Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Lion Rampant - Some Thoughts and an update on the Campaign Game.

After the latest battle of the Campaign of King Hugh III of Rosmia, I felt somewhat cheated and disappointed by the poor showing of the mounted archers and mounted javelins. These units are not designed for close combat, and should be used to charge in, loose their arrows or throw their javelins, then quickly move away. They are best suited to attack already weakened opponents.

However, they are only allowed to make a half move (5 inches) to skirmish. The loosing of the weapons can occur either before or after the half move. The movement rate for these unarmoured light troops is ten inches, exactly the same as the lumbering heavily armoured mounted men at arms.

OK, I can live with that, if you close with an enemy, you should become vulnerable. These light units also have the ability to evade, in this situation, if they successfully roll a 7+, they loose/throw their arrow/javelin at the unit charging them, and then make a half move directly away. If the charging unit fails to make contact, all is well, but if the evade roll is failed, then the unit cannot move, loose its weapons, and its armour is reduced to 1. Needless to say, an attacking unit of mounted men at arms, if at full strength roll twelve dice and hit on 3+, simply roll over and totally destroy their lighter foe.

This is of course exactly what you would expect, but should those heavy horse even get close in the first place?

I have looked at some home grown adaptations of Lion Rampant, namely Manor Rampant and Roses Rampant, to see if they addressed this problem. It appears not, maybe I am the only one who thinks the rule harsh.

I intend to have a practice battle with my Arab units, before they are put away and incorporate some house rules of my own.

* For mounted archers and javelins, I will increase their movement from ten to twelve inches, not a lot of difference, but could be enough to get it out of range of a charge.

* They can now move 6 inches before or after skirmishing.

* Evade, they can choose to make a fighting evade, just as the rules stand, i.e. on a 7+ they skirmish and make a half move away, if they fail to make the roll, then the above penalties come into force.

* Full Evade, this time, they forego the option to skirmish and on a successful movement roll of 5+ they move a full 12 inches away from the charging unit.

I also want to try out a unit or two of Scurrers or Prickers, these are light cavalry, still quite powerful, and can charge and counter-charge, but not as potent as full mounted men at arms.

This unit of twelve figures could also represent mounted archers, in the WotR, archers didn't shoot from horseback, but would have poor quality horses to get them from point A to B faster, they would then dismount and become a unit of foot archers. A precursor to dragoons. Both the previously mentioned supplements for Lion Rampant cover this subject and offer stats as well.

I will make a post on how the revised rules work, or don't work, as the case may be.

Onto the campaign, General Barnardus, as you have read, successfully invaded Ethus and defeated the army of Sheikh al Taif. A roll of the die for the following year, firstly indicated a Rosmian invasion of Uskax, they of course made peace after the death of Baron Charlet, The re roll is a full invasion of Rosmia by Baron Jacobus of Agliuna. That army consists of four mounted men at arms and one unit each of foot knights and spears/bills.


  1. I'll be looking forward to seeing if the house rules work. I haven't played LR for awhile but that's a good point about the mounted archers and javelins.

    1. Thanks Nobby, I have been told that mounted yeoman already move 12 inches, I must have missed that, as I haven't used them before. Also a suggestion that the armour drops to 2 and not 1, giving at least part of the unit a chance to survive. I will try a few theories in an experimental game.

  2. Good observations. Will be interesting to see how it works in a battle.

    1. I will give it a try over the next couple of days, and report back.

  3. I have some sympathies with rules that highlight the vulnerabilities of missile units. For WotR, archer units worked with the heavy foot, they are not light skirmishers and do not have the agility of traditional light missile units, neither do they have the staying power of melee troops. This awkwardness of being somewhere between the two (rather like Egyptian bow) does need addressing.

    I note some rules allow their archer and melee troops to mix (or rather work very closely together, by being adjacent, with one of the units in front, depending on whether the unit is in a missile or a melee situation), so that the close association between the two are abstractly represented.

    A good description that I read showed an initial archery phase and then the sides closed for melee, with the archers forming into small knots between units, into gaps that gave them access to the enemy, thereby giving supporting fire to their heavier men-in-arms.

    1. Thanks Norm, you raise some interesting points. I am fine with LR allowing mixed units of foot i.e. archers mixed with spears or bills. The unit loses some shooting power as well as no longer being able to form schiltron for defence. It does however, increase their (archers) defence value in melee.
      It was the evade rule for mounted javelins and mounted archers that seems brutal, OK if they fail the evade roll, they have to accept the charge, but also reducing their armour to 1, virtually guarantees their destruction after contact.
      I did play a small game, using some of the house rules I mentioned, and to be fair, the mounted archers/javelins could choose to evade without firing, and it did make them virtually untouchable, so probably the rules author got it right. I just threw poor dice on three out of the four occasions in my first battle.

  4. Reducing that armour to 1 sounds like the author wanted to deliberately show that units so caught ..... were doomed!

    I have just been watching an AAR with Romans and Parthians (mounted archers). The mobility and firepower of the Parthian army made the Roman task look VERY difficult. I don't know how realistic that is, but I think you could easily make lights too effective in rule design / tweaking.

    1. Fully agree with you Norm, after my small test battle, I am inclined to leave the rules just as they are, roll poorly and you loose the unit, simple as that. Down to the god of the dice.