Friday, 11 December 2015

First game of The Pikeman's Lament

We got to try another game in Dan Mersey's excellent Lion Rampant family of games recently. This time The Pikeman's Lament, described as a set of rules "for fighting battles in the pike and shot period, from the Thirty Years' War through the English Civil Wars and to the end of the Great Northern War and beyond."
Seeing as Matt has recently re-based hundreds of his beautiful English Civil War figures, we felt it would be rude not to use them.

A few new things for this set are the rules for creating a background for your officer and a simple campaign and honour system. My officer was a sly son of a rich merchant, a weasel of a man with little honour, whilst Matt's was a duellist son of a nobleman, seeking personal glory and honour. I won't mention the rule effects here, they could change before the final version but that should be enough to whet your appetite!

The game also features entirely new period appropriate unit types, which will give us something interesting to think about while playing.

My force comprised units of: Gallopers, Dragoons, Forlorn Hope, Pike and two of Shot.

They have heard that a group of stinking Royalists are transporting the King's war chest and fancy some of that sweet booty!

Fortunately, the gold was poorly guarded. Only a unit of Trotters who have just finished bathing in a stream.

We decided on route one to the treasure, with a unit of shot and the Forlorn Hope circling to the left to head off any possible escape.

Oh! There are more of them...
On the right.

Another interesting facet of this ruleset is the possibility of random events, both good and bad. One such unfortunate occurrence befell my Gallopers as they closed on the war chest. They must have spotted the enemy on the right flank because for now they decided that retreat was the order of the day! 

I'm sure the rest of the centre can get that gold...

On that right flank my Dragoons are engaged and fare worse than the royalist gallopers. Hopefully my own gallopers will arrive in time to save them.

... But they are ignored. Instead Mart charged my unit of shot and hurt them badly.

They are avenged by my horse, who eventually see some action.

An overview of the field. In all the confusion in the right, my left has been left stranded unable to effect the battle and those royalists have the gold!

As they get away with the gold, the formed pile blocks close (another change from existing rules to fit the genre is that formed pikemen can still move). 

I decide not to engage with my likes, but instead to chase the gold. I figure that they're close enough to catch the encumbered horsemen with the war chest, and with good activation rolls his pike shouldn't be able to close.

What I didn't account for is my pathetic dice rolling ability! Unable to activate, I am quickly caught.

I fight them off only to be faced with a very aggressive defence by a unit of shot.

Only the royalist officer has survived. My Forlorn Hope spot him from acrossthe battlefield and get lucky!

In time-honoured tradition, he runs to the nearest tree...

Just as things look really good, the gold gets away and my mission fails.

To add insult to injury, the royalist shot picks off my officer with a very lucky shot as they're leaving!

Naturally, he heads for a tree...

I really enjoyed this version of the rules. The new units are different enough to give a feel to the game that fits the  period well and provide new tactical choices. Events, a new proximity rule and uses for that odd left-over point during army creation are all good. The rules for field guns are also very tempting...

Hopefully we'll be trying it out again soon.

You can keep up with the latest news regarding Dan's games at his blog, here: