Legio Wargames

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By smacdowall, Dec 19 2019 07:19PM

With Malplaquet behind me I have been turning my attention to Bosworth (1485) — one of England’s most decisive battles. Bosworth will be the subject of the Society of Ancient’s Battle Day on 4 April 2020 so I have 3 months left to paint up the rest of the contingents I still need to field.

The most recent contingents off my paining table are the following:

King Richard III with his Knights of the Body leading the charge that would cost his life.

Henry Tudor on foot. I still need to do a mounted version.

Rys Ap Thomas’ Welsh for Henry Tudor’s army

Henry Tudor’s French and Scottish pikemen.

Henry Percy’s Northumberland men for King Richard's third line.

Lord Thomas Stanley’s contingent, for Henry's army, although they may have hedged their bets.

By smacdowall, Nov 6 2019 09:03PM

Last weekend I had the pleasure of once again attending the Society of Ancients annual conference. It was, as ever, a most enjoyable weekend with good company, good games and some excellent talks.

There was a bit of a Wars of the Roses theme this year which suited me perfectly. Mike Ingram gave a fascinating account of Bosworth based on the new battlefield archeology and a detailed look at primary sources which overturn most of what we previously thought we knew about the battle. I highly recommend his book recently published by Helion.

I reprised my toy soldier game, very loosely based on Bosworth. The simple rules can be found in the rules section (medieval) on my website: This Weak Piping Time of Peace.

This time it was Henry Tudor who met his end in hand to hand combat with King Richard. So now the score is one-all.

Following an excellent talk on the little known Battle of Edgcote I took on the role of Robin of Redesdale.

Despite high moral purpose, bravery and determination, we were driven from the field thanks to the untimely intervention of the Earl of Devon.

We did have the satisfaction of killing off the young Henry Tudor who was observing the battle. So Henry died twice over the course of the weekend.

The Gangs of Rome game looked most interesting although I did not manage to take part.

Author and Classicist Harry Sidebottom entertained us with tales of the Third Century Roman crisis before a most congenial dinner.

And I did my part with a talk on the Vandals.

There were many other games which I did not participate in ranging from chariot warfare through to classiacl Rome, the Dark Ages and the high Middle Ages. In my view this is an event well worth attending.

By smacdowall, Oct 31 2019 04:20PM

Bosworth is the subject of the Society of Ancients Battle Day game next spring. It has therefore become my next wargaming project.

I already have a reasonable WoR collection thanks to the excellent 28mm Perry plastics which tempted me at Salute several years ago. They have since been augmented by Perry and Front Rank metals. I am now in the process of painting up the appropriate command groups for Bosworth — more on that later.

My interest in the Wars of the Roses goes back much further. I was inspired as a mere 8 year old by the excellent Britains WoR Swoppets and fought many a boyhood battle between the red and white roses on my bedroom floor.

My original Swoppets Knights collection is still in fairly good condition. Taking a break from painting some 28mm French pikemen for Henry Tudor, I wondered if the Swoppets could see action again. I quickly wrote up some simple rules and called up a friend for a Toy Soldier game very loosely based on Bosworth.

I divided the men up into eight contingents: Henry Tudor, Oxford, Chandée and Stanley for the Red Roses; Richard III, Norfolk, Brackenbury and Northumberland for the White Roses. For this first game Stanley and Northumberland would not have any historical restrictions preventing the players from using them as they wished.

First blood went to Richard III’s more numerous archers as they shot up the advancing Red Roses.

A fierce hand to hand combat developed in the centre with initial advantage going to the whites.

This turned around in subsequent turns with the White Roses being forced to retire.

Richard III led his mounted knights on the right flank to attack Tudor and Stanley who were advancing towards him.

A ferocious mounted combat ensued which swayed back and forth as more men joined the fray and Richard’s archers supported the Yorkist attack from a distance.

Then disaster struck. Richard was killed in hand to hand combat with Henry. The Tudor dynasty had begun!

The game was great fun and hugely satisfying. It was fantastic to see the old Britains knights on the battlefield again. The rules worked well — providing a simple and fast moving game.

I will reprise the game at the Society of Ancients conference this weekend. The rules: This Weak Piping Time of Peace are available as a free download from my website here.

By smacdowall, Nov 30 2018 04:11PM

The autumn Society of Ancients weekend conference is rapidly becoming my favourite fixture in my wargaming calendar. Resurrected by Richard Lockwood 3 years ago from the original residential weekends run by the Society in the 1980s it gives aficionados of the pre-gunpowder era a chance to meet and engage with like-minded people.

I, for one, enjoy the banter, discussion and interaction with fellow wargamers as much as I enjoy playing the actual games. The beauty of a residential weekend is that we have plenty of time for this.

I highly recommend the conference for anyone with an interest in ancient and medieval wargaming. Details on the Society website. You do not have to be a member to attend.

This year I once again ran my Warlords and Rebels game aka Somewhere in Gaul AD 430. I first put on this on back at one of the original 1980s conferences and again at two years ago. It is a multi-player game with the participants role-playing Goths, Saxons, Franks, local rebels and several competing Roman contingents. There is as much or more diplomacy and skulduggery as actual combat.

The full original scenario can be found in my 1991 Goths, Huns and Romans book, and more detail in my blog post from the 2016 conference.

Here are a few photos from the 2018 game:

The set up. Most troops starting off table
The set up. Most troops starting off table

The Roman field army advances, barely a Roman in the contingent
The Roman field army advances, barely a Roman in the contingent

Bacaudae rebels and Goths face off close the the village
Bacaudae rebels and Goths face off close the the village

The only actual combat was an attempt by the Goths to storm the village
The only actual combat was an attempt by the Goths to storm the village

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