Saturday, March 28, 2015

These wounds I had on Crispian's day...

Chris Craft ran a 100 Years War game on Saturday using Warlord Games' Hail Caesar rules. The scenario was a hypothetical action just after Henry V and his wee army cross the Somme: Harry and the lads have an advanced guard set up behind stakes with plenty o' arrows. Coming on to their left are another English division and, farther off, a small Gascon division. The French facing them consist of a division of mounted men at arms, two divisions of dismounted French men at arms with a few crossbowmen, and a third division of militia.

The English advance guard well-positioned with cannon
John Kennedy, Ken Kissling, and I were the French; Chris and Steve Puffenberger were les Anglais. All the figures were painted by Chris.

The serried ranks of French chivalry à cheval et à pied

The second English division forms up
The French attack started somewhat disastrously. Three of the five mounted men at arms units went forward against Chris' position; the other two went right against the second English division with the right-hand dismounted men at arms in support.

Les chevaux advance into the withering bow-fire
Unfortunate command die rolls kept the units going against Chris from contacting right away. They got plastered by bow-fire and two of the three were driven back.

The view from the English side
The French right prepares to go into the fray
Undaunted, the third unit smacked right into a well-supported longbow unit, where it got beaten to a pulp and broken.

while all the world wondered (sorry, wrong war)
Cry, "God for Harry, England, and St. George!"
At this point, some of the units from the left-hand French dismounted men at arms (who were commanded by Constable D'Albret) began lurching forward. They hadn't fared well in their early command rolls and were going in piece-meal.

The dismounted men at arms push forward
The two mounted men at arms that were pushed back by bow-fire earlier, returned to the fight and smacked into the English line, only to be repulsed.

Twice the punch as before, but the same fizzle
Over on my side of the world, my crossbowmen managed to inflict some pain on one of Steve's men at arms units. Two turns worth of flinging quarrels at him caused him to withdraw disordered into the cow-pen beyond. In turn, Steve's bowmen obliterated my crossbows.

Trying to just move forward and menace them, I sent a unit of men at arms forward and wound up blundering to glory. I rolled box-cars on my command dice and the blunder roll forced me forward three moves, just enough to smack into Steve's bowmen.

Furia Francese in a very small space
The ensuing melee was hard-fought, but I forced him back and kept pushing. The end result was my unit becoming shaken, with one of his bowmen shaken and another bloodied. I stayed in place, not sure of whether I really wanted to.

After the dust cleared from the second French mounted attack, John sent in his dismounted men at arms and contacted along most of Chris' line.

Foot sloggers forward!
On English left, the Gascon division finally made its presence felt. Steve moved the mounted men at arms against one of my dismounted men at arms units. I managed to bring another unit into support and the Gascon charge fell flat.

Before the charge
Gascons stymied
I followed up and in my next turn, I charged Steve's men at arms. This was a tie that left us both shaken.

Back in John's part of the field, his attack met the massed closing bow-fire of Chris' with aplomb. In a spectacular bit of bad luck, Chris inflicted no casualties on John. In the ensuing fight, John wiped out the English cannon, and pushed back their supporting bowmen.

The Frenchies keep pushing
From here it was all downhill for Chris. In the next turn, John broke four of the bowmen units and the dismounted men at arms. King Harry was wounded and sought shelter with the only remaining bow unit on Chris' side. The Constable of France was also wounded in the fray, but the prospects for his survival looked better than Harry's.

Back on my side of the world, Ken tried for several turns to get his cavalry stuck into Steve's bowmen. One of the unit's broke after a desultory bow-shot caused a break test in which Ken rolled snake-eyes. However, the remaining unit came to blows and drove the bowmen back. My shaken men at arms just happened to play a part by remaining where they stopped a few turns back, but were in just the right place to support Ken's victorious attack.

The Irish make trouble
The Gascon's were a spent force, though my men at arms were as well. Steve now brought up his Irish skirmishers to harass me. He got only a single ineffective shot before we called the game. The English had taken a beating, most of their loss coming from the collapse of Chris' flank. The French were pretty hurt as well, but the fourth division of militia was fresh and uncommitted. They were no great force, but had three units of crossbowmen and three units of men at arms.

It was great playing Hail Caesar again. I played it a few months ago commanding some Gallic/barbarian hordes against well-disciplined and better-armed Romans. That didn't end well for the semi-naked savages.

The game has me re-thinking (or is it re-re-re-thinking) about what to do with my Early Bronze Age/Biblicals from Cutting Edge (Warlord Games). I would need to get a lot more figures to get even moderate opposing forces, but I'm heading that way. Four-stand units, which is what Chris uses for his 100 Years War armies, would be the way to go. "Heavy" infantry would be four figures on a 40mm x 40mm base, light infantry would be three figures, skirmishers would be two. Chariots would be one model on a 40mm x 60mm deep base (for two-horse or two-equid chariots/war-carts) and, I think twice the width for the four-equid battle carts.

At this point, I should just start painting the figures...


  1. Great looking game and figures by Chris. I wouldn't be too fixed on the 4 stands per units. In Chris' case with a multitude of figures it's fine, but you shouldn't feel deterred if you have less figures. My Haengju and Bosworth games had foot units consisting of two stands with only 3 figures each. They looked fine and also allowed for more movement area. And you need less figures! :) I plan to someday rebase my Mycenaeans onto 80mm wide frontage bases 6 figures per.

  2. A splendid report, great looking armies and pictures...stunning!

  3. Spectacular game. Thanks for posting. /Mattias

  4. Beautiful game with amazing minis.

    I'm sorry but I was hoping the English would have a glorious victory. Their line was so nice looking, they had to win.

    Looking forward to big Biblical games in the future.