Sunday, 3 January 2016

Tweaking the rules - Is it just me?

After a very enjoyable first game of Lion Rampant, featured on this blog, it is certainly a rule set that I intend to use again. I still have three or four other rule sets for this period that will also get a try out. However, and there is always a however isn't there?

I found that with two 24 point armies to move, I do play solo. the individual basing of each figure, though in reality mine are based in one's, two's three's and four's, became quite irksome. On the Yorkist side alone with two units each of spear and archers, that was 48 figures to move each time.

Constantly touching each figure brings with it its own hazards, namely wearing away the paint, even though it has a varnish coat for protection, and the very fragile spears/bows could easily be damaged. I much prefer to have my soldiers on movement trays/bases, so the figures are rarely touched as one tends to handle the tray instead. It also of course allows for much quicker and easier movement. In a game like Saga, with fewer figures on a much smaller table, single basing is ideal and actually preferred, to allow the warriors to move around or even inside buildings etc. My Anglo-Saxon band is indeed based and used like that for Saga.

But for the Wars of the Roses, I need a larger area and more units. This allows for larger battles to be fought. Also in this particular campaign, units tended to be merged, for example archers would be in the same unit as spear men or Bill men. The archers firing the initial volleys and as the armies closed they would melt away behind the accompanying spears or Bills, lay down their bows and with sword, dagger or whatever other weapons they possessed, would then back up their heavier armed comrades in the hand to hand fighting which would inevitably follow.

Lion Rampant does an excellent job covering a huge period of time, but like all such rules it has to be quite generic. The period I am gaming is really just beyond the latter limits of the army lists in the book, it does go right up to feudal English but not quite the War of the Roses. Not really a problem as far as weapons are concerned, though it fails to take into consideration, gunpowder weapons. They can easily be adapted.

The rule of a three inch gap between units at all times makes sense with single based units, as they would soon become intermingled and difficult to manage if this rule was not in place. It can however be dispensed with if the figures are on movement trays, another plus in my opinion. Figure removal, is great to show casualties in battle and weakened units are very easy to pick out. but again, I dislike the fact that I have to manhandle my delicate figures, so prefer the use of a dice or similar marker placed on or behind the base of the affected unit.

In the Wars of the Roses, armies tended to be organised into 'battles', each led by a retinue leader of some standing, each 'battle' would be composed of men loyal to that particular commander. An army would consist of a number of 'battles' commonly a Vanguard, Main, Rear and possibly a Reserve. The overall commander, be it a king or other high born, would normally be with the Main or Reserve. This means a full army would have one Commander in Chief and three or four sub-commanders. The rules do not really cater for this, but can easily be adapted by each sub-commander rolling for his own units only, and on a fail, it is the end of that particular 'battles' turn, though not the end of the army turn, as other sub-commanders and indeed the CinC would still get to roll. This would end the frustrating sequence of failing your first movement activation and the turn passing back to the other side. Fine in a smaller, skirmish type battle, which to be fair, is exactly what the rules are written for, it is just awkward sods like me who want them to do more.

Maybe a few photographs now to show some of the ideas I have mentioned.

A mixed unit of archers and spears, on two bases but still consisting of twelve men.

The same unit seen from the front.

On this occasion the archers are backed by Bill Men, still twelve figures in the unit.

Part of a 'battle' the archers having unleashed on the closing enemy now take up position behind their better armed colleagues, but would still add their weight to the hand to hand fighting.

A complete 'battle' with the retinue leader present with his mounted men at arms, he also has two units of foot knights as part of his 'battle.'

In the following photos you can see the other three main factions I have in my Yorkist/Lancastrian forces.

I purposely did not give the Bill Men or Foot Knights retinue colours, to allow them to be added to any retinue.

There are also a number of mounted units that also bear no retinue colours, they too can be recruited as needed.

The next task is to actually fight a battle with my rule tweaks to see how it works. I shall of course keep you all fully updated on how it goes.


  1. This chap's blog is worth exploring thoroughly for LR and the WotR:

    1. Thanks Nobby, I went across and had a look, a very good site indeed, thank you for pointing me in that direction.

  2. Some good ideas there with the basing. Looks right as well. I shall await the results of the next (test) battle.


    1. Thanks Kurtus, I am hoping the basing works, I shall find out soon enough.

  3. Plenty of gamers seem to like Lion Rampant, I look forward to hearing more on the subject here!

    1. Thanks Ray, the game is great, just me wanting it to do more than it was really written for. Still I shall enjoy my tinkering.

  4. I haven't met a ruleset yet that I haven't wanted to tweak. Maybe for some of us that's just part of the fun. (BTW, that's a wonderful medieval army you've got there. Nice job!)

    1. Thank you Dave, I always seem to find something I want to alter, nothing major, just bits and pieces. Some work, some don't, but it is fun trying. The armies are now almost complete a few more foot units and they are done.