Friday, June 30, 2017

Further Lamentations, a Pikeman's Lament AAR

     This being one of my favorite periods and once again having just Joe as an opponent it seemed a perfect time to give The Pikeman's Lament rules another go 'round. We agreed on standard size companies  but threw an added spin on it by gaming with my (ancient) Minifigs 15mm ECW forces. A little playing around with the look of things we decided that each base of figures would stand in for two figures under the rules; this gave a good looking game and matched the physical space that the larger 28mm figures would have occupied thus saving us from having to scale the moves and ranges. The battle was a heads-up fight to make sure things worked as we hoped they might.

we chose standard 24 point companies

I took two units of shot, a cannon, a unit of pike and two units of trotters, 
a very firepower based force

Joe chose two units of Gallopers, a unit of dragoons,  two units of shot and a unit of pike,
a rather more mobile and aggressive force

with my right covered by the woods I moved both units of Trotters to the left 
to support my gun and challenge Joe's mobile forces

Joe's Dragoons drew first blood, hitting my gun crew with skirmish fire

but the return fire from the two units of shot devastated the Dragoons

unbeknownst to me Joe had chosen Aggressive Gallopers,
 they charged as soon as they were in reach, to my surprise (and with some lucky dice) 
the Trotters sent them packing

while the cavalry were savaging each other the Foote exchanged fire like proper gentlemen
my troops were getting the worst of it until Joe rolled snake-eyes on his Activation roll and and one of his shot units decided to charge toward my line

the adjoining pike unit moved up in support while the Gallopers failed to recover from Wavering

both of my shot took advantage of the closer range to hammer the advancing enemy shot unit,
 sending fleeing from the field 
(my cannon, as usual, did nothing)

the Gallopers failed another Waver test and then fled the battle while Joe's stalwart pikemen pushed into my shot, lucky dice on my side and absurdly bad luck on Joe's part meant the my shot actually pushed the pike away  

      At this point we called the game. Having decided that the figure swap worked, and looked darned good, we decided to play a scenario from the book. Joe took the opportunity to try out a different company, one composed entirely of elite Dragoons. I laughed at his tiny force and swapped my useless cannon for two units of Commanded Shot........fool that I was.

      The scenario was a cattle-raid with the task of moving the cattle falling to the Dragoons. They were encumbered by the slow-moving bovines and had to travel the length of the table. I had a small force (eight points) in the center of the table and the rest of my army off-board ready to bushwhack the cattle rustlers.

the opening gambit, the Dragoons are all in the corner with the stolen cattle, 
in the very center is my force of Commanded Shot and a unit of musketeers 
the forces along the near edge of the table are my reserves held off-table

the first thing that surprised me was the speed of Dragoons, 
at twelve inches per move they out-pace any unit in the game

the rest of my force began to plod onto the table, this was going to set a theme for the whole game; like a naval battle the force that moves the fastest can choose where and under what circumstances the battle is fought

the concentrated fire of the Dragoons shattered the Shot unit that was supposed to be my initial blocking force (my failing to activate them to shoot turns in a row didn't help)

this blew a hole in  my line that my slow-moving forces were hard-pressed to remedy

pressed by my trudging, but very numerous, forces the Dragoons shifted to their right

pausing only long enough to exterminate my unit of Commanded Shot 

realizing that Joe was just going to head around the village in the other direction
 I tried to cut the inside of the curve to to block his escape

I sent the pike around the woods the other way, 
there being no chance of catching the Dragoons otherwise

the only thing slowing them down was that unit herding the cattle

a glimmer of hope, the pike were crossing the back of the woods, my Trotters had gotten to the intersection first  and the Shot were moving into position to cover the field with fire

then Joe failed an Activation roll right at the beginning of the turn,
 this was my break

I sent the Trotters racing down the road to form a blocking force with the pike while the Shot and Commanded Shot moved into position to flank any move parallel to the road

then I got cocky and turned my Trotters off the road to face the oncoming Dragoons

forgetting the speed and range of the Dragoon guns I found myself unable to return fire or escape the hail of bullets that poured down on my Trotters

my General's unit was pounded first

then I chumped an Activation roll and left my army standing flat-footed 
the Dragoons gave fire again and I promptly failed my Waver test

which caused my General run like a frightened child
Joe was kind enough to point out his cowardly flight for the photo

my attempt at a Caracole went for naught

the return fire was utterly devastating

the next turn finished them off, with no remaining cavalry there was
no chance that I could cut off the Dragoons and we called it a win for Joe

      The trick of swapping the minis out for smaller, but more numerous, figures really changed the aspect of the gamed. It looked more like a battle and both Joe and I treated the units as discrete entities instead of a collection of individual models, an interesting psychological event. Miniatures aside the rules once again played slick and fast and gave very satisfying results. I think this is going to be my go-to set from now on.


  1. Interesting how the change in scale changes your perception of how the unit operates. I've enjoyed lion rampant and we've got pikemans lament but it'll be a strictly 28mm affair!
    Best Iain

  2. Our first few games were played with 28mm Lace Wars minis, forces were based on 1690s-1700s. I think that players see 28mm single-based figures as "persons" but view 15mm multi-based as "units" and thus treat them differently. Have fun! I wish I had gotten into 28mm ECW but I'm in way too deep on the 15mm side of things