Friday, 25 September 2015

Playtesting The Pikeman's Lament, Osprey Games

As I'm sure many readers will be aware, Osprey Publishing are releasing more and more board games and wargame rules. The company have recently announced another half a dozen titles to be released over the coming months, details of which can be found in the following link: 

However one that isn't listed is 'The Pikeman's Lament'. This is the forthcoming 17th century pike & shot rule set, due for release in early 2017, co-written by Dan Mersey and Michael Leck. This will be the third variant of the successful and popular core Lion Rampant (LR) rule system. You can follow both authors progress on their blogs here [Mersey Books] and here [Dalauppror]. 

For obvious reasons I won't go into too much detail about the rules. I will say however that although the core mechanics are the same as LR there is enough difference in the new version to justify another rule book. In particular Dan & Michael have developed a simple and intuitive method of creating a campaign which revolves around your commanding officer. The chance of that character being killed off completely by a lucky strike is still present but new system allows the possibility that your officer may escape to fight again. The rules are still being modified and added to as playtesting irons out any issues, this is another reason why I won't be detailing many of the mechanics or principles of the rules as they may not even appear in the final book. 

Although the rules as designed for skirmish games I was curious if they could be scaled up for larger battles using my entire collection. A normal game would consist of around 40-60 models using 24 points per side. This setup consisted in total of around one hundred and fifty infantry, thirty six cavalry and two artillery units (working out at about forty points per side). 

With this larger scale of game to lose your activation in the first turn could be potentially disastrous (admittedly very funny to witness but very frustrating if it happens to you). Therefore a house rule we came up with was to divide each army into different infantry or cavalry companies/regiments made up various units. If you lose activation for one unit within a particular company/regiment you can then move on to the next company rather than passing control over to your opponent. This is similar to how you could play the game if multiple players are taking part. It is, of course, still possible to fail the first activation for every company (especially if you have the same kind of 'lucky' dice as me) but at least using this method you may get a better chance to move or fight with some of your figures per turn.

The photos in this post don't depict an actual game. This was just an initial setup to see if a large scale game was viable on our small table.

I'm currently working on a group of dragoons for my army so hopefully I shall be able to post more images soon. I'm on the look out for civilian and casualty marker figures for the period which I'm hoping to purchase at the forthcoming Derby/Donnington show.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

This Day in History 23rd September

Just to reassure loyal readers that I'm still alive, here are a few images of sites of battles that occurred on this day in history, the Battle of Blore Heath (1459) and the Battle of Powick Bridge (1642). Both battlefields are relatively unchanged (especially Blore Heath). Hopefully I will be able to post more pictures and go into more detail about the areas when I get the opportunity. There are embedded links, the text bits in brackets i.e. [link], if you want more information.

The [Battle of Blore Heath] was the first major engagement between proper armies during the Wars of the Roses which saw an outnumbered Yorkist force defeat a substantial Lancastrian army led during the latter stages of the battle by Lord Dudley [Lord Dudley's banner]. More details can be found on the official site [Bloreheath]. It was also the scene where I very nearly got trampled flat by cattle (probably turncoat Lancastrians as they were on that side of the stream and they may recognised our Dudley accents, which curiously reflected what happened during the real battle). 
Blore Heath
The Battle of Powick Bridge is probably not as well known as the later Battle of Worcester but it could be argued that Powick was the place that saw the start and end of the English Civil Wars.

Powick Bridge
Powick Church
Fans of the ECW period should keep an eye out on this blog as I have a number of future posts dealing with that particular era.