1 February 2017
Repeating myself but this is the photo batrep of last night’s surprising result.
Opening deployments by both sides saw them are using the high ground to circle round and exit, thus avoiding the hollow ground between opposing forces. But as soon as Jersu spotted Gaston, well, that all changed.
Initial moves see both sides fail to act decisively with failed activations for many of the units for much of the game. The only unit to consistently activate was the group of knights led by Jersu. His Rash quality meant the unit of knights automatically passed their Wild Charge test.
The closing moves of the game. Gaston is still pounding away at the Foot but losing knights faster than the enemy Foot. He’s also unable to receive any help from the remaining two units in his force (both units of Serjeants) because they are otherwise engaged.
Somehow, the Bassilians managed to fluke their way into this victory as they had their slower moving foot soldiers blocking the Gelf’s exit point. It therefore forced the Gelfs to contact these infantry rather than escape, like they were supposed to do. The Bassilian crossbows weren’t as dominating as they might have been, failing activation several times during the game. But when they did activate, they did enough to attract the attention of the Mounted Serjeants who saw that they posed a threat for those Gelf units still lagging behind, and therefore needed to be eliminated.
Looking at this photo, the Gelf mounted serjeants probably had the best opportunity to escape relatively intact. But they were sorely tempted by the threat of the crossbows and therefore chose to engage rather than ride past them. Gaston and his whittled down force of knights were in a race to defeat the Foot who were able to form Schiltron and enjoy the Amour 4 save benefit.
The final moments of Gaston de Tourmonne
His arm was growing weary. But he still hacked and kicked at his assailants. He could sense their growing sense of imminent victory. For a split second, he wondered if Mariane was with her sister or not. But then he quickly dodged the overstretched sword thrust from a yelling buffoon, then lashed out with his morning star. The sound of metal on yielding flesh told him of his success. He turned to see whether Olfan was still at his side. The Gascon was busy slamming his mace with brutal efficiency against a group. He quickly scanned around for the others. But they were now so few. Giles. Henry. Othar still fought in islands; the others were already dead. He saw Francois’s charger felled and a swarm of red tabards descend on his former childhood friend. He spurred his destrier forward but he knew he would be too late. Still, he some measure of grim satisfaction in scattering those gathered over his dead friend, felling those foolish enough to be close to his bloodied mace.
Gaston ignored the temptation to let out a yell. He knew it frightened his opponents more if he remained silent but deadly. A shot of pain suddenly struck him in the side. Instinctively, his shield arm shot out and connected with something soft that let out a shout of pain but then shouted no more. Another stabbing pain. And then a shudder that seemed to numb his all over. He suddenly felt light, as if falling into a soothing pool of water. He struggled to fight it knowing somehow it was wrong. But the pull was so strong that he somehow gave in. The last thing he felt was a jostling as if many hands were pulling at him violently in all directions. But he seemed to feel nothing now. He was nothing!
In a lilac field, resting himself on a stump, Jersu nursed his sore arm, his fighting arm. He’d nearly lost it to a sudden strike from a Gelf knight. But his battle instinct did not desert him today. He somehow turned himself and took a glancing blow instead that immediately stung him mightily. He’d lost his sword somehow but was saved by one of his men who felled the surprised attacker. He barely had time to thank his saviour when the enemy fell on the pair and they got separated.
Now, he sat there thinking of how lucky he had been. He sent a silent prayer of thanks before slowly mounting his horse, quietly munching nearby. He turned to hear the steady cadence of trotting horses and jangling accroutments. It was his men.
They slowed to a walk and then halted. He waved to the leader who was beaming like some gallant at a fair.
“Milord, Lord Gaston is dead!”
Jersus’s face showed his surprise. “Is that so, Robert?”
“Aye, milord. We have see his body. Our Foot slew him and his escort. Not a man survived.”
Jersu looked around to the others, laughing and nodding away at this good fortune.
“Where is the body? I want to see it?”
Robert waved over to one of the others who led forward a horse. Ted to it was a draped body, the tabard easily recognisable, even though it was bloodied and dirty. Jersu limped over and lifted the head. Then let it drop. He suddenly laughed as this revelation struck home.
“Milord. Victory is yours. And it is complete. Only the dead litter the field now. Even now, our men are gathering our booty. And it is substantial too.”
