Saturday, June 16, 2018

Back to the Wars...

Although this blog is intended to cover all sorts of war gaming stuff, if I had a 'great work' on the go, it would be my Wars of the Roses (WotR) campaign that I've been pursuing, on and off, for years.  (Just checked my old posts - since 2010, dear god!)  

I've been away from blogging, but not the hobby, for a year or two now - mostly down to real-life stuff, like having a family, getting in the way of things.  However, I'm determined to get my hobbying back on the go again, so this is part of my effort to make myself progress my campaign narrative onward.  

Last time I was gaming this, things had broadly reached an historical parallel: York had pursued the crown but died in the trying; his son Edward had taken up his claim, and won a massive victory at Baunton to sieze the throne.  It was the narrative equivalent of the battle of Towton in 1460, and brought things to a bit of a climax for a while.  

I dabbled in a side-narrative, pursuing the story of a minor noble who was involved in the local wars in the north, to keep myself busy.  However, he was inconveniently killed in a minor skirmish, and the whole thing rather lost momentum.  No problem however, as I had of course blogged all the results of my grand campaign, so I knew I could take it up again at some future date.  

So, We are now faced with an England under Edward IV, some time around 1465-1470.  Things are set for the tenuous Yorkist hold over the land to be tested once again, mainly because the previous battles had an unlucky habit of leaving a lot of powerful personalities still alive and making mischief, who historically had been killed off by this point.  Grudges need to be settled, so let's recap the main power-houses that have started to emerge up until now...  

The ruling dynasty, under King Edward IV.  Although notionally top of the pile, things are very worrying beneath the surface.  Many Lancastrian die-hards are still living in England, merely waiting for the chance to rebel and restore the house of Lancaster.  Edward relies on a network of close allies like his brother Gloucester, and Lord Hastings, to help him keep a lid on things.  In Edward's own mind, he fought to avenge himself on the Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset responsible for opposing his father, and succeeded in doing do when Edmund died at Baunton.  The wars are, to him, basically over.

Henry VI, and more accurately his wife, have kept the opposition going in exile with French and Scottish backing.  Henry VI is in no fit state to rule, but his claim is still pursued and has many supporters.  He has an active and ambitious young son in Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales.  He himself, in tow to his wife Margaret of Anjou, is in Scotland and poised to invade to stir up resistance.  Although his initial pool of supporters is small, he has potentially huge reserves across England and Wales, so if the queen manages to build up any momentum, it could all swiftly turn around for her family.  

The Duke of Buckingham has had a fine time in the wars.  Although his historical equivalent died at the Battle of Northampton, our re-fight version has kept going in the Lancastrian army up to Baunton.  He escaped from the resulting disaster and made it to France, where he notionally remains a supporter of Henry VI.  However, his success in the war can hardly have gone unnoticed, as the principal figure keeping the Lancastrian cause afloat, militarily speaking.  There is the serious chance that the Duke could wind up on the throne himself (he is a great-grandson of Edward III, after all) or at least the de-facto ruler in Henry's name.  

He's turned into a strange figure, old Buckingham: his men killed the Duke of York in battle, then he defeated Warwick at Gerrard's Cross to take London from the Yorkists, becoming one of the principal Lancastrian commanders alongside Edmund Beaufort.  At Baunton he fought well - practically the only Lancastrian to do so - and made it off the field with the biggest surviving chunk of the Lancastrian army.  Of course some might say his holding back in the early stages of the battle was what doomed his rival Edmund Beaufort and possibly lost the battle, but who can say for certain?  

The Earl of Warwick was a major figure in the historical wars, but in this re-fight he has been embarrassingly absent.  Rather than fight at places like Northampton, 2nd St Albans, and Towton, Warwick here has fought once at Gerrard's Cross, and was humiliatingly betrayed and routed for his trouble.  He fled to Calais, and thus missed the climactic battle at Baunton - although he doubtless feels the mercenaries he sent to assist Edward IV were crucial in securing the victory.  Now he's a man with something to prove, trying to get his diminished Neville family a bit of influence and credibility back.  Doubtless with the Yorkist regime being so frail, he is a critical supporter - but far from a reliable one.  His historical counterpart flipped between supporting Edward IV and Henry VI pretty much at will, and history seems set to repeat itself.

