After the disasterous dice rolling displayed in the previous battle Jeremey offers Tony the chance to get even.
A victory entirely down to how bad your opponent rolled isn’t much to celebrate and so I offered Tony the chance of a rematch to banished those dice rolling demons. This was a smaller battle, mainly because I had to provide both armies. I made the sides identical with 12 units in each army. As before I took charge of the Yorkists and Tony the Lancastrians.
Tony deployed his forces in the traditional way of archers out front with billmen and men at arms behind. He also positioned all of his cavalry on the Lancastrian left flank. Although Tony’s set up was more in keeping with the period, I decided to deploy in a single line with my archers interspersed between my other infantry. I did this because we were using the Sword and Spear rules which do not allow general infantry units to move through each other. Tony scores a point for taking the historical high ground and I lose points for playing the rules not the period. I also split my cavalry up with a unit on each flank.
Much to my surprise given the last battle we fought Tony advanced with his cavalry straight at my archers despite them having a number of billmen units in support.
Meanwhile both sides advanced their frontlines to begin the archery duel. Initially this looked like it was going to favour Tony’s deployment because more of his archers were lined up against my billmen and men at arms, giving the chance to cause the Yorkists some damage before the infantry came to blows.
At this point Tony’s cavalry crashed into my archers but did not do enough damage and so the melee continued. Despite not getting the result Tony expected from the charge (partly because of the billmen support of the archers) they would end up locked in combat for quite a while.
As with the previous battle the Yorkists won the archery duel but this time the Lancastrian archers did at least cause some damage on a number of Yorkist units.
With the archers once again wiped out Tony began moving up his infantry units to get to grips with their Yorkist counterparts.
On the Lancastrian left flank the mounted men at arms finally managed to destroy the Yorkist archers but were locked in melee with the Yorkist billmen. I was surprised to find the cavalry still intact after this combat, I was hoping to have destroyed the cavalry who are tough when charging but not for prolonged combat.
With the destruction of their archers and the loss of some other units the Lancastrians were on the brink of breaking after just three turns. It was at this point that Tony’s now legendary bad dice rolling returned. A bold charge across the road with enough dice to provide a bonus produced nothing higher than a 3! This saw the destruction of the billmen and the breaking of the Lancastrian army.
We didn’t have enough time to refight the battle on the day, so instead Tony and I decided to ignore the army break point and continue the battle to the death.
Clearly that’s all Tony’s Lancastrians needed to suddenly start rolling dice like they meant it. A ferocious clash took place on the Yorkist left flank as their billmen and men at arms charged across the road.
On the Yorkist left flank the cavalry were maneuvering into position to prevent either side from outflanking the other. In the background you can see the Lancastrian cavalry still trading blows with the Yorkist infantry.
With the Lancastrians new found successes punching holes in the Yorkist front line, drastic measures were needed to stop the advance. This ended up with the generals of each side supporting their men at arms.
The fight continued and despite the Yorkists getting more men at arms into the fight the Lancastrians overwhelmed the Yorkist men at arms but failed to kill the Yorkist general in the fight.
Realising the danger the Yorkist general moved to reinforce the other men at arms unit. But this move also abandoned the hard set Yorkist billmen on the Yorkist left who were quickly destroyed, leading to the collaspe of that flank.
With the Yorkist Archers now in danger of being overrun, the Yorkists had some good news with the cavalry duel out on the Lancastrian left. This allowed the Yorkist mounted men at arms to rush to the aid of their general.
Despite this last minute charge and the final defeat of the Lancastrian men at arms by the cavalry, the Lancastrians still had enough men under arms on the battlefield to declare victory.
This was an interesting battle. By continuing to fight on after the standard victory conditions were met (rather quickly I might add) the battle flowed back and forth. The Yorkist cavalry proved superior on the day (with credit given to the Lancastrian mounted men at arms that lasted three round of melee against some billmen). And the initial archery duel clearly went to the Yorkists. But the Lancastrian infantry proved unstoppable on the day.
This battle did make me question the Sword and Spear break point rules. Maybe there should be a sliding scale to represent historical battles where armies break early on to those where armies fought to the bitter end.
