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"Thinking of doing Agincourt as a game" Topic

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Captain Gideon26 Jun 2017 4:39 p.m. PST

Since I started getting my French and English HYW Armies I've started thinking about doing an Agincourt game for a future gaming convention.

So there are several things that I need to do before running this game.

The first thing is being done which is getting more French and English HYW figures,I don't know how many more I'll get but I do know that the French Army will be larger.

The next thing will be to get a set of Medieval rules and that's more difficult than I thought it would be,but the one set of Medieval rules(which are on their way)is Tactica Medieval,so I would like to know is what people think of Tactica Medieval.

There is one other thing early on and it deals with how the French charged the English which I think was packed together en mass.

I have an idea that the French will charge in open or skirmish order and thereby lasting longer for the battle,so my question for you is does this sound good?

These are the main things right now and when I come up with more I'll post them here.


cavcrazy26 Jun 2017 5:24 p.m. PST

Don't forget that the ground was wet and muddy. The French coming across the field will have to have their movement affected.

Great War Ace26 Jun 2017 5:58 p.m. PST

Medieval heavy infantry never attacked in "open order". To do so would be inviting certain defeat against a defensive "close order" formation. You are "gaming" this. If what you plan to put on is a historical simulation or modeling of Agincourt, you have to stick to the historical facts. There was no dictum in European tactics allowing for an attack in loose or open order. The first French battle was packed/crammed with the cream of French nobility. With every man trying to press as close to the front ranks as possible. It filled the space between the flanking woods.

And yes, the muddy ground slowed the entire battle down a lot. That gave the English archers plenty of added time to thump them with more arrows.

KSmyth26 Jun 2017 7:14 p.m. PST

Don't forget the 200 English archers in the woods on French right flank as the marched to contact.

The French were originally massed in three columns as they advanced on the three smaller English battles. The arrowstorm caused them to close tighter together, causing a funneling effect . Many of the contemporary accounts of the battle claim the French could not lift their arms because their formations were lost and they became a fearful, disordered mass so packed together they couldn't fight.

The French didn't fight in open order, and when the rain of arrows began, they became even less so. The flank fire of the handful of hidden archers simply contributed to that.

Honestly, without a lot of scenario modifications, this is a very difficult battle for the French to win.

Captain Gideon26 Jun 2017 7:26 p.m. PST

It also depends on how good your die rolls are as well I think and the English could roll badly at times maybe enough times where the French could close to hand to hand and if that happens I think the French would've the advantage.

Do any of you have any info regarding rules or in my case Tactica Medieval?

I have heard that a few times people have gamed out Agincourt and the French did win,so what in your opinon would be the chances that the French could win Agincourt?

As for the numbers I was thinking of 25,000 French against 7,000 to 8,000 English based on the information I have which is mainly from the Osprey Campaign series book Agincourt.

I also have my doubts that the English could've fired that many arrows in that time period that's just my opinion.

Ed the Two Hour Wargames guy26 Jun 2017 7:42 p.m. PST

The combination of mud, constricted frontage, archer stakes, and English massed firepower has always won in the Agincourt battles (3) I've played in.

As for number of arrows you don't need to kill all the enemy, just enough to break their will so they leave the field.

Even at 6 arrows per minute that's a lot of arrows being discharged at a packed, slow moving easy to hit target, that's a lot of firepower and easy to do. There wasn't any aiming needed.

Do whatever feels right to you.

KSmyth26 Jun 2017 7:54 p.m. PST


You can do anything you want on the game table. Never played Tactica Medieval, though I have played the siege rules and used a version of those as a semi skirmish set of rules until Lion Rampant came out.

Agincourt seems so simple. There's buckets of French and fewer English, why couldn't the French simply be better led, take advantage of their numbers and the poor condition of the English and use their crossbows, artillery and cavalry in a combined force to crush Henry's army?

But it wasn't that simple. France was immersed in civil war, with the Burgundian and Armagnac factions of the French nobility fighting for the legitimate control of Mad King Charles person and popular support. All this while the Dauphin, yet another faction, was intervening in the civil war in Brittany. Everyone rushed troops to the Agincourt battlefield, but nobody had standing to actually command the army. Hence the unfolding disaster as the battles were formed with nobody really in charge or in a position to execute a battle plan.

Spooner626 Jun 2017 8:12 p.m. PST

KSmyth said most of my suggestions.

I personally don't like Medival Tactica for Agincourt as there is no unit cohesion rules, so the English have to cause enough casualties to break the unit and that is tough with the shooting rules if the French move forward every turn (there is no command and control or cohesion rules in MT). But that is just my experience. I would choose a rule set that has some sort of command friction. The French have too much control in Tactica for my taste, and almost always results in a French victory.


KSmyth26 Jun 2017 8:32 p.m. PST

Some day Chris, I'm gonna roll out my adaptation of Fire and Fury for the Hundred Years War. Then we'll really have somethin'


gavandjosh0226 Jun 2017 9:16 p.m. PST

Re: getting more figs – There are many interpretations of numbers in the battle. Going back a bit, the historian Hans Delbruck has the French outnumbered by the English (as do certain French medieval historians). More recently, Curry in her 2005 book proposes 8K English to 12K French.

