Thursday, October 22, 2020

We need a Leader

 No, this isn’t another Spam Political message begging you for money.  As the keen eyed may have noticed in the photos of the last battle, a couple of my commanders looked suspiciously like Imperial Roman Generals.  So, after a quick dive into the lead pile and swimming around a bit, I found the below figures.

These are from Warlord Games Pike & Shotte range.  The figures are ‘Kaiser Maximillian I (Young and Old)’.


Beauty before age

Young Maximillian

Old Maximillian


I probably still need a few more commanders for this era, but for the near future I should be good.


And speaking of Commanders.  As the box opening continues, I found this picture of a very young Company Commander apparently thinking that his Platoon Leaders were actually paying attention to him.  (I eventually figured it out, and look at that hair… before it went AWOL).  


So much lead, so little time.

Monday, October 19, 2020

The things we save

 Just a quick off topic post.

So, as 2020 continues to kick my backside I’ve been going through some boxes that probably haven’t been opened since I went off to the Army many, many years ago.  The last one I opened served up this little gem.   You might call it the grandfather of today’s 3D printers (at least for war gaming). 


What is it? Well, that my friends is Mattel’s Injector Western World set, circa 1968.  They also made a version that allowed fresh faced innocent kids to make plastic Hot Wheels cars at home as well.  


The outside of the box pretty much explains how it works. 



Essentailly you placed one of Mattel’s proprietary ‘Plastix’ cylinders into the injector.  Assembled the front and back of the aluminum molds, waited for the plastix to melt, and pushed down on the handled to inject the melted plastix into the mold. 


A package of Plastix cylinders still in the original, unopened blister pack  and some left overs.

And the actual injector


And the aluminum molds.  As I recall the pieces never fit together right.  Or maybe I've just never been able to assemble a model.

I found a few 50+ year old works in progress in the box as well.  This could be my first unfinished war game project, now that I think about it.

And the town, with a horse base and maybe part of a horse on the roof.

Note- no silly warnings about burns, disfigurement, or any other actual or perceived danger to protect the precious little snowflake operating the machine.  In the 60’s and 70’s kids were tough, and if they weren’t, well then natural selection took over.


Oh yea, I also found this monstrosity in the attic.  I’ve been trying unsuccessful to sell this to some sucker… I mean collector off and on for close to 40 years.  Fortuantely, I think I found a dealer locally that will take it off my hands for $5 – I just hope that means he’ll pay me the $5 and not the other way around.

Sorry for being off topic.


So much lead, so little time.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

No cheese for you!

 We now return to our irregularly scheduled foolishness.


The Earl D’Greer has marshaled his troops and had his armor alterations completed, and has finally arrived at the outskirts of his former Village of Bridgeton.  Count William after having bribed Mayor der Kase with considerably lower taxes, and the opportunity to keep his head, has organized the defense of his new Village after receiving reinforcements from his Garrison.


View from the defenders side

View from the attackers side

As is their custom after nearly 30 years of fighting each other, our two protagonist meet on the center of the battle field to exchange taunts.  The Earl starts off with a profanity laced rant that ends in, “…damn it Billy, Bridgeton is mine.  Get out or I’ll have your hide nailed to the privy wall by sunset.”  The Count replies, “Bridgeton is MY town.  Be off with you and your rabble and I may let you keep part of your fiefdom, and possibly your head as well.”


With that out of the way, the two return to their respective lines.  The Earl eager to put his attack into motion, bellows attack as soon as he reaches his lines.  His aids overhear the Earl muttering about “his cheese” and “his taxes”, “I’ll teach him a lesson he won’t live long enough to appreciate”, mutters The Earl.   His plan is to distract the right flank of the defenders, while his skirmishers and crossbowmen advance and turn the Counts Knights into unformed, disordered, pincushions at which time his own extra heavy knights will smash the defenders left flank, and roll up their position.


The Count, secure behind his defensive line anchored on his right flank in the residential portion of Bridgeton, with his breastworks and artillery in the center is exceedingly confident of victory.  Turning to one of his lackey’s, The Count says “bring me some of that delicious cheese to enjoy while we await these buffoons to reach our impregnable defensive line”.


And with that, the festivities commence.


The first initiative consisted of one card, neither side turning anything useful (at the moment).


The second initiative was a little better, with the attackers last card being a Move card (huzzah!).  Wrong-way Wray, commanding the attacking force on the Earl’s left flank eked out 1 move segment.  With a groan and creak of leather they dutifully plodded forward one segment.  The Earl’s other commands also moved one segment. (not a very auspicious start… but I’m sure it will get better… probably).  While the defenders turned a crushing missilery card with no one in range – “Aye, we’ll sorely miss that card once we come to grips with these pig lovers”.


