Hi folks.

After an enforced absence, due to taking care of my wife, I was actually at the club last week. We played Battlefront, a WW2 game. It went down quite well and we all agreed it deserved a couple more outings. Sandy seemed extremely impressed by them, despite not actually playing. This may have something to do with the fact that I gave Neil what is technically known as “a severe kicking”! Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos…

This week we had moved to The Holy Land and were playing Soldiers of God. I may have mentioned previously that I am a big fan of these rules. The mechanics are very smooth and the combination of battle plan and randomly drawn cards mean the game is always really well balanced. Jack and Derek have told us there is a “Soldiers of Rome” set being released very soon.

Jack joined me in charge of the Crusaders. I had brought along my Teutonic Order. These are really based for Impetus, but can be doubled up for Soldiers of God. They are short by 2 units of knights, but I can use “mercenary” units to make up the points. The army consisted of the 2 mercenary knights, 3 units of Teutonic knights, 2 units of spear men and 1 unit of archers. They were split into 3 battles, with 1 unit each of Teutonic and mercenary knights and 1 unit of spears on either flank and the 3rd unit of knights and the archers in the centre. Jack took the left battle, while I took the right and centre.

The Crusader deployment…20180322_193822

…and the Saracens…20180322_193828

…the opposing armies face off…20180322_193908

The Saracens had the greater initiative, so went first. They used their usual “Advance, Loose, Retire” tactic with their horse archers. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t retire far enough on the Crusader right and 2 units of knights charged home! On the Crusader left, the Saracens did a masterful job of “Advance, Loose, Retire” keeping up a harassing fire on the knights and retiring out of charge range. Unfortunately for them, they soon began to run out of table! In the centre, the Saracens, lacking any cavalry, but possessing 4 ballistae, kept up an annoying fire as the Teutons steadily approached.

Crusader knights contact the Saracens…20180322_200458

The Crusaders failed to break the Saracen horse archers, due in no small part to Neil playing the right cards at the right time, so there was little movement on the Crusader right for a couple of turns. On the left, the Crusaders continued their advance, with the Saracens backing off. In the centre, the advance was stalled, as the card was needed elsewhere. Although the ballistae didn’t achieve the successes of their first volley, becoming little more than a nuisance, they did help wipe out the spear men from the Crusader right.

Combat continues on the right, but the Teutonic spear men have had enough….20180322_202435

Over on the left, the Saracens finally ran out of room and the knights charged home. Unlike the right flank, the Saracen horse archers and javelins had retreated behind a unit of Ghulams. Also, unlike on the right, Jack had kept his spearmen behind the knights as a support unit in melee. It took a couple of rounds of combat for the knights to see off the Saracen heavy cavalry and contact the light units behind. In the centre, the Crusaders lost the unit of archers, but the knights charged the Saracen line. The command unit from the centre also charged the line and contacted a ballistsa, but every point of disorder was rallied off.

Things were getting interesting now, as the Crusader right finally routed the horse archers and the Teutons charged up the hill in front of them whilst the mercenary knights advanced on another unit of ghulams. In the centre, the Teutons were charged in the rear by a unit of javelinmen, to very little effect and still routed a unit of Saracen infantry. On the left, the knights, supported by the spearmen, were inflicting heavy damage on the lighter Saracen cavalry.

The Teutons attack the Saracens on the hill….20180322_215626

…the knights in the centre rout a unit of infantry, despite being attacked from behind….20180322_215639

…the Crusaders on the left see off the Saracens…20180322_215637

With time getting on (it was 10:25 by this point) it was agreed to call the evening a draw. Had we had the time and played another 2 or 3 rounds, it probably would have been a Crusader victory, so we will claim a “moral victory” The Saracens had 1 morale point more than the Crusaders, but only because they rolled a 6 with the last roll of the game and got a morale point from their caravan (we had forgotten to bring one). However, they lost more points than we did and lost more units than the Crusaders. But a draw was accepted and a good night was had by all participants…

The Teutonic spearmen, archers and the unit of knights on the right flank were painted for me by my friend (and best-man) Mike Schraner (South of the Wall Miniatures)



Next week it’s WW2 and we’re off to the Eastern Front as my Caucasus campaign resumes. It’s an encounter between Neil and Peter and could be an interesting little encounter…..

Stay tuned…..

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