Jersu’s smile matched Robert’s now. “Indeed, men, we have won ourselves a great honour.” He was already composing a new verse to be sung at the hall this evening.
31 January 2017
Tonight saw an interesting game of attrition. The object of this third scenario was to exit the board opposite to where they originally deployed from. So, if Retinue A came on the board from the north, it would exit the south. And so on.
The fun aspect of the scenario came in the surprise of suddenly encountering one’s opponent at the same time. Therefore, the need to exit quickly become a urgent priority.
Well, that’s what I kept trying to tell myself as I played this game. Jersu, being impetuous and rash, quickly opened the game by making for his opponent, Gaston de Tourmonne. The rest of the Bassilians, however, seemed to be a little slow in following the lead of their commander at first. It wasn’t until Jersu made contact with the Gelf rearguard, the second unit of knights, that things began to “trot along”, so to speak.
In that first contact, the Gelf knights were roundly defeated. But no sooner had they been disposed of than someone shouted “enemy archers”. Well, that was like a red rag to these armoured fellows. They boldly and gladly charged the crossbows who managed to hold their own for a while. Then, inextricably, they broke and fled leaving an astounded Jersu all alone with his honour. One minute he was surrounded by his knights and a flurry of enemy bolts; the next, emptiness.
Elsewhere, Gaston was blithely following his own course to exit the tabletop unaware of what was happening in the low ground to his left. It wasn’t until his unit was fired upon by the Bassilian rearguard (a unit of crossbows) that Gaston came awake. But it would be too late as the missile men’s fire was enough to steer Gaston on to the next unit in the Bassilian patrol column – a unit of foot serjeants.
The tussle between both units would go down in local annals as the stuff of legends. Not really, but it makes Gaston’s ultimate demise a little more savoury. Anyway, Gaston and his knights tried to rout the Bassilians. But the foot held their own and even gave back some until finally Gaston was left all alone. He fell defending himself against the swarming onslaught of the Bassilian foot.
Gaston’s sudden surprise loss now means a new replacement needs to be found. A new character. The narrative makes its own twists and turns. I like.
Anyway, the loss of Gaston came on prior losses as the Gelf found themselves attacked by the Bassilians. The Gelf foot fled when attacked by the second unit of Bassilian knights. The only active unit left were the mounted serjeants. But their ambition to save their own necks and leave their comrades in the lurch would eventually bring them down. They tried to squeeze past the crossbows who stood in their way to freedom and a warm bed and turnips and mead. The temptation proved too much, but the Bassilian missile men were more than ready. Mounted fell in quick succession. Even though they came to blows, the Bassilians prevailed and the mounted serjeants fled. But that only made their vulnerable backs a more easier target for the bolts that zipped across the landscape and found flesh.
The entire Gelf retinue had been wiped out, either destroyed (both units of knights and mounted serjeants) or routed off the table (the foot and crossbows).
The Bassilians, in turn, lost one unit of knights and their unit of foot (the shock of defeating the leader of the Gelf faction must have made them scared because they fled the battlefield howling, “Oh my God!, oh my God!” to any and all.
The only exit was made by Jersu de Baxal who limped off the table top after being the lone survivor of the titanic struggle early on. The two other units of Bassilian horse spent the remainder of the battlefield swappimg war stories or saucy miniature tapestries for all the good they did in the game.
Post game commentary
Even though it’s recommended what units leaders should be attached to, it’s not always worthwhile. Take both instances where two separate units of knights fought themselves into extinction because of the silly Wild Charge rule. I say “silly” because I was silly enough to adhere to that recommendation and plonked both Jersu (6 – Rash) and Gaston into a unit of knights each.
Being Rash means any unit already with a Wild Charge rule automatically passes the activation to perform this action. In other words, even if I had wanted to, Jersu and his knights were on a one-way ride to destruction.
Gaston’s case was the same but from a different take. The two Bassilian foot units (the Foot Serjeants and the Crossbows) were perfectly blockers forcing the knights into attacking either one. It’s fortunate they chose the Foot Serjeants as they had to contend with 4 Armour whereas the Crossbows were a 2 Armour.
Playing solo, even though I wanted to attack the Crossbows, the die roll result meant they ended up tackling the shield wall and flashing blades.
