Copyright © 2011-2024, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2011-2024, Paul Scrivens-Smith

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the creator.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Secret Weapons of the Almohads

At the medieval WAB competition taking place at Colours last weekend, Steve said to me after our game that he was surprised that I had not taken Riding Camels for my Berbers. Having read the rules for Riding Camels I can see that he has a point.

So in preparation for next weeks event at 'The Worlds' in Derby I decided that I needed to buy and paint some camels for my Almohads.

As it's pretty much a one trick pony I did not fancy splashing out a load of cash on white metal Camels so settled for a box of HaT Hadendowah Camelry. This box cost me £8.00 posted and includes a dozen camels - six each of two models, a dozen riders and three foot, the riders and foot are free to a good home if you want them.

I did a simple paint job, the camels were base coated in Vallejo Field Drab and then the usual white and blue scheme of the rest of my Berbers was applied.

It probably took longer to do the bases than it did to paint the models, then again they are soft plastic so the paint will likely have fallen off after next weekends five games.

Saturday 21 September 2013

Scrivsland on Tour

I've got a couple of foreign business trips planned over the next few weeks, so if you are in Lyon, France between 23rd and 26th September or in Madison, Wisconsin between 12th and 17th October and fancy meeting up one evening to chew the fat then get in touch.

Friday 20 September 2013

Hail Caesar on the far eastern frontier of Rome

Romans and Chinese line up for battle
It's about time I played Hail Caesar and I jumped at the opportunity to play a game against Richard yesterday evening.

We arranged to meet at the Polly yesterday evening, Richard would bring his Early Imperial Romans and I would bring my Qin / Han Chinese to the party. Richard suggested we have a look at how many points we could each field and drew a stop at about 500pts per side, that would be plenty!

I fielded Qin Chinese as the Han Chinese list in the supplement is broken and has not been 'patched' - somebody forgot the cavalry and chariot entries and then the proof reading miss that - doofus!

Wu Hu horse archers
My force comprised:
General (CV8) 4 x Veteran Heavy Infantry with Archers, 2 x Light Infantry with Crossbow
Commander (CV8) 4 x Heavy Infantry with Archers, 2 x Skirmishers with bow
Commander (CV8) 1 x Chariots, 3 x Wu Hu Horse Archers
Commander (CV8) 1 x Chariots, 2 x Medium Cavalry, 1 x Wu Hu Horse Archers

Richard fielded (if I recall correctly):
General (CV8) 1 x Praetorian Legion, 3 x Legions, 1 x Archer, 1 x Ballista
General (CV8) 5 x Legions, 1 x Skirmisher, 1 x Ballista
General (CV8) 1 x Heavy Auxillia, 3 x Auxillia, 1 x Ballista
General (CV8) 1 x Heavy Cavalry, 3 x Medium Cavalry

Solid Chinese battle line
So we settled down to battle, I took some initial hits from the Roman artillery, but soon my missles were soon coming into play, the vaunted Roman armour was looking very flimsy as Richard failed save after save. Of course it would not last and we were soon in combat. My medium cavalry supported by a unit of lights destroyed one unit of  Roman cavalry and shook another before becoming succumbing to a flank charge by Roman Legions.

The infantry lines clashed in the centre and despite initial Roman success my Chinese dice were on fire, I must have acquired one of those tacky lucky cats from somewhere. Although it was not so lucky for my Commander in Chief who was killed leading a charge.

Legions stretching as far as the eye can see
Soon the Roman line was wavering, I had lost my right flank cavalry division, but had taken out the Roman left flank infantry division and was exploiting the gap. However, before my infantry division could make hay, I spawned another flukey combat against the remaining Roman legions and broke that division too.

The Chinese had emerged victors mainly down to flukey dice rather than anything else.

A great game, although 500pts is probably a bit much to be using on a club night when playing with 120mm frontages as there was no flanks to exploit just a battering head to head slog!

A clash of civilisations

Trying to break through on my left flank

Skirmishers screen my left flank

Thursday 19 September 2013

Tie Fighters at 6 o'Clock

On Tuesday night Mog and myself had another session at Star Wars Miniatures game.

