Saturday, 21 November 2020

The Replay...

 In Which I Play the Peasants....

Basically a repeat of the last game; but this time with me playing for the peasants... Similar set up. Same rules.

I added some extra Leader cards for both sides, plus beefed up the Bishop's lads with an extra cavalry unit, and an additional stand each of bills and Welsh. The artillery started limbered this time. 


My plan: attack with my bows and bills on the left; hoping to shoot to pieces any serious opposition (relying on my spare arrow carriers to keep me supplied) and roll up their line, while a mass of peasantry and most of the villeins waiting on the right of my line beyond the camp. Their commander had orders to hold initially, then start threatening the enemy seven moves in from the beginning of the Main Battle Phase.

I set our my lads. Then I set out the enemy based on the results if a "positioning throw" for each Enemy Ward (divide the table into three. Dice per Ward). 

And so to the battle. Activation processes as before.

Things started off well; my Left moving during the Manoeuvre Phase, and I got bows and bill/pikes well forward. All good, but about three moves in the Enemy activated their Battle Plan; while I was attacking their Right, they were to advance on MY Right; while holding with their right and middle... 



As a result, their Irish skirmishers (again on their Left) pushed forward; supported by the Irish bows, heavy infantry and a unit of mounted knights.

As my Left moves into arrow range the enemy bowmen here are activated. They loose - and, many of my bowmen fall, but when activated in their turn mine hammer the enemy, taking down more than half the archers facing them... Even better, the cards allow more of my archers to advance - I now have a battle line of bows across my Left field, close enough to cause mischief...

On my Right the enemy skirmishers press forwards and begin harassing my villeins and the camp. But "Move End" comes - and my right hand bows, and the slingers in the camp, get a chance to shoot. I feel I can be profligate with ammunition.. I have spares...The skirmishers start taking casualties. Over the next few move this will continue, until they are whittled away, and have to pull back..

On cue the Activation Cards are kind - and my spare arrow carriers get a chance to leave the camp on their errands. I feel pretty good about things...



In the enemy centre a unit of men-at-arms and another of bills and bows move forward threateningly. But from my point of view they are just arrow fodder... 

More worryingly the enemy Left is pushing towards my villeins. But to a degree that's OK... These are "almost expendable" - so long as they tie the enemy Left horse and Irish up for few moves while I shoot apart their Right and Centre.


Then suddenly things change. The enemy commander in the Centre decides to act on his own initiative - and throws his knights at my left centre bowmen, with billmen and men-at-arms in support.....


But what luck ! The knights don't get the dice to make contact - and my archers get a lucky Activation..



The bowmen loose - shooting the knights down within paces of the line..!! Not only have we got rid of a threat, but we have also created a "barrier" of dead horses and knights to slow the men-at-arms' advance..



On my right things are also going well.  The
enemy bows shoot - but with little effect. My bowmen shoot into the Irish in return, then my leading Levies charge into the enemy bows; cutting them to pieces then slamming into the gallowglasses. Enemy Army Morale has taken a hammering - three previously unbroken units removed from play. Things are definitely looking up... 



Or are they...? There is an exchange of arrows in the centre - and my men come off worse. Perhaps no matter. But we will see.



All I really need now are the cards to push home my forces on the Left... 

I get the chance to move forward the arrow carriers and to bring up my reserve of villeins to bolster my centre...

But then... Disaster.. My levy peasants are thrown back by the gallowglasses, fail a morale check - and break; running through the three units of villeins behind. These get disordered and also start to worry....




Then a ridiculously successful close range volley from the Irish bowmen cuts a swath through the closely-packed villeins, followed by a charge by the galloglasses. The villeins go down in droves - and break... Suddenly my whole Right Wing has gone.... 



(Technical Note: when shooting short and medium range at close order "mass targets" - i.e bodies consisting of more than two ranks, I add "1" to any non-hit dice for every two additional ranks and apply hits to THOSE ranks.

Thus, when shooting at a block consisting of six ranks at medium range a 5 or 6 will hit persons in the first two ranks as normal. These dice are put aside to await "saving throws".

I then look at the dice remaining and add "1" for each two supporting ranks. With a six rank block - where all ranks are still within medium range - this means a throw of three will hit someone in the third or fourth rank. 
A throw of four will hit someone in the fifth or sixth rank.)

On my left things are still good. I have two large and fresh bill and pike blocks within two moves of the depleted enemy right and centre. My reserve of villeins is well moved-up to support. I pull some of my "empty" archers back to meet the new supply of arrows. All I need is a couple of good cards and I think I can smash the enemy Right altogether and begin rolling up their line...


Even better; the Irish and knights on the enemy Left/my Right pursue my fleeing villeins, rather than turning to support the Centre.. 

My Left bills and pikes press towards the weakened enemy, previously hammered by my arrows.

In the centre my other bill and pike block advances.

The enemy guns, which have been a minor nuisance, eat away at my most forward bowmen, but things aren't too bad. But now the enemy commander in the centre makes another move - pushing forward his crossbows and shifting the Welsh and foot knights forward. I clearly need to get my bowmen reloaded quickly...

The Irish, stop pursuing my Right - but start towards the camp, rather than the centre. IF they carry on that way I can still win this... 


I throw my central bills and pikes at the enemy retinue archers - who scurry away behind their supports. There is a fierce hand to hand, but I expect my levies, especially given the extra support of the pikes, to hold their own... 



They do - and the enemy billmen recoil after taking heavy casualties... My Battle Line is a tad disjointed, but if my bowmen get the extra arrows this move all will swing firmly in my direction. 

But...... Suddenly the Abbot in the Centre gets activated again. He is already acting aggressively, and throws his hot-headed foot knights in the Centre at my nearby, arrowless  archer unit (they had a choice - turn and take my bills and pikes in the flank - or rush at the archers.. They chose the more exciting option). 


They hit - and shatter my archers - and the sweetness of victory turns to ashes in my mouth... The archers - unsurprisingly - break. My last Army Morale tokens vanish with my running archers...  I've lost the battle..!!!


Again; this was a fun and exciting little bash. Had this been part of a campaign a lot of my lads would likely have got away...  



Although the game was over due to my Army Morale collapsing, just out of interest, I "fought" one last move...

The cards activated the Irish, who got a choice of pushing up the hill to attack the camp, or sweeping into the Centre. They continued and assaulted the camp - forcing their way in. The Welsh were activated, and charged down on to my centre bill block - THEN, while that melee took place, the enemy mounted knights were launched into a charge, straight into the flank of that same block.... Basically, I never got a look-in, and my centre disintegrated anyway...   


So much for "Give me another chance, squire"...Cue for a song maybe (link)...




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDGjeLGzCI0

NOW of course I want to assault Plastic Mountain and beef-up the pikes... It never ends...





  

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