Friday 16 September I went to a mates house for a War of the Roses game using (I think) a set of rules called "To the Strongest" which is another quasi board game with figures - the table is sectioned into squares, movement and firing ranges are in multiples of the squares and you use playing cards instead of dice to decide on activation, hits, morale tests etc.
I arrived a bit late at Julian's (by arrangement) and my partner John was on the back foot with a cavalry attack coming in on his left flank. Our position was looking decidedly dicey but over the course of the next couple of moves, I pulled back onto the hill we were defending and John was able to repel the flank attack by Chris' cavalry.
We carried on with a ding dong battle over the next couple of hours and all I can say is that we must all have fantastic love lives because we were certainly NOT lucky with the cards! The method of deciding an outcome is that each side has a pile of coins at the start of the game and as they lose a unit, they remove coins - till there are none left and the army collapses. After two hours of both sides being stymied by turning over the absolutely worst cards possible at the most inopportune moment, we were down to one coin each side. My partner in crime managed to lose the game by turning over a 1 (for about the third time in the game) when firing an artillery piece and causing it to blow up, thus losing our final coin.
Below are a few photos of the game - sorry a few are not the best - I had taken about twice as many as this but they came out terribly out of focus etc for some reason - must be time for a new phone!
The centre of our position, with, on the left of the picture, one of the two artillery pieces that eventually lost us the game
Johns knights moving into position to secure the left flank
Chris' cavalry after they were pushed back - the red casualty figure indicates they have suffered one casualty and are shaken - if they suffer another, they disappear from the table!
A body of infantry that Chris struggled to get into position to support the cavalry assault on the left. These included crossbowmen weighed down with bolts that they seemed inordinately reluctant to use. Basically, if these guys had done their thing, we would have been finished off an hour earlier - this was the bad card luck in evidence!
View from behind Johns two artillery pieces - they too should probably have been wiped out earlier by Julian's knights parked in front of them but again, atrocious card turning left the heavy cavalry stranded where they were for several moves. We got them up to one casualty several times but when we git the second hit, they constantly were able to save it ...GRRRRR
A view along the length of the table from the right flank - my end. In the foreground Julian's infantry are attempting an assault on my right flank units
Evidence of the poor card turning - part one. To activate, you need a minimum of a two. You can then perform an action of fire. If you wish to do something else, you must turn another card but beat the previous one, so obviously the best card to turn over first IS a two, because theoretically that means you might be able to get two or three more turns - unless you turn over another bloody two of course! This unit ahd just inflicted a casualty on Julian's troops in the top centre and should have been set up to have a couple more goes at them to wipe them out - but this happened - but wait, there is more!
The adjacent unit turned over a one - the only card that could prevent them from joining the attack. No problem, they have a commander with them, so they can redraw - they did - AND TURNED OVER ANOTHER ONE!!!!!
At this stage, we were down to one coin each - our turn and John needs to get his artillery to fire at the shaken knights - if he can get one hit on them they will be gone and so will Chris and Julian's last coin. he has no ammo but that's ok, you can resupply simply by activating - so what he needs to do is get a 3 or 4 , get one piece of ammo, then get a 6 or 7 and fire.....so of course he gets a 10 with the first gun - enough to get a resupply but he cant beat a 10 and fire. Move on to gun number two - and the same thing happens!
Next time we tried to fire the guns, John got the famous 1 and then failed to save it - bloody thing blew up and we lost our final coin!
The final position on my right flank - the unit that survived when I turned over the two two's and two ones, was wiped out the next turn, and we were in pretty good shape here. On the left flank, things were a bit shakier ...if Chris had been able to turn over some decent cards, John probably would have been done like a dogs dinner. As it was, they were in a card induced stalemate.
A fun game but quite frustrating - to say the least! The rules were introduced to us by another friend who, as far as we are aware, has never actually participated in a game where they are used - we have thus christened them "Nick's Revenge", as we suspect they may be a cruel joke he is playing on us!