Sunday, 16 October 2016

Greeks v Persians - Hail Caesar

Many thanks to Chas & Andy for putting on today's trip back in time to the Greco/Persian wars.

It is nearly fifteen years since we played the Battle of Platea to death and just as long since many of our 28 mm collection of figures graced the table (some say Andy has more recently used them for DBMM, but I don't care to spread such rumours). The game was played to Hail Caesar rules.

The scenario pitched Steve H, Jason (for a period) and myself as Greeks, against Chas, Andy & Steve M commanding the Achaemenid army. I took the Spartans under Leonidas on our right, Jason (then Steve H) the central Athenian division and Steve H the double size division (eight phalanxes) of Allied hoplites on our left. A screen of skirmishers across the battle line and one unit of cavalry on either flank completed our force.

Award winning Immortals face off the Greeks - Note they don't go anywhere without their trophy.
Facing off against us were three divisions of Persians. Chas was opposite the Spartans, Andy the
Athenians and Steve M the Allied hoplites. Chas fielded a unit of cavalry, a selection of skirmishers and a line of spearmen. Andy had two units of Immortals (nice dressing gowns; award winning some would say), a solid line of spear units, a screen of skirmishers and a cavalry unit, whilst Steve M had two mercenary Hoplite units, more Persian spearmen, skirmishers and some cavalry. Needless to say every man and his dog in the Persian army had a bow or a fistful of javelins or both.

The game kicked of with Andy rolling a 6 for initiative to decide first turn, a feat I could not match. The Persian line moved up to missile range, with only Chas's division, opposite the Spartans, holding back. I think we could all see what was on their mind. Be they Medes, Paphlagonians, Kardakes or Egyptians, they bent their bows and fired. Even at long range hoplites fell across the line.

Seeing no future in standing as missile targets, the Greeks were given the order for a general advance. The Athenians & Spartans did as they were told, but the Allied division must have thought Leonidas wasn't talking to them and stayed where they were.

The Athenians hit the Persian centre and a general melee developed. The Persians were forced back in places, but a flank charge from the cavalry took the Athenians aback and advantage swung back and forth. Two scythed chariots rushed across the field to flank the Athenian second line. One passed harmlessly by as the hoplites opened ranks, but the other struck home. In the fight the hoplites cut down the chariot, but took casualties in the process.

Chas's force watched the Spartans jog trot across the field, as Persian missile fire saw off the Spartan's supporting cavalry and skirmishers. Meanwhile, in the centre, a life and death melee had developed with both sides flanking and throwing in supports. Steve M's force took the hill and fired on the Greek Allied hoplites, who were still refusing to move.

Now the Spartans hit Chas's line and swept them away. It was a lot to expect them to stop the best troops on the table, but they had occupied the Spartans long enough to allow Andy's Immortals to force the Athenians into retreat and then withdrawal.

The Spartans turned their attention to the Persian centre, as the Athenians withdrew from the field. The Greek Allied hoplites still refused to move and missile fire rained down on them, forcing two units back. Steve M now brought the Persian mercenary hoplites up and the Persian centre tried to engage the Greek Allied hoplites, before the pursuing Spartans made contact.

Finally the Greek Allied hoplites deigned to move and charged the Immortals. With the Spartans came into charge range, the writing was on the wall and the Persians conceded.
The game was played in the usual good spirit, even if it soon became clear we did not know the rules as well as we thought. The rules gave an interesting series of problems, some of which required help from the experienced rule lawyer "Mr Steve" to adjudicate.

All in all a good game and a comprehensive refresher on the Hail Caesar rules. As we intend to use these rules for next summer's Punic game, we clearly need to read them up and get some more practice !


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Augustus to Aurelian - Battle on the River Visurgis

This month Mr Steve dug out his 15mm Roman and German collection to play a second test game of Augustus to Aurelian by Phil Hendry.

Augustus to Aurelian
Devon Wargames Group,Play-test 1

The last scenario played was very much on the Germans home turf and the warbands made full use of the forest terrain to take it to the Roman foe.

In this test I chose a scenario published by Phil Hendry in the Lardies Summer Special 2013 where Phil had the Roman forces taking on a British army defending a tidal river crossing. The Romans have split their force sending off a powerful left flanking force of legionaries and a right flank group of mixed cavalry.

