Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Goodbye Gauls

I've painted and played 3 Gallic armies in the last 4 years. They were the first army I ran in our local Field of Glory group and they were an exceedingly poor choice for these rules. Average, undrilled and outclassed by nearly everyone in their era, my Gauls were like Milk-Bones in a dog pound. Everyone wanted to play my Gauls and why not?  I lost over and over again.  When the beat-downs became too painful, I sold the army off to a good fellow in Australia.

Within a year, I painted Gauls for Impetus and that was a great change-up.  They were fun to play under Impetus and the extra "impetus" dice in impact gave them a fair shot every time out. Unfortunately, Impetus didn't catch on with our club so I sold these off as well.

The FoG v2 update made Gauls slightly less rubbish and that was enough incentive for me to paint them once again, this time sans pants. At the time, I was getting army lists and tips from a father and son FoG tournament team and I'd hoped to leverage their knowledge into success on the battlefield. I also read the rules repeatedly and kept a folder with ideas for running my Gauls.  I had some success initially but then my opponents started neutralizing my large units of heavy foot with loads of terrain. In our 2014 campaign, I managed a single win and it was a lucky one at that. Updated rules + new Gauls  =  the same sorry results. Once again, off to market!

My FoG customers all passed on the Gauls when I posted them for sale, confirming how poorly they're thought of.  Oh, the shame of being unwanted.  Luckily, I found a buyer who wanted this army and a lot more. Mustering off the table are 32 bases of medium foot, 16 bases of light horse and archers to buff out the Gallic army. They'll face off with a large West Wind Roman army I'll be painting in January. The Gauls will run under a tabletop adaptation of Command and Colors Ancients, meaning they have a fighting chance!






To close out the third and final chapter of my Book of Gauls, here are pics from their sole victory this summer. A heavy foot army has slim chances against a shooty, mounted foe. Here, I managed to steal a victory when my Gallic cavalry decisively beat armored Steppe cavalry in impact and melee too. The Steppe cavalry wing broke and ran after their General died in combat. Meanwhile, my Galatian foot spent the game slogging across the table and soaking up arrows.

Reading about the Gauls, planning a Gallic army and and painting them up was great fun. Playing them in FoG is painful so I won't miss that a bit. Goodbye Gauls and good luck on the West Coast. Before stepping out in the California sun, do put on some sunscreen, or pants!





46 comments:

  1. You paint beautifully Monty but you really are a glutton for punishment mate!

    Why not try something like Carthaginians so you can have a competitive army and still have some Celts in there? Best of both worlds...

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    1. Michael! I'm 1 part glutton for punishment and 1 part idiot. There may be a 3rd and 4th part in there as well.

      I love the "barbarian" armies but they underperform in FoG. This summer, I painted up a Dacian army which gives me some falx armed superior troops, some good Sarmatian cavalry and medium foot that can traverse poor terrain. Right now you're thinking "He never learns."

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    2. Why not give Simon Miller's "To the Strongest!" a go? I'm reading it at the moment and really liking it, often because it has better options for all the reasons I disliked FoG.

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    3. That is a brilliant idea. I've been following the discussion about "To The Strongest" with interest. They look fun and fast, two very important things in any rules. My challenge is that there are very few ancients players. The ones I know are locked in on FoG so if I want to get in a game of ancients, my choices is FoG or nothing.

      Still, I could paint up both sides in 28mm and give this a go. Thinking!

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  2. I would find it so painful to part with such a beautiful army!! One of the finest looking 15mm armies I've seen! Too bad FOG mistreated you so bad and since I really enjoy Impetus I'm sorry to hear your mates let you down with not staying with it to give you a fair chance.

    Christopher

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    1. Christoper! I do love Impetus and one day, I'd like to paint up ancient Impetus armies for myself. If I lived in Germany, we'd play DB, Rush for Berlin, Impetus and loads of other fun rules. I'm up to try any rules or game!

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    2. If you lived in Germany you would find getting in historical games outside of FOW or SAGA difficult unless you live in a very large city. In 15mm the overwhelming amount of players play DBX, FOG or both,. In 28mm you do have chance to find Impetus players here and there. My gaming group is just a couple and they live an hour away. Fortunately they are open minded so when we meet we get to try different rules.

