Category Archives: Wargaming

Trial by Battle: Battle of Hattin 1187

A new scenario for Trial by Battle.

You can download this as a PDF as well: Battle of Hattin 1187

Battle of Hattin, 1187

The Battle of Hattin was one of the most significant battles between the Crusader states and the Ayyubids attempting to retake their lands. The defeat of the Crusader army at Hattin lead to the loss of Jerusalem and nearly all the of the Crusader-held cities except Tyre. The Third Crusade was launched as a direct result of the losses resulting from the battle.

The Ayyubid army led by Saladin had launched an invasion of the Crusader states following the breaking of the truce by Raynald of Châtillon. Saladin laid siege to Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Gallilee. Tiberias belonged to Raymond III of Tripoli and his wife, Eschiva, was trapped within. Despite this he tried to dissuade Guy de Lusignan, the King of Jerusalem, from attempting to lift the siege, fearing the strength of the Ayyubid army. But Guy took other advice and marched the full strength of the Kingdom’s army out to intercept Saladin. The Crusaders left the springs of La Sophorie and marched towards Tiberias. But they were constantly harassed by Ayyubid horse archers which delayed their advance until they found themselves desperately short of water. They changed their direction of march in search of springs to the north of Tiberias. Saladin’s army closed in for the kill. Horse archers harassed the army from the flanks. In the historical battle this caused the infantry flanking the knights to flee to the high ground of the Horns of Hattin for protection, where they were picked off at the leisure of the Ayyubids. The knights tried to force their way through the Ayyubid forces standing in the way of their path to the springs. Repeated charges largely failed, except for one contingent led by Raymond III. Eventually the King was forced to surrender to Saladin.

Objectives

The Crusader army are desperate to get to a supply of water, but Saladin’s army are standing in the way. The Crusaders must attempt to get at least half their army off the board to the East. Saladin’s Ayyubid army must stop them.

Forces

Crusaders

2 Mounted Knights

2 Infantry (4 Stamina only)

2 Archers (4 Stamina only)

Ayyubids

4 Light Cavalry

2 Infantry

1 Mounted Knights

Battlefield

The battlefield for this scenario is fairly flat except for the main feature which is the high ground where the extinct volcano known as the Horns of Hattin was located. This can be represented simply by a large hill taking up part of the southern third of the battlefield, or a couple of peaks can be added as well.

Battle of Hattin scenario map

Deployment

See map for deployment. Only the Ayyubid Mounted Knights and Infantry start deployed on the table. The Crusaders enter from the Western table edge in the formation shown. Ayyubid Horse Archers enter from the flanks as shown on their first turn.

First Turn

The Crusaders take the first turn.

Special Rules

The Crusader Infantry and Archers are particularly vulnerable to the Light Cavalry horse archers deployed by the Ayyubids. Historically most of them fled to slopes of the Horns of Hattin (an extinct volcano whose crater formed the distinctive double horned landscape). To represent this the Crusader Infantry and Archers must take a Unit Courage Test once they take four hits. If this test is failed, then they must move to the raised ground of the Horns of Hattin when next possible to do so. If the test is passed, then they will make a test whenever they take more hits. After the first failure they move to the Horns. If they fail a second test they break. They may fight and shoot as normal, but once on the high ground area they may not leave it for the rest of the game unless the Crusader General goes to rally them.

Duration of the Battle

Until one or both armies fail an Army Courage Test or until the Crusaders exit three units from the Eastern table edge.

Victory Conditions

An army wins when the opposing army fails an Army Courage Test and they do not. If both armies fail an Army Courage Test the battle is a draw.

The Crusaders can also win by exiting three units from the Eastern table edge.

Download as PDF: Battle of Hattin 1187.

Trial by Battle Scenario: Battle of Hastings 1066

Here’s another historical scenario for Trial by Battle. Bit of an obscure one this time …

You can also download the scenario for Battle of Hastings 1066 as a PDF:  Battle of Hastings 1066.

Battle of Hastings 1066 

Perhaps the most famous date in English history and one of the most famous battles of the Middle Ages, the Battle of Hastings will be familiar to many people. The background is simple. King Harold of England was resisting the invasion of Duke William of Normandy who had recently landed on the south coast of England. King Harold had marched quickly south to respond to the invasion after beating a Viking invasion force at Stamford Bridge in the north of England. He brought his elite huscarls with him and recruited other men on his way south.  

