The Viking Legal Team in Action

The Viking Legal Team in Action
Snorri is unhappy about your bar tab - VERY unhappy...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

25 to "Heroic 28" Figure Comparisons

The Usual Suspects, in a line-up

L->R: Irregular, Soldier and Swords, Old Glory, Black Tree, GW, Foundry

Various projects demand various figs and approaches if you've interests in the aesthetics of the hobby [some aren' first game club had a guy who used ceiling tiles as hills, no paint, nothing, white side up or brown side up, mixed!]. Having been at this for over 30 years, I've definitely developed some preferences and approaches.

Figure size, bulk, and sculpting style are all factors that I take into accounts with various projects. Sometimes the projects itself is figure - driven, or even fluff - driven. More often it is history and game play driven. However, the aesthetic of the figs themselves matters to me.

Realism verses a style and paintability all come into play with my figure collection. A while back, I discovered some Black Tree Design figs in my collection, posted HERE, and had not only forgotten they existed but what they were! I like the big monsters, and as I get older bigger figs are better figs, generally speaking. I bought more of them from BTD with the intent to do either some medieval skirmishing with them, or build them up into a Kings of War army. I got stymied on the mounted knights, however - BTD didn't have a great selection of great sculpts. I checked into GW Bretonnians, and thought they might do the trick but didn't have any luck trading for them. Then the KoW group sort of died down and I got busy and the idea of building and painting an army of any sort was ludicrous. 

The other day, I wandered into the FLGS and lo and behold was an old WHF box set with Bretonnians and Lizardmen, in good shape, for $40. I did some math in my head and couldn't see how I could lose on the deal, even if I sold it for parts.

Indeed, the Bretonnians are a good matchup for those figs. Here's some size comparisons that I think will be helpful against some well-known manufacturers:

L->R: Irregular, Soldier and Swords, Old Glory, Black Tree, GW, Foundry. The Foundry and OG are comparable, altho the face on the OG is exaggerated for ease of painting. The GW plastic Bretonnian is very nice work by a Perry Brother. The BTD is clearly the largest in height [just a hair taller than GW] and bulk. The ruler sits on the GW bases. Heights of model from sole of foot to highest point, excluding any base, are;
Irregular - 25mm
S&S - 26mm [plus some bulk]
OG - 28mm
BTD - 32mm
GW - 30mm
Foundry - 28mm
Bulk is hard to measure. Biggest is BTD then GW, OG, Foundry, S&S, and Irregular last.

Blurry close-up of the BTD City Guard and Bretonnian archer. Below the same in focus:

Well, what if you want to mix up the figs you've acquired in various places?

Archer comparison: BTD, Foundry, Wargames Inc, GW. Below same figs.

Moving around the ruler here for you.

Now to horse! The mounted knights are the centerpiece of any medieval army, even if the country is fictitious. Cavalry are always tough to compare since you have to compare BOTH the horse and the rider. Horses are often down-sized due to cost. There's also the issue of breeding big horses for various ers - some horses really were much larger than others! How you mix and match is up to you, but here's some data to help you decide:

New Fireforge Teutonic Knight horse on left, old GW Bretonnian horse on right. The GW sculpt is noticeably 3-4mm taller, and much bulkier. A horse expert will have to tell you if it is accurate or not!

Help! I'm being chased by a monster knight from the abyss! GW v. Old Glory 25s.

OK, even setting aside the funny hat, the GW sculpt is a good 3-5mm highter and much bulkier. They Might Be Giants...

Old Glory 25s v. Fireforge 28mm figs. Horse is larger, bulkier.

No ruler - just visual impact.

Finally, comparison of horses heads. 

So, to each his own, but the bulk and style have almost as much to do with how things look together as anything else. Yes, there is definitely a size issue as one goes up the ladder from Irregular 25s to BTD. But the eye sees bulk and other sculpting style issues as quickly as mere height. Yes, people ARE different heights - and different bulks - but sculptors work to a series and keep the comparable realism within the sculpting project.

