Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Historicon 2010 - Hundred Years War game, Part 1

Day of Battle, 1356
King Jean II vs Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince

I ran one game at Historicon this year with the assistance of my nephew Ryan and Chris Parker, author of the Day of Battle rules. 3rd edition Day of Battle were the rules we were using, and the battle was a "Poitiers-ish" 1356 battle between the French and English in the Hundred Years War. The game was published incorrectly in the Event Listing book, saying it was 90mm instead of 25mm, and this error probably scared away some people who look at the very large scale figures as toys. (Yes, even in a niche hobby, we still have snobs). As a result, we were expecting few if any people to show up for the six player slots for a game that was scheduled to start at 8pm and run until midnight. As a result, Chris, Ryan and I began the game just the three of us playing, and were joined a bit later by two players. So it ended up being an enjoyable game with all three gamemasters playing.

The overall situation was a different spin on the historical battle of Poitiers, but a "what if" that had a reasonable basis in the realm of possibility. In our version of the game, part of the French army under command of the Duc de Normandie (the Dauphin - the eldest son of the King of France), was able to get in front of the English army as it headed south to get back to friendly territory. Also in the Dauphin's army were two cavalry wings commanded by the two Marshals of France, Clermont and Audrehem. In our scenario, the entire English army would fall upon the French force, and would have to try to drive them off and get across the river safely before the remainder of the French army, under the King himself and the Duc d'Orleans arrived. Because of the shortage of players, we played with a partial English army and no French reinforcements. Chris played the Duke of Warwick's battle, Ryan played Prince Edward, I commanded the French (and was joined by 2 players who would each take control of one of the Marshals).

Initial dispositions. Marshal Clermont is on the French (near) left, with the Dauphin's large battle in the middle, and Audrehem's cavalry was on the right flank. The Duke of Warwick has begun advancing in the left distance, with Edward advancing in the center and right distance.

Edward (Ryan) boldly surges forward, attempting to get his longbowmen into range as quickly as possible. The French wait, with Genoese mercenary crossbowmen sheltered behind their pavises manning the front line.

The English are coming! The English are coming! A small English mounted wing under the Captal de Buch, a Gascon noble, advance on the right in the distance, facing off against Audrehem's elite knights.

The battle lines, after trading missile fire for a while, are about to clash. On the French left, Warwick's men have advanced very close to Clermont's knights. The French Marshal spurs his horse forward and sounds the charge.

Clermont's first charge was devastating, breaking through the first line of longbowmen and crashing into the English dismounted knights behind them. As a result of the flight of the first English line, two supporting units broke and fled as well. The three fleeing English units can be seen in the distance, milling about in the farm fields in confusion. In one charge, fully half of Warwick's battle had fled the field. Not an auspicious start for the English...

...to be continued.

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