Captain Gideon26 Jun 2017 9:40 p.m. PST

Chris might you have a suggestion for other rules?

My problem is finding a set of rules that I can understand and afford,I got the Medieval Tactica because it was cheap I also have another set called Revenge but that's all I have.

KSmyth I have a friend who has the Fire and Fury adaption for Ancients and it worked very well,so how is your Fire and Fury adaption for the Hundred Years War?

And would it be possible to get a copy?

As I've said in the past over the years I've done many Historical battles both Land and Sea,and here's a few of them:

Waterloo(French win)

Tsushima(Russian win)

Yellow Sea(Russian win)

Trafalgar(Franco-Spanish win)

And I would like to try and do the same for Agincourt but I don't want to go overboard so if any of you has any rules that I might try please let me know.


KSmyth27 Jun 2017 4:30 a.m. PST


Just a draft that would need a lot more playtesting. Tried it once with my best playtesting buddy and we did a lot of head-shaking afterwards.

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jun 2017 5:20 a.m. PST

Flower of Chivalry

These are out of print but they allow the fighting of larger battles.


greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Jun 2017 5:21 a.m. PST

Actually I see they are now available in pdf for $15.00 USD. That is a deal and the rules have a lot of history that will help and even 100 years War scenarios.

Great War Ace27 Jun 2017 6:53 a.m. PST

Rocky Russo (the late) and I used Agincourt as one of our core historical scenarios to playtest our rules. I have played Agincourt three times that I remember, and each time the English won, but once it was a very, very near run thing.

@KSmyth: I disagree only on your detail above where you say "The French were originally massed in three columns". They were originally massed in a single, broad battle, and the "funneling effect" (and possibly their intent) divided them into three columns as they came inside pointblank range and moved to attack the English battles of MAA.

Ed the Two Hour Wargames guy27 Jun 2017 11:54 a.m. PST

I'd suggest Rally Round the King by Rebel Minis. It's fantasy based, but has historical equivalents listed that match Agincourt.

StCrispin27 Jun 2017 12:42 p.m. PST

Agincourt is a tricky scenario because it is so one-sided, and the English don't have much to do except shoot. I have been painting up minis for it for years, and am now finally ready to play, so have been thinking a lot on how to do it. For the time being, i plan to use Hail Caesar. my thought is to make every player control a portion of the french army, and the English will be controlled by the referee. The French army players will all be competing against each other for the glory, which i think will be a fun way of representing the disorder and competing factions of the army at the time. I will write up a special blunder chart for the french to roll on which will represent the actual blunders of the day – of which there were many! and blunders will occur more often than the normal rules. some blunders to consider:

the nobles pushing the crossbowmen to the back, the under strength cavalry charges, the overcrowded front line, the second division colliding with the first creating a crowd disaster, churning up the fresh mud into a quagmire, the nobles ignoring the marshal's initial good plan – Boucicault was no slouch, but he could not control the hot headed knights.

maybe some of these thoughts will help! maybe not!

StCrispin27 Jun 2017 12:46 p.m. PST

and the French did attack in 3 columns. if you count the initial cavalry charge, it was 4. the cav charged the longbows fist, but the wooden stakes stopped them dead, then the first battle of dismounted men at arms, then the second battle of MAA plowed into the 1st. the 3rd line was mostly more cavalry, but they just sat back and never fought. so i am not even representing them.

look up the perry miniatures diorama. its a beautiful thing, and gives a nice feel on how the whole debacle might have looked.

uglyfatbloke27 Jun 2017 1:02 p.m. PST

Make up your own rules specifically for Agincourt. The situation is unique (Crecy, Dupplin, Poitiers are all significantly different)so why not have specific rules? OTH if you ever find a 'good history' (or anything close to good history) rule set, let us know.

Ed the Two Hour Wargames guy27 Jun 2017 4:50 p.m. PST

FYI – Rally Round the Kings was originally an historical set of rules called Warrior Kings. RRtK is the fantasy version that came out five years later. Warrior Kings was sold off but the fellow never did anything with it.

Each stand of 2 to 4 figures is a unit so you are controlling an army.

greenknight4 Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Jun 2017 10:09 a.m. PST

I once did a "what if" scenario back when the big conventions were held in cherry Hill NH?. I did a little research and decided the English had arrived the night before in the rain and entered the field where the French would the next day. As they marched up the slope to the top a small and ragged force assemble by the local mayor or Agincourt greeted them. I gave the English limited ammunition and made their morale one lower to show they were tired. It turned out to be a fun game. I forget who won.

Oh on the "you can't win" side of life. A guy came the table and mentioned he had walked the battlefield recently and I had a stream out of place – HA

Thomas Thomas28 Jun 2017 11:00 a.m. PST

Both DBA 3.0 and Fire and Ice will give a crediable rendition of Agincourt (you need to modify DBA 3.0 a bit – English yeoman archers need to be "HOTT" shooters, crossbows need to shoot only in their own bound. Ice and Fire already has this covered). Both systems are (at their core) easy to use and player friendly.