The Romans are tasked with getting across the river with their auxiliaries and reinforcements whilst the water is relatively low, but with the threat of the waters rising at some stage whilst not being certain as to when their flanking forces will turn up. The Germans with their full force have the opportunity of taking on the Romans piecemeal but in relatively open ground that may favour Roman tactics.

The Britons were replaced with Germans and the Romans Imperials with Steve's Republicans, but this is after all a play-test and the scenario produced a really interesting game.

The picture below shows the Roman auxiliary division under Qunitis Atrius Decianus set up before the might of the German force under the command of Valwerd

The river is deemed to be fordable between the two areas of marshy scrub seen at either end of the opposite banks and was currently deemed to be 'difficult terrain' causing the Roman formed units to cross it at half speed.

In anticipation of the Roman advance five German warbands with one in support are doing the 'Dirty Harry maneuverer' and have pressed up to the river bank and with shouts of abuse and clashing weapons on shields goading the silent Roman line to try their luck - the classic "well do you feel lucky punk?" tactic.

This is our second game using the rules which we played back in January this year and after a bit of time taken sorting out the card deck which activates the various divisions and takes care of when specific events will occur and the placing of markers to identify the various commanders we were quickly into the sequence of the game and play flowed along very seamlessly.

For those not familiar with these rules, they display influences from various other rule sets out their for playing ancients, with the addition of the card activation system favoured in other Lardy rule systems which really capture the friction of battle so well.

The use of unit and commander attributes together with special abilities are a very familiar idea as is the splitting of units up into divisions under a commander and I have attached pictures of the orders of battle sheets to illustrate how we kept a note of who was who and what they could do.

The commanders have a two ratings which identify their command level in Roman numerals I-IV with the higher level commander able to do more with his activations and their ability rating of between 1-3 with a higher rating indicating a better ability to lead and influence their troops.

The individual unit stats are straight forward with the size of the unit indicated as Tiny (T) through to Large (L) indicating the number of figures in the unit and the 'footprint' it makes. Movement rate is in inches for 28mm or as we played centimetres for 15mm.

Combat Dice - the number of d10 rolled when in hand to hand (note there can be additions to this such as Romans using the gladius can get an extra die).
Combat Attack - the measure of how good the unit is in hand to hand, the higher the better with a d10 roll equal to or under plus factors required to score hits.
Shooting Dice and Shooting Attack work similarly to the Combat Factors except for missile fire.
Outlook (Training) - Indicates how up for the fight the unit is and added to casualties the unit inflicts in hand to hand versus what the opposition inflicts together with their outlook sets up a comparison to determine who has won the combat. Again the higher the better.
Rating (Morale) the number used to roll against, including plus or minus factors, when reacting to events with a need to roll equal to it or lower to pass a Reaction Test.

The Armour, Weapons and Special Rules indicate where the unit can claim extra benefits to its normal stats, with for example Romans having Pilum that can cause additional hits in hand to hand combat.

So with the opposing forces set up and off table reinforcements sorted out, Legatus Metellus ordered his auxiliary infantry forward preceded by his skirmish screen of javelin-men and slingers who started to pepper the German line with deadly accuracy causing the first casualties

German warriors yell insults across the Visurgis.

In response the German skirmishers ran forward aiming to return the compliment with interest only to find their ability to hit the Roman infantry less effective than their opposing counterparts.

Valwerd the German commander was well aware of how able and likely the Romans were to attempt to outflank his position here on the upper reaches of the Visurgis deep within the territory of the Langobardi but was confident he could take the fight to this small force of Romans and pin them back into the river whose tidal flow was dramatic at this part of it and likely to destroy any units caught in it at the full flood.

Nevertheless he cautiously held a second line of warbands in reserve, including his personal guard together with his cavalry to enable him to react to any potential threat to his positions from another direction.

The German second line with Ceoran leading the cavalry, there to cover any approach from unwelcome visitors
As the Germans look on the Roman line approaches the river in silence
Tribune Decianus under the watchful eye of his commander Legatus Metellus orders his auxiliaries forward  
With the initial skirmish battle well and truly joined the first auxiliary cohorts tramped into the relatively shallow water taking their time to maintain formation and avoid slipping on the unseen rocks and boulders littering the river bed; whilst endeavouring to shelter behind their scutums under an ever increasing hail of missiles directed toward them.

Every now and then an unfortunate comrade would let out a despairing cry and fall into the waters as a German javelin found its mark with the yells of the centurions and optios calling out the orders to close up and maintain the line.

