My first armies were Anglo-Danish and enough Normans to become along with some of the Anglo-Danish two Anglo-Norman armies. I got these rebased a few weeks ago and they really do look a lot better. You can see more pictures on their page on My Armies.

Morphable Normans.

Morphable Normans.

On the Painting table

23 March, 2014

When I last wrote, I said the next project would be to paint seven 4Pk for my successor armies. Well, they’re over half done, but others have jumped the cue.

  • Rebasing

The biggest project has been to rebase all my old armies. I had started this before I went to Adelaide, and a lot of my HoTT elements were all but done, just waiting for the flock. The impetus to restart this project was a desire to see how knights and spears compared under DBA 3.0. This got me redoing my first two armies, the Normans and Anglo-Danish. I also flocked the HoTT elements while I was at it.

Next, I rebased the Welsh, Irish and Vikings. This has taken quite a while, and is now almost completed. I’ve innovated by using No More Gaps to hide the bases. It adds more time to the job, but is worth it.

In the process of rebasing I got enthused with my Dark Age armies and the potential to use them for HoTT. I’ve now got the Scots Isles and Highland army complete again (it was demobbed for SBH figures. This started with the plan to create a Thegn general for the Prefeudal Scots so that they could have a 4Wb general with rear rank support and flanked by pike, something that’s likely to tear holes in most lines of foot. When I learned that the Scots Isles and Highland army is going to have a lot more choice in DBA 3.0, I decided to paint up the four elements of 4Bd I needed to get this back on the table. I’ve also painted a few more archers in mail to make their 3Bw more imposing. I also repainted the 5Hd.

So that’s some of what’s been jumping the cue for painting. I’ve also done a few HoTT elements, some Prefeudal Scots and Irish Lurkers — skirmishers on a 40×30 base along with a dog each. Finally I did a Cleric element — three medieval monks. Magicians and Heroes will follow.

  • Song of Blades and Heroes

I’ve also been painting a few figures for SBH, actually quite a few. I’ve now finished thirty foot, and three mounted knights and a Hippogriff rider are close to being done. Most of these are Essex early medieval figures, dismounted Norman knights and Norman spearmen and archers. This adds some useful variety to my SBH range, but also is a way of getting started on painting some of these figures for an Essex Norman army. The rest are six halflings, two mailed Highland archers and a Druid from the Tabletop range. I’ve got more figures from Tabletop’s fantasy range. They’re a little larger than most of my figures and are very much ‘adventurers’, as they all have backpacks and other equipment. The wizards won’t quite look right in HoTT, but will be useful for SBH.

A halfling crossing the new bridge over the new stream with some of the assorted terrain additions doted around.

A halfling crossing the new bridge over the new stream with some of the assorted terrain additions doted around.

The other big activity for SBH is making terrain. I made a river (or a stream) using No More Gaps on a T-shirt. I rounded this out with a small bridge and then added a few tokens for treasure — chests, barrels, etc. I’ve done a tent and a small hut. And I’ve also made some hedges using Scotch Brite on iceblock sticks. The next stage for SBH is really dungeon tiles when I get a chance.

Another angle.

Another angle.

He hasn't seen the two dragons, though!

He hasn’t seen the two dragons, though!

REally just seeing if the timer makes a difference with the camera. I think it does.

Really just seeing if the timer makes a difference with the camera. I think it does.



  • Plans

Those seven elements of pike should be finished next. Then I suspect I’ll be working on HoTT stuff: heroes, wizards, but also a dwarf and an elf army. More fantasy SBH figures may get done as well. I’ve started putting together a 3Cv for my Welsh; the North Welsh can have a South Welsh ally, who has to include the general element. I find this a bit odd — Welsh with two 3Cv seems too much. I might also work on the Normans, but I reckon the elves and dwarves will be more attractive.

In this day of the competition I took my Komnenan Byzantines, whom I didn’t expect to do too well, but who actually surprised me. I suspect if I was more observant of my opponents, I’d have picked up that they were nervous of their potential mobility.

