English (IV/23) v Scots (IV/16): A trial for vid recording

Posted on February 5, 2014


It’s been a heck of a long time since my last wargame, but my usual opponent Angry Anderson found himself family-free and after a TTG version of an RPG session, we went one game on a standard dimension table.

The only difference between our set-up and the rules was that I laid down the terrain before we had chosen sides or armies for that matter!


This game was recorded on my new toy, a Microsoft Surface (tablet). The angle wasn’t great and got around half the board. But once I chopped all the rot I talked off the front, it cut down to 44 minutes of watchable action.

But alas, unless I buy a premium upgrade, the game will have to remain a mere description!

The Scots Commons win the toss and their favoured end, the cluttered one (right of picture). This enables them to set up well screened on the flanks by woods and with road through the middle allowing a column of pikes, perhaps, to move quickly to dominate the middle. The Scots have selected a pike-heavy mix, eight pikes with two warbands, a psiloi and the Knight General. They deploy as far forward on the “start line” as they can, a solid block of pikes then warbands on the left, psiloi on the right and general in back.

What they can see of the English tells them the ancient foe has arrayed his heavy chivalry to left-rear in one battle (including Knight General who being on right of the battle deploys roughly centre-field); a couple of spear, a block of lowly levy foot, then psiloi and a mass of bows, forming a second battle, arrayed from centre to right, suggesting the rough ground to their fore will be used to screen them and spears .

But the English final formation reveals a slightly different look. As the scouts report back to the Scots general, he learns that the levy foot straddle the centre and the mass of bows are now closely supported by spears. It seems a good chance to hurl his warbands at the spears in rough ground, so he lays plans to get warbands up quickly.

The English position is simpler. Since there is a stretch of reasonably open ground for knights to operate in on his left, the English commander deploys his knights left, though behind the foot. His archers and spears will have to manage protection of the knights’ right flank, and mow down schiltrons that push forward. If the Scots hang back then the archers can infiltrate the woods around the Scots in great number.

Early Moves

Both sides roll fairly high PIPs and have to think about whether to race Psiloi forward to grab rough ground. Both use at least two PIPs to do that: the Scots the more aggressive of the two, seizing a good stranglehold on rough ground between the two armies, on the Scots right (i.e. covering any English Knight advance). This has the added advantage that it is nowhere near English bows.

The English seem to be in some uncertainty, as their spears are forced to maneuver in column up and around the rough ground in front of them. However the end result become apparent: they intend to drive in on the Scots left at a 45 degree angle, allowing maximum bow coverage against whatever corner of the Scots formations present themselves. The levy do advance, once, to allow Knights the option of wheeling left before emerging from their original position to rear.

Scots decide to push pikes forward, and inevitably the early moves are dominated by PIPs spent to expand pikes as they advance slowly. But the Knight General detaches, moves forward, and tucks in behind the warbands, who have formed a van on the road.

Middle Moves

The mid-game is dominated by Scots warbands uneasily shuffling forward to a centre position, while the Scots Knight General chooses his moment to detach. It’s high risk as the English bows slowly work their way through rough ground to their desired 45 degree angle to this line of advance. The Pikes expend steadily. Naturally early fire is ineffective with only one bow element able to fire at a pike element but it’s a sign of things to come.

Closing Moves

The closing game is signalled by the Scots changing strategy, beginning to wheel to face the bows, at which point the English chivalry is launched. In the event their contribution is only to snap up the Psiloi then lose a knight in payment but by that time the warbands and pikes have lost three elements to archery (or melee with archers) so it is game over.

Closing position

Here’s a close-up still of the final position. In the foreground Scots pikes have made a desperate push but have only succeeded in recoiling archers. Mid-ground, the English commander has held back to let his knights and archers do the work. Extreme left, the toe of an English levy (horde) is just visible, where they guard their camp. The edge of the Scots camp, with (converted Strelets bagpiper) flag-bearer proudly waving is visible extreme right. Far ground, there’s a strange tussle on the bad ground where the Scots Knight General entered bad ground to mark the English left wing, while Scots foot have cut the English knight element down.