Lion Rampant Five Battles, Day 2

Andy completes the write up of the Crusades mini campaign. 

First off, I must apologise to my fellow gamers, it has taken me far too long to complete this report.

Stephen and I continued the Five Battles Campaign from Lion Rampant Version 2. This time we were joined by two other members, joining Stephen with the Ayyubid Egyptians was club treasurer Mark, and joining me with the Frankish Settlers was new member Charlotte.

Photo credits: Charlotte, Stephen and Andy.

To recap the first day, we played three games, with my Pullani (Frankish Settlers) forces winning each battle. I had 3 victories and 23 Glory, Stephen had 3 defeats and -1 Glory. You can read about these games in a previous blog entry here.

The second day would comprise two more battles, the final battle using double size armies

When planning these games, we had prepared five warbands with differing points values for the five battles, and had assigned each warband to a battle before the campaign started. Stephen had used his larger warbands in the battles on the first day of the campaign, so would be at a disadvantage in the first game of day two.

Having won the final battle on day one, I got to choose the first battle on day two; I chose “The Road” and the die roll resulted in “The Convoy” scenario with Charlotte and I as the attacker (see part 1 for the battles that make up the campaign).

In this scenario the attacker has three convoy tokens that must be conveyed from one corner of the table to the opposite corner. For our game these comprised of a cart, a group of pious monks and a group of civilians. Each token had to be assigned to a unit, although more than one token could be assigned to the same unit. Escorting units were restricted to a maximum move of 6”. The convoy tokens have no effect in the game, other than marking the escorting units.

Stephen and Mark’s forces (Ayyubid Egyptian) comprised:

      • 1 x Mounted Mamluks (Heavy Cavalry with Bows) Leader Blessed (Once per game, reroll any one full set of dice by any player) @ 7 points
      • 3 x Mounted Turcomen (Wild Turk Light Cavalry) @ 4 points each
      • 1 x Foot Ghilmen (Light Infantry with Javelins) @ 4 points
      • 1 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points                                        Total 25 points

Andy and Charlotte’s force (Frankish Settlers (Pullani))

      • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Motivated), Leader Strongbow (Once per turn, unit within 12” automatically passes shoot activation) @ 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                                              Total 31 points

The scenario requires the attacker to deploy the units escorting the convoy tokens first in one corner of the table. The defender then deploys their forces, placing at least 4 points of units in each of the other three corners of the table.

We deployed our Foot Sergeants with the Monks and Civilians, and the Foot Yeomen with the Cart in the south east corner of the table, along with a unit of Skirmishers. We couldn’t fit anything else into the deployment area, so our remaining units would have to enter the table as a Move activation.

Andy’s convoy and escorts deploy (Andy)

Stephen and Mark deployed their main force of the Mamluks and two units of Mounted Turcomen in the North East corner.

Stephen’s main contingent (Andy)

In order to satisfy the requirements to deploy at least 4 points in each of the other two corners they deployed a unit of Mounted Turcomen in the South West corner

Stephen’s flanking force (Andy)

And their Ghilmen and Ahdath in a village in the North West corner (our exit point).

Stephen’s blocking force (Andy)

Prior to the first turn of the game the units escorting the convoy are allowed to attempt one move activation as a “head start”. Our Yeomen succeeded in their attempt and moved forward with the cart, but the Foot Sergeants refused to budge.

Our first turn was more successful, the first unit of Skirmishers and both escorting units succeeded in their moves, and we also managed to bring on both units of Mounted Sergeants, one on each flank. Our Crossbows and our Knights also made it onto the board. We deliberately kept our Leader’s Knights close behind the Crossbows to maximise the use of the leader’s Strongbow ability. The only unit that failed to come on was the second unit of Skirmishers.

Andy’s contingent advances, well, some of it! (Andy)

Stephen and Mark brought their Mamluks and Turcomen forward from the North East corner, to get in a position where they could block our path to the North West corner.

Stephen’s main force advance (Stephen)

In the North West corner, the Ghilmen found a wall to hide behind and the Ahdath occupied a building.

Stephen’s Ahdath occupy a building (Stephen)

I think Stephen wanted to use his only infantry units to block our exit from the table, but it did mean that in the early stages of the battle he would only have four units totalling 19 points to try and slow down our force of 31 points, or 24 points if you exclude the units escorting the convoy.

In our next couple of turns Charlotte and I concentrated on getting our units forwards, and didn’t advance the convoy escorts. We had a unit of Mounted Sergeants on each flank, with both the Crossbows and Skirmishers near to the Leader’s unit. Actually, looking at the photos I think we forgot to deploy the second unit of skirmishers!

Andy’s force spreads out (Andy)Stephen’s main force continued to advance ahead of us, with one unit of Turcomen lagging behind, and the lone unit of Turcomen advancing towards our left flank getting close enough to shoot at our Mounted Sergeants and inflicting a casualty.

On our Northwestern flank one of Stephen’s Turcomen units engaged our Mounted Sergeants, but with the help of our skirmisher’s shooting honours were even with both units being reduced to half strength.

