The Viking Legal Team in Action

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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Basing [3]: on the table with OHW #11: Surprise Attack, AAR

With another draft of the Dark Ages rules in the offing, and additional fine tuning as well as some interesting mechanics being tried out from the Great Northern War rules from the yahoogroup, I felt it was high time to try another OHW scenario.  This scenario is based on Quatre Bras loosely, in that the Red defender has 1/3 of their force securely deployed between impassible obstacles [here, a large wood and a marsh] blocking the road to a strategic crossroads, while the other two thirds march to the rescue.  The Blue attacker is attempting to steal a march around the defender's left flank, and crush a portion of the force while seizing the crossroads.  Accordingly, Blue has all 6 units, Red has two, with two more entering the fight on Turns 3 and 9.  I assure you, the wait between turn 3 and 9 is a long, long time!

As has been my experience the entire time working with Neil Thomas' "One-Hour Wargames" rules, the undefined mechanics are a bit of a problem.  It becomes extremely important to understand exactly how Units move in relation to one another and how contact between them occurs, historically and in game terms, to provide a game experience that is a fun balance of history and playability - especially in one hour!  I have had to introduce a few rules to make up for both simplicity and a-historic "feel" [I say feel since it is more art than science, whatever some people claim].  

For example, the RAW says that Units may turn at the start and/or end of their moves.  In essence, this gives them a full move backwards [Turn 180, move full, Turn 180].  While the RAW don't give scale, a 12" archery range means that it is about 10m/inch, so a unit is about 50m wide, or about 50 men wide, by 10 deep.  It seems very maneuverable for 500 men on such a scale to move that quickly retrograde.  My clarification of the rules lengthened archery to 18", gives the ground scale at 30m/6", and a Unit is 200 foot or 100 mounted / skirmishers, with a time of about 10 min a turn [understanding that about half of it is wasted time].

In any event, below are the pics of the belligerents, sporting their new basing.  I doubled the figs and base size, with a higher base [see the preceding posts] and am now pleased with the durability, handling, and posability of the figures. Amazing how satisfying it all is when I decided to just game for myself and not worry about the gaming community and its standards!

Below, my defenders, the Red team of Sir William Marshal, with his standard, and a body of his men at arms - infantry. He adds one Hit per melee while the banner rallies off 1-2 Hits per turn, even in melee.  The Infantry halve Hits against them due to their armor, shields and endurance.

Next to them is a Unit of Archers, here modeled as crossbows. They shoot and melee at d5-1 and have three shots.  They cannot charge while they still have arrows - bolts, as the case is here.  The shot also shows the cardboard I'm using to give the bases some depth and natural slope.

Below are the Blue attackers.  Three Units of Knights, again with a bit of pose, the right Unit being in almost a wedge while the others have some dynamic story as well, with all having the same cardboard on the base to give it some undulating slope feel.  Best of all, the horses tails and the knights weapons are a lot safer than previously, as nearly nothing overhangs the bases!

Below are the Welsh archers supporting this marcher lord - each with three shots again shooting and melee is at d5-1. By contrast, the Infantry are d5 and the knights d5+2. Behind you can see the Red starting force blocking the road between the marsh [right] and the woods [left].

Below, the Blue Infantry, well-equipped Swabian figs from Old Glory. The pic doesn't show the basing up well, but they look good with the blue knight on a little height and a soon-to-be standard bearer behind him.  Did the conversion today and he's looking great.

Below, the game at end of Blue T1.  The Blue knights have advanced close enought to pin the Red force.  Red Archers can't charge, so the Infantry are the only attacking option, but they'd be flanked by the other knight unit if they tried it, a sure way for them to be wiped out in 2-3 turns.  

This is a good example of mechanics I've felt obligated to introduce - Archers aren't about to charge mounted knights, especially if they've perfectly good bolts to shoot [without return shots].  Also, it seems very "gamey" to me to allow a unit to move very very very close to another unit and "interdict" it by exploiting the movement rules, yet not contact them; I therefore added a rule that you can't close within a Base Depth of another Unit's front unless they are in melee or you are closing to melee them.

