Both Chris and I have been trying to make the extra effort to get our medieval armies up to 400 points by Xmas at the latest. When we played this weekend past, we had the opportunity to throw some of the newly-painted units on the table. We had time to play two games, which was quite a treat. I've presented both games as if they comprised one longer battle.
The Italians were flanked by a forest and a field. I was planning on moving the longbowmen into a field and using my other units for support. I placed my camp on the table for eye candy only, as Chris doesn't yet have a camp element finished.
The Italians were deployed at 232 points. Chris fielded an expert general leading CP-Condottieri x 3, S-crossbowmen x 2, S-Handgunners x 2, and FP-Militia Foot x 2.
I deployed the Free Company at 230 points. I fielded an expert general (Sir James Stockwood) leading FP-English Men-At-Arms x 1, CP-French/Italian Men-At_Arms x 2, T-Longbowmen x 3, S-Crossbowmen x 2, and S-Javelinmen x 1
As the armies closed on the field, the impetuous Rodger of Lynn led his men charging across the field, against the expressed wishes of his uncle, Sir James.
Meanwhile, Sir James tried to keep the rest of the army in tight formation and ordered the archers to fire down on the Italians.
His nephew's antics took their toll as Stockwood exerted himself to keep the rest of the right flank from following Rodger's example. I actually rolled snake eyes on an initiative roll which dropped Stockwood from Expert to Fair. Very fitting I thought.
Rodger and his knights were driven from the field by the Italian horse.
Sir Etienne de Garde led his knights into the Italian line and engaged the enemy in a fierce melee. It's no secret to most of the men that de Garde should have been Stockwood's second-in-command. Even in mercenary armies, blood can be stronger than merit.
In spite of de Garde's best efforts, another unit of Condottieri broke through and smashed into the archers. They were quickly decimated and ran from the field.
The Italians seized the initiative and slammed into Stockwood's personal guard. I took a photo of the actual dice from Chris's charge. Needless to say, it was a rollover for the Milanese.
In spite of suffering losses, Stockwood quickly rallied his men and reformed the lines. The Italians were quick to regroup as well.
This time, Stockwood had words with his newphew, and Rodger vowed to wait until the charge order was given.
While the mercenary line stood waiting, skirmishing broke on on both flanks. The mercenaries dominated in both cases and began encircling the Italians.
This time, Etienne led the charge and rode down the Italian crossbowmen and Milanese militia.
Rodger had been ordered to follow up and to engage the knights to Etienne's left.
In a reckless move, Rodger led his knights diagonally across the field, hoping to gloriously engage the Italian general. Sadly, his less than direct route gave the general's vanguard plenty of opportunity to react, and to once again break the Lynn knights and send them fleeing.
Meanwhile, the Bretons annihilated the rest of the Italian militia.
During the cavalry battle on the right flank, the mercenary line was not idle. Stockwood capitalized on the disorder caused by the mercenary skirmishers. By the time the Milanese knights got close enough to charge, the longbowmen had so greatly reduced their numbers that the Italians turned and fled.
Both games were very tense and satisfying, and despite my over-dramatic storytelling, both were very close in the end. We each won a game, and more importantly, had a barrel of fun in the process.
I learned another couple of tricks for playing my army. Obviously, it's best to keep the main line in check for as long as possible while the longbows do their work (with the help of the skirmishers). I think that the second battle went in my favour because I kept my knights out of the way and let the missile troops do their job.
Anyway, there's lots more to learn to be sure, and I'm enjoying every second of it. In the meantime, I am busy working on more English men-at-arms and a unit of artillery, while I believe Chris is working on more knights and more crossbow. Stay tuned.
Thanks for reading,