After a gap of 17 months (for the obvious reasons) Jeremey and Stephen finally got to field their Wars of the Roses armies again. Here Jeremey takes us through what happened.
Both Stephen and I agreed on making this a 700 points per side battle using the Sword and Spear rules. We invited other members to take part and ended up with the Lancastrian forces commanded by Stephen and Tony, with the Yorkist side commanded by myself and Andy.
Here we have the main bulk of the Yorkist forces, with the usual number of archers and billmen. The Yorkists didn’t bother to bring any unusual units like artilery, but did have welsh spearmen and archers to swell the ranks. I took the Yorkist Left flank facing the Lancastrians commanded by Tony, which left Andy facing Stephen’s lancastrians on the right.
The Lancastrian forces had a similar make up but went for some artillery and handgunners. Both sides drew up their forces in typical formations. Tony on the Lancastrian right had command of all the Lancastrian cavalry units.
To add a bit of flavour to the game I created a number of event cards, these were sort of successful but on drawing the cards the lancastrians came off worse with both the artillery and handgunner units being forced to join the battle after a set number of turns. This was due to having event cards designed to show the chaotic nature of forces during this time getting lost on the way or being hesitant to join the battle.
The initial activation of the armies saw both sides move up to longbow range and engage in an archery duel. It was at this point that a general theme of the Lancastrians (specifically Tony) having the most appalling dice rolls ever began.
The archery duel didn’t last long and saw the majority of the Lancastrian archers wiped out for no loses on the Yorkist side.
Faced with the archery disaster the Lancastrians under Tony started an outflanking move with their cavalry, a mixture of mounted men at arms and currours.
This caused a bit of panic in the Yorkist ranks (well me really) who quickly brought up more of their billmen and cavalry to counter the move.
Having riden within range the Yorkist horse charged against the lancastrians attempting the outflanking move, the first charge nearly destroyed the Lancastrian cavalry. They were soon dispatched in the following turn.
However this didn’t discourage the Lancastrian who then charged with their mounted men at arms straight at a unit of billmen. Again Tony’s dice rolling saw the Lancastrian cavalry completely destroyed for just a single point of damage to the billmen.
Meanwhile on the Yorkist right flank the Lancastrians commanded by Stephen managed to buck the trend and shot Andy’s welsh spearmen to pieces. This put the right flank in danger as the Yorkists had fewer archers to try and even the score.
The alarming gap in the Yorkist forces where the welsh spearmen used to be. Facing the potential of another arrow storm Andy decided drastic measures were needed.
Much to my surprise this saw Andy charge the archers with his Northern Boarder horse. It didn’t go well with the cavalry being wiped out.
Having so far suffered only two points of damage to my units I felt emboldened and charged my billmen into the remnants of Tony’s archers scoring a number of hits and pushing the Lancastrian loses towards breaking point.
With the Lancastrians on the brink of breaking I charged the final unit of Lancastrian currours with my mounted men at arms. As was typical for the game so far the Lancastrian cavalry were wipped out handing victory to the Yorkists.
It’s always nice to win a battle but this game was one of the most one sided I’ve ever played. My Yorkist forces on the left flank had managed to almost wipe out the Lancastrians for the loss of no units and only suffering two points of damage. I must say the victory felt somewhat hollow and we were all left amazed at just how badly the dice can sometime go against a player.
I promised Tony a rematch just to throw off the dice rolling curse he was clearly suffering from.
Stephen shares a report of a solo game fought over the Christmas break…
Over the Christmas period I fancied a game of something and thought I’d go with Outremer (from Osprey) – a nice, simple, game with about 10 figures or so a side.
The background behind the game is that it is early May 1264, the build up to the battle of Lewes. The forces of Simon de Montfort are advancing on St Pancras priory where king Henry III is holding out. Both sides send out scouting forces to spy on the opposition’s moves. And it is in the peaceful Sussex village of Bishops Wyke where the two sides encounter each other…
The men of King Henry were led by Sir Edward Marsh and his men – a mix of archers, men at arms, spearmen, and the noted crossbow marksman ‘Big’ Eddie. De Montfort’s followers were led by Sir Gregory de Holt who also had a mix of archers, spearmen, and a pair of very capable swordsmen to bolster his forces – Balin of Brickenden and Howard de Shiel.
