Sunday, March 25, 2018

A day of rampacy

We had our Lion Rampant/Dragon Rampant tournament day on Saturday. The tournament was five rounds in a single day. The first two rounds were Lion Rampant, the third round was either Lion Rampant or Dragon Rampant (players' option), the last two rounds were Dragon Rampant. Awards were given for Lion Rampant winner (must have played three rounds), Dragon Rampant winner (must have played three rounds), overall winner (must have played all five rounds), best painted Lion Rampant army and best painted Dragon Rampant army.

The day went very well despite an initial bad omen. While we were unloading stuff and setting up, my knobby knee caught the hem of my shorts when I squatted to put down some boxes and ripped them open. The tear was about 5" initially but increased throughout the day until it ran from waist to hem exposing my right thigh. Not usually carrying around a spare pair of shorts/trousers, eschewing a 120-mile round trip home to re-dress myself, and not being entirely self-conscious, I just played through the day with some extra ventilation.

A bit exposed
After we set up 6 tables, I was eager to try my freshly painted Spanish and see how they might do.

Round 1

I played Dean Motoyama in round 1 for Lion Rampant. Dean and I have sparred in several past games days, so it was like a reunion. Dean played a beautifully painted Early Samurai retinue—it's Medieval, just on the other side of the world.

The first round was a meeting engagement. Each side began with a single unit deployed on the table. Starting on turn 2, players brought in their remaining units on passed Move activation rolls.

Taking the hill
Dean's army was pretty shooty with every unit save one bow armed. It was a formidable challenge. He shot me to pieces, but we ended up tying for the round.

Fighting the mad monks
Round 2

I played round 2 of Lion Rampant against Mark Waddington. Mark has played Lion Rampant only once before, three years ago (it was a multiplayer game using Kevin Smyth's vast 100 Years War collection and Mark and I were opponents then). Mark ran a Crusader retinue, which was nearly a mirror image of my Spanish—only he played better. Instead of 2 units of Bidowers, he took a unit of Archers.

For round 2 of Lion Rampant, we used the Bloodbath scenario from the rules, but we added a rain rule. The attacking player rolled a D6 every time it was their turn. On a 6, it rains. Rain gives a -1 to hit on all shooting. It also makes the ground muddy, that penalizes movement at -2". Rain only lasts one turn (although the die is still rolled at the start of every attacker turn, so it can re-start). The mud, however, remains for the rest of the game after it rains.

Losing the shooting match
We had rain and mud. I tried vainly to get my units into place, but it was a slow slog. My Crossbows dueled with Mark's Archers, who were well ensconced in a wood. My Crossbows survived the day nevertheless, but on my right things went turvy quickly. For a brief moment, I thought I might have the upper hand in a contest between our mounted units, but I failed my attack activation and got whacked by a combo of Mark's Mounted Sergeants and Foot Sergeants.

On my right, Mark's Crossbows chewed up one of my Foot Sergeants and Bidowers. I lost more units and my dead-pile grew.

O glorious dead
In the end, I went down in ignominious defeat. Mark suffered just a few lost figures. I lost 3 of my 7 units with further figures lost from the remainder.

Round 3

For the third round, players had the option to play another round of Lion Rampant or bail out and start Dragon Rampant.  About half switched to Dragon Rampant. I nearly bailed, but I wanted a win with the Spanish. I was 0 for 2, so I opted to stick with a third round of Lion Rampant. I wasn't disappointed.

Round 3 was the straight-up Bloodbath scenario (no rain). I played Al Rivers, who brought a Saxon retinue. He had some shooters (Foot Yeomen in mixed units with bowmen), but their max range was 12". My Crossbows gave me a shooting advantage with better range and values. There was a brief pint where they failed a courage test and rolled back battered, but they were pretty reliable at making their shooting activation rolls and inflicting damage. Early on, I shot one of Al's Foot Yeoman moxed unit off a hill he was imprudent enough to occupy.

A hill to die for
Al set up on just one side of a river that bisected the table width-wise. That gave me the opportunity to envelop one flank with my mounted units and one of my Bidowers.

Envelopment pre-carnage
Al's general (Harold surrounded by his Huscarls) went down fighting after sparring with one of my Mounted Sergeant units, which got a bit chewed up in the process. I also had support from my Bidowers, who took out a few of the figures. On a failed courage test, the general routed away.

Action on the left
I lost one unit of Mounted Sergeants in the carnage, but Al had lost all but two of his units, including his general.

Round 4

With round 4, we all were playing Dragon Rampant. We had an odd number, so I trotted out the bare-breasted centauresses against Pat Lowinger, who was running the tournament. The scenario was The Crystal Gale. It went quickly because it ends when all of 10 crystals spread over the board are taken. We tied at 5-5 and the only losses were incurred by my Bellicose Foot (feminotaurs) getting knocked silly by a Powerbolt! attack from Pat's Byzantine magic priests.

Coming on board to chase after crystals
Round 5

The final Dragon Rampant round was the A Gory Bloodbath on the Plains of Doom scenario but with a twist. A semi-sentient fog potentially affected visibility. Every unit that activated to charge or shoot had to test visibility by totaling a roll 3 D6 and multplying it by 2. The result is the visibility in inches, which could limit shooting and charge targets. In our case, we never had visibility problems.

I played Jim Denberger, who'd been having a run of bad luck throughout the day. It didn't improve playing me.

Jim fielded an warband of trolls, warbeasts, and what looked like Orc-y things(?). He came on pretty strong in the initial turns. I consistently failed my first activation rolls. He ran his Heavy Riders (general's unit) right at my Elite Foot wizardling (Ursula) on a wooded hill. As he approached, I failed several attempts to hurl a Powerbolt! at him and succeeded only at the end. He charged in, but got bounced back with loss. After I succeeded with another Powerbolt!, he routed away, which caused some further running away when other units failed their courage test for the general's loss.