Blue Knight 3 works the flank followed up by Blue Infantry, while the 2 Archers are in position and range to shoot next turn in support of the Blue Knight charge on the Red Archers [crossbows].

Red T1. Despite the desperate situation, I decide to shoot with the Archers then follow up with a quick charge by the infantry.  If Blue Knight 2 charges into their flank, Red Archers can shoot into it, and they also won't be fighting the weaker Archers who're now holding the road against the entire Blue army!  A tough and unexpected choice, but seems worth the risk. Red inflicts 6 total Hits with the Archers and Infantry.

End of T2.  Blue charged in support of Knights 1, grabbing the opportunity to take out Red Infantry.  After some thinking, this seemed like the right thing to do.  Blue Knight 3 works the flank followed by their Infantry.  The Archers move up instead of shooting. The combination of Hero and Banner plus Red charging first has resulted in them being in the lead, 11 to 7 in Hits inflicted.  This makes it even more important that Blue Knight 2 supported their brothers in arms.

Turn 3. Blue Knights roll up and destroy Red Infantry, taking out the banner and Hero with it.  Lucky for Knight 1!  Red Knights charge onto the board to support their Lord but it is too late - William Marshal is captured.  Red knights are mutually supporting, with Knight 3 on the right protecting Knight 2's flank.  The Red Archers must be nervous, but perhaps not? You can just see the Welsh monk has moved over to the badly damaged Knight 1 to help rally them.  He permits d5 Hits to be rallied off, but the Unit can't do anything else, not move, nor shoot or melee.  Blue's Welsh Archers continue to move in support and save their arrows.

Turn 4. Blue sidled into contact with the Red Archers.  I allow a unit a straight d5 move in any direction, which can get into melee contact regardless of frontal arc as long as that front corner can contact an enemy unit - my thinking is when your only about 10-20 meters away, it's easy to get into contact in any direction. These aren't rigid formations but more like "blobs" of soldiers.  

Blue Knight 3 also charges up, with their Infantry moving around the flank. Welsh archers shoot in support of the attacks.  Red retaliates with a risky charge through the gap that nearly destroys Blue Knights 2 with the Archer's limited melee support!  But at 14 Hits they're still in the fight, so "close, but not good enough". Blue Knight 1 now charges into support Knights 2 while the mercenary Crossbows struggle to survive.

End of T5.  Blue Knight 2 falls, while Red crossbows [Archers] survive.  Maybe Red Knight 2's charge wasn't in vain?  Still, they've taken a lot of Hits...Welsh shoot a volley in support of Blue Knight 3.

End T6. Red resistance collapses with the death of Red Knight 2 and the crossbows, AND Red Knight 3.  With no force on the board, a rallying personality and time to prepare defenses against the Red forces arriving from the left board edge road on T9, Red has to concede.  

I probably should've played more conservative with Red Knight 2, but was hoping to extricate the crossbows while destroying Blue Knight 2 and holding off Blue Knight 1 - remember, they can't rally Hits using the monk while in melee.

I played the scenario about seven times, first with a Welsh force against a Knight force, and then with identical medieval knight forces.  The Welsh cavalry has a lot less punch, being armed with javelins and not being knights.  Still, their mobility is crucial to pinning down the Red blocking force.  While it was tricky, and closer to fight with the Welsh, I still felt that they could do it unless they made an error.

While it is easy to lose as the Blue attacker, it is still essentially Blue's to lose.  The key here is the mechanics of the game become extremely important.  It is a close run thing to pin the two initial defending units in place.  Failure to do so has them immediately retreating down the road to the strategic crossroads and closer to reinforcements on T3. While this also places them in the danger zone of any fast moving attackers who are moving down the open - if narrow - corridor to the right of the marsh, it is still preferable to being run over by the entire Blue force!  The first several times I played it, I knew I'd lost it for Blue within a few turns about half the time.  However, once I'd gotten it figure out, I won it three times straight for Blue with no bright ideas for Red coming to mind.

Several small but important rules clarifications came about. It's only reasonable that not only can LoS be drawn from the center of a Unit, but that >half the base side is unobstructed. Units can't get closer than 2.5" to a Unit's front unless it is in melee or they melee it.  This prevented "gamey" blocking maneuvers that make a big difference in a maneuver scenario. I also clarified and simplified the "Initiative Move" of 1d5 in any direction, with no corner of the Base moving > than the amount rolled.  This can be a move to contact with a front side or corner as usual, regardless of frontal arc. This came up and worked well.