As to the battle the French deployed in three battles (not columns) the battles were stacked one after the other. They also deployed two wings of mounted knights on each side of the first battle.

The wings of knights charged first and were defeated largely by shooting (few actually reached the stakes). The first battle then advanced and due to the narrowing of the field (caused by constricting woods), they filled the entire space. The part of the line opposite the archers were riddled by arrows and eventually collapased. The English had bodies of internal archers protecting the three small bodies of English MenatArms. These caused the remaining French of the first battle to break into three columns to avoid the arrows. These columns made contact and hard fighting resulted until the flanking archers fell onto the French columns.

As to gaming the battle: According to the best estimates for the size of the armies (Curry's in Agincourt a New History), the French should outnumber the English about 2-1 (12-15K v. 6-7K). Lose of command control did in the French as they attacked sequencialy (first the knights, then the dismounted knights with the town troops with their crossbows "pinched out"). You need a command control rule (DBA's works well) – if the French can keep their army under control despite the arrow storms, the mass of troops can overcome the out numbered English. Better use of the mounted troops and crossbows would have helped a lot.

The situation is not that unique and conforms to the result at Dupplin, Crecy and Verneiul. Poitiers has far more moving parts to deal with.

Thomas J. Thomas
Fame and Glory Games

Captain Gideon28 Jun 2017 2:19 p.m. PST

You all have good information and a lot to absorb now but the main problem is still finding a decent set of rules for me to use for Agincourt.

So is there a consensus as to which set of Medieval rules would be best(if I can get it)to use?

I'm still getting more French but it'll take time but that's what I have a lot of time.

uglyfatbloke28 Jun 2017 4:32 p.m. PST

Seriously; make your own rules for the battle. Come up with a rough system and if you can get a reasonably credible result you're on your way and if you can't get one just start again.
Thomas, I think for Dupplin you have to factor in unfamiliarity; nobody had fought a battle quite like that one in the past. Obviously judgement of numbers is very challenging. Chronicle estimates are totally unacceptable (quelle surprise) and my guess would be a factor of 2:1 in favour of the Bruce party since there was another Bruce party army of apparently similar size in the field at the same time and it's unlikely that the two combined would come to more than maybe 8000/10000 at the most….probably more like 8000 since it would be a fair bet that there would be troops in the border area and possibly on the west coast for fear of intervention from Ireland.

Captain Gideon28 Jun 2017 4:37 p.m. PST

uglyfatbloke one thing I'm not good at is making rules but I'll talk to some of my friends who might be able to help me.

And if that fails then I'll have to use one of the rules I have on hand,but I'll keep looking.


uglyfatbloke29 Jun 2017 1:34 a.m. PST

If you're making a set that is specific to a single battle there's not usually all that many factors to take into account so you don't have to come up with rules for everything, bust the the relevant issues and it may be easier to tailor an existing set.
If – for example – you were doing a Bannockburn game, all you need to consider is spears, longbows and men-at-arms in a specific context…a plain dry field bonded rivers/streams on three sides.

grenadier al cheval29 Jun 2017 4:19 a.m. PST

We use warhammer historical chivalry book. mud reduces the cav movement and the archers get about 6 or 7 good volleys. Games have ended up so close that it was a lot of fun.

uglyfatbloke29 Jun 2017 3:59 p.m. PST

Never tried Warhammer Chivalry; maybe I'll check it out, though really I don't do medievals anymore…it's too much like being at work.

GGouveia03 Feb 2019 9:48 p.m. PST

Tactica is not good for the HYW. You need command and control rules for well controlled numbers vs disorganized rival Impetous French. The old DBM rules worked well.

Yankees Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2019 6:11 a.m. PST

go with tactica 2

Thomas Thomas19 Feb 2019 3:25 p.m. PST

The French did not attack in columns. They had three lines the first of Men at Arms, the second mostly town militia and the third all mounted and intended to exploit. They attacked in column of battles due to the restrictive terrain (woods on both sides). Each battle filed the entire distance between the two woods on each side.

They were forced into three "columns" in the first battle due to the arrow storms killing/driving off the men at arms directly across from the wings of archers. In addition some men piled in behind the leading nobles to avoid the arrows from the "internal" archers located between the three units of English men at arms (apparently this also sometimes a happened in Napoleonic battles).

A proper set of medieval rules should not feel like work but be filled with dash, missiles and mayhem – try A Game of Knights & Knaves.

Thomas J. Thomas
Fame & Glory Games

andresf19 Sep 2021 7:19 a.m. PST

Latecomer to this discussion: the guys over at Little Wars TV did a replay of Agincourt on a massive table, using the very simple ruleset Days of Knights (OOP, but you can email the author and he'll sell you the PDF).

I think they successfully overcame the issue of the difficulty for the French by using clever scenario design; it doesn't matter so much who wins the battle (it was the English if I recall correctly, though the victory wasn't as decisive as in real life), but how many VPs are accrued by the Grench nobles. Their scenario effectively puts three French nobles, each commanding a battle, in a race against each other, struggling to get the most VPs. This competition mirrors the fractured command of the real battle. I think it's clever.

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