Never Mind the Billhooks has really caught everyone's attention and has become the main focus of my regular group at Eric the Shed's. Having tried a few practice games we took on something a bit more ambitious this week with a 5 player refight of the first battle of St. Alban's, traditionally seen as the opening battle of The Wars of the Roses. This looks like it may well become game #1 in a refight of all the main battles in sequence. There is an excellent post from Eric about the background, planning and house rules for the game HERE and his detailed account of the battle HERE.
The terrain for the game was excellent with a dense cluster of buildings and alleyways representing St Albans.
Unusually for this period the battle was fought in the streets of the town with the Lancastrians caught on the hop. To reflect this they had limited orders for the first couple of turns while the Yorkists advanced across the fields towards the barricaded streets.
When I first saw the scenario and the terrain I was pretty certain the Lancastrians wouldn't have much of a chance and initially this seemed the case. On our right the Lancastrians were forced back into the town but on my side of the town the defended barricades and lack of space to manouvre caused the Yorkists some problems. A fierce series of fights broke out all across our front with my Archers and Billmen packed into the alleyways trying to hold back the approaching enemy.
We managed to drive back of the approaching Men at Arms and Billmen but the weight of numbers was too great and the Yorkists were able to swing round onto the end of the main street and into the town while Mark's Lancastrians were gradually being pushed back to defend the King.
Clifford fought his way out of the town, pursuing Yorkist troops but leaving himself exposed
On our right Mark's forces had also been slowly forced back but had also inflicted heavy losses on the Yorkists. By the end of the evening the Lancastrians were shattered but Henry VI still hadn't been captured (or rescued depending on your perspective) although there was now no one to stop the Yorkists capturing him, so a Yorkist victory but a lot closer than I'd hoped for.
The rules held up really well again and the tweaks to reflect street fighting made it a different and challenging game. The terrain looked fantastic and gave a really claustrophobic feeling of trying to marshal men in the narrow, crowded streets.
Oh, and we were visited by Jerry the cat. Not the same cat as last week... Jerry was much better mannered and didn't attempt to eat anyone.