Yesterday saw myself and a couple of the guys from the Sons of Simon De Montfort Wargaming Club attend WI's Lion Rampant Day. Everyone arrived at the offices near Nottingham in the morning and spent an hour or so getting stuck into biscuits, tea and coffee, making introductions and greeting old faces. We were also given generous goody bags with a free Simon De Montfort figure, free magazine, some mdf counters and personalised wooden plaque. Dan and Wayne from WI then gave a run-down on the game ahead, with the theme of a fictional 'Third Baron's War'. Everyone was then asked to choose sides between Royalists and rebellious Barons. A faction tag was handed out to each player with their allegiance and skill of their lead commander. The leadership skills were all positive to begin with, but if you lost your commander in combat you had to turn it around to show your next game's successor commander skill which would be negative.
Afterwards we were all led upstairs to WI's bright and airy games room where the tables and terrain were all set out. Each person were to face off individually against an opposing team player in the 'bloodbath' scenario.
Roll for Wild Charge? Yikes!!
I was pitted against one of the RAF Wargames Association gamers (I think his name was Dean?). Anyway, the game was quickly underway and despite some early success - killing his commander on a roll of three sixes on three D6 (I know, I still can't believe it) and destroying a six point unit - I was bloodily trounced. Regardless, it was a fun session and Dean was a total gentleman.
We then retired back to the downstairs office for more refreshments and a brilliant talk from a Medieval re-enactor and his partner. The armour looked incredible, and he told us how the equipment was made and fitted. His latest suit of armour had been made over a period of three years!! Apparently due to his armourer being "a bit of a perfectionist"!
The Medieval Re-enactors
After this we broke for dinner which included a guy called Tim serving authentic medieval fare from his cast iron cooking pot straight into bread 'trenchers'. When we'd all happily stuffed our faces we headed back to the gaming boards for another one-on-one game of 'defending the indefensible' - one player holding a position in the middle of the board whilst the other tries to take it. This time I was up against a local fella (whose name unfortunately escapes me) and his fierce looking retinue. Again I lost, mainly due to a hailstorm of arrows fired by some upgraded expert archers crowded into the central objective. I almost pulled off a nasty flanking move which should have caused concern, but when my cavalry mashed into his men-at-arms they failed to make the necessary rolls to secure enough casualties and brush them away.
The final game of the day was definitely my favourite. A huge multiplayer scenario with around 4-5 people each side. Visually it was very impressive and played surprisingly well (especially since Lion Rampant is designed as a small scale skirmish game). This time I didn't do as badly - although I'd have to credit James from WI playing on my right with helping me out in the form of a monstrous charge into my enemy's flank. Due to this I managed to take and hold two buildings to get the Baron's side an extra point. The points system was done to contribute to a castle siege that Dan and Wayne were controlling off board. When the game finished the points decided which side had succeeded in taking or defending the castle. In this case the Royalists were successful in beating off the rebel Baronial faction.
In conclusion, it was a brilliant day out. We met some great people and had some fun moments. Some of the painted figures that people brought along were absolutely lovely and inspiring. We came away with plenty to talk about and smiles on our faces - which to me is what Wargaming is all about.
The Castle, supplied by Sally 4th.