A few of the battles I tried different combat resolution methods, but they just added more work counting dice and didn't add much while saving the "1/2 Hits rolled up" for Armor, I don't find the math hard so returned to my usual system.  

I also tried using the d6 again, and I even played once with only the RAW!  Interestingly, got the same result with only a couple of things that were too predictable, but I enjoy the friction of rolling dice for movement and using the d5 instead of the d6 for combat.  I do feel that the 2-5 roll with doubles on 3 and 4 makes for a more comfortable bell curve effect. It's also more emotionally satisfying than rolling the occasional '1'!

Will clean up and post the rules anew soon.  Meanwhile, happy to have enjoyed several games in about an hour or even a half hour at times.  It's a simple, interesting system with just a little tweaking and rules clarifying that makes for a satisfying game with good feel, getting one "there" with only a small fraction of the rules muddling of a more complicated set, yet still leaving lots of interesting tactical decisions in place.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Basing [2]: Making bases on the cheap

So in the continuing saga of rebasing my dark ages and medieval collection, I'm now at the stage of making the bases.  I always find this a pain and have to psyche myself up for it.  I tried sawing by hand but the material is pretty tough.  It cuts very clean but takes several minutes a cut.  In the end, I went to Home Depot and bought a box of the Hickory laminate flooring...
...since it was the right thickness and the cheapest at $15 for a dozen or more 8.5 x 45" sheets. Since I'm cutting 2.5" wide and 5" long, that's 27 bases a sheet or so.  At ten bases per army [6 on the table] that's about 3 armies a sheet for my OHW rules.

With so much cutting, I had to go to a pal with gear.  We used his table saw to cut the 2.5 inch strips, then the mitre box saw to chop them into 5" lengths.  We rigged a block of wood as a stop at the 5" length, so cutting was pretty quick.  I did nearly 100 bases in about two hours total, including a beer break and everything else.

fresh cut showing the stop.

Laying the cut

Dropping the blade.  Queen's Club tennis pullover not required - but warm!

The bottom of the base has the hickory side, a white looking wood. The top started as the brown laminate substance.  It's now been sprayed with my go-to base spray, "Make it Suade!" which is a muddy brown color perfect for basing.  It also is textured and seems to hold paint, glue, etc better.

Removing figures can be a pain.  These were easy b/c they were glued on with a brittle white glue [Elmers] that snaps under even gentle tapping.  I highly recommend using it over a more flexible white glue - when you redo things, it is a lot easier to work with! Here, I'm gently tapping the end of a battered old large X-acto blade, which pops off the figure.  As they are protected with the miracle dip, there's little chance of scratching them in this process.  Scratching of the hand, a bit of a chance so care is needed as with anything sharp! Mothers told me not to run in the house with bases and X-Acto blades, so I try to remember that...

With larger bases, there's some opportunity for more interesting terrain and adding height / depth.  I cut multiple layers of thin corrugated cardboard from a squashed box, and made a little bit of undulation on some bases.  Behind, you can see what a unit looked like in my old WRG/DBA basing, altho I mainly used them for Terry Gore's "Medieval Warfare" actually.  The basing was uninteresting and flat since the bases were so small.  As one must try things on for size, I deployed my Welsh archers on the cardboard to see how they looked.

Pleased with the results, I glued the cardboard onto the bases with Elmer's white glue.

And found two useful weights to settle the little hills.  This is the most useful thing I've found for "Mysterium", altho the Topical Analysis of the Bible by Elwell is quite handy.  I left them to dry overnight.  Worth mentioning here is to have a good idea of how the drying times fit into your schedule.  As this sort of gluing is a mindless activity, I do it at night after the Little Man is abed, then leave overnight. Rising early and doing this before work gives you the work day for drying, also.

Next day, I glued the Welsh archers onto the unit bases.  I also set up the Mercenary Crossbowmen.  This gives me two Units per side of Archers, which is all I need for the rules at this time.  As some of the other figures are based a bit more intricately, I'll use these as my test run.