The Romans advance in Duplex Acies allowing them to extend their frontage and to use passage of lines when needing to relieve front line cohorts, whilst screened by their skirmish line
With the opposing lines closing rapidly the need to maintain order and react to the enemy began to cause pressure particularly in German ranks. The right flank Roman auxiliary cohort had suffered under the German javelins and Cahallra the commander tried to order his warband to charge in whilst the enemy struggled to reach the opposite bank.

Tribune Decianus aware of the need to hit the German line with a charge and knowing his auxiliaries didn't carry pilum got the drop first and his line left the river crashing into the German shield wall with spears thrusting into the opposing ranks.

With the heavier infantry locked in mortal combat, the opposing skirmish lines fell off to the flanks to continue their jousting as the the two lines commenced a push of shields.

The Romans grabbed the advantage on their left but were losing on the right most part of the line. Decianus displayed his lack of experience by not ordering his reserve cohort through the ranks of those hard pressed troops to their front, but was saved from embarrassment by the lead cohort reacting to their defeat by coolly withdrawing through the ranks of their supports who were able to take up the fight as a fresh unit.

(Note an extraordinarily low die roll with two d6 converted what seemed like an inevitable rout into a full move withdrawal facing the enemy; and avoided the reserve cohort from having to react to routers passing through them - junior officers save the blushes of their more senior commanders yet again).

Battle joined with the Romans nearest to camera getting the worst of it. Wait is that reinforcements I can see top centre appearing on the German right flank!
The battle on the river was in full swing with the waters steadily rising and with the Germans getting stuck into their task.

Suddenly trumpets blared and Praefectus Superstes a veteran commander of many seasons lead his veteran legionaries onto the Field of Mars just at the right moment.

As if to emphasise it was time for Valwerd to get his hat and coat, Roman cavalry under Tribune Valens wheeled into line on the German left flank in the next turn.

The arrival of the Roman flank marchers couldn't have arrived more opportunely as the German commander contemplated settling the battle on the river by throwing in elements from his second line.

With the arrival of the newcomers there was a flurry of movement among the German commanders as new orders were hurriedly issued and units repositioned to contest the advance from the flanks.

Meanwhile on the river both commanders were throwing in their 'Carpe Diem' cards as they attempted to get every advantage going in the hand to hand fighting; with the auxiliary infantry getting stuck in with gladius in the second round of combat bestowing an extra d10 to reflect their handiness with the deadly short sword against their unarmoured opponents.

However it was left to Superstes legionaries to demonstrate how to combine the use of pilum with the gladius as they positively seemed to be licking their lips as the German line turned to greet their approach.

Superstes dispensed with any attempt at maintaining a reserve line as, preceded by skirmish javelins and Scorpio bolts, his four small legionary cohorts unleashed a hail of pilum as they charged into two large German warbands. The right most warband evaporated under the assault in the first round with the second left flank unit struggling to stay in the fight and getting pushed back on its supports but now with two victorious legionary cohorts hovering on its unprotected flank.

As the Roman cavalry acted as a threat to the German left flank and prevented the German cavalry from swinging in on the auxiliaries still fighting hard on the river, the waters rose inexorably higher providing some respite to the Germans as one auxiliary cohort was swept away in the flood and both Metellus and Decianus were left stranded on the opposite bank only able to observe the battle on the opposite side.

We ended the play test there with Roman fortunes on the high rather like the River Visurgis but with some interesting command and control issues to attend to.

The game rolled along really well and we were soon rattling through the moves as the factors and processes became more familiar, which is always a good sign. I really like the use of cards to control the play and the 'Carpe Diem' cards really allow the players a modicum of control which gradually dissipates as the battle unfolds, just as it should.

Play tests always reveal some issues that need resolving and I am happy with changes made from the previous game including the more concise orders of battle and unit stat sheets, but need to think about some combat resolution ideas when fighting with multiple units of differing quality, together with improved and additional markers.

I really like the look of the game these rules produce and am now confirmed in using them for my Dacian Wars collection of 28mm figures with the anticipation of the release of the new Victrix plastic legionaries, hopefully next month.

Thanks to Mr Steve for providing his figures to stand in for my lack of armies at present so I could work out if these rules would fit the bill and to him, Nick, Steve L, Ian for playing a very entertaining game.