Harold chose the battlefield well: a defensible hill (Senlac Hill) flanked by brooks and dense vegetation on each side with a steep slope to the rear of his position. William had only one option – a frontal assault up the hill. There are a few different versions of what happened in the battle, but it seems that the initial assaults were repulsed by the English. In their enthusiasm some of the English left their position on the hill to pursue the Bretons, Normans or other French allies down the hill. There they were cut off and destroyed by Norman cavalry. This may have been an intentional tactic by the Normans or an accident, but whatever the explanation it served to weaken the English forces on the hill. The Normans tried similar tactics to draw off more of the English and progressively weakened them until they launched a final all arms assault on the English and overwhelmed them. King Harold was either shot in the eye by an archer or killed personally by Duke William. And thus, a new phase of English history began with 1066 and all that.  

Objectives 

The English objective is to resist the Norman attack. They can sit on their hill and defend for the whole game if they wish. As such the Normans have a time limit in which to achieve a victory by breaking the English army. If the Normans have not won within 10 turns, then the English win the battle.  

Forces 

English 

  • 2 Foot Knights Units – Huscarls 
  • 4 Infantry – Fryd 

Normans 

  • 2 Mounted Knights 
  • 2 Infantry 
  • 2 Archers 

First Turn 

The Normans take the first turn. 

Battlefield 

One third of the battlefield should be taken up with a large sloping ridge on which the English army is deployed. No other terrain is necessary given the scale of the battle on a 3’ x 3’ table. A suggested layout and deployment is provided below. 

Battle of Hastings map

 

Deployment 

See the map above. The English can deploy on the large ridge on the north side of the battlefield before the battle. Duke William’s army enters from the table edge on their first turn.  

Special Rules 

There are no specific special rules for this scenario, but it is strongly suggested that the New Optional rule Cavalry Disengage is used:  

Cavalry Disengage 

All Cavalry can disengage from melee with foot units after the first round of melee with that unit. They need to take a Unit Courage Test to do so. If they fail, they take 1d6 hits which may cause them to take another Unit Courage Test to avoid being removed from play. They will also remain engaged with the enemy unit. 

Additionally Light Cavalry may disengage from Cavalry of any type. 

Duration of the Battle 

Until one or both armies fail an Army Courage Test or 10 Rounds, whichever is first.  

Victory Conditions 

An army wins when the opposing army fails an Army Courage Test and they do not. If both armies fail an Army Courage Test the battle is a draw. If the Normans have not won by the end of Round 10 the English win.  

You can also download the scenario for Battle of Hastings 1066 as a PDF:  Battle of Hastings 1066.

Trial by Battle – some supplemental rules for Later Medieval Battles

Due to popular demand I have put together some additional rules for Trial by Battle for later medieval wars – particularly War of the Roses.

These are as of yet not play-tested, but will at some point form part of supplements for the Hundred Years War and War of the Roses.

They can be downloaded here: War of the Roses – new Rules v2

And here they are in text form:

New Rules for Later Medieval Battles 

Pits/stakes and static defences 

Also, for use in Hundred Years War supplement 

Treated as difficult ground for movement purposes, so half move for all Units. Can either be a linear static defence – such as stakes or an area static defence such as pits or ditches. Area static defences are 6” by 6”. This means that a Unit of Mounted Knights would take at least two Rounds to cross them. 

Cavalry must also pass a Unit Courage Test to cross the static defences (must roll 7 or less on 2d6, 8 or less if General with them). If failed, they do not break but remain stationary for that Round. They may attempt to cross again next Round or move away. If moving away through area static defences they do not need to pass a test, but their movement is still halved.  

To cross an area of pits Mounted Knights would have to pass two consecutive tests while presumably under fire from Archers.  

New Units 

New Units added to the list for quick reference below, plus any special rules below.  