And here they are drying.  Note how one can make little formations or stories with the basing.  The Crossbows at left have a few guys marching into the line, while others loose bolts at the enemy.  The other Unit is in the middle of firing and reloading.

Next time: I'll sculpt the bases and see how they look, then work on the flocking, etc.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Basing [1] - the eternal question...

OK, so I'm feeling very good about this game system, where it is going, and how well it fits into my present limits of time and gaming opponents or attendees.  In short, I'm coming up with consistent interesting battles against myself or anyone else, or even just hosting, that make me motivated to game and paint.  And that's my present standard for gaming.  It has to be fun and interesting, historical without painful, and fit into may life as a hobby.  

The problem that it's revealing is an old one for my 25mm WRG/DBA bases.  My 25mm figs, despite being the smaller Old Glory ones [as opposed to the super-sized 28mm British style] often don't quite fit onto the bases, especially if they've dynamic poses and leveled spears and shields.  This results in needless wear and tear on the figs from scratches by spears, and loosened and damaged spears themselves.  As I'm planning to replace broken weapons with plastics, this is more of a concern. Finally, I'm just saying to myself...why should anyone touch the figures at all??

Below pic shows that in an effort to have my figures in "realistic" group poses and a bit of dynamic appearance, they themselves and their weapons hang off the end of the base. Horse tails and knight lances are especially vulnerable. These stands are what I'm using for Units with my DA rules. They are 120mm wide x 80/60mm deep depending on how I was using them for DBA and other games. Now, I'm thinking that 5" x 2.5" is the perfect size...

This moves me to consider thicker bases that would be how people move the unit.  Also, having multiple bases just increases the chance of them falling over.  It also takes longer to move them, adding to game time.  Tight space also means little room for creativity - a larger base would permit me to make more diorama - like units and such.

Note the 4-stand infantry Units.  But even the 2-stand knights bang into each other on slopes when they tilt into each other sideways, and I dropped off the table a stand of the Welsh bowmen, bending and breaking a lot of the threaded work I'd done.  Ugh.

All the figures / stands / bases are presently resting upon my solution to the problem.  They are free flooring samples from Home Depot.  "Pergo-Presto" is quite thick at almost 8mm

While "Homeland" and "Trafficmaster" are almost 6mm thick.  You can see a height pick below, with Trafficmaster left, and Pergo-Presto right, my home made base between.  I think I made those about 15-20 years ago, buying cheap slats of wood, staining them with Minwax Cherry, then cutting them in 60mm segments with my dad's bandsaw.

And as they come in machine-cut segments of 3.5x5", they are almost ready for me to use. Below pic has my 4-base Unit of Welsh archers WRG/DBA sized with depth/width comparison of the floor samples.  You can see that they're almost the same size, anyway.  I just don't have as many modeling and protecting options since they're all towards the middle of four small bases instead of one large one:

So with 3.5" being too deep, and also not matching the "synergy" of having bases that are half as deep as they are wide, I decided to see what I'd get out of a 2.5" deep base, especially for the knights:
Side view above is very promising.  Only a little bit of lance is sticking out, would be much better then present situation, especially since the figures would be much farther away from each other.  I'm not worried about the lances touching each other - they're piano wire.  I worry more about what they touch, including my fingers!  

Top-view, below shows that the 2.5" depth, total of 5" deep for two opposing, touching Unit-sizedbases: 

My conclusion is that I'm going to go for this flooring as my course of action.  One-piece bases loses a bit of "posing" flexibility, but these Units do not need to form columns and squares and hedgehogs and whatever.  They will also hang together better on sloped terrain. Plus I'm looking forward to cool diorama-type layouts, including some slopes and dips and dead figs.  It will be fun to do, appealing for the gamers, and as long as I strongly advise and encourage people to not touch the figs, it should allow them to survive longer. Also, as I plan to try some plastics, those are definitely not figs I want people picking up stands by!

More on this situation as it develops - I'm figuring out the removal of figures from the old bases and the cutting even as I write this...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

NT OHW Medieval Rules: only 2 Pages!