Stephens main force skirmishes with Andy’s right flank, casualties on both sides. (Andy)

Meanwhile Stephen’s Mamluks came within range of our Crossbows, and with our Leader’s Strongbow ability guaranteeing a shooting activation each turn our quarrels took out a couple of figures, the Mamluks eventually came to blows with our left flank Mounted Sergeants, both sides taking casualties and falling to half strength but his Leader didn’t succumb to any lucky blows!

Stephen’s leader’s unit, or what’s left of it, and a unit of Turcomen (Andy)
Remnants of Andy’s Left Flank face off against Stephen’s leader (Charlotte)

Meanwhile our convoy stayed back near the hill guarded by the Crossbows and Knights.

Stephen’s Turcomen closed on our Crossbows, and managed to kill one of them, but the Crossbows stayed firm and their return fire decimated the Turcomen.

Stephen’s Mamluks charged our Mounted Sergeants again, but this time his luck ran out and his leader fell.

One of the units of Turcomen got close enough to the Yeomen to shoot at them and caused a casualty, but they passed their Courage test.

Stephen’s flanking force, Turkomen Light Cavalry (Charlotte)

Our Crossbowmen continued to shoot at anything that came within range, guaranteed by the Leader’s Strongbow ability and both the Mamluks and Turcomen were practically wiped out, only a couple of figures were left, allowing the convoy and escorts to advance off the hill.

The convoy advances, slowly (Charlotte)

The only functioning units Stephen and Mark had left were the Ghilmen and Ahdath in the village blocking the Pulanni’s exit. Although our Mounted Sergeants had been sorely damaged, our Crossbows and Skirmishers had only taken a few casualties and it was apparent that eventually we could position our Crossbows where they could shoot at the Ghilmen and Ahdath every turn from outside the range of their bows and javelins, and even with the benefit of cover they would eventually be whittled down, allowing us to escort the Convoy off the table.

So, at this point Stephen and Mark conceded the game.

Stephen and Mark made three boasts: “They will Cower before me” (3 Glory, failed). “They will Tremble before me” (2Glory, failed) and “My Arrows are Deadlier Than my Spears” (2 Glory, success). The failed Boasts cost 1 Glory each, so that made a total of zero Glory for the Ayyubids.

The Pullani only made two boasts, “They will Tremble before me” (2Glory, failed), and “I will Destroy more than I Lose” (2 Glory, success), making a total of 1 Glory to add to the 2 glory points per Convoy marker escorted off table. That gave the Pullani an additional 7 Glory.

After the fourth battle the Pullani had 4 victories and 30 Glory, the Ayyubid Egyptians had 4 defeats and -1 Glory.

The final battle.

From the outset of the campaign, we had agreed that the final battle would be a major clash using the Bloodbath scenario, and that each side would bring 50 points, split into two contingents, each with a leader. The two contingents did not have to have equal points.

On the Ayyubid Egyptian side the two contingents were:

Emir Mark al-Harris.

      • 1 x Mounted Mamluks (Heavy Cavalry with Bows) Leader @ 6 points
        • Skills: Commanding (+2 points), Insipid (-2 points), Strongbow (+1 points)
      • 2 x Mounted Turcomen (Wild Turk Light Cavalry) @ 4 points each
      • 2 x Foot Ghilmen (Light Infantry with Javelins) @ 4 points
      • 1 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points                             Total 24 points

Emir Stephen a’t-Ucker

      • 1 x Mounted Mamluks (Heavy Cavalry with Bows) Leader @ 8 points
        • Skills: Blessed (+2 points) and Strongbow (+1 points)
      • 2 x Mounted Turcomen (Wild Turk Light Cavalry) @ 4 points each
      • 1 x Hashishin (Warrior Infantry, Assassin) @ 5 points
      • 2 x Ahdath (Skirmishers) @ 2 points each                 Total 25 points

Notice the sudden appearance of the Strongbow skill in both contingents?

The Pullani contingents were:

Count Andrew:

      • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Motivated), Leader @ 9 points
        • Skills: Commanding (+2 points)
      • 1 x Sergeants (Heavy Cavalry) @ 4 points each
      • 1 x Foot Sergeants (Heavy Infantry) @ 4 points
      • 1 x Archers @ 4 points
      • 1 x Holy Characters @ 2 points
      • 1 x Skirmishers @ 2 points                                 Total 25 points

Holy Characters are a unit type from the Crusader States supplement, they are similar to Skirmishers, but with only a 6” move, no shooting capability and lacking all the Skirmisher’s special rules, they do however allow, once a turn, a partial re-roll of dice for units within 6”. Re-roll 2 dice if 12 were rolled, otherwise re-roll 1 die.

Countess Charlotte:

      • 1 x Knights (Elite Cavalry, Motivated), Leader @ 8 points
        • Skills: Strongbow (+1 point)
      • 1 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
      • 1 x Skirmishers @ 2 points                               Total 25 points

Summary of Leader skills

    • Strongbow: Once per turn, one unit within 12” of Leader’s model automatically passes a shoot activation)
    • Commanding: Each turn may re-roll one failed Move, Attack or Shoot activation withing 12” of Leader’s model.
    • Insipid: The Leader does not give the usual +1 modifier to Courage tests to unis within 12” of Leader’s model
    • Blessed: Once per game, re-roll any one set of dice, rolled by any player.