  • Tim’s Italian Condotta

This was a fun game, where Tim insisted on having a littoral landing. His knights arrived in a block in the middle of the field. We surmised this was at the Doge’s insistence, as they had no plan after this. They looked splendid, however, and the Doge perhaps enjoyed the spectacle from his galley.

Nevertheless, the knights, aided by two light horse, put up a good fight and my attempt to encircle them did not succeed in eliminating them. One of their light horse went down, and I chased the other to the far corner of the board with a cavalry and a light horse. One of the knights was also destroyed, but I had lost three too, and had to fall back on my archers, who destroyed another knight. In the last turn, Tim attacked the cavalry facing his light horse with a psiloi overlap. The odds were 2-1 to me, but a win to him would give him the game. The dice gods smiled, and I doubled the light horse.

Attempting to stop the knights from getting away from the waterway almost lost me the game. It became a slog where overlaps to me only gave even odds against the knights. Still, letting them get out to deploy would not necessarily done me much good either.

  • Adrian’s Samanid Persians

My next game was against an army I’d considered taking myself (if I’d decided to buy and paint it!). I like the Samanids; they remind me quite a lot of the Later Carthaginians. I was the attacker and deployed with my archers in some rough in the middle of my line. Adrian’s forces came out between two small steep hills with the centre of an elephant flanked my auxilia on the open side and psiloi-supported spear in the centre with two bow next to them, then the general. On his right flank, he had two cavalry and a light horse.

I attempted to go after his right flank with the knight, a cavalry and a light horse. He then reinforced it with his general, and I pulled a light horse across to help, deciding also to retire. Unfortunately, the speed of the knight meant I was still in range. He attacked and I lost the cavalry; I was lucky not to lose the others. I had three PIPs, I could not retreat them out of danger and if I lost them I lost the game. It looked grim, so they decided to go out fighting. The light horse facing the general stayed put and gained a bow support. The other two charged into combat. The knight stuck, but the light horse rolled a 6. Adrian rolled a cocked 5; it wasn’t badly cocked, but it saved my life, as his reroll was a 2. The next turn my knight destroyed the opposing cavalry and his general beat a hasty retreat. I must have got the other cavalry on that wing, as I was three up. I decided to charge his elephant with my general and the rest of the cavalry. This was to get a 3-1 attack on his flanked auxilia. The first time this didn’t succeed, but my line held and I got it on the second try to give me a lucky win.

  • Jason’s Anglo-Normans

The third game was a disappointment, as I attempted to redeploy my mounted from one wing in column. I’d made it too, it seemed, but when I went to check they were not ZOCed by his advancing knights (they weren’t), Jason said he had the move to make this happen. I had no way of knowing if he did, but it wasn’t really a question of proof; he had moved the knights, taken his hands off, gone on to another move. If he wanted to redo his move, he had to ask my permission, which I was perfectly entitled to deny (p. 8:  ‘a legal tactical move cannot be taken back once the element has been placed’). I shouldn’t have let him turn it into an issue of whether he was telling the truth. Caught in the ZOC I went down 0-4G, ending my run and tarnishing the morning, indeed the whole event!

  • Stan’s War of the Roses English

Stan deployed on a low hill with a blade centre and two flanks of three 3Bw. On his right flank was a large wood. I advanced two 2Ps into it on the first turn, and then advanced the auxilia and blade after them. However, with little movement from Stan (he finally advanced just off the hill) and 6 PIPs, I advanced my cavalry only this left flank. It was anchored by a light horse in the centre to avoid a bad overlap, and it had an overlap on the left flank. However, I had no success. I was thrown back along the line, losing two 3Cv, though the light horse only recoiled.

On Stan’s turn he advanced on the light horse, hoping to flee it and set up good odds on an overlapped cavalry with psiloi-supported blades. The light horse didn’t flee, but recoiled to provide an overlap and keep the odds at 3-2 in his favour. A 6-1 in my favour brought me back into the game, and even though I only had a single PIP, I was able to take out an unsupported blade to set myself up for an unlikely win. Unfortunately, my General rolled a 1 when shot at by supported archers, going down on a 1-4 roll. Stan got another element and took the game. I felt my initial attack was unlucky, though its odds weren’t stunning, but my comeback more than made up for this!

