We opted to fight a short introductory battle as a reminder of the rules and then a larger encounter as the main event. The only change we made from Dux Bellorum was to assign 5 leadership points to each general rather than 6 as the armies would likely contain less units than the Dark Ages version had assumed.
Our first game was a small 32 point / side affair with the Yorkist's commanded by Mike and the Lancastrians by Nigel. York was immediately on the attack with their light horse pushing towards the flanks while the archers opened-up on the Lancastrians pike men.
|Yorkist horse move to threaten the levy archers
|And then crunch into them
|The Lancastrian pikes lumber forward
|Yorkist foot attack
|Battle is joined in the centre
The Lancastrians managed to achieve a flanking position but were in turn flanked themselves. Meanwhile the Lancastrian foot were steady pushed back resulting in the death of their general and the army reaching the 50% point. now lacking any leadership points it was a hopeless position.
|Desperate struggle in which Nigel's general dies
|The end is nigh
Capture the King
For the main battle we played a simple scenario where the Yorkist's tried to capture the Lancastrians King. All players received 32 points to spend on troops.We allowed 3 shots per missile unit to encourage combat.
Given a free choice of forces the players made rather different choices with their points. The Lancastrians went heavy on the pikes and fielded four units supported by some pointed. The balance was made-up with levy and retinue troops.
|Lancastrian left - pikes and some bows
|Lancastrian centre - more pikes and a line of archers in front
|Lancastrian right - pikes and knights but not much shooting
|Yorkist left - retinue bows backed by heavies
|Yorkist centre - retinue bows backed by billmen
|Yorkist - crossbows and bows backed by heavies
|Long shot from the Lancastrian right
|The lines advance
|Lancastrians close in on the Yorkist right
|The Yorkist claim the hill
In traditional fashion we then indulged in a long-range archery duel which had limited impact. the ability to use leadership points to mitigate hits meant it was hard to achieve a decisive edge. Ominously the Lancastrian left chose to hold fire and close the range seeking a better target.
|Lancastrian right moves forward cautiously
|Tally ho - Lancastrian knights
On the Yorkist right the lines closed rapidly with the Lancastrian pikes leading the way with the archers protecting their flanks. This encounter went badly for the Yorkist as the Lancastrian steam roller trundled over them suffering limited casualties.
|Yorkist right - not looking good for the white rose
In the centre the Yorkist were able to get the drop on the Lancastrian and using the Passage of Troops rule surprise the Lancastrian archers who had strayed too close.
|Yorkist billmen launch a surprise attack on the Lancastrian bows in the centre
Whilst on the Yorkist left the archers and crossbowmen found themselves up against the heavier Lancastrian units having done only limited shooting damage.
|Lancastrian right crunches into the Yorkist bowmen
After a couple more turns the Yorkist right had completely collapsed forcing the retinue archers from the centre to move across. Using their greater manoeuvrability the archers were able to catch the pike men in the flank but did only limited damage.
|The Yorkist right is blown away
|A sneaky flank attack on the Lancastrian pikes
In the centre the Yorkist's continued to push forward and picked off several units of archers. however on their left their comrades succumbed to the heavier Lancastrian troops.
|Yorkist's make progress in the centre
|Yorkist left is also blown away
So with the two flanks shattered and the Lancastrian King in no danger the game was called a Lancastrian win.
A fun game and we managed to conclude the main battle within about 2 hours. There was a great deal of debate about the merits of different rules for handling the pikes but in the end we concluded it may be best not to obsess over them and simply limit the numbers more strictly.
Crossbows require more attention though. Their limited aggression and no passage of troops ability made them easy-meat and unable to shoot-down the approaching knights. On balance we felt they might work better with the same stats but designated as Skirmishers.