Wednesday, October 27, 2021

An Engagement of English

A Headless Body Production
Venue: On Military Matters Book Store, Hopewell, NJ
Event: Preparation for Kozcon
Players: Phil Gardocki running Scots Isles and Highlanders (Yeah!!!)
               Alan Kaplan running 100 Years War English. (Booooo!!!)
               Its Panto Season. Lets all shout at the stage...
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 25mm, 200 points per side.

It's time to bring out the heavy metal. Which for ancients players is 25mm armies. Much heavier than the 15mm by around a factor of 4.

The Forces:
100 Years War English, list 236
Commanders, one brilliant, two uncertain.
A wide variety of troop types.
Some Longbowmen Mediocre
Some Swordsmen with Longbow
Some Knights on Foot, some elite, some not
I'll try to keep them straight for the report, but can't promise anything. Consider the lack of precise information part of the fun.
Breakpoint around 22

Scots Isles and Highlanders, list 187
Led by the consoles Larry and his brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl, all competent.
4 Island Warriors Heavy swordsmen 2HW Elite
8 Island Warriors Heavy swordsmen 2HW
4 Young Warriors Heavy swordsmen Mediocre
2 Irish Medium swordsmen 2HW
3 Highland Archers Medium swordsmen bow
Breakpoint of 22

Conventions: When you see a word bubble "Ouch!", "In the name of the wee man!", this implies a disorder from missiles. Letters in parenthesis represent some value change for the specific unit. For commanders it is s for strategist, b for Brilliant, c for Competent and o for Ordinary, u for unreliable. For troops it is e for Elite, and m for Mediocre. Other abbreviations, Hvy Heavy, XB Crossbow, LB, Longbow, Jav Javelin, 2HW 2 Handed Weapons, B Bow, Kn Knight, HKn Heavy Knight, HC Heavy Cavalry, Md Medium, Sgt Sergeants, LC Light Cavalry, Chr Chariot, Cat Cataphract, Pa Pavise, LI, Light Infantry, HG Hand Gun, FKn Foot Knight, Hvy Spear, Heavy Spearmen.

"XX" implies a unit killed in that location on that turn.

The Board:
The English (Booo!!!) rolled the initiative and elected to defend in the plains.

Dennis Shorthouse is the proprietor of On Military Matters book service. A delightful book store in Hopewell New Jersey that specializes in military books.


And if you think this is confusing, Al had little notes glued to the back of the stands so he could keep track of them. Reading glasses on, then off, all game.

It's rare in this game you get the perfect piece of terrain, in the perfect location.

And it was my fault. I had an option to move it, and rolled for another piece? I have no clue what I was thinking then.

The English have placed their weakest command on their left

Quiet mutterings from the gully.  Distributed Black knight figure provided by Medieval Mayhem

Larry takes the center with 8 units of heavy swordsmen, most with cruel claidheamh-mòr.   Barely visible Sir Robin's Minstrel figures are available at Medieval Mayhem

His brother Darryl has an identically equipped command. The backs of Knights that say Ni1 figures are available at Medieval Mayhem.  The Front also!

Turn 1:

Here is the plan. Darryl will attack the English right. The English have some just bowmen, and thus LMI, and some mediocre. The Highlanders are all MI, and the Irish have 2HW.

Larry will line up with Darryl for a second attack wave.

And their other brother Darryl will NOT engage the English on the hill, and not assault the longbowmen, mediocre, in the field. His job is to keep their focus on him, and minimize the casualties on his command.

You have heard the axiom that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. This plan didn't survive contact with it's own conception.

The English right advances just enough to slide right.


The center moves forward 1UD.

Turn 2:

The heroes (Yaayyy!!!) of our story advance through a hail of arrows.
While the rabid yorkies charge across the field.

Arrows were very effective on both sides.

But the English have many, many more bowmen than the Scots.

Mismeasuring the distance, Darryl advances into his own private arrow storm.
Is that Widow Twankey passing out candy to a disordered bowmen?

English shooting is proving excellent, that's 6 hits so far.

Turn 3:

Darryl manages the over lap for the next turns attack. But at a great cost.

