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A brilliant paint job from Wargames Soldiers and Strategy. Really got the skin tones and the moko (tattoos) right! If you’re thinking of doing some maori warriors for your Tribal games, check out the following video tutorial:


Watching the Lord of the Rings last week made me think about New Zealand, so when I came across this Maori tribesman, in my mini collection, he seemed just the perfect thing to paint. This video provides guidance on a good Polynesian-type skin tone, and also more on painting tribal tattoos.

Hastings 1066 BIG GAME

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A group of us pooled our Normans and Saxons (with a smattering of Saxons that were wearing ‘looted’ viking armour) from our relative SAGA forces and old WAB armies etc. Two of us had journeyed to Battle earlier this year to tour the battle site – and get an understanding of what it was like for the Normans hiking up that hill.

There was an excellent audio tour and signage as we toured the battlefield, giving a chronology of the day’s events. English Heritage do a really good job, I reckon.

Inspired by this, we decided to replay the battle on the 950th anniversary – using the Hail Caesar rules, as they were the most accessible for the various players. Six players all up, three on each side. For the Normans we had Lord Karsten of the Bretons; Lord Kelsall of the Franks; and William the Bastard of the Normans.

On the Saxon side we had Harold, King of the Anglo-Saxons; Earl Lon the Loveless; and Earl Dave the Hesitant.

The Normans lined up their battle lines via three divisions. The Saxons arrayed themselves on the hill, the thegns placing themselves at the front, with units strategically placed to plug any holes.

Norman archers and crossbows fired away at the saxons but – despite causing a few casualties – were largely ineffective.

One of the random cards drawn by the Norman general created havoc amongst the Breton and Frankish divisions which, along with some calamitous blunder rolls by commanders, temporarily halted the Norman advance.

Frustrated by the delays, William leads the charge into the saxon lines – charging up the hill. He hoped the shock and awe of his mighty charge would create a huge hole in the saxon line. It worked for a little bit, but the reinforcing units from behind quickly wiped out the tired Norman knights.

The Bretons finally arrive on the left, and attempt to force the Saxon flank off the hill. They soon find themselves bogged down in fighting, however, and it seems the Normans will not be taking this hill.

The game is entering its last few turns, it appears that William has lost the day, and the Saxon generals decide to come down off the hill to mop up the Norman remnants – units of bow and crossbow and some Norman infantry.

Suddenly – disaster! In what appears to be some of the worst dice-rolling seen to man, Harold manages to wipe out a large number of his thegns against some Breton retainers. He JUST reaches his break mark, and that’s one third of the Saxon army broken and retreating. Lon the Loveless and Hesitant Dave are suddenly faced with an open flank – through which come pouring Breton Knights! In the centre, Lon realises his division is perilously close to breaking as well. Hesitant Dave realises that the loss of Harold couldn’t have come at a worse time, as he had just commited his own reserve troops to a charge on some units of Norman crossbows. Their reaction could best be summed up in the picture below:

As the Breton knights come crashing into Lon’s flanks and rear, he realises it’s time for him to scarper – and the field is won by the Normans! As an observer, I was left rather stunned. I was already packing up my loaned troops, as I thought the battle was a foregone conclusion – the saxons weren’t going to be moved off that hill. Suddenly, right at the end of the day, some really bad luck from Harold (to get an arrow in his eye) and some really bad timing from his two commanders means that Hastings 1066 was won by the Normans. I wonder if this is how things played out 950 years ago? Just a bit of bad luck with an arrow, and a set of unlucky circumstances/poor-timing, and the history of England was changed!

Lord Karsten surveys his Bretonnian victory! The game ref, Mark watches on.

An awesome day, the armies looked fantastic and the game was an absolute cracker.

Shichinin no Samurai (The Seven Samurai)

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“Fields in front. The village is wide open to horsemen… until the fields are flooded. One guard for each direction takes four. Two more as a reserve. You’ll need at least… Seven, including me.”



Each player has a pool of 17 Honour Points. They may spend from 6 to 8 on units and skills.

The Defender may only buy heroes with their Honour Points – seven samurai with one extra skill for one of them.

Attacker Tithe

The attacker must pay a further 4 Honour points for the infamy that their attack will bring.





All terrain is placed by the defender. The defender then chooses one battlefield edge as their starting line. The opposite edge will be the attacker’s starting line.

The defender then places half of their units – rounding up – within 1 long card-edge of their starting line. At the beginning of turn 3 they may place their remaining units within 1 long card-edge of ANY battlefield edge as they rush from the surrounding area to defend their stedding.

Finally, the attacker sets up their entire warband within 1 long card-edge of their starting line.

Attacker’s Objectives

After setting up the battlefield, the attacker places four markers – a location that needs to be destroyed/burned,  a villager, a bushel of rice or a chest of gold – each within 2 long cardedges of the defender’s side of the battlefield. These are the objectives. If an attacking unit spends their activation card and remains stationary in or on an objective the attacker gains +2 Honour to their pool from the bank.

Once ‘captured’ each objective is removed.


Special Rules

Neverending Wave: Once an attacker’s unit or hero is destroyed, the same unit can re-appear within one long card-edge of their standing line.

Cavalry special rules (movement and slashing/passing attacks): Heroes/one unit only on horseback – can move up to three card lengths on horseback. Can turn only once. Can attack at end of first or second move and then keep moving. If attacking at end of first or second move, defender gets -1 to their defence cards.

An honourable death: If a defender hero/leader believes they are about to be defeated, in their activation they may choose to ‘remove’ themselves from the battle through an honourable death. The defenders lose honour equivalent to the amount if they’d died in combat ( Hero=1 honour, Leader=2 honour), but this honour is returned to the pool, rather than passing to their opponent. Thus the enemy is denied an advantage through the hero’s death.