Mid and Late Medieval at Roll Call 2019
Lancastrian WOTR vs Samurai
Holy Ninja Time ! Game 5 and the cobbled together Lancastrian army, ostensibly designed to allow the Northern Border Horse figures to be deployed as well as a bunch of longbowmen were suddenly pretty much on top of the pile going into the final round. Not too bad for a bunch of Northern Monkeys!
The lists for the Lancastrian WOTR and Samurai from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Roll Call can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
With a suitably historically appropriate lunch of pie and chips consumed it was time to roll out the impressive green carpet yet again for a final round matchup with the West Midlands leading exponent of origami, Mr Clarke and his recently refurbished Samurai.
ADLG has revitalized 25mm gaming for many, with feasibly paintable armies and a better game balance which has the possibility for quite a bit of movement instead of just slamming together two solid lines of troops and rolling dice to see who breaks first.
The UK circuit has seen a flurry of "dug out of the cupboard" long-forgotten armies being painted up, rebased and taking to the field as a result - and this one followed the Round 2 Swiss in that very welcome trend.
The field was narrowed on both sides, but the cunning Samurai had not taken the rampaging Godzilla option to launch an all out attack from the sea.
Instead plenty of rough terrain in a Bow Motorway(tm) littered the Lancastrian right and was no doubt soon to be swarming with Samurai bowmen.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York.
(Richard, Act 1 Scene 1)
The rest of their deployment was a solid heavy infantry centre and a decent sized cavalry force on their right.
The Lord of the North West had ordered his skirmishey sort of medium foot command into the Bow Motorway to hold up whatever rough terrain troops the Samurai could throw at them
In reality this was almost certain to prove to be a somewhat thankless task given the inevitable gulf in class between a handful of mercenary crossbowmen and the creme of 400 years of Japanese warrior archery tradition who were even now racing at them through the mountainous terrain to their front.
But, if you need the money I guess you take the rough with the smooth, and the French mercenaries sighed and applied themselves to the probably unequal task with gusto.
As the mercenaries inched forward the rest of the loose formation command - all of them proud Northerners with filial links to the Lord's estates on the outskirts of Alderly Edge - took a far more sensible approach to the coming conflict.
Turning sharply to the left they marched out of the path of the obvious Samurai attack, racing the utterly pointless Border horse in their efforts to avoid being shot to pieces.
The terrain had been conceded to Japan, but the Lancastrians were much more confident in the open against the mounted Samurai.
An expenditure of serious points in much of the rest of the army on Elite status had left the mounted archers rather short on the quality front - and being Ordinary Cavalry was about as much use as having a degree in teriyaki sauce making when it came to considering frontal combat against a full fat medieval Longbow and dismounted Knight Battle.
The Samurai had swept over the first cluttered hill on their left and were now forming a broad arc in the surprisingly empty table as the space before them continued to be vacated at speed by the Lancastrians.
With the rest of the Samurai infantry reluctant to advance into the gunne line of the Great Gonne of Stockport it was left to the House of Lancaster's dismounted Scouse Knights to take the battle to the enemy close formation halberdiers
The Scousers were hoping that their javelinmen would find the bravery to come back and defend their right flank as they advanced clankingly forward at pace. Sound.
The last of the Samurai!
Al'reet? The Lancastrians suddenly shook out into something approximating a proper battle line as the two armies started to align. Well, if you are generous enough to define "proper" as putting 2 crossbowmen up against 4,000 well trained sSmurai swordsmen with barely any support.
The only vague attempt at justifying this cynical time-wasting ploy was the wheeling of the Great Gonne of Stockport, which sought to aid the Crossbow shooters. Quite whether its long range cannonades would deter the Samurai from claiming their prize was not in doubt.
The Samurai Horsemen has similarly realised that the game for them was already up, and would be over quicker than a Rugby World Cup tourist party could bankrupt a Japanese restaurant offering their traditional 'all drinks for the next 2 hours for 2,000 yen" special meal deal if they were daft enough to stay around.
Belying previous rulesets inability to make the 25mm game interesting the Japanese horsemen turned around and fell back, looking to squirt away into the rear of the table before the Lancastrians could catch them.
Even now the need for a pacey advance was seeing odds and sods of the Lancastrian formation left behind
Teed up against the Crossbows the Samurai barely bothered to shoot.
