Battle of the Crossroads

Rob Dean

I had the opportunity yesterday to break out the 1/72 scale plastic Portable Fantasy Campaign figure to resolve a pending battle in my solo Northlands campaign.  I’m still evolving the campaign resolution mechanics, but I had reached a point in March where I had a full-scale battle (using Hordes of the Things), but it’s taken a few weeks to finally get it done.  It’s terrible when you can’t find the opponent for a solo game…

The Cold Islanders (loosely Vikings) had invaded the Kingdom of Darmis (loosely medieval French), but a skirmish previously reported (last May) and a lot of parleys were the only actions up to now.  I may have to tweak the battle generation system, so that the amount of record-keeping per battle is a little more favorable.  However, with a battle in hand, I decided to take a suggestion from Ross and try a scenario battle, randomly chosen from Neil Thomas’s One Hour Wargames book. I ended up with Scenario 11, “Surprise Attack”, based on Quatre Bras in 1815.  I randomly assigned Darmis the role of the attacker, which was appropriate since they had been trying to force a battle in the strategic decision system.

The Northlands Map, Rienne toward upper left

This left the Cold Islanders split up, with part of their force on the table and two parts arriving later.  I elected to go with the 15 turn time limit, but, as you’ll see, that didn’t end up being the decisive factor.  The Cold Islander had, in Hordes terms, a Hero-General, 2 Blades, 4 Warbands, and 2 Shooters, and Darmis had 4 knights (including the general), 3 Blades, 2 Shooters, and a Wizard.

Battle drawing, showing the opening phases

From the Northland Chronicle, as maintained at the University in Darmis:

In the seventh month of that year, King Rollant of Darmis, having failed to secure the removal of the Cold Islanders from the lands of the Count of Rienne by negotiation, resolved to attack the encampment of the barbarians.  Perhaps muddled by fine wines looted from the territory around Rienne, and lulled by the exchange of parleys, Eric Stronghand, leader of the Cold Islands army, was caught off guard by the King’s advance.

     Nevertheless, the Cold Islanders drew up their shield wall, and waited as the king and his knights formed their battle array.  Impatient with this maneuvering, the captain finally advanced to within bowshot of the knights, and the battle began in earnest.

     King rolland had secured the services of Cassara, of the Blue order, a sorceress of the great university in dramas, and hoped that her powers would enable a swift victory.

Knights of Darmis deploy into a battle formation

The first part of the battle, though, was won by steel and valor, as a charge by the king and his knights scattered most of the barbarians.

Eric and his shield companions finally reached the field, and were able to gather the scattered barbarians into a second shield wall.

Cassara sent a messenger to the king to tell him that the augers were propitious for her sorcery, and the king held back to allow her to do her work.  Four times the sky darkened and the mystic energies crackled about the field, and/or times Eric Stronghand stood against the spells.  But the fourth time was enough for him, and he and his companions charged toward the dreaded sorceress.

The final charge of Eric Stronghand

In close combat, axe against spell, Cassara finally prevailed, wrapping the Cold Islander in unbreakable bands of enchantment.

With their general ensorcelled and casualties heavy, the Cold Islanders broke and fled the field, racing to protect their boats.  Well pleased with this result, King Rollant withheld his knights, not permitting them to scatter in pursuit, and bade Cassara bring Eric to his table to discuss the terms of his ransom…

So, it wasn’t a bad game overall.  I wasn’t sure what would happen with scenarios in Hordes, but it seemed to work reasonably well, with a caveat for starting the Cold Islanders with their general off the table, doubling all their maneuver costs initially.  In retrospect, it might have been better for the Cold Islanders to take their chances with the Sorceress, since she used most of the command pips for four turns unsuccessfully casting spells at the enemy general.  However, past experience has led me to believe that a Hero-General has little chance in the long run against a Wizard, so I went ahead to see if I could eliminate the threat.

Now it’s back to the log book to consider the next set of moves, and see what sort of battle will generated.

via The Sharp End of the Brush http://sharpbrush.blogspot.com/2019/05/battle-of-crossroads.html
from Tumblr https://harfordhawks.tumblr.com/post/184669612768
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2 thoughts on “Battle of the Crossroads

  1. Like the report, Rob! Sounds like it was a good game! And 1/72 (or 20mm) is my favourite scale!

  2. Good stuff Rob. Hope to see you at Huzzah!

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