Archive for the ‘Setting’ Category


Onward and upward

September 1, 2010

We’ve set up a yahoo group to do some private playtesting of Anubis games, but in the not too distant future a genuine web site will be set up to replace this blog, complete with a public forum for discussion and feedback.

It has been a long time coming, but it looks as though the quiet unseen gardening work over the years is starting to come into fruit.

Most, if not all of the material here will be migrated on to the new site, but this is just the beginning. Anubis Studios is poised to produce a series of professional games and game supplements, harnessing the creative forces of Greg Hallam, Alan Harrison and Andrew Boswell. This will be combined with the goodwill and solid support given by Nic Robson at Eureka Miniatures.

Thanks to everyone who has visited this site over the years. I hope that you will stick around with us as we transition into the new model, and I hope that we can provide you with some innovative and fun games in return.



WARMACHINE: Prime Mk II’ Wins Top Honors at RPC Bellevue, WA , April 30, 2010

May 12, 2010

Privateer Press’ WARMACHINE: Prime Mk II was voted best Table Top and Miniatures game product at RPC 2010 in Cologne, Germany April 18.

With tens of thousands of fans in attendance over two days, the RPC is Germany’s pre-eminent fantasy gaming event. WARMACHINE: Prime Mk II was chosen in an open vote by attendees out of five finalists in the tabletop category.

The RPC Fantasy Awards, which were open to all German translated products published in 2009 or in January or February 2010, was a first for RPC and spanned nearly every game genre, from miniatures games to RPGs to video games. The German translation of Prime Mk II was done by Privateer Press’ distribution partners Ulisses Spiel.

For more information on the award-winning WARMACHINE: Prime Mk II visit


A basic primer (part 2)

May 19, 2008

The Ikko-Ikki of Jodo Shinshu BuddhismA few more of the historical units that will be represented in the game.


The iiko-ikki was an order of fanatical Buddhist monks associated with the jodo shinshu sect of Buddhism. The ikko-ikki sect was based on Hongan-ji, and ceased to be a major political force by the late-1500s (following the massacre at Mount Hiei). While not formally trained, the ikko-ikki demonstrated considerable military nous, including developing the use of volley fire with the teppo, a tactic that Oda Nobunaga first observed when he assaulted Ishiyama Hongan-ji. Nobunaga employed a similar volley-fire method at Nagashino (1575)… and the rest is history.

Flag bearers and standards

Flag bearers were an important element of every Japanese army, and were attended by their own bodyguard. The flag or standard (uma jirushi, lit. ‘horse standard’) represented the psychological epicentre of a clan’s forces in the field. It was often as not a three-dimensional object and not just a flag. To lose this standard was to suffer humiliation, and it was typical that such an event would either undermine or galavanise the men whose clan it symbolized.


The supreme general, the so-taisho commanded the combined forces of a particular faction or side in the field. He was served and protected by a contingent of his own and issued orders from his honjin using both messengers (tsukai-ban) and signals, such as drums (played by drummers—the taiko yaku).


Contingents on the battlefield were led by the busho, the samurai lords. Busho were skilled in the theory and practice of war, and they came from the amongst the family, retainers and allies of the so-taisho. They brought their own forces, both foot and mounted, to fight for their lord, but retained command of these forces within the broader command structure of the armies they had joined with. In many cases, busho fought for the promise of reward and not simply from a sense of duty.


Not really an historical unit, but nevertheless…Heroes represent key individuals on the battlefield who rise to the occasion, distinguishing themselves through deeds of honour and courage. In Japanese mythology, the heroic failure is as noble as the heroic success (some might say more worthy), and so many heroes exemplify the notion of personal self-sacrifice in the pursuit of duty and obligation. Heroes emerge at key points in battles, and so are not represented by specific counters, but instead by events born out through the action cards.


A basic primer for medieval Japan

May 18, 2008

By the sengoku jidai, Japanese armies exemplified the well-trained, well drilled medieval fighting force—remember, this was a country in which the martial discipline had prevailed and been exercised for four hundred years. Forces were constructed of missile and melee units, often used in combination as combined arms, with well-organised and drilled formations and extensive use and exploitation of volley fire with teppo (muskets introduced by Portuguese traders in 1543 and further developed and refined by the Japanese). As such, the units in the game represent complex collections of very capable cavalry and infantry.

