Readers of this blog will know that one of the groups that I regularly play in has dabbled in Wars of the Roses and that back in May I took the plunge and purchased some Perry plastics for this period. I had no real plan at that time other than to build up a small retinue for use with the others in the group.
I found that the two boxes I bought, the archers/polearms and the foot knights, enabled me to build two units of archers, one of billmen, two of foot knights and a command base. I decided that I would build a retinue for each side and that each retinue would consist of two units of archers one of billmen and one of foot knights, plus the noble. I would also add a few units of mercenaries. I quickly found that I could achieve this with two more boxes of figures and I now have two retinues plus a unit each of mercenary crossbows and handgunners, and a unit of pike in construction. All units have a standard structure of three stands containing five miniatures.
Friday will see my little army having its first outing so here are a few images of Lord Fauconbeg's retinue.
The Infantry with Polearms
The Retinue Knights
One of the units of Archers
Then on one of those long, tedious drives home that I have to endure each day in the Auckland traffic I had an idea about how to use these forces in a game system that could be played over and over again on different terrain.
First of all I would need to get some more figures – how surprising that one of my projects should start out as a small force and then expand – probably to a little more than double the current force.
The idea is that the game involves six commands, one of while represents Richard and another that represents Henry, and a reasonably large table with a busy, rolling terrain. The game can be larger and accommodate more commands, but I had a limit it to what I was willing to collect.
The table is divided into four roughly equal areas with as many overlapping and borders as possible. Each area has a village of three or four buildings or small castle, each of which is at least 1 meter away from the next village. Each of these villages is a home base for one of remaining four commands each of which represents a local noble and has a retinue of two units of archers, one of billmen and one of foot knights. The graphic shows a possible table layout (without terrain details), where the coloured areas represent the different domains and the black dots the villages.
A Two Player game
In a two player game one player represents Henry and one Richard. The game starts with each drawing one of four cards, marked A, B, C or D. At that point Richard and Henry, declare thie cards and, accompanied by a unit of mounted knights, arrive on the table edge that corresponds to their card, as marked on the graphic, and raise their standard. This is an area of divided loyalties so no one really knows who supports who so to determine loyalties:
The other commands, under the leadership of a noble are placed in their home bases
For each noble roll 1xD6. A score of 1 or 2 and the noble aligns to Richard, a 3 or 4 to Henry and a 5 or 6 stands neutral.
Six cards, one for each of the units of mercenaries and one blank, are shuffled and placed face down, one in each of the Noble’s areas and two more randomly, and at least 500mm away from any home base. These are then turned over and the mercenaries placed there in camp.
Any noble who has declared his allegiance is controlled by the appropriate player.
The game commences as normal within the limits of the rules being played. In the normal move sequence, each player may attempt to approach the mercenaries or the non-aligned retinues. This they do by moving a unit or a commander to within 200mm of the other unit and rolling 1xD6 with the following result:
For mercenaries a score of 4,5,6 will have them join the faction approaching, otherwise they will remain neutral this turn.
If an uncommitted noble, a score of 1,2,3, will have then join the faction approaching, a 4 will have them join the opposing faction and the 5 6, will remain neutral this turn.
So the game progresses.
A Multi-Player game
In a multi-player game two players are randomly selected to play Richard and Henry. Each then draws one of four cards, marked A, B, C or D, and declares the card. At that point Richard and Henry, accompanied by a unit of mounted knights, arrive on the table edge as marked on the graphic and raise their standard.
The mercenary units are placed in the same way as in the two player game.
Once the rival standards are raised the players declare their loyalty. To do this they each draw one of the cards mentioned above. Staring with the player with the A card and then working sequentially through to D, each player declares whether he is for Richard, Henry or is neutral.
And so the game develops, until one side concedes defeat or if Richard or Henry are captured or killed.
Mercenaries that are approached by a messenger or noble (within 200mm) will roll 1xD6 and a score of 4,5,6 will have them join the faction approaching, otherwise will remain neutral this turn.
There is no requirement for players to remain aligned to one side for any length of time, and may change sides at will.
Similarly no one needs to respect a noble’s neutrality and neutral nobles can be attacked by any faction. Neutral mercenaries, however cannot be attacked.