Monday, 2 March 2015

Clash in the Cumberland Borders....

Friday evening saw a clash on the Cumberland borders, using our almost completed Lion Rampant retinues. If you have followed any of the previous posts 4 of us have pulled together retinues the flexibility of the rules and approach mean you can pretty much pick any medieval period. Which is great but you then have to suspend reality as we played a clash between Ranulf de Gernon and Baron Clifford 'the butcher'. (Although it might explain why Ranulf at the tender age of 250 lost a challenge more later).

Billmen and Sarjents contest the cross

Playing 24 points we rolled up our first scenario Hold on tight and placed a suitable symbolic cross in the centre of the battlefield for Ranulf and Clifford to fight over. Despite the magic blue dice Ranulf's retinue was very slow to get off the mark and within a couple of turn Cliffords men had the cross and picked up the first glory point. Luckily some sarjeants managed to get on the move and were able to contest before it was too late.
Norman ladies watch from the safety of the castle

The battle started to hot up now with both retinues pulling together, it wasn't clear at this stage where the key combats would take place.

Whilst a number of Norman lady folk looked on from the castle keep Ranulf who had unfortunately rolled Rash as his leadership skills brought his mounted men at arms forward, he wasn't going to be able to hold them back when they got in range so he new he had to make it count.

The second unit of Norman sarjeants and crossbowmen are advancing through the trees.

Getting to grips !

The cross is captured
It was all or nothing now and Ranulf charged into the closest unit of billmen, although winning the combat it was not decisive. The Foot men at arms seen keeping close to the keep faired better and were able to muscle the large unit of billmen of the objective.

Next turn and Ranulf charged his remaining knights again, turning this time towards the cross and into Cliffords household footmen. These well armed knights were a hard nut to crack and although they ran down a couple the Norman knights were knocked back and after a poor roll Ranulf, sad to say galloped from the field, not dead at least, but less than heroic !

Numbers started to tell in the centre now as the second unit of sarjeants moved out from the woods looking to finish off Clifford and his footmen.

This last shot shows the Norman foot men, having chased off the billmen looking to trap Clifford, with his forces dwindling Clifford took the sensible option and with drew.

So although he had run away (tactical of course) Ranulf's men had earned him two glory points.

Battlefield set for the convoy
We rolled up another scenario - Convoy which is definitely a hard one for the attacker and Ranulf had the advantage of a mounted unit.

Ranulf and his knights in the foreground
Clifford came on in the far corner dragging with him three womenfolk taken as captives from the nearby Norman village it was up to Ranulf to chase them down. With the slow advance of foot troops and some failed movement rolls it took a while for the battle to get going. The first clash taking place in the village. The Normans once again had the better of it (sarjeants definitely appear to the solid unit of choice) and pushed the billmen back. This allowed the nearby crossbows to further whittle the enemy down.

But Clifford was making slow but steady progress across the table, once again Ranulf dug spur to horse and he can be seen gallantly charging forward to confront Clifford in the open part of the battlefield.

Ranulf leads another wild charge
Cross bows picking off stragglers
Having made the effort it felt appropriate for Ranulf to charge home but before he could summon the charge, the ranks of the enemy footmen openned to reveal the lone figure of Clifford the Butcher striding forward in his polished plate throwing down the challenge to Ranulf to meet him man to man. Like a red rag to a bull Ranulf charged looking to flatten the butcher in one go....but at the vital moment he felt his horse stumble perhaps on a rabbit hole ? whatever it was his focus had been lost and Clifford unseated him with one easy stroke of his bill. As Ranulf lay helpless on the ground his men at arms powerless to do anything Clifford snarled and delivered the fatal blow. Aghast the remaining Norman knights charged in killing all but Clifford.
Clifford and Ranulf fight to the death !
For a moment it look like they would have no revenge and Clifford would make off with the womenfolk. But the evil dog hadn't counted on the Norman cross bowmen, alone and isolated in the middle of the field bolts rained down on him, he tried to hide but with no shield eventually one bolt found its mark straight through his visor.
Cross bow finish Clifford as he stands alone
So two battles in the evening, one quite close the second perhaps less so. An excellent outing for the new retinues. The rules are easy to pick up and simple to play we rarely had to check the book and this is only the third time I have played.
Ps I have tried to format this post several times but just cant get the hang of it !


  1. Great write up. Looking forward to taking my retinues out for a spin.

    1. Thanks they are a fun rule set as long as you don't take it too seriously, not sure about longevity though ?