Friday, 24 February 2017

Lion Rampant AAR


Charles de Solier, Lord of Morette, Soldier in the armies of Louis XII & Francis I

Yesterday I took advantage of a day off and gaming buddies Jeff and Keith's retirement to host a game of Lion Rampant, the scenario was based upon 'a gentle stroll'. This was the third outing of my work in progress Tudor/Valois army lists and special rules of which I shall preview in this report.

The opposing forces;

French (defender) 29 points

1 unit Stradiots
1 unit Gendarmes (commander)
2 units Men at arms
2 units Adventuriers

Tudors (attackder) 28 points

2 units Border Horse
1 unit Shire Bill
2 units Shire Longbow
2 units Demilancers (commander)

Keith opted for the Tudors and Jeff took the French.

The French army win if more than half of the retinue's total points leave the table via the SE section, the Tudors win if they destroy more than half of the enemy retinue.


It is late Summer 1514 on the edge of the Calais Pale, Henry's victories of the previous year have consolidated English influence in the area but French raids have emboldened in the face of a dwindling garrison presence.

Whilst the English garrison is out on patrol one such raid has penetrated deep into friendly territory and is making its way back to Picardy.

Upon seeing the patrol marching toward a river crossing an English sympathiser alerts the patrol of enemy presence by lighting a (in hindsight rather large) bonfire. Mounted archers manage to close the distance and dismount while the remaining cavalry make their way - Can the French escape unscathed ?


Initial set up; French deploy in the NE sector and the Tudors split deployment in the NW and SE sectors. The Tudors have to deploy at least one unit in each sector but otherwise deployment was as desired. Keith set up his Demilancers and bill blocking the way in the SE with a screen of Longbows and Border Horse in the NE to harry the French advance.

Turn 1

With the anchor force looking on for the foreseeable the main Tudor action is at the top of the table. The Longbowmen perhaps stopping for refreshment after their forced march fail activation leaving the Border horse to fan out to check the French advance.


The French begin their movement with a screen of Stradiot light cavalry and Adventuriers not far behind them. The Gendarmes and Men at arms fail activation and observe.

Turn 2

The Border Horse move toward a gap in the hedge ready to pounce, the Longbows split their number sending one contingent to support the Northerners and leaving one to harass the French rear at long range. Being only just in range and suffering some bad luck on the dice the Adventuriers flinch as their flank takes 2 casualties and becomes battered with galling arrows from the Longbowmen.


Advancing past thickset hedges the Stradiots espie their counterparts and turn to face them off. Meanwhile the Adventuriers maintain their comparatively slow advance and the Heavy Cavalry begin to make their way over the stream.

Here's a look at the opposing units of this first action. To begin, a comparative look at the staple Tudor infantry of Shire and Garrison Longbowmen.

Both benefit by ignoring the -1 at long range though have less penetrative power than Crossbow and arquebus armed counterparts. This is to reflect the experience of the opposing forces, the French were veterans of the Italian wars whereas the English had enjoyed a generation of comparative peace.

Shire troops are those home raised by indenture in the retinues of nobles campaigning in France whereas Garrison troops though less numerous are a little more experienced by border war in the Calais Pale. They are quicker to react to their environment with lower activation rolls and can defend themselves better when attacked.

UNIT NAME
Shire Longbowmen
POINTS
4
Attack
7+
Attack Value
6+
Move
6+
Defence Value
5+
Shoot
6+
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 18”
Courage
4+
Maximum movement
6”
Armour
2
Special Rules
Longbow*
* ignore -1 when shooting at long range

UNIT NAME
Garrison Longbowmen
POINTS
6
Attack
6+
Attack Value
5+
Move
6+
Defence Value
5+
Shoot
4+
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 18”
Courage
4+
Maximum movement
6”
Armour
2
Special Rules
Longbow*

The French Adventuriers are missile armed, predominantly with Crossbows though these are stiffened with some arquebuses. They prefer movement over offensive combat and are not disadvantaged by rough going. Slower to fire than their counterparts but they pack a punch.

