Time for a quick, one-off game of Wars of the Roses mayhem, to give the newly-painted figures an outing!
The plan is for a small, knockabout game to give the 'Hail Caesar' rules their first whirl. Nothing too demanding, so I've plumped for a simple three-units-a-side bash. Each unit is basically a ward on its own, and to make things a bit more historically flavoured, I've basically copied the 'combined' rule from the Dark-Ages example game in Hail Caesar.
Basically, to represent that the bows and bills in an army were not typically fielded in distinct units, I allowed them to be combined together into 'Large' units of 30 or 40 figures rather than the standard 20, and given a profile which reflects their make-up (i.e. ranged capability from the archers, but also hand-to-hand ratings for heavy infantry.) As the combined units become shaken, the stats degrade to the lower troop quality - so the better troops of the retinues are eventually carried along with the levies, once fatigue and losses set in.
Leadership-wise, although I could have a leader for each ward, the guy would basically be commanding one unit - so for this one I decided to issue orders only through the army C-in-C. The other leaders could fight with their wards and lend combat dice as wished, but no commands.
The forces I've knocked together are roughly along the Towton-esque line - Yorkists have Edward IV, Warwick & Fauconberg as commanders while the Lancastrians have Somerset, Northumberland & Exeter. It's not a historical re-fight however, just a basis for a simple scrum-down.
|The battlefield, with Lancastrians top-left, Yorkists bottom-right|
The refight saw the two sides lined up on a 'busy' tabletop, not too large but filled with hillocks, patches of woodland and a small farming village by a road. Things began with a short Lancastrian advance and some long-range volleys of arrows, supplemented with the occasional boom of Edward IV's cannon returning the fire. The Lancastrian left, under
Northumberland, lagged worryingly behind the rest - and all with a large hill in front that they would doubtless need to occupy, if they wanted to secure their position.
|The Yorkist army|
Seeing the opportunity, Warwick - opposite Northumberland, on the Yorkist right - lunged forward and swiftly occupied the crucial hilltop, although in doing so he put a wood between his ward and the Yorkist centre, making himself dangerously isolated from help. He swiftly fired a point-blank volley into Northumberland's startled ward, provoking an instant attack by them uphill against his waiting troops. In the swift clash that followed, Northumberland's ward was shattered by the Yorkists uphill from them, and fled the field with Warwick's men in chaotic pursuit down the slope.
|Warwick takes the hill, and sets about carving up Northumberland|
Somerset quickly reacted to the collapse on his flank by turning his ward to engage - a calculated gamble that he would be able to crush the weakened and disordered Warwick before Edward could reach him and engage the centres.
|The battle develops - Warwick's ward is at the top-right corner, and |
Somerset turns the Lancastrian centre to face him
|Warwick - in the Lancastrian rear, but he's weakened and disordered.|
It was not to be. Clearly the little lead Edward IV was channelling some of his forebears' agressive energy, as he rolled for 3 moves - instantly sweeping across the field and crashing right into Somerset's momentarily-exposed flank. It was too much for the dazed Lancastrians, who broke and fled in chaos, leaving Somerset himself dead on the field (there's gratitude for you...)
|The Yorkists close in, with Somerset being struck in the flank by Edward IV's Centre|
|Edward IV - a firm believer in 'rolling deep!'|
Altogether, a spectacular Yorkist victory largely decided by two lucky command-rolls which saw
Warwick first sieze the cricual hill on the east of the battlefield to turn the Lancastrian line, then Edward's sweeping charge that crushed the centre.
Interesting to see the rules in action. There were some 'teething troubles' as is to be expected on a first-outing, such as a belated understanding of triggering break tests through ranged fire. Overall however, the game played surprisingly swiftly - barely an hour, where 'A Coat Of Steel' would have probably taken three times as long. It didn't lack drama either, as both sides needed to make tough calls about the risks/rewards of committing their wards into action.