Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Earl of Belmont goes Waltzing With a Bear

I was thinking of writing a proper battle report on Saturday's game but to my dismay I seem to have only taken 2 sets of photos and having had a busy weekend of gaming, rules tinkering and video watching, the details are a bit vague.
A reprise from the previous post.
The scenario is #4 from CS Grant's Programmed Scenarios. I decided to run the Northmen as a programmed enemy. Their mission was to delay the enemy without taking heavy losses. A die roll decided that they could lose at most 3 units. I played the Midlanders myself with the mission of breaking through as quickly as possibly with victory to be decided by post game consensus rather than any nice clearcut predetermined conditions. (hate it when he does that!)

After rolling for deployment options for the Northmen I selected all the light and missile troops for the left flank backed by a few bands of infantry.  (gotta get casting armored vikings and saxons!)

A closer look at the hill just before the Lancers charge.
The first few turns saw some cautious manouvring and the occasional exchange of arrows. I wasn't keen to throw away my advance guards just yet and Helgin had rolled a passive defence. At last the main body arrived and I sent the lads in. 

Fortune was not favouring archery today and time being short, I sent in the lancers. To my chagrin my men rolled high when hitting and low on armour saves so that the centaurs and archers that I expected to slaughter, despite the hill, were hurt but lived to retreat while I lost 1 stand and most of the second. As heavier troops moved up, the enemy fell back all along the line which was fine by me. 

The bickering amongst the light troops continued as the Earl pressed forward and eventually the enemy was down 2 stands. Behind the line the Lady Vivian tended to the wounded by staring seductively into their eyes and muttering phrases in a strange tongue while they continued to die in droves. 

Eventually the knights caught up with the Northmen hearthguard and crashed into them, on the first round their armour helped but the infantry survived to fallback into the stream. The knights followed up wiping out 1 band and nearly taking the 2nd but the number of hits received in return was shocking. Perhaps it was the muddy streambank but the 3+ armour save was not enough to save the Earl's Pensioners, they were wiped out!  Helgin had also lost a stand though and would lose the game if he lost another.  The Earl joined the remaing lancers and  pressed forward into the stream.

That's when it appeared, the Great Bear! Rumbling forward he crashed into the lancers midstream. 4 dice, 4 hits, 4 armour saves for 4,5,6 and not a single save! Now it was the Earl's turn to roll for the 2 excess hits but his armour was strong. He was left alone with an enemy unit however (the Bear being a unit rather than a character) so had to dice to avoid capture. I'm not sure yet if the bear is a trained beast with a handler, enchanted, or an intelligent ally but I'm pretty sure you don't want to be captured by it!

The moment of drama as Mahan Mohr slays the Earl's horse with one swipe of his great paw, trapping the Earl underneath.
It seemed almost inevitable. Now what to do with the army commander captured? I rechecked the rules and remembered that I had included one of the example house rules from Morschauser. If the General is lost, roll for each unit with equal chances to fight on, fallback, or flee the field. Apparently the Earl's men loved him but not enough to die trying to rescue him. They fled the field in droves. Delay? Hell! Helgin held the pass!

What can I say? Fast, furious, some tricky tactical challenges to think about, some "shouldn't have done that" moments and never as predictable as one would expect. Now I need a big stack of 60mm squares of 1/4" mdf.

(Edited to correct Westfolk to Northmen)


  1. I'm arranging to get a pile of bases from Historicon; I'll see if they do mail order...

  2. "Captured by a Bear"

    A reality shows that I would watch; that will never be made.