Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Hosts Gather for the Battle of the Crowning Stone

No one knows the origin of the Crowning Stone, it is lost in the mists of time but no King of the Land has been crowned anywhere else. So it was that Airafix was greatly troubled when  word came that a host of warriors from over the sea had landed and were marching on the Crowning Stone, boasting of their plan to haul it away. Great was his relief when the High King sent his champion Italeria with a great host  of horsemen to join the fight. The two armies mustered and marched upon the Stone.

The armies deployed and taking advantage of the nice new grid lines. 6 units of infantry flanked by light infantry archers in the distance, 2 elite cavalry, 3 horse archers, 2 light infantry and a skirmish unit of archers in the foreground. 

Italeria sat upon his horse and gazed past Stone Hill at the immense dust cloud. His experience suggested that upwards of 50 men marched towards the nearly 30 men under his command but they were huddled like sheep and all marched on foot and they did not worry him. What worried him as he ambled forward was how his Steppe mercenaries could tell who one was talking about if they were all named Alan?

Suddenly he realized that the enemy had stolen a march on him and were already climbing the farside  of the hill. Damn! His plan had been to make use of the superior speed of his cavalry and light infantry to get there first and sieze the advantage of ground. Now it would be be his loose scattering of men against their shield wall, meeting at the crest  with no advantage of ground. That didn't seem like a good plan. Showering with missiles might work if they weren't in dead ground. He didn't really have any other plan. Might be a good time to call up a druid to slaughter a chicken while he waited and maybe let the Alans work around the flank while the dead chicken thought up a plan.

Ahh, that was better, the enemy had come forward and manned the edge of the hill and the Alans were circling behind them. He waved Airafix and his light infantry to do the same on the other side. Once the enemy had been worn down a bit, he would lead his bodyguard in a death or glory ride against the shieldwall.

On the hill, King Orion rested on his shield during a break in the series of hit and run attacks. This had all seemed so simple, march up, take the hill, scare off the locals. Well, the locals seemed scared enough but that didn't seemed to help. They kept showering the hill with arrows and javelins and running away when threatened. His men had good shields and some armour and knew how to keep a tight formation but every now and then an arrow slipped by. His own archers had eventually been overwhelmed and only rarely did the enemy come close enough for his men to respond with their own javelins. Come nightfall he prayed or let the enemy grow rash.

As the sun sank and the enemy's shieldwall grew thinner, Italeria grew impatient. At last he had his trumpeter blow charge and he and his companions rode forward. As they smashed into the enemy from two sides the enemy collapsed. Singing a song of triumph, Italeria pushed forward into their ranks only to smash up against a new shield wall, glancing up he could see the enemy's dragon banner overhead. It was the last thing he saw.

The battle was not so easily won however, on one flank Airafix led his light infantry forward while the King of the Alans honoured the alliance (contract). His horse archers had been mauled earlier when they followed up their arrows with a charge so he kept them back now but the arrows kept raining down. With the shieldwall shrinking Orion himself was struck by an arrow and the shieldwall crumbled.

Aerafix, Lord of the Old Ones, guardian of the Crowning Stone. 


I had planned to try out the ungridded version of the Gathering of Hosts using my Turanians but I don't have a handy carrying case for them and didn't feeling like making several trips up and down stairs lugging trays of metal 25mm figures. I opted to spend some time reorganizing and basing some 1/72nd ACW troops  and then, with memories of the invisible grid still in my mind, grabbed a green felt marker and quickly lined out the grid. The improved board just called out to be tested and suddenly I recalled the makeshift 1/72nd DBA armies tucked away in a dark corner for the last decade. That's a story for another day but the test game was on! 

The first game lasted about 5 minutes before I called a halt, reset the table and turned back to the rules. Another 5 minutes of adjustments  and I launched into a game which kept me rivetted for an hour. I still need to do some editing for example, I caught myself applying various unwritten rules, and I need to look a bit closer at some of the troop type definitions and check that they each have a role  but essentially I am ready to roll. The big decision now is whether to stick with 1 stand per unit + markers (the smart move) or break the units down into 1 stand per strength point.


  1. Interesting battle report - I do like the figures and would love to seee more close-ups of them.

  2. Great Battle report. I really like the Airfix britons...Like childhood days wonderful...
    Please more.