A curious one here, more an individual curiosity over a faction: Edmund Beaufort, the great enemy of York, is dead at Baunton.  Now Henry Beaufort has inherited his title as the Duke of Somerset, and hasn't led Lancastrian armies in bloodthirsty victories yet - due to his fathers' protracted a-historical survival.  Now he is following the historical path set by the real Henry Beaufort, of submitting to Edward IV and apparently becoming a close companion.  The real Henry however couldn't live with his betrayal of the old king, and historically broke with Edward IV in 1464 and died at Hexham.  Our re-fight Henry is currently, nominally, a Yorkist favourite, but of course we know he's on a hair-trigger to defect to Lancaster under even the most long-odds conditions.  

So, how will these forces compete to try for the throne next?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Pyrrhus vs Romans - DBA AAR

My first experimental battle with my DBA 3.0 armies: Pyrrhic vs Camillan Roman!

Rome went onto the attack, with Pyrrhus occupying a hilly & wooded region close to a small town - causing him some problems with his deployment.  His centre was blocked by the woods and so was occupied by the Auxiliary and Psiloi; his left saw the Phalanx deployed on a hill; while on the right his cavalry had to advance in a column to access the open plain in front.  

Rome deployed with the Principes and Triarii forming a 'hoplite' phalanx, the Hastati Blades on the flanks, and the Auxiliary & Cavalry in reserve.  

Pyrrhus advanced forward and deployed his cavalry, while bringing his phalanx forward on the opposite flank and threatening a pincer movement.  The Roman Consul sent his Psiloi off to screen the pikemen, and the rest of the line headed for the crossroads to engage the cavalry.  

In response, Pyrrhic Auxilia dashed out of the woods to try and drive off the Psiloi, with limited success.  The Roman line closed in on the Pyrrhic cavalry wing...

The Pike Phalanx, abandoning the slow-moving Elephants to press ahead, linked up with the Auxilia to push away the Psiloi with heavy losses - while Pyrrhus moved his cavalry to threaten a local outflanking on the end of the Roman line.  Rome, in response, split their line into two sections - with an impressive manoeuvre, their left engaged the Cavalry while he right portion of the line caught the Auxilia in the open and routed them.  The cavalry fight was a see-saw affair: The Latin Allied Cavalry swung out of reserve to counter the overlapping Pyrrhic Light Horse and rout them.  Pyrrhus was repulsed at the head of his Companion cavalry, while his Greek cavalry broke the Hastati opposite.  

Pyrrhus realised the climax of the battle was imminent, and threw his army forward in a last push - the Phalanx hit the Roman line with Hoplite Spears and Psiloi covering its flank, pushing into the Hastati and Psiloi, forcing them to give ground.  Rallying his cavalry and companions, he charged against the Roman Allied Cavalry and drove them back.  

The Roman army struggled to respond, merely pulling back the left infantry wing to confirm to the Allied Cavalry.  The battle raged on in the right, as the Phalanx pushed on against them and reserve Auxilia added support to the hard-pressed Hastati, enabling them to force back the Pikemen.  

Pyrrhus charged again at the Roman left - although his Greeks were driven back, Pyrrhus - with his own presence proving decisive, charged and broke the Principes.  Summoning up the Hoplites, Psiloi and belatedly bringing up the reserve Elephants, the main infantry lines clashed along their full lengths.  
The Pike phalanx was pushed back yet again by the Hastati, along with the Hoplites on their flank - the Psiloi fled back into the woods for protection.  

Rome pulled its Allied Cavalry back out of engagement range, while its remaining Triarii and Allied Auxilia engaged the Companions.  By the narrowest, Pyrrhus broke the Roman Triarii.  In the main battle-line, the Principes pressed ahead to keep pace with the Hastati, while the Auxilia and Psiloi engaged along with the Consul and the Roman Cavalry.  All along the line the Pyrrhic infantry started to give way, being forced to concede ground to the Roman attack.  