Japanese cavalry were a true combined arms force: foot infantry directly supported mounted warriors in melee engagements, running alongside them as they charged into combat. Combined arms was also seen between various foot soldiers, so that teppo were often supported by ranks of pike wielding infantry, as made famous at the barricades of Nagashino.  Of course, not all forces on the battlefield were formally trained as professional or even semi-professional soldiers. The warrior monks were an amateur, but highly potent, military force, and their eradication became an obsession of the Oda Nobunaga, culminating in the devastation of Mount Hiei and its great fortress-monastery.

With all this in mind, each unit in the That Samurai Game brings distinct qualities and functions to a conflict. These units are described in some detail in the rules, both in their historical and game contexts, but keep in mind that the taxonomy offered reflects a representation of medieval Japan and its forces, not the final or only interpretation. 

I have included some more detail on two key units in That Samurai Game here:

Samurai Cavalry (light and heavy)

These units consist of heavily armed samurai cavalry supported by foot soldiers [Note: because of the combined arms nature of these units, their charge distance is limited]. Up until the mid-1500s, these cavalry units relied primarily on the yumi to engage enemy units, and as such they tended to skirmish with opposing forces rather than engage them in melee. Later, their main weapon of choice shifted to the long-spear, which was used much like a lance for thrusting and slashing, although their attendants could furnish them with bows as needed. Samurai cavalry are therefore divided into light and heavy cavalry, with the division reflecting a general transition in their use from bow wielding warriors to warriors armed with spears and intended to engage in melee with foot soldiers.


‘Light feet’ were initially effectively disorganised conscripted infantry with little skill or organisation, but by the mid-1500s they had developed into a disciplined and well-trained fighting force. Ashigaru were typically armed with spears (the pike-like, 15 foot long nagaeyari), but were also equipped with teppo and yumi. Yumi ashigaru (common from the 14th century onwards) required considerable effort to train, but could lay down accurate fire with their bows. They were frequently used as skirmishers. Teppo ashigaru (present after the introduction of the arquebus in 1543) were considerably easier to train, and the teppo had a longer effective range than the bow, although its fire rate remained relatively low until the introduction of the cartridge in the late 1500s. Teppo ashigaru came to replace yumi ashigaru over the course of the 16th century, but they were seen operating together in formations of missile troops through to 1550s.

It is important to note that ashigaru formations were not the tight, ordered ranks exemplified by the Swiss ‘press of pike’. Instead, they were looser structures that would adopt a Defensive hedge against cavalry but break up to conduct vigorous pursuit.  This was ideally suited to the rugged, broken terrain typical in Japan.


Terrible Passage progress

May 7, 2008

The uniform details are decades wrong, but this carries the feeling we want from the rules.Recently, Greg and I threw around design ideas for the rules for the French Revolutionary period being contemplated by Eureka.

We settled the scale, or at least the scale principals, and agreed on the specific actions that the rules were to model.

In brief:

Scale: figure scale to model company tactics, but sliding to allow lower level light infantry tactics as well. The manoeuvre element is the 8 to 12 model Company. Figures are single based, moving in clumps. Formations such as line, column and square are not relevant as these occur at higher levels of organisation where several companies cooperate. Crudely we may say that the man to model scale is 1:20, but this might best be seen as the top point of a bell curve depending on the specific instance.

The specific actions we wish to model would be house to house fighting, bridge assaults (Napoleon at Lodi, for example), light company encounters before the main battle line, task force incursions, and so on. We really have to make it clear that these rules are not for modelling Valmy. There are other rules already available for that.

Movement is measured and conventional (curses! No grids!). A single model house represents a single real house.

The core mechanic is based on the Cast of Thousands (CoT) system, already employed for many of Anubis/Eureka offerings. This might appear to be a lazy cop-out, but Greg and I did discuss many mechanisms with the aim of finding the one that correctly modelled what we wanted to do.

Finally, the new working title for these rules is ‘Terrible Passage’, echoing Napoleon’s observations of his bridge encounter.

Next steps: 1) Greg and I need to get a closer understanding of the regional/cultural differences in the protagonists of the period in order to build the factors that will differentiate the sides in the game. 2) We need to do some more reading on the minor tactics of the day and double check that our core mechanism can be extended to cover them without making the rules a joke. 3) As figures become available we must have a sufficient and growing quantity painted up to rigorously test the system. In the meantime Greg and I have figures we can push around. But we want to get the real thing, with camera in hand, so that we can simulataneously capture scenarios for illustrative purposes in the rules.

It’s looking good.


