Most of the wargaming stuff is already packed up in boxed for the big house move, but last weekend we nevertheless managed to have a first game of Lion Rampant. K. took El Cid and his retinue while I played the Almoravids. I put together two retinues based on what looked plausible to me and without following the army lists in the rulebooks. We ended up having two 25 points forces: The Spanish had two mounted Men-at-Arms, one of them being drilled, one unit of Mounted Serjeants, one of Foot Yeomen and one of Crossbowmen. The Almoravids had three units of Foot Serjeants, one of mounted Serjeants, one of Archers and two Bidowers.
The game was a simple straight-on battle (the ‘Bloodbath’ scenario from the rulebook) to familiarise ourselves with the rules. Each of us just plunked his or her units on the table and the fun could begin!
During the first couple of turns, I was extremely unlucky with activation rolls and my guys stood rooted to the ground. This wasn’t that bad as the Almoravids prefer defensive tactics anyway (the Foot Serjeants are better at being attacked than at attacking), but it meant I was hovering precariously close to the table edge with little space for retreating.
That was a fun game! K. won very clearly after breaking through my center with her heavy cavalry and killing my leader.
We got some things wrong at the beginning: we kept forgetting about the 3″ Zone of Control, especially concerning friendly units, and I forgot the Schiltron special ability until the very end of the game, when I finally used it to make a last stand.
Also, my tactics leave much room for improvement: I used my Archers and Bidowers quite stupidly and lost them without them making much of an impact. Mounted Men-at-Arms are very tough nuts to crack in this game, so I’ll have to think of something when I’m up against them again. I also felt my retinue lacked in offensive power, so I might take Mounted Men-at-Arms myself next time – some time ago, I’ve painted up Yusuf’s Hasham, his personal bodyguard, to use as heavy Almoravid cavalry.
Anyhow, we both greatly enjoyed Lion Rampant. It gives a very fast and fluid game and the mechanics are simple yet elegant – after a couple of turns, there was almost no need to consult the Quick Reference Sheet. We’ll certainly have a go at some of the scenarios soon.