My veridict:

  • I can definitely use Bretonnian knights with the BTD figures - in fact, I can't find anything else that compares. These are good for a medieval / fantasy skirmish project.
  • I'd keep Old Glory 25s together in units. To me, they are the new 15mm! They look great together, are dynamic, easy to paint and inexpensive. Why go 15 if you can go 25 for almost the same price for a unit?
  • I'd mix Foundry and Wargames Inc together without any hesitation, they're all 25s.
Hope this is useful for you and your decision making, and Happy Gaming!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

One-Hour Wargames Medievals, #4 "Take the High Ground"

Another Bitter Battle is Brewing!

Having spent some time working on as faithful a set of "One-Hour Wargames" Medieval Rules with minimal changes / mechanics added, I figured I should play, just in case I overlooked some things. And of course I did! But we'll get to that soon enough.

I decided to go with Scenario #4 "Take the High Ground" because it is not only a classic military mission, but because it is not too complicated and will let the rules and Units shine forward with military honors [or not...]. 

Above is my take on the table - pretty faithful - but I have a hill that is twice as wide as needed [12" instead of 6"]. I ended up putting the crest in the same place as the book - 15 inches in - as the crest is the single most important feature of the hill. Altho the model hill is a plateau, I didn't use it as such today. If I had, the plateau around the edge would've been a crest line that would limit line of sight across it to 3".

Red Defenders and their cunning plan. They start with a won game, and just need to keep the hill to close the deal. I'm planning to push 2 Knights at the hill, run the Levy up the road at 9" a turn, supported by 1 Knight. On the hill, I've Men-at-Arms on the left to hold the open flank - in melee, they Hits against them are halved due to their Armor. The Archers will use their range to hit targets in the road. Both Units are at the Crest [marked by the white branch] so are "uphill" of everyone attacking them. They are angled back to protect their vulnerable open flanks until the Knights arrive. Let's hope it all works out!

Blue attackers and THEIR cunning plan. Blue is in a tougher spot. With only one move of an advantage, they need to seize a hill held by one very tough Men-at-Arms Unit on the left, and a dangerous [at range] Archers Unit on right. The plan here is to push hard up the left onto the open flank of the MaA Unit, and push hard with their own MaA up the road protected by 1 Knight. The Archers will trail behind and shoot up anything on the hill they can spot. Hopefully, the combination of missiles and charges will take the hill!

Turn 1 Below. Red holds their ground [note that they go first, bringing on their rein-forcements at the TOP of Turn 2]. Blue pushes max 9" up the road with MaA followed by the line of Archers. Knights lead their front right side. To left, Knights maneuver to flank the hill.

Turn 1 left flank: a classic Pin and Outflank maneuver. Knight 1 will work around the flank but isn't there yet. The MeA on the hill can hit THEIR flank as they pass them, so Knight 2 is covering it. It would be sort of suicidal for them to charge down to be counter-charged on their flank. They are tough on the defense, but they would still go down in 3 Turns as the halving of Hits due to their Armor would be cancelled by the doubling for the Flank Attack. This also shows the benefit of support Units covering your advance Unit's flanks.

Turn 2. Red reinforcements enter per cunning Red plan, their Archers have lots of choices, but shoot advancing Knights 3. Blue continues advance up road. In retaliation, Blue Archers almost wipe out Red Archers rolling two 5s for 5+2=7x2 Hits! With 1 Hit left, the future doesn't look good...You can see Knight 1 has worked around the MaA's flank.

Turn 3 left flank. Red Knight 1 advances against Blue Knight 1, and I turned around the Archers to support them. The trap of both melee and firepower was too much to face so Blue Knights 1 did a 180, zipped back, and did another 180 to face the enemy - all faster than a Tiger Tank! So they will survive but what about the attack?

Turn 3 center-right. I spun the Red Archers around, making room for Red Knight 2 to take their place. Red Knights 3 charges in inflicting the max of 6+2=8 Hits, bringing them to 11/15 and almost done! The Levy advance up the road to protect flanks. Blue MaA forgot to charge [which I fixed later]. Blue Knights 2 advance up the hill, protected by Archers to right. The last Archer is covering the gap soon to come when Blue Knights 3 are wiped out.