  • Stephen’s Later Crusaders

Stephen deployed his camp in a corner and spent most of the game advancing his bow in column up through a wood on the flank onto a road. They saw no action. Nor did his knights. However, with five spear and a cavalry he nearly beat me, owing to my overconfidence that combined with lacklustre early combat dice saw my general back into his cavalry with no room to spare.

The cavalry and a spear on a gentle hill looked an easy prize and would open up the left flank. I had all my cavalry against it and a light horse. That seemed more than I needed and I had the PIPs, and the poor judgement, to pull off two cavalry to advance on the main body behind this attack. Sure enough I was driven down the hill and lost two cavalry to blocked recoils. I feel Stephen was a gentleman not to push how much room my general had on his second recoil, as it had no room to spare. At this point I hung on, eventually killing the cavalry and one of the spear, but my knight twice could not destroy an unsupported spear even with an overlap to help. There was some desperate fighting, and my general survived the risk of friction kills. In my last turn, with one PIP and the crusader knights and bow finally getting in range, I charged this spear again; this time it had rear support and finally we swept them away to take the game 4-3.

The winning moment from Stephen's side. The knights, supported by light horse, have just destroyed two spear.

If I’d taken my time with the troops on the hill, it could have been an easy win, though the melee that developed consumed all Stephen’s PIPs as he fed his spear into the fight. Had it developed differently, his knights and bow might have got into the action and changed things.

  • Rhys’s Early Burgundians

(Going down in a flurry of 1’s)

While my early battle results had gone against me in the previous battle, any hope they would come right in this battle were soon disappointed. Artillery shot a knight to death (1-4 dice). Low PIPs stopped quick closing for action and I lost on both flanks fast. A light horse destroyed by knights made it two (another 1 for combat, think); mutual shooting destroyed a bow (low again) and an attempt to salvage some dignity in what was likely to be my last turn was not aided by PIPs. A light horse charged bow, only to be doubled, while a flanked light horse did survive an attack by cavalry for some pride. Overall, though, this was a battle I never even got a chance in, as it was over so fast.

  • Review

Overall this was a really enjoyable day that capped a really enjoyable event. However, the incident in the third round really has left a bad memory, as that player went on to win the competition and his trouncing of me gave him the points to do it. I feel I let down others by allowing such unsporting behaviour to prosper. It shows, perhaps, my inexperience, and the fact that in DBA I’ve not previously run into players that would try something like this. I can’t believe that he didn’t check for himself when moving them that he ZOCed me if it was that important. It’s the sort of thing I’d have  measured carefully; I’d certainly not dream of asking to extend a move that couldn’t be measured—but he wasn’t even asking, rather assuming I was seeking to question his right to do it, and challenging his integrity in so doing, very shabby!

King Magnus’ ambition to be ruler of all the British Isles led him to declare war on William Rufus’ Anglo-Norman kingdom in the south of England. Magnus challenged William for control of the province of Mercia, a challenge that the Norman accepted. Magnus’ voyage from Man was uneventful, as was that of his ally Angus of Scotland. His forces consisted of his huscarls (3x4Bd), household knights (1x3Kn), fyrd spear (7x4Sp) and archers (1x2Ps). Angus came with 1x3Cv, 1x2LH and 1x2Ps.

William met the invaders at a place where a road forded the river Avon, a place called Stratford. His army consisted of knights (4x3Kn), spear (5x4Sp), crossbowmen (1x3Cb) and archers (2x2Ps). In addition he had the promise of assistance of Gruffudd of Wales, who hearing that the Scots were assisting the Northumbrians, elected to help the English lest the Northumbrians grow too strong. He came with 1x3Cv and 2x2Ps.

The battlefield was level, apart from the river and the road and a wood and a low hill that faced each other across the road. Due to pre-battle manoeuvring, Magnus managed to meet William from the direction he desired, securing the hill to his own advantage. William deplyed his entire army on the right of the river with his spear in the centre and knights on each flank. The archers and crossbowmen were in reserve.

Magnus deployed with his huscarls in the centre, the knights in reserve and the fyrd on each flank. He expected the Scots to arrive from the same direction as him, while the Welsh would arrive on his right flank.