If you are interested in seeing progress to date on the Dacian War 28mm collection then just follow the link to my personal blog "JJ's Wargames

JJ's Dacian Wars

Saturday, 3 September 2016

September Meeting - Today 03/09/16

For one month only, the September 2016 meeting was TODAY, so if you weren't there you missed it !
So, DON'T attend next Saturday, or you will be all alone, sad and frighten the Pigeon Club.

Normal service will be resumed from next month. The club meeting will be on the 2nd Saturday of the month; 8th of October. It is the AGM, so JJ will be seeking your vote for the post of Chairman. Just elect him. He will cry if you don't.


Friday, 26 August 2016

Bleneville or Bust - Scenario 4B: Near Avaux

Jagdpanthers in Normandy
The third game featured at the August meeting of the club was an 'I Aint Been Shot Mum' scenario taken from Robert Avery's campaign booklet 'Blenneville or Bust', staged by Ian with his collection of Normandy WWII 15mm figures and followed with a report on how the game played out.

Blenneville or Bust - Too Fat Lardies

The scenario called for Fallschirmjagers but due to their unavailability for this mission the SS
stepped in to the fray. These were still classed as elite to avoid unbalancing the scenario, giving them
four initiative dice.

The British objective was to remove all enemy opposition to travel along the main roads. This was
achieved if the Germans had no on-table units which could shoot with more than two initiative dice,
which meant degrading each German infantry unit by 50% - a big ask!

The German hill-top position viewed from the allied lines
The terrain favoured the defenders as all hedges were considered bocage and terrain in between
(the fields) were broken terrain - this severely restricted British movement. Visibility, unless on top
of the hill or in the buildings, was restricted from one hedgerow to the next – dense stuff this

The German left flank looks to be covered, but what about the right?
Although facing two troops of Sherman tanks with a company HQ (ten tanks) the Germans had plenty of powerful anti-tank capability; namely a beast of a Jagdpanther, two PaK 40 and two fearsome Panzerschrek teams. The Germans also had the opportunity to deploy a ‘forlorn hope’ of one rifle gruppe and one of the Panzerschrek in the wood in the NE corner, close to the British edge; which would have caused havoc being deployed off a blind with the four actions!

What did I say about that right flank!
Apart from the ‘forlorn hope’, the Germans had to deploy south of the hedge in the NW quarter and
west of the main road. In reality, they deployed quite away back in the east-west spur road; behind
the east-west southern hedge and with the Jagdpanther as the backstop with the Kompanie HQ (less
one Panzerschrek) close by! The German starting positions are marked on the map above.

The British armour takes full advantage of the opportunity presented
Due to the rearward deployment of the German forces the British, who could bring on three blinds
each time their card was drawn, had a fairly free run. The British entered the first three blinds with
one on the road with one in the fields either side. These blinds benefited from the rapid deployment
card, which appeared with regularity. As a consequence these blinds reached the west most
northern hedge and the houses undetected.

On their way in they managed to successfully recce the hedges at the road junction revealing the FOO and half of Zug One. Due to constricted positions of this Zug and the FOO, German reconnaissance was poor. Ultimately they identified one of the blinds in the houses to be a dummy and the other to contain British infantry. What a shame they didn't take the opportunity to occupy the houses on their first activation. This would have given them all round visibility making spotting so much easier – but fear of being targeted deterred the Germans from carryout this manoeuvre.

The German defenders are bundled out of their forward line
With few troops on the table and hence few cards, the tea break card made regular appearances –
as did the British blinds card. As a consequence the blinds were ‘flooding’ on to the table.

With the defence hard pressed the German command struggle to hold the line
The Germans in the spur road did eventually manage to spot a blind on the British right, which
turned out to be a platoon of infantry. The sight of this platoon caused the cautious Germans to pull
back the half Zug, retreating towards the southern hedgerow but leaving the machine gun and PaK
40 in the lane. The British, still making good use of their rapid deployment card, quickly deployed off
a blind and poured withering fire into the PaK 40 crew, causing four points of shock and pinning it.
Unable to move and with no Big Man nearby to remove shock, this ultimately sealed the fate of the

The British attack momentum doesn't let up
The British also made some useful employment of their off board 25 pounders causing various
casualties and shock. However many times the Tea break appeared the British air-support card just
failed to appear – maybe the weather gods were trying to give the Germans a chance! For the
Germans, they did not take any opportunity to unleash their powerful off-board 12cm mortars.

