Lion Rampant Five Battles, Day 1

Andy reports on the first part of a short campaign.

Stephen and I started the year with the Five Battles Campaign from Lion Rampant Version 2. We decided to set the campaign as part of the Crusades, and allow the use of the additional rules and forces from Lion Rampant: The Crusader States.

Stephen would take the Muslim forces and I would take the Christian forces.

The campaign comprises of five battles, the participants prepare 5 Warbands and they allocate each of these Warbands to one of the battles. In the book these are of 20, 24, 24, 24 and 30 points, we decided that we would go large, and would use Warbands of 24, 24, 30, 30 and 48 points.

We gave leaders the free skill to allow a single reroll for a failed Move Shoot or Attack order, and allowed an extra point to each of the warbands (2 to the 48-point warband) to be used solely on additional leader skills (up to 2 skills per leader), so the warbands would effectively be 25, 25, 31, 31 and 50 points. Any points spent on leader skills in excess of the one or two extra points would be taken from the point value of the Warband.

The 48+2-point warband would be used in the last game, and would be split into 2 contingents, players choice if this warband contains contingents of equal or unequal points values.

Throughout the campaign Stephen would be the Red player, and I would be the Blue player.

For each battle the roll of a D6 would determine which scenario would be used, with the basic Bloodbath scenario being a 1 in 6 chance for each battle.

The five battles in the campaign, and the possible scenarios and attackers are:

Battle Die Roll 1-3 Die Roll 4-5 Die Roll 6
Scenario Attacker Scenario Attacker Scenario
The River Valley 6: A Gentle Stroll (p146) Blue (Andy) 16: Bloodfeud (p166) Red (Stephen) 1: Bloodbath (p137)

 

Roll D6. Highest is Attacker

The Hills 3: Defending the Indefensible (p140) Red (Stephen) 7: Hold on Tight (p148)

 

Blue (Andy)
The Road 13: The Convoy (p160) Blue (Andy) 14: Meeting the Neighbours (p163) Red (Stephen)
The Meadows 11: The Messenger (p154) Red (Stephen) 4: The Fugitive (p142) Blue (Andy)
The Village 8: Sausages with Mustard (p149) Red (Stephen) 12: The Taxman Cometh (p156) Blue (Andy)

To determine the first battle of the campaign we rolled a d10, subsequently the winner of a battle would choose which battle came next.

Battle 1.

The d10 result was 2, leading us to fight the battle in the River Valley, for this battle one long edge, the south edge, is a deep, impassable river, and we placed a stream, counting as bad going, just over halfway across the table, just to the east of the middle of the table.

The subsequent d6 roll resulted in scenario 6, A Gentle Stroll (p146). This made me the attacker and Stephen the defender. I had chosen a 31-point warband for this scenario, Stephen had a 25-point warband.

Andy (Frankish Settlers (Pullani))  Total 31 points

        • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Drilled), Leader Braveheart (In challenges only hit on a 6) @ 8 points
        • 2 x Sergeants (Heavy Cavalry) @ 4 points each
        • 1 x Foot Sergeants (Heavy Infantry) @ 4 points
        • 1 x Foot Yeomen (Light Infantry) @ 3 points
        • 1 x Crossbowmen @ 4 points
        • 2 x Skirmishers @ 2 points each

I should have had a unit of Light Cavalry, instead of one of the Heavy Cavalry units, but these are still on the painting table.

Stephen (Ayyubid Egyptian)  Total 24 points

        • 2 x Mounted Mamluk (Heavy Cavalry with Bows) @ 5 points each
        • 3 x Mounted Turcomen (Light Cavalry) @ 4 points each
        • 1 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points

Yes, Stephen should have had a 25-point warband, but he forgot to add a Leader skill!

Stephen deployed his forces in the North West Corner, with the objective of getting his warband off the South East corner. He had to leave one of his units of Turcomen off table initially, as they wouldn’t all fit into the deployment area.

I had to deploy in the North East and South West corners, with at least one unit in each area. My objective was to prevent Stephen from exiting the board. My plan was to deploy most of my force in the North East corner, including my Skirmishers and Crossbows, with the intention of moving them as quickly as possible to the South East corner to block Stephen’s exit.

Positions after turn 1. Sorry it’s a bit blurred.

I had to deploy at least one unit in the South West corner, I decided to use one of the Heavy Cavalry units and the Light Infantry, I wanted units that could move fairly quickly, but that would also be a threat to Stephen’s flank.

Andy’s “Forlorn Hope”

Stephen sent one of his units of Mamluks and his unit of Ahdath to counter my force in the South West, while the rest of his mounted units headed for the South East corner and safety.

