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.
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!!!!”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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”.
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.