Wednesday, 18 October 2017


I recently managed another game of  The Pikeman's Lament with Imperialists fighting Ottomans, somewhere in Eastern Europe. We played the Beating Up Quarters scenario with 36 point companies.

                                                                   The battlefield.

 A quiet, sleepy hamlet in the eastern part of the Empire.

 Women gossip as they go about their daily chores.

 The menfolk set off to work the fields.

 Or tend to their livestock.

 Their lives are made harder by having a company of soldiers billeted in their homes. But the garrison makes them feel safer...or are they?

 At sunrise the sentries cry out in alarm as shrieking Ottoman cavalry swoop in from all sides. As dozy soldiers struggle out of their quarters, volleys of shots cut them down. The red counter marks a unit of pike in disarray behind the house, fired upon by Ottoman infantry just out of the picture.

 A second unit of pikemen stumble out of the house the have been sleeping in, just moments before Ottoman sipahis set the roof alight.

 The Imperialist Captain realises that the Ottoman commander is isolated with his Janissary bodyguard, so leads a unit of musketeers forward to support the cavalry trying to ride the Turk down. The Janissaries fight like heroes, throwing back repeated cavalry charges with heavy losses, then cutting down the opposing musketeers with withering volley. The Imperialist captain stands, bareheaded, among his musketeers just seconds before a well aimed musket ball blew the top of his head off!

 The pikemen, now rallied, charge a unit of Turkish horse. Unfortunately they are not sipahis, as the pikemen thought, but Tartars (elite dragoons!) who deftly avoid the charge and cut them down with accurate bow shot. As casualties mount the pikemen's morale collapses and they flee in rout.

 The final moments of the game. On the right of the picture the last unit of pikemen have just fallen back in disarray after being shot up then charged by a unit of sipahis.  To the left the Janissaries still stand defiant against the Imperialist cavalry. At this point we called it a Ottoman win, the Imperialist only had 2 figures on the table that were not in disarray, whilst half the Ottoman company was still effective, including 2 units at full strength.

Another great game using these fun rules.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Mapledurham at War

A change to my usual postings, last weekend I went to a WW2 reenactment at Mapledurham near Reading.
Broni was booked to sing with her vintage duo, the Lu La La,s and managed to get a spare entrance ticket for the Sunday so I went along. It was a fun day, with lots of reenactors, period music, two battles and demonstration of amphibious vehicles in the mill pond. Also more jeeps that you could shake a stick at! Particularly interesting were some of the talks given by reenactors of interested groups of visitors, especially that by a fallschirmjäger on German grenades and mines, with an impressive amount of kit!

If the Mill looks familiar it was used for scenes in The Eagle Has Landed and more recently was the gunpowder factory in the BBC's Taboo series.

As a picture is worth a thousand words.....

Friday, 28 July 2017


A scenario for almost any setting. A lord's daughter is being escorted home by her brother and two of his closest companions. On a particularly lonely stretch of road the coach suddenly loses a wheel and is forced to stop. The occupants climb out to examine the damage and realise that it was caused by a cunning concealed trap, dug into the road.  Suddenly a gang of ragged-looking ruffians emerge from the trees.........

The Escort
Brother (Leader): Rank 4, sword
Companion 1: Rank 4, pistol and sword
Companion 2: Rank 4, pistol and sword
Driver: Rank 2, sword

The Kidnappers
Leader: Rank 4, sword
Deputy: Rank 3, pistol and sword
Ruffian 1: Rank 2, sword and buckler
Ruffian 2: Rank 2, sword and buckler
Ruffian 3: Rank 2, sword and buckler
Ruffian 4: Rank 1, matchlock and sword
Ruffian 5: Rank 1, halbard

Our game was set in the English/Scottish border country towards the end of the 16th century.

The table set up.

 Another view.

 The Lady and Escort.

 The Scottish kidnappers.

 The trap is sprung!

 The first moves. The two English companions fire, killing the matchlockman before he gets off a single shot and the halberdier charges forward.

  As the rest of the gang advance, the brother and driver engage the gang's leader who bravely (foolishly?) leads the attack.

 Whilst one companion guards the rear of the coach, the other moves up to aid his lord.

 The Scottish leader takes a light wound (yellow marker) in payment for his rashness in leading his men from the front. As the melee expands the English driver is also wounded.

 In the meantime the Scots halberdier closes with the last Englishman whilst his superior tries to get a clear shot.
 The halberdier is cut down and the Scots deputy fires, wounding the Englishman.

 Disaster for the English player (me!). A Scot falls, but both the English leader and the driver are killed in a single round of combat.

 The last surviving Englishman is surrounded by enemies as a Scot grabs the girl and knocks her unconscious with his sword hilt.

The last Englishman fights on bravely, but can do nothing to stop the Scot escaping with the prize slung over his shoulder.

Thursday, 20 July 2017


Here's some photos from the game I played with Colin. He took the English, trying to escort the Arch Deacon of Carlisle across the table, whilst my Scots were trying to kidnap him for ransom. It was a fun game, but once the fighting started we realised that we had spookily matched up exactly the same figure types! Colin had sent his leader down one flank with 2 rank 2 sword and buckler men, my leader was on the same flank with the same companions. He had sent a matchlockman out on the other side of the village to try and outflank me, I'd done the same. He used his rank 3 deputy and his halbardier to rush the churchman down the centre road, I'd put the same in reserve to block the centre road!

It was evenly matched, with various minor wounds on both sides, until I cut down the English  rank 3 swordsman. The prelate made a run for the end of the village, with my veteran in hot pursuit. I caught up with him right at the table edge and knocked him unconscious, hoisted the churchman over my shoulder and legged it out of the village.