Well, due to the relative simplicity of the types presented, and my not being keen to add any others [altho the medieval world had a fair amount of variety, really] the adaptation of my Dark Ages rules into the Medieval period has made for a very small set.  

It is suitable for relatively straightforward battles between similar Feudal forces of knights supported by dismounted knights, archers and infantry.  Due to my figures being from the early medieval period, I toned down the archery from a devastating d6+2 to my d5+0.  I am still working on relative values, but I think d5-1, d5, and d5+1 are all valid, relatively speaking, for the Units.  Anyway, below are the rules, give them a playtest and let me know what you think!

Grey Areas.  Any situation not explicitly covered in the rules, or a measurement that is “too close to call”, should be defined in “either/or” terms and resolved with a friendly roll off in the winner’s favor.

Pre-measuring.  Distances between Units may be measured at any time.

Units.  There are four types of Units in the feudal rules, representing the most common types.
1.    Knights have chain mail, shields, and not very large horses.  They charge aggressively but their lack of cohesion and horse armor results in them being vulnerable to casualties.
2.    Men at Arms are dismounted knights on foot, or well-armed and armored professionals.  Their armor and shield protect them and they are better able to fight together on foot than mounted knights.
3.    Serjeants are armed and fight effectively, similar to MaA but have poorer armor. 
4.    Archers are trained professionals using a crossbow with adequate armor and weapons to fight a melee if forced.  Others are bowmen with little armor and few weapons.  Either may be trained in shooting volleys.  They’ve enough missiles to endanger their targets and to shoot effectively through a battle.

Figures & Basing.  4-6 inch frontage per Unit with no prescribed depth, figure size or number per base.  Mine are two adjacent 6cm bases of 2-6 25mm figures [WRG standard], for a total of 12cm [47/8”] or 5 bases of 2x1” cavalry singles.  This makes all my Units about 5” wide, and 1.5-2” deep. 

Dice.  For more averaged results, I use a d5, which is the UK “average dice”, having pips of 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, eliminating 1 & 6.  If you want more extremes, use a d6.  Try using a d6 for Warband and d5 for Infantry.

Line of Sight.  LoS is measured from a Unit's front center point to the center of a fully visible side of the Target Unit Base: Front, Left, Right or Rear.  It is blocked by anything apparently taller than the height of the figures, e.g. hills, woods, buildings, and Units [elephants are higher than cavalry are higher than infantry].
·         Units may see 4” into and out of woods, town, and hills [plateau effect] but not through two sides. 
·         Units must have LoS to shoot or charge enemy Units at the time of the shot or charge.

Front, Flank & Rear.  These are measured from the Unit corners, 45° arcs off the front, rear or each base side.  The location of a Unit’s Front center determines if it is in an enemy Unit’s Front, Flank or Rear Facing.

Play Sequence.  A full turn has each player taking four phases:
Attacker  [player A]: 1) Shooting, 2) Movement, 3) Melee, 4) Routs and Rallies
Defender [player D]: 1) Shooting, 2) Movement, 3) Melee, 4) Routs and Rallies

Players sequentially move their Units, with no corner exceeding the total distance rolled in inches. 
1.    Class 1.  All Foot               move 1d5, +2”
2.    Class 2.  Knights               move 3d5, +2”           
To fit through a gap or move along a road, the two bases may be placed one behind the other, or the cavalry bases may move sideways or in a column of bases for appearances sake.  There’s no game difference for a “column” as the warriors are just flowing through a gap or along a road.

Turning.  Units rotate on their center or center-front up to 180°. Turns are not measured but are movement.
1.    Foot may Turn once, at the start OR end of their move.
2.    Knights may Turn twice, once at the start AND once at the end of their move.
3.    Any Unit in melee contact with Unit(s), none on its front facing, may face one of the Unit(s) with its front.  The Unit turns a full 90° or 180° and enemy Unit bases are adjusted to maintain contact. 
Terrain.  There are two terrain types, Linear and Area.  Linear are 6-12” long x 1-3” wide.  Area are 6-12” per side or diameter.  Building or tree models are only decorative – move as needed to position Units.
·         Hills. Area.  No movement effect.  Defensive bonus when uphill.
·         Villages, Woods, Brush, Marsh.  Area. Only Skirmishers and Raiders may enter, 4” movement penalty.  Defensive bonus if entirely inside.
·         Lakes & Rivers.  Impassible Area and Linear respectively. Units may cross at a bridge or ford.
·         Walls, Gullies. Linear. No movement effect but defensive bonus.
·         Roads. Linear. Units get a 4” bonus if entirely following a road and not Charging.