Initial Deployment: William on the left and Magnus on the right.

On the first turn Magnus’ entire host advanced in a line, while the English army, lacking direction (1 PIP) could only advance some of their army. Neither of the allies arrived.

Turn 1: the two lines start to close.

On the next turn it was Magnus’ turn to lack PIPs (1 PIP); therefore he held back the knights, who were going to be used on one of the flanks. William was more active (5 PIPs), and contracted his line on the right to let the knights advance. Both sides continued to wait for their allies.

Turn 2: William's knights move to the front.

On the third turn Magnus wheeled his line on the left and extended it on the right. William went to investigate the river, discovering that it was paltry. Angus arrived and deployed on the left flank, on the other side of the river. Gruffudd seemed close behind (5 PIPs), but William had to keep waiting.

Turn 3: the Scots arrive as William crosses the Avon.

On the next turn Magnus dithered (1 PIP), opting to continue his advance. William brought all his knights over the river and sent forward archers to delay the enemy’s advance. Angus, keen for a scrap (6 PIPs), sent his light horse forward to delay the king and hurried after them. The Welsh still did not show.

Turn 4: Scots light horse face off against the English king.

Then suddenly it was all over. Magnus continued his advance, recoiling some archers, and William decided to attack the impudent Scots horse. The odds seemed very good (1/3 chance of destroying them, with only a 1/12 chance of being destroyed), but these Scots were in a fell mood and William, advancing ahead of his men, was unhorsed and killed by the quick-moving Scots (5+2 v 2+6). His household troops fled and the battleline began to waver and retreat. In the retreat two elements of 4Sp were destroyed (reflecting the casualties caused by the loss of a C-in-C).

Turn 5: Angus' light horse crow over the body of the English king.

  • Aftermath

The Scots earned 2 prestige points for their victory. The English, in disarray, retreated from Mercia, which the Northumbrians took possession of. They then sent for William’s brother, Henry, in Normandy and prepared for more fighting in the summer.

The Northumbrians could advance on England proper in the next season, but they would be without the support of the Scots, who can only support within two moves of their army. There was a bit of a diplomatic incident over the body of William. It was reported that it was decapitated and the Scots would not give it back. The Normans said this was barbarous and unchivalrous behaviour. The Scots denied this and said it was typical of the Normans to make such claims, reminding them that on the contrary the Scots had been a Christian people for a good deal longer than the Normans, whose ancestors were not long ago committing pagan atrocities across Europe. Such a barb, however, got at their allies the Northumbrians, not long Christians either, and all round tempers flared.

Stories abounded as to why William had crossed the Avon; one that gained a good deal of credence was that he’d spotted a fine looking hind, and being a keen huntsman had set off in chase of it. The Scots got to it first and an argument ensued over whose catch it was. Versions vary as to how William was killed; some claim he was struck by a stray crossbow bolt!

  • Review

An interesting start to the campaign. Henry steps into a difficult situation. William could claim, with some justice, to have been very unlucky. Yet, there is a certain amount of risk in committing one’s general so early. Had he won, however, he was set to give the Scots a good mauling. As in the previous battle (for Ceredigion), victory was decided without the close-order infantry coming to blows.


23 November, 2009

Last week I painted up three elements of 7Hd for the Battle of Hastings. I also finished all the figures I need for the King Magnus campaign.

Feudal Hordes

These are all Essex figures, some of which I got by trade from Paul Potter. They are pretty primitive looking figures, some are armed with lumps of wood or crude stone clubs. They’ll be used in campaign games for emergency reinforcements. The middle element is made up of figures without trousers, so it’s particularly suitable for the Welsh and Pre-feudal Scots, who don’t hold with such fashion!

I also finished one 3Sp and two 3Bw for the Welsh (Feudal Castings, of course). Until I’m inspired to paint the early Welsh option (lots of 3Wb), that’s all of them for now, though I do have the figures for some more command elements, particularly another mounted one, but I think other projects will take priority.