The first game was a try of the 'Dark Whispers' scenario that we had not played before. The Imperials have to capture one of two Rebel Satellites and escape back off their table edge with it. Looking at what ships I had available we both picked about 50 points. I took two Red Squadron X Wings and Martin took three Tie Fighters, one of which was Mauler Mithel

Mauler Mithel managed to easily scan a Satellite, but the other two Tie Fighters were piloted by Laurel and Hardy and were unable to finish their move anywhere near the other Satellite token. Mauler Mithel with Marksmanship was shot down by one of the X-Wings soon followed by another Tie Fighter. Game One to the Rebels.

We lined them up again for another crack at the Dark Whispers mission and decided to increase the forces up to 60pts. This time I took Biggs Darklighter with R2D2 and a Red Squadron pilot with R2F2 and Proton Torpedos. Martin took Mauler Mithel with Marksmanship again with an Obsidian Squadron pilot also with Marksmanship and finished off by adding the Tie Advanced that I had purchased at the weekend.

X-Wings try to give chase against the Tie Fighters
This time there was no clowning around, the Tie Fighters were straight in there scanning the Satellites, and then used their turn of speed to race back to their exit area without loss - The Empire Strikes Back!

There is still enough of the evening remaining to play another game. Utilising the same forces as the previous game we played the Political Escort mission. The Rebels were to escort the senator off the edge of the table. Things were going really well for the Rebels, Biggs Darklighter was using his 'shoot at me instead' skill to protect the senators shuttle while his R2 unit was repairing his shields. Two Tie Fighters had already been shot down and replaced with Academy pilots and the senators shuttle was one move away from the table edge and had three hits remaining, but did not have the protective cover from Biggs Darklighter. At initiative 7 Mauler Mithel was unable to do anything, there was a Rebel X-Wing at skill 4 tailing a Tie Fighter at skill 4, however the Imperials had the initiative! Three close range shots were fired at the shuttle - three hits! We just need an evade - Noooooooooo!
The senators shuttle explodes

The Empire Strikes Back again!

Tonight it was not a good day to be a Rebel.

I have cracked though and ordered myself a Millennium Falcon.

Monday 16 September 2013

The adventures of Ibn Scrivs at Colours 2013

Another longbow army shoots lumps off me
This past weekend was the Colours show at Newbury and Wayne was running a Medieval Warhammer Ancient Battles tournament at the event, so any army after 1250 at 3500 points.

I don't have much stuff in the way of later medieval but my Almohads were about up until 1269, I'd be able to use the new figures.

The Army

The list I chose to take was:

Caliph - 234pts
Hand Weapon, Javelins, Light Armour, Large Shield

Standard Bearer - 107pts
Hand Weapon, Light Armour, Shield

9 Berber Cavalry - 244pts
Hand Weapon, Throwing Spear, Javelin, Shield . Leader, Musician. Light Cavalry, Feigned Flight

9 Berber Cavalry - 244pts
Hand Weapon, Throwing Spear, Javelin, Shield . Leader, Musician. Light Cavalry, Feigned Flight

27 Spearmen - 366pts
Hand Weapon, Thrusting Spear, Javelins,  Large Shield. Leader, Musician, Standard.

27 Spearmen - 366pts
Hand Weapon, Thrusting Spear, Javelins,  Large Shield. Leader, Musician, Standard.

27 Spearmen - 366pts
Hand Weapon, Thrusting Spear, Javelins,  Large Shield. Leader, Musician, Standard.

25 Spearmen - 340pts
Hand Weapon, Thrusting Spear, Javelins,  Large Shield. Leader, Musician, Standard.

18 Archers - 162pts
Hand Weapon, Bow. Light Infantry

10 Military Orders - 395pts
Hand Weapon, Lance, Heavy Armour, Shield. Leader, Musician, Standard. First Charge, Unreliable

10 Military Orders - 395pts
Hand Weapon, Lance, Heavy Armour, Shield. Leader, Musician, Standard. First Charge, Unreliable

13 Spearmen - 179pts
Hand Weapon, Throwing Spear, Javelin, Shield . Leader, Musician. Light Infantry, Unreliable

9 Skirmishers - 54pts
Hand Weapon, Shortbow, Buckler. Skirmishers, Unreliable

8 Skirmishers - 48pts
Hand Weapon, Sling, Buckler. Skirmishers, Unreliable

I hoped that the leadership 10 general would prove very useful in helping the infantry hold the line while the cavalry manoeuvred to take them in the flank

A very early alarm call and jumping in the car at 06:15 and I was on my way to Newbury arriving at 08:30. The first few rounds had been pre-drawn and I knew I would have a tough first day.