Gregory decided to shield his forces using his archer and crossbowman. He started in a difficult position, on the opposite side of a stream, meaning his levy would have to cross that and enter the village with little cover. Sir Edward’s group, on the other hand, had the cover of the churchyard and a cow field to screen their approach.
Edward’s two archers – Ewan and Gamal – took up position behind the church wall and as Gregory’s men advanced, they let rip with their arrows and down went Gregory’s archer, Bernard of Calcote. Big Eddie took up a similar position on the field wall and, carefully levelling his crossbow, he took a shot and down went Amis Hughes, Gregory’s crossbowman. This left Gregory with no missile support!
Gregory’s other men, Balin, Howard, and Cedric Brooker chose to wade across the stream using the cover of one of the cottages to keep them protected from the deadly hail of arrows. With little respect for the farmer’s crop, they tramped through the cabbages and carrots.
Edward left his archers in their advantageous position (with a French mercenary, Raoul Allaire, to protect them in case they were charged) and led the rest of his levy around the other side of the same cottage that Howard and the others had moved behind.
Having lost both archer and crossbowman, it was obvious that Sir Gregory and his men would have to advance as quickly as possible or risk being picked off. To this end, Gregory’s spearmen made a quick move down the village lane. Big Eddie was loaded and ready, raised his crossbow and down went Gareth of Whitley. Raoul took command of Tankard Jenkins and Hallet Adkin and raced them forward to block Gregory’s men. This led to a clash between the two sides at the crossroads in the middle of the village.
Meanwhile, Sir Edward and his men came lurching around the side of the cottage, with Will Fuller charging into contact with Howard de Shiel. They swapped several blows and eventually Howard came out on top and down went Will. This fight drew Sir Gregory and Balin over to join the melee. This was clearly going to be the decisive fight between the two sides, with both drawing in more men to join the battle.
At the crossroads the fight came to an end. Raoul Allaire’s experience had shown and he then called over to Big Eddie, Ewan, and Gamal to take them to the fight going on behind the cottage amid the vegetable patch.
Big Eddie and the archers formed a line, ready to drop any of Gregory’s men who were caught out alone, and Raoul came up behind Balin, swinging his flail, to take Balin by surprise. Raoul’s flail found its mark, but the blow was merely a glancing one with no harm to Balin, who then turned around to confront the Frenchman with a show of arms.
The fight behind the cottage carried on. One of Sir Edward’s men, John Manners, joined his lord with the attack on Sir Gregory. That didn’t look good, and Sir Gregory took a wound. But then Sir Gregory swung his sword and down went John bringing it back to a one-on-one between him and Sir Edward.
Balin prevailed in his fight with Raoul, and the French mercenary also fell under the blows. But seeing the line of archers ready to let rip, Balin decided to quickly charge in before they let loose. Having seen how deadly Big Eddie had proved to be, Balin made him the target of his attack. Eddie may be handy with that crossbow, but not with a sword. And so down went Eddie. Before he could charge the others, Ewan and Gamal took aim with their bows and peppered Balin with arrows. Balin had proved a good, and essential, part of Sir Gregory’s force. But he was no more.
Sir Edward and Sir Gregory continued hacking at each other. Sir Gregory had been wounded but he evened the score – taking a chunk out of Sir Edward. Neither could take another wound so the next would be the victor.
But time was up. The turn limit had been reached. Maybe a distant clarion call could be heard, marking the sudden appearance of a major lord with a sizeable retinue. Either way, it was game up, and both sides could slope away and lick their wounds.
The encounter had been a slight victory for Sir Edward and his men.
As it was our first foray with the rules, we decided to keep our armies small and set the armies at 500-points.
There are few limits on force composition, but your units do have to comply with the following limitations:
All members of a unit must have the same weapons, equipment and grade, with the exception that in Command units the Commander can be armed and equipped differently.