With this, the battle came to an end.  The Roman main line was steadily pushing the enemy back and gaining the advantage, but with the collapse of the left they were exposed to the charging Companion cavalry of Pyrrhus bursting into their left-rear.  The Roman army was defeated, and retreated off the field.  A hard-fought Pyrrhic victory then, as the Romans lost 4 elements to his 2.  The victory was close as the Romans seemed set to begin turning the flank of his infantry and ultimately rout the Pike Phalanx, while Pyrrhus had to personally risk himself in combat to gain a victory - in at least two 'quick kill' battles his '+1' modifier for the General's element proved crucial at either avoiding a defeat or tipping a draw into a victory.  

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Pyrrhic Army for DBA 3.0

Just a quick check-in to update what I've been up to: a Pyrrhic army for DBA 3.0

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Wars in the North

I've not been sticking too rigorously to my WOTR mini-campaign recently, which has rather discouraged me from posting about what I'm up to.  So, to fix the fact I've fallen rather behind: some updates!

A potential three-way battle on Potterburn was fought out between the Lancastrian Whitcaster, and the Yorkist Monkton.  Monkton had been besieging a local lord, when Whitcaster attacked him.  From rolling the setup, the result was actually a straight two-way fight: The besieged stayed holed-up, while Monkton took a hilltop position and Whitcaster attacked him head-on.

Monkton's defence proved alarmingly effective...

...while Whitcaster's advance was particularly shambolic!

Whitcaster, raging at his fleeing followers!
The result was a spectacular defeat for Whitcaster, losing him most of his strength and then both his vassals, who promptly ditched him and sought neutrality.  Harsh, but (un)fair!

On top of winning the battle, the Yorkists took extremely light losses, much to the fury of the local lord who was under siege - he had been counting on a bloody encounter leading to both the rivals retreating with losses, but instead they kept up the siege and he was forced to concede that maybe knuckling under to the triumphant Lord Monkton might be politic...

Following this fight, our own protagonist Lord Hadley had a date with destiny all of his own.  Invading the lands of the Lord Turston, a minor but relatively powerful figure.  Hadley split his own forces to try and lure Turston to battle, but sadly things didn't go too well!  

The initial line-up, with Hadley on the left
Turston advances, and Hadley's allies arrive right on queue!

Turston's levies surprisingly block the new arrivals, while the melee develops in the centre.

Hadley rolls a six, and gets himself killed right in the thick of the fight!
Yes, the perils of having a 'favoured' character in the campaign!  Hadley got himself cut down in the thick of the fighting, and his army routed.  Surprisingly, things recovered a little after this: both his vassals - Rosford & Leadbeck - proved loyal to the Yorkist cause, and his son took over smoothly.  Humphrey, the new Lord Hadley, is rolled up as 'bland' and 'depraved', as well as 'disliked'  Hm, at least he's half-competent in a fight - hopefully more than Dad was...

Saturday, April 11, 2015

28mm Republican Roman Army

Hi - I've been quiet here for a while, and thought I'd finally post some pics of what I've been busy with!  It's a Republican Roman Army (or 'Polybian Roman') for the Punic Wars, in 28mm!

15 bases of troops, all painted up - although I've still got the basing to do

All the figures are Victrix 28mm Romans, except for the commanders (Agema Miniatures) and the cavalry (unknown source, as I got them second-hand!)

The Hastati & Principes are the red-shields, the Triarii are blue, and all the Latin Allies are white

For months I've only seen them one or two units at a time, for painting.  They certainly look like a fearsome mob when all set out together!  

Hopefully a bit of a better close-up on some of the infantry types

A group-photo of the Consul Maximus Mendacious, along with some of his Tribunes

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Showdown at Potterburn

Something of an interesting turn of events in Northern England: a potential three-way battle...

Potterburn is a decent estate of strength 7, located on the western edge of our campaign map - and caught between Lords Monkton and Whitcaster, the two Perkins brothers on opposite sides of the war.  With the lords having picked off the low-hanging fruit, they are now growing in strength to the stage where Potterburn can no longer stay neutral.

