So this week we played another ‘learning game’ of ADLG v4. So I though I would do a quick write up of the game, There were three of us and so I GM’ed and took pictures while the other two guys played. The game featured a Free Companies army – shown below. Critically, this had2 elements of heavy impact cavalry and then three of elite heavy knights (on the left of the picture below). In the center was a command of longbow and crossbowmen – with an Heavy Art element as well. On the right was a mixed command with some light foot and mostly men-at-arms. That command also had a couple of foot knights. So overall that command was hard nut to crack as well. That means overall this is not a huge force but a tough one, and one without many weak elements.
Their opponents were a bunch of late period Vikings. These are made up from my Dark Age figures and a list I put together. This force was mostly made up of heavy foot – all with missile support. About half of them were Hurscals who had 2 handed weapons and were elite as well. The center command included a couple of bow elements and a berserker (impetuous medium foot). The right hand side command (as seen below) was made up of 6 elements of impetuous medium foot – which did not have missile support. So they were ‘faster but squishier’ part of the arm, but were also set up on the side of the table with the most terrain. Each command had one or two elements of light foot. There was not a horse to be seen on this side of the table though – their ships must be just off table I guess,
We rolled for setup and terrain and the Free Companies were the attacker and wanted as little terrain as possible. Meanwhile the Vikings as the defenders went for the most. In the end the most of the terrain was around the edges and there was a nice open area in the center of the table for the battle.
The first move had the Free Company make a general but steady advance across the board. In response the Vikings also moved forward – making sure their central command stayed out of range of the Heavy Art. Their Medium Foot expanded out into the terrain and moved forward with the archer light foot moving even further forward. So it looked like the Viking were refusing one flank and pushing forward with their Medium foot through terrain.
This triggered more action from the Free Company mounted command. To ensure that the were not going to be flanked, that single command group separated. The knights swung in more to the center of the table, and the heavy cavalry turned to hold the flank. At the same time some of the longbowmen from the central command also had started to move in this direction. I guess this was to provide some ranged support and extra numbers if nothing else. There was a slow movement of the other free company command toward the line of Viking foot. It seemed neither side seemed to have that much interest in closing quickly with their heavy foot. But the Viking did move forward a little to the point that the Viking light foot in the center was now in range of the heavy Artillery.
The free companies light foot from their foot command had closed up though and started to be a pain shooting the Vikings. In fact had caused a disruption on one of the Viking foot (first blood to the Free Company). The longbowmen had also moved a little forward so they could start to shoot as well. The Viking bowmen and light foot started to fire back at the Longbowmen and the Viking line kinked a little with their refused flank still not moving at this point.
In response to the Free Company splitting their mounted wing, the Viking impetuous medium foot wheeled to put them a little more in line with the cavalry they were facing. They were limited by poor command rolls in doing anything too complex. At this point everything looked in the balance but the initiative of movement was with the Free Company.
On the left the Viking heavy foot line charged the Free Company skirmishers and forced them to flee. They charged by the free (a spontaneous charge to save command pips) but the light foot decided to flee as separate elements not a group, and so as you may expect they escaped the charge but were split up. The Vikings all stoped after moving the minimum for their charge.
Meanwhile, the Viking light foot from that command had skirted around the edge of the free company battle line and started to take potshots at them from the flank- causing 1 disruption to the heavy foot men at arms on the end of the line.
In the center the Viking bows had got into a shooting match with the Free Company longbows. The longbow advantages were not really helpful vs the bowmen and they started to loose that shooting duel being outnumbered. The Heavy Artillery and a supporting crossbow unit were being distracted by a unit of Viking skirmishers. That looked decidedly to the Free Companies advantage and the light troops were basically acting as a screen at this point. The knights continued to move into the center of the table to choose their own point of attack (queue some Shark attack music for that movement).
On the right side the two Free Company cavalry decided to take on the medium foot and charged in. With their impact ability they did a great work on one of the Viking medium foot (furious charge kicking in) but the other, the with Viking commander in the fight, held on the first impact. Not the perfect result but not bad for the Free Company.
In the center the Free Company crossbows charged the annoying Viking light foot which kept avoiding their shots to get rid of them. The dice went in their favor and they managed to catch the evaders and run them down. They then decided to pursue into the Viking bows. This was a bold move as they were quite forward of their main battle lines now. This combat would not be resolved until the next turn – the Vikings move.
Unfortunately, for the Free Company crossbowmen they did not realize there was enough space for the Viking berserkers to come up on the other side of the combat. So that put them in a very bad position and so in that next combat round they were destroyed by the Vikings. So that did not work out well for them.
Meanwhile the Free Company knights were close enough now charged in against the non elite Viking heavy foot. They did well and won two out of the three combats – but now they were there for the slog. The cavalry vs. the medium foot combat had become a slugging match as well and now without their impact bonus the fight had been evened up by the Vikings.
On the side where the foot forces faced each other they slowly continued to move towards each other. The Viking light foot took on a unit of Free Company handgunners who had come through to stop them on the flank. The Viking javelin armed troops though dispatched the handgunners with ease. Unfortunately, for the Vikings the combat of the elite knights vs the heavy foot was swinging more to the knights favor though. Elite and heavy armour is a tough nut to crack.
Over in the medium foot vs. cavalry, the Vikings has brought that back to even honors now. A lack of pips on both sides meant that there was not too much movement from the other elements on this side. Thinking about it, I’m not sure if we did the impetuous foot right here. I’m not sure whether the two end units should have impetuously moved on their own towards the center… Back to the rule book for more reading I think.
Finally the foot lines continue to get close but neither side seemed that focused on getting engaged still. With a poor die roll a second light foot element from the Free Company did deal with the Viking Javelin light foot threat. The Viking line extended beyond the Free Companies but the Free Company had the advantage of quality. The archery duel continued though with the 2 viking bowmen slowly damaging the Longbowmen. But straight bow combat is a long and slow way of killing opponents in this game.
The Free Companies Knights in the end destroyed the heavy foot. We did the next bit wrong and had the Viking Beserkers stupidly and imperiously attack the knights. That is an exception so they did not have to do the charge, But it would just have saved them for a turn. It did not end well for them anyway.
By now it was close to time for the game (and the store closing), but finally the foot lines clashed. The rolls went about even. The Vikings did ok – but it has to be said that the quality and advantages of the foot knights did shine out. It would have been interesting to see this fight work out but I suspect the Vikings may have won out in the end here, but only just.
Time was called at that point. Looking at the numbers the game officially was a draw but the Vikings were definitely the ones with the most deaths and disrupted troops. They also were the ones who looked in the worse position, with the Free Company knights in a position to start turning flanks of their troops while their medium foot was still dealing with the last cavalry.
Overall, everyone had fun and I think we are starting to get the rules down – I need to read the impetuous troops and in fact go through the whole rules again. Also, I think the Viking list I created likely need a little tweaking. The command that matched up with the Free Company foot Knights likely would have been helped with a couple of medium foot to do flank attacks. So maybe spreading those units around vs. having them all in a single command may have been better. The heavy art seemed to have more impact that it looks as well – with the Vikings staying out of its range for the most part, allowing the Free Company a lot more space to move than might have happened otherwise.
Still it’s good that the game has loads of depth on both list creation and how tactics in the game which I like.