On Sunday I took 800 points worth of Italian Wars French for two enthralling games of Field of Glory Renaissance (FOGR) in the third round of the 2014 Northern League.
The army was dated 1523. This turned out to be important because this season Northern League armies before 1570 have been given a boost by an alteration of the army classification system: they are allowed to drop a class. This is to encourage players to field earlier armies and go some way towards compensating for their poorer weapons and tactics when facing later armies.
My army contained just over 400 points of superior troops and would have been class 1 but now it dropped to class 2 with the incentive that they could gain 2 bonus points by beating higher class opponent. All I had to do was win a game!
I have to say this army has never done well in competition managing two loosing draws last time out. So you can imagine my surprise when I emerged from the day with a tight losing draw (9-11) and a big win against a class 1 army (26-1 including 2 bonus points) putting me in second place!
Not only was it the first time the French army had won a competition game but the total score gave me my best ever Northern League placing under any rules. Looking back I realised that the win in the second game was only my second ever win in the Northern League since I started playing FOGR in Feb 2013. Lots still to learn.
Game #1 - In Period, Club Match Up
|Army:||Early Danish (1576)|
|Terrain:||Agricultural (My choice)|
This game took the full three and a half hours. My pike blocks were difficult for Colin to handle and his artillery didn't do the damage he'd hoped. His heavily armoured Cuirassiers were everywhere but they were a little shy of my Gendarmes.
I had refused my left flank and tried to hold a couple of pieces of broken ground but made a mess of it. I also placed my poor, but armoured, pike in a 4 wide, 3 deep block when they should have been the other way round to qualify as a kiel. As a result when they were attacked in the flank they disrupted and when they fled they cost me the artillery they were meant to protect and a batlegroup of light foot. This was 5 (or six I can't recall) of the 10 attrition points Colin inflicted.
The game timed out just as my Swiss pike were due to push some Cuirassiers off the table and turn towards the baggage and some unprotected artillery. But that would have required at least another half and hour I didn't have! Overall, a fair result.
Game #2 - Winged Hussars!
|Army:||Later Polish Lithuanian (1649)|
|Terrain:||Agricultural (My choice)|
This was one of those games where everything went right for one player and everything went wrong for the other. It started with me winning the initiative despite having a 3-0 disadvantage and finished with me only failing two death rolls in the whole game. Most extraordinary.
Again I was able to refuse my left flank and anchor it on two pieces of rough terrain leaving a wide open space for Neil's mounted. This allowed me to push forward with the Swiss kiel on the right into Neil's massed infantry closely followed by the Landsknecht kiel. Loosing only two bases to artillery and musketry on their way across the table, the Swiss took the artillery and a supporting battlegroup before turning to take two further pike and shot blocks with the help of the timely arrival of the Landsknechts. This meant I was half way toward breaking the Poles within three or four moves. Some Mob (poor) and the baggage soon followed.
Neil raced his cavalry and winged Hussars across my open left flank but the gaping hole in the centre right meant he had a very open flank. This eventually lead to the loss of the remaining battlegroups and the end of the game.
The French had beaten a class one army for the loss of three elements and one battlegroup of light horse who got too cocky and paid the price. A 24-1 win plus two bonus points for breaking an army one class higher: 26-1.
Neil was very relaxed throughout as he tried to make the best of a very difficult start. I know from experience how frustrating this can be but Neil was a great sport throughout. The photo above was taken a while after the game and he'd had time to make a trip to the bar!