More Welsh

And I’ve done some more Viking archers (also Feudal Castings), only to decided that if I make the Anglo-Norse huscarls immune to QK, they won’t need any more light troops. Still, I’ve now got enough archers for two Viking armies, and I’ve probably got the blades too, if I painted the rest; again I can’t see that being an immediate priority.

Viking Archers

Anglo-Norman Dismounted Knights

27 September, 2009

I’ve now finished 4 elements of dismounted knights to allow my Anglo-Norman knights to dismount:

Dismounted Knights

Dismounted Knights

They are largely Essex figures, but the front element on the left has two Feudal Castings spearmen. The other spearmen and the two-handed swordsmen I got from Paul Potter in a trade. They mix well with the other knights and command figures that I’d already got.

I was particularly pleased with the flag, as it was small and folded and I was sure I’d make a mess of it. However, I noticed that a VVV roundshield transfer was actually a cross, and of the sort I was going to try to paint. all I had to do was paint the centre! I think it came out very well.

The Knights' Flag

The Knights' Flag

I also finished two elements of Essex Norman light horse. These will be useful in allowing me to create non-historical armies to represent probable opponents in the up-coming competition. I’ll use them tonight, hopefully, in a contest between my ‘Picts’ and some Eastern Patrician Romans represented by a mixture of Normans, Irish and Galwegians!

Norman Light Horse

Norman Light Horse

I should add that the ‘Picts’ are now complete, as I finished three more elements of Pre-feudal Scots spearmen; this means the Pre-feudal Scots are also finished. I only painted six figures this weekend, and converted two to being axemen, but I was able to base 7 elements and flock 13 elements (most of the painting was done last weekend).

I finished the Welsh spearmen this week, complete with fancy decals for shield patterns, so they had to be used. Gruffudd ap Cynan was the obvious leader and he was facing the chief marcher lord of the Welsh March, Robert of Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury. Clearly Gruffudd wasn’t happy with Robert, as he was on the attack (3+1 v 1+2). Gruffudd was taking the opportunity to attack the march when the king was distracted; he marched against Robert’s castle and settlement at Montgomery in Powys. Robert summoned as many of his tenants as he could and marched to meet him. The two armies met in an flat area near the castle. There were only two low hills and a very small wood. Gruffudd did not get to approach the battlefield from the direction he hoped (he rolled a 1).

Gruffudd had his retinue of 3Cv, a unit of skirmishers (2Ps), two of archers (3Bw) and six of spearmen (3Sp). He also had two units of Viking mercenaries from Dublin (where he grew up). Gruffudd apparently oversaw the change in tactics in the North; he had a long and interesting reign, living until 1137 and being the only prince to have a biography written. In the alternate history of King Magnus’ War many of the details of his life leading up to the war were the same; he had come to power in Gwynedd at the Battle of Mynydd Carn in 1081 with the help of Rhys ap Tewdwr of Deheubarth, he had been imprisoned for a time by Robert, but had escaped, and clearly he felt he had some debts to settle with Robert. The battle took place in 1103, a year before King Magnus’ War started. Despite the Marcher Lords ‘home team’ advantage, this was all but neutralized by the enthusiastic support of his bardic contingent (patriotic music provided by Tecwyn Ifan and Dafydd Iwan)!

Robert had four elements of knights (3Kn), one of muntatores (3Cv), four of spearmen (4Sp) and three of skirmishers (2Ps). He drew up his forces in three troops, the central one with himself and the bulk of his knights flanked by his spearmen. On the left flanks he positioned his skirmishers, supported by some cavalry (muntatores on the right and knights on the left flank).

Gruffudd’s deployment was a curious one, with two strong wings and not much in the centre. He divided his archers to make Robert’s life more complicated. One went to support the three spearmen on the left flank, one was in the centre, and the skirmishers were in support of the spear on the right flank.

Initial Deployment

Initial Deployment

Both sides were keen to engage, both rolling 6 PIPs for the first two turns! Robert used these PIPs to throw his skirmishers forward to slow the advance of Gruffudd’s wings.