Stephen’s Ayyubid Egyptians spread out

I Sent my Skirmishers forward, headed for the rocky ground to the east of the stream, hoping to be able to shoot at any of Stephen’s troops trying to cross the stream while taking advantage of the rocky ground as cover. I sent my second unit of Heavy Cavalry toward the Northern part of the stream to guard against a unit of Turcomen getting behind me, while I tried to keep my Leader’s unit of Elite Cavalry centrally positioned to enable him to use his failed activation re-roll should my heavier foot fail in a move activation.

Andy’s main force making all speed

On the West of the table my Yeomen made it to the hill only to receive an arrow storm from the Mamluks and Ahdath, sending them battered back off the hill.

Some of Stephen’s main force reached the stream, and came within range of my Skirmishers, fortunately I came out on top of the duel, and a couple of his Turcomen were forced back from the stream with heavy losses. He did get one unit of Turcomen across the stream and headed for the exit point, but by this time my Crossbows were in range and their quarrels took their toll.

Stephen’s Emir crosses the stream

In the West my Yeomen spectacularly failed their Rally attempt and fled the field, leaving the Mounted Sergeants a bit isolated. I decided to move these into the lee of the hill to take them out of sight of the Ayyubids, Stephen moved his Mamluks in parallel, and they eventually came to blows, both units being reduced to below half strength, with my Mounted Sergeants eventually routing.

Meanwhile Stephen’s Emir bravely pressed on crossing the stream, but by this time I had brought my second unit of Mounted Sergeants and my Knights further to the south.

The Mounted Sergeants were able to charge the Emir’s unit, reducing the unit to Emir himself. He must have been blessed with luck as he survived all the Leader casualty rolls he had to take, but did fail a Courage test, forcing him back across the stream.

I failed in an attempt to shoot him down with my Skirmishers, and we then came to a critical point. The Emir had to take a Rally test, if he failed, he would rout as he was the only figure left in the unit, and if that happened then all of Stephen’s remaining units would also have to take courage tests. Of course he passed, and I was unable to inflict a further casualty with archery before Stephen moved him out of range of my Skirmishers.

Stephen’s only full-strength unit now was his Ahdath, who were still well to the west of the stream, he had one unit of Turcomen just over half strength, but the remainder of his units were below half strength.

Stephen’s remnants

On the other hand, I had lost my Heavy Cavalry and the Light Infantry west of the stream, but all my other units were at over half strength and my Crossbows and Heavy Infantry were now blocking the Ayyubid’s exit point, with the latter in Wall of Spears.

At this point Stephen conceded that he could not win the battle, he did not think he could get enough of his troops off the exit point to win the scenario, so he conceded.

At the start of the game, I had made three boasts, ‘I shall slay their leader’ (3), ‘I will destroy more units than I lose’ (2) and ‘They will tremble before me’ (2). I failed to achieve the first two, but I did succeed with the last one, so I netted out at 0 Glory for the boasts (failed boasts cost you 1 Glory, irrespective of their value if you win), but took 5 Glory for the win.

Stephen made three boasts as well, ‘My arrows are deadlier than my spears’ (2), ‘Their arrows shall be lost like tears in the rain’ (1) and ‘They will tremble before me’ (2). He succeeded with the first two boasts, but failed the last for a total of 2 Glory for the boasts.

So, after the first battle it was 1-0 to me, I had 5 Glory and Stephen had 2 Glory.

Battle 2

For this battle I had selected a 25-point warband and Stephen had selected a 30-point warband (he forgot the additional point for a leader skill again).

Having won the first battle, I chose “The Meadows” as the second battle, and the d6 rolls resulted in the Bloodbath scenario with me as the attacker.

Andy (Frankish Settlers (Pullani))  Total 25 points

          • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Drilled), Leader Braveheart (In challenges only hit on a 6) @ 8 points
          • 1 x Sergeants (Heavy Cavalry) @ 4 points
          • 1 x Foot Sergeants (Heavy Infantry) @ 4 points
          • 1 x Foot Yeomen (Light Infantry) @ 3 points
          • 1 x Crossbowmen @ 4 points
          • 1 x Skirmishers @ 2 points

Stephen (Ayyubid Egyptian)  Total 30 points

          • 2 x Mounted Mamluk (Heavy Cavalry with Bows) @ 5 points each
          • 3 x Mounted Turcomen (Light Cavalry) @ 4 points each
          • 2 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points each
          • 1 x Foot Ghilman (Light Infantry, with Javelins) @ 4 points

In this scenario each side deploys in three phases, first any 1- and 2-point units, then 3- and 4-point units, then units worth 5 or more points. The defender deploys first in each phase.