At least 10% of the points must be spent on Green troops
No more than 50% of the points may be spent on Command units.
My force comprised:
Command Unit of a Mounted Lord, with Pennant, and 3 Mounted Knights (Regular, 126 points)
Command Unit of a Veteran Mounted Sergeant and 3 Mounted Sergeants (Regular, 110 points)
Unit of 6 Spearmen (Regular, 120 points)
Unit of 5 Crossbowmen (Regular, 90 points)
Unit of 6 Bowmen (Green, 54 points)
So, my force had the requisite 10% of Green troops (54 points) and just under 50% of Command units (236 points).
Stephen’s force comprised:
Command unit of a veteran foot Lord (Sir Owain of Bangor) with 6 regular foot knights (204 points)
Unit of 6 regular spearmen (120 points)
Unit of 6 regular archers (102 points)
Unit of 6 green spearmen (72 points)
In these rules players take turns in activating a unit, with some conditions requiring that a unit takes a compulsory action before any unit takes a voluntary action. Most units can only take one action themselves, plus one action passed to them by an eligible command unit. Units which take more than one action become Weary, which affects combat. Command units can have 2 or 3 actions, one of which must be an action by the command unit itself, the others could be command actions passed to other units. We had some confusion about whether a Command Unit can command itself. But we worked it out and got it right in the end – they can’t because they use their actions on themselves as normal actions or reactions rather than commands.
The rules have 15 scenarios and a dozen deployment options, giving an extremely good variety of potential scenarios – well done Footsore!
We randomly chose the scenario and terrain for our games.
In our first game we played scenario 14 Stop the Messenger, in this scenario one player has to assign a message to a unit, and get that unit and message off the opposite table edge within 5 turns (a sixth turn is allowed if that would allow the messenger unit to escape). For this game we used deployment map 9:
On our table a road ran down the central length with a number of buildings and fields to one side of the road and wooded areas on the other. In Barons War mounted units are not allowed to enter area terrain such as woods.
I won the die roll and elected to be the side with the message.
Stephen deployed his archers as far forward as he could, supported by his Green Spearmen. His Dismounted Knights were deployed to the Archer’s left, in the village area, and his Regular Spearmen deployed on his right flank.
I deployed my Spearmen on the road as far forward as I could within my deployment zone, immediately in front of Stephen’s bowmen. I placed my green bowmen on the village side of the road, and the crossbowmen on the wooded side. The Knights were on the road behind the Spearmen and the Mounted Sergeants (with the message) were behind the crossbowmen.
Due to deployment restrictions Stephen was able to deduce that the message was with either the Knights, Mounted Sergeants or Crossbowmen, so he knew where to focus his efforts.
Stephen won initiative on the first turn and loosed arrows at my Spearmen to little effect. (Stephen: not that I’m getting the excuses in or anything, but the dice rolling was a bit one-sided)
On my first activation I charged my Spearmen into Stephen’s bowmen killing a couple of them and forcing them back. Stephen’s foot Knights advanced and my bowmen loosed at them initially with their own action, and then for a second time when ordered to do so by the Mounted Lord. Initially we forgot to perform the morale tests to determine whether the receiving unit acted on the order given (it was our first game, Stephen: – and we continued to forget to do this all day, even after we realised we’d forgotten to do this!). Despite being wearied by the two actions the archers did cause some casualties on Stephen’s Knights. Both of us advanced our other units.
On the second turn my Spearmen charged Stephen’s bowmen killing a couple more but suffering a loss in return. (Stephen: it’s worth pointing out that in the game a roll of 10 by the attacker can only be defended by a roll of 10. All day Andy rolled lots of 10s and I didn’t…)
The crossbows had line of sight to one of Stephen’s units of Spearmen and loosed bolts at them. Stephen moved his Green Spearmen to support his Regulars, expecting I would send the Knights or Sergeants forward with the message. (Stephen: for the life of me I can’t think why I positioned my regular spearmen right at the back when all my other troops had been deployed forward. They spent the game trying to advance, from a distance, against Andy’s crossbows and demon dice-rolling. The inevitable happened)
On the third turn Stephen advanced his Foot Knights over a wall and hedge advancing on my Green Archers, who responded with a flight of arrows despatching another Knight.