UNIT NAME
Adventuriers
POINTS
4
Attack
7+
Attack Value
6
Move
6+
Defence Value
5+
Shoot
7+
Shoot Value / Range
4+ / 18”
Courage
4+
Maximum movement
6”
Armour
1
Special Rules
Fleet footed


Turn 3

The Longbowmen on the road maintain their fire into the Adventuriers though this time with little effect. To their right the Border Horse both fail to activate to close to the hedge though this does allow their supporting Longbowmen to catch up.


The Stradiots can't ignore this opportunity and charge into their opposing horsemen who elect to evade without effect, combat ensues but without casualties and after a brief exchange of javelin and sabre they disengage. Under cover of this distraction the Heavy cavalry and Adventuriers edge further up the road with the rear element skirmishing with their Longbow counterparts.

Lets have a closer look at these opposing light cavalry.

The Stradiots are experienced mercenaries and have seen action in a number of theatres of the Italian Wars. Their foe are masters of localised Border warfare though are not accustomed and indeed not overly keen to performing on a sweeping battlefield. The Stradiots enjoy a slight advantage to reflect their battle experience and thus do not suffer a -1 when performing an evade action* this can be decisive and increases their points accordingly.

*When a unit successfully evades it shoots a brief volley and moves, if the attacker makes contact after this reaction the defender suffers a -1 in combat to reflect the relative confusion and exposed flank / rear.

UNIT NAME
Stradiots
POINTS
5
Attack
7+
Attack Value
5+
Move
5+
Defence Value
6
Shoot
6+
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 6”
Courage
5+
Maximum movement
12”
Armour
2
Special Rules
Expert Skirmish* / Evade
UNIT NAME
Border Horse
POINTS
3
Attack
7+
Attack Value
5+
Move
5+
Defence Value
6
Shoot
6+
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 6”
Courage
5+
Maximum movement
12”
Armour
2
Special Rules
Skirmish / Evade

Turn 4

Keith attempts to move his second unit of Border Horse in support but rolls a double one at activation and suffers a blunder, careering a full move away from the action.

His first unit are also unsuccessful to activate and suffer another charge from the Stradiots, the Borderers roll to evade and do so causing a casualty but are crushed and utterly defeated at contact. The Stradiots hold the field but are battered for their effort.

I quite liked the blunder rule in Pike and Shotte and have used it here with a bit of Tudor/Valois flavour and amendment to reflect the fog of war and uncertain loyalties, here's the final yet to be fully tested draft;

Upon activation if the unit rolls a double 1 roll a D6 and consult the blunder table;

Blunder Table
1
Mistaken identity
The unit shoots at the nearest friendly unit if missile armed and in range.
2
Run Away !
Take a courage test, if failed the unit makes one full move to the rear.
3
We want pay
The unit has tired of days on campaign without pay and has chosen this moment to express it. Take a courage test with an additional -1 to any existing factors
4
Treason !
Take a courage test, if failed the unit defects to the enemy and takes one full move in their direction. To reflect that not all of the unit may harbour this desire the defecting unit is at -1 courage for the remainder of the game.
5
Loose
The unit fires upon the nearest enemy unit if missile armed and in range
6
Wild Charge!
The unit charges one full move toward the nearest enemy, resolve combat if contact is made.

Turn 5

Vengeful at seeing their fellow countrymen mercilessly dispatched the Longbowmen supporting the borderers loose a volley into the battered Stradiots who take further casualties and fall back in disarray. The remaining Border Horse wheel from their blunder and advance further down the hedge line to check the pace of the French cavalry while the Longbowmen on the road continue to harass the rear of the Adventuriers causing 2 casualties which effect their courage leaving them battered.



The French turn opens with unlucky dice and failed courage tests for both units of Adventuriers who remain in halted confusion and begin to crumble. The Gendarmes leave their countrymen to their fate and advance along with the remaining cavalry further down the road.

Turn 6

The Game very much entered a new phase at this point. The French were over halfway to their objective and their cavalry were about to demonstrate their Gallic pride and at times reckless skill at arms and will to close with the enemy.

The turn began on the left with the Tudor Longbowmen continuing to pin the Adventuriers in place with further casualties and maintain their broken status.The Borderers to their right failed to activate and rested their mounts behind a small cottage and orchard.


The units of French Crossbowmen failed to rally and began to disintegrate as a fighting force. They had struggled to recover from early casualties and the Longbowmen held them in place to ensure they could not achieve their objective. Luck certainly had a part to play on both sides but this very much closed this action.


