We played The Pikeman's Lament on Saturday at The Panzer Depot in Kirkland.
We were planning on a game later this month, but that date fell through and we moved it up. That brought about a flurry of painting in the last week or so to get some units done in time for the game. Even then, it wound up being a bit ersatz.
We played the river crossing scenario from the rule book with two 24-point companies per side. Each of us brought our own figures. It was a pseudo-quasi-30 Years War-ish mix. I used my Renegade/Bicorne English Civil War units, Troy Wold used a mix of units he'd purchased recently (included some Empress Miniatures ECW that were re-flagged as Saxe-Weimar troops), Mike Lombardy made a fearsome company from Polish cavalry figures leftover from another army, Pat Clifford made up a company of 30 Years War Swedes, which he dropped off before the game for us to use, though he couldn't stay himself. We talked John Kennedy into playing in Pat's stead.
Mike and I faced off on one side; John and Troy faced off on the other. The companies arrayed were:
2 x Aggressive Elite Gallopers (very nasty)
3 x Aggressive Gallopers (slight less nasty)
1 x Forlorn Hope
1 x Aggressive Forlorn Hope
2 x Dragoons
1 x Regimental Gun
1 x Gallopers
1 x Field Gun (death from afar)
2 x Shot
1 x Pike
4 x Shot
2 x Pike
We also rolled up officer backgrounds and traits. The cats and I got Lion of the North (re-roll up to two attacks in combat), and Fencing Master (hit opponent in a duel on 4+). Mike, opposing me, got the trait that his officer can only be hit in a duel on a 6—I'm not sure if that cancels my ability or my ability cancels his. In any case, we didn't duel.
We all deployed no closer than 12" from the river that ran through the center of the table. I had a small farmstead with seemingly defensible low stone walls. and I set my units up to go into position on the walls and stuck my officer in with the Forlorn Hope unit. On post-game reflection, I should have stuck him in with the Aggressive Forlorn Hope and used it as a reserve in my position. His Lion of the North trait is useful only in attack and the Aggressive Forlorn Hope was my only unit with a decent attack value (3+).
|Me, the cats, and forlorn hope deployed|
|Contesting the ford, sort of|
|Ready to man the walls|
|The Polish menace|
|Ready to lob death|
|Shot ready to move forward|
Mike ran his Gallopers right up to the river in preparation for crossing. By this time, my Regimental Gun and Dragoons had taken position on the wall, which I assumed would be a suitable bulwark.
|In our sights|
|Ramrods and gun-swabs against lances|
My Dragoon unit on the other side of the building got shellacked in the same 1-2 punch kind of way. I evaded him at first, but my shot (hitting only on 6s) was pretty desultory. I tried another shot at 5+, but did no harm. He charged me and got me. After two rounds I was reduced down to a single figure wavering behind the far wall. I did no damage to him. At this point, it looked as if Mike was going to sweep through my position like I wasn't there.
My shooting was pretty much a disappointment all game. I used my vintage 5/8" bakelite dice, which have proven to be disastrous for their users in the last several Quetzalcoatl Rampant games. I should have used my irregular, non-cubical faux-antique bone dice.
Mike next came for the Forlorn Hope. It looked like I'd have another fleeing or destroyed unit—taking my officer and cats with it—but I managed to take cover in a wee wood which suddenly evened the odds against the nasty cavalry. Reduced though I was, I managed to hold on and whittle down Mike's cavalry just a bit.
|Facing certain death|
At this point, I counterattacked with my Aggressive Forlorn Hope. Mike failed his countercharge roll and I managed to finally get some revenge on the rampaging Poles.
|Pike you very much|
|Unbowed, but much reduced|
|Protecting the officer (and cats)|
At this point, I made my own blessed 6-6-6 activation roll. Since I had no other ECW figures painted, I pulled out my late 16th c. Irish pikemen and brought them on board against the pancerni who were bedeviling my lone Dragoon figure. I'd managed to successfully evade and even took out a figure, but he was sure to be a goner soon, so the miraculous intervention of the Irish Pike was well timed.
The fight between my Aggressive Forlorn Hope and Mike's Elite Aggressive Gallopers went on. I got pushed back over the wall and attacked again. Even then, with my stamina at 5 for defending the wall, Mike's below-half-strength hussars were dishing out death. On six D6, he rolled exactly five hits and whittled me down some more. I eventually killed the last hussar.
|Still at it tooth and claw|
At this point, Mike's last unit, fresh and with his officer attached, came into the fray.
|The final menace|
John eventually got the last of his units across the river; we never managed to get anyone across.
John and Troy had been bashing each other, though most of the casualties came from John's Field Gun. He seemed to be tearing chunks out of Troy's units every turn. In two shots he eliminated one of Troy's Shot units.
In hand to hand, Troy seemed to be holding his own. I don't recall how John's Swedish Gallopers fared. They were still on the board by game end, but I was so fixed on the battle between Mike and me that I paid little attention to what John and Troy were doing (and took fewer pics).
I liked the game despite its early frustrations. My initial die rolls were painful, but I was actually rolling well had I been up against something less than superatomic troops. Aggressive Gallopers are fearsome enough, but Aggressive Elite Gallopers are like the Terminator.
In The Pikeman's Lament, the upgrade to Aggressive Elite Galloper makes them like Mounted Men at Arms in Lion Rampant—only more so. The Pikeman's Lament has a compulsory follow-up for certain troop types that Lion Rampant doesn't have. The one-two punch of Gallopers makes them much more devastating them their equivalents in Lion Rampant. As the punchee, you can't just retreat and lick your wounds after getting hit; you're gonna get hit again in your weakened state without a chance to react.
I'm painting Gallopers now.
I failed to use the terrain effectively, which might have much mitigated the shock and awe of the rampaging Gallopers. I had that bit of woods, but I also had two buildings, which I completed disregarded. They were cover and rough terrain. I could have retreated to them and fought the hussars of doom at even odds as they crashed against me with their wild charges.
My company was a hodge-podge made up of the only units I had painted and based—witness my reinforcements of Irish rebel pike ca. 1590. It was them or some gallowglass. I have many more units in some state of being painted, but I have a lot of competition for my painting time. I'm shifting focus to Mexico ca. 1520 now. I want to complete the figures I have in the works. There's probably 100 figures to paint for Enfilade! in May.