Does one randomly choose which unit to activate? Adopting that helicopter overview in Lion Rampant was simply not an option from a solo gaming perspective. So, I chose to activate based on points value, starting with the highest ranking (or top of the army listing) throughout. This applied when there was no immediate danger or threat; if that was evident then obviously you choose those units affected. It’s something you do with Rallying and Wild Charge and Challenges: these take precedence in the order of what happens first.
Overall, this was a tiring but interesting game. The outcome was certainly not what I anticipated.
Pictures to be posted either tomorrow or soon. Cheers.
29 January 2017
Busily trying to put together the lists for the next scenario between Jersu de Baxal and Gaston de Tourmonne. These two have never met thus far since I started Lion Rampant.
I’ve discovered that it’s easier building one list at a time rather than creating a pool of figures from which to select. Oh well, you learn something new every day, I suppose.
So, the past two days have been devoted to putting together young Jersu’s Bassilian French list. Rather than research my own, I’m borrowing from the Lion Rampant suggested lists at the back of the booklet. For this third scenario both opponents have the same French list – 2 mounted men-at-arms units (or knights as I like to think of them), 1 mounted serjeants unit, 1 foot serjeants unit, and 1 crossbow unit. This should make assembling that much easier too.
The box I’m currently assembling is short some figures though. But I’ll draw the balance from the existing pool of medieval figures already assembled and painted. So it should not a pose a problem.
This will be the approach I’ll be taking with all the lists for this 2017 campaign from now on. Hopefully, I won’t have the current problem of a studio chock full of unpainted and semi-painted models — not just medieval. Cheers.
Jersu’s retinue is now complete apart from 2 missing crossbows. But I can get away with proxies on the shortfall. Gaston’s retinue can also get by with proxies (needing 6 mtd serjeants and 12 crossbows).
Painted up a few stakes using cast off sprues. It’s simple enough to do and I have lots of sprues leftover. Hoping to extend that making to gabions.
25 January 2017
The shrine of La Mandingo, a local legend, sits at the intersection of two roads. Formerly part of the local pilgrim’s circuit, it has fallen into a state of neglect. There used to be a natural spring that gushed forth from the ground nearby. But it dried up long ago. Nowadays the shrine acts as a waypoint for those travelling its roads. Its elevation also happens to mark the highest local point and therefore a natural boundary between Gelf territory to the south and various others lands to the north.
With the arrival of the Livonians, though, the shrine has become important to Segemond. He has despatched Drimmerstein with orders to capture the shrine and erect an outpost. Verdmos has gotten wind of this expedition and gathers his own force to deal with these interloping newcomers.
Tonight’s scenario, Hold on Tight, saw the Livonians, under Wult von Drimmerstein, take on the Burgundians of Gibhard Verdmos, a Gelf supporter and ally to Gaston de Tourmonne.
Neither side have met before. The coin toss was conducted, however, in a most civil manner. Wult won the toss and elected to kick off first. His plan was simple: rush his centre at the shrine, seize it, and hold it. Meanwhile his mounted knights will attack the enemy’s flanks, hoping to rout them.
Gibhard’s plan is also similar but he’s somehow at a disadvantage as he has no mounted troops of his own to do the same as his opponent. Maybe he can use his advantage in missile fire to rattle them loose from the shrine until his own miserly foot knights can reach the site. Long shot though.
It’s obvious just looking at the above photo that the Livonians will reach the target first with ease. Maybe, for the next time, the shrine should be placed a bit more central (or south)?
The knights look to have an easy road to hoe as they size up their intended targets – the Brugundian expert archers. If only their steeds would hurry up though.
Reaching the shrine in Turn Two , the Livonians now wait and hope their opponents will not reach them by Turn Seven. Verdmos exhorts his foot troops on but he knows it might be a lost cause.
The expected clash between cavalry and infantry does not immediately transpire as the knights fail their activation a couple of times. This gives the Burgundians an opportunity to use their long range shooting capabilities, as one of the units is about the discover.
The battle is over before it’s really begun. The only contacts are between the flank units where the Livonians come off second-best in one encounter. The other doesn’t really take off as the Livonians achieve their scenario objective with relative ease.