Knights and spears take on Waynes Foot Knights

Game 1

My first game was to be against Steve Butler with his Medieval English army comprising of: General, Noble and Army Standard bearer in a unit of 32 Seasoned Archers with Light Armour, Hand and a half swords and Stakes. Another unit of 32 Seasoned Archers with Light Armour, Hand and a half swords and Stakes. A third unit of a Noble leading 32 Seasoned Archers with Light Armour, Hand and a half swords and Riding horses. A large unit of 48 Archers with Stakes, two cannon and two units of 9 Gascons with light crossbows completed the force. Steve used his stratagem to place a piece of marsh against the wood on his right flank to effectively block off any marauding cavalry around that side.

I was going to be shot to pieces!

I had the first turn and started my slog across the table into the hail of arrows and started removing figures by the bucket-load. I eventually got into combat with my depleted units and then things started to go my way, one unit of Seasoned Archers and the Archers were destroyed and I had pushed back another unit almost to the table edge - it was falling back in good order every time! - when these archers fluked a round of combat, broke my unit and pursued into my general. This was the end for me, if I had won that round, I would have broken his army. In other poor run of luck a unit of Knights charged into a unit of archers and lost six casualties to the 'stand and shoot' reaction.

Totting up the points, Steve had caused 3553pts and had inflicted 2008pts

I went to have a bit of a look around the show and do some shopping, picking up another load of trees from The Last Valley and then eating my banana based lunch.
Bill and Bow move into position

Game 2

The second of my games would be against WAB author Martin Gibbins with his French Ordinance list. Martin is on a bit of a roll at the moment scooping up tournament victories.

Martin was using his General and Army Standard in a unit of 6 Gendarmes and 6 Men at Arms, two more units of 6 Gendarmes and 6 Men at Arms. Two units of 18 Archers with longbows, one unit of 24 Pikemen, one unit of 12 Crossbowmen, 10 skirmishing light Crossbowmen and two cannon. He completed his deployment with an ambush from a unit of 10 handgunners.

Martin deployed his Gendarmes on my right and by turn three they had crashed into my troops, expectedly breaking all before them. A unit of my Knights played cat and mouse with his third unit. I expected to do better on my left flank, but lady luck was not with me. When my remaining five Knights crashed into his unit of Longbow and inflicted one casualty and took two in return I knew it was not going my way at all. I did manage to break one of the Gendarme units but my army was soon shattered. Martin took 3298pts against my paltry 619.

Foot Knights duff up my spears

Game 3

The final game of the day was to be against Wayne Richards with his War of the Roses Lancastrians. Wayne had his Army General and Standard bearer in a roving role, much like I was. One unit of 24 Foot Knights and two units of 24 Billmen provided his offensive arm, while five units of 24 Archers and two cannon gave him all the missile fire he would need.

This game was turn limited to six turns so I had better get stuck in quick. I tried to flank Wayne on my right and refused my left flank with just a screen. The large number of big units in his force meant that he was quite congested. This was a straight go-for-it. The foot knights are a terrible thing and I really struggled against them, although I did account for four of his blocks of bowmen and his cannon despite great losses on my side.

At the end of the game we totted up. We had both caused great carnage, but we were within 20 points of each other - much like my list game against Wayne neither of us had the upper hand.

At the end of day one I had two losses and a draw. I think I could have done much better in the first two games but they had all been excellent opponents.

That evening Martin and I went for a rather splendid curry in Newbury and polished off the evening by watching Match of the Day and another couple of chapters of King Solomons Mines on the Kindle.

Kerry's archers prepare to be ridden down

Game 4

There was no early start today, I set the alarm for 08:30, showered and checked out at 09:00 and picked up lunch on the way to the venue and still easily made the start time of 09:30.

Next up was Kerry Rayner with another Medieval English army, I was getting quite used to being shot to pieces by now!

Kerry fielded her General and Army Standard bearer in a unit of 24 Foot Knights, she had a unit of 24 Low Country Pikemen, 3 units of 20 Seasoned Archers and one unit of 30 Seasoned archers. Arrow time again!

