Thursday, 13 April 2017

Thursday Night Game - Dark Ages

With it being the long Easter weekend, our usual Friday night game at Julian's was moved to Thursday. John, Chris and I made up the other three players. I had brought along my all female Valkyrie/Amazon army to take on Julian's Andalusians. The rules used were To The Strongest - cards instead of dice and distances controlled by squares marked on the tabletop.

When I arrived, Julian's men were already deployed, so I laid out my troops in roughly equal numerical order. In the end, I think there were a few more Andalusians but their quality was lower. We calculated the army strengths - 2 points for each heavy unit 1 point for each light unit then divide the result by two - we had 15 coins to the Andalusians 13.

I was obviously keen to play with my girls so John joined me to command the left wing of our army - I faced off against Julian whilst John confronted his nemesis Chris!

The Andalusians had the first move and their cavalry charged forward gallantly. With these rules, its possible to have 2, 3 or even more actions in each phase - all you have to do is keep turning a card higher than your previous action card - so a 2 or 3 at the start is a good thing but a 10 isn't! Occasionally you will turn a 1 on the first activation and not be able to do anything - and as soon as one unit fails, that entire command is finished for that turn - so it pays not to get carried away with one unit and forget to move anyone else, in case you fail and the rest of them cant do anything...

This is roughly the situation as the game commenced

I took a series of photos of the arrayed troops before the battle commenced.. then in the excitement of combat I forgot to take any more till about move three!
My right wing cavalry with archers in support to the rear

Johns light infantry on our left wing occupying woods for cover

Johns cavalry on our left wing

The remainder of Johns cavalry and his infantry, in our left centre

The bulk of our infantry in the centre of our line, with the "camp" in the rear, where the army point coins and replacement arrows were stored. Archers have a finite number of arrows they can use then they run out (the little cards shown on the bases of bow armed units. They can replenish but the resupply is also limited, so in a long game, you can run out of ammunition completely!
Chris's Adalusians on their right wing

Chris's cavalry on their right, facing John

Julian's Andalusian cavalry on their left, facing me

The Andalusian Centre from behind their line

Andalusian heavy infantry - dressed all in black, we nicknamed them ISIS!

Andalusian light infantry on Chris's wing
This map shows the initial moves by both sides as the battle commenced. Julian advanced with three of his five cavalry units and I went to meet him. John sent his heavy cavalry thundering forwards to attack Chris's infantry occupying some high ground to his front, whilst Chris moved all five of his cavalry units down the flank.

The map below shows the initial contact and combats - which I do not have any photos of ....GRRRR! Basically, my cavalry defeated two of Julian's and the Andalusians were down 4 of their 13 coins. One of my cavalry units then had to retire disordered but we lost no points for that
The picture below shows the situation on our right, with my two victorious cavalry units looking at the empty space where a moment earlier, the Andalusian cavalry had been - their lonely commander can be seen in the rear - he survived and joined one of the three remaining units.

 Below, Julian's remaining cavalry occupy the hill on our right/his left

The melee on the hill between John's heavy cavalry and Chris's heavy infantry continued for a couple of turns before one unit of the cavalry was destroyed and the other was forced to retire disrupted

Below the map shows where the next round of combat occurred 
My disrupted cavalry unit being rallied by their commander on our right rear

Julian's cavalry coming back to have another go

My archers in position behind a hedge in front of the hill occupied by Julian's cavalry, from whence they commenced to "darken the skies" with arrows, but only managed to disrupt his cavalry

My commander in the centre of our line, steadying the "troops"

Map showing the final position and the last two combats that decided things in our favour. We had a lucky escape as Chris had positioned his cavalry excellently and came in from the flank, hitting Johns infantry units one after another. Fortuitously, John managed to turn over three or four 7+ cards in a row, allowing his discomfited infantry to pull back and avoid the combat. If Chris had managed to engage and destroy a couple of these units, our last few army morale coins would have been gone - a close run thing as they say!  

Above, one of my cavalry units engaged with Julian's cavalry, who are already disrupted

Johns light infantry and archers in the woods on our left flank
Julian's cavalry on our right flank still sitting on their hill
Julian's infantry advances in the centre
A unit of disrupted Andalusian infantry just before we destroyed them with a cavalry charge
My last fresh cavalry unit charges Julian's infantry in his left centre
The left wing of our line under enormous pressure from Chris's combined cavalry and infantry assault
The centre of our line as victory is claimed- John's last remaining cataphract unit has reformed behind a line of shield maidens
The position in the centre - we were lucky the game has a finite point system - really, we only won by the skin of our teeth and we could have carried on quite easily, the Andalusians had been given a severe beating on our right but Chris only lost three cavalry units and mainly because they were light and one successful unsaved hit on them makes them vanish.....we were down to four coins from a starting total of fifteen whilst they had only two of thirteen, until my final cavalry assault on Julian's cavalry on the hill that had already been disrupted by my archers fire. So really, it was almost even, we just had a buffer of two extra coins. But a win is a win, even if its a penalty kick in the 92nd minutes :)


  1. Great battle report Keith, and the photos turned out okay - I think the ladies quite liked the softer lighting; it's much "kinder". My early cavalry charge on the infantry in the left of centre wasn't a complete disaster; we did kill one of his infantry units thus putting a coin in the bank and if successful could have been a turning point in the game but - computer says "no", as they say in "Little Britain". Probably a little rash (I can always put a little cream on it) but hey, you only live once right? Well, those particular cav did, sadly... I'm sure there are subtle (and not so subtle) variants we are missing too... the To The Strongest" rules set is 76 pages long and we were only using the two sided quick reference sheet... Rules are apparently available here; but can't seem to get through...?

  2. Thanks John - my knowledge of what was happening on your wing was a bit sketchy at best so I went for a general overview report....I knew by the end, Chris was down to two cav from the original five but the details escaped me....!