Sunday, September 21, 2008

Game Day at TGM

Mid month is always game day at The Game Matrix in Lakewood, WA. For the past few months I've made the 60-mile trek south from my home in Lynnwood to play Field of Glory with the local riff-raff. This Saturday, I took the opportunity to participate in someone else's game.

Kevin Smyth, our intrepid Northwest Historical Miniature Gamer, came up with what will surely be the next big thing in historical miniature wargaming: Kevin does the 100 Years War. Right now they're a home-brew set of rules for fast action set in the 14th-15th century.

French chivalry loaded for bear (unfortunately, they ran into English instead)

Kevin has been big on the 100 Years war for about eight years now. When we started, we were using a set of rules I brewed up as a late medieval variant for the Pig Wars Dark Age skirmish rules. I was going to paint Frenchies and he would paint the "Goddams." Eight years later, I have about a dozen figures painted, about two dozen partially painted, and several dozen raw lead. Kevin has 100s (really, 100s) of painted figures for both sides. I am a slug.

Over the years we have tried various other rules such as Tactica Medieval Siege, Featherstone's rules, and WRG Renaissance rules. We are set to try it again using Terry Gore's Medieval Warfare rules as soon as we--or Kevin--paint and base troops for it. Kevin is actually painting whole new armies rather than rebase his old stuff, which is all singly mounted on 3/4" x 1" bases for foot and 1" x 2" bases for horse. So, to keep the old figures in action, he's written his own rules.

The game represented an English chevauchée returning with it's loot only to be blocked to their front by a force of local chivalry and professional soldiers and harassed on their flank and rear by angry peasants and a force of town milita. The English had to exit a specified location of the board with their loot and points were awarded for losses.

The chevauchée in progress

The game played quickly. The rules were simple enough with sufficient flavor for the period. However, we soon discovered that shooting, especially English longbows, was overly deadly. French units would advance against them only to be decimated by a single volley. Kevin had an arrowstorm rule that doubled the effect of the shooting, which was already deadly. Part of our post-game wrap-up was discussing amendments that makes shooting less devastating.

Goddams with bows: deadly as sin, even in muddy fields

The game went about three hours. The Goddams didn't get off the board, but hadn't yet lost any loot. Also, most of the French were lying gloriously dead on the field, festooned with arrows. Points were about even by that time, so we (the French players) declared it a French moral victory (not that victory or morality have ever played a big part in French history).

A few tables away, the Puyallup Wargamers were playing a big game of Warhammer Ancients Battles (WAB). It looked to be Macedonians and Carthaginians against Romans and Numidians. Lots of very nicely painted 28mm figures on the board. It's a shame they don't play Field of Glory.

Macedonian phalanx covered by skirmishers (who don't look to be covered by much themselves)

Macedonian Companion cavalry in wedge formation

Hordes of Numidian light horsemen

The Numidian elephant corps with Romans to their right

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