Galled by the English bow and antagonistic light cavalry the patience of the French nobles had worn out.


Spotting the Border Horse just within sight behind a gap in a hedge the Men at arms were within charge range and had to roll for a wild charge which they duly executed. Thundering into the flank of the borderers who with little chance against their heavy Maximilian armour were broken in complete destruction. The fight was now coming to the English commander's vulnerable retinue.

Turns 7-8

Screened by the cavalry engagement to their right the remaining Gendarmes and Men at Arms were able to continue down the road without having to test for wild charges eventually forming in line with no reserves or supporting infantry ready for the final charge en haye.


The Tudors awaited the onslaught and desperately tried to get their Longbowmen down the field to assist.

Turn 9

Rather than await the inevitable the Tudor commander Lord Buckingham thundered into the opposing Gendarmes, at this stage a straight even fight. The result was inconclusive

Following up the French began their turn with the Gendarmes crashing back into their counterpart, eager for Buckingham's ransom. With the Gendarmes at an attack advantage this time the Tudor nobles came off for the worse with casualties down to half strength, however whilst they were still in the vicinity they were blocking the French objective.



The French wild charges then rolled down the line testing the Tudor resolve to hold the field.


The Men at Arms in the centre broke lances with their opposing Demilancers, an even match but the French disengaged taking casualties. Finally the Men at Arms on the French right ran down the bill who had neglected to form schiltron in defense, as luck would have it only light casualties were suffered.

Lets have a look at the listings for the heavy cavalry;

The Gendarmes are a straight copy of the mounted knights in the game and pack a heavy attack value. With an armour of 4 they're difficult to kill, for reference I have King's Spears at the same level.

Note with the Gendarmes and Men at arms they have a fairly high movement activation and a commander needs to be wary of placing them too near the enemy before required as they're both subject to the wild charge rule. Jeff demonstrated the careful handling of this particularly well in this game.

Next, the Demilancers and Men at Arms are evenly matched though the English are slightly more manouverable and somewhat guarded in not being subject to the wild charge rule. The Demilancers under Rees ap Thomas in the French campaign of 1513 performed numerous roles from scouting to engaging all manner of the enemy, they were almost in between medium and heavy cavalry.

UNIT NAME
Gendarmes
POINTS
6
Attack
5+
Attack Value
3+
Move
7+
Defence Value
5+
Shoot
N/A
Shoot Value / Range
N/A
Courage
3+
Maximum movement
10”
Armour
4
Special Rules
Wild Charge / CC
UNIT NAME
Men at Arms
POINTS
4
Attack
5+
Attack Value
4+
Move
7+
Defence Value
5+
Shoot
N/A
Shoot Value / Range
N/A
Courage
4+
Maximum movement
10”
Armour
3
Special Rules
Wild Charge / CC
UNIT NAME
Demilancers
POINTS
4
Attack
5+
Attack Value
4+
Move
5+
Defence Value
5+
Shoot
N/A
Shoot Value / Range
N/A
Courage
4+
Maximum movement
10”
Armour
3
Special Rules
CC

Turn 10, End Game



Having yomped half the battlefield the Longbowmen were in position and loosed their arrows into the French Men at Arms but it wasn't to be with - count them, 9 ones rolled.

The Demilancers found courage and careened back into the Men at Arms with both sides taking casualties and becoming battered, the French slightly worse off.

The Bill formed schiltron and awaited their fate which the French soon delivered.


The Men at Arms facing the bill drew their swords and maces and charged but this time the bill were ready for them, the extra armour point for being in schiltron made them difficult to kill and they pushed the cavalry back. With cumulative casualties from the previous actions the French fell to half strength and were battered.

Under cover of this the Gendarmes managed to leave the field, the only unit able to do so.


Having no ability to achieve the French objective the game came to a close with a hard won victory for the Tudors.

It was an enjoyable game to umpire and with the various and colourful engagements really gave a Renaissance feel to proceedings. I've a bit more to do but I think I might have cracked these army listings. I've still to test the use of Landsknechts properly so I think they and perhaps some light artillery shall be a feature of the next engagement.

Bye for now

Stuart