Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lion Rampant Game 1 - The Messenger

With my beloved out doing the Government's bidding on some covert mission (no, really!) and with our daughter watching a film in the living room, I had on Saturday evening a first chance to get the newly recruited Lion Rampant forces onto the table for a solo run-through of the rules.

The forces were my Swiss:

  • Two units of Pike (Expert Foot Serjeants)
  • One of halberds (Fierce Foot)
  • One of skirmishers (Bidowers)

... and some cobbled together Burgundians backed by Irish mercenaries:

  • One unit of mounted men at arms (what it says on the tin)
  • One unit of ordonnance archers (Expert Archers)
  • One unit of Burgundian hand gunners (Bidowers)
  • Two units of Irish kern (both Bidowers).

Both retinues total 18 points (a little smaller than the standard recommended for the game).

I randomly allocated personalities to the leaders.  The Swiss leader was sly - he could refuse a challenge from his opposite number without the risk of Courage tests by his retinue.  This seemed appropriate for the Swiss who tended to led by somewhat bourgeois committees rather than by nobles with an upbringing soaked in tales of chivalry.

The Burgundian leader was strong and should have been able to reroll one missed to hit roll each time his unit attacked.  I say "should have" because I forgot to do this on at least one occasion (not that it made much difference to the result as it turned out).

I also randomly rolled up the scenario after I'd set up the terrain:

The scenario was "The Messenger" - the Swiss, randomly chosen as attackers, had to get a messenger figure from bottom right to top left corner of the table as pictured above.  The Burgundians could enter a maximum of 6 points of units bottom left with the remainder coming on top right.

Lion Rampant has a strict 3" between units rule and this meant that the deployment zones were too small to fit the whole Swiss retinue.  One of the Pike units would have to dice to come on later.

The Burgundian main deployment area (there was just a single unit of men at arms in the other) was similarly cramped with the added inconvenience of a cabbage field (bad going) encroaching into it.

The first game turn passed in about twenty seconds as both sides failed their first activation of the turn (play passes to the opposing player in most cases where a unit fails to activate).  Eventually, though, the Swiss managed to get moving. Foreground below, in the green coat, is the messenger escorted by the Swiss halberdiers.

The Swiss even managed to bring on their fourth unit, with the retinue leader among them!

Within a  few turns the halberdiers (and the messenger) had reached the crossroad at the middle of the table.  The Burgundian commander had pushed forward his bidowers  to occupy areas of cover but his longbowmen were still slogging through the cabbage field while the men at ames hadn't moved at all despite several calls to do so!  Men at arms in Lion Rampant are reluctant to go swanning around the battlefield getting their armour dirty but put an opponent in front of them and then you'll see them motor!

Unfortunately for the Swiss, this was the moment at which the Burgundian leader seemed to wake up.  At last the men at arms began to trundle forward with the halberdiers in their sights.

The men at arms were represented by an Impetus element from my Wars of the Roses collection:

There was no cover available to help the halberdiers, just a lone tree at the crossroads.

The Swiss commander tried to interpose his lead pike unit between the knights and the halberdiers...

... but every time he tried to move them God decreed that the dice rolls were insufficient.  God's like that: He hates the Swiss.

Very shortly later the Burgundian knights slammed into the halberdiers immediately killing three of them for no loss and driving them back to cower around the crossroads tree.

At this point the folly of placing the messenger in the hands of the halberdiers became somewhat apparent.  Yes, they're fast and powerful in combat but they're also bat-shit crazy!  Faced by a unit of armoured and mounted knights preparing to return to the fray, the halberdiers hoisted their weapons, let out a mighty battle-cry and charged! The Burgundians were apparently surprised as they failed to counter-charge.

This time the factors were far more favourable to the Swiss and in the end both sides took one casualty.  Ooh, and with the Burgundian leader among the knights and the messenger in with the halberdiers we must roll for lucky blows. On snake eyes the character in question would be lost.

And look what the Burgundians rolled:

Game Over! Five points of Glory to the Burgundians!

Total casualties for the Swiss were three hand-gunners taken out by Irish javelins from behind a hedge, three halberdiers killed in the initial cavalry charge, and the unfortunate messenger.  The Burgundians lost a single, unnamed man at arms.

I very much enjoyed the game.  It looked fine, moved along at a good pace, and certainly encourages me to keep up the efforts to get to 24 point retinues for both sides. 


Bluebear Jeff said...

I should be playing my first LR game in about 23 hours from this comment. Baron Otto von Stout of Wulfheim will be facing the forces of Count Roberge Le Ferriere.

I hope that we will enjoy it as much as you seemed to with your playtest.

-- Jeff

Richard Phillips said...

Great little game! Must get a few 28mm figures to do after I have finished all my Andreivia stuff.
Richard P

Counterpane said...

Cheers, guys. It's a fun little game and the level models available have certainly engaged my enthusiasm.

I hope your game goes will, Jeff. A purse of silver thalers on the Comte de Ferrier!

Counterpane said...

"Level"? I think I wrote "lovely".