Tuesday night club games between these two armies have always provided a good evenings entertainment and with six players, three each side these Hordes & Heroes games tend to be fast and furious. The Norman army was composed of 40% cavalry with a good number of B class armoured infantry and archers. The Romano British army included 3 units of chariots, a reasonable number of cavalry and lots of C class warrior hordes. We concluded 2 games in less than 3 hours with the 6 players (Dave, Tony, Steve, Mark, Tim and me), switching players and armies by roll of dice between the first and second games to mix things up even further!
The Norman commanders (Tony, Tim and me), won choice of table edge but had to deploy first. However, we did get first move which Tony, our celebrated cavalry commander used to very good effect, concentrating many Norman cavalry units within charge range of the British chariots. The Brits (Dave, Mark and Chris), advanced against us in solid line formations ready to receive any frontal assault by the plentiful Norman cavalry.
In just our second tactical move of the game, Tony launched a host of Norman cavalry at and around the British Chariot units on our left flank. Only one unit was recoiled by bow fire from the chariots, the rest charged home. Meanwhile in the centre and right wing our infantry was still 2 moves away from making any contact with the British infantry. Tim and I simply adopted the role of interested spectators as Tony and Dave had fun knocking seven bells out of each other, metaphorically speaking. The British chariots were soon overwhelmed by the multitudes of Norman cavalry before any relief units could arrive from their centre.
At last the two-opposing line of infantry engaged in the centre and our right wing after the archers from both sides had effectively disrupted and neutralised each other. They were soon ushered out of the way so that the traditional infantry carnage could begin. Soon the hordes Romano British warriors, which were already fighting the stubborn Norman infantry in the centre, found themselves been attacked in the flank and rear by the already triumphant Norman Cavalry. They had demolished the British right wing and the centre was next on their hit list!
Within a couple of game turns the Brits were in full retreat as the Norman cavalry had proved unstoppable, and rather than per long the agony, the British commanders conceded the game so that we could have time to set-up for a second game and a re-match.
The teams swapped around so that Tony, Dave and Tim had the Normans and Mark, Chris and me had the Romano Brits. The first few moves of this second game saw both sides adopt a slower and more cautious approach. Tony was once more in the role of Norman cavalry commander and after his exploits in the first game ‘we’ Brits were watching his every move and Chris kept his 3 chariot units safe behind a line of warriors.
The two armies started on the opposite side of the table to the previous game. This meant that the Norman cavalry were deployed in close to 2 areas of woodland which could restrict their movement if we could get our warriors into position quickly enough. On our far left Mark occupied another area of woodland with 2 peasant hordes, a unit of warriors and a unit of ‘B’ class spears. They were soon attacked and slowly pushed back by Norman infantry, but this committed many Normans to our left and away from the centre.
In the centre and left Chris had positioned his Chariots and cavalry ready to charge through our infantry lines against the lead units of Norman cavalry. Thankfully, Tony had held back his cavalry long enough for us to launch our attack and when we charged home the Norman cavalry lacked sufficient room to manoeuvre. We had committed 3 generals into hand-to-hand combat and so this was really a win or loose gamble. As things turned out we lost one general, but the recoiling back of Norman cavalry and infantry caused so much disruption that they were unable to counter-attack in the next Norman movement phase.
A couple more of rounds of hand-to-hand combat saw the Brits gain the upper hand as the battle of attrition removed most of the Norman cavalry and two commanders. Thankfully, the Normans couldn’t get support from their right wing as these units were kept busy by Marks stubborn fighting retreat. The Normans were forced back through the woodland towards their own table edge and inevitable defeat.
And so, by the end of the evening both armies had both won and lost!