Turn 1: Robert's skirmishers rush forward

Turn 1: Robert's skirmishers rush forward

This proved a dangerous move, as Gruffudd was able to attack the skirmishers on his right flank with his own, well supported by the spear. The plan worked well. The skirmishers facing the spear were scared silly and scarpered (4+6 v 1+1!).

Turn 2 (Gruffudd): the skirmishers are dispersed with casualties

Turn 2 (Gruffudd): the skirmishers are dispersed with casualties

This left the other element horribly exposed, and the Welsh javelinmen showed it no mercy (2+4 v 0+1). Clearly those skirmishers didn’t want to be there.

Turn 3

Turn 3

On the third turn, Gruffudd had 5 PIPs which he used to turn the hill on his left flank into a salient. The spearmen pivoted (I assume that’s legal) and the archers turned to block the muntatores if they should attempt to get round behind them. With the other PIPs the right flank reformed after the manoeuvre that saw off the skirmishers. Robert’s response was slower (2 PIPs), with which he advanced the main body and tried to block the archers with his skirmishers (they laughed at the Welsh shooting (2+1 v 2+6!).

Gruffudd next advanced his right flank to within range for a charge on Robert’s opposing flank. His archers this time forced the skirmishers to recoil.

Robert woke up and ordered a general advance (6 PIPs). The skirmishers, supported by the muntatores attacked the archers, who had uphill advantage to counteract the overlap. He also ordered the spear and knights on his right to charge the spearmen on the hill, while he lined his spearmen up to face the archers in the centre. These archers, however, took aim at the flanking knights and forced them to retire. The other archers narrowly held off the skirmishers’ attack (2+1 v 2+2—the hill was the difference). The spearmen fought diffidently on the hill to a stalemate (5+1 v 5+1).

Turn 4: Robert's attack is repulsed

Turn 4: Robert's attack is repulsed

This meant the knights didn’t have the overlap they were hoping for and despite a valiant charge were repulsed by the deep formation of Welshmen (3+6 v 5+6).

Gruffudd reacted vigorously (6 PIPs). The archers on the left retired, while he ordered a general attack on the right flank and the centre. The archers forced the muntatores to retire (important as it would prevent them flanking next turn). The spearmen on the hill, now with overlap support, forced their counterparts back. The archers in the centre got the only result they didn’t want, a stalemate (2+2 v 2+2)! They wouldn’t be able to shoot next turn and the spear would be well placed once flanked by knights to drive them back and provide overlap support. However, on the right flank things again went to plan. The spearmen again chased off the skirmishers emphatically (4+6 v 1 +4) and the spear then destroyed the unsupported knights (5+5 v 2+2).

Turn 5 (Gruffudd): more success for Gruffudd on his right flank

Turn 5 (Gruffudd): more success for Gruffudd on his right flank

Robert replied by sending his skirmishers and muntatores against the archers, who were adjudged, perhaps generously, to have the uphill advantage. He also moved into support the spearmen in the centre as Gruffudd feared he might. The battle on the hill was a stalemate. The other archers came close to achieving the same result (4+2 v 2+3), but were forced back. Despite their advantage the knights facing Gruffudd and his retinue made no progress (4+1 v 3+2). Robert, however, made a mess of the Dubliners facing him (2+1).

Gruffudd’s situation was by no means comfortable. His right flank had nothing in range (and seemed content to strip the corpses of the knights and make rude taunts at the skirmishers). The archers on the left flank were hanging by a thread and Robert had the favourable match-ups in the centre. With the 3 PIPs that he had he retired all the centre. This had the useful benefit of disrupting Robert’s formation, as both the knights pursued. He had no energy to spare for the archers on the left. He told his archers to shoot at Robert, hoping to make him recoil, without success.

Somehow I forgot to roll for the encounter between the archers and skirmishers, and in Robert’s turn the muntatores were able to close the door. With his remaining PIPs he lined his knights up with the spear. The archers again shot at Robert, but despite an enthusiastic effort, Robert was unmoved (4+5 v 4+5). Meanwhile, the archers on the hill remained unfazed and calmly cut the skirmishers to ribbons (2+1 v 2+4)! This was a major success for Gruffudd. Robert was on the point of breaking and the chance of attacking the spear on the hill both front and back was gone.