Following another round of archery, the Knights failed their subsequent morale test and decided caution was the better part of valour, heading for the nearest table edge. (Stephen: OK, OK, they were Broken and had to flee).
The Mounted Sergeants and the Lord followed up the crossbows, urging them on.
On the next round Stephen’s Green Spearmen charged my Regular Spearmen, only to be thrown back with casualties and also failing their Morale test.
My crossbowmen advanced, with the Sergeants and Knights following.
On the fourth round my Crossbows moved out of the path of the Sergeants, only for them to be charged by Stephen’s Regular Spearmen, a crossbowman fell, but they forced the Spearmen back with the Spearmen becoming Broken.
With their path now clear the Mounted Sergeants surged forwards with a run action, moving 16” towards the table edge.
At this point Stephen conceded the game. (Stephen: no point in being a damned fool about it when you know you’ve lost). Although I couldn’t quite get the Sergeants off the table in the fifth round, Stephen had nothing close enough to stop them and I could invoke the sixth round and escape the table.
For our second game Stephen decided to tweak his army, removing the unit of 6 Green Spearmen and adding a unit of 8 Green Bowmen (both worth 72 points). I kept the same army.
Our second game was Scenario 8, Take and Hold. We designated the three objectives, one near the centre of the table and the others roughly equal distances from our base edges. The victory conditions for this scenario are that at the end of each of the first four rounds a player controlling an objective accrues one victory point. At beginning of the fifth and final round control of an objective gains the holder 3 points.
We chose deployment option 3, using the long edges as our deployment zones, each having one objective immediately under our control. We left the table layout pretty much as for the first game.
Stephen deployed his green archers in the middle of his deployment zone, opposite the central objective, with his regular archers to their right. (Stephen: I knew my two archer units would be in a strong position, able to take up a defensive stance behind a hedge, and then pepper Andy’s troops as they tried to capture the central objective). His lord and retinue of Knights deployed on a side road to the left, with his Spearmen further to the left among some farm buildings.
I deployed my Spearmen on one of the objectives, with the Lord to their right and the Crossbowmen further to the right. The Mounted Sergeants were roughly in the middle of the table, behind a wood separating them from the central objective, with my Green Bowmen to their left.
On the first turn I advanced my Crossbowmen to a wall at the side of the road and gave them a second action from the Lord to shoot at Stephen’s Spearmen, causing a casualty. My Sergeants advanced round the wood, but could not get quite close enough to claim victory points for the central objective. Stephen advanced his forces across the board.
On the second turn my Sergeants reached the central objective but Stephen’s archery forced my Mounted Sergeants back, (Stephen: see – I told you), so no points for me next turn. The Crossbowmen continued to pelt Stephen’s Spearmen forcing them back, but on the other flank my Green Bowmen were losing the duel with Stephen’s archers (Stephen: again, I told you so). Stephen managed to advance his central archers to the hedge separating the field from the road, and placing them within control distance of the central objective (the Celtic Cross).
On each of the first two rounds both of us claimed 1 VP each, so going into round 3 the score was 2 all.
At the beginning of the third round Stephen claimed points for both the central objective and the one nearest his baseline, taking a 1-point lead as I only received one VP.
Stephen’s foot knights advanced up the side road, and came within line of sight and range of my Lord, so I sent him and his escort charging forwards, only to lose the melee (Stephen: good old Sir Owain!) and be pushed back into my Spearmen pushing them off the objective I controlled. My Crossbowmen took a short move to get in a position where some of them could shoot at Stephen’s Knights, Shaking them and forcing them back down the side road.
On my left flank my Sergeants and Archers succumbed to Stephen’s archery (Stephen: yay!), leaving the left flank undefended.
However, as my last action of the turn I managed to charge my Spearmen into Stephen’s Bowmen holding the central objective forcing them back and taking it back under control. (Stephen: I knew my control of the central objective was tentative – it was controlled by my weakest troops (the green archers) and wouldn’t stand up to a charge).
