Welcome to my first Lion Rampant battle report! The following game took place on October 18th 2014.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked me to show him what this wargaming stuff is all about and I decided that it would be a nice thing to combine that with a test run of Lion Rampant which I had gotten right after release.
Given the period and the rather unrefined ways of warfare back then it lends itself perfectly well for adaption. I don’t own a collection of proper medieval miniatures yet but I thought that humans and Dark Elves would work just as well.
The general setup was thus: My brother and our friend played whilst I umpired (and provided models, terrain, etc.). This constellation proved to be very manageable when trying out new rules sets in the past as the umpire can look up rules and such while the players move models around and roll dice.
Lion Rampant comes with about ten scenarios which is pretty cool. I chose one of the most interesting ones – The Fugitive. Unfortunately the table wasn’t quite as wide as it should have been but at least we had the right length. Proper gaming boards really are next on my to-do list. As for the scenario: The village leader’s daughter was kidnapped by some nasty Dark Elves whilst she was picking flowers in the woods.
She was able to escape (probably by kicking shins), ran back to the village and hid somewhere in one of the huts, with Dark Elf leader Roberta the Sly and Boastful and her cronies hot on her heels. To the aid of the village militia comes a detachment of proper imperial soldiers, led by Albrecht the Unheard. Their job was either to fend off the Dark Elves or find the girl and escort her off the table. The Dark Elves’ aim was to thwart their plans.
Above you can see the table setup. The houses count as difficult terrain (for simplicity’s sake. The watchtower in the centre of the table doesn’t count as a house. Each time a human unit enters any of the terrain zones one of the houses is in for the first time they roll a d6 to see if they find the girl in the house. First house they check they’ll find the girl on a 6, in the second house they look after her they’ll find her on a 5+, on a 4+ in the third house and so on. Once a unit found the girl they have to get her off the table via the eastern edge (humans start on the eastern edge, dark elves on the western edge).
The human army consisted of the following:
1 Unit of Knights of the White Wolf including Albrecht (= 1 unit of Mounted Men at Arms with the Drilled upgrade]
1 Unit of Greatswords (= 1 unit of Foot Men at Arms)
1 Unit of Imperial Spearmen (= 1 Unit of Foot Serjeants)
1 Unit of Imperial Musketeers (= 1 Unit of Crossbowmen)
…and of course the village militia:
1 Unit of Village Militia (= 1 Unit of Foot Yeomen)
All foot units with the exception of the Greatswords consist of 12 models.
Here are the Dark Elf Attackers:
1 Unit of Cold One Knights including Roberta (= 1 Unit of Mounted Men at Arms)
2 Units of Dark Elf Spearmen (= 2 Units of Expert Foot Serjeants)
1 Unit of Dark Elf Crossbowmen (= 1 Unit of Expert Archers)
Before the first turn we rolled up leader traits. Albrecht, the human leader, got something I can’t remember the exact name of but it took away the morale bonus friendly units get in a 12″ radius around him. Maybe a bad cold and he couldn’t shout orders on that day. Roberta the Dark Elf rolled and came up with “Sly”, meaning she can refuse challenges by the other leader without every unit of her retinue having to test for morale.
Then the players chose their boasts. Boasts are a really cool addition to the game. Ultimately, winners and losers are determined by Glory Points. In this scenario the humans get 5 Glory Points if they get the girl off the table, the Dark Elves get 3 Glory Points if they prevent them from doing so. Before the game players can boast to do certain things during the game, more difficult things getting them more Glory if they succeed in it. If they don’t fulfill a boast they lose one Glory Point in the end. Think of them as “side quests”.
Albrecht’s boasts mean that he aims to kill or rout half of the enemy’s retinue in points and that the first unit in the game to roll for morale (courage) will be an enemy unit. These would earn him 2 or 1 glory respectively.
Roberta The Sly And Boastful swore to kill the enemy’s most valuable unit (the knights), to have each of her units initiate close combat at some point during the game and that at the end of one turn, most of her units would be closer to the enemy’s table edge than his units would be.
The Battle Begins
The Dark Elves, being the attacker, started moving onto the board and towards the village to keep the humans from rescuing the girl and the human army moved into the village as well.
Each side had one unit who didn’t quite wanted to keep up, in the case of the humans it was the imperial spearmen, in the case of the dark elves it was the repeater crossbow elves.
Imperial troops quickly split up to search the first three houses but alas – no sign of the girl. This could have been easy but now it looked like it would come to a bloody fight for access to the other three houses.
The village militiamen heroically position themselves in front of the Cold One Knights to lure them into a trap. Albrecht knows that it’s impossible to hold back the Cold Ones when they see some easy to grab snacks. The Cold One Knights charged in, shoo’d away the militiamen but on their next turn faced Albrecht’s knights. Roberta called out Albercht for a duel.
Very fun to see pretty much the first thing happening in the game is a duel between the two leaders. This is a very uncertain thing as both of them have exactly the same chance of winning or losing any the early loss of a leader would be a very, very bad thing. Both heroes swung mighty blows, each one scored a hit, but they were evenly matched and returned to their units.
Meanwhile at the other side of the central watchtower some Spear Elves wiped out the militiamen and proceeded to attack the Greatswords. Time after time the Elves launched attacks against the Greatswords, but there was no decisive round of combat and the battle went on.
This is the situation at the middle of the game. The battle lines run right though the village, none of the sides can quite break through. Instead there is a nasty grinding away on the units as Dark Elves hurl themselves against the human defenders. And still no sign of the girl, worse yet, no way to get to the rest of the houses to look for her!
At this point the missile units (imperial handgunners and elven crossbowmen) really comes into play, whittling down units on both sides with their salvos. Albrecht falls along with his knights as the horses just wouldn’t move (= bad dice rolling on the activation) but his men stand firm and also Roberta’s unit of Cold One Knights isreduced to just her and even she has to retreat on her own at one point.
Right at this point the imperial player decides to go for a final push through the elven lines and on to the pigsty where they finally find the girl. But it’s almost like Roberte was just waiting for this to happen and the elves overpower the unit of stalwart spearmen who tried to escort the girl off the board and into safety. The game is over as the girl is captured.
Glory Points are calculated, the Dark Elves ending up with 5 points versus the Humans’ zero.
It was a really enjoyable game, the rules resonated well with everyone involved. Not sure if the lists are all that even and the table was quite a bit too narrow to maneuver properly but oh well. It was a really good time and our pal who’s first foray into wargaming this was already asked for another game. I’m sure that this isn’t the last we hear of Roberta and Albrecht.
So much for my first Lion Rampant battle report. I hope that you enjoyed reading it and got a better idea what Lion Rampant is about.