Meanwhile, on the British left flank the blinds were making rapid, unopposed movement but one
was eventually spotted revealing a troop of tanks. The Jagdpanther took a shot at the Firefly but
regrettably for the crew they missed. Retribution was not long in coming. The next time the British
armour card was drawn it only took one round of Firefly shooting to destroy the German behemoth!

The rear-guard prepares to sell themselves dearly as retreat is inevitable
With the British now starting to overwhelm the German infantry, and with their prized asset burning
like a roman candle, the Germans admitted defeat.

On another day, with the Germans feeling more emboldened, I am sure the British would have to
pay a high price to achieve their objective.

Thank you to Nathan and Steve for playing the game and to Nathan for the loan of a rather ‘fragile’
Jagdpanther and a grounded Typhoon!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Welcome to Zugamba - Fast and Dirty Skirmish

A small dusty provincial town is rudely awakened by the beating rotors of several Mi 8 transport helos. The oppressive regime of President for life Ndango has received intelligence that Joshua Limgabi, leader of the local Popular Front Political Cell, is in town for the night. The government airborne battalion has been tasked to arrest him. A follow up force from the local brigade will aid the extraction.

Unfortunately for the government troops, the local brigade elements were detected moving out of their barracks. Limgabi therefore tasked Comrade Maximum to lay an ambush on their approach route even before the approach of helicopters alerted the rebels.

On hearing the helos, Limgabi and his lieutenants immediately got on their toes, bomb bursting to confuse the pursuit. The airborne platoon engaged and killed one fleeing rebel and gave chase to the other two. They managed to detain the first, but the second ducked into the mosque and evaded capture.

By now the local militia were beginning to organise. A particularly alert unit piled out of the mosque, straight into a brawl with the airborne arrest team. In a brutal short range fight, several rebels were killed but Limgabi was released, somehow surviving the crossfire.

By now the unsuspecting relief column was moving towards the town. Moving in a rather untactical
formation and having forgotten to deploy scouts or an advance guard, they unsurprisingly drove straight into Comrade Maximum's ambush. For his part, Comrade Maximum had been leafing through Sean Bean's top tips, deploying his forces in the well rehearsed 'circular' ambush. This ensured that although some serious damage was done to the convoy, many of the ambushers found themselves under fire from their own comrades across the track.

The ambush zone quickly became an attritional firefight, the column being too long to catch entirely in the killing area. The rear elements deployed and eventually the 14.5 cannon on the BTR made its presence felt. It allowed Lieutenant Vinbaba to direct a left flanking attack on the ambushes from a safe distance in the rear.

Meanwhile, back in town Captain Chadhobi and his airborne platoon began to realise they'd properly kicked a hornet's nest. As rebels appeared all around, their superior training meant they quickly dispersed the rebel groups, but they didn't have the numbers to sustain casualties and keep fighting. With Limgabi on his toes, making for the shanties on the edge of town, all they could hope to do was wait for the column.

Lt Vinbaba had dispersed Maximum's ambush groups and then gathered his last intact section to move into town. Too late to help the airborne, the last running Unimog from the column would have a few spare seats on the trip back.

Rules used were 'Fast and Dirty' by Ivan Sorensen. The activations are card driven and the mechanism gives quick resolutions to most situations. Troop quality is a major factor, hardware being less important. The game meant just about all circumstances arose other than indirect fire. We'll save that for next time when the government returns on a punitive expedition.

Fast & Dirty Skirmish Rules

Much fun was had by all and everyone was very patient with the occasional erratic umpiring. Steve H displayed an uncanny ability to roll for the random arrival of his rabble militia putting them right in the thick of it every time, making life very interesting, as the Chinese curse would have it, for Chas.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

To Defy a King - Scots vs New Model Army,1651

One of the three games staged at this month's Devon Wargames meeting was a late English Civil War clash between a Scots army bent on crossing the border and joining with compatriots to the the south, which would eventually culminate in the Battle of Worcester, and a New Model army sent to prevent their progress.

The resultant clash of the two forces was set up as a meeting engagement somewhere on the borders, hence the rolling open terrain interspersed with light woods, boggy ground and a north-south road from which the two armies had shaken out into battle formation.

The collection of figures is Mr Steve's growing host of 15mm figures from various manufacturers including Minifigs, Peter Pig and even a few classic Mike's Models. The rules were a set Steve and I first encountered at Attack in Devizes a couple of years ago, "To Defy a King" and was only our second go at them, which proves they must have ticked a box to make it through to the "lets have another go at them" stage of rule playing. My part of the days festivities was to provide the terrain, command the Scots and was ably supported by Steve M who led the New Model.

