Monday 22 April 2024

Lion Rampant At Shirecon

Yesterday was the annual Lion Rampant tournament at Shirecon, and a contingent from Wollongong headed up to the big city to take part. 

Actually we made up half of the ten players.

I took the Dwarf army I'd used a couple of weeks ago - 2 x Crossbows with Pavise and 2 x Elite Foot (including the leader, who had Strongbow and Vulnerable)

There were five tables and each one was set up with a particular scenario. The tournament was four games, so we'd each play four of the five scenarios. Once at a table the players diced for attacker/defender. Each scenario was lifted straight from the book, and the Glory scored counted for the player's total at the end of the day. However this year players could also select boasts, so even if you lost a scenario and scored no Glory there, you could pick up points for successful boasts. And, indeed, this could be worth more than the Glory for the scenario.

Obviously the good players would win a scenario and pick up more Glory through boasts as well, to get the really big points.

My first game was against new player Justin, assisted by his young son Aurelian. We played Meet The Neighbours, in which both sides are marching along a corner-to-corner road towards each other with the aim of getting off teh table on the opposite corner to that which we entered. So the inevitable fight in the middle is really incidental; the aim is to get as much of your force past the enemy and exit the board before they do, as the scenario ends once one side has no troops left on the table.

Justin was using Arthur's Briton's, with three units of mounted troops. However a wide sweep with the mounted was tricky because of some cunningly positioned woods. That being the case, Justin still went for it.

My army was a slow one, so I knew I couldn't fight my way through his troops before the mounted went round the sides, so I settled down as a blocking force, accepting that I would just score points for boasts and not seriously attempt to get stuff off the board. All I then had to do was stop Justin getting anything off as well.

I got my crossbows into decent positions to cover as much of the board as possible, and shoot up any cavalry trying to escape. Arthur's elite cavalry came straight down the middle, and I pushed forward some of my elite foot to force him into an impetuous charge before he could choose to charge the crossbowmen.

They lost badly and retreated, but were able to charge the crossbowmen a turn or so later. But by then I'd had a chance to shoot them up, as well as the supporting heavy cavalry.

Arthur was soon on his own ...

... then charged and killed.

The Britons collapsed fairly steadily after that. But one cavalry unit did get around the other flank, and we ended the game in a race for the exit corners, as his cavalry had to pass through woods and I reasoned that I could get something off the board if he failed activations and I didn't. As it was his cavalry was his sole surviving unit and exited, ending the game.

Technically Justin won the scenario. But he lost the Glory for doing so because he failed both of his selected Boasts. Meanwhile I completed all of mine for 8 Glory. So it was an 8-0 win to me; the Britons won the battle but the bards sang of the Dwarves.

My second game was Sausages With Mustard, playing against Victor's Saxons (who had some Pictish chariots as allies). He was trying to burn four huts in the centre of teh table. I was trying to stop him. The game would end when all four were burning or if the attacker suffered half casualties.

The defender is allowed to set up a low points unit near the huts at the start. I didn't have one, so would have to march in all of my force as reinforcements. And Victor's troops were a lot faster than mine.

I'd barely sighted the village before two of the huts were burning.

But the two closer to my forces would be harder as I quickly got my crossbows into position.

A horde of screaming Saxons tore through the woods on my right, aiming for the crossbow unit there. My leader brought his elite foot in to stop them, driving them back.

Saxon cavalry charged the crossbows, who held firm.

And my leader popped out of the woods and finished them off.

On the other flank the crossbows did very little; the elite foot did all of the work. They saw off the chariots, and then went after some skirmishers in the woods. The skirmishers failed to evade, lost the combat, retreated and failed their rally roll, running away. that took Victor down to half strength. My elite foot failed the post melee moral-check though, and went battered, which coast me a boast.

The second game was a draw. We both picked up 4 Glory for huts (two burning for Victor and two not burning for me), and very little for boasts as we both managed some but not others. I think the score was 5-4 to me.

So at lunchtime I'd had two wins, but I knew other players had much higher scores than I.

My third game was Defending The Indefensible and I was fighting against Caesar. In this scenario one side must defend a fragile immobile object in the middle of the table. The attacker simply has to contact it with a unit. As with the previous scenario the defender - which turned out to be me - got a unit in the middle of the table defending the objective and then had to march the rest of their force from their deployment area.