Interpenetration. None is allowed  – Units may not move through each other..

Charging.  Charge moves end with the Unit in Contact with an enemy Unit.
1.    Eligible Target Units must have any part of their base within the Charging Unit’s Front arc and in LoS, and the closest LoS distance between the two Units must be less than the movement amount rolled.
2.    Contact is then made by moving along the shortest legal move from the Charging Unit’s Front Facing towards the center of any Facing that is not already in contact, maximizing the amount of edge to edge Contact, if any, and minimizing any gap using all available movement to do so.  It then stops moving.  
3.    Contact may be made by only one attacking Unit per facing; front, rear and each flank.
There is no additional free movement to achieve fully aligned edge-to-edge contact [the so-called “closing the door” of DBA and other rules].   Any gaps are assumed to be filled with fighting men!

Archer Units may shoot missiles with these restrictions:
·         Range is 12” for bows or crossbows.
·         Archers may not shoot if they moved during the Movement Phase, but may have turned.
·         Crossbows may not shoot if they moved or turned during the Movement Phase.
·         Fulfilling the above LoS and other restrictions, shooting into a melee is permitted.
Roll 1D5 if the Unit is armed with bows, or +1 if armed with crossbows.  This gives the number of
Hits against the Target Unit, modified as follows:
o   Terrain.  Units defending woods, villages or walls halve Hits [round up].
o   Men at Arms.  Have heavy armor and large shields, so they halve Hits [round up] from shooting at their front or flank facings.
o   Unshielded or unprepared. Double Hits from Units shooting into the rear Facing. 
o   Stacked Modifiers. The max defensive benefit any Unit may receive is ¼ Hits [1/2x1/2].

One-Sided Melee.  Units only inflict casualties during their own player turn.  Roll 1D5 for the Unit, getting +2 if Knights but -2 if Archers – Bow and -1 if Archers - Crossbow.  Modify this result as follows:
·         Terrain. Units uphill or defending woods / river bank / gully / wall halve Hits [round up].
·         Men at Arms. Their armor allows them to halve Hits [rounded up].
·         Unshielded or Unprepared.  Double Hits by Units attacking on the rear or flank facing.
·         Stacked Modifiers. The max defensive benefit any Unit may receive is ¼ Hits [1/2x1/2].
There is no dividing of the Hits a Unit inflicts upon multiple Units attacking it [one enemy Unit may attack each facing; front, rear and either flank, for four total Units].  Units only fight melee combats to their Front, attacking a single enemy Unit in contact with their Front Facing.  Melee concludes with the elimination of Units.  Units in melee may turn to face attackers if they don’t have enemy contacting their Front.  [see Movement].

·         Any Unit with 15 or more Hits is removed from the table.
·         Any Unit eligible to rally off Hits due to an Optional Rule does so now. 

Units that pass ten total Hits have 5 become permanent – mark them in red as they may not be rallied off.

Neil Thomas Medieval Batrep: #14 Static Defence, p.3

The battle continues to rage...

Turn 6.  Blue unleashes his knight who've pent-up fury to spend.  One slams into the crossbows, the other rolls short and has to settle for covering the flank.  While Red has a legal flank charge against the Blue knight battling the crossbows, they'd then be charged in the flank and that would be "bad" since they presently have a hill advantage [halved Hits] which they'd lose.  Not worth it.  

Spear and archers move up in support of the Knightly attack on the hill.  On the other side of the woods / field, Red's Men at Arms and Archers continue to work around their wood and the restriction to stay near the town.  It's hard to follow orders sometimes!

Turn 7.  Red Men at Arms at top have moved back to town and out of the way of Red Archers.  Meanwhile, the melee on the hill rages, with both sides grinding down the other.  The crossbows are weak in melee but take half Hits at the top of the hill, while their knights are both taking halved hits and inflicting them at the d5+2 for knights.  They are slowly getting the edge on their Blue attackers.  The spear and archer move up to support Blue knights.  The importance of infantry is clearly being seen.  They are critical to protect flanks and engage in supporting attacks.

