Then I remembered The Pikeman's Lament (2017) by Daniel Mersey and Michael Leck (Dalauppror), a rule set I had looked at after I had started playing The Men Who Would Be Kings but before I started playing Lion Rampant and Dragon Rampant. I also came across the reports of Border Reiver games using Pikeman’s Lament on Angus Konstam's Edinburgh Wargames website. That clinched it, but before the headlong rush into hitting the 'Buy' button, I thought I'd better try out the rules and period by substituting my as yet unused Late Mediaevals and playing a Reiver game.
The Rampant games are commonly referred to as skirmish games, and one figure does represent one man, but the idea of skirmish needs some qualification. In wargame terms I tend to think of these games as squad games in which individual figures act as strength markers. That is not a criticism, just an observation, and it is a type of game I prefer to 'true skirmish' games.
We staged a stand-up fight (Scenario A) pitting a Reiver family, retainers and servants (commanded by my friend Ian who has Border ancestry!) against garrison forces of the March Warden supported by other Reivers (commanded by myself). The backstory is that the Reivers were ambushing a Hot Trod (or pursuit).
The Reivers comprised:
1 Reiver Family mounted* (Dragoons – customised) @ 4
2 Reiver Family on foot (Aggressive Forlorn Hope) @ 6 = 12
1 Retainers (Clansmen) @ 3
2 Retainers (Commanded Shot) @ 2 = 4
1 Lownes/Armed servants (Clubmen) @ 1
The 'Dragoons' had customised values which upped their Attack Value and Stamina in compensation for losing their Shooting factor and Skirmishing ability.
The Warden’s forces:
1 Border Horse* (Gallopers) @ 4
1 Garrison Pike @ 4
1 Garrison Shot @ 4
2 'Hot Trod' Reivers (Aggressive Forlorn Hope) @ 6 = 12
*Officers with these units.
The photos show the course of the game. In order to speed things up and maintain momentum we tended to make assumptions and bluff our way through on the basis of our knowledge of other Rampant rules. We inevitably cut corners and made a few mistakes but these were mostly corrected and probably didn't affect the outcome of the game.
|The Officers' units square up for a fight. The Retainers fail to rally and keep retreating.|
|The mounted Reiver unit attacks my lancers but bounces back.|
|Ian's Commanded Shot 1 is eliminated by overwhelming fire power.|
|I lose my Reiver 1 unit but the March Warden's unit ploughs into the Armed Servants who are chaff to the scythe. We should have gone on until there were only three units left in total on the table but the outcome was pretty certain at this point.|
- The rules worked well (as expected) and there were no difficulties in stretching these Seventeenth Century rules back to the Sixteenth Century.
- I probably wouldn't use the customised Dragoon option again. Any mounted Reivers will simply be treated as Gallopers.
- Using substitute figures was surprisingly distracting and it would have been better to use MDF counters.
- This is the first time I've played with my Late Mediaevals and I didn't like the rectangular figure bases as it's difficult to avoid lining them up. I'm therefore going to rebase all the infantry on 2p pieces like my other Rampant armies and this will make it easier to keep them in the prescribed clumps.
- We both enjoyed the game. Reivers are a colourful option despite the Hodden Grey. I am going ahead with this project and have ordered some sample packets.