Unit Name Move Terrain Archery Hits Range Melee Hits Save Stamina 
Mounted Knights  9”  Not Woods n/a  n/a 1d6+1/1d6  4+  6  
Light Cavalry  12”  All 1d6-2  12” 1d6-2  6+  6  
Foot Knights  4”  Not Woods n/a  n/a 1d6  3+  6  
Infantry  6”  Not Woods n/a  n/a 1d6-1  4+  6  
Archers  6”  Not Woods 1d6-1  18” 1d6-2  5+  6  
Light Infantry  9”  All n/a  n/a 1d6-2  6+  6  
Arbalesters 6” Not Woods 1d6-1 18” 1d6-2 4+ 6 
Handgunners 6” Not Woods 1d6-1 18” 1d6-2 5+ 6 
Pikemen 4” Clear only n/a n/a 1d6+1 3+ 6 
Artillery 2” Clear only 1d6-2 30” n/a 5+ 3 
General  12”  Not Woods n/a  n/a +1  n/a  n/a  

 

Arbalesters 

Heavy late medieval crossbowmen. Use Pavise for cover – thus the higher save. Reduce save to 5+ if pavises not available. 

Slow firing: fire every other turn 

Armour Piercing: -1 to Save from Archery hits. 

Handgunners 

Late medieval handgun. Slow firing but caused fear in enemy troops. 

Slow firing: fire every other turn 

Cause Fear: If enemy lose 2 or more stamina because of Handguns in one Round, must make a Unit Courage Test.  

Pikemen

Slow to manoeuvre but effective against Cavalry and other infantry.
Movement reduced to half for 45 and 90 degree turn. Cannot move if turn 180 degrees.
Cannot cross obstacles or difficult ground

Artillery 

Covers range of different artillery pieces seen on the battlefield. Slow to manoeuvre, but greater range than other weapons.  

Slow firing: fire every other turn 

Cause Fear: If enemy lose 2 or more stamina because of Artillery in one Round, must make a Unit Courage Test. 

 

Trial by Battle – my first Wargames Rules

Trial by Battle CoverVery excited to report that I have just published my first set of wargames rules: Trial by Battle. I wanted to do this for a long time. As I have an interest in writing and in playing wargames, it seemed a natural thing to do. I started with what I think are quite a quick and easy set of wargames rules for the Medieval period. I was thinking of something more ambitious initially, but soon decided that limiting my scope was a good idea to start with.

You can find out more about the rules on their product page together with links to retailers where you can purchase the book or get a free sample. Probably the best option for wargamers is the PDF which can be bought at Wargames Vault.

I found the whole process of creating the rules, playtesting and then finally writing them up for publication a lot harder than I thought it would be – and these are only a short set of rules at only 42 pages for the printed book! I am sure that I will be able to improve the process and hopefully make the next set of rules easier to write.

But I am excited to see that some people have already bought the rules at Wargames Vault! Not sure yet how I am going to get word out about the rules. That will be the next thing to investigate. My main focus though will be on producing more content and improving my skills as a rules writer.

What next? I might write some historical scenarios for the rules, add some more army lists. Expand the rules a bit for bigger sized battles. Maybe swerve into other historical periods. Add a fantasy element? Not sure at the moment. Lots of ideas!

I also have a set of medieval skirmish rules that I have posted on this blog that I could write up properly, so that could be the next project. But I am also tempted to go off at a tangent and do something RPG related. Maybe a choose your own adventure? Let’s see. Getting Trial by Battle out there has certainly given me a buzz and I am looking forward to seeing what people think of it.

Medieval Skirmish Wargames Rules

I have been working on writing some medieval skirmish wargames rules recently. Here’s a first draft that I’m currently playtesting. I have included some sample stat blocks at the end of the rules. Would be great to get any feedback if you want to leave a comment at the end of the post.

Medieval Skirmish Wargames Rules

Principles 

Small scale skirmish – up to a dozen figures a side  

High to late medieval setting.  

Each figure has a stat line: 

  • Initiative 
  • Move 
  • Shoot Skill – if applicable 
  • Melee Skill 
  • Weapon properties 
  • Bravery  
  • Special Abilities 

Tokens needed for Light and Serious Wounds. Ideally have casualty figures for casualties!  

Turn Sequence 

  1. Activations
  2. Take Actions 
  3. Resolve Bravery rolls 
  4. Determine if a Winner 

Activations 

Two sets of different coloured dice – in a bag. One dice per figure.  

Dice drawn to determine which side goes next. Then dice thrown to determine number of actions – use as a d3. Some figures may have +1 or -1 initiative and be able to take more actions. Never below 1.  

Actions are: 

Move – if want to run need two or more Move actions.  

