This week at Curt's saw us trying out Hail Caesar with my El Cid era 25mms. We used the old chestnut the Battle of Sawmill Village from the first Charles S Grant book. Curt took on the Campeador's role in charge of the Zaragozans leading from the front with his cavalry while Sylvain was in charge of the Zaragozan foot. On the Aragonese side, Pedro was in charge of the cavalry and Stacy the foot sloggers.
Forces were as follows (I let the Zaragozans have better infantry than normal to balance out the Heavier Aragonese Cavalry)
1 Heavy Cavalry unit (Andalusian Cavalry)
2 small Light Cavalry units (Andalusian Jinetes with Feigned flight)
2 Heavy Infantry units (one Zaragozan, one Berber mercenaries)
2 small Light Infantry units (one unarmoured archers, one armoured crossbows)
1 Heavy Cavalry unit (Hidalgos with lance, eager and tough fighters)
1 Medium Cavalry unit (Caballeros Villanos)
1 small Light Cavalry units (Christian Jinetes)
1 Heavy Infantry unit (mercenaries)
1 Medium Infantry unit (Aragonese militia)
2 small Light Infantry units (one unarmoured archers, one unarmoured crossbows)
The Aragonese forces consistantly rolled badly on the activation rolls, crawling on one move per turn thanks to the column formation while El Cid had the Zaragozan lights scampering through the village in no short order. Pedro blames Stacy's infantry column with it miserable collection of priests, women and other baggage for the delays.
El Cid fully capitalized on the delays on the Aragonese side and caught Pedro's cavalry before they deployed fully (Pedro accepts no responsibility for his deployment!). The Araganonese lights opted to stand and fight the Zaragozan heavies rather than evade off table - and were routed off table! The Andalusians carried on to hit the Hidalgos. The initial clash favoured the Hidalgos, but heartened by El Cid's prescence the muslims held. Meanwhile Pedro flubbed his command roll trying to convince the Caballeros Villanos to charge a unit of Jinetes, which also meant that Pedro could not join the Hidalgos in melee.
While the horsemen crossed swords the foot sloggers made for the objective - the village. Sylvain's crossbows got there first, but Stacy's militia and archers were not far off, and each side occupied one half of the village. Stacy's militia fought well and resisted a charge from the heavy infantry, and his crossbows resisted a charge by a unit of Jinetes. However, the battle was decided by the cavalry fight (as it should be in 11th century Spain!).
The luck of the dice favoured El Cid, whose personal presence turned the tide of the melee. Victory went to the Zaragozans, who broke the Hidalgos. However, the suffered enough to warrant a test themselves and were also broken. Pedro's division now had lost two units out of three so were broken and the Caballero Villanos retired off table.
This was my first game with the HC/BP system and while I might tweak things a bit I liked the way it worked. Medieval troops should not be to reliable and should be liable to run off ahead of supports or lag behind. Also the unit system fits the Grant teaser scenarios nicely.
In the end it was a fun game, with honours for most players (Pedro aside). Photos from Curt are uploaded below. Curt provided the natural terrain (mat, vegetation and hills), while the buildings, troops and sheep are mine. Toys are a mix of Gripping Beast, Perry and Crusader figures, with scratch built buildings and store bought walls.
|The Zaragozans enter the village.|
|The iman looks for devine help - Curt's dice were the beneficiaries.|
|Pedro deploys sleepily!|
|The lights trade insults before the heavies show up!|
|The key melee|