Sunday, August 9, 2015

Opening Knight in the Wargames Room



The kind and talented Jonathan Freitag held a contest recently on his blog and I was quite thrilled to receive this prize in the mail last week.   I wish I had acknowledged and thanked Jonathan sooner, but I thought it would be appropriate thanks to show that I’ve already employed this useful little book.

This book is valuable in two ways.  First, it provides 2-3 page rules for classic wargaming periods ranging from Ancients to WW2.   The rules are extremely brief and simple.   Each period has four troop types, and the rules for all these periods share an IGO/UGO turn structure: move, shoot and melee.    There are no morale or leadership rules, but for an hour long war-game, not every rules concept can be included.

The other useful thing about this book is that the second half features a set of scenarios, thirty in all, which would work for the rules in the book or for more complicated rules.  This combination of smiple rules and fast scenarios seemed like a perfect way to inaugurate the wargames room.

Since I had just unpacked the box containing my 28mm medievals figures, which have been sitting in that box for four moves and at least ten years, I decided to break them out and try Thomas’ medieval rules.  In a very simple confrontation, using the Pitched Battle scenario, the forces of Humphrey de la Tour Palouse face off against the retinue of Godfrey Mainfort.  Humphrey has allied himself with Oswry the Usurper and promised to deliver him the North in return for being made Lord of the Marches and marrying his daughter Esmerelda to Oswry’s rodent-faced son Ranulph.   Godfrey Mainfort, on the other hand, is loyal to Penric, uncle and Protector of the two young princes of the late King Bohemund the Pious.   The two armies meet on the windy moors to decide the contest.

Both sides are identical in composition:  three units of knights, and a unit each of archers, men-at-arms and levies, since both roll the same number on the random force generation table.  Duc Godfrey chooses to mass all of his chivalry on his left wing, while Humphrey only has two thirds of his knights on his right wing.


Humphrey’s array.   Many of these figures, including the peasants in the foreground, are about twenty years old.   I’m glad my friend James convinced me never to get rid of them.


Godfrey’s knights surge forward.  They will mass 2 to 1 and 1 to 1 on Humphrey’s two units, annihilating one immediately.   As you can see from the white bases at the top of this picture, I had started a rebasing project, years ago, then forgotten about it.  I suppose I should revisit that project, as most of these figures are based singly on pieces of cereal box cardboard, and the state of the basing art has progressed since then.

Lord Stanley of Barrie adjudicates the clash of chivalry.  A most palpable hit, he cries.  Now, where’s the tuna you promised me for this gig?

Humphrey’s unengaged unit of knights rides down Godfrey’s archers, which are old Minifigs castings with one Wargames Foundry figure closest to the camera.

In return, Godfrey’s chivalry, having crushed Humphrey’s right wing, ride down his archers while Humphrey’s men at arms look increasingly endangered.  In the back of the photo, a unit of Godfrey’s knights rides in pursuit of Duc Humphrey.  Some of the charging knights are RAFM and others are Minifgs.  The archers are Wargames Foundry.  I don’t recall who made the halberdiers at the bottom right.  Citadel, perhaps?

Who legs it, with his surviving knights, leaving his foot to their dubious fates.  Notice in the photo below how my collection, which was quite haphazard, combines a late medieval/WOTR era figure with early 14th century figures.   Shockingly ahistoric, but these were collected in long ago, more innocent days, when I was content to grab whatever figures I could find on a limited budget.

Duc Humphrey has escaped to plan his revenge.  The fate of the realm is far from decided.   There will be other battles.

Joanathan, thanks for your very kind gift.  It was a great pleasure, in my distracted state, to use this great little book for a cheap and cheerful battle with some old, old friends.  I will turn to this book again, I am sure.

Blessings to your die rolls!



  1. Michael! I was hoping OHWs book found you in your new abode. Very pleased to see that it did!
    Even more pleased to see that the book has prompted action on your new gaming table.

    1. Jonathan, it was the first fun (and therefore welcome) piece of mail at the new house, where we still get door to door delivery, an increasingly endangered thing in Canada. You're very kind, sir.

  2. Excellent review and report Mike. Things seem to be going well up there.

    Keep up the good work mate.

    1. Thanks Paul - next, to break out a plastic model kit, or maybe refurbish my Shermans a la Foster.

  3. A lovely read and the war-games room up and running - wonderful.

  4. I'm very glad to see your new house broken in. There is definately a place for quick and easy games. I find them to be great stress relievers.

    Also great to get old figures out. I suspect a mix of armour is more historical than everyone wearing the latest cadillac. I do confess to being somewhat disappointed that you can't identify the halbardiers, I have a unit of the same and am also unsure of their make.

  5. What a nice little game, great report! And the Neil Thomas book is great - the scenarios alone are worth gold, and I found the rules fascinating in their attempt to distill the essentials.

  6. Great eclectic mix of figures and I am pleased they ( and the rules) were a cause of pleasure in your distracted state for you.
    p.s clumsily put but sentiments real enough

  7. Nice little game- great war to start wargaming in your new place.

    I really must pick up these rules as I only ever hear good things about them.



  8. That was going along very nicely until the cat appeared.

  9. Huzzah! I'm heartily glad I convinced you of their worth.
    10 years? 'Struth! That must have been when you were a simple country parson and Scott Cameron with my Swiss pushed us off the table?
    A fine opening night for the new game room.

    1. They date back longer than that, mate, but yes. I will never forget that terrible mass of Swiss pike bearing down on me. Some of my collection were on that table that night, and I think they all have PTSD.

  10. Happy to see games being played in la casa nuevo senor capellan.

    20 year old minis.... I just sold almost all of my old 20+ year old miniatures. But then, I have no inclination to go back to Games Workshop rulesets ever again really.

    Congrats on the rulebook!

    1. Cheers, Dai. I discovered some old GW codices when I unpacked. Lord knows why I've kept them. They have a date with the recycling box, I think.

  11. Entertaining report as always, the halberdiers are citadel circa 1981 Hyw
    all the best

    1. Ah, that sounds right. I can't remember how I bought them - I only have six, so I suspect they came in a blister pack. I think Citadel sold stuff in hobby stores back then.


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