For previous posts about the rules, just follow the links

The two forces deployed for battle, Scots on the left and New Model on the right
Steve did the army selection using the process set out in the rules, which for me is one of the big stand outs with these rules.

The armies during the English Civil War were very non standard one to another and the quality and training could be very different according to year and locality. The establishment by Parliament of the foundations of a professional English army, namely the New Model Army was a major step to eradicating that huge variability.

The rules seek to model this in a rather pleasing way that moves away from the lists by year and points costs, standard approach and instead generates forces in a much more variable process that produces forces that an army commander might well have had to make do with rather than what he would have chosen. It reminds me of the old Gilder system of writing brigade cards of various sized units and quality and then drawing a number of cards to suit the size of game and getting on with the force you have drawn.

The lines seen from the New Model right flank, with the Scots infantry massed in the centre looking to force their way south along the road.
Thus the forces deployed were quite different one to another with the Scots, the larger of the forces, having two infantry brigades of four and three regiments, all of different strengths and quality and two cavalry brigades like wise. The Scots ended up with some very large veteran units of infantry and cavalry which would prove a challenge to the New Model.

The New Model deployed an infantry brigade of five regiments (two small veterans and three larger trained) and two cavalry brigades, as with the Scots, one on each flank. The problem for the New Model at this period was that their officer cadre was not as good as in previous times with many of the best having quit the service. Their troops however were formidable.

You will see that we dispensed with artillery this time around as we were deploying off the march and moving to contact. The artillery in this period was not very mobile and quite feeble and we decided to dispense with its use (you can imagine it limbered up on the roads behind waiting to move on) and cut to the chase with the more mobile elements of infantry and cavalry.

For a more detailed coverage of unit capabilities you might want to follow the link above to previous games reported here on the DWG and links to the 'To Defy a King' web page that links to more explanations and the rules forum.

The different types of cavalry fighting techniques are illustrated with the sword wielding types (veterans) to the front in a single line and the pistol in your face types (raw) who fight double ranked to their rear
So with both lines deployed we were off with the initiative changing from move to move but with the Scots getting a hold of it for several key moves as the lines started to close.

The problem facing the Scots as they sought to advance on the New Model and exit the table from their lines was that the terrain of open woods and boggy ground interfered with the movement of large bodies of troops. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

The New Model Infantry bar the road south -note the variable strength of the units. Three of these regiments were trained to use Swedish volley fire tactics that effectively allowed them to fire twice in a single round of combat -ouch.
The worst effects of the terrain were suffered by the Scots cavalry on the right flank who emerged from a wood in disorder and were unable to reform before being caught by their New Model opposition and forced to fight very much at a disadvantage.

On the Scots left the weaker cavalry brigade sought to take advantage of a hill top position to fight the New Model cavalry and the veteran Scots regiment to the front, though greatly outnumbered managed with the support of a raw unit of pistol cavalry hold up the combat for most of the game before routing away at game end. (I have covered this combat in more detail towards the end of this post.)

With more infantry to hand I decided to mass close to the road looking to force my way through the New Model lines, whilst hoping my cavalry protected the flanks.
As the cavalry got stuck in, the Scots infantry methodically closed on their opposites and clenched their buttocks as the New Model troops prepared to deliver their fierce, Swedish style, volley fire. This however, through rather unfortunate dice rolling proved fairly ineffectual.

The Scots let out their battle cry and charged in pushing the New Model trained line back in the centre as their veteran infantry held firm on the flanks.

The Scots cavalry are badly disordered (to right with red markers) having got held up in the woods and are desperately trying to sort their ranks as the New Model cavalry seek to take advantage of their discomfiture. 
Steve is gradually aligning his collection to the rules with little marker holders which at present show the morale grading and will eventually record starting strength (nearest camera is 'R' raw Scots infantry, ahead are 'T' trained comrades)  
Veteran New Model infantry flank the trained regiments in the centre
The fighting for this period seems well modelled by these rules as it takes a series of combat wins and push backs to cause units to break and thus the combats generated took multiple moves before we could see where the momentum was favouring one side or the other.

This got quite interesting on the Scots right as their cavalry, caught disordered, suffered initially but through a combination of fortuitous dice rolling and eventual support from comrades in the rear started to reverse the combat.