The third initiative is sort of where the wheels started to fall off….

The attacking force turned 3 unusable cards.  The Defender pulled an “Uncontrolled Advance”. Everything was either in town sections or behind works, except for the entire command of Captain Cuss-a-lot (on the defenders left flank, with all those Knights).   Obviously, he failed his roll, and his entire command surged forward one segment.  As they moved they were serenaded by the mournful bellowing of Count William, “The Plan, damn it man the PLAN!!  Get back here!  Form ranks, dress your lines.  Remember the PLAN!!!!”


Attacker view of Cuss-a-lot's command of 3 Cavalry units screened by a unit of light crossbowmen moving forward


The fourth initiative saw a tie roll, so reshuffle the deck.


For the fifth initiative, the attacker turns two cards, a Leadership which is of no use at the moment, and a Move card.  

Starting on the attacker left flank, Wrong-way-Wray summons his courage, takes a deep breath and at the top of his lungs squaks out, “Advance.  Please.  Come on guys, move”.   His bewilder troops turn and look at him muttering “is he talking to us”?  The Earl seeing nothing happening rushes over and moves the command one segment forward, after Wray rolled a one on his move dice, meaning he had zero move segments.  (In Wray’s defense, he was having a very bad day during the battle.  He rolled as “Abysmal”,  giving him a D6 Command Dice.  Clearly his biorhythms were off on the day of battle).

In the attackers center, Captain A. Noid surged forward two move segments.  Giving his skirmishers the opportunity to engage the defending Cavalry that had foolishly advanced.  Following the twang of bowstrings and flutter of arrows, the knights stood firm completely unphased.  Upon moving into range the defenders skirmishers fired at the attackers skirmishers to no effect.

On the attacker right flank the Cavalry moved forward one segment.


Almost in contact.  Wrong-way Wray's command is lagging behind off to the left.

Another view of the action getting ready to heat up

In the defenders phase, they turn a Move card.  Count William is ecstatic, now his foolish Cavalry can pull back and join the defensive line.  Count William could be heard all across the battle field bellowing, “Damn it Cuss-a-lot, the plan.  FALL BACK NOW.  Dress your lines.”  Unfortunately, Captain Cuss-a-lot has other plans…

Being a Knight commander of the era, I gave Cuss-a-lot a 30% chance of following orders and withdrawing.  I rolled a d10, 1 -3 withdraws, 4 – 10 advance.  I rolled a 10.  Cuss-a-lot really wanted to cross lances with the attackers.

Cuss-a-lot rolls for his move segments and wins 3 segments!  Well, this was unexpected.  He first orders his skirmishers to withdraw to avoid being trampled.  Then a massive grin appears on his face as he begins to give orders to his Cavalry units, all the while in the background Count William could be heard “…the Plan.  The Plan…”.  Cuss-a-lot chuckled out loud, “Don’t get your codpiece in a twist Billy.  I’ve got this handled”.


With that Cuss-a-lots Medium Cavalry moved forward towards the unloaded skirmishers, who evaded, becoming unformed in the process.  This unscrened both the attacking cross bow unit and the Long Bow unit behind them with the ability to issue Overhead Fire.  The Long Bows fired inflicting 1 pip, but not enough to destroy a stand. The Crossbows fired at point blank range winning by 3 causing 3 pips, combined with the 1 pip from the Long Bow they inflict a 2 stand loss to the Medium Cavalry.  The Medium Cavalry contact the Crossbows and expend one of their move segments to initiate melee.   The Cavalry wins the melee, rolling a 6 to the Crossbows 2, inflicting one stand loss.  AND, since they tripled the losing roll the Crossbows route unralliable.  


The victorious Medium Cavalry after the melee, the crossbow will be forced to route back through the Longbows and attacking Medium Cavalry due to have their die roll tripled.


Next Cuss-a-lot launched the Knight unit with the Yellow shield into the longbows.  (spoiler alert – this unit of Knights would become the hero of the battle).  The Knights expend a move segment to contact the now unloaded Longbow unit, and another segment to initiate Melee.  The Knights win by a roll of 11 to 3, a difference of 8, inflicting a 2 stand loss and since they tripled the losing roll in Melee, the Longbows route unralliable.


View of the carnage after the Yellow Shield Knights see off the Longbowmen. 


The attacking Medium Cavalry has now had 3 units of routers pass through them (Skirmishers, crossbows, longbows) resulting in their being disordered and forcing them to take a morale check, which they fail, forcing them to route.