Gibhard glares at his weary knights before cursing his foe across the field. Drimmerstein merely nods and waves back. He can’t understand a single word of Old French.
Both sides made two boasts each which neither were able to fulfil. Such is the lie that bragging brings, one supposes. That will affect their final score.
Victory Objective: 5 Glory Points (one per turn) for holding the objective with the same unit. In this case, Drimmerstein’s Mounted Serjeant unit got there in Turn. Scoring therefore began in Turn Three and the success was achieved by the start of Turn Seven..
Glory Points: Drimmerstein receives 3 Glory Points while Verdmos receives -2 Glory Points. What a way to start a campaign season.
Table layout: As mentioned the positioning of the shrine played a big factor as it determined the duration of this game. Adding a stream to cross for the Livonians because they are mounted is another consideration for the future, especially where one side is clearly disadvantaged for movement as the Burgundians were.
Composition: This season I’m going with one list per character. That list stays with the character throughout. I made arbitrary decisions on which list went with which character. For Gibhard Verdmos, because he was from Burgundy, I chose the Burgundian list in the sample lists in the rulebook:
- I Foot Men-at-Arms unit
- 2 Expert Archers units
- 1 Crossbow unit
- I Bidower unit
In this scenario, I was pleasantly surprised at the archers managing to perform well enough against the mounted knights. Help from the crossbows really made a difference too.
For the Livonians and in particular Wult von Drimmerstein, I’ve gone with the Teutonic Order list. Historically, the Sword Brethren were absorbed into the Teutonic Order after a serious defeat and decimation against the local Baltic tribes. So, the connection was real enough.
- 2 Mounted Men-at-Arms units
- 1 Mounted Serjeants unit
- 1 Foot Serjeants unit
- 1 Crossbowmen unit
I thought the mounted knights would smash the archers. But while they pushed them back, they were easily beaten by the combined weight of fire from both the archers and a supporting unit of crossbows. The other foot units were hardly involved so can’t be assessed. Likewise the mounted Serjeants.
I’m also glad I didn’t place the commander with one of the mounted knights units.
The Burgundians were quite surly the next morning after the battle. The archers were celebrating their victory over the Livonian knights but the rest of the retreating Burgundians were grumbling complaints. Verdmos ignored them as he was deep in his own thoughts. Several days later, he reported his failure to his master, Gaston de Tourmonne.
“What make you then of these Baltic newcomers? Ate they likely to pose a serious threat?”
Gibhard wanted to say something that might please his master. The loss of the shrine was nothing; it was the loss of face that mattered most. He knew that and Gaston knew that. In the constant struggle to maintain premier status, any erosion to that prestige carefully built up and maintained often meant trouble. Real trouble.
“Milord, it is our first encounter with them. But I would be wary of this particular knight. He surprised me in that he ready and was able to strike fast, too fast for me to respond. Normally, we have just brigands and peasants to contend with. Even our border disputes with the Saxans and Bassilians are tame in comparison. The newcomers are, from what I briefly experienced of them days past, not to be trifled with.”
Gaston agreed. “Well, we must take proper measure of these newcomers and prepare ourselves accordingly. No?”
“As you wish, milord.” Gibhard bowed and made to leave but was halted by a flicker of a bejewelled hand.
“And Gibhard. I want my shrine back.”
Gibhard squeezed out the start of a complicit smile. “Of course, milord.”
24 January 2017
“Now, remember, this must reach milady before the feast of St Geoffrey the Rush.”
The envoy, carefully selected because he could not read but was nonetheless utterly reliable, especially the area of delivering anything, nodded tersely at this caution. Some said he should have started his own courier service, Speedy Deliveries, but that idea still hadn’t been thought of yet for at least another eight hundred years. He handled the scroll case carefully. He admired the soft touch of it and the ornate gold leaf inlay. Must have cost a pretty penny, he thought to himself.
“Look at me, Milo,” the commanding voice demanded. Milo, the messenger, looked up at his master.
“Delivere it to her personally. Do you hear me? She already knows what to give in return on receipt of that parchment.”
Milo nodded happily as a dark pouch was tossed at him casually. He caught it knowingly. It was heavy. Without a word, he bowed deeply and pocketed his payment in one smooth motion, and carefully retreated toward the door. Once outside, he raised himself to his full height of five foot nothing, scratched his louse-covered coat, burped a couple more times, and then jaunted down the corridor, down some spiral stairwell, along a dimly-lit smelly passage that wound itself almost carefree, then emerged in a courtyard where his escort was waiting patiently for him.