Kerrys pike and foot knights hold the line
I changed my deployment a little, I was finding that my skirmish screen was being destroyed in the first turn, so I kept my Archers formed in a block and just screened my front with the skirmishers. I also kept all my light cavalry formed up and this proved a good decision.

I managed to work around the flanks with the cavalry while engaging the infantry to the fore. Kelly pushed her Foot Knights and Pikemen forwards and I was soon in a struggle of a fight. Indeed I had the Foot Knights engaged in both the front and flank by my spear units and they were still willing the combat. My saving grace was when the unit fighting to the front fled leaving only my flanking force. Eventually I killed her Army Standard Bearer who 'double-oned' his armour saves and broke the Foot Knights.
The foot knights refuse to be put down and have to be flanked.

By the end I had broken Kerrys army and achieved a solid Victory but my General had fled the table - cowardly dog!

After the game I had another browse around the show and purchased a copy of Settlers of Catan and a Tie Advanced for the Star Wars Miniatures Game - I'd managed so far not to purchase anything that I needed to paint.

Game 5 

The last game of the weekend would be against Richard Hollings with his War of the Roses English army.

Richard Fielded his General and Army Standard and 6 Men at Arms leading a unit of 24 Archers, a unit of 8 Men at Arms leading 24 Archers, a unit of 8 Retinue Bill leading 24 Archers, two units of 40 Pikemen! a unit of 20 Bidet and a unit of 9 Hand Gunners. I was in for another game of being shot to pieces although having spent half his points on Pikemen I could guess that Richard may want to get to grips.

Richards Pike screened with javelinmen
I put my Cavalry up against the Pikemen hoping to temp them out with the annoying Berber Javelins and then move around for a flank charge with my Knights, but Richard was not taking the bait. I managed to break the unit of Archers with the Retinue Bill but the Archer unit lead by the King and Nobles battered two of my spear blocks. I did eventually take one of the Pike blocks in the flank though. The Hand-gunners destroyed one of my Berber horse units.

After the seven turn limit we totted up the points. I had scored 1666 points to Richards 1197 points a minor victory to me.

The Results

With two sever losses, a draw, a major victory and a minor victory I finished 8th from the 12 players. But I was awarded the Best Painted Army award and the Most Sporting Player award, not just for the Medieval event but for the whole Colours show. As you may imagine, I was rather chuffed to say the least.

Martin won the Medieval event, Paddy came second and Steve came third, so my two kickings were tempered by being from two of the best players there and I think I could have gotten a much better result against Steve.

In light of the games with the list I've learned a lot and already have made a few changes in time for the WAB event to be run at the Worlds in Castle Donnington in a couple of weeks.

I forgot to take any photos during my first tow games, but there is plenty of eye candy from the other three.

Friday 13 September 2013

Burma 1945 - Chain of Command

Quint surveys our field of play
Yesterday evening I had my second game of Chain of Command. This time we moved from the scrub-land of 1941 East Africa to the forests of Burma in 1945.

I have done a quick Japanese list for Chain of Command that you can find here. This would be pitted against a British Rifle Platoon.

After a roll off Quint would be playing the Japanese and I would have the British. I spend the additional four points on another Rifle Section.

Quint had a force moral of 11 to my 9!

The table was laid out with a small village off centre and several thickets of dense jungle surrounded by more open jungle.

The patrol phase started well for the British, I manage to pin two of Quints patrol markers that were about 14" apart effectively pinning a third marker between them. Rather than fighting across the table I pretty much had the right hand side of the table and Quint had the left.

The British left flank holds against Japanese probes
We rolled for additional troops and as we both had spend on 'List One' we both picked an Adjutant'

We both put out our initial probes I had a small force of one section and the platoon sergeant on my left (actually the table edge nearest me) while the platoon commander and the other three sections were on my right. Quint massed in the centre splitting his force between the village and a large thicket.

Mt sole section did a good job of holding up that flank while I swept around the right. I tried to cover with one section while the other two advanced on the Japanese and was doing quite well with this and the Japanese were soon piling up shock markers. However, there was a problem, Quinton always seemed to be getting kills whatever he needed on the dice, my sections were not taking shock, they were dying - in droves! I was soon taking moral checks and my force moral was plummeting. Two section leaders were down wounded and I did not have a Chain of Command dice to end the turn to get them back in place as I had wasted my only one earlier on some terrible interdiction fire!
The British try to sweep around the right.

