Tuesday 25 May 2021

Battle of Barnet - World War Roses

The weekend saw a "global simultaneous gaming weekend" inspired by the Wars of the Roses entitled World War Roses.

The simple idea was to have a weekend of games set during the Wars of the Roses and people to share their games and have fun. James and Martin and I decided we'd join in.

James suggested Barnet as the battle to choose and we picked his Midgard rules to use - mainly because they're easy and we're familiar with them - but also to test them to see how the work in a WotR setting.

In the end Martin couldn't make it, but lent us his soldiers and Scrivs (newly returned from America) joined in.

As part of the fun we ran a few Twitter polls in the run up to the day to establish deployment and tactics. The result was the flanks on both armies were the reverse of the real battle and that Warwick would be leading the Lancastrians (rather than commanding the reserve).

We also rolled to see if the armies misaligned in the dark and mist (as happened in the real battle) and although Edward's force drifted somewhat to the right, it wasn't as extreme as the historical reality.

We had some rules for the misty conditions - reduced bow range and a chance of friendly fire attacks - and for Lancastrians running off to Barnet in search of loot. 

James did a grand job of painting up appropriate command stands for the historic leaders. The various retinues just used the models we had available, so the livery colours aren't accurate. If pointing this kind of thing out is your *thing* please rest assured that I really don't care and I expect you'll die alone.

Th Lancastrian left, held by Exeter

Yorkists everywhere

Warwick in the centre peers in to the mist

Oxford's men on the left

Eddie the King

Misty morning in a hedge north of Barnet

Oxford advances

A Warwick, A Warwick!

Hedge hopping in search of Yorkists

Down the road to Barnet

Montagu  holds steady in reserve

On come York

The lines close

Sporadic bowfire breaks out

Leading the way Edward crashes into Warwick's battle

And Gloucester and Oxford come to blows

Hastings too joins the fun

Gloucester's men make short work of Oxford's archers

With Edward driven back, Warwick seizes the chance to attack with his retinue.

Hastings is driving in the Lancastrian left

Exeter meanwhile is massacring the rest of Hastings' battle

In the centre the two retinues of the leaders pummel one another to the ground

Oxford is driving Gloucester back, but losing men as he does so

And Gloucester has help at hand

No sign of the mist lifting

Gloucsters weight of numbers begins to tell

Oxfords bow are suffering to the handguns

A desperate Warwick orders up the reserve to try to crush Edward.

However it is in vain, the knights, weakened by Hastings are no match for Edward, his blood up

With the knights destroyed Warwick and Montagu are forced to flee and the field belongs to the rightful king of England. Long live King Edward.

This was super fun to play. Midgard worked well (though we might add some period tweaks for the next game) and the armies looked splendid.

Huge thanks to the chaps for organising the event and I've already got more WotR men lined up in the painting queue.


  1. Hugely enjoyed, thanks, great effect on the fog.

  2. Excellent WotR gaming! Even folks up in British Columbia are in on this - they recently did Towton.

  3. Looks like a fantastic game - I love the mist effect ;)

  4. Great write up tom.

    It would have been very interesting to see how Midgard handled the Wars of the roses, though I expect it has changed a little since I sat in on a playtest game.

  5. Fantastic, a story told in pictures and told well!Looks like a lot of fun, I am increasingly intrigued by Midgard!

  6. great stuff - so stealing your fog idea. Any chance of some total table shots?

    1. Sorry Eric, I don't think I took any.
      It was a pretty simple set up with the road running down the centre, some raised ground to the Lancastrian left and a tree/hedge row to their right.

  7. A very worthy contribution go the World war of the Roses initiative - great figures, stirring account and the mist effect does look very good!