Tuesday 10 December 2019

The Battle of Beaumont Castle - War of the Roses

Saturday saw the Rejects gathering with the return of another one of our long lost members in what will probably be my last game of the year. John moved up north a couple of years ago and was down this weekend to see friends, so we planned this game several weeks ago. Stuart put on a War of the Roses game and this time it was a biggie. The stakes were high for me because my track record this year has been appalling and I desperately needed a win to lift my flagging spirits. 

The Setup
The Yorkist army moves to besiege Beaumont Castle but Lancastrian reinforcements arrive before they get into position. With the castle troops sallying out the Lancastrians are poised to deny the Yorkists the high ground they need to bombard the castle.

When Ray, Surjit and I saw our deployment we were initially worried that we would have a tough fight on our hands. We were told that if we had sole control of the hill in the centre it would increase our breakpoint by one, however, we fully expected the Lancastrians to have a similar order. In the end, we decided to let the enemy advance onto the hill where we could concentrate our archery fire from two sides. Only when they were sufficiently weakened would we close into hand to hand combat. The flanking battles (under Warrick and Falconberg) were to hold the enemy in check while we ground them down in the centre. Things didn't work out exactly as planned though...

Postie reassures Ray about our initial deployment. 

Order of Battle
Yorkist Army
C/O Edward Earl of March (Brilliant)
  Men-at-Arms, Retinue Archers, Shire Archers, Retinue Bill, Shire Bill, Light Gun
2ic Earl of Warrick (Buffoon)
  Men-at-Arms, Retinue Archers, Retinue Bill, Shire Bill, Pikemen
3ic Lord Falconberg (Efficient)
  Men-at-Arms, Retinue Archers, Retinue Bill, Shire Bill, Pikemen, Light Gun
4ic Lord Berners (Brilliant)
  Mounted Men-at-Arms, Mounted Curraurs, Mounted Hobilars

Lancastrian Army
C/O Duke of Buckingham (Buffoon)
Men-at-Arms, Retinue Archers, Shire Archers, Retinue Bill, Shire Bill, Light Gun
2ic Earl of Shrewsbury (Plodding)
Men-at-Arms, Retinue Archers, Retinue Bill, Shire Bill, Irish Bonnachts, Light Gun
3ic Viscount Beaumont (Plodding)
Men-at-Arms, Retinue Archers, Retinue Bill, Shire Bill, Welsh Spearmen
4ic Lord Hungerford (Efficient)
Mounted Men-at-Arms, Mounted Curraurs

The Action
Our deployment was a bit awkward and certainly posed a tactical puzzle for us. We decided not to challenge for the hill initially, instead letting the enemy walk into our massed archery fire. 

The first turns. My troops (Falconberg's Battle) were to advance and hold Johns troops (Shrewsbury) in place. This advance would also allow our Cavalry (Berners) room to pass behind and into the centre. We weren't sure how they would be used at this stage, but the imperative was to keep them away from the enemy until their archers had been neutralised. 

The contractual shot of our lord and master, Postie. 

Falconbergs troops advance but I moved my archers a tad too far forward and they took fire from Johns archers first. Fortunately, despite firing after casualties are removed, my shooting was better and I gave as good as I got. In the centre, Ray moved his archers forward to dominate the hill. 

My infantry line up to hit Johns infantry, but first I need to deal with their archers. Fortunately, they fail a morale check and have to retreat a full move and cannot fire for a turn. 

In the centre, Ray's archers move onto the hill and start to fire on the enemy units. 

Mark ponders what to do with Beaumont's troops from the Castle and advances them towards the hill. There is some rough ground in the way but the gap between it and some woods looks big enough to get through. When they arrive at the gap its not big enough and Mark has to rethink. 

My archers continue to damage Johns archers and with time on our side change ti fire on the Lancastrian Men-at-Arms. 

Now my infantry get stuck in. My men-at-arms charge into Johns in an equal fight...but my dice rolling is better. Meanwhile my Pikes - probably the best troops on the table - hit johns billmen. Meanwhile, john moves his supporting infantry right up behind these troops...possibly a mistake if his infantry lose the melee. 