Larry assigns half his command to join the assault on the English line.

The remainder is to just act as pin cushions to the English Longbow on the field covered hill.

It's turn 3, and Darryl is still following a plan that should have been thrown out on turn 1.

I was phobic about the longbow in the field. and wanted to lure them out. Well they are out, this would have been the turn to approach and attack. It has not settled in that those are mediocre LMI. Even if my entire line is disordered, I should be able to take them.

How bad are the odds?

Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW, vs Longbow. +2 (and 2HW) to zero. The Heavy swordsmen win 97% of the time in an average of 2.2 rounds of combat.

Change that to Longbow, Mediocre, and the odds are 99.8% in 1.93 rounds

If the Heavy Swordsmen have a hit before contact, the odds go down to 97% in 2.3 rounds

Give the Longbow support, which is likely in this scenario, then the swordsmen still win 84% in 2.8 rounds. There is really no scenario where the Longbow come out on top.

Darryl's Highlander bows aim is exceptionally keen. One English unit is shot to dispersion. Another would have been likewise if not for his commanders judicial distribution of candy.

Larry's line will be hitting the English line a bit ragged.

The Knights that say Ni! (or Neet! before I looked up the script) are no longer saying Ni!

The English archers are taking full advantage of the total ignorance of Darryl's Scots. They may never have a day this good again.

Turn 4:

Disordered, outnumbered 3-1 is nothing when you roll a 6 to your opponents 1.

Down the line, the luck mostly favors the English. Another 6-1 and an Irish Mercenary unit flees the field. Only Darryl, by leading from the front, manages to pull a bare minimum win in the charge.

Larry's troops fare better, losing 1 and tieing the rest.

Sir Robin deviates from his role in support and leads his minstrels up the hill.

Technically, since the English Longbow is partially off the hill, the battle with Sir Robin and his minstrels is fought in the open, with no height advantage for the English Med Sword/Longbow.

4 turns in and Darryl is still following "the plan"

Like any good Dark Age mash up. Bodies are everywhere.

The center is maintaining satus quo

4 turns and low command points, but the English have formed a perfect line. This is not going to go well.

The score is, Scots 13 of 22

To the English's 13 of 22.

Darryl has smashed his flank and is now falling upon the centers flanks. A unit of Polearms is destroyed. But so is a unit of Scots Warriors by English Knights.

Amazingly, Sir Robin and his Minstrels are still fighting. Behind them, an audience awaits the final refrain of that song.

About 4 turns too late, Darryl gets a clue

English spearmen are chopped up.

The English Sword/Bow penetrate the holes in the Scots line. They now have targets everywhere.

Too little, too late.

Turn 5:
The English flank has collapsed, now the center is joining it. The foot knights fall.

And English on the hill are next.

Its a race now. The English bungled their right, but Darryl bungled his right as well. The main difference is that the Scots are mostly wounded, the English are fewer, but intact.

Darryl advances his disordered line, but it is just out of charge reach by a mm.

The score is Scots 18 of 22

To English 16 of 22.

The English charge along the hills edge, flanking and destroying another Clan.

And preparing to launch a hammer and anvil attack on Darryls left.

And right.

If the Scots get another turn, the enemy camp is in reach.

The English charge. And Darryl's lines hold.

Darryl manages to hold his line. But the fight on the hill was decisive, taking the Scots to their break point of 22.
What went wrong? I didn't read the right flank correctly. Darryl should have run across to the field, invested it and taken out the longbow, mediocre, for the 8 points they represented. He would have lost a couple of units to the foot knights nearer the hill, but it would have been worth it. I forgot that heavy sword is +2 verses LMI. 
Most of my American readers will not understand the Panto references. I would recommend you look one up and attend. They are good fun. Audience participation is encouraged in a Panto. There are many puns, always a cross dressing femme fatale (snerk). 
The legalese jokes will only be gotten by 3 people, me included. If I have to explain it, it won't be funny.


  1. What happened to the tree of woe?

  2. The Tree of Woe is a bit fragile and heavy. This venue required traveling, and so the Tree wasn't packed.

  3. Look! There's a ghost in the field! And the "Principal Boy" is a girl!