First to move is Lord Monkton, our solid-but-unimaginative Yorkist.  He marches west from Fishdale and arrives in Potterburn, with a force roughly equal to the local host.  Potterburn is also pro-Yorkist, but has no intention of simply rolling over to a bigger neighbour.  He holes up in the manor-house for a siege - or, more accurately, a prolonged stand-off while the two loyalists negotiate with each other about influence, titles, and other baubles.  

So far, so mundane - except that Lord Whitcaster then marches south into Potterburn with his Lancastrian rebel army!  This move is largely forced on the Lord Whitcaster, as every other direction has him hemmed in by more powerful foes.  The active Lancastrian decides to try his luck against Potterburn and his brother, since after all - capturing or killing his brother on the battlefield will certainly boost his chances.  

We now have the bizarre situation of three equally-sized armies all contesting the same area.  It is likely that the brothers Monkton and Whitcaster will fight each other, so Potterburn can theoretically sit back behind his walls and let them scrap away; the survivor will almost certainly be too weak to pursue a siege.  However, there is also the chance that by entering a fight he would tip the battle one way or the other and could basically make all the difference between victory or defeat.  

There's also the matter of Lord Potterburn's characteristics: Depraved morals, an enthusiastic fighter, and astoundingly treacherous!  The man's as predictable as a lunatic.  Basically because he is a lunatic, but just one that happens to have a title, and a large army at his disposal.  

[Based on reading about 'solo campaigns', the advice I got for a complex situation was to come up with several plausibly coherent courses of action per participant, and then roll a dice to randomly select a way for them to jump.  I'll do this for our battle, which may be a straight York vs Lancaster affair, or a far more random one with an unpredictable third-party taking to the field!]  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

First Turn Results

Back to relax in the comfort of Hadley Hall, Sir Richard reads over the reports that have come in from his spies through the region.

Lord Turstoke, the Lancastrian rebel to the south-west, has apparently fought a battle.  Despite being slightly outnumbered six-to-five by the neighbouring lord of Muncaster, the superior quality of Turstoke's retinue allowed him to triumph.
The start of battle, with Turstoke facing a line of Muncaster men while his own is split by a copse of trees.

Lord Turstoke himself, leading his dependable bodyguards.

Turstoke's right-wing starts the fight, putting the Muncaster militia to flight with a well-judged volley.

A sharp fight between the retinues, with Turstoke's men swiftly falling on the enemy flank.

The end of battle - the left-wing barely got engaged, but the right won things handily! 
Turstoke has now taken Muncaster as a vassal, and then swept on with his largely undiminished force to compel the weak lord of Greyburn to falling into line.

To the west, the Lord Monkton has taken Fishdale after a siege compelled them into line.  Lord Whitcaster has marched away westwards, snapping up the poor regions of Slagfield and Tursfield - poor pickings, but easily gathered up.

To the north, the rebel Lord Potterchester is apparently enjoying a run of success: the small Blackstoke region was compelled to submit, and also the pro-Lancastrian regions of Cornton and Leyley were swiftly induced into rebellion.

Some mixed news from north of Hadley, however: the Yorkist rival Lord Wolviston, who could at least have been a shield against the rampaging Lord Potterchester, has instead gone down to defeat.  He apparently attacked the Lord Turston whose lands lie between Potterchester and Hadley, but found himself narrowly defeated.
Lord Wolviston lines up his five companies to face seven rival ones.

Lord Wolviston shouts encouragement

The battle begins, with disjointed mobs clashing across the field.  

Wolviston's archers score a rare success on levies, but overall the dice are cruel!

An unnaturally skilled manoeuver by levies turns Wolviston's left flank!

Desperate fighting and high casualties all along the line, when finally - by a single dice-throw - Wolviston's retinue breaks and routs!
 The overall picture of these battles and marches begins to take shape for Lord Hadley, as he inspects his maps.

A Working copy on Excel - red shades show the Lancastrians, blue shades the Yorkists.