Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Crusader rules test.

The battle, being used primarily as a rule test and a spur to paint more units, worked well on both counts. The rules, developed from Piquet's Field of Battle by Brent Oman, look like they will be perfect for recreating Crusader warfare. Of course, being a first play test, the game moved from action to action with some discussion, and this resulted in a 'slow' game.
The battle began with an advance by the Turcoman tribesmen. These moved into position to shoot. Never having faced the Franks before, instead of shooting they charged headlong into the wall of shields and spear points presented by the Frankish foot soldiery. This was involuntary move by Peter, both of his Turcoman command groups rolling a 1 on their first combat die; indicating a charge rather than shooting. The results was that the first Turcoman unit managed to draw its first round of melee, thus forcing the rest of the group to charge home in support; two units were routed and one was forced to retire.
Time for the knights! These charged into the faltering Turcoman unit and duly routed it, but even though its die result was 'odd' (as opposed to 'even') it failed to pursue because the Turcomans out paced it. [First rule change - pursuers must move one move of pursuit on an 'odd' melee die result].
From this point on Peter handled his remaining Turcomans well. Whenever they got a double move on a 'march' card they advanced to close range, shot, and then retired to their previous position. But the Frankish foot were tough cookies, and every time they suffered unit integrity loss they managed to turn a 'command' card and successfully rally it back. [We also discovered that against unshielded cavalry the Frankish foot was deadly, especially when shooting during their reactive phase. Next time we play, tonight as it happens, we will not allow reactive shooting versus active shooting; this is a big PK change, but I think the game will be better for it.]
To bring on a general action the whole Frankish force now began to advance. Its knights charged out and got stranded in no mans land surrounded by the enemy. This was a doubly poor move as it allowed the Seljuk Askaris to charge home versus infantry without any support to their rear. The infantry broke leaving a big hole into which the whole of the Turkish cavalry could pour. [It became apparent that a crucial factor had been left out - Cavalry Vs close order spear men in the first round Down 1. It has been added].
It was now 11pm and time for Peter to go home. The game ended. Notes on the rule amendments were hastily scribbled [a few more than has been mentioned], and it was agreed that the armies should be re-set for a second go. I have added the amendments to the rules, and the game has been reset with three extra units - newly painted Turkish infantry.
All in all a profitable evenings play. I can't wait to be the Turk!


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Brilliant - always good to see reports where gamers describe rules and the rationale for them, and why they are proposing changes....

Dave Gamer said...

In your battle report you stated "Whenever they got a double move on a 'march' card they advanced to close range, shot, and then retired to their previous position.". I realize these are *your* version of the FoB rules, but I just want to point out that - per the clarifications on the Yahoo group - if you are doing one type of thing (ie moving) and then change to something else (ie shooting) then you are done with the first thing you are doing for that card pull. So if you got a 3 segment move, moved one segment and then shoot, you can't go back to movement again so your remaining 2 movement segments are lost.

Of course, from the perspective of horse skirmisher tactics, allowing move-shoot-move sounds right. Perhaps only allowing skirmishers to do this?


Hi Dave,

You are right. In FoB your 'move' ends if you carry out another action.

When I first thought about using FoB as a base for Ager Sanguinis (thinking vast amounts of Islamic cavalry) this was literally the first rule I discarded. FoB without this rule is perfect for horse archer tactics - dart in, shoot, retire out of range.

I am unsure of restricting the exception to horse archers and skirmishers or just getting rid of it all together. At the moment I'm rid. More playtesting will settle the issue.


Milton said...

Thanks for the writeup. Re counter-missile fire, what did you think was the problem? (was reactive fire too powerful?)


Hi Milton,

Yes. When horse archers moved in the 'receiving' unit did not shoot, reserving the opportunity until the horse archers shot at closest range (sensible). I don't want to write too many rules / exceptions for specific troop types if I can avoid it; a blanket rule is always more readily remembered and easily followed.

Tonight should give an indication of what the 'blanket' does. We will see.

I'll try send you the updates next week.