Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dismounted Knights with Shortened Lances

I finished my second bag of Old Glory 28mm French dismounted knights. This bag contained 30 dismounted knights armed with shortened lances. It was nice that I didn't have to fiddle around with shields. I figured they have lances shortened to spear length, so that would be enough for them to carry, right?

I did want some color on the knights so I painted them with colored surcoats. My decals didn't fit on the bodies since they were designed to go on shields. I actually had to hand-paint the coat of arms (coats of arms?) on the little guys. I tried to keep the designs simple, but you can only paint so many V-stripes before you have to tackle the more intricate designs.

I actually had to paint these knights a little brighter because the 4 year old GW black primer I used was a little dusty when it sprayed on. It gave the armor a gritty look I had paint over. It isn't so bad when the units are mixed up and it does give a nice variety to the different knights.

It might be more noticeable if all the new knights were in one unit next to an earlier unit, but I don't intend to field them like that. Welcome to the age of white armor and easier armor painting!

(ABOVE) Here's a front side view of the knights.

(ABOVE) Here's a straight-on front view of the knights. They look like they mean business. "I didn't shorten my best lance and lurch all the way over to here to not get stuck in!"

(ABOVE) Here's a rear view of the knights. This is not the business end of the knights, but after my last play test, it might be the view the Englishmen see most often. It does show the coat of arms nicely so the heralds can easily identify which nobles are fleeing from the fight. "Just going to check on my horse. I'll be right back!"

(ABOVE) Close-ups of two of the knights. One coat of arms is a decal. One is hand-painted. I won't ask you to guess. I'm not that conceited and VVV makes great decals.

(ABOVE) This is the consolidated force of painted French dismounted Men-at Arms. 4 12-man units for Piquet plus a few extras. One more unpainted bag of 30 MAA to paint, then I'll order a bag of dismounted English MAA and a bag of dismounted Scottish MAA.

The knights are mixed into the units because it's not as if the French nobles said, "Okay everybody with shortened lances, go to line A. Polearms, go to Line B. Hand weapons, go to Line C." I'll probably treat them as spear-armed for Piquet and superior to other spears.

(ABOVE) Same subject, different angle.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Agincourt First Playtest

One of the nice things about the Piquet rules is that the pace of the game is largely dictated by what cards you draw from your deck during a turn. This means the rules are very easy to play solitaire. This is a play test of my Agincourt game I ran in my game room solitaire over the weekend. Not all of the figures are painted yet, so there's no photos. I used empty labeled bases for those units which I haven't completed. For you Piquet experts, the Men At Arms are in Battle Mass Formation and the longbowmen are all in Chevron formation.

The above picture shows the armies deployed for battle. Each army has three commands. each command has a commander attached to a unit within it. Men at arms are basically armored knights. They sometimes fought mounted, but by now, they often dismounted to fight because the English archers were great at shooting their horses out from under them.

The French (Blue) are at the top of the battlefield. One command of mounted men-at-arms (MAA) is on the right flank. A command of dismounted MAA is in the center. The final command of dismounted MAA is on the French left flank. A unit of mounted MAA is attached to that command.

The English (Red) are at the bottom of the battlefield. They are on a slight rise with woods anchoring both flanks. The center command is made up of dismounted MAA. On each flank is a command made up of longbow units.

(ABOVE) You can see the French beginning their advance. The French won Impetus three Initiatives in a row and really made good use of that Impetus to close the distance between the two armies. The English longbow units fired at the mounted MAA units on the flank with long range volley fire.

Volley fire is used instead of direct fire when the longbow units units lift their bows to the sky and rain arrows from above on their enemies. This increases the range of the bows with a corresponding decrease in penetration and effectiveness.

This volley fire caused no casualties, but when the French drew their Uncontrolled Charge card, the mounted MAA surged ahead to come to grips with the missile units firing at them. Just the beginning of disaster for the French plan, if there was one...a plan, I mean...did I mention they were bad at plans?

(ABOVE) You can see the longbow units firing at the mounted MAA as they ride toward the waiting English defenders. The longbow units are behind sharpened stakes, so the cavalry need two Cavalry Move in Open cards to engage the longbowmen. Dismounted units can ignore the stakes.

(ABOVE) One of the right flank French cavalry MAA units lost two stands to longbow fire. The English then made a tactical morale challenge against the French, the French unit was tripled ( 6 to 2) in the challenge, and routed unralliable.

The other two charging mounted MAA units benefited from the following awesome 4 card flip: Uncontrolled Charge, Cavalry Move in Open, Heroic Moment, and Melee Resolution. A perfect draw that pushed the cavalry over the stakes and into the longbows with a shocking crash of armor and horseflesh.

(ABOVE) The French left flank mounted MAA unit used the Heroic Moment card to increase its chances in its melee. It fought with a d12+3 vs. a d6 and routed its longbow opponent. Unfortunately the enthusiastic French knights failed their Pursuit test and chased the routed archers off the table and into the English baggage train, never to be heard from again.

On the French right flank, the mounted French knights rolled an unlucky melee tie with the archer defenders. d10 vs. d4 resulted in a 2 to 2 tie. The French were the losers in the tie because their base Morale die (d4) was less than the English base Morale die (d6). The English then declared another Tactical Morale Challenge (d4 vs. d4). The French lost the roll 4 to 1, tripled, and routed unralliable.

The French mounted MAA units on the right flank have bad Morale dice. Historically, they were poorly led and badly organized. Many of the knights were a mix of the Armagnac and Burgundian parties and these rivals hated each other. So, they are better than the English archers at Melee (usually modified d10 vs. d4), but they fail Morale checks when things go badly.

(ABOVE) At this point, the French mounted MAA units are all either routing or pursued off the table, so it looks like it's up to the dismounted French knights to get the job done.The English won Initiative, won 18 Impetus pips, and fired a ton of longbow shots at the French knights trudging through the mud.

This missile fire ended up routing 4 different French units who continued the trend of rolling a "1" for all of their Morale checks. One of the fleeing units included the Commander in Chief's unit which lost two out of four stands to a 7 to 1 longbow shot.

Two French dismounted MAA units did manage to melee two longbow units.

(ABOVE) The longbow unit on the English right flank was a mounted longbow unit led by an English lord and his retinue. They outfought their French opponents who were obviously tired from their long stroll across the table (d4 base die).

On the English left flank, the French dismounted knights crushed their English opponents, sending them fleeing to the rear. The victorious French again pursued and received a point blank longbow shot into the flank from the longbow unit next to the newly created gap. They lost three stands (10 to 1 shot) and fled unralliable back to where they parked their horsies.

At this point, the battle is pretty much over. The French still have morale chips left, but with many of the units badly damaged and fleeing, there doesn't seem to be much hope for them. The dismounted French MAA still in the fight are opposite the English dismounted MAA who are more than a match for them.

It might not seem like it, but it was definitely a close contest. There were moments when I thought the English line would be broken and the French would be victorious. The English benefited from atrocious French dice on Morale Challenges and defense rolls vs. missile fire.

Great game. And Henry V never had to swing a weapon in anger.

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