Recently, we had K.’s brother J. and his son over to play a game of medieval Sharp Practice. Some of you might remember that I built a medieval cog once – well, it was time to finally put her on the table!
The scenario was set after the Battle of Northampton in 1460, where the Yorkists managed to capture King Henry. Queen Margaret, however, managed to escape to Wales, despite being ambushed on the way by some Yorkists, who took all her valuables.
In our story, the Queen wants to escape to the coast to take a ship to France, no doubt to get some money from her father to raise an army. The Queen was escorted by her loyal bodyguard of Men-at-Arms and some mercenary handgonners. Waiting for her on the beach were a group of Archers and a detachment of sailors from the ship’s crew. Hot on her heels were the Yorkists, who had a slight superiority in troop quality, fielding two groups of Billmen, one of Archers and one of Men-at-Arms.
K. and the kid played the Lancastarians while J. and me took the Yorkists. We decided to split our forces: the Billmen were deployed to pursue the Queen’s entourage while the Men-at-Arms and the Archers were to advance on the beach.
The Yorkist Billmen stepped lively and were able to engage the handgonners positioned to the rear of the column. The handgonners shooting hurt but didn’t deter the brave lads.
Still, the handgonners kept up an efficient defence, falling back without breaking when attacked, shooting and blocking the way for their pursuers. In the end, they succumbed to the greater numbers, but they had successfully delayed the Yorkists’ advance.
Meanwhile, on the beach – nothing happened. K. and the kid had deployed their troops to secure the embarkment and waited.
Unfortunately, neither of our two Big Men positioned on the beach could be activated, as their cards just wouldn’t turn up before Tiffin ended the turn. This went on turn after turn, and we were getting quite frustrated, as we knew we had almost no chance to stop the Lancastarians now. Finally, we got the Archers and Men-at-Arms going, but it was too late.
The Archers managed to do some damage and our Men-at-Arms took their anger out on the poor sailors, but this couldn’t change to inevitable result: The Queen embarked in her boat, and while the Archers took one last shot at her she was rowed to the ship, which set sails and took her to France.
It was great fun to play with J. and the kid, and I was happy to get the boat out and use the beach mat for medievals. However, the game was very frustrating for J. and myself. I felt like a bad host as J. didn’t have much opportunity to actually play! Perhaps I should consider to soften the effect of the Tiffin card a bit, at least in scenarios like this, where a chase is going on and it is not even very plausible for the pursuers to stand around and do nothing.
Still, everyone agreed that they had a good time, so I’m sure we’ll have an opportunity to play again soon.