Combatants in the French Revolutionary Wars

May 7, 2008

Revolutionary France


French Republic


United Irishmen


Polish Legions

Great Britain

Denmark – Norway


French client republics of Italy

Republic of Boulon (1794 – 1795)

French Royalist

Republic of Alba (1796 – 1801), annexed to the French Empire


Ligurian Republic (1796 – 1805), annexed to the French Empire


Bolognese Republic (1796), annexed to the Cispadane Republic


Cispadane Republic (1796 – 1797), formed the Cisalpine Republic

Naples and Sicily

Transpadane Republic (1797), formed the Cisalpine Republic

Ottoman Empire

Republic of Bergamo (1797), formed the Cisalpine Republic

Dutch Republic

Republic of Bergamo (1797), formed the Cisalpine Republic

Cisalpine Republic (1797 – 1802) transformed into the Italian Republic

Republic of Brescia (1797)

Republic of Crema (1797)

Republic of Ancona (1797 – 1798), joined Roman Republic

Roman Republic (1798 – 1800)

Tiberina Republic (1798 – 1799) capital Perugia, joined Roman Republic

Lémanique Republic (1798), today Vaud canton

Etruscan Republic (1799)

Republic of Pescara (1799)

Parthenopaean Republic (1799) capital Naples

Republic of Rauracia (Raurakische Republik/Republique Rauracienne), revolutionary French republic in Basel (1792 – 1793)

Republic of Mainz revolutionary French republic in Rheinhessen and Pfalz (1793)

Batavian Republic (1795 – 1806), Netherlands

Cisrhenian Republic (1797), Germany

Republic of Connaught (1798), accompanying Humbert‘s Irish expedition

Helvetic Republic (1798 – 1803), Switzerland

Here is a list of the nations, factions and republics (newly created) that took part in the French Revolutionary wars. The lists just go to Wikipedia at this stage.


A potted history of the French Revolutionary Wars

May 7, 2008

Rebellion in the Vendée 1792 France declares war on Austria. Austria allies with Prussia, Hess, Piedmont and French émigrés. Combined allied army invades France. Battle of Valmy results in French victory. France conquers Savoy and Nice. French raid into Germany captures Maintz and reaches Frankfort.

1793  Formation of the ‘First Coalition’ against France. France declares war of Great Britain and the Netherlands. France invades Netherlands. Austrians win in Belgium in battles at Aix-la-Chapelle and Liege. Rebellion in Lyon and Marseilles. The Vendée uprising. Spanish armies invade France, as do Sardinian and Austrian. Counter revolutionary forces hand over the port of Toulon to the British. British defeated at Hondschoote.

1794 Action against the Spanish. Action against the Austrians in Belgium. French armies drive Austrians, British and Dutch beyond the Rhine. Prussian counter attack is largely ineffective.

1795 France occupies the Netherlands, which joins the revolution and becomes the Batavian Republic. Prussia leaves the First Coalition. French continue into Spain, who make peace. British landing at Quiberon to support counter revolutionaries fails.

1796 Only Great Britain and Austria remain as part of the First Coalition. Napoleon takes over command of the army of Italy, where he achieves a number of stunning victories. French cross the Rhine for a number of encounters with Austrian forces.

1797 Napoleon continues his success in Italy. Austria attempts to assist in Italy but are defeated. French pushes across the Rhine cause Austria to sue for peace. Only Britain remains opposed to the French Republic. First Coalition ends.

1798 French invade Egypt as a way to disrupt British Mediterranean trade, led by Napoleon. French invade Switzerland and establish the Helvetic Republic. France tries to invade Ireland but fail. France occupies Rome and establishing Roman Republic. Revolt in Belgium against French rule. At the end of the year the Second Coalition is formed of Austria, Great Britain, Russia, French Royalists, Portugal, Naples and Sicily, and the Ottoman Empire.

1799 Napoleon abandons army in Egypt to prop up rule at home. British and Russians invade Batavian Republic, resulting in failure. Much fighting in Italy. By the end of the year French troops had almost been totally driven out. More fighting around the Rhine against Austria, who were successful in expelling the French back across the Rhine. Battles in Switzerland against Austria. Russia leaves Second Coalition.

1800 Austrian attacks in Italy. Napoleon takes command and leads a strategic outflanking action. Austrians leave Italy. Another Rhine crossing into Germany. Austrians again defeated, leading them to sue for peace. Battles in Egypt.

1801 Exhausted French in Egypt surrender. Second Coalition collapses without Austria. Most action is at sea against the British.

Treaty of Amiens in 1802 ends war between Great Britain and France. Some semblance of peace at the macro scale exists until 1804, when Prime Minister Pitt of Great Britain forges the Third Coalition and, with napoleon now Emperor, the Revolutionary Wars are over and the Napoleonic Wars begin.