      Oh, if they won't do Impetus ask them to try Art de la guerre or Sword and Spear which seem to be getting good reviews.

      Christopher

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    3. Interesting, Christopher. I appreciate the feedback. Historical gaming is a small niche and ancients a sliver of that. I've got Sword and Spear, and I'd like to give them a try. Great suggestion!

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  3. Too bad. They look so nice.

    In Art de la guerre, they have a fighting chance. tricky to play, but they can be devastating.

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    1. I have to get my hands on Art de la guerre! I don't mind playing a faction that is tricky to play. I just don't want to play one doomed to failure. Or do I?

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  4. Hi Monty ,

    The Gauls are a magnificent cavalry army to play, I hope you will paint another one.
    I ran My unprotected early lybian this weekend in a FOG tournament against early successor, an armoured Chin Chinese, an armoured and chariot Zhou army, and against the Kofun nara, I had fun each game even when I lost 2 of the 4 games.
    the only downside of FOG AM is that it need time to learn how to play an army of looser like the Early lybian and a good knowledge of the rules and many practice games, patience (and sometimes miracles) and real love of your minis to continue to play ( and lose, I'm the club sparing partner of Olivier Dader " nicknamed "DAD the invincible").
    Don't lose your faith on FOGAM it's a good set of rules.

    Cheers

    Gilles

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    1. Gilles! It is amazing you got 2 wins with the Lybians against top notch armies. That's a credit to your skill as a player. Kudos too for bringing an interesting army as not enough people are willing to do that.

      No-one wants to bring a knife to a gun fight and unprotected Lybians and Gauls are knives. In our last campaign, our best FoG player ran armored Spartans and Successor pike, #1 & #2 performing armies in Rise of Rome He won it all. I think the temptation of taking the best rated armies is too powerful and since our group plays mostly Rise of Rome, the results are often predicable.

      My first year playing FoG, I was labelled "the guy who rolls shit dice." Was it the dice or just playing a poor FoG army? Romans after all get to reroll their 1s. ;-)


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  5. Even if they can't find fight, your Gauls certainly are a work of art. Too bad these fellas are on their way out. At least they will get to winter where it is warm.

    "Before stepping out in the California sun, do put on some sunscreen, or pants!"
    -- Classic!

    I vote for seeing you build a Carthaginian army in 28. While you are at it, build a Roman army as well! What was so unappealing in Impetvs that your group refuses to play?


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    1. Jonathan! They're on the table tonight for Piquet's Pulse of Battle and the owner promised to give me a full report.

      It's hard to say why Impetus didn't catch on as I didn't hear any negative feedback. I love the multiple moves at the risk of becoming disordered after each. I love impetuous troops and impetus dice they get. I love the quick resolution of games and single bases.

      I'm going to paint up ancients in 28mm. That'd be a great project for 2015.

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  6. It's a real shame the Gauls are "nerfed" (as the kids say!) by rules. They are a great looking army thanks to your excellent brush work. It's always a pity when rules boil down to a couple of viable armies and lots of great stuff gets left on the sidelines.

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    1. Paul! I should have picked up on it quicker than I did. I have a friend who plays FoW and I told him the Gaul story over a game of SAGA. He said in FoW, the different factions and builds all have a chance against each other. That's all a guy wants, right?

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    2. Note of caution on FOW. There are certain armies that by and large are better then others and dominate in tournaments and you can power build lists creating arms races and unlikely army combo's. If your unfortunate enough to likely armies with romantic backgrounds they are usually not very good. At best FOW is a game with a historical backdrop and not a simulation by any means.
      That said I collect it and if you have fair minded friends you can have fun games, but those looking for an edge will surely find it.

      Christopher

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    3. So don't take the "Italians in Russian" list to a tournament and expect to win? I bought the FoW rules this fall and seriously considered jumping in. Since I'm already playing WW II with Chain of Command and Bolt Action down the road, I didn't make the leap. I do appreciate your honest feedback, Christopher. Thanks!

