Friday, 30 November 2018

The Pikemen's Lament - Dawn Patrol AAR

I managed to kick off my narrative campaign as planned a few days ago, with it still set in the New World in the 17thC. As yet I'm not sure whether to have it in and around the time of King William's War, or the early part of the century. The former is more tempting as I can include some Salem style witch trials should they take my fancy which could then include some Dragon Rampant 'magic'. Anyway, that's in the future. 

The background fluff has not been fully fledged out, but broadly speaking we have the following to get things going:

Nikolaus Vermuyden. An Ensign in the employ of the Dutch West Indies Company, he is an experienced, but at times brutal officer, who suffers from a wound gained in previous battles in Europe.

Sir Richard Grenville. An Ensign in the employ of the Royal Virginia Company of London, he is relatively inexperienced in battle, but is a strong and patient officer. 

Dawn Patrol.
There have been some minor skirmishes and raids along the borders of the two Companies territories. As such, the powers that be have seen fit to make a show of force, so at to both reassure their folk as well as to intimidate the opposition. Both sides have been patrolling in the early morning and are on their way back to their encampments when they stumble across each other as the morning mist clears.

The English are at the top left, the Dutch the bottom left. Both sides have to try and exit the board in the opposite cornet to their deployment.

The Dutch have 1 x Pike, 1 x Shotte, 1 x Commanded Shotte and 1 x Forlorn Hope.

The English have 1 x Pike, 1 x Shotte, 2 x Commanded Shotte, 1 x Clansmen and 1 x Clubmen.

The Dutch view of the open field in front of them.

The English view.
The Dutch get off to a slow start, but not the English, who are able to move all of their units.

The Dutch throw out a screen of Commanded Shotte into the wood to protect their flank.

The Dutch Shotte to the fore.

The English moving forward with the Commanded Shotte providing a skirmish screen.

The Clansmen on the hill, spoiling for a fight.

The Dutch being outnumbered are finding it hard to pin down the English to slow their escape.

The English trying to find an escape route.

The English continue to edge past the Dutch troops.

The Dutch manoeuvre to try and bring weight of fire to slow down the English.

The Dutch Commanded Shotte being whittled away be English fire.

Despite the English managing to get two units off the board, the Dutch fire is taking a toll on the English.

The three Dutch casualties at the bottom compared to those of the English at the top.

The English bunch together for safety.

The escaping English units.

The Dutch have fire superiority and it shows.

The English casualties continue to rise.

The Dutch mass for the attack.

Sir Richard Grenville with the English Shotte attempts to evade the Dutch...
... but to no avail as the weight of Dutch fire sees the remaining English units rout off the table.

Post Game Thoughts
In the end a rather convincing Dutch victory, but it didn't look like that early on as the English we able to out manoeuvre the Dutch. A fun game and one that lasted about an hour or so all told. So some thoughts on the rules, the game etc:
  • The rules in themselves are incredibly easy to remember, with only occasional reference to the QRS. They might be a tad too simple for some, but as I've said before, I enjoy them and completely get where Dan and Michael are coming from.
  • The scenario was OK, but one that I'm not overtly fond of. I've played similar ones before with other rulesets and they haven't worked for me either. So this is not a criticism of this one, but of this type in general. However it did work as a good start for my campaign.
  • In theory, the English should have won as they got two units off the table, but at the cost of losing the rest of their force. So I decided to call it honours even and award both sides 3 points of Honour. This led to a promotion for Vermuyden, who is now a Lieutenant, gaining another Trait, this time of Strong.
  • This campaign has kick started my painting again, with a unit of Dragoons finished last night and more cavalry to come. Some Native Americans are ready for priming, once the weather warms up a bit.
  • I picked up a model of the Mary Rose for some background interest a week or so ago and so need to paint that up, as well as some coastline. Alongside this I think some Native Americans in canoes could lead to a nice scenario or two.
  • When I have enough units I will have to come up with some names for the, which is rather nicer than calling them Commanded Shotte etc. I also need to add some flags to a few units.
  • I need to either scratch build a few more buildings, or buy some for other scenarios, I'm not sure which yet. Maybe my Leven Miniatures one will make suitable stand in until then.

So plenty to be getting on with and to come up with the next logical scenario. I also need to plan a BKCII game for a weeks time as Adam is coming around for a game, as well as paint up a few units. So until next time...


  1. Nice background narrative. I can't make my mind up about pike essentially acting like skirmishers. I don't know enough about the period to know what to think ! :-)

    1. Glad you like the background fluff Norm. I know during the storming of Bristol, the pikemen cut down their pikes to allow them to effectively become spears, working in co-operation with musket armed troops. I happen to cycle through the old city gate they stormed and along the road they then entered the city by. So not impossible, but in most scenarios they are of limited use to be honest.

    2. St Johns?

    3. St John's church it is. Bristol Museum did have information on display at one point some time ago on the attack on Bristol. This is how I found out about the cut down pikes used by St John's.

  2. Great stuff Steve, it's amazing now many times a good campaign can kick off new paints...
    Best wishes

    1. Thanks Stu:). Games and campaigns do tend to focus the painting mind as it were. I've got a BKCII game next week so this deadline will force me to finish some 'extras' that have been sat on my painting table for far too long.

  3. Exellent looking game! Love the 1,2,3-basing :)

    1. Thanks Michael. The 3-2-1 basing looks great and makes it easier to move units about.

  4. Excellent write up, and lovely pictures.

    I've recent;ly started playing Pikeman's Lament and so far I find it the best of the Rampant series.
    They're all good of course.

    The Medieval rules have a bit of Good / Better / Best going on, while The Lament has a bit more Rock / Paper / Scissors.

    I'm also new to the Pike and Shot era, and have been surprised by the balance between the different arms.
    Dragoons are particularly hard to eliminate in the sort of small battles that Pikeman's Lament portrays.

    Keep having fun.

    1. Hi Steve,
      glad you enjoyed my report. Sadly I haven't found the inclination to carry on the campaign; let's say it's paused for the moment.

      Dragoons are really useful for many scenarios, Pikemen much better in defence etc. It's nice to have a mix of troops available for different games, so you can tweak your force.