Stephen included his Hashishin in his contingent again, this time their dastardly plan failed and the Assassin sent after Count Andrew met a grisly end.

There would be no subtlety about the final battle, no scenario objectives other than defeating the enemy.

On the Christian side Andy deployed his contingent on the right flank. Archers on the left of his front line, then the Foot Sergeants, Skirmishers on the hill and Mounted Sergeants on the right flank.

Andy’s Knights and Holy Characters (the monks) were kept in reserve.

Andy’s contingent, the monks are the Holy Characters (Andy)

Charlotte deployed on the left flank, she kept her Knights and Mounted Sergeants in the centre of her deployment, with the Foot Yeomen on her left and Foot Sergeants on her right. Her Skirmishers and Crossbows were deployed in front of her cavalry, both within 12” of her Leader, to make best use of her Strongbow ability.

Charlotte’s contingent (Andy)

Opposing us Stephen deployed opposite Charlotte, and Mark deployed opposite Andy. We didn’t take many pictures of the Ayyubid deployment, but here’s a close-up of Stephen’s Turcomen and Hashishin Ahdath,

Stephen’s Turcomen and Ahdath in the village (Stephen)

Mark wasted no time advancing his cavalry towards Andy’s troops, lots of mounted archers approaching!

Mark’s cavalry approach Andy’s troops (Charlotte)

The exchange of arrows was fairly one sided, with two of Mark’s attacking units taking casualties with no loss to Andy’s forces.

Andy & Mark’s contingents, latter has taken some casualties. (Andy)

On the other side of the battle, Stephen advanced his Ahdath and a unit of Turcomen towards a village, with his Leader’s Mamluks supporting them, while his Hashishin and other Turcomen unit failed to advance. Charlotte’s crossbows and Yeomen also entered the outskirts of the village, with the Knights and Sergeants following up.

Charlotte’s and Stephen’s contingents (Andy)

Back on the Christian right flank, Andy and Mark’s troops came to blows, Mark’s cavalry charged Andy’s Archers, and after the latter took 4 casualties, they failed a courage test with a very low roll and routed from the field. The same fate befell Andy’s Skirmishers.

Andy then committed his cavalry; the Knights drove off one of Mark’s Turcomen units and then charged Mark’s Leader’s unit. After a couple of rounds of combat Mark’s leader fell dead as his unit was wiped out, meanwhile Andy’s Mounted Sergeants forced back Mark’s other Turcomen unit.

Andy’s Holy Characters took the hill previously occupied by his Skirmishers, a touch of religious frenzy perhaps?

Andy’s contingent, his Archers and Skirmishers have routed, but the Ayyubids have also suffered losses (Andy)

On the other side of the battlefield, Charlotte’s and Stephen’s troops exchanged missiles, both Charlotte’s Crossbowmen and Skirmishers took a beating, being reduced to half strength and failing their courage tests and becoming battered, but one of Stephen’s Turcomen fled the field. One of Stephen’s Ahdath also fell to half strength, but were made of sterner stuff and passed their courage test. Each side also suffered slight losses to their mounted troops.

Charlotte’s crossbow and skirmishers reduced to half strength and battered. One of Stephen’s Ahdath reduced to half strength. (Andy)

Their battle continued, Charlotte’s missile troops rallied, but didn’t seem keen to get back into the fray. Her Yeomen drove off one of Stephen’s Turcomen units. Stephen had advanced his Hashishin, and Charlotte’s Knights charged them and battered them sending them falling back, however this left her Knights exposed to Stehen’s Mamluks and Turcomen.

Charlotte’s Knights advance as the skirmishers flee. (Andy)

Stephen’s Hashishin recovered their composure, but Stephen decided it was time for his leader to show his mettle, and brought his Mamluks forward to face Charlotte’s Knights, supported by a unit of Turcomen.

Stephen’s contingent commit against Charlotte (Stephen)

Charlotte brought her skirmishers back to support her Knights, taking up residence in some bad going and just in range of one of Stephen’s Ahdath, who took more casualties from the skirmishers and fled the field. Charlotte’s skirmishers then turned their attention to the Mamluks.

The final clash (Andy)

Finally, the Mamluks and the Knights came to blows, and eventually wiped each other out. Fortunately, Charlotte’s units all passed their subsequent courage test forced by the loss of the leader.

On the other flank, Andy’s Mounted Sergeants and Mark’s Turcomen came to blows, the Turcomen winning this battle and the Sergeants fled the field.

Andy’s Knights however made short work of the Mark’s other Turcomen unit, routing it.

By now both Mark and Stephen had lost their leaders and just over half their original points value, so were both forced to take Courage tests on their remaining units (although Andy was also close to that point as well). Several of their damaged units failed the courage tests and became battered.

At this point, with several battered units and both of their leaders now dead or having fled the field, Mark and Stephen conceded the final battle.

