Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Beneath the Lily Banners: Ottomans vs Swedes, "Part Deux"

I wish this pic was from our game, but it happens to be from The League of Augsburg blog. Instead, our photos were taken by Brent, the co-umpire of our game, on his phone.

So, this was round 2 of the Ottomans vs Swedes playtests for Beneath the Lily Banners, 2nd Edition. It again saw the virtual horde of musselmen, under the leadership of Ron, driving back the accidental invaders, the Swedes, commanded by Evan.

Due to a mix-up in communication (my fault!), Ron did not receive the all important roster of figures to bring, meaning we had to improvise some proxies out of blank Litko bases. Also, Brent was unable to bring his stuff, so we had to make do with the store's terrain.
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Evan surveyed the field before him. As the defender in this scenario, he had to prevent the Ottomans from getting two Squadrons of Horse off his table edge. The Swedish bread ovens were assumed to be off-table, but were the objective of this Ottoman attack.

To the far right of the frame, a rather unfortunate view of myself, which I would like to edit out, but in front of me is a line of hill tops, with the brown felt representing a large ridge-line.  Just on the top of the hill to my right are two field guns represented by a single crewman on a square base. Down the slope from that is a ruined church and yard, walled with stone, which was the single built-up area on the field. Across Evan's front, from his left to right, were the defending Swedes, the blank bases in front represented field-works, then a low line of trees, flanked by a copse of trees to the lower left of frame. On the far left of the frame is a plowed field and just off frame there is a small hill.

The blank square bases scattered about the table were objective markers (more of which I will blog later) which we were testing out for campaign battle purposes.
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A less than flattering picture of myself, but a nice picture of Ron eating some kibble. The Coca-Cola product was only accidentally included and should not be considered a product placement shot, although if they want to sponsor us, I won't say "no."
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Ron's horde, lots of irregular light cavalry, even more infantry, and a single squadron of regular horse. There is a positional gun, limbered, in the far back, slightly to the right of the infantry in frame. Due to my emailing error, we had to represent some more infantry using blank bases, which are not in this pic, but ended up deployed on the brown felt, in line with the rest of the infantry.

Evan will likely berate Brent for this particular shot, but ignoring Buddha in the back left of frame,  one can discern that the Ottomans had their work cut out for them.
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As this was a campaign playtest, I had Evan and Ron both roll several stats for their commanders, those which will be used in the campaign battles. Evan rolled very well, scoring a 9 out of 10 twice, meaning his troops were well led and highly motivated. On the other hand, Ron rolled poorly, scoring a 2 twice (on a D4+D6 roll, that is tough to do).  This meant that Ron's commander was slothful and his troops not as well motivated as warm mud. (for players of BLB, these rolls represented the command ability of the CinCs, but I also included a roll for Courage (a campaign stat) which effects the Army Morale Test optional rule).

Ron had a struggle with the number of available orders all game. He was unable to move at all about four of the twelve turns we played. This was frustrating for him and it was very telling in the eventual outcome of the battle.
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The Ottomans finally get their positional gun in place, and unlimber it. Only to find that it is less than 2 inches from being in medium range to the Swedish Foot. Again, Ron was a bit frustrated at the circumstances. His light cavalry did proceed to the tree line without taking a casualty.

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Ron led off with a light cavalry gambit, which almost paid off. Although, each of the irregular light cavalry squadrons are based one stand per squadron, I ruled that as long as they were in base to base contact, they could add up their bases for shooting (bows, but not really bows, more like very very poor muskets) purposes. Still, Ron just could not roll anything higher than a 2 for shooting. The charging Swedish Horse allowed the light cavalry to evade, clearing away the rabble.
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The Swedish Horse come out to play...
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and think better of it, as the irregular light cavalry close off nearly all options.

Very little was accomplished, by either side, part from long range cannon shots, which saw a little more casualties to the Ottomans, but also saw Swedish gunners and Foot take a beating. In fact, Evan lost all the crew off of one gun and another ran out of ammunition.

The cavalry action petered out, with both sides' purposes frustrated, but the Swedes were able to prevent the Ottomans from achieving their primary objective. The battlefield objectives which I introduced for this game were well received, and with some minor tweaks, will make for a good addition to the campaign battles.

While we don't have pictures to show you (Brent had gone off somewhere), the Ottomans on their far right had pressed nearly all the way up to the Swedish guns on the hilltop, which had just been evacuated. However, the core of the Swedish defenses were intact and the Ottoman Foot was not so fired up to press on.

Another learning experience for players and umpires and I look forward to another game of this.


  1. Wonderful images - beautifully painted troops and nice terrain.

    1. To be honest, we (the players who get together each week for game nights) are not thrilled with our personal collections of terrain. The terrain pictured in this post belongs to the store, some of which is very nicely done. We're likely to do something about this in the near future, in fact I already have, but lack a camera atm.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Fran. I am running a much bigger game, which I am going to split onto three gaming tables, for the club in less than two weeks. Hopefully, some enterprising chap in the club will take decent photos so I can blog about it.