The Medium Cavalry leading the routers to the rear.  The skirmish bowmen aren't routing, they evaded

Another view of the carnage.  The Cavalry on the right is 'unformed' indicated by the stands facing both forward and backward


The remaining defending unit of Knights moves forward, forcing the unloaded skirmish bowmen to their front to evade and they Knights continue on towards to the crossbowmen.  With the Crossbowmen no longer screened by the skirmishers, the Crossbowmen fire at point blank range, rolling a 1 on their to hit roll… Uh-Oh!  The Knights expend another of their move segments to initiate Melee, winning by a roll of 10 to 3, inflicting a two stand loss and tripling the defender roll, causing the Crossbows to route unralliable.


More Knightly mayhem.  It was a bad day to be a Crossbow unit.

Overall view of the  battle at this point from the attackers side.  Wrong-way Wray lagging behind on the attackers left flank

In the 6th Initiative the attackers turn a Leadership card and attempt to rally the Medium Cavalry with success.  They attempt to bring the Skirmishers back into good order and a roll 1.  The Earl is within his command radius and attempts to rally them and fails as well.   Next the attackers turn a move 1 command card, routers make their mandatory rush to the rear.  The Earl elects to move his Heavy Knights forward and comes into contact with the yellow shield Knight unit, but having only one move segment cannot initiate melee.


In the Defenders phase, they turn move 1 command group.  Cuss-a-lot takes the card to continue his charge to glory, and rolls up 1 move segment.  With only one move segment, and still hearing Count William droning on over the din of battle about “… the plan.”, he elects to pull back a little with his unengaged Cavalry and shift slightly to the right.  Their next card is a Favor of the Gods.  Maybe I’ll remember to use it? 


In the seventh initiative the Defenders win by 8 and opt to move first.  The first Card turned is a Courage card, all units pass their test. 

This is followed by an engine of war reload.  The gunners lick their lips and target the red Sword and Buckler unit.  With an earth shattering crash, and a thick cloud of sulfur smelling smoke the cannons fire, inflicting one stand loss on the hapless swordsmen.  The guns then reload and await the inevitable advance of the attackers. The next card is a Lull and the attackers fail to seize the initiative.

The next card is a Melee, the Knights in contact with the Earl’s Heavy Knights initiate melee, and surprisingly, win, and win big rolling a 10 to a 3.  Inflicting a two stand loss on the Heavy Knights and tripling their roll, the Earls Heavy Knights route unralliable.  

The attackers turn another Melee card – no action.  Followed by an Army Morale Card.


Aftermath of the Knight vs. Knight action.

In the Attackers phase of the seventh initiative things are looking rather bleak.  They turn an Army Morale card, followed by a RALLY BACK! Card.  In Hostile Realms the Rally Back card allows any units that are disorganized or routing and within any commanders radius to be rallied.  As the routers pretty much had the Earl surrounded at that point, they all rallied.  I think I may have messed this rule up, as virtually all of the routers were routed unralliable, and I still allowed them to rally.

Things don't look nearly as bleak now for the attackers


This was followed by several unusable cards and the initiative ended with a MOVE card.  Not surprisingly Wrong-Way Wray, only managed one segment and plodded forward.  Captain A-Noid in the center won two segments and his sword and buckler units closed on the defending Arquebus behind the earthworks.  As they advanced they were fired at by both the artillery and skirmish arquebis, but suffered no losses.  Meanwhile, the Halberd unit used one segment to turn 90 degrees and contacted the flank of the yellow shield Knights.  Melee was initiated due to it being a flank attack and the result was a tie… which the Knights won based on their higher moral.

Around this point Cuss-a-lot was beginning to second guess his decision to attack.

The attacking Cavalry, now rallied, closed on their opposite numbers but were unable to make contact.


The 8th initiative, was won by the Count and his plucky defenders who turned a missile reload card, the rest were unusable.

In the Attacker phase, their first card was ‘Uncontrolled Charge’.  Things could get interesting.

The Sword and Buckler unit that was just fired on charges the Arquebus unit in cover to their direct front.  The Arquebus fire to no effect, and melee ensues.  The Arquebus win a narrow victory, causing the already disordered Swordmen to route.  I may have gotten this wrong too.  I’m not sure if it is an automatic melee on this card or not.



While the Halberds charge into contact with the Yellow shield Knights flank, again, and  both attacking Cavalry units charge into contact with the Yellow Shield Knights as well.  The Halberds attack first, with the outnumbered bonus on top of the flank bonus, surely they’ll win this time… Or not.  The nearly surrounded Yellow Shield Knights win the Melee by 4, inflicting one stand loss on the Halberds.  Next the Medium Cavalry initiate Melee on the Yellow Shield Knights, neither side lost any stands, but the Yellow Shield Knights win by virtue of higher morale.  “Damn these Demons – finish them off now” bellowed the Earl.  And with that the battered and disorderd Heavy Knights charged into the Yellow Shield Knights.  There was a great cloud of dust, the screams of dying men and wounded horses filled the air.  When the dust settled the Earl’s Heavy Knights had lost another stand, and the exhausted Yellow Shield Knights stood firm.  I’m pretty sure at this point the Heavy Knights should have routed, having lost a melee and already being disordered, but hey, it really didn’t impact the outcome.