We wrapped up at about 09:45 still on Turn 1, I had been reduced to a force moral of 1 while Quint was still up there on 11. The Japanese had taken a lot of casualties, but I'd not managed to reduce his moral at all.

After this I changed the Force Rating of my Beta list from 4 to 5, for huge sections is a terrible thing to have to try to overcome.

Another great game of Chain of Command, we may get one into a second turn one of these days.

One issue did come up with the rules, the chart for the activation dice says that you can Deploy OR Activate a unit on that dice, wheras in the rules it says you can both Deploy AND Activate!

El Scrivs takes on Ibn Webster-Deakin

Christian line up
A few weeks ago Tom and I had a rather splendid game of WAB pitting my Almohavids against Toms Almohavids. After many more turns than is normal I came out on top.

Tuesday it was time for a rematch. This time I chose to use my Christian Spanish as Almohavids against Almohavids can get a bit samey.

Tom took the same 1600pt list as last time:

  • Emir and ASB in a unit of 22 Berber spearmen and 8 archers
  • Sayid and Imam in a unit of 22 Berber spearmen and 8 archers
  • 8 Berber archers
  • Sayid in a unit of 9 Berber horse
  • 12 Christian Knights
  • 9 Tribal Skirmishers

Almohavid battle line
I took Christian Spanish from the Age of El Cid this time

  • Rey and Arminger in a unit of 10 Cabbaleros Hildagos
  • Cantador in a unit of 11 Cabbaleros
  • 9 Jinetes
  • two units of 21 Peone spearmen
  • 8 Skirmishers with bow
  • 9 Skirmishers with slings

I drew a map and Tom deployed, we were pretty much facing off against each other.

Tom managed the first charge of the game when his Berber horse complete with Sayid charged my Cabbaleros, three wounds and three failed saves and my guys were soon on the back foot, they did last a few rounds of combat but never regained the momentum and were eventually broken.
One day Tom will remeber to pack his standard bearers

Things went a bit better for the Spanish in the centre, my Hildagos easily dispatched the mercenary Knights but the massive Almohavid spear blocks were easily beating up the Peones.

By about the fifth turn things were not going well for the Spanish, the Cabbaleros were routed by the Berber horse and one block of Peones and all my skirmishers had fled. As a last ditch the Rey spurred his Hildagos and crashed into the Emir and his bodyguard. Some nifty attacks and the combat was a draw, the sneaky Berbers won the momentum and next turn the Rey and his bodyguard were fleeing.
Jinetes run down skirmishers

In the final turn I managed to rally the Rey and Hildagos and shoot up the remaining Berber horse but it was all in vain, Tom had won by a clear 500 odd points, I'd been giving away unit standards like business cards.

No doubt news of the victory will be shouted from the minarets over on Toms blog.

Berber horse and the doomed Cabbaleros

The Christians advance

Hildagos against cowardly mercenaries

Kill the Emir - or not

There once was a unit of Berber horse here

Thursday 12 September 2013

Japanese Rifle Platoon for Chain of Command

Updated 9th November 2013
We are using the Japanese in Chain of Command for the first time this evening. As no list is currently available, I've put the following together. I'll try to give an appraisal of how it went later.

Japanese Rifle Platoon
Platoon Force Rating
Regular: +5
Command Dice: 5
Special Rules: All Japanese troops are aggressive
Platoon Headquarters
Rikugun Shōi, Senior Leader armed with Katana and Pistol
Gunsō, Senior Leader armed with SMG

Section One to Three
Gochō Kimmu jōtōhei armed with SMG
Infantry Section
Type 96 LMG with two crew and eleven Riflemen

Section Four
Gochō Kimmu jōtōhei armed with SMG
Grenade Launcher Team
Type 89 Grenade Launcher with two crew and two Riflemen
Grenade Launcher Team
Type 89 Grenade Launcher with two crew and two Riflemen
Grenade Launcher Team
Type 89 Grenade Launcher with two crew and two Riflemen

Japanese National Characteristics
Death Before Dishonour: Japanese add +2 to their Force Moral roll.
Jungle Fighters: Japanese troops moving through virgin jungle only subtract -1

