Friday, 16 January 2015

A (big) Lion Rampant Game

Last night I was fortunate enough to be invited to go over to the Battlefront HQ in Nottingham to help playtest some rules for a big game of Lion Rampant. The idea is that a game like this will provide the climax to the forthcoming Lion Rampant gaming day and Dan the organiser wanted to test his ideas.
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.

 Earl Morris parades about the battlefield ahead of hostilities

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.

 Commence pincushioning!

 Sir Eric leads forth the Kirby retinue

James started off the first few turns by failing to move very much. My more disciplined force pushed forward, with the men at arms trudging slowly across a muddy field. It took me time to get into arrow range - mainly due to the enemy failing to move toward me at all. Eventually however the bidowers and Welshmen came within range, and my expert archers demonstrated why they're quite feared by sending both bidower units fleeing and wiping the spearmen out.
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.

 Trim the hedge while you're at it lads

 Bit muddy this

 Welsh spearmen. A bit flimsy

At about this point Dan announced a change and we switched to playing by "table"  Mark and I versus the Jamesi (that's the plural of James) rather than waiting for the whole side to finish. This sped things up, but it did rather lose the feel of being part of a bigger battle.

 Mark's Rhubarb and Custard Knights

 Nice view from in here

These were lurking on my right flank. But John saw them off.

Flushed with success I pushed forward. Reasoning that men at arms were both better fighters and better armoured than the Fierce Foot I advanced on the wood they were lurking in. After the fierce fellas amusingly failed their charge I launched the MAA at them, only to be countercharged. The MAA duly hacked three to the ground, but suffered two casualties in return (James had his "lucky" green dice out again). We both held, but then repeated the fight in the following round, with the exact same results! This time both units broke - which was a bit of a blow.
Meanwhile my billmen were finding out that foot men at arms can be quite frisky and despite killing a couple were themselves battered and forced to retreat.
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.

 Advance, men, they're on the run!


Come on, there's only six of them

Cold steel meets frothing hot-head
Seizing his chance James launched his mounted knights at the bowmen - with inevitable consequences. Suddenly, from a position of dominance I was down to just two units and James' mounted boys had their danders well and truly up.


Fortunately my archers were able to eliminate the last of James foot knights, but were unable to prevent his mounted unit ploughing through the billmen.

 Like Agincourt all over again

Wish we'd packed the stakes
So it came to a final face off, my last archers against James' charging 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.

Earl Morris gathers himself for a final charge!


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.


  1. Great fun, by chance my copy of these rules arrived today.

  2. The figures are all great - love the heraldry on the shields, barding and flags, too! Cheers!

    1. Fair to say that all the ones with nice heraldry are NOT mine.
      Mainly James' models.
      Mine are in simple green and whites.


  3. Sounds like a really fun game with lovely models!

  4. Great looking game and nice to seey your lovely figures on the table.

  5. Looks a great looking gamd and fun

  6. Great Bat Rep Tom.

    Seems like you all had fun!


  7. Splendid figures all-around. Interesting observations on the multi-player "issues." Very similar to the ones experienced when I played a multi-player game. That is, the 3" rule and the waiting for one side to finish with opponents waiting with nothing to do. Not a big deal to me personally, but observed nonetheless. I do like the rules very much though, in any case.

  8. Great batrep, love the pictures and text...and your so impressive knights!

  9. looks like fun! Your retinue has come together really well - looks very business-like as well as pretty :-)