Things are not looking good at this point...  "Maybe I should have followed the Count's plan after all," mutters Cuss-a-lot

And after the melee, surprisingly, the Yellow Shield Knights are still standing.  I thought they might win against the Halberds, but I never expected them to win all 3 melees.  This is what really broke the back of the attack in my opinion.  


The next card turned this initiative by the Earl’s forces was the Courage Card, and surprisingly all of his units that had to check passed.  


This was followed by a Lull card, and the Count steals the initiative, and turns a Move card.  Cuss-a-lot rolls up 2 move segments and an evil grin covered his face as he orders his fresh Knight unit into the flank of the Halberds, initiating Melee.  The roll is 12 – 3, inflicting another 3 stands lost on the Halberds destroying the unit.  

The Halberd unit is about to have a bad day

 The Yellow Shield Knight, in contact with the Earl’s Heavy Cavalry and Medium Cavalry used one of their move segments to initiate melee against the Earl’s Medium Cavalry.  The result is a tie, but due to the higher morale rating the Knights win the melee, routing the attacking Medium Cavalry (again) due them already being disordered.

The Count’s Medium Cavalry with 2 stands lost elects to stay safely in the rear.  The Commander will later regale readers of his memoirs as how he valiantly held the line as a strategic reserve after drawing first blood in the victorious battle.

The Count’s Spearmen use the move card to sidestep and reposition slightly.

At this point the Earl is out of morale chips, and the Count has only lost 2 morale chips.


The 9th, 10th and 11th initiatives were each one card only, with nothing useful being turned by either side.


The 12th initiative the attacker won by 7 and elected to go first, turning a Lull, which the defender seized but the card could not be used, followed by a move 1 command.  With his right flank in tatters and routing (again) the Earl began to withdraw his troops, conceding the Village of Bridgeton to the Count.  As the Earl forces began to withdraw he could hear the Count taunting him with “I told you, Bridgeton is MY Town”.

End of battle from the defender side

End of battle from the attacker side.  
Ignore the two lances laying on the road from the just painted extra heavy Knights that had the audacity to fall off during the battle.


Well, that certainly didn’t play out any where near the way I anticipated it to.  The attacker having a commander with a D6 command dice didn’t help, in retrospect I should have bumped him up to at least a D8 command dice. Something I need to remember for the next battle.

The Counts Knights with the lone Yellow Shield were most impressive.  With a halberd unit on their flank, and two units to their front they actually managed to not just survive, but eeked out victory.  Mostly due to some very uncharacteristic good dice rolling on my part for the defenders, and my typical dice rolling for the attackers.

Given that over half of the Earl’s forces were freshly painted troops, making their first appearance on the battlefield I guess I should have expected a lack luster performance – the new unit curse continues.


With the Earl in retreat and the Count victorious, I guess I need to draw up a map of  their two fiefdoms, and see where the greedy Count goes next. I wonder if the Earl has a village that specializes in wine production? - a little something to help wash down the cheese.


So much lead, so little time. 


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Meanwhile back at the Castle

 Hello again.  My parallel world saga continues (I really need to come up with a better name).  The last of the figures are painted and the battle is now complete.  

When last we left our “heroes?”, Count William had just informed Mayor der Kase that he is annexing Bridgeton.  Shortly there after he was meeting with his lackey… err, trusted aide, Kurt.  “Kurt, do you grasp the opportunity here?  Not only do we have this tasty cheese, we have a steady source of income for the Fiefdom, and more importantly, we now control the bridge and can finally launch the assault to take over all of the Earl’s domain! After 30 years, his lands will all be mine, all MINE – Bwaaaa-Haaaa-Haaaa!”, exclaimed the Count.


Meanwhile, back at the Castle of Earl D’Greer a terrified Page Boy was attempting to rouse the passed out Earl.  “Your Lordship, you must awake, the Captain of the Cavalry you sent to Bridgeton has arrived with important news.  Sire, Sire.  Please Sire, wake up.”  The Earl stirred and the terrified Page recoiled out of habit as he responded “Mmmph,  grpppp, arrrgh – my head”.

Several hours later a very hung over Earl was meeting with the Captain of the Cavalry he had sent to help defend Bridgeton.

“What do you mean the Counts forces have captured Bridgeton!!!  You fool, don’t you realize how much taxes I make off that factory!, roared the Earl as he pulled off his Morion helmet and threw it at the trembling officer, then pulled his Dirk and charged at the terrified underling.  Fortunately, the Earl’s aides restrained him before he could do any further harm.  The red faced Earl turned to his trembling Page Boy and bellowed “Bring me my armor… wait.  First, summon the blacksmith I think it may need some adjusting first.”