Hugh FitzPontey looked over as the diminuitive, darkly garbed, balding runt scrambled to mount his pony. He suppressed a smile as he saw how tiny he looked against the warriors of his retinue.
“Hail and well met, Master Messenger. You will be riding with my second, Baldwin the Gaunt.” A tall lanky man with a head larger than his body leaned over his charger and raised his visor in greeting. The messenger merely snorted and scratched the back of his head.
“Are we off then, Captain,” squeaked Milo. He was anxious to be on his way.
Hugh sighed but said nothing as he signalled to his force. The sound of the escort clattering out the tiny courtyard caused a lot commotion among those there. Eventually though, after some time, the mounted element was outside and walking to meet up with the foot elements, already outside the city and waiting for them at the rendezvous.
But all this activity was bound to cause some interest. And so it was that a few interested eyes carefully scrutinized the departing force and wondered amongst themselves the purpose of this departure. And not a few followed the retinue keen to learn more.
New season of Lion Rampant. First game today. Thought it would only take a few moves but ended up being eighteen moves long.
The Flemish mercenaries, under Judoval Candot (7) attempt to intercept an enemy party who have an important messenger with them. FitzPontey, the escort leader, must safely cross the table and exit the opposite corner to win the game.
Candot’s force is a Flemish listing of: 1 Mounted Serjeant unit, 3 Foot Serjeant units and 2 Crossbow units. FitzPontey force is a Norman one, consisting of 2 Mounted Men-at-Arms units, 2 Foot Yoemen units, 1 Crossbow unit and 1 Bidower unit.
The Bassilians are bunched up in the NE corner. They have two units of mounted knights – one is led by FitzPontey, the other has the messenger. Two foot yeomen units, a crossbow unit and one small unit of skirmishing archers complete his retinue of 24 points.
The isolated van tries to intercept the messenger and stall it until the sluggish foot can arrive. At least, that’s the intention. FitzPontey has chosen to place the messenger with one of his mounted units with the order to race for the exit while he and the others will delay or prevent the Flemish from intercepting the important messenger.
Opening moves by both sides see only the mounted units activate consistently. FitzPontey races for the Flemish van while they, in turn, race to intercept the messenger unit trying to make for the road intersection. The foot of both sides enjoy varying success in their respective activations — mostly failing.
The van are soon dealt to by the heavier knights who finally catch up to them at the road junction. Meanwhile, Candot’s unit is the only Flemish foot to react fastest. Candot’s plan is to approach within range and induce the messenger unit to use their Wild Charge activation. But the messenger unit fails to activate on successive endeavours. In the end, it is Candot who charges the static Bassilians.
This melee seesaws back and forth for several turns and with no clear outcome initially.
Meanwhile around the battlefield, the Bassilians seem to be making better progress as they gather around the road junction. The remaining Flemish mercenaries seem reluctant to close with the Bassilians.
As shown above, another of Candot’s units is about to rout. Lucky he is able to transfer himself to the nearby foot unit. Things are generally going slow but he still has a chance to thwart the Bassilian in their escape attempt by pushing some of his remaining foot closer to the exit zone.
But it’s all too late as the messenger’s unit is somehow able to extricate itself from the situation of nearby enemy units and makes tracks for the exit (as shown above) although it does dawdle as the remaining Bassilian units cross over the road in following.
Only 1 was made by FitzPontey:
- My lambs will beat their Lions. In other words, his Bidower unit will knock out any one of the Flemish units. In actuality, it was almost wiped out by the enemy crossbows lurking at the edge of the woods.
Candot’s response is to spurt out three in quick succession (obviously without thinking):
- My own sword shall not be drawn. What this really meant was that he left his own sword back at base and is borrowing a loan!
- Half of the enemy shall fall to my sword. Yeah, right!
- Every blade shall be drawn.
Victory objective: 5 Glory points for successfully exiting the messenger off the SW deployment zone to the Attacker. But it goes to the Defender if he’s able to stop this by killing the messenger or wiping out the enemy retinue or at least half his numbers.
