Sunday, April 30, 2017

1st April, Blectchley

The 2017 SoA BattleDay 

This year was Arsuf 1191 and the event was supported by eight different game/presenter combinations.

I had previously developed an Arsuf scenario for Armati but was very impressed with the reconfiguration I tried out as the show game at Claymore 2008 ... so, after a bit of tinkering, I decided to go with that.

This was therefore a mature project and benefited from having all the components available - Richard's fleet, personality figures for all the commanders, bespoke baggage for the marching column etc.

Here's a quick tour around the tables (I'll complete the captioning when I have fuller details - I was pretty much imbedded in my own game so haven't got complete notes) ... 

This was a lot more intimate a group than we have had for some of the Hellenistic/Roman fight days - which gain support from the 28mm big beasts - nevertheless, the room set aside for the introductory talk session was full (so we probably had fewer games but more player/visitors per game) ...

I had planned to 'workshop' the battle in episodes, trying bits of Impetus, FoG, ADLG maybe ... but as it turned out one of my volunteers wanted to try out Field of Glory (so that's where we started - it worked very well, so we decided as a group to stay with FoG and play it out).

Here are some scenes from my game:

(Arsuf - phase one ... Richard's army emerges from the defile into the open ground on the road to Arsuf)

(Arsuf - looking down Richard's column towards Arsuf, Saracens massing in the hills)

(Arsuf - phase two ... the Turks advance and engage the Crusaders with continual archery)

(Arsuf - phase two ... the Crusader foot are forced to turn and face ... )

(Arsuf - phase three ... Crusader knights charge out of the lines and a general engagement ensues)

In our battle, the Crusader column was successfully stopped and bodies of knights were drawn away from the protection of the close formation ... gaps appeared in the lines and Mamluk cavalry were able to burst into the box, even as far as Richard's personal standard.

Although there were a number of routed and exhausted enemy, many Crusaders fled towards the beach and cliffs, tumbling into the sea (presumably hoping to reach the sanctuary of their ships but certainly lost for the purposes of our game) ...

Luck was not with King Richard.

Historically, it had been a different story ... though many Crusaders did drown in panic, charges from the line had been more controlled and had caught sufficient of the Saracens to disperse Saladin's army beyond immediate recovery and Richard was able to claim a victory.

Operationally Arsuf was something of a stalemate: though claiming victory, Richard lacked the resources to strike at Jerusalem ... Saladin's field army was spent, however, and he could not exploit Richard's predicament.  The two commanders were forced to come to terms.

After the battle, though, Richard held the field and was able to complete his march to Arsuf in triumph ...

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