Just a little refresher of where we left off way back in June.  The battle write up for the second battle of Bridgton should be ready sometime this week, although no guarantees, I just realized I have 7 pages of notes from the battle.  


So much lead, so little time


Saturday, October 3, 2020


 I finished painting something!  

Now that these are finally done, we can move on with the Second Battle of Bridgeton.  The table has been set up, less this motely collection of Knights since the end of June  Wow, I didn’t realize it had been that long.  It didn’t help that September kicked my ass on so many levels, I can’t even begin to list them all.


But, enough whining,  On with the photos.


After the last battle I realized that I needed more command figures.  In digging through the proverbial lead pile I uncovered this fellow.  He’ll come in handy in the ensuing battle.  I’m pretty sure he’s from Old Glory, but I don’t recall the range – probably the Eastern Renaissance range.



Next we have the long awaited unit of Barded Knights.  These are from Crusader USA and were acquired piecemeal over many years at various conventions, with the last pack just acquired for next to nothing at Cold Wars this year.  They are from the War of Roses range.  They were fun to paint, although the horses legs are a little ‘flimsy’ and  trying to cram 3 of them onto a 60mm frontage is problematic, at best.  My main gripe is that the hands, as cast, are completely incompatible with the lances.  I was able to pry most of the hand open a little more to at least give me some surface to try to glue the lances to – and I only snapped the fingers off one of the figures in the process.


Not some of better work, and I just realized I forgot to paint any socks on the horses.  Grrrr.

The next battle has been mostly fought out at this point, post to follow.  Needless to say the carefully crafted plan of each commander went out the window on around the 3rd initiative roll. And the curse of 'new' units and their performance in their first table top appearance seems to still be in effect.   I really do believe that the card mechanism of the Piquet family of rules is perfect for solo play.

View from the attacker side.  

Stay safe in this crazy world.

So much lead, so little time.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Slow Going

Greetings, I hope everyone is staying safe and sane in these whacky times.

With the onset of Summer and all that entails, painting progress has been slowed considerably.  I have managed to free up a little painting time.  I almost have enough new units painted for the next installment in the Cheese Saga.  I've also had to do some substitution to the forces the Earl will field in the next battle as at the moment I'm trying to do this using only figures already in the lead pile.  Once this Cheesy tale is resolved, will see who the next rulers are to get involved.

Below are the rather limited results for almost a months worth of effort.

First up in your basic unit of Spearmen.  The original concept had the Earl's forces consisting primarily of Spearmen, a few Swordsmen, and bow armed missile troops.  Unfortunately the lead pile didn't completely cooperate with the plan.

Figures are Old Glory
Would it really be that difficult to sculpt the figure with a hand that makes it easy to glue on a spear?

The next two units of Sword and Bucker will fight on the Earl's side in the next battle, but their long term home is in the forces of Lord Calvin of Hobbs, or Great King Calvin of Hos Hobbs as his adorning subjects often call him.  They are painted in the colors of that kingdom.  Figures are Old Glory

I think I prefer the green clothing and plan on using that when I get around to the Pike Units.

As of now the only unit left is an Extra Heavy Knight unit for the Earl, and then it's time for another battle.

So much lead, so little time.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Call out the Garrison

Following the battle in the last post, the Earl is busy organizing his troops for the campaign to retake Bridgeton.  Which means, time for me to paint up a bunch more troops.  Note to self, if you ever try to do something like this again, make sure you paint a LOT of units up first.

Unfortunately the painting motivation is lacking, so after a month, there hasn't been much progress.  Below is what I've managed to do to date.

First up, to address my shortfall in command figures, a new commander takes the field in his freshly oiled armor.

Next up, some additional firepower.  The Earl prefers the tried and true approach instead of that new fangled and expensive gunpowder stuff.

Here we have the Red Cowled Crossbow men. Figures are Old Glory (I think)

And the Blue Cowled Crossbow men. Figures are Old Glory (I think)

And as the Earl prefers the good old fashioned bash them in the head and slit their throat approach to settling disagreements, a unit of Swordsmen.  Figures are Black Tree Design.

And here they all are.  Looks like I need to expand the background a bit before the next round of photos.

Now I just need to paint another unit of Spearmen or two and a sword and buckler unit, maybe a Levy unit with various melee weapons, and the extra heavy knight unit and I'll be ready for the next installment.

So much lead, so little time.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Who Stole my Cheese?

Hello again.  I finally completed painting the few needed troops and found time to play out the first skirmish in my parallel world campaign.  Below are the highlights (or low lights?).

