“To the Strongest!” – Alexander The Great
This global pandemic has brought on many changes, but there is one thing that never changes, war … err I mean Wargamers.
My 6mm Napoleon project has been placed on a temporary hold. All of the minis are primed and on their Popsicle sticks, but just like all of us, I have had a few distraction projects. Some have finished with little fanfare (Necromunda), and some will continue in the background and might even warrant a blog entry or two (Warmaster and Epic Armageddon).
I want to talk about my most recently finished project in this article. It’s my 10mm Second Punic War, Carthaginian Force. While the theme of the army is narrow, the game I intend to play is not. That game is To The Strongest!
To the Strongest is a scale agnostic, base size agnostic (you know this is a big one for me if you have read my previous posts), Ancients to Medieval wargame. The game has no dice and no ruler!
The game is played on a game mat with hexes, but instead of hexes its squares. I know there is a better way to describe it, and I have the power of the internet in my hands as I type this out (Editors note: Its called a grid, a square grid). With the need for a rule is gone this means faster gameplay and potentially a lower barrier to entry for non-wargamers (we call them normies) ala Memoir ’44, which I logged in a lot of games with my pops during this pandemic. The activation system is based on card values instead of dice, but I won’t go too deep into the gameplay. There are a series of YouTube videos that I recommend that go over the rules.
So there are the rules, now onto the inspiration.
During a project I like to fully immerse myself into the subject material. That means books, movies, podcasts, and really anything I can consume while painting that keeps me in the era. For me, this is one of the best parts of historical wargaming. You get to build and create pieces of history as you learn more about it!
I recommend watching the HistoryMarche YouTube videos about the Second Punic War before diving into an audiobook. This gave me the right frame of mind so I could comprehend the more in-depth analysis of the war in the audiobooks. Plus, I understand better with maps and pictures.
I have two Audiobooks that I listened to during this project, and I recommend:
The Storm before the Storm has absolutely nothing to do with my Carthaginian Army. However, its a very well done book and even better audiobook about the conditions that had to be set before the Fall of the Republic could happen (Sulla, Marius, Gracchi Brothers, etc…). As a bonus, this book is also read by the author, Mike Duncan (who you might be familiar with from the History of Rome and Revolutions Podcasts).
The Fall of Carthage by Adrian Goldsworthy is a military history of all three Punic Wars. This was absolute gold to listen to while painting because it focuses on the military action and plausibility of events as we understand them. The politics, while important, were a footnote rather than the focus of the book. This book gives a better appreciation of the conduct of ancient battles and campaigns without getting bogged down in the details of how many pounds an African Swallow can carry if it were to be not non-migratory.
Lastly, the book The Uniforms of the Roman World, provided as my guide for how I was to paint my Carthagiains and will be used again when I inevitably paint Romans.
This was a fairly easy decision. I went with Pendraken.
The scuplts are fantastic and the minis are individually produced instead of strips like Old Glory. Granted the Old Glory minis are nice and would fit perfectly if you wanted to keep a traditional Warmaster aesthetic. However, with two Warmaster armies in the works I wanted to do something different for this force. Pendraken is still pumping out minis during the shutdown and it took about 13 total days from my minis to arrive hot off the press from the UK to Texas.
Again, if you have been reading my blogs you know this is something that I cannot wrap my head around. I just want to be told what to do when it comes to bases.
That was until I read the rules for To the Strongest. As me mentioned before, because the game is played on a square grid system (we are using 10cm squares) the basing really doesn’t matter. As long as its not bigger than the square your pretty much good. Worrying about bases was such a pre-pandemic earth problem!
I feel so liberated; finally, I don’t have to decide on base sizes in a historical game! I settled on 40x20mm bases so I can use these minis for Warmaster Revolution or Warmaster Ancients. The logic for To the Strongest is that regular-sized units are based on 4x 40×20 bases, deep units as 6x 40×20 bases, Cav as 2x 40×20 bases (all are keeping an 80mm frontage) and small units as a single 40x20mm base.
Once again, I went to my trusty base guy at Shogun Miniatures and got magnetic bases as well as flanged movement trays (still need to paint).
I am super happy with how this project turned out. I love painting these smaller scales and assembling units on bases. 99% of the minis were done with contrast paints which really helped speed up the painting process. I’m excited for the global lockdown to be over and hopefully get some games in, and who knows maybe even start making battle reports again.
Stay safe out there. With any luck we will all emerge from this crisis with fully painted armies!
As always, thanks for reading. Enjoy the hobby and check out my YT Channel @ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4uU81it43KIbeI_B1kAZCw
PS. My gaming highlight so far during this shutdown (the real life highlight being the birth of my twin boys obviously) was playing Memoir ’44 for about two weeks straight with my dad while they were down for the birth. He’s not a gamer by any means and it was cool to see him really get into the game and the battles, even watching A Bridge too Far before playing the Arnhem Scenario (he’s already into history). We have played Blücher before, but I never appreciated how a hex or grid based game can really lower the barrier to entry on a game system. Do you have a highlight? I would love to hear it in the comments!