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.


  1. Here we go... a clash of arms is about to begin! can't wait. This will be a fun read, Ian. My money is on the Lancastrians! Great table-eye views too.

    1. The Lancastrians will be the attackers and do have more cavalry, should be an interesting test of the rules.

  2. Great stuff Ian looking good it's going to be a hard fight looking forward to seeing more mate

    1. Thanks Steph, yep a tough fight in prospect, should be good fun and hopefully I won't make to many errors.