Totting up the losses the Ayyubids had lost 28 points of troops, 14 each for Mark and Stephen, while the Pullani had lost 18 points, 10 points of Andy’s contingent and 8 points of Charlotte’s.

This gave the Pullani 5 Glory for the victory, now on to the boasts.

Stephen’s boasts were: “They Will Tremble before me” (2 Glory, success). “My Arrows are Deadlier Than My Spears” (2 Glory, success) and “I shall Slay Their Leader” (3 Glory, failed). The successful boasts gave Stephen 4 Glory, but he lost one for the failed boast making a total of 3 Glory

Mark’s Boasts were: “We Shall Avenge Them” (2) (success), “My Arrows are Deadlier Than My Spears” (2) (failed) and “They Will Tremble before me” (2 Glory, failed). The successful boast gave Mark 2 Glory, but he lost one for each of the failed boast making a total of 0 Glory

The final battle gave a total of 3 Glory for the Ayyubids.

Andy made two boasts, “They will Tremble before me” (2Glory, success), and “I will Destroy more than I Lose” (2 Glory, failed), giving Andy a total of 1 Glory

Charlotte made only one boast, “I will make them run” (1 Glory, failed), so she ended up on -1 Glory

The final Glory tally for the Pullani was 5 for the victory, 1 for Andy’s boasts and -1 for Charlotte’s boasts, a net gain of 5 Glory

After the final battle the Pullani had 5 victories and 35 Glory, the Ayyubid Egyptians had 5 defeats and 2 Glory.

A conclusive campaign win for the Pullani!

Stephen wants revenge and has already issued a challenge, the same 5 battles campaign, but this time set during the Norman Conquest of England! We have put these in the diary for later in the year.


For those not familiar with Lion Rampant, Boasts are additional objectives you can set for yourself in addition to the scenario objectives. The Boasts we 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 and their points value 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
We Shall Avenge Them Secretly choose one enemy unit, you must rout of kill it during the battle 2
I will make them run One of your units must be the first to fail a Courage test 1


A busy weekend, Society meeting 24th February and Cavalier 25th February

Andy rounds up a busy weekend for the Society. Photos by Andy unless stated otherwise, header photo by Stephen.

Last weekend saw both a Society meeting and our annual trip to the Cavalier Wargames show run by Tunbridge Wells Wargames Society.

Only three games at the meeting on Saturday, perhaps due to some members only being able to get out on one of the days.

First up, David ran a Napoleonic Corps game using General d’Armee rules and figures from his collection. This was a popular game with half a dozen members partaking.

Eric ran a Judge Dredd RPG, only a couple of photos of this one I’m afraid.

Judge Dredd RPG
Judge Dredd Bar room Brawl

Finally on Saturday Andy and Stephen finished off their Lion Rampant Five Battles campaign, joined this time by Treasurer Mark and new member Charlotte.

Game one.

This was a Convoy mission, the Christians had to escort three “baggage” markers diagonally across the table, a cart, some monks and some civilians. The Muslim forces had to stop them.

Much reduced cavalry face off (Charlotte)
Andy’s convoy and escorts (Charlotte)
Egyptian Light Cavalry (Charlotte)

Game 2. This was to be our “Big Battle”, with two commands on each side. Here the objective was simply to defeat the opposition.

Andy’s warband
Andy’s Warband (Charlotte)
Charlotte’s and Stephen’s warbands
Stephen’s view point (Stephen)

We will post a write up of the final games in the campaign in the near future.


On Sunday half a dozen or so members travelled to Tonbridge for Cavalier.

The Society’s game for this year was masterminded and built by Phil, and was a 3D representation of a map game published in the 1977 Warlord Comic Summer Special portraying a Luftwaffe raid on Southern England during the Battle of Britain.

Phil’s board, 560 individually marked squares!
Airfields and ammunition dumps are three of the targets for the Luftwaffe
A close up of the town
A copy of the original game can just be seen at the bottom of the photo

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.



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


Society meeting 27th January

Andy presents a short round up of the games at the second meeting of the year.

Stephen and I started our Lion Rampant Five Battles campaign. We had planned to play two games today, but actually got through three games.

First Battle: Stephen’s Ayyubid Egyptians spread out
First Battle: Nearing the end
Second Battle: Andy’s Pullani brace themselves for the attack.
Third Battle: Andy’s Pullani defend the shrine

A full report on these battles will be posted soon.

Eric ran a Darkheim – En Garde! fantasy skirmish game pitting four factions against each other in a free for all.

Barbarians and Beastmen
Cultists approach the village
Fighting around the ruined chapel
The village

Paul put on a 3mm Eastern front game set in late 1943

Aerial view of the battlefield
Soviets bypass the town


German ambush from the woods
Aerial view of the town

Finally, David, Alan and Chris played a Star Wars Armada game.

Imperial Star Destroyers
Rebels press the attack
“They’re behind you!”

That’s all for this week.

The diary for this year’s meetings can be found here.

A year’s worth of gaming (Part 1)

Club member Stephen reviews the games he has played at Maidstone Wargames Society this year. This is part 1 of the article covering January to June.

