When Sir Betram Wooster set out with a small group of archers in the morning, he had no idea that he would end up in a rather tight spot by early afternoon. Scouting ahead of the main army, he ran into the enemy vanguard and barely managed to fall back into a fortified farmhouse. Would he be able to hold his position until the relief force arrived? Or would he succumb to the reckless attacks of his enemies, who were determined to take the farm and drive Bertie out of it?
We played this scenario two times with roles exchanged, so one time Bertie was a Yorkist Big Man and the other time a Lancastarian. The aim was to get him out of the soup, that is to contact him with the relief force and throw back the enemy by the end of turn 8.
In the first game, I was the attacker. The attacking force had to split up, each half coming from the opposite sides of the table. My men-at-arms with one group of billmen as support decided to trudge across the pastures, while the rest lined up along the road, hoping to rush to the farm before the relief force showed up.
However, the Lancastarian Bertie proved to be an able commander, full of spirit and initiative: As his Big Man card came up every turn, he managed to get a lot of arrows into my advancing men-at-arms, who started to get reluctant about the whole storming the farm business.
The relief force advanced very swiftly and threw back the Yorkists trying to force open the door. At the other side of the building, the Yorkist men-at-arms were wavering under the rain of arrows and, because of the shock points received, never even made it to the wall. The game ended with Bertie still holding the building and a Lancastarian victory.
For the second game, K. positioned her her men-at-arms in the pastures like I did, but her second group much nearer to the entry point of my relief force, intending to prevent my troops from contacting the farm building. To my dismay, the Yorkist Bertie behaved much more like his literary model: Utterly clueless, he never took initiative, which meant that his archers gave only feeble shots in the direction of the approaching men-at-arms, which soon were standing at the farm walls…
Indeed, Bertie had thrown the towel quite early, allowing the Lancastarian me-at-arms to enter the farm. Despite the brave attempt of the relief force, they could not be thrown out. Again, the game ended with a Lancastarian victory.
This is a fun little scenario that is quick to play and would perhaps serve well to learn the Sharp Practice rules. The importance of initiative and especially shock points is conveyed very clearly – in the first game, the accumulation of shock slowed my men-at-arms down so much that they didn’t even reach the farm building. However, this also means that luck plays a bigger part than in the other scenarios we have played so far, as there is nothing to be done if Bertie’s Big Man cards doesn’t come up and the enemy’s advance isn’t slowed by inflicting damage. Still, those were two nerve-wrecking and entertaining games!