Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War

      Among some of the recent Peter Laing figures I got figures that I can only guess are suppose to be Berserkers. I must admit that when I saw them they reminded me of dogs.  I started to make some new molds, and I made one of these figures. The mold seemed to make usable figures and I made enough for several units.

         While out playing with my dog, I came up with a rather silly scenario. An army of dogmen attacking a village.

     " The refugees told a tale of terror. As the sun was sinking low, a terrible howling started in the woods, followed by wolves walking on their hind legs slowly coming out of the woods and crossing the fields, closing in on the village. Then one let out a ungodly howl, and all broke into a run . They quickly overran the village and only stopped when there were enough victims to  provide meals for all the wolves."

       "The Baron armed his peasants and gathered local hunters who were skilled in archery. He would not give up his village without a fight."
The "Dogmen" are in the woods on the left, the villagers on the right. I used  simplified BATTLELORE rules.  Average dice dictated how many units were activated during the turn.

The white Dogman (who suspiciously has the same marking as my dog, Jerry) is the leader of the dogmen. The painted figures are "bold" so they can disregard the first "retreat" dice.

The dogmen move out of the woods.

The village archers fire on one of the bold dogman units. It rolls a retreat, but is ignored by the dogmen.

The command dogman unit loses two dogs. Red arrows show the villagers movement, black arrows are dogmen movement, and yellow arrows are attacks.

The dogmen attack with no success.

The villagers lose 4 killed and the archers at the top are forced to retreat. All the village units, except the Baron's guard, are "frightened" and retreat two spaces for each retreat dice thrown.

At the top of the picture the archers force a dogman unit to retreat. In the center one dogman units attacked from two sides and loses two dogs and is forced to retreat.

Closeup of the advancing dogmen.

In the center the villagers have great success, destroying both of the bold dogmen units and killing the Alpha dog!

All of the dogman units advance.

In the foreground two village units attack a dogman unit and forces it back.

In the foreground the dogmen attack one of the village units. They lose half their unit; another dogman unit rolls two retreat dice. Being frightened, the villagers must fall back four spaces. They are pushed off the board. 

Two dogman units attack the Baron's guard. 

At the top of the picture the dogmen attack kills the last of the Baron's guards, leaving the Baron  alone. In the foreground another village unit is driven off the board.

The Baron drives back one dogman unit.

At this point the Baron kills the last of one dogman unit.

Closeup of the Baron and his victim. At this point the dogmen were down to 50%, and were forced to retreat.

The dogmen melt back into the woods. Both sides lost 4 units; the villagers would have lost if they lost 6 units.

I am thinking of using one of my BATTLELORE boards for these games. The hex fields give retreating units some advantage as they can retreat towards friendly units. However, this was just a quickly thrown together game.


  1. I think that figure would be based on an illustration in the old WRG book armies of the dark ages published some time in the mid 70's. Illustration no 71 is of a man wearing a wolf pelt with tail and a wolf mask/hat. It resembles nothing so much as an Alsatian dog with human legs. It is called a Ulfhednar or berserker variation but I much prefer your appellation of Dogmen.


  2. I recently bought a copy of ARMIES OF THE DARK AGES 600-1066. I think you are correct.Looking at their illustrations of Viking it appears that Peter Laing used these pictures as the basis for his Viking figures. With the dogman figures I received some Peter Laing Viking figures that match the WRG illustration of the Berserk. It might make for an interesting posting to compare the illustrations to the Peter Laing figures.

  3. Love the game John. As regards the figures, several of the manufacturers back then based their figures on the WRG books - just look at some of the Minifigs 'strip' Renaissance figures

  4. Unfortunately I don't have the WRG Renaissance book. With my lack of knowledge of the period, it might be worth trying to find a copy.