Saturday, 23 August 2014

A War of the Roses - Battle Report

I had my first game in my new hobby/geek room last night, as I was rushed and it was only a small game on a 4ftx4ft board we went old school and set up the board on the floor rather than getting my table out.

We used the Impetvs rule set which I am becoming a big fan of. As both my opponent Craig, and I are novices when it comes to these rules, we didn't bother with any sort of points list or min/max retrictions as it was a fairly small game to get us more familiar with the rules. For simplicity we also dropped the rule by which a Commanders ability can change dependant on the initiative roll and dispensed with the breakpoints so as to ensure the game didn't end too quickly.

(all miniatures from Baccus, buildings from Leven)

The Yorkists:

Led by me, consisted of:

Main Command

1 Unit of Mounted Men at Arms(General attached)
1 Unit of Dismounted Men at Arms
2 Units of Retinue Bill(one of which was formed into a large unit with the above)
2 Units of Shire Bill(formed into a large unit)
2 Units of Shire Archers

2nd Command

1 Unit of Dismounted Men at Arms (General attached)
1 Unit of Retinue Bill(formed into a large unit with the above)
2 Units of Shire Archers

The Lancastrians:

Main Command

1 Unit of Mounted Men at Arms(General attached)
2 Units of Retinue Bill
1 Unit of Retinue Archers
4 Units of Welsh Infantry

2nd Command

1 Unit of Mounted Men at Arms(General attached)
2 Unit of Dismounted Men at Arms
2 Units of Retinue Archers
1 Unit of Mercenary Crossbows

According to the guidelines in Impetvs this works out as about 8-9000 troops for the Yorkists and 11-12,000 for the Lancastrians.


Being outnumbered it was agreed that I would defend, and I therefore set up first, my main command was situated on a large plateau which occupied the centre and left flank of my side of the board, the infantry was set up in large units were possible and the archers were on the lower slopes in front of the infantry. My 2nd command was in a similar posiiton on small spur on my right flank.

The Lancastrians placed their main command fairly centrally around the village church, with the 2nd command on a hill on their right flank. One solitary unit of retinue archers being placed on the Lancastrian left and being tasked with facing off the Yorkist 2nd command.

The view from my side, with my forces holding the high ground.
The view from the other side, showing the Lancastrians ready to advance.

The Plan:

Mine was fairly simple, stay put and soften up the advancing enemy with missle fire before charging once the enemy reached my lines, no great plan tactically but it allowed me to concentrate on getting the rules right. This changed slightly once I saw my opponents set-up, as my right flank was unopposed (well apart from one unit or archers) I decided to advance my 2nd command and try to disrupt the Lancastrian attack with a flank attack of my own.

The Battle:

(All the following pictures show the Yorkists at the bottom)

Craig's army rumbled forward at a slow but steady pace, keen to avoid any unnecessary dis-order he limited his movements so as to keep a decent formation as he approached over broken ground and through woods.

On the main front an archery duel went in the Lancastrian favour as one of my shire archer units in the main command were routed by the combined shooting of two retinue archers and the French crossbowmen. In my favour I routed the lead unit of Welsh with archery fire and an unlucky cohesion test. This however did nothing to slow the overall advance of the Welsh troops.

Over on my right flank, all my forces advanced at full pelt to close the distance on the only unit of retinue archers that opposed me, they in turn (well with some poor discipline rolls), caused some disorder with their shooting slowing down my advance and stalling my intended speedy attack.  More Welsh were routed through archery, and I decided to support my flank attack with a large unit of shire billmen which being centrally placed at the top of the plateau near the wood moved down toward the Lancastrians that were emerging from the woods to my front.

Craig's right flank which was still intact, edged forward forcing me to retreat some units from the crest of the slope due to archery. I was fairly concerned about this force, as their was little I could do to slow it down at this point, and could only await the inevitable assault.

 In the centre, the Welsh started up the hill to extract some revenge on the shire archers that had mowed down 2 of their fellow Welsh units. My large unit of shire bills went in against some retinue bills that had reformed after passing through the woods and after some hard fighting routed them from the field.

By now the Yorkist right flank had lost 2 units of shire archers to the bows of the lonely retinue bowmen that held this flank for the Lancastrians,  but the surviving foot were now close enough to put the archer to the sword(or poll ax).

On my right I charged in hard with a large unit consisting of retinue bill and dismounted men at arms, fully expecting to crush the impudent bowmen that had so hindered my attack,only to see them easily survive and have to retreat slightly and ready to shoot at point blank range next turn, this also left me wide open to an attack by the opposing army commander and his armoured horse which had swung round by the church in the centre of the battlefield.

 In the centre, my victorious large unit of shire bill wheeled to face the Welsh which had moved into a position of attack, I was conscious of the unit of retinue bill lurking in the woods, which were situated to pile in as soon as the Welsh took me frontally, again their was nothing to be done about this at this stage in the game. The other unit of Welsh, had by now climbed the lower slopes and butchered the shire archers that had made life so uncomfortable for their comrades.

Seeing the Lancastrians racing up the incline on both sides was enough for the so far untouched Yorkists on the top of the hill, who decided to retreat in the face of the inevitable defeat, leaving their friends in the units that had attacked to their own fate.  Or to put it another way, we ran out of time.


This was only our second game of Impetvs, without having someone around who is more familiar with the rules than we are, so I am sure we made a few errors here and there, but we both got a much clearer idea of the rules and how they work. Both of us are big Warmaster Ancients/Medieval fans when it comes to gaming in this era, so some of the concepts/rules in Impetvs are a bit alien to us and takes some getting used to (the biggest one being us setting up too far apart, as units tend to be much slower in Impetvs compared to Warmaster) but overall I think I prefer these rules for the War of the Roses period at least, over Warmaster. Some reasons why: movement is more restricted, no free wheeling around which is more realistic in my view; the cohesion test, I like the way this can represent a otherwise intact unit suddenly crumbling and routing, without having suffered great losses; the variable command factor, representing the on field confidence of the troops in their leaders. I also prefer the Command/Initiative sequence, as at least you always get to order your troops as opposed to Warmaster where (and I'm sure its happened to any of you who have played it) you can have whole battles in which your forces barely move, due to continually failing command rolls.

No club night for me this week as I'm busy decorating my son's room, but hopefully a friend is calling in for a game of X-Wing later in the week.

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