Fight – can fight twice if have enough actions.  

Shoot – again can shoot more if have more actions. 

Leaders/specials – can do things like rally/challenge other knights, pray etc.  

After Activation – put the dice next to them to indicate moved.  

Move 

Standard 6” etc  – more detail tbc here! 

Shooting 

Simple to hit roll. Normally 3+ unless opponent has moved twice in the turn.  

Melee 

Opposed Roll – d6 + Fighting Skill 

Average Soldier would be +1 

Loser – pushed back. 

If Loser rolls a natural 1 – they slip or trip and lie prone – can get up in their turn but at risk if attacked before then. 

Winner can follow-up or use it as opportunity to disengage – can’t otherwise without risk.  

If Winner rolls a modified 6 or more then loser takes damage.  

Damage 

Hit Location! 

1: Head 

2-3: arms 

4-5: body 

6: legs 

If roll is 7+ to hit then can specify location.  

If armoured on that location – defee 

Mail or brigandine etc – 5+ savnder gets to make a save – weapon modifies that. If not then roll 1d6. 

Plate or enclosed helm: 4+ save 

Heavy weapon – e.g. halberd etc: -1 to save. Dagger: +1 to save etc. More granular than this for different weapon types.  

Some weapons might add to initiative for instance as well. Factor these into stat lines. Or is it better to have normal stat line and then have to add in weapons factors – as reminds player that weapons are contributing to their rolls etc?  

1-3 – light wound (can carry on, but can only do max of two activations) 

4-5 serious wound (max of one activation and penalties to rolls etc).  

6 – dead. 

Need tokens for wounds.  

Bravery 

If leader wounded or someone else killed in that turn – then test for bravery for each person. Modifier of +1 per killed person in total. 

2d6 under or equal to Bravery.  

If failed then flee token and person can only spend activations running away until rallied by leader.  

Medieval Skirmish Wargames Rules – Stats

Man-at-Arms 

Initiative Move Shoot Skill Melee Skill Bravery 
0 5” 0 +2 8 

Special Abilities: 

Aimed blow Can +1 or -1 when selecting hit location.  

Weapon properties: 

Two-handed weapon: +1 to Damage roll 

 

Foot Sergeant 

Initiative Move Shoot Skill Melee Skill Bravery 
0 6” 0 +1 7 

Special Abilities: 

 

Weapon properties: 

Long Spear – can attack when 1” away – if so -1 Melee Skill, but opponent cannot hurt wielder.  

Glaive/bill – two-handed. 

 

Archer 

Initiative Move Shoot Skill Melee Skill Bravery 
0 6” +1 0 7 

Special Abilities: 

Mallets and poignards. If outnumber a man-at-arms get a +1 to melee skill.  

Weapon properties: 

Longbow. Fast shooting. Can use all activations in a turn to shoot.  

If Elite archer – +1 Initiative – so possibility of 4 shots per turn.  

 

Crossbowman 

Initiative Move Shoot Skill Melee Skill Bravery 
0 6” +1 0 7 

Special Abilities: 

Pavise – if supported by pavisier, the crossbowman is almost immune to archery -2 to hit.  

Weapon properties: 

Maximum of one shot in a Turn. Can only move and shoot if has 3+ activations.  

 

A verray, parfit, gentil knyght 

Initiative Move Shoot Skill Melee Skill Bravery 
+1 5”/10” 0 +2 9 

Special Abilities: 

Challenge: If another knight on the table can use an action to make a challenge. Other knight must accept or lose ability to rally. Both knights will only fight each other until decided. More detailed rules for the challenge.  

Rally: If within 12” can use action to rally fleeing troops. They roll on knight’s bravery to stop fleeing.  

Mounted: If mounted – 10” move. Rules for attacking horse? Horse defence?  

Weapon properties: 

If mounted, then can use Lance to charge: +1 Damage and enemy can’t attack back – like spear? Charge takes knight past their enemy?  

Dismounted – Two-handed as per Man-at-arms: +1 Damage 

Priest 

Initiative Move Shoot Skill Melee Skill Bravery 
0 6” 0 0 6 

Special Abilities: 

Pray: Add reroll  

Peace of God: Allows battle to end before too many people are hurt?  

