2017 Lion Rampant Campaign Season

28 April 2017

Selected pictures from Scenario 6. Cheers.

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Update: Batrep Scenario 6, 2017 season

Well what can I say? They keep dropping like flies this season. First it was Gaston. Then the pair of Gundar and Michel. Now it’s Raimond du Lac. He didn’t die gloriously but rather ordinarily as he led his mounted tin cans towards the third haystack (target). Unfortunately he forgot the expert archer units protecting that precious piece of cut grass: it was GXA1 which did the damage.

Pics to follow I guess.

Basically, it started as expected: the two haystacks closest Raimond’s deployment were surrounded in the opening moves. But for some reason neither stack would ignite for a couple of turns. Rather than set up camp just to light some haystacks, Raimond moved on, leaving it for those behind to torch. Well, that plan worked perfectly. But things started to go pear-shape for the Bassilians as accurate missile fire quickly whittled down his attacks.

First, it was his mounted tin cans. Then the semi-tin cans (the mounted serjeants) were repulsed by the sheltered Gelf crossbows in the farmhouse at the crossroads a couple of times before they wisely waited for their own crossbows to move up in support. But then Verdmos and his foot unit (bodyguard tin cans) waltzed on up and smashed the crossbows before they could say “hello”.

The Bassilian skirmishing units had mixed success. B1 managed to inflict casualties on the FAA unit but not enough to stop them from defeating both crossbows and B2. B2? Well, let’s just say its commander was not on his game today; mind you, he’s lying in some muddy field with enough cut marks on him to make him look like a christmas paper decoration!

The game ended when the Gelfs managed to knock off 12 points of value from the raiding Bassilians.

Casualties:
Bassilians:

  • Raimond du Lac
  • 5 x MAA (men-at-arms)
  • 1 unit of Crossbows (12 figs)
  • 2 MSJ (mounted serjeants)
  • 1 unit of Bidowers (6 figs)

Gelfs:

  • 4 x FAA (foot-at-arms)
  • 1 x crossbowman (fell on his own sword by accident)

Full write-up in the August issue of Quarterstaff for those faintly interested.


27 April 2017

Need some motivatin’ for a bootyful Turdsday. Need some nasty ass funk cos I’m smokin’……

Batrep to follow after some smokin’……


Update:

I forgot to mention Robert of Kent, the newest member of the Gelf faction. It seems the Tourmonne family are still debating over who should succeed dear Gaston. There is little I can speak of Robert of Kent other than he is English, and the “new kid on the block”. He doesn’t have any role other than an active replacement for Gaston; no change to the command structure. Robert will debut in Scenario 8, replacing Gaston. How he fares will be revealed in the batreps of Issue 12 of Quarterstaff. Cheers.


23 April 2017

Just psyching myself up for another game of Lion Rampant. I say this as a game tends to go longer than the normal 8 moves you normally get. May incorporate some mechanism that lessens the number of moves for Season 3.

Anyway, I have been seeing this image of Jersu de Baxal inside my head for a while now. Before I sketch it up and showcase it, I figure to further “flesh” him out further as a character. Hopefully, he doesn’t turn out to be a caricature. In fact, I will do this for his faction, and slowly work my way through the rest.


THE BASSILIAN FACTION

JERSU DE BAXAL
He’s young. Given his station in life, he’s also travelled widely. He’s been on the Crusades. He’s impulsive in action but he’s also popular with those he leads. He is charismatic, attracting more level-headed and sensible fellows. He is of average height (around 5′ 6″) with a solid stout build, thick red straight hair cut short (like those bowl heads you sometimes see in later medieval portraits). He has blue eyes, short button nose, broad cheeks, clean-shaven with a ready smile. He still has all his teeth. He has a passion for the outdoors and is often seen on the training fields or else hunting his manse with his cohorts of close friends. He is attentive when it suits him and headstrong on most things. As a commander, he is seen as rash and prone to react before thinking. Fortunately, his closest ally and friend is Hugh FitzPontey, a Norman with a dour mood but sharp head militarily.

Jersu has resisted as long as he could. But his father’s final demand he wed or else forsake his inheritance saw him wed to Abigail of Halbeur. She is ten. When first introduced, Jersu took one look at her and laughed. “She is but a child. I will not marry a child!” He refused to have anything to do with her for a long while. But his father’s willpower was greater than Jersu who still feared his father. Vasso de Baxal needed the alliance with Abigail’s family, the powerful Ilpons from the north west, and not even his son’s reluctance would prevent that from happening. Or blossoming new ties. Abigail’s dowry was substantial – estates north and far west. Just by marrying her, Jersu’s personal fortune now made him a very wealthy noble.

HUGH FITZPONTEY
Older than Jersu (around 32), Hugh is a veteran. He is slightly taller than his younger friend and master – @ 5′ 8″. He is also solidly built with a slight pot belly. He has greying dark hair, a handlebar moustache. Eyes are slate-coloured. He walks with a slight limp on his right side. He is left-handed. Known to say little most times but has a commanding voice when he uses it, especially on the battlefield. Travelled widely – France, Central Europe, Byzantium, the Holy Lands, even Aegypt. A widower, Hugh is content to settle for the occasional creature comfort from random maids and lonely wives. Hugh and Jersu have been long-time friends since the Holy Lands when the youngster was taken under Hugh’s wing; that relationship has continued unabated up to current times.