Turn 8.  Blue knights on hill break.  Fortunately, there are spear to take their place and hopefully gain the hill!  Other blue knight slowly gains the upper hand on the crossbows. The menace of Red archer support is clear - could turn the tide if allowed to happen.  Blue archers move to run interference and protect their knights on the hill.

Turn 9.  Spearmen just make it into melee against Red knights, but probably regret it as they take 7 Hits while inflicting only 2!  Crossbowmen similarly lose ground to the Blue knights.  Red Archers move into strike range, supported by the men at arms.  Blue archers continue positioning themselves to protect Blue knights on the objective.

Turn 10.  Red archers start their volleys, but Blue archers are there to take it!  Crossbows are at 14 Hits, so will disappear next turn.  The Blue spearmen continue to do poorly against the Red chivalry on the hill.

Turn 11.  Archers exchange volleys, but as Blue's already had Hits, they will lose.  The crossbows and spearmen both break.  With mutual flank charges, the knight with the turn sequence will be the flank charger, and that's Blue!

Turn 11.  As said earlier, Blue has flank charge using the 45 degree marker you can see that their charge hits Red knight flank.  Blue archers take more Hits and their end is also in sight.

Turn 12.  Blue archers are destroyed, but Red force cannot project force onto the hill - remaining within 12" of the town leaves them short of shooting the knights.  If they could cover the hill with arrows, then the Knights would be forced to charge them, resulting in their destruction due to the support of Red's men at arms.  As Red's remaining units are forced to remain near the town, they can't.

With Blue in possession of the hill, and Red unable to stop it, the game is over.

A very interesting scenario!  Came down to the very end.  I made every effort to win the game for both sides, but in the end made a few mistakes that cost Red the game.  

The Blue advance wasn't well timed or set up.  The Red preemptive attack was too aggressive and lost knights for spearmen due to being shot in the rear. Had they attacked the Blue archers instead it may have gone better, but they would still be too far ahead of their archer unit supporting them.  

I think that the Red archers would've been more effective had I moved them in support of the hill sooner, since that's where the attack was being made.  Their shooting could've made a big difference, especially if I'd angled the defensive line towards the back of the board instead of towards the wood. This would've made the hill a tough and well-supported defense. 

Overall, very happy with both the rules and the scenario, altho there's probably some small details to work out.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Neil Thomas Medieval Batrep: #14 Static Defence, p.2

This is a very interesting scenario, and I'm eager to give it a go.  I like that the Red defender has to make hard choices about which units to put where.  As two of the three Units assigned to the town or hill can't go more than 12" from the objective they're defending, I decided to put one archer with each objective so that it could have a total 24" reach from its assigned defense, covering much of the board.  

At the hill, I put the Crossbows and two knights, one of the knights being off the hill as a counter-attack force.  At the town, I put an archer, a man at arms, and a knight, with the Archers in the town front and the knights next to them.  The MaA are in the town out of the way for now.

Faced with this, I decided to go for the hill, as Units in it don't take halved Hits from shooting, just in HtH.  Also, the MaA Unit is pretty tough - 1/4 Hits in the town!  No interest in facing that.  I moved fast with three knights against the Hill, backed up by two spear Units in line behind, with the Archers on the right to oppose any enemy forays with their 12" range. On the defense, they should get at least one, perhaps two shots off - so up to about 7 Hits, hopefully.  This makes them a tougher defense than the spearmen, IMHO.

Turn 1.  Blue advances with 5 Units against the hill, screened by archers on the right flank.  Red Units on hill hold their positions - nothing to be gained thru maneuver...yet.

Turn 2 - Blue.  Two knights are up front, with one in reserve. Two spear advance slowly, maintaining their line.  Poor positioning of the rear knight will be a problem later - There isn't a gap big enough for them to charge through.  My rules and 2-base Units permit flexibility for what are some pretty loose formations.  The Knights could move into the gap and narrow their front but that would be movement, not a Charge. I should've done this and advanced in echelon left to right.