The Village of Bridgeton is the wealthiest village under the rule of the Earl D’Greer.  It’s wealth comes from it’s famous cheese factory, producer of the finest cheeses in the known lands.  Unfortunately for Bridgeton, it also sits along the Yellow Lilly Livered River, which forms the border between the lands of the Earl D’Greer and his arch nemesis Count William.  The two have been bitter enemies for over 30 years, with over 20 battles fought at and around Bridgeton.  

Bridgeton has the only reliable bridge over the (normally) impassible Yellow Lilly Livered River which forms the borders of our two antagonists.  The presence of the bridge, combined with the delicious cheese products, and not to mention considerable wealth they garner, has made the little village a focal point for decades.  Unfortunately for the citizens of Bridgeton, the Earl is much more interested in beverages of the strongly alcoholic type and other than ensuring that the large amount of taxes generated by the cheese factory are paid timely, he largely ignores it.  Due to its key importance in funding his beverage consumption, he has garrisoned a Medium Cavalry Unit and one unit of Medium Infantry there.  The Mayor and owner of the cheese factory, recognizing his peril has also hired a unit of mercenary arquebusiers and purchased an ancient medium cannon which he maintains to defend his factory, these represent the only gunpowder weapons available, as the Earl sees gunpowder as a ‘fad’ that won’t last, in addition to being far to expensive to invest in.  The village militia as well as a horse archer unit that can be raised by the surrounding farmers to supplement these forces.

As luck would have it, Count William has a hankering for a hefty hunk of cheese, not to mention a strongbox of gold.  And in an even greater stroke of luck, Count William’s scouts have found one of the rare fords created when the spring floods create a sandbar suitable for troops to use.  This battle won’t be the normal slugfest over the bridge.  The Count can already taste the cheese… and wine.  You can’t have cheese without wine, lots and lots of wine.  Now he just has to make it look like he’s trying to actually storm the bridge until the small flanking force arrives.  Count William silently thought to himself, “sure a lot of my troops may die needlessly, but it’s worth it for a cheese fix.  Now, where’s my flagon of wine?”

Meanwhile, in Bridgton, a young goatherd comes running into town breathlessly shouting “Mayor der Kase, Mayor der Kase, the enemy is marching on the town.  Not more than 2 miles from here, I could see them across the river”.

Mayor der Kase set down his tankard and turned to Captain Gouda E Nuff, “it looks like the Count is 2 months ahead of schedule this year.  Assembly your troops and defend the bridge.”

This will be the first time in over a decade that Count William has tried something other than a bum rush up the bridge.  Will the Earls forces be deployed as normal?  Will the flanking force arrive in time?  Is the cheese really as good as the Count remembers it being?  Let’s find out.

The rules used were Piquet's Hostile Realms by Peter Anderson.  Peter, I may have butchered a few of the rules in the process - sorry about that.

The pre-battle view from the attackers high ground perspective.  The stately cheese factory and squalid village seen on the horizon.

The first several initiatives were rather uneventful, with the defenders content to stay on their side of the river and wait for the targets to get closer.  The attacking Arquebus troops traded fire with the defending cross bow skirmishers closest the bridge.  The Arquebusiers scored one hit on the first volley, after that, the insults being hurled across the river by both sides were more effective than the shooting.

When the Count’s forces finally turned a move a card it was for two segments which allowed them to push skirmishers and the Pike unit across the bridge, which resulted in some ineffective fire taking place, with the Pike unit nicely screened by the skirmishers (unfortunately the skirmishers would be too stubborn to leave until they were down to 0 hits left, but the Pike men did look really good in their nicely dressed lines).  The last card turned in the attackers 2nd initiative was the Stratagem card, which had the 2 Medium Cavalry units appear on the defenders side of the river at the table edge.  

The first card turned in the next initiative by the defenders was light cavalry move, and the Whirling Mass Light Cavalry promptly parked itself at point blank range on the flank of the lead attacking cavalry and proceed to make pin cushions out of the  unit.  However, as skirmish fire, upon consulting the table, all it did was make the unit Unformed.  The next card was a missile reload, and the pesky farmers did the same thing again, resulting in a Disordered result this time.  The Disordered status would save a skirmish infantry unit from destruction soon.

If you click on the photo to enlarge you can just make out the cavalry action at the top of the photo.  Whirling Mass on the flank of the attacking cavalry and a nice juicy chicken indicating the Disordered status of the attackers. The Skirmishers at the bottom of the photo have one hit (rock) and are unloaded (that's supposed to be an arrow sitting in front of them in the river indicating unloaded status).  Two attacking units have crossed the bridge, and the rest of the attackers in the traffic jam behind the bridge.  Observant folks will notice the attackers  managed to pretty much screen their light guns on the hill top.

Close up of the Cavalry action.  

And close up of the infantry action on the defender side of the bridge.  The taunts were much more damaging than the missile fire.

