Saturday, January 6, 2018

Havoc at the Firth of Forth

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:        Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players:     Phil Gardocki, Steve Turn, Jenny Parker playing the Anglo-Irish
                      Bruce Potter, Garth Parker playing the Scots

Preamble:   It is 1190 AD, and Richard I has left for the Crusades.  His chancellor, William de Longchamp, has decided to preempt any revolts by hiring Irish and Welsh mercenaries and sending them north to rip off a piece of Scotland.

Recognizing this for what it was, William the first, King of the Scots, grants permission for Clan Chiefs Malcolm and MacDonald to organize a response.  As he and William de Longchamp do not wish this to become a full fledged war, neither take to the field.

The Anglo-Irish are following the east coastline Scotland where they are met by Malcolm's forces at the Firth of Forth.

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre.

Scenario:  Both sides have 200 points, but the Scots are running a 2 Corps list, while the Anglo-Irish is running a traditional 3 Corps list.

The Forces:
The Anglo-Irish commanders are Larry, Darryl, and Darryl, all barely competent.
Darryl with 3 Longbowmen, one Kern (Light Infantry, Javelin), an Irish Noble ( Heavy Cavalry), Irish Horse (Light Cavalry, Javelin)

Larry with an English Foot Knight, 2 English Billmen (Heavy Infantry, 2HW Swordsmen),  4 Galloglaich  (Heavy Infantry, 2HW Swordsmen), and two Kerns (Light Infantry, Javelin).

Darryl with 3 Longbowmen, one Kern (Light Infantry, Javelin), an Irish Noble ( Heavy Cavalry), Irish Horse (Light Cavalry, Javelin), and a Javelinman.

The Scots commanders are Malcolm, the brilliant and MacDonald.
Clan Cameron and Clan Clan Gordon provided the shock troops in the form of 8 Medium Swordsmen and bows.  Men from Dublin and Wexford were called out as well.  From the Isle of Man and the Shetlands came a large force of Claymore armed Heavy Infantry.

The Scots win the initiative and elect to defend in the mountains.   They selected a steep hill, and two brush.  The Anglo-Irish select the coast line, named the Firth of Forth, and a woods.  The goddess Persephone and a mad titan look upon the field with interest, as are the ghosts of King Arthur of the Britons, and Sir Bedevere. 

The Scots form two lines comfortably fitting between an ambush strewn hill and a similarly ambush strewn woods.   Their front line is mostly bow armed swordsmen of the Clans Cameron and Gordon, their second line with heavy swordsmen from the Isle of Man and the Shetlands with Claymores

The Anglo-Irish is deployed with all their heavy infantry in the center, with longbow and cavalry covering the wings.

I'll be taking a different style of pictures here.  All from the perspective of the short edge of the board.  There will be fewer of them, but they should offer a better overview of the battle.  But to tell the truth, I already don' t like it.

The preliminaries are done, the Scots (on the left) win the coin toss and elect to receive.
The Anglo-Irish roll 2 1's and a 4 for command dice, and don't so much advance, as lurch forward. 
The Scots also advance, mindful of keeping their shoulders covered by terrain.
An ambush is revealed!  A couple of small boys with their rabbit bows face off against the Irish Light Horse.
Turn 2:
Turn one pretty much reveals everyone's intentions.   The Scot's intend to engage with their front line of swordsmen, then follow up with their heavy foot afterwards.  The Anglo-Irish are going to rake the flanks with their longbow, and pummel the center with their heavy troops.  While trying to turn the Scot's flanks in the terrain.  But with only Kerns and some cavalry, this is something they are not well equiped to accomplish.

Nothing brilliant has happened on turn 1.  The Scots players receive an epiphany from on high that their archers are NOT "mixed bow and sword", but sword with a bow.  And as such, are not mediocre when fighting hand to hand. This also explains why they don't have more troops, as those forces are expensive.

The lines close to archery range.  The Welsh archers on the Anglo-Irish left flank darken the skies, and score 3 hits out of 3.  A great first volley.
On the Anglo-Irish left flank fortune is reversed, and it is the Scots that are shooting straight.
The Anglo-Irish tried to sneak a Kern down the line to loot the Scot's camp, but the Scots will have none of it. 
But protecting the camp drained the command points by 2, and what was left was spent trying to rally the main Scot's line.  A cascade of 1's and 2's followed, followed by another flight of arrows from the longbowmen.
Off in the distance, the Scot's archer swordsmen approach to short range.  Disordering another Longbowmen in the approach.
Turn 3:
The Anglo-Irish flank corps have advanced to archery range and are content to shoot.  The left flank is doing a great job of shooting up the Scot's line.  The right flank, however, is not.  The Anglo-Irish Center, with Galloglaich, Billmen, and Foot Knights, all with 2 handed weapons, is advancing as quickly as they can.

