Monday, October 19, 2009

15mm Medieval Warfare - Humble Beginnings

It has been a long time coming. A number of people in the group are taking part in a 15mm medieval project for Impetus, and Chris E. and I in particular have started working towards getting our armies on the table. Last week we realized that we had both completed 200 points, so we thought it was time to throw the lead down on the table and to cross swords.

The Armies:

The armies came in at 200 points, and were more or less the same size as a Basic Impetus army. We played using the full Impetus rules.

My Free Company: Expert General leading longbow x 3, dismounted
men-at-arms x 2, mounted men-at-arms x 1, and breton javelinmen x 1

Chris's Italian Condotta: Expert General leading Condottieri x 3,
S-crossbow x 2, and S-handgunners x 2.

The Battlefield:

The layout was fairly simple. One edge of the table was dominated by hills and water while the other had some farmland (i.e. broken ground). Chris and I deployed more or less in lines across the open field.

The Battle:

The first round or so held no surprises. The Italians advanced as well as they could while the mercenary longbowmen prepared to fire (green markers=opportunity)

Breton javelinmen tussled with Italian crossbowmen in the fields.

A unit of Italian knights regreted leaving their skirmisher screen behind. A hail of arrows caused disruption and a little permanent damage.

The impetuous mercenary men-at-arms couldn't keep it together for long. In a lucky string of movement they successfully charged a unit of Italians.

The extra charge dice helped the mercenaries secure a victory. The Italians were on the run.

About midway through the battle; conflict had erupted on the flanks while the main lines steadily advanced towards each other.

After losing an engagement and retreating, the mercenary knights were assailed by skirmishing handgunners. The little blighters caused disruption, and more importantly, permanent damage. Goodbye sweet impetus bonus!

Being impetuous CP, the mercenaries threw themselves haphazardly back onto the fray. They were on top of the engagement, however, they were alone and surrounded by enemy units.

One the other flank, the Bretons finally dispatched the crossbowmen. However, as they were outside of the command structure, they spend most of the time in disorder.

By the time the left-most Italian horse reached the mercenary line, they were seriously shot up. English men-at-arms charged through the longbowmen and engaged the knights.

The armies were finally fully engaged. Things were looking grim for Milan's finest.

The English finally routed the knights, more or less securing my left flank.

Mercenary General James Stockwood and his personal guardsmen moved into position to reform the mercenary lines.

Italian handgunners failed to rout the longbowmen, who in turn, routed the knights to their front.

The final unit of Italians charged the general and his men in a desperate attempt to win the day. It was not to be, however. Stockwood and his men bested the demoralized Italian knights and sent the remnants galloping from the field. Stockwood's men were victorious.


Chris and I (and others in time) will likely use the same approach with our medieval gaming as we do with our Imperial Roman era gaming. That is, we will report our games in a brief and informal format by using fictitious names for generals and units. Hopefully, the campy personifications and simple storylines will provide some amusement to those who choose to read our reports. (As some have no doubt already noticed, I have modelled my mercenary general James Stockwood on the historical John Hawkwood.)

The outcome of this battle was based on one simple error on Chris's part. Chris (who hasn't played as much as me), allowed his knights to outrun his skirmishers. Without the screens to protect them, my longbows caused disorder, and in turn, permanent damage. It only takes one point of permanent damage on heavy cavalry to remove that horrifying impetus bonus. Without it, they become far more manageable for my infantry to deal with.

We were both very tickled with the game in this scale. 15mm really provides a nice compromise between 6mm/10mm and 28mm. It gives the large scale feel of the former and the individual detail of the latter, while allowing a 6x4 table to feel like a respectable-sized battlefield. I can't wait to play again, and we will be adding units continually as we head for our 400-point goal.

Thanks for reading,


Andy McMaster said...

Nice report and pics again! I haven't intended using 15s for my Impetus but I have a few Romano-British which I've no intention of doing a full army with that may look nice on Impetus bases for a small force. And give me an excuse to buy some Saxons!
It's good to know Impetus works well with small armies!



Ruarigh said...

Another good report. I like the fact that you name your commanders and make it more of a story, but then you already knew I like that if you have read my blogs! :-)

Hetairoi said...

Nice report! It´s good to see the first battle of an army... :)

Rab said...

Once again your ability to field armies so quickly puts me to shame!

I hope you will stick with your style of battle report - they make for very entertaining reading, while still being technical enough to follow how the game mechanics are playing out.

Two other things - well done on getting your Romans in the new Impetus supplement (at least, I'm pretty certain they're yours), and how did you make/where did you buy your cliffs?


Bevan said...

Hi - I'm about to start an Italian wars campaign.

Tip for the bowmen - deployed with the dismounted men at arms behind they are truly awesome. The MAA can move through when the enemy get close and the archers can fire over them.

JET (aka Jason) said...

Thanks for your many kind words gentlemen. Ever since we really got in to Old West gaming, I like turning everything we do into a story, even if it's simple and not particularly original.

Those are indeed my Romans and I was quite tickled to see them staring back at me from the pages of published supplement; that's a first for me.

The cliffs are pink insulation foam (3 inches thick? 4?) cut and stacked. The texture on the edges was done witha foam cutter and some grey drybrushing. Those pieces were some of the first terrain I ever made, over 10 years ago now. sheesh.

I will take that advice and am open to any other advice any one else has to offer.

Wish us luck as we paint up the next installment and head for 300 points,


Anonymous said...

Nicely done report. I'm here everyday to see if you've got an update. Your batreps never disappoint!