The Viking Legal Team in Action

The Viking Legal Team in Action
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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!


  1. I've played this scenario a couple of times now, and it was the second time I realised the subtlety of the defender's position. The thing is that you don't have to fix two units to each objective. The scenario states that the defender must have two units within 12" of each objective, it's true, but they don't have to be the same ones from turn to turn. So once it's obvious which objective the attacker is going for, you can, if you play it right, withdraw damaged units towards it and bring up the ones you initially assigned to it as reserves. Works very nicely.

  2. hmmm, looked at the scenario again, and while it doesn't say that it has to be 2 of the three units, it seems to fall into the "more likely than not" category! That also makes sense from an historical perspective - the orders are that only 1/3 of the troops may depart the objective to help the other objective. It seems a bit "gamey" to me to say that they can be any two damaged units shuffled around. Also, what is to happen while troops are "in transit"? Too many complexities! That's my thought, anyway...

    Still, thanks for the post - sometimes simplicity can breed simplistic thinking.

    1. 'In Transit' isn't really an issue if you simply enforce the rule that, at all times, there must be at least two units within 12" of each objective. If, in a given turn, you can move a unit into the 12" zone, you can then move another out.

      You can see how it worked in practice in this report:


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