Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Fugitive

Andy came over last night and we played another game of Lion Rampant.  The scenario was The Fugitive, in which one side (in this case my Burgundians) was trying to find and rescue and hidden person.  I decided that the fugitive would be a Burgundian spy (Jacobus Bund) who had recently escaped from Swiss custody.

The table had six areas of bad going (woods and rocky outcrops) any one of which might conceal our man.  The remaining single trees were just for show.

I lined up along my base edge so as to have the ability to reach all of the potential hiding places.  From the far end in the picture below I had mounted men-at-arms, longbows, coustilliers (mounted sergeants), bidowers, and more mounted men-at-arms.

Andy lined up opposite me with, again from the far end, bidowers (Italian mercenary crossbows), halberdiers, mounted crossbows, pikes, more pikes, and more bidowers (Swiss hand-gunners).

The game start well enough for me.    My Burgundian bidowers reached the first woods and confirmed that the prisoner wasn't there.  My coustilliers advanced to engage Andy's mounted crossbows.  My longbowmen advanced to just short of a second woods.

But then things began to go horribly wrong.  The men at arms on both flanks refused to advance.  The coustilliers, who should have defeated the mounted crossbows didn't and the longbowmen, who just didn't have enough move left to get into the second woods, came under fire from Andy's Italian mercenary crossbowmen (bidowers) from the opposite woods. Immediately the longbowmen failed their courage test.  They would spend the next few turns being gradually whittled down by fire before they finally fled without once getting a shot off!

The coustilliers charged Andy's mounted crossbowmen and should have driven them off but I rolled poorly and was soon they were in a bad way too.

All this time Andy's pike were advancing slowly towards my right centre.  They threatened to overwhelm my coustilliers and then, the coustilliers having joined the longbowmen in rout, to cut off the escape of the left flank men at arms who I'd finally managed to roll forward into the same area.

On the right flank I committed a grave error.  My right flank men-at-arms, finally advancing, headed forward to explore the rocky outcrop to their front.  Suddenly among the tumble-down boulders they spotted some red-clad Swiss.  With a sharp battle cry they charged!  This was a Wild Charge - exactly the kind of thing men-at-arms are prone to and exactly the  kind of thing you don't want them to do in these circumstances.

The Burgundian knights, the impetus of their charge broken by the bad terrain were cut down and forced back.  But of course they would continue to throw themselves at the elusive enemy!

The only small bonus was that, in falling back from the first, confused melee, they did so accompanied by Jacobus Bund who had been hiding among those same rocks!  

I could now win the game but only if I could find a way of disposing of these Swiss hand-gunners who would otherwise continue to lure my men-at-arms to futile death among the boulders.

My own Burgundian bidowers (a mixture of crossbows and hand-guns) were fortunately within range.  From among the trees (of the first wood we'd entered) they kept up a a reasonably constant fire. Would they clear out their Swiss opposite numbers before the Burgundian knights dashed them selves to destruction? Or before the whole force broke as a result of losing the other group of knights surrounded in the centre?

Fortunately for me the dice now began to be kind.  One more than one occasion my knights failed to make a Wild Charge into the rocks and on more than one occasion Andy's pikes failed to close in on my centre.  All the time the Burgundian bidowers were killing more and more of their Swiss counterparts in the rocks.  

Eventually the Swiss hand-gunners broke and Guy de Gadbois, leader of the retinue and lone survivor of his unit, was able to escort Jacobus Bund off to safety. 

Our opinion at the end was that this was the most Pyrrhic of victories.  I had only two units left on the board at the end.  My bidowers would probably sneak away but the remaining men at arms would, had the action continue, have smashed themselves to pieces charging Andy's now rapidly approaching pikes. 

For the first time we had two poor leaders. The Vulnerable Guy de Gadbois has led the Burgundians through half a dozen small actions and remained unscathed whilst the Insipid Gerhardt Schupp now became the first of our Swiss commanders to survive a skirmish!


Will McNally said...

Sounds just like one of our Lion Rampant games, no matter how much you try to avoid it, the knights always find something stupid to charge at.

Counterpane said...

You're not wrong Will. With six areas of bad going and two units of mounted men at arms this was always going to be tough for the Burgundians.