I knew I was going to be outnumbered and I also knew that due to the deployment rules Stephen would have to deploy most of his Warband before I deployed anything heavier than my Skirmishers. So, I decided on a ruse, I planned to concentrate my force in the South West corner and rely on an interior lines defence, trying to prevent Stephen being able to bring all his troops to bear at the same time, but I would try to make it look like I was going for a central deployment.

Stephen started by deploying his Ahdath on his left flank, near some rocky ground. I deployed my Skirmishers about a third of the way across the table, near to a building, I was hoping Stephen would think that these would be guarding the left of my line, when I actually intended them to be the right of my line.

Stephen then deployed his Ghilman and Turcomen, one of the latter to the east of his Ahdath and the other two in the North West corner with the Ghilman unit.

Stephen’s left flank

Now it was time to deploy my main force, I put my Yeomen on the extreme left of my deployment zone, then the Crossbows, then the Heavy Foot. I put the Mounted Sergeants on the right, immediately behind the Skirmishers. These would act as flank guard.

Stephen then deployed his remaining units, two groups of Mamluks, including his leader.

Stephen’s Turcomen, Ghilman and Mamluks

I deployed my Leader behind my Infantry line, intending to position him so that he could influence courage rolls on the main infantry line.

Turn 2 Andy’s Pullani brace themselves for the attack.

On my first couple of moves I advanced my skirmishers to occupy one of the buildings to form a bastion on my right, and advanced the rest of the infantry to form a diagonal line, getting the Yeomen and Sergeants into Wall of Spears.

Andy’s defensive line

Stephen advanced his forces, but he let his Ghilman get too far ahead of his other troops so they came in range of both my skirmishers and crossbows, taking casualties from both and being forced to retreat battered.

Stephen’s Turcomen units on the West flank advanced and shot at my Yeomen, temporarily battering them, and forcing them back. Fortunately for me they rallied at the first attempt and resumed their place in the line before Stephen could exploit the gap. Stephen also got his Ahdath close enough to my Skirmishers to start shooting, but having the advantage of cover my Skirmishers won that shooting contest. Stephen’s Turcomen unit on the East flank came up, so I advanced my Mounted Sergeants to chase them off, if memory serves, I charged them, they tried to evade but failed and had to fight with Armour of 1, all but being wiped out in the first round of combat.

On my left (the West) Stephen tried attacking my line of foot but his units were rebuffed. My crossbows and skirmishers must have been practicing because they inflicted many casualties breaking a couple of Stephen’s units.

With over half of Stephen’s units wiped out or routed, and with the hope of getting a third battle in, Stephen conceded.

This time I only made two boasts, ‘Half of the Enemy shall fall to my Sword’ (2) and ‘They will tremble before me’ (2). I succeeded with both boasts, so I gained 4 Glory for the boasts, and took 5 Glory for winning the battle.

Stephen made three boasts again, ‘I will destroy more units than I lose’ (2), ‘Half the enemy shall fall to my sword'(2) and ‘My arrows are deadlier than my spears’ (2) this time Stephen failed to achieve the first two boasts, but did succeed with the third, which cancelled each other out, so no change in his Glory total.

So, after the second battle I had 2 victories and 14 Glory, Stephen had two defeats and 2 Glory.

Battle 3

For the third battle I chose “The Hills” and the die roll resulted in Scenario 3 “Defending the Indefensible” with Stephen as the Attacker and I as the Defender. The table was set up with 5 hills, one in the centre of each quadrant, and one more in the central area of the table, with a shrine on the central hill. I had to deploy up to 10 points in the central zone, defending the shrine, with the remainder of my force in the Western deployment zone. Stephen’s force would deploy on the Eastern zone with the objective of getting one of his units into contact with the shrine.

Andy (Frankish Settlers (Pullani))   Total 25 points

          • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Drilled), Leader Braveheart (In challenges only hit on a 6) @ 8 points
          • 1 x Sergeants (Heavy Cavalry) @ 4 points
          • 1 x Foot Sergeants (Heavy Infantry) @ 4 points
          • 1 x Foot Yeomen (Light Infantry) @ 3 points
          • 1 x Crossbowmen @ 4 points
          • 1 x Skirmishers @ 2 points

Stephen (Ayyubid Egyptian)  Total 29 points

          • 1 x Foot Mamluk (Heavy Foot, Expert) @ 6 points
          • 2 x Foot Ghilman (Light Infantry, with Javelins) @ 4 points each
          • 1 x Hashishin (Warrior Infantry, Assassination) @ 5 points
          • 1 x Mounted Turcomen (Light Cavalry) @ 4 points
          • 3 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points each

The astute among you will notice the inclusion of a unit of Hashishin in Stephen’s warband, with the Assassination upgrade. These troops and the upgrade are from Lion Rampant: The Crusader States. The Assassination upgrade normally costs 2 points but the Hashishin get a discount so it only costs them 1 point. This allows a pre-game assassination attempt against the enemy leader, requiring a 5 or 6 on a d6 to succeed. Needless to say, Stephen rolled a 6, and my leader left this mortal coil clutching his throat. This meant that I would not get any Leader benefits in the next game.

