mounted archers. I wasn't thrilled with them when they arrived because there was substantial breakage in the bows and horses' tails. But some glue, some paint, some love and I've got some Amazon horse archers I'm really happy with.

If the Amazons were real, they were probably culturally related to the Scythians, and mounted archery was their military strategy. And as I think about it, if I were going to raise an army with women warriors, this is probably their best combat role. She's going to be lighter than her male counterpart, which will be less taxing on the mounts -- these aren't huge medieval warhorses; they're basically ponies in the Bronze Age. I think a woman's low center of gravity and thigh muscles are going to help her stay in the saddle and control the horse when her hands are occupied with shooting. A Bronze Age bow would not have required tremendous upper body strength like a Welsh longbow or Mongol recurve bow. I'd think a trained woman would be able to shoot one until she ran out of arrows. 
 Greeks suggested that Amazons cut one breast off to use the bow more effectively. This sounds like nonsense to me. I think it's a metaphor, the Greeks' way of saying "they have forsaken their womanhood by taking on the masculine role of a warrior". I conversed with a woman who has substantial boobs and shoots a bow, and she told me that they do not get in the way. And if they did, wouldn't strapping them down be easier than slicing one off?
I didn't give them nipples! Nancy says I should. I didn't paint nipples on them because a) I don't paint nipples on my male minis and b) I don't want to make them seem sexualized. But then, why should nudity, especially female nudity, automatically mean sex? Maybe I should start a sociology blog. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Dice win games

Here are some pics of my recent SAGA battle with Mike A. He played the Vikings and I played the Welsh (if my figures look Romano-British to you, they mostly are. I'm playing them as Welsh for the moment, at least until Gripping Beast releases rules for Arthurians.) We played the River Crossing scenario. It may be that we chose unequal armies. The Welsh have more shooting power than the Vikings and the capability to field mounted hearthguard, and the ability to move quickly across the river and shoot across the river or at foes bottlenecked in the ford were more valuable than either of us anticipated. 

I love this fat Viking. He's one of the few survivors of a unit of hearthguard or warriors that my cavalry chewed up early in the game. After Round 2, having played conservatively and allowed Mike to cross the western ford, I was feeling pretty good about my odds of winning. Those Viking units crossing one by one were easy targets fr my javelins. Then, in round 3, the dice decided to betray me: in a massive attack that I initiated and should have gone in my favor, I got close to zero hits and the Vikings got tons of hits. Then my armor saves were no better than my attack rolls. Mike had wiped out all my cavalry!

 It seemed as though all was lost -- but then in Round 4, the dice decided that they had punished me enough and started to mock the Vikings' efforts instead. The picture above is my warriors crossing the eastern ford, where Mike had only archer levies.

 In the end, like a good Welsh warlord, I won this game by running away. I gave up on holding the Western ford and rushed every single unit across the Eastern one. The Rising Out ability was often useful to get my warriors and levies more moves than they should have gotten. The scenario is won by who gets more points' worth of models across the river, and by Round 6 my army was slightly less battered than Mike's, and I had enough move to get everybody across. That was the right decision -- trying to wipe out the Vikings who had crossed the river might have cost me far more men than him. I did have a quarter-strength unit of warriors that crossed the Western ford after Mike had gotten all his guys through. He could have left some units at ford to block it, a minor tactical error on his part perhaps but I think this game was decided by the maneuverability of the Welsh ... and of course by the whims of the almighty dice. Final score was something like 14 - 11.