My wargaming of late has felt rather like waiting for a bus; nothing for ages and then 3 come along at once. So having had a game with Michael on Tuesday, it was off to Craig's today for a game of Star&Garter, his recently released variant of Dux Bellorum by Dan Mersey. I hadn't had chance to look at Craig's rules, but as per Michaels game, everything was set up and ready for me when I arrived. So once again my little grey cells were not unduly taxed.
The beauty of the Dux Bellorum game is that it is very easy to pick up, and Craig's Star&Garter variant proved to be the same. So after a brief introduction to the rules, the scenario and the forces involved, it was pretty much straight into the game. Once again I will not bore you with the nuances of the game mechanics, but refer you to the rules to be read at your leisure.
Before getting on to the game itself, I will take a brief moment to heap praise on Craig's forces, both of which are beautifully painted. The photos on his Blog really do not do them justice; they just look so good 'in the flesh'. The same is true of his scratch built buildings. One must not forget that the figures themselves, from the Pendraken European Late Medieval range, are wonderfully sculpted and full of character.
So on with the game. I chose to be the brave and righteous English with Craig taking the role of the dastardly and cowardly French. Once again as I was playing away from home (no sniggering at the back please) I didn't make notes, so hopefully the pictures below will give you an idea of how the game played out. More can be found on Craig's Blog.
|The trusty longbowmen defend the camp with knights and men-at-arms on either flank. The King is situated to best keep an eye on his battles.|
|The King and his companions.|
|The English battle on the left flank with a sturdy mass of pike ably supported by longbows.|
|The French move around the flanks whilst the longbows advance to attempt to come within range of their foe.|
|Two battles align to ward off the threat from the French cavalry.|
|The longbowmen have a good view of their targets, who are sadly out of range.|
|The English longbows and crossbows inflict casualties on the French. Huzzah!|
|The English battles start to wheel back to counter act the French attempts to turn their flanks.|
|The French knights seem somewhat reluctant to come within bow range...|
|The English battle on the right blunders, losing one point of cohesion. The longbowmen have some nice juicy targets to their front.|
|The English centre looks secure with the field and hedges limiting French options on manouevre.|
|Some bold (or mad) French knights venture within range and pay the price.|
|Battle is joined!|
|A drawn out fight ensues on the right flank whilst the King and his longbowmen will prove more than a match for French.|
|The English centre splits to re-inforce their camp whilst the French crossbow finally get moving in the field to threaten the centre.|
|The French attack fragments under English resolve and longbow shooting.|
|A last gasp by the flower of French chivalry is too little too late.|
|Only the French King remains after the fight and his force quickly dissolves like mist in Summer sun.|
|The French on the left flank wisely keep away from the English hedghog and longbows.|
Well in the end it proved to be an easy English victory, thanks largely due to the longbowmen of the Welsh Marches, with a helping hand from the drawn out French deployment (due to the secondary objective for the French). At one point it did look like the French would be able to turn the English flanks, but the threat from the longbows kept the French right flank at bay, allowing my forces to concentrate on the centre and the right. The positioning and choice of terrain also helped, as only having the King and his companions mounted, meant that I had a very slow and reactive force, so it was vital that I try and limit French manouevre by whatever means necessary.
So the game was great fun and as always a pleasure to play against Craig. His rules worked really well and whilst having a post-game chat, we agreed that only one or two things needed minor tweaking. Afterall it was the intention of the game to get a fresh, and dare I say it experienced, perspective on the rules. So now I'm off to start drawing up some lists for English and French forces to be able to play Star&Garter in the future. Let's hope they don't sit on the lead pile for too long...