Both sides were liberal in throwing in commanders to the combats and these rules are quite deadly when casualties are dolled out and commanders have to test for being caught up in the fighting, having a 50:50 chance of getting wounded or killed outright.

The two lines close as the Scots emerge from the close country to their front
The infantry are arrayed with pikes to the centre, able to fight in multiple ranks of bases. This trained regiment are able to drop two bases of musketeers into the second rank whilst manoeuvring between the wood and the bog.
The cavalry close on the Scots right and the pistol shots fly
As the battle reached its climax or rather the day came to an end with the bar beckoning, the Scots infantry looked likely to force a break in the New Model lines but with their cavalry beaten on the left flank and New Model cavalry pinning the Scots right it was doubtful if the Caledonians could have forced the situation and the New Model would probably have lived to fight another day, leaving the Scots somewhat chastened by the experience.

On the Scots left the opposing cavalry fight for control of a small hill that offers a little extra help to the hard pressed Scots and produced an interesting challenge to the rules.
Whilst the cavalry are otherwise engaged the Scots infantry look to press home their advantage in numbers.
So what are my impressions of these rules?
There is something about "To Defy a King" that is really appealing and I think it is the feel of the period expressed in the design, together with the army generation that really captures my imagination. I like them even though my appreciation is tempered with a frustration that they are a set of rules not quite finished in the clarity of the explanation and meaning of particular rules.

This was highlighted in the previous game when we couldn't divine how a particular cavalry combat should be resolved and a question to the forum generated a reply that suggested the players should decide on their own resolution.

That is all well and dandy, but requires a significant investment in time between friends to agree a common house rule on the situations where these considerations crop up. You would hope that rigorous play-testing prior to publication would have ironed out these seemingly straightforward situations beforehand.

The Scots lancers are still disordered and poorly place to support their comrades as the infantry press forward
This particular game threw up another situation when a Scots cavalry brigade changed their orders from advance to hold, seeking to hold the hill they were tasked with controlling.

With one unit forward and the other close behind in support, they were charged uphill by the enemy. The front unit was able to counter-charge taking advantage of their uphill position, but the other unit was not permitted to advance in its move phase to occupy the previous position held by its comrades (so not moving any further forward than when the hold order was actioned) and thus maintain support range because the brigade, had "hold" orders!

The rules seem unclear as to whether we are applying brigade or unit orders as the implications of a hold order implies that a supporting unit of cavalry could not move forward in support of a combat being fought in the position its brigade was ordered to hold, namely the hill, after the lead unit had counter-charged enemy cavalry attacking up the hill. Why? Because a hold order prohibits the unit from doing so. This implies a hold order, literally means 'don't move forward' even if that movement doesn't take you away from the position the brigade is to hold, which seems a bit daft.

An example of what I think a 'Hold' would look like might be:
• Defend/Hold
Attempt to hold current positions. You may return fire, but may not charge/attack enemy unless
in compulsory pursuit, have an attached officer, are mounted or wishing to perform a counter-charge.

Thus with the example orders above, the unit could support by manoeuvring accordingly, within its current position.

Surely a brigade commander should be able to fight his brigade as he chooses, within pre-defined limitations, provided he does not take his brigade away from the position it has been tasked to, in this case, hold. Thus on repelling an attack he would be forced to rein in and fall back to his position.

The rules seem to imply a much greater limitation in the ability of the units to manoeuvre and initiate combat against units attacking the position they are on or in.

I say seem, in that this is our second go with these rules at club and the last time was few months previous, so perhaps we have got the wrong end of the stick. Mr Steve has tasked himself to see if we can get some clarification.

The two infantry lines meet as the New Model troops let fly with their fancy firing, fortunately for the Scots with minimal effect
Scots infantry lining up for a go at push of pike
The situation outlined and the previous one are not unsurmountable to a house-rule revision and agreement but it is a frustration that these situations are not better defined.

The pressure builds as the Scots get a push on in the scrum. The 'three' counter indicates the New Model, having lost in a round of melee, have been pushed back three inches.
So there we are, another interesting game of To Defy a King which produced a very good little set too with two very different armies. Steve has plans to produce courier figures to better represent the position of orders moving between commanders along with the other markers mentioned and has produced a lovely looking collection.

Thanks to Steve M and Mr Steve for a very entertaining afternoon back in the 17th Century. I look forward to the feedback from the forum.