Ursula contra mundam
He came at me next with a Great Warbeast, which knocked Ursula back initially, but another Powerbolt! plus shots from one of my Light Riders (centauress archers) took him out. After he lost another unit with a fourth just hanging on, we called the game a win for me. I'd lost only one unit (the hapless feminotaurs) and had a big advantage over Jim's remaining two units: a Lesser Warbeast (trolls) and a fearful Light Missile unit.

Battered and beaten
The results

The Lion Rampant champion was Bruce Meyer, who had three straight wins with a Samurai army. He had a large contingent of Fierce Foot that ran over all his opponents. Bruce didn't stay for Dragon Rampant, so he was out of the running for overall champion.

The Dragon Rampant champion was Bryan Shein, whose mighty penguin warband had the best win/loss/tie record over three games.

Much to my own surprise, I won overall champion. I was well out of the running for Lion Rampant champion, ineligible for Dragon Rampant champion because I only played two rounds, but my Tie-Loss-Win-Tie-Win record over 5 games put me at 8 points, tied with Daryl Nichols. However, we kept track of glory points and I eked out more than him to win the tie.

The day's laurels: Obverse
Best painted Lion Rampant award went to Dean Motoyama's samurai.

Best painted Dragon Rampant, by a single vote majority, were my bare-breasted centauresses. Bryan Shein's penguins of doom were the runner up.


Further thoughts

It was a great day of rampancy, though possibly the last tournament. The Gig Harbor library where we played allowed us to set up before the library opened and continue after it closed. New policies won't allow that, so we're only able to play during library hours 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. That's good for a couple informal games, but not nearly enough time to play five tournament rounds. Gaming venues that can accommodate a dozen or more players on multiple tables are becoming scarcer and more expensive. We may wind up relegated to playing in people's garages and attics before long.

We're adding The Pikeman's Lament to our repertoire of games. I'll join with Sven Lugar in coordinating events starting later this year. I'm going great guns on getting my Irish and English dome for The Irish Project. I've also got companies complete for ECW and Spanish Renaissance/New World Conquest, with many more on hand ECW to paint. I could do some later 17th c. as well. I also see that The Assault Group is getting ready to release a new range for the 80 Years War!


  1. Good write-up and congratz on the silverware. Love the pictures too.

    How do you rate the Rampant games? A few guys at my club have been playing, and I'm at the stage with my Saga army that I can potentially make up a list for either with a few additions.

    1. I love the Rampant game system. The play is pretty smooth and not complex. I have the Saga rules, but have never played. I'm kind of wary of systems where you have to have a lot of extras like special dice and card decks to play. It's like Thoreau's warning to avoid enterprises that require you to buy a new suit of clothes. The Rampant rules are straightforward. All you need are minis and 12 standard D6.

    2. I must admit, I am kind of a sucker for all the extraneous wargaming supplies for games...

  2. Congrats on the win! Dean's miniatures are also a sight to behold - good for both of you!

  3. Great write up, David! Thanks for filling me in on what went on after I left after round 3. Great to hear you won consecutive games and ended up a well-deserved Overall Winner! Congratulations! Oh, and I thought I heard you rip your pants when we were still setting up - didn't realize how much it ripped later! Also, didn't know about the Painting Award - very cool! Greg mentioned it on my blog - so figured he read it on yours. Finally, I am definitely looking forward to building some new army with Pikeman's Lament - and I was looking at TAG as I like their figures (the samurai retinue I used yesterday was almost all TAG). Although the Warlord Games Polish Winged Hussars do look tempting too! Thanks again for such a gentlemanly game we had yesterday.

    1. The rip got so bad I was afraid I'd be arrested for indecency if I stepped out in public.

      I'm often tempted to paint Samurai, but it's daunting. There's a company in Vancouver that produces some beautiful figures. I forget the name. They do later 16th c. as do Steel Fist Miniatures.

    2. The samurai of which you are thinking are produced by 'Kingsford Miniatures"
      I have painted my collection with them. They are very nice and I think you would enjoy painting them based on the type of sculpting style you seem to enjoy. Have not examples of Steel Fist so can not compare but have heard of similar look. The Perry figures are only a tiny bit smaller and of a more active posing but certainly would not look out of place in separate units. However I like the Kingsfords better.
      Very good rewrite up. Do put out the word on the event early as LR and DR as the tournament is a great idea and could be a major event in the wargame calendar in the future. I would like to play certainly.
      cheers, DougH

    3. Thanks, Doug. The sweat is pouring off my brow as I resist ordering immediately. I really am trying not to start more projects each year than I have time to finish...

      We have a Facebook page at

      All the cool kids are on Facebook. Join us. :)

    4. Does the Facebook page include posts for similar games such as The Pikeman's Lament and The Men Who Would Be Kings or only the Rampant rules?

    5. The PNW Rampant page is all the "Rampant" rules. We're just getting started with The Pikeman's Lament. There are also specific FB pages for Lion Rampant, and The Pikeman's Lament, and The Men Who Would Be Kings, etc. PNW Rampant is the group for us 'round these parts.

    6. Great figures and result. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. I want to know more about the penguin warband...

  5. Congratulations and great write-up! I love your centauress army - one of the most creative DR warbands I've seen! I'll be playing my first game of DR soon, just waiting on one more unit of skeleton archers to arrive for my undead band.

  6. Do you plan to play Pikemans Lament at GH Library anytime soon?

  7. We'll be playing on May 12. It'll be a general game day of Rampanty games, but I'll bring some companies for TPL. I think other's will, too. If possible, we can get a multiplayer game going.