Saturday, 7 March 2015

Ranulf de Gernon rides again

Last night we had another chance to face Ranulf de Gernon and Clifford the Butcher up against each other (Lion Rampant). Straight into a scenario and we rolled up fugitive. Clifford would be hunting for his Cousin the monk of the local church. Ranulf was keen to track him down as he would prove a useful captive. We rolled for traits/skills and a double six meant Ranulf would be literally impossible to hold back). The battlefield was set with Clifford coming on from the church end of the field. (we had decided after our first couple of games last week to try a slightly modified activation roll, so each unit had the opportunity to activate even if a previous unit had failed, we would see if this changed the mechanics). Both retinues came on fast with this approach.
Battlefield set the fugitive hidden somewhere in the bushes
We had placed a number of bushes and fields in the centre for where the monk might be hiding.
Bidowers were first to the search in the graveyard but had no luck. As Clifford has, as yet, no cavalry Ranulf might have the advantage of speed and be able to run down any escaping units.
Bidowers sent to graveyard find no sign !
But by some fluke billmen find the monk at only the second attempt, was he hiding or was it a call of nature, as the objective once he is found is to get him off the field as quick as possible they didn't hang about to find out. It would now be all up hill for Ranulf and a struggle to catch them especially with our adopted new rule.
Found on second attempt !
In the end it did prove too much but the Normans put up a spirited attempt in the end wiping out nearly all of Clifford's men, but they were just not able to get to the billmen escorting the Monk in time before they escaped from the field.
Billmen run back leaving the rest of the retinue to fight it out
Closer than it might have been but we decided to re-set the same scenario, swop the attacker role and play to the official rules to see if it made a difference. It would now be up to Ranulf to find the Monk and get him off the field. Below you can see Ranulf gallantly charging off again !. (I have now realised that it really isn't a great idea having your leader in a wild charge unit especially when he has rolled Great leader skill at the start, effectively he is just going to run off round the table until he and his unit are destroyed !)
Re-set Ranulf gallops forth in search on the fugitive
Using his greater speed I was hoping Ranulf might be able to make a couple of searches before the blood ran to his head and I lost control, unlike the first run of the scenario the Normans searched and prodded in several places without any luck. By then Ranulf had seen Clifford and thought I'll have a bit of that. A challenge was called but Ranulf decide to decline at this early stage and his retinue confidently passed all its tests.
Hunting in the bushes Ranulf wildly charges Clifford
But as expected once they were in range he spent the next couple of turns wildly charging his mounted men at arms to destruction. They had some impact and Clifford units would at least be reduced in size.
More searching but no monk to be found
By now the cavalry and Ranulf have been spent !. It would be up to the trusty sarjeants to find the monk if they could. Using the official rules this gave a much more tactical battle in the centre as it was noticeable that both sets of missile troops were hanging back having failed to activate.
Numbers may count as the Normans push forward
Clifford now became isolated and sought to fight a more defensive battle in front of the church. The Norman numbers were gradually beginning to count and the Foot men at Arms eventually wiped out the billmen holding Cliffords flank. As there was no benefit in holding back both sets of sarjeants then flung themselves against Clifford eventually cutting him down in the bushes. The footmen at arms had finally made it into the bushes as well and low and behold the monk was found (4th attempt). We now had several tense turns as the men at arms tried to get off the table hotly pursued and shot at by Cliffords remaining retinue around the church. Luckily they were wearing really good imported French chain mail and the arrows just seem to bounce off !) In the end they just made it.
A really good battle and both runs of the scenario were enjoyable, on balance in the post battle analysis we felt the official rules probably gave the better game, but the challenge is when somebody just gets unlucky from the start ?
Found him no lets get out of here !

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