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"Help in running a Battle of Hastings game" Topic

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730 hits since 6 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Bowman07 May 2018 5:22 p.m. PST

So I'm trying to develop a Battle of Hastings game using 28mm figures. I want to have 6 players (representing William, Alan the Red, and Eustache of Bologne on one side, and Harold, Gyrth and Leofwine on the other). Now, besides getting both armies finished, and designing the terrain, I have some issues with the game and how to run it. I need some help from those on TMP with the following:

1) The Bretons on the Norman left flank arrived first, so maybe Alan of Brittany will start the game a turn earlier. Good idea?

2) The Normans eventually move up to Senlac Hill and both sides exchange missile fire. Whats to prevent the Normans from just staying there? Should I, as GM, tell them that the job is to engage the Saxon forces? Should I force them to move forward?

3)Should I make the Saxons predisposed to break ranks and follow the Normans when or if they break from combat? Certainly, the Saxon players know what happened and will try to avoid that. Since the Saxons running after the fleeing Normans is critical to the actual battle, I'm thinking they need to pass some sort of Leadership test in order not to follow. Any ideas?

4) While the Normans are doing their (hopefully) relentless march to Senlac Hill, how do I keep the Saxon players engaged and enjoying the game? It may be three turns before they do anything beyond taking pot shots at the enemy.

Thanks in advance for any ideas or advice you can give. The battle is well known and relatively simple to put on. But I just want to set it up so that the players have fun, and that the outcome is not preordained.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2018 5:53 p.m. PST

Maybe set a turn limit. If the Normans have not defeated the Saxons by turn "X", the Saxons win the day.

Bill Rosser Inactive Member07 May 2018 6:20 p.m. PST

2. Keep adding Saxon reinforcements (the Great Fyrd) if the game exceeds a certain number of turns. This will motivate the Normans to attack.
3. Morale "reaction tests" could be used for winners of melees. Think old style WRG.

advocate08 May 2018 1:36 a.m. PST

1) Not sure, but allowing them to move early might be appropriate depends upon the rules. If command control is part of it then maybe just go with the dice. I don't think the Bretons attacked before the rest of the army had deployed.
2) Again, depends upon the rules. "To the Strongest" has limited ammunition which would seem appropriate. There is also a time limit to consider though there would have been 12 hours of daylight and they started fairly early, so not so much of an issue in 1066.
3) Yes
4) Set up the Normans a turn closer? It's not like they can manoeuvre.

Ran The Cid08 May 2018 5:16 a.m. PST

I ran Hastings a few years back using Hail Caesar. To motivate the Saxon players to come off the hill, they were assigned an objective token behind the Breton line.

If your Normans are three turns away, then set the armies up closer. Players should be thinking charge in turn 2.


While you can't dictate the flow of a game, Harold and his brothers were successfully killed off in combat with just a small tweak of the HC leader rules.

Bowman08 May 2018 10:34 a.m. PST

Thanks to everyone so far.

Ran the Cid, I saw that game at Adepticon. And I will most likely use Hail Caesar too.

Jeigheff Inactive Member08 May 2018 7:07 p.m. PST

I salute you!

Have you read the recent TMP thread about bad convention games? It sounds like you want to present a decent historical game which either side can win.

Codsticker08 May 2018 10:38 p.m. PST

1)Perhaps they start a bit closer; otherwise I agree with Advocate.
2)If you want the Normans to engage the Saxons why not stipulate that Harold must be captured in melee as a victory condition.
3)Isn't there a special rule in Hail Caesar that makes a unit likely to pursue a retiring enemy? IF not why not make one up.

Bowman10 May 2018 9:43 a.m. PST

I think there is a rule like that. If not I'll make them take a Leadership test……at -2 to make them follow. There is a rule that you can give that makes units charge their enemies if in close enough proximity. I won't use that as I want the Saxons to maintain their Shieldwalls. I just want them to get carried away when things seem to go well for them.

Thanks for the nice comment Jeigheff. I'm sure every GM tries to do that.

Sandinista10 May 2018 5:52 p.m. PST

As there were more Saxons heading south to join Harold, make it a victory condition that if the Saxon army is intact with Harold alive at the end of the game the Normans lose.

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian14 May 2018 9:29 a.m. PST

Just did this battle Saturday with a 6 player setup (only had 4 + me for the playtest) but there were six independent commands.

The English win if they hold the field at the end of the day. That seemed to be all the encouragement the Normans needed, plus the Normans had light horse and skirmish type units that could "pull" the English forward with attack and evade tactics built into the Triumph rules.

I added to the scenario a rule that required additional command control points to go back up the hill so the English eventually had to choose between leaving units hanging in the wind or coming forward to reform the line.

posted some pic on this thread:
TMP link

The game was a blast and with the rules runs in about 3-3.5 hours.

The initial deployment shot:

Bowman15 May 2018 12:11 p.m. PST

Thanks to everyone for their help!

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