This article is a review of all the different games I’ve played over 2023 just to see, and remind myself, of the variety of games I’ve done. At the beginning of the year I made two decisions – play more sci fi, and play more games that other people put on (my general attitude is ‘I paid for these models and took the time to paint them so I want to use them!’ which means I generally put on a game at most meetings). So this year I wanted to mix things up.

The first game of the year was at the club meeting on January 28th. This was a game of Sword & Spear and part of a campaign (which started in 2022) to re-fight the Wars of the Roses with Jeremey.

January – Sword and Spear – Mortimer’s Cross

I love playing Sword & Spear. I do. But I don’t seem to be any good at it. In all the games I’ve ever played of S&S I think I’ve only ever won twice. Surely it can’t be my superior tactics, that seems to be beyond reproach, right? This game was a re-fight of Mortimer’s Cross (you can find the full, and gloating, write-up here: Wars of the Roses – Battle of Mortimers Cross – Battle Report – Maidstone Wargames Society ( As is traditional with S&S, I lost. But you know what, I couldn’t care less because the games are always a lot of fun with plenty of pre-game trash talk and goading, and each game has a story. Playing in good company always helps as well. I’d willingly keep on losing so long as I keep on enjoying it.

February brought another couple of games at the club.

First up was a new game to me – Charlie Don’t Surf by Two Fat Lardies. I find TFL games a bit marmite. I’ve played Chain of Command – loved it. I’ve played What A Tanker – didn’t like it. And this was the first time for CDS. And I loved that as well. The game and models are all Pete S’s, and he’s done a blinding job on them. They are 10mm Pendraken models (I think) and it has just the right look for Vietnam.

February – Charlie Don’t Surf

We’re used to seeing 20mm and 28mm Vietnam games which focus on platoon actions. But Vietnam was bigger than that – often brigade sized actions with the company as the manoeuvre unit. And 10mm captures that perfectly. I had command of the armoured platoon. We put Mark J (newly appointed club chairman) to prove his mettle in command so he took company HQ. The game was a victory for the US side!

The second game in February was planned to be a Barons’ War game with Andy. But in the week leading up I suggested to Andy we could do a ‘compare and contrast’ and have a game of both Lion Rampant and Barons’ War to see how the two handle the same period. You can read a summary of our findings here (Lion Rampant and Baron’s War – Maidstone Wargames Society (

February – Baron’s War and Lion Rampant

First club meeting in March was a Stargrave game. I said I wanted to play more sci fi in 2023 and this was the first sci fi of the year. I found the original scenario online and tweaked it to be what I wanted it to be. Stargrave is a great toolbox of a game – you can make it what you want it to be. This game had both an overland and underground part, which was new for us.

March – Stargrave – The Warp Sextant

I prefer running Stargrave as an umpire, like a RPG. You get a different kind of pleasure as umpire because it’s about providing challenges and running the NPCs/monsters and hopefully providing an enjoyable scenario. Well, for me anyway. In this game Eric’s crew had fought hard to get to the bunker where the Warp Sextant was hidden. But coming out he found Tony F’s crew waiting outside, guns pointed at the entrance. A brief exchange of fire and it was Tony who made off with the treasure. Poor Eric.

End of March it was another chance to lose at Sword & Spear – Second Battle of St Albans. In this campaign I have the Lancastrians which means the onus is on me to win in battles where the Lancastrians came out on top. Such as Second St Albans.

March – Sword and Spear – Second Battle of St Albans

Again, rather than go into details here, anyone wanting to know more about this game can read the battle report (Wars of the Roses – 2nd Battle of St Albans – Battle Report – Maidstone Wargames Society ( Suffice to say, it was business as usual! Tony joined me again on the Lancastrian side. I was feeling good about this one, felt I was due a win. And the early part of the game was looking good – the local militia archers engaged the Yorkist artillery and eliminated them for no loss! Yup, first blood to Lancaster. And then it steadily went downhill. Never mind.

More sci fi in April! This time it was Pete M’s Space 1889 game. A different kind of sci fi – Victorian rather than futuristic. The stand out thing were Pete’s scratchbuilt aeronefs, and we spent a bit of time playing ‘guess what bits have been used for the models’. Truly outstanding.

We played two games. I was on the human side for both games, and both games were very close. And Jeremey got a leathering in both games with his colleagues leaving him to do all the work. Excellent game.

April – Space:1889 – Mars

The end of April was Salute and this coincided with a club meeting day. Naturally, it was going to be a quiet meeting with a fair few members at Salute. I ran an American Civil War game (battle of Cedar Mountain) using brigade Fire & Fury.

April – Fire & Fury – The Battle of Cedar Mountain

The Union army is in a difficult position for this battle – making an attack against a much larger Confederate army. John R took control of the Union troops and did a good job – but his artillery ran out of ammo early in the game and he never had the time or opportunity to replenish them. This left him conducting a fighting retreat, and he made a good job of it, slowing down the Confederates.

