Thursday, 21 January 2016

Mercy sakes alive

Last night we played the convoy scenario from the Lion Rampant rule book. The result was positive for the rules, but negative for my translation of the scenario to the tabletop.

The picture above is extremely uninformative on both counts, but, alas, I still have no camera. My mistake was - as Peter pointed out as soon as he saw the set up - to have the convoy start off table. I did try to ameliorate this, but it didn't work; I should have stuck more closely to the version in the book. The game pitched some undefined central European Holy Roman empire types trying to take a convoy of equally vague  treasure across the table while some Ottoman raiders tried to steal it. We used most of the special rules, and while James' braveheart leader saw off the head sipahi following a personal challenge it was too no avail. He ran out of missile troops and faced being whittled away as he moved forwards without being able to reply.

The rules appealed to me for a number of reasons when I read them, all of which were, I think, validated upon playing them:
  •  I could play them with stuff that I already had. Though written for singly based figures there didn't seem any real reason why they shouldn't be played with stands. We simply counted each element of two cavalry or four infantry as two hits and marked units which were carrying one. We had a bit of debate about the required gap between units, but I think that's also no real problem.
  • They address a scale of game that appeals to me. I read a number of blog reviews of the rules before playing them and was taken by one observation - sadly, and as usual, I can't remember where from - that historical skirmishes involve dozens of figures and that most 'skirmish wargames' are really pub fights. Now I love a large scale battle in the legendary wargames room of James 'Olicanalad' Roach as much as the next man (1), but I also like the raid/ambush type of game and haven't always been convinced that the same rules - facings, formations, manouvre, etc - work for both levels.
  • They give a chance to get out some toys that I have enjoyed modelling, but which don't really fit into a large battle environment. In this case it was wagons and pack animals, but believe me I have some strange stuff stored in the annexe. My Janissary marching band may make it to the table yet.
  • They seemed easy to play. Whilst there was the usual rifling through the book looking for the appropriate section, I can't remember playing a new set of rules where we had less retracing of steps because of an obvious mistake we had made. 
  • They would appear to be easy to tweak for different periods. I think the melee combat mechanism will work for my Romans in Britain rip off of Pony Wars better than the one we were using, and I've seen, for example, an ECW version.
 So, they were - in my book at least - a success. As ever, I'm not sure when they will be back on the table because James has some rubber roads to test, and the next game in the annexe will be likely to feature the new C&C Napoleonic expansion.

(1) except possibly Sidi Rezegh, which I reserve the right to like slightly less than the next man.

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