Thursday 15 September 2022

Lion Crouching

 Busy week for the retiree this week, as people have said how did I find the time to work (term used loosely). 

I once opined that Lion Rampant was a set of rules which had not made an appearance at the club, and this week Stuart brought the second edition and Norman and Saxon 'armies' to try them out, a new experience for both of us. I had the Saxons and we lined up opposite with no real idea of what was going to happen, I had a loose plan of using my archers to support my heavy infantry while my cavalry would wait and see what the Normans would do.

You have to initiate each unit and if you fail the whole army fails and it is over to your opponent, not conducive to an overall battle plan. My archers advanced into the wood in front of them and then refused to come out for at least around a dozen turns putting an end to Plan A and stopping most of my forces dead. The Normans were slightly better but also had their moments. My elite cavalry smashed forward and took out their opponents then spent several turns trying to avoid the Norman crossbows, which would have eliminated them with a couple of decent volleys as they were only six figures. Stewart sent his elite cavalry over to his left to counter my General and his men.

The heavy infantry clash in the centre was a non event as we both lost these troops to combat and missile fire, my archers had at last moved. My light cavalry took out the enemy skirmishers and as the sun began to set the Normans had their elite cavalry and the crossbowmen against my light cavalry, skirmishers and archers, I won on points.

This is not my kind of game, it is a game to me and not a wargame, it could have been jelly babies moving on the table rather than Stuart's lovely figures due to the lack of historical flavour (see what I did there). I found it difficult to understand why a unit only just over 50% strength fought and shot with a full hand of dice despite the losses it had incurred. It also seemed very difficult to rally a unit once it had taken a few casualties, and if it did and got another one off it went again reaching the point of no return very quickly. I know the rules are popular and there are many variants of them, I opined to my mate Matt that we can expect Lion Rampant Napoleonic's soon. You heard it here first.

The very next day I was off to Penrith and a game at Matt Crump's dungeon, no relative to the above Matt. Matt plays online with another blogging friend Jonathan Frietag and his AWI games always looked good so I asked him to set one up on this visit. It was a meeting engagement played with Rebels and Patriots rules, yes I was surprised that my prediction had come true, they are a Lion Rampant variant! Matt took me through the motions in a little pre game action and you can easily see the link between the two sets of rules, one big change was that if you fail an initiative roll only that unit fails not your whole army, a huge improvement to the game. I did wonder that the regiments were 'blobs' much like the medieval versions and this was the main way to move around the table, yes you can form up into a line but it takes time and can easily be disrupted. I just did not get this at all for the period.

Anyway on with the game, I set up with the intention of advancing my right, holding in the centre and sending my superior light infantry out on the left to give Matt something to think about. Things started well and I got rid of two American skirmish units quite quickly and got a third down to under 50%, then it happened. My attacking troops lost faith in my attack and either refused to move or could not hit a barn door, I must have used a full magazine of black powder trying to take down one skirmisher behind a headstone, and as for my elite Grenadiers, aargh!

British set up on the right, Americans on the left.

Matt's Dungeon.

The main American position.

The British deploy.

Matt advanced some Militia to keep an eye on my light troops and this gave my elite Guards an opportunity to open up on them, but once again my elites could not hit a barn door, but the light troops fought magnificently eventually beating the Militia. Matt now tried to advance his centre and although he had pushed mine back my artillery caused havoc with every shot. It was now my turn to have an annoying skirmisher, two of them had somehow got very close to the American line and loosed a devastating volley which caused the Yanks lining a nearby fence to withdraw. Slowly losses rose in the American ranks and a revitalised British force took the victory as the Rebel general left the field taking most of his remaining troops with him. The British artillery played a decisive part in this action, the Americans had two smaller caliber guns but they missed out on firing quite a few times while the Royal Artillery did not.

My hopeless right flank.

...and almost hopeless centre.

My hero skirmishers.

The most annoying figure ever.

The excellent light troops.

American general tries his best.

Now this was more of a wargame, I still have reservations on the game mechanics but I felt I could put a plan together and attempt to carry it out. I also enjoyed very much playing over an excellent table with beautifully painted troops. I would certainly play this again, but I would not rush to play Lion Rampant.

What else is going on, well I finished the first piece of terrain for my Italian Wars, a nice building from Colin at Charlie Foxtrot Models. As usual I had no patience and made a couple of mistakes which I managed to rectify or cover up, when will I learn. I textured the building then painted it with an ochre shade in a test pot, this I then darkened with GW Seraphim Sepia wash and finally dry brushed with white. The tiles were again a test pot of a terracotta colour with a GW Agrax Earthshade wash, watered down but with patches of full colour, I was going to drybrush this but I like how it has turned out, so it is done. Buildings don't do much on the battlefield but are needed I think for local colour.

I am still plugging away at the Gendarmes but they are now 90% done and will be attached to their horses at some point today. I have 18 more cavalry and 8 arquebusiers in the drawer next, I think the infantry are next up as they are very easy to paint. The rest of the terrain I might get to along the way. Andy at The Last Valley should have my poplar trees ready in the next week or so so I am hoping they will be here for the game with Julian.

Sunday is a large ACW game with Fran, Rob and Stewart here at Casa Anderson, the first game in my empty Post Office, the first of many I hope, the place will possibly be refurbished next year but I don't want to think of that yet.

I am off to Ulverston this afternoon to get the car serviced, this will be my last Mercedes, the service costs are astronomical and disingenuous for a vehicle which is supposed to be at the pinnacle of German engineering. If this is so why does it need servicing every year whether you do 5,000 miles or 35,000 miles, you could keep it in your garage and never take it out and they still want you to have an eye wateringly expensive service every year, greedy swine. I might also have to get a Timex as well as my watch is about due for a service and I shudder to think what that will be. 

Maps are coming in regularly at the moment and on the shelf waiting are Confronting Napoleon, Belgian Forces in the Congo, Chinese Railways and Polish battles in 17thC.

Polish SOE operations.

Omdurman campaign.


  1. Looks like retirement treats you well with two games in rapid succession. Too bad about LR. RP appears to hold some promise at least. Matt sure sets a fine table. Good to see you two getting in some regular gaming sessions.

    1. Well I have survived the first real week, hopefully a lot more to come Jonathan, my wargaming comes in crests and troughs, I am on a crest at the moment.

  2. Two lovely looking games mate! I rather like the more chaotic mechanics of LR2. SP2 also brings in such ‘fog of war’ (or friction as some prefer to say) using it’s card system - you rarely get to move/shoot/fight with everything each turn. Anyway, you had fun and won both too!
    Nice building! It’s my favourite range of all Colin’s kits. A real joy to build and paint … and game with 🙂

    1. I got the impression Rebels and Patriots might be in the same stable as SP2. Yes, very happy with the building, one more to go then a pile of walls which may of course come in handy for the battle of Pavia one day.

  3. Not a fan of any of the Osprey stable of 'rules' myself. Good to see you out and about in retirement! Good win down in The Dungeon too! The building has come out really well. As an alternative to white I recommend a test post of Lime Wash for a slightly less stark finish.

    1. I do have a liking for Honours of War and would play Rebels again at Matt's. I was thinking of a lighter colour for the next building, we will see. Two wins so a happy bunny at least until Chancellorsville on Sunday.

  4. Good stuff all round George, you are certainly filling your time.

    1. At the moment Phil, although not all wargame related.

  5. Retirement can be a busy time 😀 I have some Charlie Foxtrot Buildings to make for my Spainish project but it looks like I might need to tidy up the dungeon first 😂