Trouble at t’Mill

To break in the new windmill, I put together a scenario featuring that building. What else to call it than Trouble at t’Mill, although I am aware that there is a fine blog out there which bears this name.

The story went like this: The Yorkist and Lancastrian commanders got notice that a spy was hidden in a nearby windmill. They both suspected that the guy was actually a double agent and wanted to catch and debrief him. However, the spy was known to be a cunning fox – would he try to escape in some fancy disguise?

At the beginning of the game, a peasant with his mule was placed beside the mill. At the end of each turn, on a roll of 3+ he would start to move along the road towards the east side of the board. There was a chance that this was the spy in disguise and any unit could halt and search him by spending one action dice. On a roll of 5+, he would be revealed as the spy and captured. The windmill could also be searched by spending an action dice; on a roll of 3+, the spy would be in there (of course, if the mill was searched and he was not in there then the spy would automatically be the peasant and vice versa). The spy would also try to break free when the group escorting him entered melee, attempting to escape to the wooded area in the east. For a detailed description of the scenario and the special rules see the resources section. The player who escorted the spy to his or her table edge would be the winner; if the spy escaped over the eastern table edge, both players would lose.

The troops entered the table almost as if they were heading into a set-piece battle, with a wide linear front. When the first soldiers climbed onto the hill, the startled peasant started to move, no doubt trying to stay out of trouble.

Better get out of here!
Better get out of here!

Or was this the spy in disguise sneaking away? Oh no, a Yorkist Big Man won’t fall for something simple like that! One of my commanders led his billmen to halt and interrogate the lad.

May I see your papers, sir?
May I see your papers, sir?

Alas! It turned out to be a harmless peasant after all.

While the Yorkists were molesting pedestrians, the Lacastarians showered them with arrows, inflicting casualties and shock points. At the same time, their men-at-arms entered the mill and after some rummaging pulled out the spy. Bound, he was led away while the billmen moved forward to provide cover.

Stout billmen covering the retrieval of the spy.
Stout billmen covering the retrieval of the spy.

I knew I had to break through this group if I wanted to have a chance of getting the spy before he was marched off. Luckily, I drew the ‘The sun lost its brightness’ bonus card which allowed me to double the shock points inflicted. Together with some lucky dice, I shocked the hell out of the billmen. But I still had to enter melee if I wanted them to move away before the end of the turn. One charge by my men-at-arms later and they were running for all they were worth.

Lancastarian billmen routing into sunset.
Lancastarian billmen routing into sunset.

However, that left me with no more actions. When the next turn started, K. was able to march her prisoner off before I could react. As it was clear that I wouldn’t catch her group, we decided to stop the game and declare the Lancastarians victors!

Ununsual for a game of Sharp Practice, the game was over after seven turns. However, it provided some interesting situations. Not knowing where the spy was made both of us cover our flanks in case the peasant got through. Naturally, there was skirmishing between the troops there. But this had no effect on the main action, which took place directly in front of the windmill. K. putting her group of billmen in front of the prisoner’s escort was the deciding tactical move – it bought her the time to march off her prize and win the day. A worthy game for the inauguration of the new windmill!

3 thoughts on “Trouble at t’Mill

  1. Michael March 16, 2014 / 12:56 am

    A great way to baptize this fine terrain piece and a great idea for a scenario.
    I can imagine what asking a medieval peasant for “papers” would be like:
    Are you Wat the Slopper?
    No, I’m Wat the Mucker, son of Wat the Simple, Son of Wat the Dunger of the Bogheath Dungers.
    Righto, off you go.

  2. daggerandbrush March 16, 2014 / 11:40 pm

    A very nice battle report. After reading your reports I feel I should give Sharp Practice a go. Looks like a very nice system with a lot of scenario potential.

    • cptshandy March 17, 2014 / 3:15 pm

      Do give it a try! It’s great fun.

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