With three players on each side, all with different ideas on the best tactics with reference to the terrain and deployment, this was certainly a game of ‘generalship by committee!’ Both armies chose to deploy just about as far away from each other as the 6ft x 4ft table would allow. This resulted in the Yorkist army (in blue), which had fewer cavalry and was less mobile adopting a strong defensive line at a 45 degree angle across the table. This left the Lancastrians (red), advanced to occupy an 8 hex escarpment with its steep face directly facing the Yorkist defensive line.
What followed was a lot of shuffling around of units as both sides looked to find a way of opening the ‘opponents can’ so to speak. The decisive move came from the Lancastrians as they spit their heavy cavalry, 2 units left and 3 right and advanced both wings while holding the ridge of the central escarpment with their longbow units.
The 3 units of Yorkist continental pike had formed into 2 pike blocks of 6 stands and advanced along the road to meet the potential charge of the Lancastrian heavy cavalry. The front pike block which was accompanied by a general, was stopped and disrupted by shooting from the Lancastrian longbow. These ‘C’ class mercenaries, in their disrupted state, lost both their impact bonus and could not count their number of stands in hand-to-hand combat. They and the bill and longbow units either side, were charged by the 3 units of Lancastrian heavy cavalry. Miraculously, Steve rolled an 11 with his 2d6 combat dice, just enough to only lose by 2 against the attacking heavy cavalry unit and a avoid recoiling. One more point and the pike block would have recoiled into the second pike block behind, disrupting it! As a result of this amazing stand the Lancastrian heavy cavalry unit lost its +4 impact bonus and was now fighting at a halt!
This battle of the left wing continued as the Lancastrian longbow came down the steep slope of the escarpment to engage the Yorkist longbow in what turned out to be a very short shooting match. I think it was Tim that managed to score 8 hits out of 8 with his shooting dice to despatch the lead Lancastrian longbow unit. This created the opportunity for the Yorkist longbow and bill to advance against the central escarpment and the left wing of the Lancastrian army which was so far not committed. This advance also prevented any support reaching the 3 already engaged Lancastrian heavy cavalry.
The 2 remaining Lancastrian heavy cavalry and a precious general charged the Yorkist infantry of the right wing and despite initial success were stopped, fighting at the halt as more units of Yorkist billmen arrived in support. Meanwhile on the opposite wing the Lancastrians were already all but defeated with one general and two infantry units remaining, fighting for survival on the slope of a small hill. The Lancastrians had lost two of their 4 generals and these remaining generals were both locked in combat on the extreme of both wings.
The Yorkist infantry were able to advance and eliminate the remaining Lancastrian bill and longbow units in the centre which now had no command and control to enable them to organise a defensive line. Defeat for the Lancastrians was at hand, and the Yorkist commanders claimed a decisive victory. This was the second time that the Yorkist pike blocks had got the better of the Lancastrian heavy cavalry, but this was a very different type of game in which either side could have won up until the last couple of game turns.
The attack of the Lancastrian heavy cavalry and the advance down from the escarpment could and perhaps should have delivered the decisive blow against the Yorkists. However, the consistently good shooting from the Yorkist longbow and the ‘against the odds’ stand of the disrupted continental pike block to blunt the charge of the Lancastrian heavy horse at the key point of the battle and eventually turned events against them in what was still a very close game.