Stephen reports on a rare lockdown game, suitably socially distanced and held in Phil’s back garden in the September sunshine.
The year is 1263AD and the barons, led by Simon de Montfort, are in revolt against Henry III.
During the chaos, the lord of Nether Dunny has been killed, leaving the manor up for grabs. Taking advantage of the confusion, four chancers have made their way to the village to take ownership for themselves.
Sir Jeremey of Claridge – the scourge of London city. Noted for his drinking, wenching, and gambling. He’s left the city to let the heat cool off.
Sir Andrew le Roi – the youngest son of a French knight out for loot and plunder and to take advantage of the civil war.
Sir Phillip fitz Richard – from a respectable shire family, this wayward son was thrown out for getting up to no good and squandering the family inheritance.
Sir Antoine le Franc – of mysterious, and doubtless dubious, background this French knight goes everywhere with his loyal squire, Luc Brecon, and everywhere they go they leave their bills unpaid.
The first game was a simple all-vs-all so everyone could get familiar with the rules (we were playing Osprey’s ‘Outremer’).
The objective was simple – the one with the most left standing after 8 turns would be winner.
Sir Jeremey boldly stepped forth calling his men forward and getting them to advance down the road. Rowan Windrush sneakily made off through the woods.
Sir Phillip and his men stomped through the vegetable patch of the local farmer, unconcerned for the poor family’s livelihood. Others skulked around the back of the farmhouse.
Meanwhile Sir Andrew made his way through the woods and sent his crossbowmen forward to use the cover of the stone wall surrounding the farm and take up position where they could take pot shots at Sir Phillip’s men.
Sir Antoine led his men down another road with the woods hiding him and his men from Sir Andrew and Sir Jeremey.
Poor Sir Antoine was to have a tough game – his men didn’t seem to know how to use their crossbows properly and Sir Antoine himself had clearly forgotten to sharpen his sword.
Sir Andrew gave the order to let fly their quarrels, and Pasquier and Remon took aim at Sir Phillip’s men. They caused no damage. Sir Jeremey and his men still carried on sauntering down the road, seemingly in no rush to get to where the action was. Peter Ashdown, a young serf from Sir Phillip’s household, climbed up the walls of the farmhouse to take position on an upstairs balcony where he would have a good view across the field with his bow.
Finally, Sir Antoine and Sir Andrew’s forces came to blows.
The road junction outside the farm would be the focus for the combat. Both Sir Antoine and Sir Andrew steadily fed troops in with crossbowmen trying to pick off stragglers. Sir Phillip continued to lead his men around the back of the farm and they would soon be in the fight as well. Meanwhile, Sir Jeremey and his men continued their casual stroll along the lanes, happy to let the others fight it out. Although Sir Jeremey claimed it was Peter Ashdown’s advantageous position overlooking the lane with his bow that was the source of his caution. Peter was finally taken down by Jean Paul using the cover of the stone wall to pick him off.
In the end the only knight left standing was Sir Phillip. All the others had taken wounds. For this reason Sir Phillip was declared winner and took control as lord of Nether Dunny manor.
Sir Antoine had a difficult game. At some point all the others had taken a pop at him and this coupled with some lacklustre dice rolling meant all his men were taken down and took wounds.
Game 2 was a team game. Sir Jeremey had thrown in his lot with Sir Phillip in return for free board and lodging for himself and his retinue. This left the two Frenchmen, Sir Andrew and Sir Antoine, to join forces. The erstwhile opponents had formed an uneasy alliance, evident by the fact they deployed away from each other – allies only in name.
Now that Sir Phillip had taken control of the manor he had to keep hold of the manor’s wealth and assets. The previous lord had left his goods under the safeguarding of the parish priest. Six objectives were placed in and around the church. The defenders (Sir Phillip and Sir Jeremey) had to protect them and the attackers (Sir Antoine and Sir Andrew) had to loot them!
Full credit to Sir Antoine. Though bedevilled by bad luck he led from the front and never shirked his knightly obligations. He led his men on an assault of the church yard walls and soon made a breach and got into the church compound. Sir Andrew was more cautious – moving up through the woods and using the cover of the trees to snipe with his crossbowmen.
Sir Jeremey was down in the lower yard, by the church barn, organising his troops for the attack of the Frenchmen.
Sir Phillip took a more lordly position, up on the church hill, with his squire, Henry Wilton, and his archers. Once the French crossbow bolts started whizzing around (one of which felled Henry and another couple embedded themselves in Sir Phillip’s shield) Sir Phillip tactfully came off the hill and down into the lower yard where the French had got over the wall and were engaged in melee with the English defenders.
Once more, Sir Antoine would have a difficult time, on this occasion falling under the blows of Simon Miller’s weighty plancon. Even Sir Phillip dirtied his hands and got involved in the fighting this time! Truly the lord of the manor.
Sir Andrew and Sir Jeremey also exchanged blows – with Sir Jeremey finally going down (not without help from Rogier).
By the end of the game, the Frenchmen had managed to loot two of the six objectives. This meant that Sir Phillip kept hold of the manor and most of its wealth, though those wily Frenchmen would not go home empty handed.
In Outremer when someone is Taken Down they are not necessarily dead. Taken Down means they have taken enough wounds that they are out of the game. Once the game is over a roll is made to see what wound they have suffered. After the first game most wounds were little more than flesh wounds (though several of Sir Andrew’s retinue went into the second game with a limp, and Sir Antoine and some of his men had taken serious wounds). Evrart Courtier was the only one actually killed.
During game 2 young Henry Wilton, Sir Phillip’s loyal squire, had taken a bad wound from a crossbow bolt. He would need constant, and expensive, medical attention – money that would be difficult to find in Sir Phillip’s depleted coffers. But Sir Phillip was a good man and kept his squire on. Although it did happen that two days later Henry was found face down in the village pond. Drowned. It was assumed a terrible accident had taken place, although the priest who prepared his body did notice a wound to the back of Henry’s head. But as Sir Phillip explained, this probably happened when he slipped and fell, banging his head, before rolling into the pond…
Andy also took some photos, which we’ve added as a gallery below.