At the start of the fourth round, I got the extra VP for controlling the central objective tying the score at 5 all.
My Lord charged forwards again, taking advantage of Stephen’s Knights Shaken status and forcing them further back down the side road. My Crossbowmen moved back to the wall and finally sent Stephen’s Spearmen running from the table.
At the beginning of round 5 I controlled two objectives, netting 6 VP, while Stephen only had 1, gaining 3, the score was now 11-8 in my favour.
The last round was a bit of an anti-climax, Stephen had nothing he could use to retake the central objective, I couldn’t reach the objective he controlled and my Crossbowmen had no targets, so the turn ended with a final score of 13-9 to me.
I’ll leave the final words to Stephen:
I enjoyed playing Barons’ War a great deal. We used 500 point armies because it was a first game, but I think we’ll ramp it up to 1000 points next time, split between two players per side. That’ll give a game with more depth and ebb and flow.
During our game we frequently referred to the rules. It didn’t always need it, we were just being conscientious that we were doing things right from the start. We had a few rules queries that we couldn’t find answers to on the day, though I think we did it right in the end. Having time to go through the rulebook that evening we found the answers to our questions, so it’s all in there. I also pinged a couple of queries to Andy Hobday and he replied very promptly (well done Andy!) – he confirmed that what we’d done was right.
I can see future games moving along nice and quickly with minimal reference to the rules. A decent roster sheet with special abilities on it will help, and a re-worked QRF will also assist (the one that comes with the book is 4 pages long! But I reckon there’s a lot of things on it that will become second nature and wouldn’t be needed, so I am sure we can get it down to a more manageable 2 sides).
I enjoyed it a lot. It scratches my 13th century itch (and the 13th century is my favourite period and what my entire education history is focussed on).
Our last meeting of the year saw three “periods” in progress:
First up, our FOG contingent (John, Paul and Mark) ran a couple of games of Early Carthaginians vs Dominate Romans.
Next up Alan ran a game of Fief, France 1429, a game of dynastic ambition. You can probably guess where and when it is set. Boardgames are not unknown at the Society, but they are not that commonly played either. Alan, Marcus, Dave, Chris, Peter and Mike were the contenders for the control of France.
Alan and Peter formed an alliance and had a narrow lead at the end of the game, so they are claiming victory. Mike, Marcus, Dave & Chris wouldn’t necessarily agree with that assessment though
Finally, Tony & Phil combined their efforts to put on a 15mm Star Wars game, using slightly adapted Stargrave rules. Jeremey and Phil each took a squad of Stormtroopers, while Stephen and Andy had a squad of Rebels. Both sides were searching the village for a pair of droids who had concealed plans to a top secret Imperial Weapon System (the Death Star). Tony ran the unaligned Jawas and was in charge of resolving the players searches and random events.
Andy’s short roundup of games at this weekend’s meeting.
First up Stephen and I tried out Barons War rules for the first time. As it was our first outing we decided to go small, and had 500 point armies. We managed two games in around 5 hours, with much referring to the rules. All in all we thought the rules worked quite well.
Meanwhile Jeremey and Tony were playing a War of the Roses game using Sword and Spear.
Elsewhere in the hall six of our Field of Glory players (John, Peter, Brett, Paul, Mark and Colin) fought out a tournament. Final results to be confirmed…
The first historical wargames army I ever bought was a Crusader army. It’s always been a period of great interest to me, especially the later crusades of the thirteenth century.
I resisted buying a crusades army in 28mm because that meant I’d also have to get some Saracens and I just didn’t want to paint all that patterned cloth.
Then a while ago I was given a box of plastic Gripping Beast Arab infantry. They sat in a cupboard for a couple of months because I still didn’t have the will to paint all that fabric. Then I saw some pictures of other’s Saracen armies and I saw how they’d done them in plain white material. ‘That’s a good idea’, I thought. So that’s what I did, and decided I’d make the Ghulams a bit more colourful – representing wealthier troops able to buy expensive fabrics.