Result: the messenger made it safely off the table but not without some drama. The journey might have been more simpler if the unit had skirted around the road junction rather than through, and not closest to the approaching Flemish foot.
Tactical commentary: Candot’s chances might have been better if he had split his force and provided the van with more firepower and/or strike power, possibly one of the Foot and Crossbow units. The lone mounted unit really had no chance once the FitzPontey and his bodyguards caught up with them. FitzPontey had help anyway with the second knight unit close by should they be needed.
The idea of inducing the Wild Charge activation by the Flemish foot was a novel approach to delaying and a bit of a clever one too. Delaying with outnumbered units whilst waiting on reinforcements does place a reliance of activations though, but that’s part of the risk and enjoyment a gamer takes. Sadly, the activations were NOT cooperating with Candot when most needed (as seen by the slow advance of the other two Foot and both crossbows throughout the game). The same could be said for the Bassilians foot although they weren’t as badly affected as their opponents because they did manage to secure the centre.
Solo gaming commentary: Pre-programming a solo scenario requires some effort to get the impartiality just right. I used the Leadership skill factor to influence many of the decision-making processes where there is more than one immediate option. This was done before the start of the game when drawing plans of attack/defence for either side. It also stresses the importance of having a really good Leadership skill rating.
- If their rating was from 1 to 4, -1 to die roll; from 5 – 8, no effect; 9 to 11, +1. If their rating was 12, then it’s an automatic pass.
One can see that this is the same mechanism as used in the game for units with leaders. It also easy enough to extend this decision-making mechanism to every aspect of the game when there is more than one option.
On to the next scenario: Hold on Tight. First timers, the Livonians, make their appeance as Wult von Drimmerstein (12) comes up against Gibhard Verdmos the Burgundian (9). This one should prove interesting as whichever unit Drimmerstein attaches himself to will always pass any test required of it. Oh, the choices to be made. Cheers.
The look on Drusilla’s face said it all. She beamed first at the messenger and then at her maids-in-waiting. One of them, a dowdy-looking thing, slowly approached her mistress.
“Milady, is it good news?”
Drusilla nodded. “Yes, Matilla. Yes. Lady de Broghe has confirmed that it’s two cups of sweetener and not four as we both thought.”
Matilla’s face suddenly cracked. Her hands went to her wrinkly face and slapped them. Milo looked first at the maid and then at the mistress. His own appearance was ruffled a little; after all, he’d ridden miles, survived an ambush, even winning plaudits for his handling of the escort after Longface had keeled over with a severe case of a headache (lopped off, so he recalls).
“Will that be all, milady?” He stayed bowed over, wanting to retch some at the grumbling of his stomach. It seems warfare delays all normal bodily functions at times. His was now just starting to make itself felt. He needed to depart. Quickly.
The lady glanced briefly over to the tiny man who seemed to reek of something distinctly unpleasant. She touched her lips with her scented kerchief, enjoying the pleasant floral fragrance. She waved her hanky in a dismissive manner, gesturing to the two guards, and promptly forgetting the messenger as her eyes returned to the parchment. The recipe for gateaux for tonight’s feast would be the talk of the manor, she speculated. And all would be praising her for her dedication and generosity to her arts. Already Matilla and a couple of the other maids were chatting away, planning this-and-that. Even the normally quiet wolfhound perked its ears up, thinking another bone was coming its way, perhaps?
As Milo squeezed himself out the oddly narrow door, a squeaking fart snuck out. It seemed to expand into a wet slurping sound as he shunted out in quick hopping steps. The narrow door slammed shut behind him.
In keeping with removing the gamer element, I’ve come up with a very simple way to generate boasts without bias. It is meant to be random. Sometimes though it will produce interesting outcomes, such as the boasts generated for Scenario One.
I allocate the D6 as follows:
- 1 &2 – Boast Level One
- 3 & 4 – Boast Level Two
- 5 & 6 – Boast Level Three
The rules states that a maximum of three boasts are permitted per scenario. Taking that maximum as your guide, roll nine D6 (three per Glory). For every three dice of the same level, one actual Boast is generated. Overs are ignored.
Finally, roll a single D6 to determine what the Boast is. Note that the rules only list five options. So if you roll a six, reroll until you get a result.