Turn 4. Red Knight 1 and Archers advance again to threaten Blue Knight 1, who retreats farther away to bottom center. Red Knights 2 charge Blue Knights 2 for 7 Hits, but take 7 from the Archers and 3 from the pathetic Blue Knights. In the Center, the Levy are losing against the MaA Armor and their own dice. Blue Knight 3 is blasted with over 20 Hits, and Blue Archer 2 shoots for 4+2=6 Hits, hoping it will be enough!

Top of Turn 5 Left-Center. I reposition the Red line to face the hill and Blue force. Red Knight 2 does the max - breaking opposing Blue Knight 2 in 2 Turns! [The +2 is a bigger deal than you'd think, rolling a 6 gives you 8 hits, and either a 5 or 6 will make it 15 Hits].

Bottom of Turn 5. Blue Archers wipe out the Glorious Red Knight 2, inflicting 7 hits! Blue Knight 1 charges Red MaA for 3 Hits [marked wrong], but this was a bad idea - I should've charged Red Knights 1. Red Knights 3 covered themselves in shame by rolling a '1' and inflicting 3 Hits on Blue Archers 2, who retaliate for 6-2 Hits! Life is bad when you're beat up by peasants...The Blue MaA on the road remember they're not charge on Turn 3, so I roll twice for them, and it makes no difference - they get the Levy to 14 Hits, so will lose another turn on the peasants in the road.

Turn 6. Red Knights 1 charges in for 6x2=12 Hits on the flank of Blue Knight 1, and the MaA add another 2, putting them at 14/15 Hits and the "soon to die" roster for next turn. Red Archers roll 8 Hits on the Blue MaA, halved due to Armor, putting them at 10 total. Still the MaA rout the Levy and their Knights 3 follow them routed by the Welsh Archers who are apparently even fiercer than they look [must be the long moustaches]. Blue Archer 1 rotates to provide support fire anywhere needed on the line, most likely against Red Knight 1.

Turn 7. Unsurprisingly, Blue Knights 1 are wiped out. Blue Archer 1 rolls a '1' for 3 total Hits - this is a bad time to lose your mojo, is all I'm sayin'. Red Archers turn and fall back off the hill to avoid a shot from Blue Archers - keeping them alive really matters at this point! Overall, Red has three Units with 22 Hits, Blue 3 with 18 Hits, not much advantage for a side that still needs to take a hill!

Turn 8. Red Archers move back up as their Knights charge into the only Archers that can shoot them. Blue Archers 2 turn to shoot in support of their pals, Blue MaA fall back. The Melee is uninspiring, with few Hits coming into play.

Turn 9. Red MaA and Archers advance to threaten Blue Units. Blue Archers roll up some Hits, but should've switched Dice! Shooting they're d6+2, in melee d6-2...

Turn 10. Knights 1 rout Archers, Blue Archer 2 routs them in turn. Red MaA advance in threatening manner while their Archers put another 3 Hits on Blue MaA who have 13/15...

Turn 11. Blue MaA rout. Their Archers shoot but blow it rolling a '1' for 2 Hits.

Turn 12. Red MaA are angry...Welsh Archers are nervous and roll crappy again.

Turn 13. Pathetic melee rolls.

Turn 14. Astonishingly, the Welsh Archers rout the MaA. Granted they were tired, but I guess the Welsh problem was an arrow shortage, not a moxie shortage!

Turn 15. Battle ends with Red Archers repositioned to cover the road, and the Welsh advancing down said road in threatening manner. At 11 to 14 Hits, they can both wipe each other out in one shot. So something of a tie in terms of damage, but certainly the hill is in Blue possession, just like at the start of the battle. A hard-fought engagement!

A good battle and very interesting to play. As I am experienced with the rules, I shouldn't make too many errors with them, so the most important aspect should be mission focus and luck. I did make a couple of important errors, however, like charging Blue Knight 1 into the Red MaA. Must have been distracted taking pics. Die rolling was quite varied on both sides, with astonishing highs and lows all around. 

Note that as the attack inflicts "Hits" not casualties, it is really also taking into account the morale of the defender. So a low roll may not be the attackers attacking weakly, but the defenders defending stoutly. This is both a realistic and clean model, the only thing it doesn't have is the mechanics of allowing the defending player to roll some sort of "save" to show he is "resisting stoutly", which is purely a matter of "feel" and does lengthen the process.

