When I read the rules, though, I started to think that there are plenty of other, properly medieval periods they would be good for. I went and poked about in some of my figure storage....
Now when Sheffield wargamer Steve Briddon emigrated to the USA, he sold off a lot of wargames material and among the things I picked up was a boxed Later Swiss army for DBA.
Not being a DBA fan I've never actually used the army at all. It's just sat in its box taking up space and occasionally demanding to know why I haven't done anything with it.
The army is made up of Foundry figures - 24 pikemen (including officers, musicians and banner bearers), 12 halberdiers, four hand gunners and a gun crew.
I could have rebased the men for Basic Impetus and indeed at some point I did convert the two handgun elements (DBA Psiloi) into a Basic Impetus Skirmisher unit but the number of figures I have is barely enough for two more Basic Impetus units.
So now I'm thinking Lion Rampant. You don't need so many units to complete a Lion Rampant retinue.
The 12 halberdiers would make one unit and the rules already suggest Fierce Foot as the way to represent them.
Four handgunners isn't enough; you need six figures for a unit of bidowers in Lion Rampant. That's OK, though, I think I can cobble together a couple of useful additions from my part-used box of Perry plastic Wars of the Roses infantry (or maybe some very old 25mm RAFM figures I have spare).
This just leaves us with the pikemen. The figures I have will make two units. But units of what type?
Foot sergeants is the obvious first choice but the rules do suggest that these are well armoured and slightly better in defence than attack. My Swiss pikemen are mostly depicted as unarmoured and we know that the later Swiss armies were almost foolhardy in their dedication to the attack.
I could make them "Expert Foot Sergeants" but then they lose the "Schiltron" option, which seems daft for pikes. The justification is that expert foot sergeants have poleaxes instead of spears.
Foot Yeomen is another option but these "lack the staying power of foot sergeants".
Finally there's Fierce Foot. Is some ways this appeals but pikemen probably shouldn't get the ability to fight as normal in bad going and anyway treating them as Fierce Foot would lose the distinction (in rules terms) between them and the halberdiers.
Checking the Lion Rampant rules lists I find that the problem may have been fixed for me:
- 2 Expert Foot Sergeants* @12pts (presumably the pikes)
- 2 Fierce Foot @8pts (presumably the halberdiers)
- 1 Crossbowmen @4pts
So that's what I'll probably try for now. I'll just have to justify the lack of Schiltron ability by saying that this a skirmish and these pikemen would only form schiltron if there were many more of them available to do it properly.
I won't initially have the two units of Fierce Foot and will probably replace the Crossbowmen with two units of Bidowers but I think I'm pretty well on the way towards my first (non-paper) Lion Rampant retinue.
The gun will stay on its current base. It will do as an objective marker in some scenarios and will also be of use in massed battle games of Basic Impetus or To The Strongest! with my Wars of the Roses figures.
Of course then I'll need to start building Burgundians!