Red Knights are just out of 12" - just.  With their 3d5+2" move, they can probably hit the Archers next turn.  Their archers are behind so they can follow up and support the knight's advance with shooting.

Turn 2 - Red.  In a surprising move, Red knights suddenly charge against the advancing Blues!  It was surprising, b/c I hadn't thought about it until I was really considering the Red turn.  Calculated risk - lots of thought didn't discern all possibilities, I have to admit.
Interestingly, it's easy to play this game solo - I allow myself to get caught up in the side I'm playing, and don't think about the other side much. Sometimes, I surprise myself! 

In this case, the knightly advance was suddenly obvious - if Blue charges forward with its two front knights, and makes the distance or blocks the Red knight on the ground, the Blue knights are pretty certain to break the Archer and beat the ground knights first - if barely, it'd depend on the rolls as the Blues have four Hits from the crossbows.  

So why let it happen like that? The Red knight's advance forestalls the attack on the hill, and if Blue charges the flank of the Red knight in melee, they will in turn be flanked by the Red knight charging off the hill.  Also, the crossbows on the hill continue to threaten the Blue knights if they do nothing, while the back Blue knight is blocked.  So the choice is clear - CHARGE!  
Turn 2 - Red, overview. I like how this game makes tactical decisions simple yet important.  In this case, the choices were take the Blue charge on its own terms, or forestall it with a jab.  It also feels more knightly than taking it lying down! Red's right flank is so inspired it charges across into the spearmen - had to roll very high to have the option, then decided to go for it!  They roll a '3+2=5x2=10" Hits. Ouch! Red archers advance into shooting range, but can't cover the knights left flank, unfortunately, they're just too slow.

Turn 3.  Blue retires his two knight units facing the hill - both to out of bow range and one facing the flank of the Red knight that charged long into the spearmen.  The other has taken three Hits from the crossbows, already, the one in melee four Hits.  Archers show that their 45 degree shooting arc hits the rear of the red knights.  Hadn't noticed that...a flank doesn't give any benefit, but a rear is double Hits! Second spearmen also faces the rampaging knights - can't be too careful with the flower of chivalry running rampant on the flank...bit dismaying to have one's attack derailed.

Hit dice demonstration.  Blue knights outroll red, a '4+2=6', while the return is a '2+2=4' but Red's still up two there.  Red archers roll a measly '2'.  Blue archers roll a '4x2=8' on the rear of the Red knight, while the spear contribute 4 more. Red knights roll a '4+2=6" and destroy the spearmen who're at 16 total Hits, 1 over limit.
End of Turn 3.  The Spearmen rout back to Wales.

Top of Turn 4.  Knights exchange blows putting each other up to 11 and 13 apiece.  Doesn't look good for either of them, really.  I'd hoped the Red surprise charge would do better, but their dice aren't cutting it.   
Meanwhile, the Welsh archers shoot the Red knights down - with 12 Hits, the archers couldn't fail to do so as the lowest they can roll is a '2' doubled = 4, putting the knights at 16. Still, they roll a '5' a max the die, doubled to 10!  With a total of 22 hits, the knights are dead, the horses are dead, and there's even arrows in the card deck one was carrying in his saddlebag. 

Battered knights retreat, leaving their dead to be clearly needs a better gorget. Apparently, I tipped the dice over by accident - 12 siders are ease to do that with.

Turn 5.  Things have cleared out quite a bit all around.  The valiant Blue knights beat their red opponents, then are shot to pieces by the crossbows on the hill.  We shall pen a song about them. Blue forces advance, while the archers move out of shooting range of their opposing archers who're at the end of their leash so also fall back.  The men at arms make a demonstration towards the hill, but they really won't be much use as they're at the max of their leash from the town, also.
While the surprise charge from the Red should've been a win, the other charge against the spearmen was a waste - trading a knight for a levy spear wasn't a good deal.  The failure of the other knightly charge is very disappointing. Red's down two knights for a knight and a spear, and two of their units are tied closely to the defense of the town.  Still, they've a knight and a crossbow on a hill, and they take half Hits on the defense there.

What will happen in the second phase of this battle...tune in again soon, viewers!