Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Grab the Guru!

Dawn - a peaceful town somewhere in Spain
As a slight change from our usual gaming fair at the club, this week Kev and myself had arranged to have a dark age skirmish game, which gave Kev a chance to use his newly painted up Saxons and just do something a bit different.

Leaving things with me to arrange what we were going to do (always a mistake at the best of times), I decided on a simple scenario where Kev and his un-named marauding horde would be attacking a badly defended Moorish settlement.

The local Emir and his household troops are away despoiling somewhere else and the raiders are taking the opportunity to raid the town and abduct the local holy man who is hold up in the town, who will be worth a kings ransom to the Moors to get him back. Attacking at dawn the locals will only be able to spot and  react to the attackers once within 12" and thye locals are generally poorly armed with little or no armour, spear and javelins and a few bows. The raiders are tooled up professionals with chain armour etc.

However, the raiders are on a tight schedule as they need to be in and out with their prize before the Emir and his mounted household troops return, from round 8 onwards a dice being checked each turn with an increasing chance of them appearing.

A simple enough scenario and I chose to use my old standard for medieval skirmish, the 'Retinue' rules from Table Top Games, though we ended up using a much abridged version of the rules to avoid any paperwork. Doug Thomson stepped in on the night to assist me on the Moorish side, and Kev leading his forces into the town.

Kev, decided on a sneaky approach through the town on either side, rather than the upfront approach straight down the middle and split his forces into two and advanced into the town at a run. His forces quickly got a bit bogged down being held up by small numbers in the confining alleys.

Though the plucky defenders were cut down, they did slow the raiders' advance, this being the result two or three times or six or so turns, with the raiders having to clear the way at several bottle necks. The raiders cutting down many of the defenders, for few loses but these did begin to mount..

Pretty much as the raiders finally reached the fortified rabat where the Holy Man was laying low, the defenders finally got their act together. Well Doug did and inflicted a series of casualties on his opponents on his side of the table in a volley of short range fire and then rushed forward into hand to hand, delaying the raiders on that side of the battle. While on my side the raiders had pretty much cleared the streets bar one or two hardier fellows and were sprinting for the gates when in true cinematic fashion the Emir and his troops appeared in the distance.

The battle on the streets raged on for another couple of rounds on Dougs side of the town as the re-enforcements cantered into the fray, having to slow almost to a walk to negotiate the twisted streets before entering the fray.

The first of the raiders entered the rabat, taking a couple of loses from fire from the walls and the lone (by this time) archer perched on a roof on my side, again in cinematic fashion, a bold raider dying in the gateway of his goal.

The game ended pretty much at this point. The towns folk having been decimated but taken a few of the raiders with them, it was likely that rather than escaping with their prize which they hadn't quite got yet they would instead have had to hole up in the rabat and try and escape when and if they could probably using the Holy man to buy their way out.

A good game and a victory to the Moors, since the raiders had failed to escape with the holyman, but a pyrrhic one as most of the men folk of the village had been cut down.

Kev did have his work cut out to get to the rabat and grab the Imam before the Emir appeared with really the only way to do this would have been to make a rush straight through the middle of the town but potentially having to then fight their way out through the then organised defenders.

The Imam keeps a watchful eye
on his flock
A quickly put together scenario in the usual gaming tradition and one that I'd like to play again but with a couple of minor modifications. One topic of conversation was that both Doug and Kev would have liked to use rules which were a bit more 'quick play' rather than the old school rules we used, and I'd have to agree especially with the limited time on a club night. Kev suggesting a version of the GW LotR rules being ideal. So that might be the way to go for next time. A bit of colour and depth sacrificed for speed of play.

It will be interesting to compare the different styles of rules on the same scenario, 1982 versus 2002 skirmish rules and see which comes up trumps. I've a feeling it might be the new boy on the block but we'll see.

Next weeks game is another skirmish, this time round 4 of our occasional Mordheim campaign, the Library.


  1. Great report! It's fantastic to see a game of retinue in action. I love retinue, but haven't been able to play it in years for lack of a willing opponnent. Thanks for this little blast from the past.

    1. It's been a while for me too since I played Retinue. I really like the rules, but as I said in the blog, they didn't go down too well with the troops, a bit too slow.

  2. A great report, great figures and terrain too!!!

  3. Great table and a well done report!


  4. Thanks for the comments all, a good game to be sure. Can't take credit for the terrain though as it's all put together from club stock but I did think it looked nice together though.


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