Another game, another new set of rules. Lion Rampant is a set of medieval rules published by Osprey. Steve thought that they looked promising as a set for us to use with Lance and Longbow participation games and so he set up a simple scenario for us to try them out. The rules are aimed at skirmish level actions and in the illustrations all the figures are individually based, though this is not essential. Units are of 12 or 6 figures and formations are 'loose', armies are collections of 'mobs' of men, rather than serried ranks. To move/shoot a unit needs to pass a die roll (usually between 5 and 8 on two d6; failure means that your turn ends.
In the first game we started slowly, but after c20 minutes we began to get the gist of the rules. Mutual exchange of archery inflicted a few casualties, but the first real blood-letting occurred when my serfs were charged by Steve's yeomen. The rules meant that we each rolled 12 dice (d6's), but whereas I needed a 6 to inflict a hit, Steve only required a 4. Not only that, but the armour factor meant that each of Steve's hits inflicted a casualty, but I needed two to do the same. The dice gave their decision, 4 serfs down, 1 yeoman. Not surprisingly the serfs failed their courage (ie morale) test . If they had failed narrowly, they could have been 'battered' and given a chance to rally, but they scored below 0 and therefore fled the field.
At the beginning of the game we had rolled dice to find out any special characteristics of our commanders; mine was 'rash', meaning he automatically charged any enemy unit within 10 inches. This meant that my unit of mounted men-at-arms ended up charging Steve's serfs. Which would have been a good thing, except that the serfs were in broken ground and consequently my mounted troops were at a severe disadvantage. Things went further downhill when I suffered a casualty in the melee. If your commander is in hand-to-hand combat you roll 2d6, a result of double one means he has been killed;no prizes for guessing what I rolled!
This set the pattern for the next 20 minutes as one by one my units were either cut down, or fled. The last man standing was a man-at-arms who gallantly fought on until he too was killed. (Just like the games I played as a schoolboy).
Having plenty of time left we set up a scenario from the Northern Crusades (the rules come with 'army' lists); Teutonic knights against pagan tribesmen. Again, my leader was 'rash', well that was fairly accurate historically; but you wouldn't have known it from the way things played out. I seemed to have specially doctored dice which couldn't achieve a total of more than 6 (with two dice!) and I needed 7 to move or shoot. My men-at-arms sat there on their horses and watched as the bands of Pagan tribesmen advanced across the table. Only when the tribesmen got within 10 inches was I able to move and even then I got a slice of luck because Steve unluckily rolled very low dice which prevented his tribesmen attacking my cavalry, which would have reversed the attack and defence factors. The resulting melees both went my way and when the crossbows saw off the third unit of tribesmen, victory was allocated to the Germans.
We got through two games in the evening, even though we were new to the rules. They are simplistic, but then if you are thinking of using them at shows, they need to be easy to understand. You roll plenty of dice and luck plays a big part. They give a fun game, which is after all a big part of why we follow this hobby. A beginner could build up two armies very quickly (and cheaply) and therefore be gaming whilst the first flush of enthusiasm is still bright. That being said I wouldn't want to play only games which used this type of rules
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