Thursday, 5 October 2017

Steak on the hoof - 6 x 6 Pikeman's Lament AAR

My first game of The Pikeman's Lament had been a solo effort, and went rather well. The rules were incredibly easy to use and the game was fun. As I am on holiday at the moment and John was able to get away from work a little earlier than usual, I offered to set up a game to play out. This time, I thought it would be good to start using the officer traits and begin a small role-playing campaign. The previous outing I had created two officers, but hadn't bothered with traits or honour - it was realy just to get my head around the basic rules.
Originally I had thought to use my two characters from the first game - Charles Utterlea-Barking and Luis Alejandro de Jambon-Empanada - but when I rolled on the table for their background, both ended up being quite unsuitable. My Bourbon officer was sly, a son of a merchant without honour, and could never be a an aristocrat like Luis, while the Confederate officer was a foreigner, not entirely trusted by his men. Once again, Utterlea-Barking was just too English to fit that personality. So I created two new characters. Leading the Bourbons was Rodrigo Tapas, while the Confederates were led by a Protestant French exile, Hugh Geneaux. I randomly generated their personal missions for the game. Rodrigo had to kill the enemy leader in hand to hand combat for 3 points of honour, while Hugh had to motivate his force to remove more enemy causalties through hand to hand rather than through shooting.

The scenario I rolled up from the rulebook was 'steak on the hoof', and the table was duly set up. When John arrived I quickly outlined the basics of the rules and found that they were very simple to explain. We got stuck in.
As the battle starts the Condfederate forces are deployed in the centre of the table facing the columns of Bourbon troops moving forward with their pilfered cattle.

The grendier detachment (forlorn hope) and a line company (shot) of the Toledo regiment moved froward with some of the Rios Spanish cavalry regiment (trotters) in support. Rodrigo Tapas was the grenadier officer.

Hugh Geneaux was with Pearce's Dragoons (Gallopers) and a company of Colbatch's 5th Spanish foot. 

True to his mission, Geneaux led his troopers forward towards the enemy.
The Bourbon forces opened up, the Rios troopers performing the caracole.

Colbatch's company also took casualties. no-one failed their morale or fell below half strength though.

Geneaux led his men into the fray and forced the the Rios squadron back.

The Confedrate reinforcements entered the table - some Miquelets and Rivers' grenadiers.

On the otherwise so far anonymous side of the battle (due mainly to heir being no Confederate troops there initially, and to the fact that the Zinzendorf dragoons and Osuna regiment aren't quite finished yet), the Zinzendorf Dragoons and a line company of Rivers' regiment appeared.

I managed to miss taking a picture of the duel, but Tapas called out Geneaux, which was rather extraordinary considering he was sly. It can only be assumed that he was thinking of the 3 points of honour he would take away from this clash. Of course, he lost the duel. Geneaux's triumph was shortlived though, as murderous fire from the Toledo regiment and a renewed charge by the Rios horse destroyed him and his unit.

The Zinzendorf dragoons didn't hang back, charging pell mell into the Toledo company on the far side of the battlefield.

The miquelets moved into a flanking position, but the grenadiers failed their activation and couldn't enter the woods.

The Toledo grenadiers abandoned their cows (later I realised they couldn't do this, but at the time John wanted to get moving and I saw nothing wrong with this) and charged Colbatch's, forcing them into a retreat that would eventually become a rout. The Miquelets took a hammering, but would rally to get off a salvo, which took out two of the Rios cavalry, before being hit and wavering again.

The Valencian militia kept trying to get off the hill and help out the Toledo grenadiers, but consistently failed its activation roll.

Rivers' grenadiers burst out of the woods and smashed into the Toledo regiment, forcing them back, only to be decimated by shooting in the following turn.

The Zinzendorf dragoons repulsed by fire from the Toledo infantry and the Osuna Dragoons, only Rivers' foot stood between a Bourbon victory and a potential draw. But they failed their activation roll to fire twice in a row. They were destroyed without firing a shot...

With the Confederates beaten off, the Bourbon troops safely escort their precious beef back to their camp.
The rules were perfect for a pick-up game like this. John had them down-pat by the second turn, and minimal use of the qrs or book was required. On reflection, I realised that I needed to try and wipe out units in an attempt to break the company but also narrow down the number of manouevre elements open to an opponent - especially as mine were whittled away. I mucked up the deployment of the miquelets and the grenadiers. The former should have been in cover because they are fleet-footed and need the cover to boost their low stamina rating. Weakening your opponent with musketry is also advised before assaulting, but I was trying to play to conditions determined by my honour mission. Hint to self: worry about winning the game before the scenario requirements!

So what about our two heroes? The Bourbon side received 6 honour for securing all of the cattle, and the Confederates received 1 from a double 6 activation roll and 2 from killing more enemy through hand to hand than shooting. However it was all academic. Both leaders became casualties and had to roll on the casualty table. John rolled a double 1 and I thought it fitting that sly old Rodrigo Tapas died begging for his life in the duel with Geneaux. Then I rolled a double 1 as well! My distrusted Frenchman must have fallen from his horse and got on his knee when the Rios troopers charged him. So, next game we will have two new officers.

I'm hopeful that I will get my 6 x 6 completed. Kaptain Kobold has been kind enough to let me have my previous Pikeman's Lament battle report count if necessary (it wasn't originally my game choice), which means four more games of this, one of DBA (I'm saving this one for two new armies which I hope to have out next week), 3 of Song of Broken Legions and six of Commands and Colours. C& C is the only one I'm iffy about, as although it is a quick playing game, I'm not really sure about playing it solo, so it is up to how many times I can manage to get Mike to be available for gaming it.

I apologise for the photos, a number didn't come out very well due to the light in the shed, and even the ones I've been able to use here aren't all that great. My old fluoros have given up the ghost and I'm going to have to get some new ones installed.



  1. Nice game report. I am very tempted to get the Pikeman's Lament rules.

    1. Thanks Peter. If you're looking for a good beer and pretzels type game, I'd definitely recommend them.

  2. Great stuff Natholeon. I agree the rules are simple and fun...what more could one ask for. We had a recent trial game without any of the finer embellishments and thoroughly enjoyed it. Next game I think we'll add in some of the more flavoursome aspects.