Shortly thereafter the attacking forces turned a move one-command card, naturally the flanking cavalry were selected, and rolled up 2 move segments. This allowed the lead unit to move forward and contact the flank of the skirmish unit on the defenders left flank, who survived to rout away.  The other attacking medium cavalry unit did a left face and moved into contact with the horse archers, who evaded away.  
At this point the two attacking cavalry units started to cast their greedy eyes towards the village and Cheese Factory, but thought better of it and proceeded to satisfy their blood lust (I turned a Pillage and Loot card, but both units passed their test).
This was followed by a strange inaction on the defenders part, as if the shock of the stodgy old Count trying a new tactic was overwhelming the defenders ability to think (really bad/useless cards were being turned).  

On the attackers next move card their flanking cavalry prepared to roll up the defenders and clear the way for the Counts triumph entry into the village.  After a little more thought, they decided they liked the view from exactly where they were. (I rolled a 1 on a move card).  Meanwhile, the attackers main force surged forward a tremendous 1 move resulting in the Pikes shifting to their right and the first of the Counts Halberd units crossing the bridge.  This insult was too much, and the Medium guns on the hill by the cheese factory let loose with a might roar and a cloud of smoke.  When the smoke, dust, and body parts cleared, the Halberds had lost one stand.  

The defenders turned an Engines of War Reload card, readied the guns, and decided to wait for a closer target.  The Mercenary arquebus fired at the skirmish archers to their front, doing one stand of damage, and then promptly turned a missile reload card and contemplated their action.  While all of this fussy gunpowder stuff was taking place, the Royal Halberds greatly relieved that the flanking cavalry hadn’t moved on their last change, took advantage of their opportunity to move to cover the flanks of the mercenary arquebusiers and archers.
At the same time the mounted archers took the opportunity to move, appearing as if by magic on the flank of the Medium Cavalry unit they had been harassing, darkening the skies with their rain of arrows to… … no effect.
The mercenaries at this point were getting tired of trading ineffective fire with the skirmish archers to their front, so drawing swords, theyadvanced into them, forcing them to retire.  The archers behind them followed, loosing a volley of overhead fire into the Pike unit, which was followed by the mercenaries firing into the Pikes, combined resulting in a whopping 3 stand loss! And ended the defenders initiative.  (I think this should have routed them, but I couldn't find routing from fire in the rules, I could find it for melee, but fire)

View from the defenders perspective.  Note the continued ineffective fire on the right across the river.  

As the initiative passed to the attackers, their cavalry having had enough of the pesky horse archers and after rolling up 3 move segments for the cavalry command, turned to face them and advanced.  The horse archers evaded, but with their blood up, the Medium cavalry ran them down and destroyed them in detail  (They won the combat roll by 10).– I think that skirmish units only get to evade once which allowed the skirmishers to be contacted, I may have messed that rule up.  I know I messed up several other rules.  It’s been years since I last played Hostile Realms, and I kept getting confused with Field of Battle (2nd Edition) rules.
At the same time the second cavalry unit surged ahead two moves and contacted the flank of one of the defending skirmish crossbow units inflicting two stand losses and routing them.

At the same time, the attacking Pike unit, glared across the way to the mercenaries saying ‘I, have had, enough, of you!’ and surged forward into contact.  While at the same time the attacking Halberd unit moved into contact with the Spearman unit to their front. Two cards latter a Melee card appeared!!!  Resulting in the Pikeman with 3 wounds and all inflicting … no loses on either side (rolled tie), melee continues. But at least they can’t be shot at now.  The attacking Halberd unit inflicted a whopping 3 units to the spearman unit, routing them.

At the top of the photo the Plucky Pikemen charge the pesky Mercenaries.  While at the bottom, the Halberds and Spearmen go at it.

The view as seen by the circling Vultures.  

It was around this time that the defenders started to worry, especially since half of the attacking force had yet to cross the bridge.

The attacking cavalry was finally able to shake themselves out and face the correct way with one unit then contacting the flank of the remaining defending spear unit, inflicting 2 stands loss and routing the unit.  While the other unit moved to threaten the flank of the Mercenaries.  The Halberd unit sidestepped to position itself for an assault on the unloaded guns.  While the last Halberd unit crossed the bridge.  Ending the Attackers initiative.

