The Devon Wargames Group have a tradition of pulling together an annual Xmas game to include all club members, and this years event was our fictitious Wars of the Roses clash, where all members were asked to contribute at least one unit of troops and align themselves with one house or the other. The rules chosen to run our big game was Peter Pigs "Bloody Barons", and yesterday saw the two forces fight it out on a three table battle set up with hundreds of colourful troops flying banners for the various factions.
|The Lancastrian left with the village of Whipton bottom left|
|The Centre table|
|The Lancastrian right - the quiet sector!!|
|"An army marches on its stomach"|
As with all major campaigns it is really important to make sure your forces are well provisioned, and with the festive season well under way, a good supply of nibbles and mince pies were made readily available to commanders throughout the days battle.
Whilst the terrain was arranged the various troops of each faction were organised into Household, Retinue and Levy contingents, with the die rolls made to determine late arrivals on the field.
The commanders set up their respective forces and then the skulduggery and double dealing was sorted out. Bloody Barons has a set up procedure where the commanders can spend points on various aspects that might influence a Wars of the Roses campaign such as bribery, spying, route of march, supplies etc. depending on what priority the commander gives to these various aspects may give his forces an advantage over the enemy.
Well it seemed that the Yorkists were on their game as my commander none other than the Earl of Warwick found himself away from the field of battle when it all "kicked off". In addition several of our units who were ordered to take up strong defensive positions were led to the wrong parts of the field and found themselves out of position. Oh the fickle Gods of War!!
|The forces arrayed on the left|
With the forces set up, the battle swung into action. The Lancastrian plan was to hold the wings and smash the centre. The Yorkists went for holding their right, contest the centre and destroy the Lancastrian fores on their left at Whipton Cross moving to support the fight for the centre.
|The centre set up|
The clash in the centre when it came was fierce and bloody with the advantage swinging one way to the other, but eventually with gaps appearing in the Lancastian line the Yorkist pressure started to take control.
|The hard pressed Lancastrian right - they shall not pass!!|
Whilst both forces merely skirmished and scowled on the Lancastrian left, Warwick on the right faced an onslaught of Yorkists keen to take advantage of his troops poor dispositions and his apparent absence from the field. However as their forces closed on the Lancastrians they were met by a hail of well place arrows and crossbow bolts severely mauling the lead units.
As his forces were one by one overwhelmed, Warwick finally appeared receiving a roar of approval from his remaining troops. With defeat staring the Lancastrians in the face, honour demanded one final effort of resistance.
|The Yorkists prepare to assault Whipton Cross|
|The gallant Lancastian garrison of Whipton - Warwick's retinue with mercenary crossbows in support|
|Warwick and his Household troops|
|Gaps start to appear in the Lancastrian centre as the Yorkists close|
|Desperate defence around Whipton as the Yorkist seek to crush all resistance|
|Warwick places himself in the front rank as he leads a crashing charge by his mercenary pikes which smash the leading Yorkists as they attempt to cross the Whipton brook.|
This was but a minor glorious interlude in what turned into a crushing victory for the House of York. Lancastrian resistance in the South West was at end. The field would be left to Henry Tudor to contest, but that as they say is another story.
The day was a great feast of wargaming. Bloody Barons gave a good account of itself when used to run a large club game with over 12 players on three tables attempting to stay in sync with each other as the battle evolved. The club really did itself proud with all members making a contribution to the days fun and our big game provided an excellent close to our games for 2012. We are all looking forward to going bigger and better in 2013.
A happy and safe Christmas to all .