A few things worth commenting upon:
- 2 free turns for Units, before and after the straight-line move. This allows a LOT of gamey play with the Units, almost like they are fighter planes as they swoop out of each other's Front Arc to avoid being shot at or charged. It's a bit unrealistic. FIX? Allow one turn, save two turns for more highly trained troops or skirmishers.
- Shooting into Melee is for me a mechanic more than a reality. It makes the Bowmen a support unit and rids us of gamey maneuvers like avoiding being shot at by being in melee! Otherwise they feel like a sniper Unit, sort of the equivilent of an '88 in a WWII game. I think it they're toned down to shoot D6 instead of D6+2, it makes for a better balance. I'd use D6-1 for poor archers, and D6+1 for better units of mercenary crossbows and such.
- Bowmen are too powerful for the early period. They impact the game like English Longbows for both sides. In essence, they shoot as powerful as Knights charge.
- The 15 hits for all can be tinkered with...I've trouble with knight Units having the same Hits as peasants, but it is all about definition also, so this isn't a game mechanic. For a more "peasant-y" unit, I could make it 12 hits, while an elite Knight unit could have 18.

Aside from that, I thought the game went just fine, and with the "minimal changes and additions" plays pretty smoothly as-is. Note that I haven't changed anything, just "finished" making decisions about game mechanics that are really the responsibility of the game designer. With these - or similar - in place, the game achieves what NT clearly wants: a fast-play game that is scenario-focused and hits the big points without wasting a lot of time and energy on "feel".

Ultimately, "feel" is the culprit for a lot of mechanics that bog down games now. Usually, it is redundant, unnecessary, or double jeopardy, and adds a lot more dice rolling [compare weapon skills - roll to hit for the target number on the chart, roll weapon strength against defense for hits, roll savings rolls for wounds, blah blah blah] that eats up your precious time. Experimenting with a savings roll mechanic may not be too tedious, as long as it is kept simple - YMMV. If you did, I'd run with something like:
Archers - none
Levy - '6' [for shielded formation]
Knights - '5-6' [for armor, shields, fierceness, but no armor on horses]
MaA - '4-6' [for armor, shields, fierceness and close protective formation]
Give it a shot?

I did play a second time, and managed my attack better given the same setup, and won a decisive victory for Blue, with five units left! I leveraged Blue firepower better, also.

The game has a lot of energy and dynamics with the fast-paced movement and linear combat system. There's nuance along the way to 15 hits, more than you think at first. For me, this plays like a "large skirmish" game, is a wild ride but the better player will win most battles, which is as it should be.

Highly recommended!

Oh, and in case you were wondering...

[Turn 16!?] Couldn't resist seeing what happened! Red goes first turn 16, rolls high, and Blue Archers flee - total Red Victory!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

One-Hour Wargames: Medieval Rules + minimum clarifications

Simple, but some  explanations, or outright mechanical constructions, needed:

These are self-explanatory. I hope they help you in your games. I can't guarantee that NT would approve of these takes on rules mechanics, but I hope they provide a clearer guide to you as you play so you can concentrate on fun and the scenario rather than fiddly unexplained aspects of the game. At the very least, I think that the "over half" and "must fit" rules will take care of many questions that arise. If you've any input or if I've made errors please send a comment. My goal is not to change any of the core rules, and that which is [more or less] his original text is in black, with my clarifications in grey.

Happy gaming!

EDIT: I accidentally imported my use of 4 x 45 arcs into this version of the rules. The rules only have one arc, a 45 front arc for both shooting and charges - this has now been amended. I also cleaned up some language about Contact and added my interpretation of shooting into melee on 05 OCT 17.

ONE-HOUR WARGAMES: Medieval Wargames Rules [As Written w’minimum clarifications]
By Neil Thomas, Pen & Sword Books Ltd., South Yorkshire, 2014

This take on the rules is faithful to the original rules but adds into them the minimum clarifications to handle situations that inevitably come up in a game, i.e. Line of Sight, Contact, Turning near impassible terrain, etc. Players need to agree on these or their own preferences lest they spend their time figuring them out [or arguing] instead of playing. I also renumbered rule sections and renamed some things for brevity and clarity, i.e. Hand-to-Hand combat is now just Mêlée.