Saving arrows for a future volley they drew their longswords and attacked at a trot, carving great sushi-style slices out of the hapless Frenchmen who were beginning to wonder if they would still have fingers left to count their pay at the end of the day's fighting.
And live we how we can, yet die we must.
(Warwick, Act 5 Scene 2)
Things were tighter than a Japanese size Medium pair of underpants on an over optimistic American UNIQLO shopper as the Samurai cavalry tried their damndest to escape the unseemly haste with which the Lancastrians had been advancing across the table towards them.
My thoughts are whirled like a potter's wheel:
I know not where I am, nor what I do.
(Talbot, Act 1 Scene 5)
The Lord of Lancaster was considering the merits of a charge, but was mindful of the risk of being left high and dry and then swarmed by vengeful mounted Samurai in response.
Wot you skennin' at? In not entirely unexpected news the Crossbows were now fully removed form play, leaving a wide wall of fast moving Samurai set to take down the next wave of hapless Lancastrian speedbump infantry on the far right.
In the centre the slowly advancing Liverpudlian halberd-armed infantry had seconded a unit to go and silence the shooting of yet more Samurai archers as the main body pressed on towards the Heavy Infantry in the centre of the Japanese line.
With the Samurai cavalry wing now pretty much bottled up, more Lancastrian foot knights and halberdiers had been freed from the Lord of Lancaster's command and even now were now starting also to converge on the densely packed Samurai centre.
Sending heavy foot into bowmen to silence their shooting is usually a valid tactic, but not against swarms of Samurai it isn't. The Liverpudlian militia found themselves encircled faster than a sushi chef can slice sashimi, and quickly dropped to a similarly beribboned state
By Gum! The Lancastrians had largely removed themselves from their initial right flank deployment position, and the sweeping move of the irresistible Samurai foot to overrun this flank was now turning into a wheel back into the centre.
The English Foot Knights and Longbows were closing in on the fleeing Japanese cavalry and the line of Heavy Samurai warriors from the far left at speed, but the return to the main kabuki-theatre of conflict for quite so many Samurai archers would have a seriously negative effect on the Lancastrians ability to fight on. Only the Northern Border Horse now (semi) realistically stood in their way.
The Samurai tsunami needed to be stopped at any cost, before the blood of the red rose of the house of Lancaster was spilt all over their own nice newish battle mat!
That cost was a Light Foot Javelinman who used the rare opportunity to be legally allowed to charge enemy in rough terrain and in the rear to hurl himself at the rear of the line of receding Samurai warriors and Ashigaru.
This was no game-winning tactic, but coupled with a returning threat from the Lancastrian Javelinmen it did give pause to the Japanese outflanking force, making them stop and confront these twin, new but rather hapless threats. Time had perhaps been bought for the rest of the army to do their worst.
Here I prophesy: this brawl today,
Grown to this faction in the Temple garden,
Shall send, between the red rose and the white,
A thousand souls to death and deadly night.
(Warwick, Act 2 Scene 4)
Sepia tones set off the historic combat beautifully (or I had one of those light quality issues with the original of this photo that wasn't really fixable in my photo editing software) as the Lancastrian Foot Knights traded blows with Japans finest exponents of Naginata and Halberd combat at the closest possible quarters.
This was violent and desperate stuff, with both sides spittin' feathers and wielding Heavy Weapons and causing untold damage at each telling stroke. Nice one!
The Lord of Lancaster went in, urging his mighty steed to deliver its full weight of impact against the pony-riding Frank Sidebottom-loving massive-heed'ed Samurai cavalry!
With the Samurai cavalry having run out of space and table they had little choice but to stand and try and tough it out as the much bigger European horses and men of the Lords retinue simply obliterated the shocked Japanese warriors at first impact, and then stepped forward beyond their flank for a position most mounted warriors could only dream of.
Ow do mate! The combat in the centre spread like wildfire as more and more Heavy Infantry from both sides were drawn into the volcano of melee.
As units started to crumble and erode like city towers under the assault of an angry and architecturally unselective Godzilla some decidedly dodgy second string units found themselves on the front line for both armies - increasing the risk of a dramatic breakthrough exponentially.
Stockport's Great Gonne was still plugging away at the still-distant Samurai archers who had become somewhat becalmed as they tried to deal with the multiple, irritating threats the Lancastrians skirmish command could cobble together.
