For this 250 points per side War of The Roses encounter, the Yorkist army was entirely made up of retinue troops and the Lancaster army was more numerous but cheaper troop types. The Yorkists had 3 units of mounted men-at-arms, the Lancastrians 2. The Yorkists also had 2 more units of retinue longbow and 2 more units of retinue bill. To balance the points cost the Lancastrians had 3 units of levy bowmen, 6 units of Irish Bonnachts and a couple of extra units of Hobilars.
The terrain was fairly open with an 8 hex and a 4 hex escarpment and a few evenly placed small forest areas. Steve and I (the Lancastrians), won the di roll for choice of table edge, we deployed second and moved second. Dave, Karl and Tony (the Yorkists), moved first but our choice of table edge gave us possession of both escarpments which were located towards our side of the centre line of the table and helped to create a defensive line.
Opening moves saw the Yorkists move their cavalry and infantry to the left and we chose to mirror this which meant moving our levy longbow away from their defensive position on the 8 hex escarpment. This in turn brought our levy bow into a shooting match with the Yorkist retinue longbow. Thankfully, our own retinue longbow extended the line and performed really well. Although the two opposing lines of longbow soon whittled each other down, the lines held and the bill and mounted units started to advance to contact.
We charged our cavalry into contact with the opposing cavalry to lock them, and one of the Yorkist generals into combat next to a small wood. This created an extended cavalry struggle which was to last the duration of the game eventually sucking in many more units and generals.
The Yorkist closed on Lancastrian centre, initially pushing us back forcing us to commit two generals, Irish infantry and hobilars. The hobilars proved to be as much use as a chocolate teapot, but at least they filled a gap! Over the next few game turns opportunities for both sides to gain the upper hand were squandered as the pendulum of battle swung in favour of one side then the other. We should have defeated the Yorkist cavalry on our extreme left, but amazingly stubborn resistance from Tony’s cavalry neutralised every attempt to turn the Yorkist flank.
Steve advanced the Irish Bonnachts and retinue bill towards the centre left of the Yorkist infantry line which although costly, locked in enough units to finally enable our remaining cavalry and infantry to advance towards the woods either side of the road lead by two generals. The loss of a Yorkist general with a unit of mounted men-at-arms tipped the balance of the game in the Lancastrian’s favour. The game was concluded with both sides reduced to near half strength after an incredibly close struggle lasting over two hours. The Lancastrian army still had all its generals and lost a few less points, but this was really a very marginal victory.
This turned out to be a very balanced encounter. In hindsight, both sides had plenty of chances of winning the game which produced a very entertaining ebb and flow. In my opinion, the loss of many longbow units on both sides in the shooting match, during the early part of the game, created the opportunity for the Irish Bonnachts to get engaged without being ‘shot away.’ This just tipped the balance of the game in the favour of the house of Lancaster.