0.0 Grey Areas. Any situation not explicitly covered in the rules, or measurements “too close to call” are defined in either/or terms and resolved with a friendly roll-off in favor of the winner.
0.1 Measuring is allowed on the table anytime, anywhere.
0.2 Dice are the standard “D6”, with six sides numbered 1-6.
0.3 Unit Types.
      i.        Knights are the most numerous Unit, reflecting their battlefield dominance. Their impetuosity is reflected in their fast movement and +2 Mêlée bonus. They lack cohesion and their horses are not as well protected as the riders, so they do not get any bonus against Shooting.
     ii.        Archers are equipped with the exceptionally effective crossbow, giving them a +2 when Shooting. They lack an effective Mêlée weapon or armor protection, so fight with a -2 penalty in Mêlée.
    iii.        Men-at-Arms are heavily armored and shielded dismounted knights with spears and other long mêlée  weapons. This gives them protection and endurance, so they take combat Hits at half normal rate.
   iv.        Levies are less enthusiastic foot with spears and shields but little armor, so they receive no bonus against Hits. They do strike effectively, however, and can protect flanks and hold key terrain features.
Medieval Units are undisciplined and poorly trained, so lack capacity for skirmishing in woods and passing through each other. This inflexibility enhances the period by providing a great test of any wargamer’s ability.
0.4 Unit Frontage is 4-6”; the wargamers themselves should decide what kind and how many figs should go onto a unit base, and therefore the depth, also. To ease play, all Units should be a solid rectangular base the same size, especially within Unit Types, with a 2-1 Frontage-depth ratio. Every Unit has four sides, Front [where figures are looking!], Rear, Left and Right.
0.5 Unit Front Arc is measured 45° off the corners of the Front Side of the base. Target Units must be within this arc to be shot at or charged. The other 270° around the base aren’t used as arcs in game mechanics.
0.6 Over Half. In most game situations, you will need to see half or more of a Unit’s Side to shoot it or charge it, half or more of a Unit within or atop Terrain, to get its benefits etc.
0.7 Must Fit. In all game situations, Units must physically fully fit in/thru a space on the table to use that space.
0.8 Terrain comes in two types, Area and Linear. Area is a square about 6-12” a side. Linear Terrain is 6-12” long and the model’s width, i.e. a stone wall. A Unit is “within” Area Terrain if it is entirely within the edges of the model [given any naturalistic shaping]. A Unit is “at, on or behind” Linear Terrain if its side is in full edge contact with it, and an attacking Unit is Targeting that side. A Unit is “uphill” of an opponent if it is at a hill’s crest or plateau edge, or on a slope and its entire Rear Side is above its attacker’s Front Side.
0.9 Line of Sight. Units must have a Line of Sight [LoS], to shoot or charge a Target Unit. A LoS begins at the center of the Front Side of the shooting or charging Unit, and runs to the center of a Target Unit’s side, and:
      i.        Is as long as the Range or Move Distance of the attacking Unit, and,
     ii.        Must be traced to all or at least 3” of that targeted Side.
A Line of Sight is obstructed by anything intervening about a figure height or taller, i.e. Hills, Woods and Units:
    iii.        So requires a gap 3” wide between obstructing Terrain or Units,
   iv.        But may be traced up to 3” through Woods, Towns, or across a Hill crest [or plateau edge], and,
    v.        May be traced freely to or from Units lining the edge of Woods and Towns.
Given these guidelines, a laser pointer or string at “model’s eye view” can always help clarify!

Play Sequence. A complete turn has two Player Turns of four Phases, each following the below sequence:
1. Move     2. Shoot     3. Mêlée     4. Remove Units
Alternating Player Turns is far more manageable than simultaneous actions and surprisingly more realistic as it is only superficially true that armies acted simultaneously in historical battles. Generally, one side acted then the other reacted. This process of alternating actions is reflected quite accurately with alternate player turns.