I move my Cavalry under Berners round towards the centre. We still don't know how best to use these but we know from previous games that they need to be kept away from archers. 

In the centre, Ray & Mark are engaged in an archery battle that seems to be evenly matched. We win initiative most of the game (thanks in no small part to a better quality general, rolled for at the start of the game) and this gives us an edge. On the flank, Surjits troops (Warrick) are in a melee with some of Beaumonts troops. John has decided to bring his cavalry around the threaten this flank but in doing so he has brought them within archery range of Surjits longbowmen. 

Upon the hill Edward encourages his troops. 

Surjits Retinue Billmen engage with Johns Welsh Spearmen. Surj wins the melee sending the enemy spilling back ar=cross the field.

On the hill the archery duel continues and Ray manoeuvres his infantry to follow up. 

The Lancastrian Cavalry move to hit our flank but Surjit's Longbowmen have them firmly in their sights. This mistake is going to be painful! 

Meanwhile my Pikemen are locked in melee with Johns Billmen. I have the advantage as these troops count the first three rows while the billmen only count the first two. 

A few minutes later. The Pikes won by a comfortable margin, as did my men-at-arms in the melee next to them. Both Lancastrian units are forced back and have to pass through the supporting units behind them, disordering all of Johns Troops. Meanwhile, my victorious units push forward in a follow-up charge and hit the now disordered men of Johns beleaguered command. 

I rolled sixteen dice and hit the enemy with 12 of them! Annihilation! 

Johns command is now in utter disarray. His archers have been destroyed and all of his infantry are either routing of retreating in disorder. Next turn there will be some nail-biting morale checks to be made but for now, my fresh units behind move forward ready to exploit the success. 

Bloody hell! Three units fail their morale and flee the field! We are suddenly very close to breaking the enemy. 

Over on the other Flank, Surjit is also having a good day. His archery fire on the Lancastrian Cavalry was so effective that the rest of that commend wisely runs for the hills. They are still on the battlefield (so don't count as lost for the purposes of determining victory) but are effectively out of the game. 

In the centre Rays, troops continue to push onto the hill and have destroyed another enemy archery unit. The Lancastrians must be close to breaking now surely? 

But they aren't finished just yet. With Johns archers removed his gun finally has a direct line of sight on my Bowmen, dealing four casualties! 
We now dominate the central hill and prepare to close with the enemy and remove them from our real-estate. 

Before we can commit to the final push Postie announces that the Lancastrians have reached their breakpoint and the game is over. The Yorkists have won! 

The victors!

I was awarded for my efforts, my troops having destroyed four of
the seven enemy units needed for victory. 

About time, after the year I've had. It was very pleasing (to say the least) to end on a victory. I guess I won't be giving it all up to take up golf after all!!
Well, I can unashamedly say I bloody enjoyed that game. For a change, my dice rolling wasn't awful and as a team, we had a good plan that worked perfectly.  Our opponents fought well but in the end, just couldn't monopolise on what looked like good deployment at the start. It's a  pity poor old John came all the way down south for a defeat, but thems the breaks I guess. 


  1. Finally! An impressive victory for you after a long drought. Hitting 12 out 16 is an amazing feat. Very colorful game.

    1. I nearly fell of my seat when I rolled that lot. Poor john couldn't believe what hit him.

  2. Lovely looking game and nice to end the year with a win. Love the trophy too!

    1. I don't often get mentioned in dispatches.

  3. A well deserved win Lee. I did feel sorry for John and Smiffy though..................

    1. That dice roll for the quality of leadership before the game began was crucial. Mind you, we still got our timing right and I think your plan for the centre would have paid dividends had the game progressed another couple of turns.

  4. Excellent looking game and nice to get a win..............I sort of remember what that is :-)

  5. Looks like a great game - and anytime you roll like that is memorable!

  6. Good looking game Lee. Out of interest, what rules did you use please ?

    1. Another one of Posties own in-house rulesets. Nothing too complicated (like us) but they work well for this period.


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