I decided I would need to keep my fastest units as my “reserve” to give them the best chance of getting into the fray (this may have been a mistake), so I deployed my Foot Sergeants occupying the shrine on the hill, with the Crossbows facing Stephen’s deployment area, and the Skirmishers to one flank. In the Western deployment zone I put my two mounted units and my Yeomen.

Stephen deployed his Hashishin and Ghilman in the northern half of his deployment zone, with his Mamluks and Ahdath in the centre and his Turcomen on his southern flank.

As Attacker Stephen took the first move and advanced most of his troops towards the shrine, I advanced my crossbows and moved the skirmishers behind them to the northern flank. I then started to move my reserves up, thankfully all the units succeeded in their move activations in the first turn.

In the next couple of turns our missile troops exchanged fire, generally to my advantage, Stephen advanced his Hashishin and Ghilman closer to the shrine, and I managed to bring up my Mounted Sergeants on my southern flank and my Foot Yeomen on the Northern flank. My unit of Knights, bereft of their Leader, resolutely refused to advance any further (needing a 7+ to move, and having lost the ability to reroll a failed activation with the assassination of my leader).

On the southern flank our cavalry units came to blows, with my Sergeants coming out on top.

Stephen’s Ghilman advanced towards my Crossbows, taking casualties on their way in, but his Hashishin eventually got close enough to charge my Skirmishers, who managed to evade the charge.

By this time, I had brought up my Yeomen to hold off one of the Ghilman units, and Stephen’s Hashishin diverted their attention to my Crossbowmen who miraculously survived the Hashishin’s charge, driving them back.

Andy’s Pullani defend the shrine

And my Knights, you ask? Still sat stubbornly on the edge of my deployment zone refusing to move.

Stephen closes in on the Shrine, my Knights have hardly moved.
Andy’s Knights “resolutely guarding the rocky ground”.

Stephen continued to throw his Ghilman at my Yeomen, and although the latter were reduced to half strength, they held on long enough that the Gilman unit eventually failed its Courage and Rally tests and melted away.

One of the conditions for ending this scenario is when the Attacker has lost 50% of their starting points, and eventually Stephen’s mounting casualties brought him to this point ending the battle.

For this battle I again only made two boasts: I shall destroy more than I lose (2) and Tremble before me (2). I succeeded with both boasts, so I gained 4 Glory for the boasts, and took 5 Glory for winning the battle.

Stephen made three boasts again: ‘My arrows are deadlier than my spears’ (2), ‘I shall strike the first blow’ (1), and ‘I shall run rings around them’ (1). Unfortunately for Stephen he failed to achieve any of these boasts so lost 3 Glory.

My recalcitrant knights did do one good thing, as they refused to move away from my deployment zone it made it all but impossible for Stephen to achieve his ‘’I shall run rings around them’ boast.

So, after the third battle I had 3 victories and 23 Glory, Stephen had 3 defeats and -1 Glory.

In our next session we will fight the fourth battle, where I expect to have a larger force than Stephen, and the final 50-point battle, which we will open up to a second commander on each side.

 

Boasts

For those not familiar with Lion Rampant, Boasts are additional objectives you can set for yourself in addition to the scenario objectives. The Boasts Stephen and I used in these battles, and their success criteria and Glory value are as follows (failing to achieve a boasts costs 1 Glory, irrespective of its positive Glory value).

Boast Criteria Glory
I shall slay your Leader Your Leader must kill the enemy Leader in a Challenge or Attack. Routing the enemy Leader does not count as a success. If the enemy Leader refuses your challenge and survives the game, you succeed but score only 1 Glory 3
I will destroy more units than I lose Your Warband must rout/kill more enemy units than you lose (the actual number of models destroyed is not relevant). 2
Half of the enemy shall fall to my sword Your Warband must rout/kill at least half of your enemy’s total number of units (the actual number of models destroyed is not relevant). 2
My arrows are deadlier than my spears Your Warband must rout/kill more individual models with Shooting than Attacks (put casualties in two separate piles!) 2
They will tremble before me! At least two enemy units on the table must be Battered at any one time. 2
I shall strike the first blow One of your units must declare the game’s first Attack 1
I shall Run rings around them At the end of one turn of the game, have one of your own units closer to the enemy’s base line than any of their units. 1
Their arrows shall be lost like tears in the rain None of your units may be ultimately routed or destroyed by missile fire (they may take missile casualties, but this cannot be the cause of their removal from play). 1

 

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