Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Battle Report - 28 Feb 2011

Having flipped another coat of Army Painter anti-shine on the Rohirrim at the last minute (literally, it was just about dry when I boxed the figures up for transport), I made it, somewhat late, to the club to take on Carl's Norman's at the rather fun Pig Wars Dark Ages skirmish rules.

We set up on opposite sides of a village, each with 5 cavalry, 12 spearmen and three bowmen. Carl set up clustered in the middle, whereas I sent four spearman up the right flank and through the village with the bowmen. Things started badly - we converged just outside the village gates, and I declared a charge with my cavalry on his spearmen. Distance, no more than 14". Charge move for the cavalry? 12" + d6. And I rolled a 1.

"Axe Bloke" and Carl's leader duke it out.
Result, rather unpleasantly, was me getting charged in the (fortunately shielded) flank by his cavalry, and in the front by his spearmen. The resulting dustup consumed most of the battle from there on, to be honest. We both lost standards early on, and both passed morale checks (Pig Wars uses a deck of cards, not dice). I really thought I was done for, losing three horsemen early, but my leader (aka Axe Bloke), proceeded to stand firm when surrounded by Normans and lay waste to all about him in a manner which will without a doubt go down in the sagas. Were I better gifted in alliterative verse, I'd give it a go!

The flanking spearman finally get stuck in.
I was cursing my decision to send four spearmen up the flank, as I was sure the cavalry would be toast by then, but, as you can see from the picture, they and the bowmen did eventually make it across the village square in time to lend a hand. For a while, it looked like my RoSaxons would actually carry the day, but my pack of cards was stacked against me, and his leader was lucky enough to survive and knock the final wound off Axe Bloke. After that, it was just a mop up job for Carl.

So, thoughts on Pigs Wars?

Great fun, very fast paced. The game mechanic of using the cards works really well. Technically, you can get away with odd base sizes (like mine on 25mm and 40mm rounds) as figures meet 1 on 1, but WAB-style basing is probably saner all things considered. I wonder if archery possibly isn't deadly enough. There are no real command rules (which I'm starting to enjoy in games like Blitzkrieg Commander and Prinicples of War), and not enough morale checks to prevent the other issue - it's lethal. In a campaign context, you'd have to roll for casualties to see if they were dead or incapacitated, as between Carl and I we had 5 figures left out of 40 at the end of the game.

All in all, though? I had a ball.... Big thanks to Andy from the club for introducing us to the rules.


  1. Looks like it was fun. Cards instead of dice??
    Never heard of that...cards and dice yep. Mind you, I´m pretty much an amateur as far as wargaming goes.

  2. Pretty much - the charge moves and rough terrain moves are pretty much the only thing that uses dice. Otherwise, it's cards:
    - bows hit on a heart at long, any red card at short, and then the armour save depends on armour (non, partial, full, shieldwall).
    - melee combat is card vs card, with bonuses - only the rank counts, and it caps out at Ace (14). You have to exceed the opponent by an amount dependent on their armour to hit - one hit kills except for leaders.

  3. Yes it is pretty lethal. I think it's more than likely that you'd have to do as you say and check what the wound "meant". Best way of surviving cavalry really seems to me to find somewhere your flanks are safe(ish) and stand in shieldwall.

    The other side of a campaign setting of course would be that if the lethality is kept then people have to make the choice to casualties vs profitability of the raid. None of this fight to the last man crap. My mate has a theory that much of the Norse raids were simply a bunch of tooled up men turning up and extorting poor villages who then went crying to their Lord who comes calling for taxes "but sir, we don't have anything because those nasty vikings you should protect us from took it all.."


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