Less than two weeks after the first test game we had another go at Lion Rampant.
This time my regular wargaming opponent dropped by to test the rules. He was pitted against my brother (who again took the role of the role of the Dark Elves’ commander Roberta the Boastful and Sly). Whilst Mr.Gaming Nemesis brought his own Empire models of old (in a seasonal black-and-orange colour scheme), led by Brave Sir Robin.
The scenario was less refined this time. Scenario A: Blood Bath. Both sides would battle it out. As soon as there are just five or less units on the table at the beginning of any turn you roll a dice. If the number on the dice is higher than the number of units on the table the game ends and the player who has more units on the table than the other player gains 5 Glory Points.
1 unit Cold One Knights (= 1 Unit of Mounted Men-at-Arms), including Roberta the Sly and Boastful (leader)
2 units of Spear Elves [Spelfs] (= 2 Units of Foot Sergeants)
1 unit of Repeating Crossbow Elves (= 1 Unit of Expert Archers)
1 unit of Blood Cult of Khaine [mix of Shades, Witches and Assassins] (= 1 Unit of Fierce Foot)
1 unit of Knights (= 1 Unit of Mounted Men-at-Arms), including Brave Sir Robin the Vulnerable (leader)
2 units of Spearmen (= 1 Units of Foot Sergeants)
1 unit of Crossbow Dwarfs (= 1 Unit of Crossbowmen)
1 unit of Pistoliers (= 1 Unit of Mounted Yeomen)
Roberta happily kept her leader trait (Sly = may refuse a challenge without her unit and units around her having to roll for morale), Brave Sir Robin rolled and got the trait Vulnerable (increased chance of getting killed if his unit suffers casualties in combat). Boasts were exchanged. Sir Robin, bravely, rolled for a random boast and got “My sword shall not be drawn” (successful if him and his unit never get into combat in this game). Based on this, Roberta chose the boasts “I shall slay your leader” and “I shall slay your mightiest warriors” (meaning the Empire knights). Dodgy, but such are the ways of the Dark Elf I suppose.
Other than last time the two retinues entered over the wide edges of the table. Units moved onto the table as activated.
The Empire’s light cavalry probably had to biggest psychological impact. A mobile, shooting unit which also had special rules to move and shoot during the same turn and also evade charges. You may notice that we had to proxy one model because in warhammer you always have only five light cavalry models painted, but cavalry is always six models in lion rampant.
If I had to describe the game in one word it probably would be “unfortunate”, but the bad luck was spread about equally over both sides. Possibly the Empire getting the shorter end of the stick with both spear units running away and quickly dispersing after only taking few casualties and the crossbow dwarfs being stuck whilst trying to climb a hill all game. Lateron in the game they were completely wiped out by the Cold One Knights after a failed roll for Evade.
They never made it on top of the hill, never shot a single salvo, and were run down by the cult of khaine:
After this onslaught the three remaining dwarfs retreated but rallied right at the table edge where they spent the rest of the game.
Of course the leaders met in battle. Brave Sir Robin had kept his knights out of combat for a few turns but at one point the Cold One Knights came so close that the Empire’s knights couldn’t stop themselves from charging (Mounted Men-at-Arms have the Wild Charge special rule, meaning they have to roll for charging enemies once they are in range), killing all of them but Roberta. She had to retreat but immediately rushed back to take revenge on the knights on her own.
She moved up and challenged Sir Robin to a duel (to fulfill her boast). He accepted and blows were exchanged. As with the last game both players rolled the same number of successes and the duel ended in a draw.
Afterwards, Roberta was ridden down by the knights who started rampaging though the dark elves’ lines after most of the human army had retreated or got killed. More dice were rolled and after my brother’s crossbow elves fired “the decisive salvo” he demanded a picture taken of the result, to have the dice shamed publically for their failure to produce 4+s:
(there were two more dice rolled, one was a 1, the other one I can’t remember)
Swiftly the Empire player retaliated with a charge and this result:
See what I mean by “unfortunate”? I bought these dice around 2005 and they are the dice I use almost exclusively (after I was forbidden to use the warhammer dice due to unreadable pips). And yeah, I’m afraid they kind of suck when it comes to fantasy gaming. I lost countless games with my Dark Elves back them due to these dice.
Anyway, the Empire knights killed some more elves, took little casualties in return (one or two knights as well as Sir Robin who got killed due to his Vulnerable trait) and soon there were only five units left on the table. After two more player turns the game ended with the Empire coming out slightly on top.
EMPIRE – 4 (5 glory points for winning, -1 for unsuccessful boast)
DARK ELVES – 2 (3 glory points for successful boasts, -1 for one unsuccessful boast)
It was a close game. At the beginning it looked like the Dark Elves would wipe the floor with the humans but their knights, once they got into swing, slaughtered and routed lots and lots of elves. It was a very close game though and more than a few times the players were howling or scoffing at the results the dice gave them.
This game, more so than the first one, showed that you just need a good scenario to play games such as Lion Rampant. The complexity of the rules is perfectly fine but I think that adding in the unit facing rules and disallow interpenetration of units makes the game more tactical and also realistic.
I hope that you enjoyed this Lion Rampant battle report and maybe it made you want to get the rules yourself. Lion Rampant is a set of rules which can be applied to lots of different settings, from historicals all over the planet, Game of Thrones or other Fantasy settings. And for GBP 10.00 you can’t really go wrong, if only for curiosity.
I think that the rules require a little tweaking if you want a little more tactical games, but it’s perfectly servicable for quick and fun games of knights fighting each other.