Saturday, 30 January 2016

Wars of the Roses battle - Using Sword and Spear rules.

Finally began playing a full game of S&S, previously I had fought minor skirmishes between different unit types to get used to the game mechanics. Happy with how that turned out I laid out the table and chose two forces for a proper battle. The Yorkist force under King Richard III had one extra unit of troops (11 opposing 10), but the Lancastrian force commanded by Henry actually had a higher points value.

Part of the table looking along the Yorkist line on the ridge.

The Yorkist left flank is anchored beside a walled field. The Lancastrians are advancing all along the line.

On the other flank, Richards mounted knights face off against Henry's mounted knights, however, the latter also has a unit of light horse backing him up.

Looking along at the Lancastrian troops advancing.

Some shots from troop eye level taken from the Lancastrian lines.

The Yorkists hold a ridge line in the centre.

Lancastrian foot knights and archers advance.

A Lancastrian captain encourages his men forward.

Yorkist archers let fly a volley of arrows.

All the photographs were taken at the end of turn two and it is proving to be a very enjoyable game. I have made some errors in placement of troops that meant some dice were wasted, so a learning curve too. The game certainly punishes a poor commander! Does it give the flavour of the period? I certainly think so, and it really does make you think all the time. I am playing solo but even in a two player game, the reactive player cannot just sit back and relax whilst his opponent moves. No periods of inactivity for either player in this rule set!

Well, I am off to play a few more turns, I will of course give a full account in a later post, with lots of photographs too.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Wars of the Roses Project - Retinues for the Lesser Nobles.

Having now completed the retinues of the four main factions for my campaign game set very loosely in the North of England, attention turns to representing some of the lesser nobles in the campaign. I had an extra box of mounted men at arms as well as two boxes of infantry. The final troops of this project.

I have already painted up a box of twelve mounted knights in neutral colours, they where to be used to represent the lesser nobles, with hindsight, I should have created some new colour schemes. Instead I have split this box of twelve into three units of four figures, two additional figures can be added from the aforementioned neutrals to make the unit up to the required six figures.

Keeping the theme of football teams I have chosen the following...

Red and white for Stoke City or Sheffield United if you prefer, I prefer the former as a tribute to my buddy Steve Clay. Photos have been taken in artificial light as it has been so dark and overcast for the last week up here in Yorkshire.

Next up are the black and whites of Newcastle United or Grimsby Town, again for a friend across the Humber, Andrew.

Finally, and because I love the colour combination of green and yellow we have a contingent from Norwich City.

I have continued to work on my campaign map, on a sheet of A4 I now have all the towns, estates, castles, roads, rivers etc. drawn out. With my drawing skills it is certainly no work of art, but it is functional and will serve my purpose well. I can now see the routes nobles and their retinues would have to take to move around from one area to another and also gives me a rough scale for movement purposes.

I now need to get hold of some foam board or similar to create castle/town walls to use in some of the scenarios that will occur during the campaign. I don't intend to model a full castle, just a couple or three wall sections with a tower and a gate to put at one edge of the table as a representation.

So it is onward and upward, I am really enjoying this project and now with enough troops to actually have a decent sized battle, one is currently set up on the table. You can see the troops in the distance in some of the photos. I just wish the weather would play ball and actually give me enough light in the man cave to take decent photographs.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Setting up the first Wars of the Roses battle using Sword and Spear rules.

I have been busy this last week painting up more units for the Wars of the Roses. The project is finally coming to an end with just three more boxes of figures left to paint. After that I shall have to start working out my campaign rules, or at least start finalising them. I have been very impressed with the Sword and Spear rules, 2nd edition, and decided to try them out.

I picked similar sized forces with similar points, though the Lancastrians do have a higher points value, but the Yorkists have one more unit. 305 to 282 points.

The field measures 6 x 4 feet on a Cigar Box Battle Mat, closest the camera is part of a walled field enclosure, in the centre of the table are on the left, a small wooded copse and opposite a hill. The white dice mark the deployment boundary for each force.

The deployment area and small copse.

From the other end of the table.

The hill can clearly be seen in this shot, as well as the deployment area.

Looking beyond the copse to the hill.

Dice placement is crucial in this rule system so I am using to sets of a different size. The larger are 16 mm for rolling the actual combat and the smaller are 12 mm, and will be placed into a bag and drawn out seven at a time. One small dice is added to the bag for each unit in the army.

In a two player game, you can allocate activation dice to out scouting your opponent which means they have to place their units on the table first, in a certain order. However, for solo I decided that I would roll two dice, blue for the Yorkists and red for the Lancastrians. The winner would choose the table edge, the loser would be deemed to have out scouted the other. Yorkist win.

The Yorkist select the far side of the table with the hill.

The activation dice all lined up, ten for the Lancastrians in red, one for each unit they deploy and eleven for the Yorkists.

However, as the Lancastrians out scouted the Yorkists, one is removed for the first turn only.

Troops are now deployed in phases, Yorkists going first in each phase. This allows the enemy to see the placement before deciding on their own. The value of out scouting your enemy.

The Yorkists deploy their heavy foot, which consists of foot knights and Billmen. Here on their left flank.

On their right flank they deploy two units of spear men, this will hopefully protect the line from any enemy cavalry which could exploit the open ground on this flank.

The gaps in the line are to accommodate archers or crossbowmen. 

Phase one is complete for the Yorkists.

The Lancastrians now also deploy their heavy foot units in a similar fashion.

They have chosen to place two units of foot knights in the centre, behind a gap left for archers.

They too have chosen to place their sole unit of spear men to protect this wide open flank from enemy cavalry.

Phase two sees the Yorkist deploy their archers and crossbowmen. Stakes can be placed in front of them and gives added protection, however they can also be placed behind them to show that the stakes are actually being carried and not yet placed.

The archers on the left flank have not deployed their stakes so they stand behind them. 

However, this unit of archers have deployed their stakes.

The right flank of the Yorkist force.

A view looking down the now congested deployment area. Once the game begins the white die are removed and the troops can move out in any direction they wish.

Another similar shot, the spear men closest the camera intend to move and swing around to stand beside the other unit of spear men, once the activation dice begin to be placed. The foot knights at the far end have the same intention at that end of the line.

Phase two for the Lancastrians see their two units of archers deployed, neither deploy stakes as the Lancastrians intend to advance onto the Yorkists.

Archers now in the line, with stakes behind, when they move carrying the stakes their movement is reduced by one.

Phase Three sees the Yorkists deploy their cavalry, they have only one unit and King Richard has attached himself to it. Two captains are also deployed, one being attached to the unit of spear men nearest the camera, this will give them certain benefits in both activating and combat.

The other captain is attached to the Bill men at this end to try and get them moved quickly to extend the line next to he unit of spear men.

The final positions of all the Yorkist forces in the cramped deployment area.

As expected the Lancastrians place both their mounted knights and light horse on their left flank in the hope of breaking out into the open field on that flank. Henry is attached to the knights who will have a clear run on this open flank.

A captain has been attached to this unit of foot knights in the centre.

The second captain is attached to the spear men on the right flank.

Looking down the Lancastrian deployment area.

All the activation dice, except on red, used in out scouting, are placed into the bag.

Some final shots of the battlefield set-up prior to drawing the first activation dice.

Looking from the Lancastrian line toward the Yorkists.

The walled field now has some occupants.

A similar soldiers eye view looking from the Yorkist line.

It could get a little noisy for the cattle and sheep!

I shall report on the opening moves in my next blog entry.