In addition to OHW which I want to use more and more for campaign tie-ins to my major work over at In Red-coat Rags Attired, I am starting to explore Hordes of the Things 2.1 (aka HOTT) to do simply fun things. One of these is to build armies based on Jack Vance’s The Dragon Masters. I have started to acquire various proxy figures to do this but decided to learn a great deal more about HOTT.
I first want to thank Terry37, a poster at the Pendraken Forum (and elsewhere), for his encouragement, advice, and tons of reference material on HOTT. One of the great things about this hobby is the community and the genuine interest and support one finds when starting new endevours.
Since I have bunches of 10mm ECW stuff (more then enough to simultaneously set up a large set piece Battle, create two, six unit OHW armies, and still have sufficient to easily create two HOTT armies), this was clearly the period to do.
A HOTT army is broken into several discrete elements (pieces) that, like many rules systems, require a standard frontage (40mm for 10mm figures). I took two armies from the Semi-Historical army lists found in the 2.1 rule book, Montrose’s 1644-45 Scots Royalist army and a Scots Covevanter army of the same period. Both match the standard OoB given and (at the moment) don’t use any of the additional elements that might be substituted in.
Montrose’s Army has a nice mix of the historical with a dash of the romantic. Kilpont’s archers (and there remains some debate about their weaponry) where present only at Tippermuir, where Montrose had no horse at all to speak of. Nevertheless for any battle of Montrose’s campaigns, this army has a decent look and feel! AND I remind myself that HOTT is designed to pit virtually any army of any time (real or imagined) against any other army – no simply task! To critize on the exactness of a specific order of battle is rather like criticizing some one who speaks English with an accent when that person is fluent in a dozen other languages.
I also had to loosen my mind up about the basing (I ran up a set of magnetic sabots so I could use my standard 1″ x 1″ pieces). I made sure that each has the required 40mm front and approximates the recommended depth for each element type. I was glad to read that the rule authors said their depth recommendations should be considered the minimum.
So Shooters use 40 x 25mm sabots while the Spears are extended to 40 x 40mm to accomidate the flags. Although Warbands and Riders could work on 40 x 25 also I wanted to give them a bit more depth so made them 40 x 30.
I wanted to give the Hordes a more massed look so I used two of my standard pieces, staggered, on a 40 x 50mm sabot. The sabots for the Hero type use dimensions that accomidate my usual mounted and foot generals, 40 x 40 for Montrose and 40 x 30 for MacColla.
The Covenanter Army also has decent generic look and feel for any of their armies (for a considerable period of time they had armies fighting in all three kingdoms (Scotland, England and Ireland). It uses the same sabot arrangements as Montrose’s Army with the Artillery in place of the Warbands on 40 x 30mm sabots.
The Lurkers are interesting. The HOTT OoB logically implements them as dragoons (which, I at least, use as a catch all category for skirmishers, commanded shot, storming parties, etc.). To give a visual reference to dragoons, I added a second piece directly behind the first which suggests a horse and it’s holder. This requires a 40 x 50mm sabot.
As I start learning to play, I may discover that for some elements depth is a disadvantage. Happily, to change things I just have to make new sabots. My original idea was to use two of my pieces side by side for each element which would have given a great massed troop look. The problem was I would have to move up to the 25mm figure frontage of 60mm. I am very happy with the idea of using a 24″ square for the playing surface (in fact I ran one up yesterday, along with some new hills), so the smaller the frontage the better.
The Strongholds in HOTT are an intriguing component. The side fighting on the defensive gets one and it is easy to see that much artistry can (and does) go into producing them! The 2.1 list specifies a camp for Montrose, so no worries I will use one if the ones I constructed for playing Impetus:Baroque.
The Covenanters, on the other hand, get Edinburgh Castle! This was likely chosen more for the political symbolism then to its actual proximity to any of the battles in which Montrose fought. As various aquarium castles seem popular in HOTT and since I just happen to have one:
Yes, I realize it is not a model of the actual castle BUT it is a castle on a big rock and works very well for my purposes.
While I want to learn to play with the two basic armies, I plan to add some of the other elements suggested for substitution so I can experiment further.
One can read the rules a dozen time but until one actually plays nothing is remotely certain.