1.0 Move Basics. Units may move on the table the below distance in a straight line during their Player Turn. A Turn may be made before or after. Roads add distance and some terrain prohibits entry.
1.1 Move Distances
Unit Type                                           Movement Distance
Archers, Men-at-Arms, Levies                         6”
Knights                                                            12”
1.2 Terrain affects Unit Moves as follows:
      i.        Towns and Hills do not affect movement.
     ii.        Rivers are impassible, but may be crossed at a Ford or Bridge.
    iii.        Woods, Lakes, Marsh, Units and the Board Edge are impassible to all Units.
   iv.        Roads give +3” if a Unit spends its entire move with its base astride the road and it is not charging. The road also allows a Unit to move through Terrain normally impassible to it, i.e. Rivers.
1.3 Interpenetration. Unit bases may touch but not pass through each other during a Move.
1.4 Up to two Turns may be made as part of a Move: rotate the Unit on its center point at the start and/or end of the Move. While Turning, Unit corners may not cross into impassible Terrain [1.2]. However, a Unit may always rotate 90° [slide base over to fit] or 180° [an “about face”] in place. This problem with rotating rectangular bases is best avoided by keeping 1-2” between Units and Impassible Terrain.
1.5 Moves in Melee. Units in Melee Contact cannot move except to Turn 90° or 180° to face their Front to a Unit in Contact with a Flank or their Rear, and only if they are not Contacted on their Front. If 90° move other Units in Contact as little as possible to fit the Turn while remaining in Contact: a 180° needs no adjustment.
1.6 Moving and Shooting. Units that move or Turn may not Shoot in Phase 2;
1.7 Units may move thru Gaps in Impassible Terrain over 3” wide and if they end their move clear.
1.8 Charges occur when a Unit moves or turns into Contact with a Target Unit in LoS [0.9]:
      i.        One Turn up to 45° is allowed at the start of its Move [0.5].
     ii.        One Mêlée Contact per Unit side is allowed, so four at most [0.4].
    iii.        Contact is made by moving the Unit straight along the LoS until it touches its Target. It is then moved freely – unmeasured – into as much full edge-to-edge Contact as space allows, centered if possible, until it is in full edge contact with all or at least 3” of that Side of the Target Unit.
   iv.        The Mêlée is resolved in Phase 3, Mêlée.
[Note that the above turning rule requires the LoS to a Target Unit to be within 45° of the Charging Unit’s Front side – before Turning – to be Contacted. More subtly, a Charging Unit must be entirely over a 180° line drawn from a given Target Unit’s side for the Charger to Contact that side of the Target Unit.]

The movement model uses faster rates for Units that moved rapidly over the battlefield, rather than various turn rates or other abilities. Turning on the center and only before or after straight line movement, has the net result of limiting the maneuver of Units realistically while making it easier for players to understand. Terrain has limited but important effects, [critical for victory in the scenarios]. Prohibiting movement for most units in difficult terrain is both historical and easier – exceptions are made as needed in some of the scenarios.

2.0 Shooting is performed only by Archers, at one target, that is within:
2.1 Arc of Fire of 45° off the Front [0.5]
2.2 Range of 12”
2.3 Resolve shooting Hits by rolling a D6 adding 2, giving the total number of Hits, modified as follows:
      i.        Cover. Units within Towns [or Woods, if scenario permits entry] halve the Hits inflicted.
     ii.        Armor. Men-at-Arms halve the Hits inflicted,
Any Fraction is rounded up.
2.4 Shooting into Melee is permitted as long as the target Unit is in LoS [0.9]. This represents the support of archers in what is really a number of small hand to hand combats with periods of rest and pauses in between, as well as the support of shooting before and after contact.
Hills are considered to be relatively gentle slopes. While even this provides an advantage in Mêlée, standing on an open hilltop provides little cover from missiles [especially considering their plunging arcs].