RAIMOND DU LAC
The former steward of the de Baxals’ lands. He was appointed by Vasso to keep an eye on Jersu. He and Hugh have a mutual respect for each other but they are not close. Loyal to a fault…to Vasso, Raimond often despairs at the Jersu’s political naivety and lack of military acumen but is grateful that Hugh is there to help curb Jersu’s worst excesses. Tall with dark hair, brown eyes, a long hook nose, Raimond wields a morning star as his preferred weapon, enjoying closing with an opponent. Trusted with some of the more dangerous missions by Vasso, Raimond tends to act independently of Jersu, something that privately irritates the young commander. Yet he is smart enough to appreciate the former steward as a valuable ally.

OTHER MEMBERS OF THE BASSILIAN FACTION
At the moment, these three constitute the entire faction. Their ongoing successful means I have no plans to expand the crew other than if one should fall. It’s a fairly strong and stable faction at the moment.


THE GELF FACTION

Key members: Gibhard de Verdhmos (the Burgundian), Alac des Bullivars

The sudden death of Gaston de Tourmonne, head of the Gelfs in this volatile region, meant the faction was without leadership. Gibhard, nominally second-in-command, was busy with his own concerns within his area of operations. Likewise Alac. The pair felt that the head of the Gelfs would eventually send someone; in the meantime, the pair had to do with the best they could. Luckily, the Gelfs were the strongest in terms of wealth and resources available.

GIBHARD DE VERDHMOS (the BURGUNDIAN)
Tall for his period (6′ 0″) Gibhard is a shrewd manipulator who somehow was recruited by Gaston before the troubles flared up. He is in his mid-twenties, black straight hair that is already going bald on the top. He had sharp features that gives him the appearance of a hawk, especially with his large black eyes. Many are wary around him and he isn’t exactly the warmest of persons to know. But Gaston saw something in him, enough to make him his deputy and entrust him with a portion of his estate to oversee. Gibhard’s heritage is of impoverished petty nobility. Gibhard’s current position is due to his considerable talents to profit from his circumstance. And no doubt, the sudden death of his patron is one such opportunity he aims to profit from considerably. To that end, he is eyeing the widow of poor Gaston already.

ALAC DES BULLIVARS
Allied to the Gelf cause for many decades, Alac reaffirmed that alliance when his father died and left him the lands and estates of the Bullivars, along with the growing debts incurred. Alac is basically a good knight who is overwhelmed by circumstance not of his origin. And the stress manifests itself in his oft heavy-handed approach in his dealings with others except his closest friends and family. Fair-haired. Dull blue eyes. Average height and build. Solid-looking face without any of Gibhard’s deviousness, Alac enjoys an easy familiarity and confidence with the Tourmonne family because he grew up with most of that generation. Bearded. Married. Devoted to his wife and young family. Friendly with most of the other nobility. Charles, his nearest neighbour is also his best friend.

Cheers.


15 April 2017

As mentally and emotionally draining as a game of solo Lion Rampant can be, it is also one of life’s little pleasures. As they say, you only get out of it what you put into it. Some people go the whole nine yards – tables and minis. And when you see such tables or see the models painstakingly done up and the involvement of those playing the system, you just have to smile.

Tonight was another game that went right down to the bitter end. And like Alac’s famous stand against the Flemish, so too did this scenario somehow end up with the single warrior left standing facing superior odds with no chance at all and still he charges to his doom. What a miniature!

Tonight’s scenario is a familiar one – Hammer and Anvil. Your basic envelopment manoeuvre with a cornered/trap foe. Most times you’d expect the surrounded fools to meekly give in. But not tonight; not these bandits, these bandoleros.

The trap was set by Gundar of Leihorn, a keen young warrior-monk. Ambitious to the fault of being overbearing, domineering and authoritarian, Gundar seems to have volunteered to tackle these bandits now plaguing the newly-acquired no-mans land in the Falors mountains.

The victim is Michel Polmaine, he of the Polmaine triplets, successful brigand and outlaw. Leader of one of the many banditry, Michel is ravaging the landscape with regular impunity. Is there not a group who can bring him to justice? Gundar seems to think he can do it. But he is also keenly aware that achieving this difficult task will hopefully endear him with the new Chapter Master.

Initially, the raiders chose to just race as quickly as they could towards safety on the western edge when only a unit of mounted Serjeants were patrolling. Michel noticed the Livonian knights at the crossroad. He also spotted the skirmishers there. But his eye was on escaping. Therefore he told his group to make their own way to the border.  He chose to attach himself to one of his skirmisher groups instead of the heavy armoured mounted men-at-arms who were on the other flank.

