On Sunday 8th Dave and myself got together for the first game of 2017. We had decided to play War & Conquest with 2000 point armies and Dave chose to take his Normans, using them as Christian Spanish while I took my Almoravids - the Age of El Cid recreated on the table top. These army lists, like all other War & Conquest lists are free to download online.
For deployment zones we rolled up 'Spring' (effectively setting up in diagonally opposite table quarters - see the pic) and deployed the troops having rolled up 'Hidden Deployment'.
For Battle Objectives I had randomly drawn 'Breakthrough' which, while I could use a Strategy Intervention Point (SIP) and change it to choose another Objective, as I only had two SIPs I decided to stick with what I had drawn. With a number of troops in my army being skirmish types and cavalry, I hoped I could move out wide and get enough units off the table by Dave's Rally Point (I needed to get 255 off, which with 8 formations, meant I 'only' had to get 2 off table). Dave's deployment was quite central so I was hopeful my skirmish troops could keep out of his cavalry's way. Although I didn't know it at the start of the game, Dave had drawn 'Take and Hold', as his Battle Objective, meaning he had to clear the central area of the table of my troops - this also explained his central positioning.
With the game underway I endeavoured to make the most of my missile armed skirmish troops and also put my light cavalry and camelry into skirmish formation so they could harass the enemy cavalry, of which Dave had plenty (6 units worth in total) with javelins.
As the infantry closed the first combats occurred. Daves Guard spearmen engaged my regular spearmen. My formation had an Imam and Daves had a Priest - both of which enabled rerolls on failed Combat Morale tests but unfortunately for myself, my imam was of little help and the better quality Guard saw my spearmen off quite quickly. On the plus side they didn't catch them, but that didn't help as the spearmen never rallied and were dispersed.
Elsewhere I had reformed the camel unit and they received a cavalry charge which after a couple of rounds of combat resulted in them fleeing the field, however they passed a 'last chance to stand' test and would return later - charging back into Dave's cavalry and routing them instead.
While that had been happening my Black Guard (with General and Army Standard) were charged by Dave's best formation of Noble Knights supported by a unit of spearmen. This also resulted in my Black Guard being routed but they were not caught and subsequently rallied, however then they were charged in the rear by the Knights and eventually succumbed.
However, War & Conquest is not just about destroying your enemy, there are Battle Objectives to complete and mine was Breakthrough, and so even as my General was heroically falling on one side of the field of battle, on the other, my light cavalry were preparing to exit the table by the enemy Rally point.
Before I could make that move at this point Dave declared 'Take and Hold' - if he could hold the centre for a complete turn he would win before I could get enough formations off table! Fortunately for me, my remaining unit of spearmen were lurking nearby and were able to see off some enemy spearmen and move into position to cancel out Dave's attempt at Take and Hold, he would need to clear them away and try again - and time, in the form of number of turns left for both of us, was beginning to run out.
At this point I moved my light cavalry off the table (thereby declaring my objective)and both my skirmishing javelin men and camels started heading in the direction of the enemy rally point with time to make it off table over the next couple of turns.
Although Dave had turned his unit of noble knights around and sent them heading in the direction of my troops, they were going to arrive too late to have any effect and so I had managed to secure the victory although if there had been another turn it almost certainly would have ended in a draw - Dave certainly had enough troops moving towards the centre to be able to solidly defeat my remaining spear unit that was denying him his Battle Objective.
So an excellent start to the year, a terrific game that was very close - had either my camels or skirmishing javelin men been wiped out I would have been struggling to achieve my objective and had my Black Guard not escaped after routing the first time against the Noble knights, Dave would have been able to turn them round several turns earlier and they would have undoubtedly assisted him in securing his objective and probably denying me mine.
Great game- roll on the next one!