Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Arrow Doom

Saturday was the first playtest for my Hundred Years War rules. So many came to try out the game at Game Matrix on Saturday-David Sullivan, Mark Waddington, Dale Mickel, Scott Murphy, Gary Griess, Steve Ghan, Gene Anderson-and because these are always works in progress and the game might really stink, I really appreciate the long distance they travel and the time and patience they give.

The rules are intended to foster two important truths:
  1. The mounted knight in melee combat was superior to foot troops most of the time.
  2. The longbow generally was the ruler of the battlefield as long as they had arrows and could fight securely in a defensive position.

I wrote a simple set of rules for a semi-skirmish level game. The mechanics are pretty basic. I intended them for something I could easily run at a convention. I think that on that level the rules succeeded. However there are some content issues that need work.

Let's back up. I planned a basic chevauchee scenario. The English are trying to carry off their swag when they are attacked from the front and flank by a French force, and harried from the rear by the bereft peasants. The result of the game was unimportant. Each side earned some victory points.

The chief problem was with the strength of the longbow. When using the arrow storm the units simply were able to roll too many dice and kill too many troops. This was a trap I was afraid of, and I really need to work on that. The rules limit the number of arrow storms to scenario design, and there are rules for arrow depletion. I also allow that an arrow storm does some intrinsic damage, reducing movement and causing disruption that reduces melee value. The casualties caused need not be massive, but the effect of disruption should be very significant. Something to work on. I'm looking forward to running a similar game on October 18th.

I was able to pull out a fair amount of stuff for the game. The fields are my Barb's Bunker goodies, which I really like. The buildings are by Pegasus. The minis are all mine, a mix of Old Glory, Foundry, and a few Front Rank figures. The top photo shows the initial English

deployment. They generally used defensive positions quite well, and hoped the French would obligingly attack them. I allowed the French to divide their forces, and use some militia troops to flank the English which shook things up a little bit. The lower picture on the left shows the French massing for an attack on a unit of English dismounted hobilars. The picture at right shows the militia fording the stream, preparing to attack the English position (they were slaughtered.)

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