Sunday, 7 December 2014

Lion Rampant AAR

I bought Ospreys Lion Rampant rules by Dan Mersey a couple of weeks ago, they are reasonably priced and I managed to get a copy for £8.29. They contain rules, army lists and scenarios are illustrated with colour photographs of a good quality.


So far I've had 2 games with them a couple of weeks ago using Lord of The Rings Combat Hex figures (40mm) and last week a War of The Roses game (20mm figures). I will give my thought to the rules at the end of the After Action Report.

Overview of Rules
The rules are well written and very simple,  units are made up of either 6 or 12 figures and classified from one of 11 types. Each unit type has a point cost from 1 to 6 points and a Retinue consists of 24 points. On your turn you try to activate a unit to either Move, Shoot or Attack (Charge into Melee). Each unit has a stat for those 3 action types and that is what you have to roll on 2D6 (between 3 and 5). If you fail a roll that unit doesn't complete its action and the turn passes to your opponent.

If you pass the roll you complete the action and select your next unit. Shooting and Melee are carried out the same. If your unit is full strength roll 12 dice if at half strength roll 6 dice. You need to roll your stat for shooting or attacking (usually 5 or 6). Count the number of hits achieved and divide by the targets armour number and that is the number of figures removed. Every unit that takes casualties makes a Courage Test (morale) which consists of rolling 2D6 subtracting the number of casualties lost. If the number is equal or greater than units courage stat (usually between 3 and 5) the unit passes. If it fails the roll but is still a positive number the unit becomes battered. If it fails and is zero or a negative number the unit routs. So lose 2 figures and roll double 1 your unit will rout from the table (and yes that happened to me in my first game).

Battered units may only attempt to rally at the begging of your next turn and if they don't you lose another figure and remain battered. The only other 2 things you may do at the start of your turn is Offer a challenge to the enemy CinC (see AAR) or roll for Wild Charges (impetuous units attempt to get in combat once within move Distance).

There are also some special abilities units have or may purchase but these are kept few and within period so does not bog the game down).

War of the Roses (AAR)
So the second game I had with was with Will McNally using his War of The Roses figures and using the war of the roses variant from Boardgamegeek.

The Scenario was Will was on a Forced march from 1 table edge to the opposite edge (his special rule was that he must attempt to move a unit every turn and failing a move activation test did not end his turn). He had 1 unit of mounted knight, 1 unit of retinue longbow archers, 1 unit of shire archers, 1 unit of retinue billmen and 1 unit of shire billmen.


I had to split my force into 2 for the scenario and had to stop him from crossing the table. My first unit consisted of 1 unit of mounted men at arms (Mounted sergeants in the book), 2 units of shire billmen.


The second unit on the opposite table edge was 1 unit of retinue longbow archers, 1 unit of  retinue billmen and 1 units of shire billmen.


Will started moving across the table but it wasn't long before units were getting left behind (his archers required 7+ to move).



I had the same issue with my archers on my right flank (who were later to become cursed!).


The first action was on the left flank where my shire billmen and his shire billmen went head to head and my dice rolling was bad so I lost 4 figures to his 2 and I lost the combat and retreated.


My other billmen were hit by his retinue billmen (which are better quality troops) and my billmen were dispatched quickly after I failed by courage test. My Mounted Men at Arms containing my CinC managed to cause some casualties on his billmen making one of them rout. But lost half of their 6 figures. (The green counters mark the Retinue units. the white counter is for battered units).



Then with my 2nd unit of billmen on the left flank battered and retreating all that was left on that flank was my CinC unit with 3 figures. This was a critical part of the battle. I took a gamble to try and regain some lost ground and with the 2 CinC's within 12" of each I issued a Challenge to his CinC. You may do once pre game each (if Will refused the Challenge all his units would require a Courage test). However, he accepted.


Both Commanders meet half way and fight a duel by rolling 3D6 each and hitting on fives and sixes. The one who causes most hits kills the other. If a draw the challenge isn't resoved. I rolled 1 six, Will rolled 2 sixes and my CinC died and all units had to take a Courage Test. My other billmen routed and 2 of my units on my right flank were battered. (if battered units aren't rallied they start to deteriorate quickly and soon rout). 

On my right flank 2 billmen units were in place to block his force and I tried to move my bows into range. Just as I managed to get them into range Will fired on them with his retinue Billmen who were hitting on 4's and not getting a minus for range. (We later decided that this rule in the unofficial variant was too powerful to longbow. Having a better hitting number and not losing a modifier for range. It should be one or the other and we thought it should be the better hitting number only).


Superb rolling by Will, with an Armour of 2 that meant 5 figures lost. Rolling 2D6 -5 meant I fell back battered and on my next rally roll I rolled a 3 meaning the unit routed. My Archers had spent the whole game moving across the table and were wiped out after 1 round of shooting. 

By now I had lost 5 units to Wills 2 and the end was nigh for me. Once down to a single unit that has to test Courage each turn. I lost a couple of figures from bow fire and the first turn it became battered and before Will could contact me they routed after failing a rally test.



The whole game was completed within an hour and a half and a major victory for will.

Conclusion
Lion Rampant are a very quick set of rules to play and after a couple of turns you know what you are doing with just a unit reference sheet at hand. It can be frustrating with units not doing what you want them to do but this is the Middle Age period after all. If you don't like games where your units don't always react to what you want them to do then this is the game is not for you. This is similar to warmaster and its derivatives (BKC, CWC, Black Powder and hail Caesar)

Yes you can lose a unit after a couple of figures are lost with a bad snake eyes roll but this is a game which is meant to be quick and fun to play and it certainly is.

I have seen some complaining on forums that a unit continues to roll 12 dice until it is half strength but that is all part of the simplicity of the game. If you don't like this you can make a quick house rule to lose a D6 for each casualty lost on 12 figure units and 2D6 lost for each casualty lost on 6 figure units but we are quite happy with them as written.

Will is hoping to use the rules for the Lance and Longbow society participation games in future as they are so easy and quick to use. Since I have bought the rules at least 2 others in the club have also bought them so I can see many more games in the Club. I would say they are simpler than Black Powder but give just a good game in an evening and highly recommend them.

On boardgamegeek there are already variants for War of the Roses, American Civil War and Zulu Wars. I'm already thinking of modifications for 18th Century periods as they get figures on the table quick and its a fun game.