Turn 6: Gruffudd retires his centre and his archers triumph on the left flank.

Turn 6: Gruffudd retires his centre and his archers triumph on the left flank.

Despite this lucky reprieve, Gruffudd seemed a little dazed, and could only order the bow on the hill to turn and shoot at the muntatores. They did this without success. The other archers, however, finally succeeded in forcing Robert back. Robert was equally flustered, but with 2 PIPs was able to recover from his recoil and attack. This time the spear failed to repulse the archers and were instead thrown back by a heroic defence (4+1 v 2+6)! Unfazed, Robert chopped up the remaining element of luckless Dubliners (3+6 v 3+2). On the other flank Gruffudd drove the knights back (3+2 v 4+5).

Turn 7: Gruffudd holds on in the centre.

Turn 7: Gruffudd holds on in the centre.

Gruffudd still couldn’t spare time to direct the more scattered elements of his army (2 PIPs). He decided to risk all by charging the knights facing him supported with a flank attack. The archers on the hill continued their fine form, almost destroying the muntatores (4+6 v 3+3). However, the knights repulsed his charge, leaving things decidedly messy.

Robert, however, was equally flustered (1 PIP), only able to order his spear against the archers, who were overlapped on both sides. Did that bother them? Not a bit! They gave ground reluctantly in a fierce fight (4+2 v 0+5). Meanwhile, the knights facing Gruffudd could make no headway (4+4 v 4+4).

Turn 8: Things are looking grim for Gruffudd in the centre

Turn 8: Things are looking grim for Gruffudd in the centre

Gruffudd was obviously sweating and could only signal the spear to again flank the knights he was facing (1 PIP). It proved enough, just (4+1 v 3+1). With half his knight gone and most of his skirmishers, Robert surrendered the field. Gruffudd, by contrast, despite coming close to disaster had only lost some mercenaries, who were not popular with his people anyhow, so they’d hardly be mourned! Montgomery lay open for a good pillaging, and the Marcher inroads into Wales received another rebuff!

Turn 9 (Gruffudd): Gruffudd and his retinue break the Marcher Lords!

Turn 9 (Gruffudd): Gruffudd and his retinue break the Marcher Lords!

  • Review

Well, those archers were clearly armed with some pretty potent longbows! Both elements remained steady against heavy odds. Had they broken it would be hard to have seen Gruffudd win. His deployment was unusual. The hill worked fairly well for him, though the archers were lucky to come through against the odds. The plan was to win on the flanks and this worked well on the right flank. Poor PIPs prevented those troops taking any further part in the battle after destroying the troops in front of them; after turn 6, where his 3 PIPs allowed the centre to retire, he rolled 1, 2 and 1. Better PIPs might have seen these troops turn on Robert himself.

It was good to see the new Welsh command have some success, as in their first battle they did nothing, and I don’t think the Scots one has done much yet (most noticeably in their recent outing against the Anglo-Norse). The North Welsh army is actually quite good. I was surprised at how effective just two archers could be against cavalry. I’m tempted to make Gruffudd the Welsh player and demote the other Gruffudd (ap Rhys, his son-in-law!) to a minor ally.

I think the biggest fault in Robert’s plan was that he hoped to win in the centre, yet advanced both flanks aggressively. To be fair, psiloi are generally safe doing this, but that’s when they advance into bad going. Here, however, in good going and with the opponent getting good PIPs they came unstuck. The dividing of the spear made it hard for Gruffudd to line his 4Bd up against them, making them pretty ineffectual. Still they took two turns to die, whereas two spear would have been gone in one in the same situation!

The match-up of the 3Cv and 2Ps against the 3Bw was interesting. The 3Cv attacked the 3Bw at more unfavourable odds (3 v 4), but any match up when the base values are both 2 has a much higher degree of chance involved, and on this occasion the 3Bw got lucky.

A good victory for the North Welsh in their first time out, and something to think about as I get closer to starting the campaign: will they demote the South Welsh to a minor ally in their stead? Following on from Hardrada’s great victory a few weeks back I’m starting to have a bit more faith in spear armies facing knights, especially when, as here they have a few archers.