3.0 Mêlée is resolved in each Player Turn, but only for their Units.
3.1 One Sided Combat. Units inflict Hits only during their Player Turn.
3.2 Resolve Mêlée Hits by rolling a D6; Knights add 2 and Archers subtract 2. The total is then modified:
      i.        Terrain halves Hits against Units within Towns [or Woods, if scenario permits entry], at River Crossings, or uphill from opponents.
     ii.        Armor halves Hits against Men-at-Arms.
    iii.        Flank and Rear attacks inflict double Hits against a Unit Contacted on those sides.
Any fraction is rounded up. Mêlée ends when all Units of one side are eliminated.
Mêlée is one-sided, which seems strange since real life mêlée was simultaneous. However, this makes it easy to keep track of player turns and rewards the charging player with getting in the first blow [sometimes this is enough to win the mêlée with average rolling on each side: plus, it acts as  a charge bonus]. Mêlée is a fight to the finish, it being difficult for medieval Units to disengage from the enemy in the confusion of fighting. Faster Units can often determine when and where to commit to the engagement, but should be careful to seek an advantage like a flank when doing so.

4. Remove Units
Units with 15 or more Hits are removed from the table.
Units receive Hits through combat in the game without reduction in fighting ability until they have 15 or more Hits and are removed. This reflects a model of fighting whereby casualties are actually relatively low as a percent of personnel, but morale effects and fatigue add up until the Unit routs from the battlefield.

5. Optional Rules
5.1 A Fort is a Town that prohibits Melee with Units inside it [Scenario. 22].
5.2 Irregulars: 9” move, may enter woods, (Melee/12” Shoot) both D6-2. May replace any two Units [Sc. 23].
5.2 Peasant Archers fight as Levies, may enter woods, Shoot bows 12”. May replace any one Unit [Sc. 24].

5.4 A Redoubt gives one foot Unit a 180 field of fire, cover, and delays attacking Units for a turn? [Sc. 30].

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Campaign on Welsh Border, P.1

Battle on the Welsh Borderlands!

Lord Rhys ap Robert of Wales on left, a Border Lord of mixed heritage. Lord William Fitzwilliam on Right, an English Lord with an eye towards enlarging his domains. Originally, these were painted as Lords and retinues for "Day of Battle", a characterful but clunky set of rules very much in the old style - worth stealing ideas from!

Well, the best way to work with the rules is to play them, and a campaign seems like just the thing. Working with what I have that is more or less ready to be on the table [if not entirely ready to look at re: basing] I'm going to be playing Welsh Border Lords against English neighbors. For this play, I upped the Bowmen to D6+2 attack like in the book, and didn't use the rally rules. I also used regular D6 instead of my D5 "Average Dice".

Below, is the force I rolled using the book's Force Matrix to make it easy on you viewers out there. A '3' gave the invading English a force of 3 Knights, 2 Serjeants [Men at Arms], and a Freemen [Levy] At center is the English Lord, in William Marshal's colors.

A '2' gave the defending Welsh 3 Knights, 2 Freemen and a Bowmen [Archer]. All Figs are Old Glory, the Welsh spear from the War of the Roses line, and the Bowmen from the Dark Ages line, I believe. All are on 5x2/5" bases of flooring about 1/4" thick for easy handling.

I chose #5: Bridgehead, as I figure these two neighbors have a river between them that must be successfully breached or the planned raid can't succeed.

And below is my take on the table for the battle. At left, top and right are the reinforcement entry points for the responding Welsh - on a 1-2 at left, 3-4 top at the road, 5-6 to right.

Setup. At bottom, the English Serjeants are placed within 6" of the all-important ford, with a Knight Errant Personality leading them [he inflicts 1 Hit in Melee - it adds up! Battle opens with the Welsh going first and entering two units at top, rolling a '3'. I chose an Archer and a Knight since I wanted the combination of shooting and melee ability. I have also found that using the knights early can lead to the knights getting into trouble on their own.Victory goes to the Welsh if they destroy all English Units North of the River within 12" of the ford.

Turn 1. The Welsh move Bowmen down the road and Knights onto the Hill. English respond by shifting the Serjeants to the right to oppose the Knights and leave the road open.

Turn 2. Welsh shoot, rolling a '6+2' for 8 Hits, halved for the Armor. Welsh Knights charge, also rolling a '6+2' and inflicting net 4 hits also. English Serjeants are half dead! English Knights enter, moving 15" up the road, across the ford. Serjeants roll a '4' which is +1 for their Knight Errant, but not added in yet [it is correct in next pic].