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    4. FOW can be like that, it's true. It is more a game than a simulation, and it works best with historically matched forces. It tends to go through stages when new books are released with some must-have wonder weapon. They usually aren't all they're cracked up to be though, and there's not too many power lists about. It works more in the other direction - there's a few lists that are never going to win!

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  7. Nice looking gauls. Looking forward to seeing them in 28mm.
    cheers

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    1. Thanks Brendan! It should be fun, ahem, to paint them up. ;-)

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  8. What a lovely bunch of naked hairy barbarians Monty. However, painting the same army three times must be as close to the definition of madness as you can get ... ;)

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    1. Jonas, you and Einstein pegged it. Insanity. Temporary insanity that lasted 4 years. I'm feeling much better now!

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    1. That is the best! Thanks Fran, I appreciate that.

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  10. What a beautiful army - I'd hate to part with it if it was mine.

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    1. Thanks Tamsin! If I were in London, you could have given me some pointers, or a warning about running Gauls.

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  11. The Gallic foray into the Mediterranean world was doomed from the start - gingers burn far too easily! Woad Factor 30+ for these guys, I think...

    Lovely work, but I have to agree with Tamsin. It must be hard to part with them when so much great effort has gone into finishing these laddies!

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    1. Thanks Evan and lol! Now that they're gone, I've got a nickname for them, "The Doomed." I should have played them while wearing sackcloth, gnashing my teeth and and issuing forth lamentations. Oh wait, I actually did the last two things...

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  12. Anyway, these Gauls are splendid...and some of them are my ancestors!

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    1. Phil, that is the COOLEST thing, isn't it? When we can draw a line from the stories of history to us?

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  13. Congratulations on finding a buyer for so many figures in the end.

    You come up with the best titles for your posts!

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    1. Thanks Anne, I do mine pop culture and references pretty hard!

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  14. This is why you need to play Impetus ;)

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    1. The simplest answer is generally the best one. So a move to Canada is in order. Wait till I tell my wife.

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  15. Awesome, work! It took a lot of "Gaul" to give them a second go, but happy you found a buyer. (had to work in a gall pun somehow).

    I didn't realize you had one for sale or I might have given them a look. A Gaul army is on my "to-do" list as one of those armies that calls out to be done, game table results be damned.

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    1. Dang it, if I had any idea, you'd have been the first! I still have my collection of Command and Colors Ancients so if I need a fix, I can load up the Barbarians supplement.

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  16. And again these Gauls are fantastic. It'd break my heart if I had to part with such nicely painted figures. And IF I'd do so I probably wouldn't paint them a 2nd or 3rd time ;-) Your customer will love these little fellows.

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    1. Thanks Moiterei! LOL, there will not be a 4th time in 15mm.

      While the $ is nice, kind words and an AAR from a buyer are nearly as important to me. I've gotten both in this instance, so all is well in the end!

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  17. This is a very sad story for a very beautiful army. And a classic example of wargames rules bias the sort of bias that crops up in the collective minds of wargamers. Gaul was conquered by Ceasar's astute political abilities and his heavy reliance on Gaulic auxiliaries specifically Gaulic Calvary. If the Gauls where such poor troops the Carthagians would have never hired them in such large numbers. A classic bias against armies with individualized rank and file models and pants in general.

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    1. Thanks Robert, you've nailed it! The Gauls did give the Romans some good beat-downs and there was the whole matter of the Galatians too. And lol about the pants!

      The story has a happy ending with the Gauls in California playing under new rules. The new owner just told me he and his mates love them, so I'm happy too. To me (and only me) the worst thing is to have a nice army languishing in a box from lack of use.

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  18. Shame to see them go after so much effort. Have you tried them in Hail Caesar?

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    1. Thanks Scott. I have HC but I haven't had a chance to give it a spin. There are a few of the SAGA guys kicking around the idea of basing up our SAGA armies in trays so we can play HC. Hope to do it next year!

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  19. They'll look great on the table as always I'm sure - I second Scott's recommendation about HC - you could always tweak the characteristic to make them more to your liking.

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    1. Thanks Dean! I do want to try HC. I bet I'd like it quite a lot.

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