12 hardy souls duly assembled with our many and varied retinues. We diced for Leader characteristics and I received Sly as my "upgrade" allowing me to dodge any challenges. We then randomly selected our positions around the table.
One of the best things about wargaming events like this is the opportunity to meet new people and mix with those outside your usual gaming circle. So inevitably the random draw meant I was facing my good chum James across the board, with James to his left and John to my right from our Salute posse and Mark now of Great Escape Games, but who I know of old from our GW days, to my left. So much for making new acquaintances.
The scenario was a simple bloodbath affair, however the priority only shifted from one side to another when all the players on one side had failed (or completed) their orders. Initially this led to a bit of standing round for some people especially the two James' who Mark and I were facing who seemed incapable of passing more than a singe test each. However it did leave the opportunity for the exchanging of insults and other ribbing.
I deployed with archers on each flank and my Men at Arms and Billmen holding my centre. There was some questioning of the need to enforce the 3" rule, but Dan was adamant it should be applied - being as how it was part of the rules and everything. James opposite me had some foot and mounted knights, a unit of fierce foot, two units of bidowers and some Welsh spearmen - not all of whom he could fit on the board. As is the way with most multi-player games what actually happened was that we paired off against our opponents and broke down into several single games - although this wasn't quite the case in the centre where things got more mixed up.
At this stage elite archers did seem a bit overpowered, but partly this was due to the absence of any scenario - they're quite situational and bloodbath suits them.
The panic caused by the death of my leader saw both the billmen and the archers on my right back away from the mounted knights.
Twice the horsemen crashed home, but each time the archers held on, and their combat kills combined with arrow fire between was just enough to kill James leader and snatch me a victory.
It was a good fun and bloodthirsty affair. At first my archers were like a hail of machinegun fire, hosing down James' men, but a combination of better troops arriving and overconfidence on my part saw my men caught and cut down and in the end I was lucky to snatch it back.
Lion Rampant gave us a good quick game with enough of a medieval feel to satisfy. I'm keen to try the scenarios soon as I fear a diet of just the Bloodbath scenario will soon begin to pall. It was also good to get the casualty and courage rules right this time (Steve and I didn't quite play it right in our first game) it was much more brutal. I also thought the 3" rule to be a good one - it imposes a bit of unwieldiness on the formations which I think is appropriate and needed in a skirmish game for this period.
All in all a splendid evening out. James was as pleasant to play against as always and my new retinue looked super, even if I do say so myself.
Huge thanks to Dan for organising and to the Battlefront chaps for hosting.