First game in May was another in our Wars of the Roses campaign – the battle of Towton. Like all the others…I lost. Now, I’m not just saying this, but the dice rolling on our side was pretty poor, compared to the other side rolling really well. No, no! Stop that! It’s true on this occasion. To read more about this game you can check out the blog post (Wars of the Roses – Battle of Towton – Battle Report – Maidstone Wargames Society (

May – Sword & Spear – Towton

Next was another sci fi game – Full Thrust. Jeremey and Tony were running the game which meant only one thing: vector movement. My fluffy little head struggles with that and prefers the cinematic movement option.

May – Full Thrust

A mixed bag of results. The first game was two opposed fleets with an asteroid field cutting the table in two – Tony F and myself using some of Brigade’s German ships, and Jeremey and Tony G using some of Jeremey’s scratch built (out of false nails) ships. Tony and myself came out on top in that one. We then played a couple of one ship per player games (first was cruisers, second was destroyers) and the alien nail ships won those games.

Along came flaming June and I decided not to attend Broadside since I was trying to restrict spending and if you go to a show you have to buy something, eh? John Lambert and myself had a game of Crossfire. We played this quite a bit a few years ago but then it fell by the wayside. The models for this game were from my collection – WW2 eastern front.

June – Crossfire – WW2 Eastern Front

The scenario was a late war one – Russian advance through Poland with the Germans on the retreat. Naturally, we were re-learning the rules, but it steadily came back to us. MUST ensure we play more of this one.

June 24th was the club Open Day. My game was a Saga: Crusades games. We played two scenarios, I had Saracens and Andy had Milites Christi. Saracens carried the day and won both games. I love Saga. It’s just the right game for me.

June – SAGA Crusades – The Road to Damascus

You can read more about the Open Day here: Review of 2023 Open Day – Maidstone Wargames Society (

That concludes part 1 of the review of 2023, part 2 will be published in a couple of weeks.

Lion Rampant and Baron’s War

Stephen and Andy report on a comparison of two Medieval rulesets.

We decided to try fighting the same scenario with two sets of Medieval Wargames rules, Lion Rampant 2nd edition and Baron’s War 2nd edition. We would keep the armies as similar as possible in the two games, subject to the requirements of the respective rules.

We based our scenario on the Baron’s War scenario 10 Hidden Treasures and Lion Rampant Scenario 12 The Taxman Cometh.

In Hidden Treasures the players take turns to place six objectives on the table, if a player has a unit in contact with an objective at the start of the turn, they roll a D6, on a 6 that objective is revealed to be the treasure and the other objectives are removed. Who ever controls the treasure at the end of the fifth turn wins the game.

For the Lion Rampant version, we kept the same number of objectives and score to reveal the treasure, but in keeping with the Lion Rampant Glory system we decided that if the player controlling the treasure took the treasure off table he would receive 5 Glory, but only 3 Glory if the treasure was under his control but still on table at the end of the game, plus or minus Glory from Boasts.

We set the terrain up with a small village in the centre of the table, with a couple of fenced fields nearby, with some hills and woods on the flanks. We would keep the same terrain for both games.

Lion Rampant

First off Andy describes the Lion Rampant game.

Andy’s warband comprised:

    • 1 x Elite Cavalry, Motivated (with Commanding trait) @ 7 points
    • 1 x Heavy Cavalry @ 4 points
    • 1 x Heavy Infantry @ 4 points
    • 1 x Light Infantry @ 3 points
    • 1 x Crossbows @ 4 points
    • 1 x Skirmishers @ 2 points

Stephen’s warband comprised:

    • 1 x Elite cavalry with leader (with Commanding trait) @ 6 points
    • 1 x Flemish Heavy Infantry @ 4 points
    • 2 x Skirmishers with bows @ 4 points
    • 1 x Genoese Crossbows with pavises @ 6 points
    • 1 x German mercenaries (Warriors) @ 4 points

Stephen won the die roll to determine Attacker / Defender and took on the nominal Attacker roll, the deployment mechanism we used was that the defender deployed any 1- or 2-point units, followed by the attacker doing the same, then repeating the sequence for 3- or 4-point units and finally units costing 5 or more units. The end of the game would be determined b either one player getting the treasure off table, or once there were five or fewer units on the table a die roll at the start of each turn of less than the number of units left on table.

Turn 1. Stephen got off to a good start, advancing all his units except his Elite cavalry, I responded by advancing my Heavy Cavalry to contact one of the objectives but ground to a halt when my Heavy Infantry refused to move.

Turn 2. Stephen continued his advance on the objectives, with one of his Skirmisher units on his left flank contacting one of the objectives. I rolled for the objective my Heavy Cavalry had contacted last turn, with no success, so decided to move my Heavy Cavalry on towards Stephen’s Skirmishers and their objective. I then moved my Heavy Foot towards the first objective, and my other units towards other objectives.

Turn 3. Stephen’s Skirmishers rolled for the objective they had contacted and it came up a 6 the treasure had been found! At this point all the other objectives were removed. Stephen immediately pulled his Skirmishers back and started to move his other units towards his left flank. My Heavy Cavalry were just about close enough to Stephen’s skirmishers with the treasure that I could try to charge them, hoping they would fail their probable Evade reaction. Unfortunately for me Stephen succeeded in evading, his archery taking out one of my riders, and his evade move took him just too far away for me to contact him, my Cavalry then failed their courage test and fell back. To add insult to injury, my next activation to shoot with my Skirmishers at his Elite Cavalry failed, ending my turn.