The defending Spearmen start to stream to the rear

The defenders started their initiative with turning a Brilliant Leader Card.  Captain Gouda E. Nuff licked his lips and he bellowed, ‘load the guns’.  The attacking Halberds looked up the hill at the guns having second thoughts about being in the Point Blank - Gun range as they braced for the withering fire.  A thunderous boom, and thick cloud of smoke ensued… eventually clearing it revealed… no casualties to the Halberd unit!!  In their haste to savage the enemy the gunners must have failed to load any grapeshot.  (D12+5 on the guns and they couldn’t get a hit).  Looking over their shoulder at this abysmal example of martial prowess the Mercenary commander shook his head and shouted lets show these amateurs how it’s done.  Grabbing their swords the Mercenaries launched into the Pikemen, doing another stand loss.  With 4 stands lost, the Pike unit couldn’t take it any more and promptly routed, clogging up the bridge.

The next card turned by the defenders was a ‘engines of war reload’, would the results this time be as abysmal?  The attacking Halberd unit braced itself for the inevitable, with a loss of one stand to the medium guns, but standing firm.

In the attackers initiative, the Pillage and loot card was turned, with one of the flanking medium cavalry units having a direct line of sight to the cheese factory, the unit surged forward, it would reach the factory on the next move card, with no defending units in place to stop it.  Technically, at this point I guess the attacker had achieved their goal, but since I was more focused on rolling dice, I kept going.  

The defending Royal Halberd unit in the lower right is feeling a little unloved right now.

The defenders turned a crushing missilery card, the archers firing OHF into the Halberds inflicting 2 stands lost.  

On the attackers next move card, the flanking cavalry command won 3 move segments.  The Pillage and Looting unit contacted the factory and headed in to have a snack.  The other Cavalry unit, maneuvered with one segment, and slammed into the rear of the archer unit, inflicting a 3 stand loss and routing them.  On the main army move the Knights crossed the bridge and stared down the mercenary unit, not being able to reach them.  The Knights were also unformed in having to pass through the routing Pikemen.  While the Pikemen continued their run to the rear.

Mercenary sandwich anyone?  Routing archers in the upper left, that's the defending halberds behind and with their backs to the left most cavalry unit.

The attackers turn the Uncontrolled Charge card.  The Mercenary unit, sandwiched between the Knights to their front and Medium Cavalry to their rear, you can guess this outcome.  The Medium Cavalry slam into the rear of the mercenaries, causing 2 stands lost, the mercenaries rout, but are run down by the Knights.

Immediately after this the initiative passed to the defenders, who turned a brilliant leader card.  Captain Gouda E. Nuff watching all but one of his infantry units routing past him opted to attempt to protect the village from further destruction, and requested parley to discuss surrender terms.  Count William, being ever gracious, and worried his looters may eat all the cheese before he gets any, accepts.  

The defending Royal Medium Cavalry which didn’t move the whole battle, turns tail and runs off to inform the Earl of the outcome.  The Royal Halberds place their helmets on the top of their Halberds and surrendered in mass.  After being relieved of their armor, arms, and any gold they may have they are sent whimpering back to the Earl as well.

A short time later Count William was wolfing down a hefty hunk of cheese in the presence of Mayor der Kase and Captain Gouda E Nuff.  The cheese was even better than he remembered, and then a rare random thought smacked him between the eyes.  “Gentelemen, you put up a valiant defense, and I commend your efforts”, the count managed to get out between chewing.

“Get on with your terms” ground out the Mayor.  “My terms, why my dear Mayor, I don’t issue terms to my subjects.  I am officially annexing your lovely little town.  Welcome to the Middle Kingdom – oh, and I did I mention if you keep your town under control the taxes on your cheese will be 25% less that what the fat Earl was charging you, and if you don’t keep them under control, I’ll have your head on the top of Pike.  Now let us plan the defense of OUR village for the inevitable attack by the Earl once he sobers up enough to comprehend what has transpired”, replied the Count.

View at the end of the battle


That did turn out better than I thought it would when the Stratagem card for the flanking force turned up so quickly.  And I think the outcome sets up a nice narrative as the campaign progresses.

The defender had 3 units with no damage, the two royal units (medium cavalry and halberd) and the medium guns.  And everything else was routing or had already routed off the table/been destroyed.  The attacker had 1 unit routing, the attacking infantry was really chewed up, but the cavalry was intact.  The artillery was useless – probably due to bad deployment – I blame the Count for that.  The defenders had run out of morale chips and were paying the attacker back at this point.

Final thoughts
I didn’t use any of the fantasy stuff, as magic doesn’t exist in my world.  One big take away for me is that I need more command figures.  With the ‘Heroic Moment’ card, any unit with an attached hero (commander in my case) can treat the card as a wild card.  I may also start to use ‘heroes’ and their bonuses as/if the campaign progresses to help build the story line.  I also need to create QRS specific to the aspects of the rules I’m using – no spells, etc. so I spend less time reading the rule book.  While it’s been several years (maybe over 5? ) since I played the rules, I still enjoy them.  I have a few questions on things that I think I completely bollixed up that I’ll run by Peter later.  

Stay safe and roll dice.

So much lead, so little time