Wednesday, 2 November 2016

So on to our second full day of gaming. After the standard breakfast of multiple fried eggs, bacon and tomatoes, we repaired once more to the "shed" where one of the group had laid out a table to recreate the Battle of Stamford Bridge (no Chelsea supporters need apply) in 1066.

The rules used were the "To the Strrongest" ones used in a previous medieval game I have reported on this blog, dispensing with dice and instead using multiple packs of playing cards, less the face cards, to add the essential "chance" element for activation and combat results.  Movement distances, weapon ranges  facing etc are defined by "boxes" marked on the playing surface with a series of adhesive dots defining each corner.

The general situation was that Harold Gowinsons brother Tostig had got fed up for some dynastic reason and buggered off to Scandinavia to hole up with Harold Hardradda, Viking king of Norway. The pair of them launched an assault on Anglo Saxon England in an attempt to wrest the throne from Harold G. They landed in the north of England and defeated the local forces based on York. Following this victory, the army spread out in the surrounding countryside and dumped their heavy armour and weapons to indulge in a bit of standard Scandinavian post victory looting.

They are spread here, there and everywhere when suddenly the Anglo Saxon army hove into view, bent on vengeance. One unit (the legend is it was one warrior with a VERY large axe) holds a bridge against the whole English army whilst his colleagues scramble to get into some kind of order and send off to the coast to summon their better armed and armoured ship guard as reinforcements.

The initial layout, showing the dispersed groups of unarmoured Vikings in the foreground, the bridge and River Derwent in the distance and beyond that, the approaching Saxon hoard

The Saxons approach the bridge, defended by two units of Vikings (one figure would have just been silly!)

The Saxon right flank cavalry force cross a convenient ford on the Derwent

The well spread out Vikings had some early bad luck and failed to concentrate in  time to face the Saxon flank attacks

Meanwhile, the Viking vanguard was still holding back half the Saxon army

The right flank of the Viking army, including Tostig, face off against the left of the Saxons, led by his brother Harold

Tostig a few moves later when he had lost his units but still survived

The Saxon right flank cavalry engages Harold H and his Vikings

Late in the game, the Saxons finally cross the Derwent by the bridge

The struggle on the Viking left continues

The end is nigh - the game recreated history in full - the Vikings were caught dispersed, the unit on the bridge held out for half the game, the Viking ship guard came up but were not strong enough to make a difference and by lunchtime, the Saxon victory was overwhelmingly complete!

We retired to the house over looking the stunning Lake Tarawera for lunch whilst the game organizer hurriedly relaid his table for the afternoon stowsh - a recreation of the Battle of Hastings, using the same rules and many of the same figures.

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