Turn 3. Welsh roll a '4' and bringin a Freemen down the road and Knights to the left within Charge range, moving Bowmen towards the Hill. English ponder and then bring in another knight and Charge the Welsh Knight. Serjeants roll '1' compounding the excellent Welsh luck with very poor luck on their part [sort of like the dreaded 6/1 split in DBA combat]. One need to see combat as a series of rolls, not just one or two, and look to win the melee, but taking 22 Hits [halved] and inflicting back seven won't dig them out of a defeat, here.

Turn 4. The Welsh decide the Bowmen can help their left Knight, so move down the road to shrink the bridgehead, passing up on the short-term advantage of a flank attack. Both melees move along, with either being set to end if the Welsh roll average next turn. English Knight 3 enters, but is bottled up without a lot space to deploy, so feeling that the advance down the road was the right thing to do for the Welsh Freemen.

Turn 5, Welsh. Reinforcements enter on a '5' to the right, the last Freemen and a Knight. Welsh knights blow out English Knights, while their comrades take out the Serjeants and the Knight Errant [who is starting to look more like a Knight Error]. Things aren't looking good for the English - their third Knight is available, however.

Turn 5, English. Knight 3 charges and breaks Welsh Knight. But, is pretty much surrounded with few options except a desperate charge. The center melee needs to end quickly, but the English roll a '1' needing more like a '6'. Serjeants 2 enters and is crossing the ford.

Turn 6. Welsh put a lot more hurt on the English, wiping out knight 3 in one go, and badly damaging Knight 2, leaving it with 1 Hit left! English put a few Hits on the Freemen then move their infantry across the ford, led by the Serjeants.

Turn 7. Welsh reposition and wipe out English Knight 2. English Charge the Serjeants out of the river and move up the Freemen, desperate to try and hold the Bridgehead.

Turn 8, the Welsh retreat the Freemen on the road, placing the forgotten abbot with them. Their Knights to left inflict a few Hits on English Serjeants before being destroyed. Welsh Knights charge Freemen holding the ford, with Bowmen moving up to support.

Welsh abbot rolls a '5' and removes that many Hits from the Freemen - clearly a man of inspiration! He now departs the battle and returns to his monastic retreat to pray.

Turn 9. The Welsh keep up the pressure, with the combination of Bowmen and Knights wearing down the English Freemen steadily. The Welsh Freemen are overmatched by the English Serjeants, but help is near at hand, so little hope for the English at this point.

Turn 10 sees the English Freemen wiped out, but the Serjeants fight on doggedly.

Turn 11. The Welsh Knights hit the Serjeants flank. The Serjeants almost break the Freemen, but needed a '5' to do so.

Welsh Turn 12. English Serjeants are wiped out.

Whew, what a battle!
I really thought things looked good for the English, but they got spread out too much by charging around. Upon reflection, they should've lead with their Serjeants, and carefully expanded the bridgehead behind them, allowing the knights to reinforce them. As it was, they got pretty beat up and defeated piece by piece.

In terms of rules, I was going thru a "have I changed things too much?" phase. Generally, I think the rules work very well, but getting the right balance with the scenarios is tough. I miss the rally rules - I really like how they reward careful players who conserve their Units with a strong end game, like in real life. However, I think they could be placed in the optional section, and rallying off hits reserved just for Units with a personality, instead of making all Units able to rally.

The bowmen hit a bit harder with the +2. This is not quite right for Feudals, but makes them less of a liability should you get 2 of them in your force. I also bagged the ammo limit of three shots. It didn't make much impact on this battle, but I like my original version best - they are D6 shooting, with no ammo limit, but they do run out on the roll of a natural '5' [which works on both D5 or D6 of course].

I played this scenario several times with the original rules from the book. I reminded myself that there are way too many gamey possibilities with all units turning twice.

Overall, while I think that some of my add-ons are not essential, they do add to the game and fix things that I actively dislike or are a bit gamey in the original rules.

Next time - The Revenge of the Welsh!