Turn 4. Stephen continued to pull his treasure carrying Skirmishers back towards his table edge, while he brought his Elite Cavalry across to cover them, and advanced his Heavy Foot through the central village towards my Light Foot. This time I managed to activate all my units, rallying my Heavy Cavalry, putting my Light Foot into Wall of Spears anticipating an attack by Stephen’s Heavy Foot, advancing my Crossbows down the side of the village hoping to be able to shoot at his Elite Cavalry in a later turn, and moving my Elite Cavalry towards my right flank.

Andy’s Elite Cavalry halted by a flimsy fence.

Turn 5, Stephen continued to pull back his Skirmishers with the treasure, with his Elite Cavalry getting closer to support them, as were Stephen’s Crossbows. I advanced my Heavy Cavalry towards his Skirmishers, and my Elite Cavalry through one of the fields, but my Crossbows failed in their shooting attempt.

Turn 6 was short, Stephen’s Crossbows and my Heavy Cavalry both failing their activation attempts.

Turn 7 saw Stephen issue a challenge to my Leader, a duel must be fought! Had I refused the challenge all my units would have had to take a courage test due to my Leader’s cowardice. Honour would not allow that, so forth my Leader went. The Duel consisted of three dice each, scoring hits on a 5 or 6, if one Leader scores more hits than the other the loser dies! The duel was anticlimactic, one hit each resulting in a draw, both leaders returned to their units, their honour upheld. Stephen’s German Mercenaries charge my Skirmishers on my left, the Skirmishers evaded, causing a casualty on the Germans, and ending up too far away to be contacted. The Germans passed their courage test, but on my subsequent turn my Skirmishers shot again, causing two more casualties and a courage test which the Germans promptly failed catastrophically, causing them to rout from the field. My Heavy Cavalry charged Stephen’s Crossbows, I won the ensuing melee and the Crossbows failed their courage test becoming battered.

Turn 8 saw Stephen’s Crossbowmen fail their Rally test, but he then went on the offensive, his Heavy Infantry charged my Light Infantry, beating my lighter troops, who then failed their courage test becoming battered

Andy’s Light Foot fall back battered (red marker) from Stephen’s Heavy Foot

Stephen’s Knights then charged my Heavy Cavalry with the fight again going in Stephen’s favour and my Cavalry failing their courage tests and also becoming battered.

Andy’s Heavy Cavalry battered and down to a single figure as Stephen’s Knights look on and Andy’s Heavy Foot advance slowly through a ploughed field.

On my turn both my Heavy Cavalry and Light Infantry failed their Rally tests, the Heavy Cavalry so badly that they fled the field.

Turn 9, Stephen rallied his crossbowmen and got the Treasure bearers off table, ending the game.

So, on to the accounting, Stephen received 5 Glory for getting the treasure off the field of battle, he also succeeded in all three boasts he made:

    • “They shall tremble before me”, 2 of my units battered at the same time, worth 2 Glory.
    • “I shall drive them back into the sea”, make one unit retreat off table, worth 1 Glory.
    • “I shall challenge their leader to a duel”, self-explanatory, worth 1 Glory.

On the other hands, I made two boasts, both of which I failed to achieve, so scoring -1 Glory each:

    • “They shall tremble before me”, see above.
    • “I shall destroy more units than I lose”, worth 2 Glory.

Final scores: Stephen 9 Glory, Andy -2 Glory. A decisive victory to Stephen.

Apologies for the lack of photos of this game, I got too tied up in fighting the battle to take pictures.

Baron’s War

Stephen takes over with the account of the Baron’s War game.

We put our retinues together to mirror the Lion Rampant equivalents, but under the army composition rules of Barons’ War – so not identical, but as good as.

Stephen’s Retinue:

Unit:   1 x Veteran Lord Commander (mounted), 5 x Regular Knights (mounted)

Unit:   1 x Veteran Serjeant Commander, 5 x Regular Serjeants

Unit:   1 x Veteran Serjeant Commander, 5 x Regular Serjeants

Unit:   6 x Veteran Bowmen

Unit:   10 x Green Crossbows

Andy’s Retinue:

Unit:   1 x Veteran Lord Commander (mounted), 3 x Regular Knights (mounted)

Unit:   1 x Veteran Serjeant Commander, 5 x Regular Spearmen

Unit:   4 x Regular Mounted Sergeants

Unit:   6 x Regular Crossbowmen

Unit:   5 x Green Spearmen

Unit:   5 x Green Spearmen

Unit:   6 x Green Bowmen

So, same scenario – find the hidden treasure and get off with it.