Each plink plink of artillery represented a risk and a potential need to expend pips on rallying troops as the Lancastrians did all they could to keep this powerful fighting force out of the battle for as long as possible
The Lords Battle of Longbows and Foot Knights wer well chuffed, as they had nearly now helped him to finish off the Samurai cavalry, with a tempting breakthrough into the Japanese baggage now a very close possibility.
But, calculating that this alone would not be enough for the decisive win the Lancastrians decided to send their longbowmen to help resolve the ongoing struggle of the Heavy Foot in the centre, trusting their Lord to do his Lords work and claim the Geishas in the camp and carry them back to the bright lights of Salford Quays for himself. Sorted!
Exhaustion was setting in on both sides as the toll of repeated naginata, greatsword and halberd blows sapped the will of both sides warriors to continue to fight.
As the blood sugar collapsed on both sides, geat holes were opening up in what had once been one of the most solid lines of scrimmage ever seen in 25mm as unit after unit fell to the ground and was removed from play.
The real question now was who would last the distance? Would it be owt er nowt for the Lancastrians from here on in?
Wot's the scran? The Lord of Lancaster despatched yet another horseman, sending the Samurai General (yes the rear rank Samurai horsemen is in fact a Generals element) skittering to his last cavalryman.
The Lancastrian Commander headed for the baggage, with a coup de grace now firmly in his sights.
To weep is to make less the depth of grief:
Tears then for babes; blows and revenge for me.
(Richard, Act 2 Scene 1)
Ey up, cock! The Lancastrians had been wiped from much of the table by the power and ferocity of the Samurai shooting and combat, but their irresistible left hook had driven a wedge of Mancunian destruction deep into the heart of the Japanese army's right flank as well, and with the baggage in their grasp victory was close for the men of Lancaster.
In fact, victory was here.
The Liverpudlian Foot Knights swung well, swung hard and unhorsed the last Samurai cavalryman with a mighty blow, taking the army with it to defeat!
Fearless minds climb soonest unto crowns.
(Gloucester, Act 4 Scene 7)
Read on for the post match summaries from the Generals involved, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Post Match Summary from Lord Norris of Weatherfield, the Lancastrian WOTR Commander
Oh my lord. You remember what I said about not liking Italian food? Well, I must say that I have never even thought of Japanese - who wants some raw and wet herring offered up to them on a plate? And how do you keep the brown sauce on slimey fish anyway? I have never known owt so daft in all my days!
They were a right bunch of shifty archers though, sneaking through the undergrowth on the Rec and trying to break in through the back passage without me being ready to receive them - the naughtly little blighters!
In the end though some proper British steel and some even bigger shire horses liberated from the Boddingtons Brewery at Strangeways put paid to their nasty oriental plans, and saw the Lancastrians through to a great victory.
Can you imagine me, the new Napoleon? Well, it is a dream I have harboured for many a year, and if you are interested I can show you some lithographs I had done back in the late 70's where my head has been sketched under Napoleons hat in a recreation of the retreat to Elba, but featuring me on the top deck of a No.148 night bus out to Rochdale Manor Park... No? OK then - let's just settle for the win
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
What a ninja-tastic exposition of how to make something beautiful and effective out of a seemingly tricky and small body of high quality men. Of course I do not refer to your leadership skills here, but the nicely painted opposition and their clever list construction whch I think I need to work on and use myself in some future event perhaps.
Your bunch of hapless black-spray and drybrush low effort plastic warriors paled in comparison to the glory of the Japanese army here, but in the end it was your best skill - utter unashamed cowardice - which allowed you to sneak in a rather undeserving win by simply running away from a fight on your right.
This act of craven fear and ignominy then bought your Lord and Master enough time to march against the squishy part of the enemy army - horsemen which I still have a nagging doubt as to whether points should have been invested to make some of them Elite perhaps - and make a home run for the baggage.
This weekend has indeed been remarkable in showing how a very average army with unappealing features and an even more unappealing leader seemingly bereft of skill can combine into a coherent whole. Perhaps the greatest lesson has been to see how your lack of quality troops forced you into a more measured and careful approach to warfare in general. In essence it seems that leading an army strong in the twin suits of incompetence and cowardice suits you much more than being at the helm of a potent array of bold and brave skilled warriors. Something perhaps we should have spotted many years ago I guess, but which has taken the finely balanced and simple points system of ADLG to finally unlock!
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