- to give us a bit of experience working together at a demo;
- to help us learn the rules properly; and
- to play with our newly painted toy soldiers and motivate us to paint more.
It was a grand weekend out that was made particularly good by the number of people that dropped by and expressed their interest in the project. I was quite surprised by how many of you had actually read the blog too. Thank you to all of you. I also apologise to any of you that I did not get to talk to, although you may well sigh with relief at being spared this.
Unfortunately I was very busy with talking to people, especially on the Saturday, so I did not get much time for taking photos. A selection of those I did take are presented below for your pleasure and delectation. Despite being this busy with talking, we still managed to get six games in over the weekend, which is a testament to the ease of play of the Poleaxed 2 rules. You might have thought that a rules set that required you to roll for the movement of each unit would be slow to play but that proved not to be the case so we are very happy to take them on to do Towton.
Saturday April 17th
We arrived bright and early to set up our game with its rickety display board. We do promise to improve the display board in the future but it sufficed for our purposes on the day. One person actually complimented us on having a display board that made it clear what we were up to, which was great. A lot of the games did not have display boards and it was not immediately obvious what they were doing. Kudos to our team, even if we did have to tape the board back to the frame a couple of times!
Graham was already present when we arrived. Rhys, Leigh and John had made their excuses for the day and had sick notes, so it was a pleasant surprise when John dropped by part-way through the day. (as usual click the pictures for larger versions)
Set up for the action at the start of the day
The picture above shows the initial set-up with the Yorkists on the left of the picture and Lancastrians on the right.
Graham (left) and Steve (right) do battle. I can't help wondering what is so funny. Is my fly down?
The games on the Saturday were characterised by Lancastrian victories! Boo!! In every game the Lancastrian cavalry managed to drive off the baggage guard and roll up the flanks of the Yorkist line.
A bad day to be a Yorkist
Many of the Yorkists clearly decided that joining Stanley in the pub at Blore was a better idea than fighting the Lancastrians. Interestingly, Stanley's retinue were present at the show doing their own demonstrations and popped round to see our game. Most of them only really wanted to know which building in our small village was actually the pub. They also wanted to know why we did not have a small figure of Stanley with tankard in hand outside the pub. Perhaps Peter at Baccus will produce a Stanley at Blore character figure if we all nag him enough! It could go in a pack with Warwick killing his horse and Dacre with an arrow through his neck.
Bugger this for a game of soldiers. I'm off to the pub (most of the Yorkists have left already)
Despite the appallingly unhistorical results of the games played on the Saturday, we had a fantastic time. The day finished with the Lancastrians up 2-0.
Sunday 18th April
With renewed resolve, the Yorkists arrived bright and early on the Sunday morning having read the rules! This was to prove a turning point in their fortunes. Apparently Graham spent the entire night in his hotel room reading the rules. Better yet, he brought his son along to support the Yorkists.
An action shot! (Steve measures something)
The first game of the day saw the Yorkists returning to form in grand style. The Lancastrian cavalry charged eagerly forward, keen to see off the baggage guard yet again, but this time the shooting was much more effective. Although the Lancastrian cavalry did manage to charge the wagon laager, they were driven off. So enthusiastic were the archers in the laager that they immediately set off in pursuit of the routing knights. The rules probably include something that says that troops in that sort of defensive position do not test for pursuit but we rolled, it happened and it was too funny not to permit it.
In the meantime, the Yorkist line had wheeled to face the remaining knights and saw them off, while fending off the remnants of the Lancastrian centre. The game was a resounding Yorkist victory.
Come back, I've still got some arrows for you!
By midday we were well into the second game of the day. Graham's son was trouncing his dad in good style but then he had to leave. Having manoeuvred the Lancastrians into an untenable position, Graham promptly relinquished command to Steve and, in an act of treachery worthy of any 15th century English lord, immediately picked up the reins of command in the Yorkist army. Some have suggested that he had pre-arranged with Lord Salisbury to do this. The Lancastrians were enraged but could do little about it. With half their army routing in frustration at Graham's treacherousness, they were soon unable to continue the assault and were pursued from the field by their erstwhile ally. Still, this did return the score to 2-2.
The arch-traitor himself in his new role as Yorkist commander
The final game of the day saw me as the Yorkists pitching up against Steve as the Lancastrians. It was a close run battle. The Lancastrian cavalry routed and returned several times and the bow fire from the wagon laager proved insufficient to deter them. Fortunately the Lancastrian centre fared less well and did rather more routing than the cavalry.
See those big holes in the Lancastrian line? That's because they don't like it up 'em.
The game saw the baggage guard rout off in the end, but once more the centre was able to wheel in time to fend off assaults from the remaining cavalry. Final result for the weekend was 3-2 to the Yorkists. Huzzah!
The games went very well. We had a lot of interest and had a great time talking to loads of people. Blore Heath as a scenario proved to be very well balanced and interesting to play as either side, although it really seemed to hinge on how well the cavalry did versus the baggage guard in the end. We are all now thoroughly motivated to carry on and have been asked to take Blore Heath to the Baccus games day in July, which we shall do. Our next show will probably be Derby in October and we are debating whether to do Northampton or Wakefield for that one. We shall see.