Weapon properties: 

 

 

Wars of the Roses Strategy Battle Game rules posted

I’ve just posted up the rules that I wrote a while ago to a Wars of the Roses version of Lord of the Rings (Middle Earth) Strategy Battle Game. The rules are just the additional things that you might need like profiles, weapons and some special abilities that will add some Wars of the Roses flavour to a game of Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game.

They’re in no way complete – there’s no rules for heroes, cavalry, Irish Kerns etc, but they do include rules for some of the most typical Wars of the Roses troop types: billmen, longbow archers etc. They’re inspired by other adaptations such as Age of Trebuchet and Legends of the Middle Ages 

The rules can be downloaded in PDF here or you can read them online here.

Pelennor Fields Battle Photos

Played this game last summer, but only just got round to having a proper look at the Pelennor Fields battle photos I took at the time, and thought they would be worth posting here. Don’t ask me for an AAR (After Action Report) on the game, but we basically played the main big battle from Games Workshop’s Pelennor Fields starter set. Great fun and looked amazing! Especially the Witch King on Fell Beast – he was a real bugger to put together let me tell you – and paint – only broke a couple of times …

Morannan Orcs knocked prone by charge of the Rohirrim
Morannan Orcs knocked prone by charge of the Rohirrim
The Rohirrim cavalry advance
The Rohirrim cavalry advance
Rohan cavalryman runs away
Rohan cavalryman runs away
Witch King of Angmar vs Theoden, King of Rohan
Witch King of Angmar vs Theoden, King of Rohan
Rohan and Morder battle lines clash
Rohan and Morder battle lines clash

Testing out Terrain for 6mm WW2

I tested out some terrain I made recently for WW2 at 6mm (1/300) scale wargames. I made some basic fields out of card, clump foliage and flock and I think they look pretty good. The trees were cheap on ebay and again on  simple card base.

I also used some paper 1/300 buildings on a simple card stand – bought on Wargames Vault. The buildings look huge don’t they for a microarmor game! They’re quite nice buildings, cheap and easy to make so no complaints there. I have read that people often use 2mm or 3mm scale buildings for 6mm and I think I might go down that route in the future. I’m planning on doing 1 stand = 1 platoon rather than a squad so a smaller building imprint would make sense.

WW2 6mm terrain WW2 6mm terrain

Woodland Scenic Tree Armatures Glue Tip

A quick hobby tip that I thought I would share in case anyone else comes across the same problem. I tried my hand for the first time at making my own trees for wargaming using the Woodland Scenics Armatures and their clump foliage. I couldn’t get hold of their Hob-e-Tac glue for attaching the clump foliage, so used a tacky glue bought from Hobbycraft. Not sure about this, but I assume it was supposed to be similar. Anyway I got the clump foliage to stick to the armatures which was the first stage. Then what you are supposed to do is spray the tree with Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement (basically watered down PVA), which I did but that resulted in most of my clump foliage simply falling off straight away!

Now this might be do with the tacky glue – perhaps Hob-e-tac is amazing – although a search on the internet seems to indicate it is not. I tried some alternatives. Super glue fixed the clump foliage perfectly and strongly, but I didn’t fancy using my tiny tube of super glue on lots of trees, so I looked around for something else. I had some Bostik Contact Adhesive for making Peter Dennis’s Paper Soldiers. I tried this – you’re supposed to attach to both parts and then wait for it to dry four minutes to get a good bond. I did do that, but gluing bits of clump foliage was not ideal, so I thought why not just plonk it on the armature and see if the clump foliage will stick straightaway – and as Bob Ross would say I had a happy accident! It worked like a dream.  A really solid fix. I tried spraying the Scenic Cement on and that worked great as well – no bits of clump foliage dropping off.

Here’s a photo of two sorry trees on the right after spraying – using the Tacky glue, and on the left is the one with Bostik – looking very solid!Woodland Scenics Armatures glue

 

So the long and short of it is try Bostik Contact adhesive for sticking clump foliage to stuff!

Guthrum Mane – the Rock Giant from Bloodbath at Orcs Drift

This is such a characterful miniature – I really loved painting this one. I played the campaign recently with some friends and Guthrum did well in his first battle against the Wood Elves – but he got drunk and never appeared at Orcs Drift. With the painted figure I had a go at doing some tattoos and put a red glaze on his nose to suggest his drinking habit!

Bit better focus on this picture?