I had put together a Yorkist and Tudor army of the same points value but different composition and we let the dice decide the choice of armies, table edge, deployment etc. The Yorkist army had 3 units of mounted men-at-arms and 6 units of retinue longbow plus a unit of heavy cannon. The Tudor army had 2 units of mounted me-at arms and 5 units of retinue longbow but had 2 additional units of dismounted men-at-arms and 2 units of hobilar light scouting cavalry. Both armies had the same number of bill units and 3 generals.
The terrain layout was pretty open with 2 small areas of woodland on the centre line between the 2 armies and some small hills and other woods closer to the table edges. Tony and Dave would command the Yorkist army(red), and Tim and I the Tudor (blue). Chris would arrive slightly later and become chief dice roller for the Yorkists.
One great advantage of all players actually being around the table in is that you can wonder away from the gaming table and discus tactics and a game plan without the other side overhearing the discussion. Tim and I did just that once the Yorkists had deployed in response to our own Tudor deployment. We mirrored the position of their 3 heavy cavalry with our 2 plus the hobilars, but also allocated 2 of our 3 cavalry to these cavalry. We aimed to capture both small woods with our bill units and position our longbow units in a straight shooting line between these, there flanks now protected.
Opening tactical moves saw the Yorkist heavy cannon positioned to shoot upon the centre of our advancing line. Tim and I chose to ignore it and continue our straight-line advance to the woods, trusting that Chris would roll poorly for the guns! Tony’s 3 units of heavy cavalry who were positioned on the extreme left of the line pulled back as our line advanced to take possession of both woods. This left a gap to the table edge which we filled with our mounted units and 2 of our 3 generals as an anti-cavalry deterrent!
The Tudor longbow advanced and engaged in a brutal shooting match with the Yorkist longbow line. Tim’s longbow got the better of their opponents and the Deep deployment of the Yorkist infantry worked against them as recoiling and fleeing longbow units severely hindered tactical movement.
There was now an opportunity to launch the Tudor cavalry with 2 generals against their mounted opponents, but we decided to stick to our straight-line advance so we could maintain command and control through the woodland. Instead, Tim charged the guns with a unit of bill advancing in column. They succeeded in eliminating the guns but were themselves swamped and eliminated by a rush of Yorkist bill out for revenge.
The Tudor longbow unleashed a deadly hail of arrows against the already diminished Yorkist longbow causing major casualties and disruption to their infantry which was being slowly pushed back towards their table edge. At this point Tony chose to take the do or die option of charging his heavy cavalry and a general against the Tudor horse. With the adjacent wood held by Tudor bill units this was a decisive gamble with the odds weighed against them. Tim’s hand-to-hand dice rolls were good and Tony’s not so good which sent all 3 Yorkist cavalry fleeing, disrupted with many stands lost. There was no fighting back from this disaster because with the option of pursuit and the Tudor tactical move next, the 2 units of Tudor heavy cavalry each with a general, plus the remaining unit of hobilars would almost certainly eliminate all 3 plus a general in the next round of combat. And, with the remainder of Yorkist infantry at the mercy of the advancing Tudor longbow the Yorkists conceded the game.
Tim and I formulated a battle plan for the Tudor army and stuck to it. The capture and control of the 2 small woods protected the flanks of our longbow line which performed excellently due to some consistently good dice rolls from Tim. The hand-to-hand combats also went in our favour and thankfully, against recent form, Chris’s dice rolls were quite poor. Time for an Ancients game at the club next week!