Being motivated to get these done, I motored through them. And this weekend I decided to have a game. I was going to play Saga, but it doesn’t play solo so well. So instead I went with Lion Rampant…
The two sides lined up opposite each other. Both had 24 points a side.
The Crusaders had two units of Templar knights (LR: Mounted Men at Arms), two units of Mounted Sergeants, and one of foot Crossbows.
I gave the Saracens two units of Ghulams (LR: Foot Men at Arms), two units of Ghazis (LR: Foot Yeomen, armed with short range missiles – javelins), and two units of Ahdath (LR: Bidowers).
I did a simple meeting scenario – both sides hacking at each other until one is gone.
I rolled for leader traits and got Vulnerable for the Crusaders (leader killed on a Lucky Blow of 2 or 3) and Lionheart (ironically) for the Saracen leader (meaning his unit could re-roll 2 failed hit dice).
The Saracens went first and they were lucky enough to activate all their units – moving up to occupy favourable terrain that would hamper the mounted crusaders. The Ahdath would be well placed in these areas of bad terrain, where they could lodge themselves in and shoot at the Crusader cavalry. The only solution to this would be the Crusader crossbows, so it would be worth the Saracens taking out the Crossbows as soon as possible.
The Crusaders were equally lucky, activating all their units. The Sergeants on the right went galloping past the village, the Crossbows moved up to get into range of the Ahdath hiding in the scrub, and the Knights also moved up.
One thing became obvious – there was a natural funnel to the battlefield between two areas of rough terrain. The Ghulams had moved up to block this gap, with the Ahdath either side with their bows to shoot at anything coming between them. The only thing the Crusaders could do was to advance as quickly as possible to minimise their exposure to the enemy arrows.
The Saracen Ghazis kept moving up to the Crossbows, desperate to engage and eliminate them – if they could it would make a Crusader victory difficult. The other unit of Ghazis, over by the village, decided to hurl their javelins at the approaching Sergeants, scoring enough hits to take one of them out. When it came to the Crusader’s turn they were more than ready to return the gesture. Although the Ghazis were approaching the Crossbows, it was obvious the Crossbows had to take a shot at the Ahdath in the scrub. Spanning their bows, they took aim, and…a devastating volley! The unit of Saracen skirmishers were devastated and routed off the table! Both units of Sergeants advanced – those on the left moved into the middle of the funnel to threaten the Ghulams, whilst those on the right put in their spurs and charged the other Ghazi unit.
Casualties were taken on both sides and the Ghazis were bounced back. But the Sergeants were now down to half strength which meant their combat effectiveness was also halved.
It was then over to the Saracens to go on the attack. On their activation they sent the Ghazis in to charge the crossbows.
Improbably, the Crossbows prevailed! They didn’t take a single casualty and pushed back the Ghazis who failed their courage roll and were now battered. The other unit of Ghazis managed to rally, ready to block the Sergeants. The remaining unit of Ahdath drew their bows, trying to decide who to shoot at – the unit of Sergeants leading the attack through the funnel, or the unit of Knights who were coming in behind to mop up any remnants the Sergeants left behind.
Deciding that the Ghulams should be able to resist an attack by the Sergeants, the Ahdath took aim at the Knights and let fly. No effect this time.
Now it was over to the Crusaders. The Sergeants were in charge range of the Saracen leader, so decided to go for it and see if they could get a lucky hit. And they did! OK, so the Saracen leader didn’t go down, but a couple of his Ghulam bodyguards did and had to retreat. The Crossbows, knowing how lucky they’d just been in repelling the Ghazi charge, took aim and let rip. A good shot that took out a couple of the Ghazis. However, best of all, the Ghazis then failed their courage test. It was such a bad fail that they routed off the table.
The Saracens had to go on the counter-charge. The Saracen leader ordered his men to charge and in they went against the Sergeants. But it happened again – the Sergeants came out on top. Sort of – no casualties on either side, but since the Saracens had charged and failed they had to retreat. The Ahdath had another go at the Knights, this time scoring a kill. And the Ghazi unit by the village threw more of their javelins at the Sergeants, taking another rider out and leaving them battered.
