Sunday, May 10, 2015

On the Border

A person might ask why I need to refurbish old 25mm armies for Fantasy/Shock games if I have 40mm armies that would serve if I just added a few monsters and magicians, and it would be a good question.

For those who missed it, the armies are enumerated in the captions of the last post. The basic progress of the battle can be followed in the following pictures and their captions.
The opposing missile troops meet as the English advance. Losses are heavy on both sides but the Franco-Scots army gets the worst of it in the centre and near the western flank, largely because the attackers got first shot and rolled high.
Once again, on the whole this was a fast paced, exciting game with a few twists of fortune and some lessons in game tactics. The dice made a difference here and there but command decisions usually trumped them, in part because there were so many die rolls that they almost couldn't help levelling out.  On the 3rd to last turn the Scots looked to be down and out but by the end of the following turn they rocked the English back, taking the advantage with a rash but necessary counter attack. Indeed the Scots almost won it on their half of the last turn but the dice weren't there to back up their gamble and the English came back both strong and lucky for a decisive, come back, win.

The first moral was that Morschauser was right to warn that upping the percentage of missile troops would upset the balance of the game. They are deadly especially since the attacker can almost always get the first shot and with a move of 4 and range of 6 they can appear out of nowhere and concentrate fire in incredible fashion. This will be a problem if wanting to show the characteristics of different races and nations including those who rely on archers. 

The second was that I forgot about my proposed pushback rule until the last turn but didn't miss it. Might have made the fighting a little less quick and deadly though. I'm undecided about the 2 melee turns, it reduced some of the advantage to not having all melees go to the death as few stands survived 2 rounds of melee. In short melee between heavy and medium troops is DEADLY. Stands die like flies. Good for a quick game but with full sized armies making my table crowded he game still lasted only about 90 minutes. I could have dragged that out a bit by being a little more cautious but not by much.

The English have just enough missile power left to force the French Landsknechts to attack. East of the river, the Highlanders and Border Horse are driving off the opposition while the Highland archers slowly win their long distance fight with the longbowmen.  
So why was it fun and engaging? I'm not sure. One thing might be that while results against individual stands were quick, Groups of stands took longer to deal with and since movement is fast, it was often possible to pull back or bring up reserves to change the situation giving scope for generalship on a higher level than worrying about alignment and arranging factors and modifiers.  The unpredictability of individual die rolls may also play a role. 

The English have been driven off from across the river but they fought stubbornly and there is not enough Scots cavalry to force the river in the teeth of reinforcements. The Highlanders start fording. In the middle the English lancers have ridden over the Halbardiers but the pikes are holding their own. 
At this point the only thing I would want to fiddle with is the missile power. If the range is reduced it will make the archers too vulnerable to cavalry charges and I don't want to start fiddling with things like 1 die for 2 figures if shooting. Instead, I think merely removing the ability of foot archers to move AND shoot will suffice. Then a defending line of archers would get first shot as the enemy approached and it would be much harder to suddenly amass a deadly barrage focussed on 1 stand by bringing up 1 stand at a time and shooting until that target is dealt with and then focussing on another.

As the Highlanders engage piecemeal, the Franco-Scots left collapses.With the English, still 20 strong and  able to occupy part of the ridge without contest, the Franco-Scots have now lost 20 out of the original 35 and their morale is broken.
I'm looking forward to getting together with Rob at Hiuzzah next weekend to talk this over in addition to other things. We have only touched so far on magic and monsters. Look for more refurbished 25mm games before long.


  1. An excellent game and interesting to read your comments about how the rules play.Time And gardening permitting I might give them a go with my ancients at the weekend.
    I look forward to seeing how you proceed with fantasy as I would like to add a wee sprinkling of such to my Guyleria games esp in the light of my new old school figures .

  2. Are you thinking of changing Strength points to represent different training quality/armour/morale etc?