Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Northamptonshire, 4th February
The Society Championship
Well, some apologies, first, for being a little quiet over the last few weeks. February is a very busy time for shows (something every week) and is pretty crammed with Society business too ... wrapping up last year and getting a grip on this.
The first tick went into the Championship box, however. 2011 is underway. My first game was a Field of Glory encounter, my Condotta Italians against Richard's Later Sicilians. Not far off historical ... not far off Guelf vs Ghibelline.
This was a hard fought battle. The Sicilians are very tough, and it was clear enough from how they deployed that there was a determined plan to bring about a decisive action ('to engage the enemy more closely' as Nelson might have said in another age) ...
The Florentines have a big army, so must arrange their troops to give support and cover, optimising the advantage of manoeuvre and numbers.
(Richard's fine collection of Sicilian knights, resplendent with authentic heraldry)
It started bad for them ... a classic wargamer's 1 in 36 allowing my crossbow skirmishers to get caught, bad dice making this a 'one phase' rout, and a big pursuit roll enabling Richard's victorious knights to career their continuing impact into the allied commander's retinue of English archers. Hmm - it wasn't meant to start like this!
Fortunately, while this hole was developing within the Florentine ranks, Hawkwood was moving up some more knights and archers against the Sicilian centre which was being held by several bodies of (Medium Foot) Saracen archers. Provided the mercenary quality Florentines could withstand the Sicilian version of an arrow storm, these 'soft' infantry would not last long.
(Knights vs Longbow. The marker behind is a failed cohesion test for the infantry. It tells you all you need to know)
In the centre, although victorious to their front, the Imperial knights were getting engulfed (flank attacks), and just did not have the numbers to protect themselves.
When the end came, it came quickly. The Saracens gave way, and their friends panicked. Deadly shooting turned panic into rout. Meanwhile, the main Sicilian attack had disintegrated with no survivors.
It was valiant, but in the end numbers and drilled manoeuvre won the day.
You can find out more about the Championship from the Society's main website (Championship pages) ... I hope you will be tempted to join in. It is an ideal reason to arrange a game with a fellow enthusiast, and provides a unique format where, whatever your county or continent, we can all join in as members.
My games with Richard are a great example: we have been fellow enthusiasts for some 20 (25?) years, and played our 'regulation' two proper games a year as part of the old Championship. Now it is running again, it has given us an excuse to renew that tradition: where we might not have quite managed to schedule a game, now it is again a firm arrangement.
I also like the simple win/draw/loss scoring. It reduces that gamey negative play (playing for game points) that spoils so many tournament games (playing the percentages rather than trying to win).
So 'follow your spirit' as Harry might have said. There's ten and a bit more months to go, and the 2011 Championship is an open book, ready for you and your friends to write your names on it.
Results submission can be done through the website, any mutually agreed rules set or games format can be counted and there are prizes as well as kudos for the notable performers (and that doesn't just mean the winners).
Organiser Daivid, is building a Championship scrapbook (here ...), and, at the moment he is interested in hearing the views of prospective players amongst those who have signed up to the Society's Yahoo discussion group ...
You could also join us for a chat at Cavalier on the 27th.
Finally, best wishes to our contingent of Kiwi Championship players and their families. It is obviously a distressing time for many New Zealanders, but we hope you are safe and we send our best wishes.