The Scot's left command, using speed and taking advantage of early shots, is attempting to run down the Anglo-Irish Longbowmen.  The Scot's right command is hanging back, trying to put order back into it's line before receiving the shock charge of the Galloglaich.

The Scot's light archers have totally shot away the infiltrating Kerns.
Another focused longbow shot disperses a Scots Archer unit, while the Galloglaich Clans Jordan, Ramsay, O'Lyre, and the Boys from Stafford advance behind their screen of Kerns. 
The Billmen and Knights charge, engaging the Dubliners with flank support.  The men from Dublin prove more ferocious than the Billmen, and win the initial contact.
On the Scottish right, MacDonald has had enough of standing pat and receiving bow fire, and orders a general charge down the line.  The Galloglaich prove their mettle today, winning 3 of 4 impacts.
The General melee starts on the other side of the line as well.  The best that can be said is the Anglo-Irish are holding their line, but failing rapidly.
Turn 4:
The Scots have 9 points towards their break point of 23
The Anglo-Irish have 8 points towards their break point of 22

Clan Jordan and Clan Ramsay send their foes packing.

Sorry about the poor shot here.  The Irish Light Horse was sent forward to prevent a Scot unit from supporting its fellows in the line and is destroyed in doing so.  But the attack was successful, as the longbowmen manage to tie their opponents because of it.  The English Foot Knights, finest troops in the land, muff their impact roll and take a hit.
The second line of Scotsmen, from the Isle of Man, Claymores drawn, approach the line of Galloglaich.
On the Anglo-Irish right, the line is falling apart. 

Turn 5:
Its a race now.  Each side's right flank is collapsing.  Who will fail first.
The Scots have 17 points towards their break point of 23
The Anglo-Irish have 16 points towards their break point of 22

The end game is neigh.   With only 6 points to demoralization, the Anglo-Irish recall their Light Horse from the hill.  No sense giving away another point to random archery.  The Galloglaich patiently hold the line, in the hopes of scoring more missile hits, and destroying the last medium sword before the Scot's heavies hit.
Larry's climbs a rock for all to see and issues comforting words to one and all.  3 rally checks are made and succeed!
The Scots left flank is in clean up mode here.  They have won the flank, but have paid a price in doing so.  Two units destroyed, three more damaged. 
The Scot's charge falters.  One was held back to rally, another didn't make contact as it was trying to get around the last medium archer.  On impact one Scot's heavy foot is disordered, the other is destroyed outright. 
English Foot Knights are taken in the flank, but still rebuff their opponents.
And way off in the distance, Irish Nobles, supported by their personal Kern unit, manage to destroy another Scots Archer Sword unit. 

With that, the Scots have reached their break point of 23. 
The Anglo-Irish have 17 points towards their break point of 22.

So what went right here?  The Anglo-Irish left and center could do no wrong.  Many Scot's units received missile fire before contact, some outright destroyed by arrows.  In the early game it looked like the Irish were going to sneak a unit into the enemy camp, but that was dissuaded very quickly.  But the Scots sent 2 Light Infantry to protect the camp, and so their mediums were without the benefit of skirmishers to protect them.  And paid a price for it.

On the Anglo-Irish right, the luck ran the other way.  The Longbowmen were receiving arrow hits, then plowed under by swordsmen.  Only the far right held, with the Irish Noble Heavy Cavalry.  Which destroyed one swordsmen, then another.  Its supporting Kern also destroying a Scot's Light Archer.  

And we had the luck of the Irish, as Jen did not fail a single rally roll.  
Her father, running the Scot's right flank, did not succeed a single rally roll.  Had the rolls been reversed, the score on the last turn would have been 21 all.


  1. Great looking game.As I live near the Firth of Forth I particularly enjoyed it.

  2. Happy to provide a serendipity event.

  3. What a bloody and great looking game!

  4. thank you. a nice sized game and enjoyable AAR.