Things were coming to a head. The Sergeants, not believing their luck, charged the Saracen leader again. Not such a good result this time – the Sergeants took heavy loses and were pushed back, under half strength and battered! The first unit of Crusader Knights went in and charged the Ghulams. A fairly even result, meaning the Crusaders had to retreat. Had the Saracens managed to turn things around?
Back to the Saracens, and they spent most of their turn rallying units. The Ahdath once again took a shot and once again took out one of the Knights. They were starting to become a real pain.
So on the Crusader turn the Crossbows moved up so they could get in range of the other unit of Saracen skirmishers. The Crusader leader also decided to take part (remember, his leader trait would make him more susceptible to a lucky blow, so he’d been wise to keep out of it until needed). So the Crusader leader took command of his Knights and they charged one of the Ghulam units. Casualties were taken on both sides, and a Lucky Blow roll was made against the Crusader leader: double 6 – nowhere near!
On the Saracen turn I noticed the two leaders were near each other. There was only one thing for it – Leaders Challenge! The Crusader leader accepted. Into the middle they went and rolled for it.
No hits for the Saracen leader, but the Crusader leader scored a hit, meaning the Saracen leader had been killed in personal combat! All the Saracen units now had to make courage rolls. Only the ex-leader’s unit failed, leaving them battered, but all the others passed. There were still enough Saracens left to make it worth fighting on, so I kept the battle going – despite losing their leader, could the Saracens still manage to win?
Well, maybe. But on the Crusaders’ turn the crossbows took a shot at the remaining unit of Ahdath in the rocks. Despite the extra protection, they still lost half their unit and fled. It was now looking extremely unlikely that the Saracens could win this one. All they really had left was a single unit of Ghazis. Well, there were the Ghulams, but both of those units were down to just two models each, so they’d lost their punch.
Ultimately and inevitably, it would be a Crusader victory. The Crusader leader, emboldened by his victory with the Saracen leader in single combat, led his knights in repeated charges on the final unit of Ghazis. The Ghazis were steadily whittled down until they finally failed their courage test.
John puts the 3D printed galleys supplied by fellow club member Colin into battle. This is a solo battle report using the Galleys and Galleons rules.
Rum Baba, an infamous Barbary pirate had been driven eastwards by the Christian warships but was still a thorn in the side of Venice. It was decided to despatch one of the newly built Galleass to their base at Chania in Crete to rid the Mediterranean of this menace for ever. En route, the Galleass and it’s escort were ambushed by Rum Baba and his pirate crews.
The Opposing Squadrons (details in Appendix)
The Venetian Squadron comprised the Lanterna Flagship commanded by Linguine, the new Galleass and a small Galliot to act as scout and draw the attention of the Ottomans. The Ottomans comprised Rum Baba in the Lanterna and three swift but lightly armed Galliots.
The Ottomans win the initiative roll and will move first each move. At the start of each move every vessel has to roll up to three D6 and roll equal or above its Q value to gain a successful action
The Galliots rush towards the Venetian Galliot intent on its destruction. Meanwhile, the Venetians move up cautiously and the Galleass takes in sail to maintain formation.
The Ottomans move up and use their final action to open fire at long range. One point of damage is inflicted on the Venetian Galliot from this fusillade.
The Venetians move into close range and fire back
Two Galliots and the Ottoman Lanterna close in on the outnumbered Venetian flagship and the two Galliots who have locked in combat fight to a standstill. The Galliots have the Derring Do special rule and attack with reckless ferocity. In the first round, all base combats are reduced to zero.
With the Venetian Flagship on 3 damage points, the Ottoman Lanterna moves in to deliver the Coup de Grace and Linguine Strikes his colours
With the Galleass now a dot on the horizon, Rum Baba takes Linguine’s surrender and collects his prizes. He hoped for a profitable ransom for Linguine and whilst He would sleep well tonight in the company of concubines, that Galleass worried him. His captains had been reckless, they would need to be more savvy next time.
Appendix – Data sheets for vessels involved in the conflict