Japanese Support List

List Four
List One

Type 92 Infantry Gun with 5 crew
Single Compound Charge or similar

Type 92 Machine Gun on tripod with 5 crew
Medical Orderly

Type 98 20mm Anti-aircraft gun with 5 crew
Engineer Mine Clearance Team, 3 men

Type 94 37mm Anti-tank gun with 5 crew
Engineer Wire Cutting Team, 3 men

Forward Observer and 81mm mortar battery
Engineer Demolition Team, 3 men

Type 94 TK Tankette with Junior Leader

List Five

Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank with Junior Leader
Barbed Wire

Rifle section with Junior Leader
Field Car, no crew

Type 1 Ho-Ni Tank Destroyer with Junior Leader
Entrenchment for one team

Type 97 Chi-Ha Medium Tank with Junior Leader
Suicide anti-tank team

Type 97 Kai-Shinhoto Chi-Ha with Junior Leader
List Two

Road Block

Anti-tank rifle Team, 2 men

Type 89 Grenade Launcher Team, 2 men

Pre-Game Barrage

List Three

Engineer Flamethrower Team, 3 men

Sniper Team, 2 men

20130913: Change Force Rating to +5 after first play test.
20131109: Remove second team from the Infantry sections

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Perry Minatures Muslim Civilians

Last week I picked up a pack of the Perry Miniatures Muslim Civilians from the First Crusade range. After painting the Berber Cavalry at the weekend I gave these a quick base-coat and washed them with Vallejo Sepia Wash on Sunday evening.

Yesterday lunchtime at work I did a couple of lots of highlights and then polished them off yesterday evening. Painted the bases before work today then dry-brushed and titivated them this evening.


with obligatory shovel propper-upper

Wealthy merchant with favourite wife and child

Wealthy merchants family group

Eunuch and woman with decorated vase of olive oil

Eunuch and woman

Monday 9 September 2013

More Berber cavalry in time for Colours

Berber light horse
I submitted my list for the Warhammer Ancient Battles event at Colours taking place at Newbury Race Course next weekend in the knowledge that I only needed to paint up another 9 Berber cavalry to finish the force. Well, my painting mojo has been low my last few weeks and I've been pontificating rather than painting.

Things had to change!

Berber light horse
On Friday evening I cleaned up the figures, Saturday morning they had a spray of Halfords grey primer and after mine and Victorias walk I started on the base-coat, following which they had a wash of Vallejo Sepia Wash.

On Sunday I did the highlights and bases and took a few photos today.

Here are a few more close-ups:

First crack at Chain of Command

Italians advance through the scrub
Last Thursday James, Mark and myself had our first go at Chain of Command from Too Fat Lardies. James was delayed getting over from Nottingham so we had rather a late start and only had two and a half hours to play.

We pitted an Indian Rifle Platoon (Regulars moral 8):

  • Captain
  • Platoon Sergeant
  • Boys anti-tank rifle
  • 2" mortar

Indians amass pin markers on a rocky outcrop
Three sections of Corporal plus 9 men including a Bren

  • Against an Italian Platoons (Green moral 7):
  • Captain
  • Platoon Sergent
  • Four sections of Corporal plus 9 men including a Breda

We played the patrol mission from the book.

The patrol phase saw us jockeying for position among the scrubs and rocky outcrops of East Africa.

Things started poorly for the Indians, I only seem to be able to roll 4's and 5's, indeed after my first two phases I had already amassed eight 5's and had my first Chain of Command dice. The Italians got a much better spread of dice rolls and were soon deployed on table and were pushing hard against the Indians. My sole section was soon up against it and were hiding in a rocky outcrop awaiting reinforcements.
More Indians up against it!
I was able to pull in reinforcements, but was already up against it. My poor dice rolls continued through the game and I was fighting a rearguard action.

By two and a half hours we were still on the first turn and it was time to pack away, in the scheme of things the Italians were the victors in this one, I had only lost one LMG team and one Rifle team, but had caused no teams to be lost on the Italian side.

On another table Quint and Colin were also playing Chain of Command, they too were still on the first turn after 3 hours, but had a clear result in their game as the Germans had reached 0 moral!

It's an enjoyable game and I'd like to give it another go with hopefully a better spread of dice next time!