The main point of these games was to compare the rules. For Barons’ War a unit has one activation, but that can be improved to two, or maybe three, if you have a commander attached to the unit (and a commander can also give extra orders to other units). And in Baron’s War players alternate activation of units. This means there is a fundamental tactical difference between the rules – in Lion Rampant you are thinking about what you are going to do now. That’s also the case in Barons’ War (BW for short), but in BW you are also thinking about what your opponent is going to do in the same round, so you have to think about which unit is best to activate, whether to hold activations back for later (in BW your can do a reaction to your opponent’s action), and how the round will develop so you can exploit it. It’s a bit like Saga in that respect – knowing when to unleash everything and when to hold something back for later.

Off to war we go

Anyway, let’s get on with the game.

We rolled for deployment, as per BW rules. Andy was the ‘red’ side and could deploy in the middle, which he did and meant he was already in control of a couple of objective markers.

Andy’s skirmishers about to search an objective while his Crossbowmen look for targets
Andy’s light foot gather round two more objectives, while his Cavalry trot off

I had the flanks to deploy on, not quite in control of any objectives, but no more than a move away.

Venison tonight lads!

Turn one, and Andy searched the objectives, but no hidden treasure was found. My veteran archers on a small rise took aim and let fly at a group of mounted serjeants – two went down to the deadly fire and first blood went to me.

Ready, aim…

Andy then passed a couple of activations, so I took advantage of this to move units up to take control of a pair of objectives. My crossbowmen (only inexperienced green troops – in BW at least 10% of your army has to be made up of green troops) let rip at Andy’s archers hiding beside a pig-pen. Two were taken down, he failed his morale check and they were broken. However, Andy then returned the gesture, fired back with his crossbows, and three of my troops went down and were also broken. Oh well, eh?

On the second turn my spearmen on the left searched the objective marker and lo and behold, what do they find – treasure! Yup, more church vestments. Funnily enough, the treasure in the Lion Rampant game was found in more or less the exact same spot!

The chase was now on. On Turn three I started to move my spearmen toward the table edge. And this is where the tactical nature of BW may have a slight edge over Lion Rampant, because at the start of the turn both sides roll for initiative to see who goes first. But also (and like Lion Rampant) you have to do compulsory morale checks before moving on to ‘new’ activations. Which means you can’t necessarily guarantee you will move those troops you need to move before your opponent. This builds in tension, tactics, and what makes for an exciting game. In turn three I also did what I think may have been a rash move – my knights charged Andy’s spearmen. Knights do though, eh? That’s why they’re knights. OK, so I demolished and shocked his infantry, but I’d also put myself in charge range of his knights and I had no reactions left.

The knights square up

Andy did what he ought to do – his knights charged mine. It did not go how I would have liked. It took a couple of rounds, but my knights eventually succumbed.

Such an ignoble ending

This also left the game in balance. Because at the end of turn five (the duration of the scenario) I had achieved the scenario objective – find the hidden treasure and get away with it. However, Andy had also achieved the general game-end criteria – kill your opponent’s commander (and none of your other commanders pass a morale check to take control). So, who won? We’ll have to leave that one to the chroniclers.

Let’s rumble!

Final thoughts. For me, it is hard to choose between the two because they are so different. Lion Rampant is a quick pick-up game that anyone can jump into and get the hang of in just a turn or two. There is a lot of merit in that. BW requires a little bit of pre-planning (working out and putting together a suitable retinue), but it’s also a more tactical game which means it will take longer for a newcomer to pick up and appreciate the subtleties. No, not more complex, but more subtle. Of course, that’s not to say there are no tactics to Lion Rampant (there are!) but Lion Rampant does lack the depth of BW. Personally, I couldn’t choose between the two. Lucky me that I don’t have to. There is a place for both depending on what you are after for a game – sometimes I want that simplicity and quick ‘pick-up’ nature, sometimes I want a more challenging and thoughtful game. Lucky me that I have both on my bookshelf and can choose depending on my whim. If you are interested in medieval wargames then I’d suggest you have them both as well, because I can’t pick one over the other.

Back to Andy for his thoughts on the two rulesets.

I should open by saying I have played Lion Rampant, and other rulesets in the same family, for many years and am very familiar with them, whereas I have only played Baron’s War once or twice before. This may have an impact on my assessment of the two sets of rules. Both sets of rules have a small-ish number of unit types to start with, and both allow you to upgrade / configure units but Baron’s War has more variety in the options you can apply, and a couple of limitations on force composition, a minimum of 10% of your points must be spent on Green troops, and no more than 50% of your force can be used for units with attached commanders. Lion Rampant has fewer, simpler, upgrade options, and no mandatory requirements for force composition.

I would say that Lion Rampant is the easier game to pick up, but Baron’s War can probably give you more variety in force composition. It’s a “horses for courses” kind of situation, and there is room in my gaming calendar for both rulesets.

God Wills It: A Lion Rampant Battle

Stephen gets a bit nostalgic…

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…

Forces Deployed

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.

Saracens Advance

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.

Getting Ready To Shoot

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.

Sergeants Charge In

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.

Ghazis Rush 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.

In Go The Cavalry

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.

Sergeants Charge The Saracen Leader

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.

Templars and Ghulams

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!

Templar Leader Takes Control

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.

Challenge Accepted

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.

One Last Charge

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.

And that was it – a Crusader win.

The Saracens