Misc., Medieval, Soldiers of God, 10mm
This isn’t really my period, or my scale. However, my planned naval game fell through at the last minute, thanks to Bill Gilchrist eating a dodge Chinese meal. So, when I was invited to help Jack Glanville defend the Wolfsschanze, I willingly agreed, as it was better than just watching. Besides, a few of the guys had been raving about these Soldiers of God rules, and so I was keen to see how they worked. this, of course, wasn’t a normal game. For a month or so, Jack and his pals have been fighting games set in the Crusades – 28mm affairs, with some very nice-looking figures. This though,. was a different game entirely, played using the same rules, but concentrating on the Siege section at the back of them. Also, it was played out using 10mm figures and a rather nice-looking castle curtain wall, all supplied by “JP”. The game was loosely set somewhere in Eastern Pomerania on the Prussian-Polish border, and the siege played out between a Polish-Prussian force, and the defending Knights of the Teutonic Order. Both sides had a core of mounted knights, and lots of spearmen and crossbowmen. They also had a few irregular allies – horse archers and other auxiliaries recruited from the wilder corners of Poland, or either further afield. The game began with the Teutonic defenders of the Wolfsschanze thinly manning their curtain walls, while behind it their knights and auxiliary horse archers stood ready to deal with any breach. Jack was the Grand Master von Glanburg, while I was his underling, Count Anton von Kvatch.Somewhere out beyond the walls three parties of attackers appeared – the Poles and Prussians, commanded by Duke Swantopelk of Pomerania (played by “JP”), who led his own “battle”. The two other attacking battles were commanded by Bart and Campbell. While JP and Bart (on the left and right respectively) had a battering ram and siege tower piece, plus ladders and protective mantlets, Campbell had the horse archers, who proved adept at riding up to the walls, loosing off arrows, then riding out of range again – very annoying fellows. He also had some infantry, who advanced behind mantlets to add their firepower to the assault.The game began with both Pomeranian wings advancing as quickly as they could. A lucky shot from my mangonel destroyed Bart’s battering ram, but the rest of his troops reached the curtain wall without suffering too many casualties. On the other side of the Wolfsschanze, JP reached the walls too, and his men began clambering up their ladders and siege tower. Jack’s crossbowmen loosed away as fast as they could – you get cards for shooting by the way – each turn the players get a sort of poker hand, to play as they wish. Cards say things like charge, melee, loose or rally. You can also discard cards, to recover hits. too many hits when the turn ends and you rout. It’s that simple. Anyway, before Jack could stop them, the attackers were on the walls in both places, and the fighting became a lot more personal.It was only later than Jack remembered his stock of boiling oil. That would have made a difference, but now that the melee had started it was too late for that kind of thing. SO, for the next hour, the attackers hacked away, and we defended. Both sides played some pretty blinding cards, and equally effective dice, which was all great fun, but essentially nothing much happened. The hacking continued, hits were removed – allowing units to stay in the game – and the attackers made no headway. Bart’s guys were still on the walls, and doing fairly well, although me defender proved pretty resilient, and held their ground. Down below the walls, Campbell’s annoying horse archers were doing their thing, but a lucky mangonel hit squished some of them, forcing a unit to test, and then break. That was fun.All this time, morale was dropping – more for the attackers than the defenders, thanks to their inability to make any headway. This was helped along by the routing of a couple of JPs units, leaving him with precious few troops to scale the walls. Then, on the penultimate turn, JPs battering ram broke down the gate. He tried to flood through with his cavalry, but this time Jack was ready, or rather his Teutonic Knights were, with the Grand Master at their head. Seeing that, the attackers balked, and their morale dropped further – low enough to call an end to the game. The Wolfsschanze had held, and Duke Swantopelk and his followers sneaked back into the Pomeranian forests.I can’t say I really understood what was going on all the time, or fully twigged the subtleties of the cards, but fortunately Jack was a master at it – or even a Grand Master, and he kept me right. The combat system itself is pretty straightforward – you roll dice to score hits, then try to save enemy hits back – and you accrue hit points. If you get more than the number of stands in your unit, then you head for the hills at the end of the turn, unless you can play a card to lose a hit point. All very simple. However, the game rolled along nicely, and everyone enjoyed the experience. I can’t say I’ll rush out any buy a 10mm medieval army after this, but if someone supplies the toys I’ll certainly play the game again – or try Soldiers of God rules in a full-scale 28mm battle.