July 22, 2016
Donnybrook Dark Ages
I spent very little time in the dealer hall at Historicon. In fact I really only took one tour through on Saturday, mostly to visit a few folks I know like Rob Walters of Eureka and our own Bob Miller of Le Roi Soleil, the dealer for Warfare Miniatures in the US. I also stopped to visit a new friend, Bill Thornhill of Footsore Miniatures. We met for the first time at Historicon. I knew Bill had placed an ad in BLB a few years ago for his Musketeer Miniature line... what I didn't know was that Bill has a wonderful and growing range of Dark Age models under the banner of Footsore Miniatures. Ok, I know this isn't news, but it was news to me.
After preparing for six months to run BLB at the con, I was spoiling for something different and the Footsore minis came at the same time I had just finished watching this season of Vikings and I started rereading The Last Kingdom series (yes, I know there's a TV show for that too - not quite the same, but I will check it out when I've finished the books again). Bill had some 4-point Saga warband deals available at Historicon (and on his website) and I picked up the Anglo-Saxon set and an extra character pack. I spent the last few days assembling the fyrd and managed to basecoat them this afternoon!
I should have snapped a few pics before basecoating, but if you head over to Footsore Miniatures you can see lovely examples of the painted models to get an idea of what I'm working with.
After getting home and taking stock of what I wanted to do, I realized I need more (and they are on the way)! The plan is to build two Saxon warbands, rival earls or eldermen of Northumbria and Mercia. These groups could then be pitted against each other or combined into a larger force to face the painted Foundry Vikings I already own (and have lots of unpainted lead for as well). I have a wonderful pair of Viking longships from Adrian's Walls and I'm planning to scratch build a small village to go with my Historicon boards (and others. of course, but the Historicon set up is the only coastline I have at the moment).
I am also using Dalauppror's 1-2-3 basing method for this collection. I've been looking for an excuse to try this and Dark Age skirmishing seems perfect. It gives the flexibility for skirmishing, the convenience of quicker movement, and the coolness of mini-vignettes. Yes, I glued them all down before painting them and it will make it a little harder to paint, but it will be a little faster as I won't waste a bunch of time painting details that are covered by by the shields or other models. If I can't reach it with a brush, you won't be able to see it! I will probably rebase the Vikings as well to match the new collection.
So what's with the title of the post? As I've said many times, I've used Donnybrook from everything from Warhammer to Darkest Africa. I have a handful of amendments to drag the published version back to the eighth or ninth century and we may even publish them as a PDF later this year, but for now suffice to say I'm planning on using my own rules rather than Saga. The Saga dice and charts are a cool idea, but seem a bit tedious to me - I am finding I very much prefer simple and straightforward mechanics these days, especially for skirmishing. Not that there is anything complicated about Saga and the charts really seem to add a lot of character to the encounters, but I KNOW Donnybrook without the need to usually look at any charts at all. This project is mainly for my table so I'll stick with that (besides, the force building rules are similar and I can always use Saga too).
Lots more to come as I expect this to my main focus for as long as it takes! I still have final thoughts on Historicon as well as I post those sometime next week...