Surprisingly, neither side activated on Turn One. Turn Two, however, was a different story as the Livonian yeomanry showed up in their rear. The raiders’ skirmishers were the only one able to react quickly enough as they peppered the new arrivals. Even the expert archer unit got in on the act and actually routed two of the three yeomanry units. This would be one of two major surprises of this night game.

The second occurred towards the end when there was only two Livonian units left on the table – the mounted Serjeants and the remaining yeomanry. They had been dogging the enemy leader and his skirmishers and somehow managed to wipe them out as well as kill off the enemy leader. This was in retaliation for the earlier demise of Gundar who was taken out by the raiders’ mounted men-at-arms.

The two Livonian units managed to surprise the two remaining raiding missile units – a crossbow unit and the unit of expert archers who had accounted for two foot units. It began when the remaining Livonian yeomanry surprised and attacked the crossbow who somehow managed to beat off the attack and rout their foes. But they were in turn routed by the remaining mounted Serjeants. The archers turned their attention to the mounted and managed to knock out all but one.

And it would be that lone Baltic warrior who would cause the archers to retire initially, stunned somehow by his fierce assaults. As he prepared for another attack, however, the archers calmly shot him down.

The heavy mounted men-at-arms made it off the board. That left just the remnants of the archers alone on the battlefield.

The table. Left picture shows the western table edge where the lone mounted serjeants roamed/patrolled. Right picture shows the central zone where Gundar and his knights waited supported by a unit of skirmishers.

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Gundar, the knights and the skirmishers

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Looking northward showing deployment of M. Polmaine’s retinue. Bottom to top: Mounted men-at-arms, crossbows, archers, mounted serjeants. Beyond them are the two units of skirmisher. Michel is with the skirmishers.

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M. Polmaine and the two skirmisher units

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Turn Two sees the sudden appearance of the Livonian yeomanry. Yoemanry unit 1 manages to outlast Yoemanry 2 which is soon shot to pieces by the skirmishers and archers.

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Towards the end of the game now. The final moments before the unknown Baltic last man standing heroically charges the recovering archers only to find himself an instant pin cushion.

Next batrep will be Russian Civil War. And then for something different: American Civil War and Micro Amour WW2. Cheers.

 


14 April 2017

Been meaning to come back with some more batreps, but I’ve gotten easily distracted by other activities. Anyway, here is the next batrep of the new campaign season. After the unexpected demise of Gaston de Tourmonne, the Gelf faction have been fairly active while awaiting their new “master”.

This quick batrep is the Gentle Stroll scenario where one force attempts to escape at the opposite corner whilst fighting off an enemy force coming at him from two directions. Combatants are a Gelf faction force (led by Alac des Bullivars) and a Flemish/Saxanisson force (led by Falwin van Eebacht).

The Gelfs had a simple plan: reach the safety zone (the SE corner of the table) as quickly as possible, and not allow their opponents to dissuade them from reaching safety.

The Flemish had chosen to split their force into two equal forces seeking to whittle down their opponents: one half would make initial attacks from the SW corner and using the woods to help approach as close as possible. Meanwhile the other half of the Flemish force would head to the crossroads and set up as a blocking force.

The Flemish plan started off well enough as Falwin and his only mounted troops surprised their enemy in the flank. The foot unit attached also contacted the flank guard. The Gelfs overreacted dealing to the flank threat. Although they managed to rout the foot serjent unit, they had lost some of their own and the second half of Falwin’s force were now ensconced at the crossroads.

The Gelf tried to force their way through using their mounted knights. But the Flemish foot were up to the task and were able to repel the several attacks directed at them. Their stand plus supporting fire from the crossbows saw the knights lose out heavily. The Gelf foot tried to add their support but were firmly dealt to and ended up routing off the battle ground.

That soon led to the downfall of the Gelf as losses mounted up until finally Alac was the only one left. He chose to die in battle and charged the exuberant Flemish foot thinking he would surrender. While he did not die, Alac managed to push the foot back. He then challenged an approaching Falwin. The Flemish soldier easily accepted the challenge and the two met. But neither were destined to fall. Falwin graciously allowed his opponent free and safe passage through his lines.

“Till we meet again on fair grounds,” he said in parting. Alac saluted him but said nothing as he passed through the parting Flemish lines.

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The next batrep features two ‘new’ characters – Michel Polmaine (Bandit) and Gundar of Leihorn (Livonian). Cheers.


1 February 2017

Repeating myself but this is the photo batrep of last night’s surprising result.

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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.

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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.

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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 Narrative

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!

The aftermath

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.

Activation
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.

Update

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

Prologue

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.

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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.

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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)?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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BOASTS

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.


EPILOGUE

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.

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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.

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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.

20170124_142053

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.

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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.

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This melee seesaws back and forth for several turns and with no clear outcome initially.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Boasts

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.

Outcome

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.


EPILOGUE

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.


POSTSCRIPT

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.

 

 

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Author: b20f08

I enjoy solo wargaming and writing. The first caters to the boy that never grew up; the latter satisfies a deep desire to communicate. Cheers.

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