On December 22nd, Osprey Publishing released the latest of their rules sets, Dragon Rampant. Built on their, in my view, very successful and very fun Lion Rampant, this is a set of fantasy rules that keep things quick and simple.
Dragon Rampant is intended to be relatively economical. Every army will likely have 4-6 units. They will likely have at their core some 12 figure units of infantry slime, with some six figure units of knights, or elites, or monstrous nasties, maybe even some 1-3 model units of something or another really unpleasant–trolls, ogres, giants, wizards, dragons would fit the bill. The game allows magic. Author Daniel Mersey has made allowances for players to experiment with all kinds of unpleasantness. I love it.
Unfortunately, new rules often mean more purchases-something I’ve pretty fastidiously avoided the last nine months. It doesn’t mean I haven’t bought anything, I have–ships and planes for Pensacola and the Channel Dash–but no figures to speak of. That’s especially true of fantasy figures. I try to keep my historical minis to no more than two bucks a throw, more for mounted troops. But fantasy figures are often five bucks a pop or more. And it’s not like I don’t have tons of figures laying around waiting to be painted.
So I’ve turned over every loose rock I have to locate anything that might serve to make a couple of fantasy armies, and tonight I struck paydirt. More about this in a moment.
I’ve decided on a couple of different armies. The first is a Rohan army. I love the Rohirrim. I did long before there were Peter Jackson movies. I’ve always wanted to do the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in 15mm, and some day I may still do that. I have many of the figures–they just need paint.
But I also have a ton of Rohan figures I bought when Games Workshop was putting out their Lord of the Rings range. I have plastic cavalry and infantry and some metal leaders–a Theoden, Eomer, Eowyn and standard bearer who can form a unit of heroes. But wait, that’s not all folks. In rummaging through the deepest darkness of my boxes o’lead I also rant across enough old Mithril Rohan figures to build a unit of mounted. So here is what I think I can do:
- Rohan heroes (Elite riders)–1 X 4 figures
- Riders of Rohan (heavy riders–4 X 6 figures Games Workshop, 1 X 6 figures Mithril Miniatures
- Men of the Westfold (heavy foot)–2 X 12 figures Games Workshop
Of course, every fantasy army needs something truly fantastic, so I will also add a 1 X 6 unit of Eureka centaurs. I’m not quite sure if they qualify as some sort of cavalry or if they are a unit of warbeasts. We’ll see.
So I was able to construct an army of Rohirrim of troops I already have. But I want them to have somebody to face. My first choice is, of course, orcs. But as much as possible I want to minimize the cost. Remember, fantasy figures are spendy, the centaurs are five dollars each. I have some orcs from the GW LOTR range, but not enough to do a lot with. I can make one unit of Uruk-Hai pikemen–that’s cool. I also uncovered some Mithril and Ral Partha orcs, enough to make a unit of nasty looking bastards. I remembered that once upon a time I bought a whole bunch of Alternative Armies orcs and various other nasties, and these went missing for the longest time. But no more!! Tonight I found them. There are orcs, some warg riders and even some orc chariots of doom. Enough nasties to field against the Rohirrim. If I get desperate, I’ve even dismantled the old HeroQuest game I used to play with my sons twenty years ago and run off with the plastic figures, including goblins, orcs and various other bad guys. Yes, I have stooped that low. I still don’t know quite what I have or how I’ll organize them.
The difference between beginning Lion Rampant and beginning Dragon Rampant is that my armies for the Hundred Years War were already painted–enough so that I could field seven retinues of English and French. Unfortunately, exactly none of my fantasy figures are painted. So it will be a while until I can actually play, but I’m game. Anything I can do to usefully employ some figures I’ve just got gathering dust is a good thing. So Dragon Rampant will be a big project for 2016.
I’ll be sure to share as the project gets rolling.