The following battle is a fictional meeting engagement, played solo using To the Strongest rules (with house amendments). It has no 'background scenario notes'. Its purpose is to test my amendments, especially for game balance. Both sides have a roughly equal points value (180 points, or thereabouts).
I will describe the game turn by turn. I will illustrate each turn with at least one photograph, usually a close up of something that occurred in the turn, and an 'end of turn map' showing the game position. I will try to explain new formations and period specific rule amendments as they come up in the game (in blue).
One thing not noted below, are the Victory Point Medals (I use poker chips). The Franks have 16 (including three for their camp and three for the True Cross), and the Syrians have 15 (including three for their camp). I like the idea of camps in Crusades games: historically, camps feature prominently as the objective and / or prize of many battles.
The Set Up:
Cedar woods: Rough terrain for activations for all except light infantry. Rough terrain in melee, cover versus missilery. Block LOS.
Fields: Rough terrain for activations for all, except light infantry. No effect, regardless of depicted crops, on LOS or combat.
Escarpment: Rough terrain to all for activation. Troops deployed along top of the escarpment get a +1 save bonus versus charges coming up the scarp face (similar to defending a river bank).
Buildings: The rules I will use for buildings differ greatly from the norm but, these a certainly not set in stone:
- Each buildings box has normal occupancy restrictions except that only one unit can be cavalry (infantry in the buildings, cavalry in the streets).
- Units in a buildings box never present flank or rear, nor do they have a defined position (front or back) within it.
- When shooting from a buildings box, the shooting unit can choose which face it wishes to shoot from for the whole turn (it can be changed turn to turn); two units cannot shoot out of the same face of a building box in the same turn; only one shot per activation is allowed regardless of troop type.
- Where an activation is made to charge or shoot at a building box containing two units, the attacker chooses the target; in a melee the defender can choose with which unit he wishes to battle back, even if the target of the charge was destroyed (this is similar to the battling back allowed to Republican Romans, so it didn't seem too much of a rule stretch).
- A buildings box counts as rough terrain to all, in all circumstances; buildings block LOS.
Partly, my reasons for these rules are practical. They work, especially for occupancy, with my model buildings.
Camps: Rough terrain to all for activation; cover versus missilery, no effect in melee; block LOS. Note that I don't quite get the amount of VPMs you should get for each camp box, I found the rules unclear (or I haven't found the right bit): but, as you lose three VP for each box lost, I settled on one added VP for each. I feel sure they will be targeted in the upcoming game.
|End of turn 1.|
· A whirling mass is a formation exclusively used by massed Turcoman horse archers. It represents groups of horse archers, within the mass, advancing to shoot before retiring, constantly replacing other groups within the formation ‘whirling’ in the same manner. It is represented on the table with two converged units, one unit placed directly behind the other: the stands of the second unit should be arranged with the centre stand facing forwards and the outside stands facing backwards.
· A whirling mass has two hits; it is disordered after receiving the first, lost after receiving the second.
· A whirling mass can shoot twice on the same activation unless it is disordered, in rough terrain, or it is partially out of ammunition (OOA) when it can shoot only once: partially OOA have one OOA marker, totally OOA have two. .
· A whirling mass never presents a flank to shooters (because of its constant motion).
· A whirling mass cannot share a box with any other troops and, due to its ever whirling nature, it cannot be interpenetrated.
· A whirling mass is treated as light troops in all other respects (including the ability to move backwards after shooting).
- * Units of archers go out of ammunition if they draw an ace (1) chit to hit. Turcomans in whirling mass go partially out of ammo after drawing one ace chit, out of ammo on drawing two (because the formation comprises two converged units). Light infantry with javelin go out of ammunition if they draw a 1 - 5; other javelin armed units automatically go out of ammunition after activating to shoot. Note here, units armed with bow and javelin cannot shoot their javelin (javelins are their primary melee weapon and reflected in the unit's saving throw). Units can resupply themselves fully by activating to replenish and spending a replenishment (ammunition) chit.
- The effective range of all bows and slings is two boxes, except that composite bows can shoot very light arrows and darts out to three boxes. Javelins, naptha pots, and improvised peasant weapons have a range of one box. Artillery has a maximum range of four boxes and a minimum range of two boxes.
- Saving throws are unchanged for crossbows and composite bows at one or two box range. Saves against composite bows at three boxes range are made with a +2 modifier.
- All saves against hits by simple bows and slings are made with a +1 modifier.
- Saves against improvised peasant weapons are made with a +2 modifier.
- All save against naptha pots (incendiary terror weapons) on 8+.
- Artillery targets everything in a box, drawing a (to hit) chit for each target; all targets save on 7+.
- Close order foot bowmen (such as Fatimid Sudanese), Turkish ghulams, mamluks and bow armed veteran askaris may fire twice on the same activation. Turcomans in whirling mass may also fire twice (see whirling mass above).
|End of turn 3: The Franks Press Home|
Note that disordered units (Turcoman 4, Ahdath 8 and Armenian 16) are marked with grey numbers. Totally grey units are units destroyed this turn in the position in which they were destroyed.
End of Turn 4: The Counter Attack
The Franks lose their first units of consequence (grey units 3,16), several units are disordered (grey numbers) and two units of lance armed cavalry lose their lance attack bonus (white cross, units S14, F2).
|End of Turn 6: Victory!|
There is no map because very little actually moved and victory was achieved by.......