The army compositions are listed below:
WOTR Tudor Army (the reds)
5 x Mounted Men-at-Arms
7 x Retinue Billmen
8 x Retinue Longbow
4 x Generals
WOTR Yorkist Army (the blues)
2 x Mounted Men-at-Arms
2 x Dismounted Men-at-arms
5 x Retinue Longbow
5 x Retinue Billmen
4 x Continental Pikemen
4 x Hobilars (light cavalry)
4 x Generals
The composition of the Yorkist army was very much a ‘pick and mix’ in terms of troop types to add interest and challenge to the game. The Tudor army was a typical ‘retinue’ army of the period with 8 retinue longbow units.
Deployment and opening moves.
My Yorkists deployed first with the light and heavy cavalry units concentrated on my right wing. Inside them were the pike units and then the retinue bill behind the line of longbow. Sally and Alex echoed my deployment with the 5 units of heavy cavalry facing my cavalry and their 8 units of longbow in a line with the bill units positioned behind. Opening moves saw both lines close on each other, advancing to take up position on the elevated ground on either side of the road which crossed the battlefield from left to right.
In order to keep my ‘C’ class pikemen units away from the Tudor longbow I positioned them behind and to the right of a 4 hex central hill form where they could hopefully support my cavalry without being demolished by bow fire. I sent a screen of hobilars forward to deter the 5 units of Tudor heavy cavalry from launching a surprise charge. These light cavalry had the option of standing their ground or evading but they were not much use in combat and were only ‘D’ class.
In their next tactical move, Alex and Sally didn’t advance their cavalry, but they did however advanced the Tudor longbow into shooting range of my longbow units and the arrow storm began! With 8 units of longbow against my 5 this was never going to be an even contest and I quickly lost one unit and another recoiled disrupted. I pulled the other 3 longbow units towards the central 4 hex hill out of range which left my bill units to suffer repeated arrow storms. They were soon in full retreat losing many stands.
The cavalry were next engaged and my hobilars were soon sent fleeing – no match for the Tudor heavy cavalry. Thankfully, my pike units, three of which I had concentrated into 2 pike blocks of 6 stands were ready to engage the cavalry next. They turned this into a more equal contest but not without some notable assistance from the combat dice on my side. Sally was rolling the shooting and hand-to-hand dice for the Alex/Sally team and there were worrying early signs that she was ‘not rolling well tonight!’
On the other wing my infantry were already in full retreat from the Tudor shooting line, pulling back towards the central slope and hill. In order to compensate for this loss of ground I advanced my 2 units of dismounted men-at-arms, each accompanied by a general straight across the centre to engage 2 of the Tudor longbow units. They shot poorly in response and I finally managed to push my infantry into hand-to-hand combat. However, the left hand unit was soon overwhelmed by Tudor bill units and was lost along with a general.
In the cavalry engagement I lost another general along with one of my two units of mounted men-at-arms. My Yorkist army was now defeated on my left wing, just about holding in the centre and my cavalry were all but beaten on the right. I now had only 2 generals left and Alex/Sally still all 4. The situation was approaching untenable for my Yorkists, but having set up this truly ‘international’ game I resolved to fight on to a full and complete defeat! I decided to concentrate my remaining undisrupted units on the central hill and slope from where I could advance on the road and hopefully separate the two halves of the Tudor army.
In the next round of shooting and the subsequent hand-to-hand combat Sally managed to throw me a lifebuoy in the form of what must be about the worst set of dice rolls I’ve witnessed in years! The well-positioned Tudor longbow units missed their targets, and my combat units survived despite the combat factors stacked against them! I was let off the hook, and as a result, given the opportunity to bring some sort of order back into my scattered and disrupted units, even my hobilars returned once more to the fight. They did flee again in the very next combat phase, but they saved my last unit of heavy cavalry and enabled my pike units to engage the Tudor heavy cavalry.
I could sense Alex’s growing frustration. Sally and he next sent bill units and a general towards the 4 hex hill – its loss would surely herald my final defeat! My last 3 units of Yorkist longbow occupying the hill loosed their arrows and achieved 8 hits from eleven D12 shooting dice – way above the odds! A Tudor general and unit of bill were lost and the hill remained in Yorkist hands.
Meanwhile, the Yorkist pike blocks were on a roll, helped by the poor shooting from the Tudor longbow which they subsequently demolished – thanks again to Sally’s incredibly poor dice rolls! A Tudor general accompanying a heavy cavalry unit demolished the 4 stand pike unit, only to be destroyed by a Yorkist 6 stand pike unit in the following hand-to-hand combat phase. The other 6 stand pike block destroyed another general along with a unit of billmen, The Tudor army was now left with only one general while the Yorkists still had two!
This brutal round of hand-to-hand combat heralded the end of the game. Both armies were scattered and reduced to barely a third of their original strength, with few generals left to try and gather units back into viable formations. As a consequence, neither side was therefore able, or in a geographical position to launch another attack. A quick points count would probably indicate a very hard fought draw! To put this game into ‘Monopoly’ terms, I had been given so many ‘get out of jail free’ cards that my Yorkist army didn’t really deserve a draw!
The early successful attack by the Tudor infantry against my left wing should have lead to a quick victory. However, the tactical defence of the central hill bought my Yorkists just enough time to re-group and engineer a fight back, but not without significant and constant assistance from Sally’s amazingly awful dice rolls! Alex was therefore forced to endure a string of disappointing combat results from his distant Canadian vantage point – it was all mum’s fault!