Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Tewkesbury Drift - Pike & Shotte AAR

When HMGS canceled Cold Wars 2024, HAWKS stepped up to the plate and offered Cold Barrage as a replacement event; a single day convention held at the Havre de Grace Community Center much like Barrage usually is. 

I attended the event and it was fantastic. Attendance was high (reportedly at 90% of Barrage's average amount, and again that's a two-day event), the food truck in attendance was great, and I really enjoyed myself. Not only did I manage to play in two games, but I also had a flea market booth that did really well.

The morning game I played in was a refight of Tewkesbury, 1471, using Pike & Shotte and run by Roxanne. 

Will (from my old New Jersey group) and I played as the Yorkists, while James and Judson (if I remember correctly) played the Lancastrians. 

Both sides were largely the same when it came to army composition: a front line of bombards and longbowmen, backed up by billmen. The Yorkists did have an ace up their sleeves with a "plump" of spear-armed cavalry waiting somewhere over off on their left flank. The "plump's" entry into the battle would be randomized, so we didn't know when they would be joining the fight. 

Historically, the Yorkists made use of their higher number of bombards to hammer the Lancastrians and force them into melee. For our game, Will decided to take the initiative and began moving forward on the Yorkist left flank. My own poor rolling kept the Yorkist right sat exactly where it was for several turns.

Roxanne's twist on the battle was the inclusion of a small ditch between the two armies (included after conducting historical research), which forced both sides to drift at an angle while moving through it. The Yorkist line quickly became spread out as the longbowmen and billmen moved forward. 

Volleys of bombard stones and arrows flew back and forth between the two sides, and units began to rack up disordered and casualty markers. 

The Lancastrian army drifted to its right to keep the Yorkist line from encircling their flank.

Thanks to some lucky rolling, the "plump of spears entered the battle!

And then thanks to some unlucky rolling, the cavalry pretty much refused to do much else than vaguely wave their spears in the direction of the fighting.

The first unit to rout was a group of Lancastrian bowmen. 

The Yorkists were having trouble bringing up additional bowmen thanks to the drifting effects of the ditch.

My own unit of bowmen posted to the top of the hill also routed.

Both sides were taking hits, but neither side was willing to get stuck in. Will's battle on the left flank was the first to become "broken", with one unit routed and another shaken.

James decided to force the issue, sending his billmen and supporting archers in against Will's own battered unit of billmen. 

The cavalry sent their encouragement from on top the nearby rise.

Judson meant to move the Yorkist left flank forward into combat, but rolled boxcars and ended up with a "blunder". In a moment of peak wargaming, he then rolled a six for a massive charge; exactly what he wanted!

After a couple round of combat, my bowmen and billmen were forced back. Will did better and fought off the Lancastrian attack.

However, thanks to the casualties accumulated during combat, the Lancastrians lost both of their billmen units!

With the accrued casualties, that left two of the three Lancastrian commands broken. Which gave the Yorkists the victory, coming back to the historical result in a roundabout fashion.

Roxanne ran a very fun game, and it was a good demonstration that Pike & Shotte (and its sibling rules Hail Caesar and Black Powder) can be fun with smaller battles. The inclusion of the drift was a great complication that easily added an extra layer to the fight.

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