Caesar had decided to g big or go home with his army choice this year - he had a force of Vikings consisting of four groups of warrior foot in armour. That was it. It was any army that would simply charge and then fight until it fell apart. 

Here's a very lonely group of Dwarven crossbows wondering if they can take out four enemy units in two turns.

The Vikings approach ...

Some shooting held off the lead units, and fortunately my reinforcements weren't far behind. My defenders had been attacked, though, and had fallen back around the objective.

However Caesar had boasts he wanted to fulfill, so held off on taking the objective. Obviously this mean that I had more time to break his force; I only had to take out two of his units and the scenario would end. My leader got stuck in to a Viking mob.

Most of Caesar's units had taken two or three casualties by now, so could possibly fall back given a morale test. So I challenged his leader to single combat.

I lost.

The cascading morale cause half of my force to retreat or run away instead.

Caesar rushed in to finish off as many of teh survivors as he could and fulfill a couple of his boasts.

He then grabbed the objective. He got a lot of Glory - two or three boasts, plus the scenario victory points. I scored -3 Glory, having failed to achieve a single thing I said I would*.

My sole surviving unit - some crossbows who had sat and watched the rest of the warband get wiped out.

So that game crapped on my final total a fair bit. Still, there was one game to go and I could at least look to get double figures by the end of the day.

The fourth scenario was River Crossing, which is one lifted from The Pikeman's Lament. Both sides are trying to get all of their troops across to the enemy's side of a fordable river. The scenario ends when one player has no troops left on their side of the river, so there's some tactical niceties about how and when you might choose to end the game. I was playing Martin, whose force was similar to mine in that he had two elite foot. Instead of the crossbows he had two units of fast shooting veteran archers.

We both rushed towards the river. I decided to get a couple of units across as quickly as possible so that if there was a bloodbath elsewhere I stood a chance of having more troops on Martin's side than he did on mine.

Two units of  elite foot clashed at the ford in the middle, with my leader pushing theenemy back.

He retreated from a counter-attack, but the other group of elite foot got stuck in and took out the enemy unit.

Martin had a run of bad luck at this point, with a couple of failures when it came to activating his archers to shoot.

I kept his troops busy with my elite foot then stopped shooting with the crossbows and got them across the river as well. Or tried. The last unit failed two activations to move and make teh final crossing, in which time Martin polished off my leader's unit and the other elite foot, then headed for the crossing himself.

But the got across in the end, putting all of my troops on Martin's side of the river and more points there than he had on mine.

We both picked up a couple of boasts, and I think the final score was something like 8-4.

Interestingly I'd declared in three games that I would score more casualties with shooting than I would in close combat, reasoning that the crossbows would do the heavy lifting and the elite foot the finishing off. As it was in two of those games I ended up in far more melee than I'd expected and failed the boast.

Anyway, I finished 5th in a field of ten, so I was at least in the top half. Stuart and Keegan picked up the top spots with Stuart's Arrows of Death proving the battle-winner we thought they'd be.

The tournament was great fun, with plenty of dramatic moments and excitement. As well as the scoring unpredictability provided by boasts we also played the core rules for activations, with the first failure ending a player's turn. Last year we played the option of allowing all units to try and activate and it made it far to easy for players to move their troops around. This year you really had to plan your priorities and keep your leader where he was needed to provide rerolls.

Thanks to Victor for his hard work in organising the tournament, and to all the players for a fun and friendly day out.

*I was not the only person to score -3 Glory in a game, so I didn't feel too bad. Indeed Caesar managed it in his next game ...


  1. Overall a creditable performance I reckon. 👏👏

    1. Although it's not clear from the write-up, that third game had a couple of points where it could have swung the other way and been a glorious Dwarven win, so I'm very happy with my performance, yes.

  2. Excellent write up of a great day! Yes, my Vikings were a do-or-die army, with 2 stunning victories and 2 stunning defeats out of 4 games. They were a lot of fun to play! Thanks to Victor for another very successful tournament.

  3. That's pretty great. Good job!

  4. Nice write up Alan, how do you think an English late medieval army would go? 2
    x Elite infantry (with leader) and 2 x veteran Archers.

  5. Great write up…sounds like a busy day, with four battles!

  6. I was a bit disappointed in the chariots, they had 1 job, and got battered quite easily.

  7. It's fantastic to see the passion and camaraderie among tabletop gaming enthusiasts, creating unforgettable experiences on the battlefield.
    iVIZIA Coupon


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