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"Verneuil using Days of Knights Part 3" Topic

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SBSchifani27 Oct 2019 3:44 p.m. PST

The Battle of Verneuil 17 August 1424
Part 3: The Game
It wouldn't be DOK without clouding it up with house rules. Here's a few for amusement. Use at your own peril.
1. Lombard Shock – The Lombard cavalry must have been a terrifying sight. I've been using the term Shock to mean that charging or countercharging units inflict an extra demoralization result on any unit they beat with a natural roll of 9 or 10. Combining this with Cause Panic means any unit Subject to Panic could be put to flight in the opening charge. For this game, let's add that if the Lombard (and French) cavalry beat any unit on the charge, they pass through to the next open space behind, as described in accounts of the battle. They then take their Pursuit Test. If they fail, they make a full move toward the English camp and take a demoralization marker. If they pass, Lombards must still make a full move toward the English camp (no demoralization marker). The successful French unit must move at least one more square but may then stop or complete its move toward the camp at its option.
2. Army Morale – I originally set the Army Morale values as follows:
Bedford's Battle – 11 units +2 for the camp = 13
Salisbury – 8 units +2 for the camp = 10
NOTE: If the Lombards can seize the camp, that +2 per battle or +4 overall swing to the French and Scots will potentially be a difference maker. And they'll be laden with loot.
Aumale – 15 units = 15
Douglas – 12 units = 12
I could have given the Franco-Scots an additional point for possession of Verneuil, but I wasn't sure yet on the scenario's balance. So far so good. And here we come to Game Mistake #1. Unclear victory conditions.
Bruce McFarlane always presented Army Morale as inclusive of the entire force. If I'd followed that guideline, the Franco-Scots combined would have had an Army Morale of 27. The English would have been 19 with +4 for the camp (Bruce used +4 for English camps in several Flower of Chivalry scenarios) so a 23 would have probably been appropriate.
But I didn't think that through. I left each battle as its own entity. It mattered. More on that incoming.
I'll eventually make a proper map with a grid so I can simply say SEE MAP. But here's a verbal description.
The English camp lay at the very edge of the playing surface exactly four squares behind the central MAA units. This was done deliberately, so that any Lombard units fortunate enough to win could bounce through and engage the camp in their pursuit. 2 Elite LB units guarded the camp, while nearby the Mounted Elite LB waited to see where it was needed. The 4 English MAA units formed the center while two wings of 6 Elite LB units each extended the line.
The 4 Lombard and French cavalry units lined up directly in front of the English MAA units. They were just out of arrow range at 8 squares away. The 8 Scots Rash LB units were to the right (I followed Wadge's map) with their 4 Rash MAA just behind. The French placed their 3 CBs to the center of the left battle with 2 Foot on each side. Their own 3 MAA were just behind. The lone skirmisher was at the end of the line.
The French and Scots opened the game by moving full tilt toward their hated foes. English shafts fell with limited effect as no more than 4 hits for demoralization were expected. The Scots returned the favor with equally minimal results, while the French CBs elected to keep trudging. The next volley started to affect the Army Morale slightly, as a few Double Demoralizations occurred. But now the towering Lombard juggernaut was poised to strike.
And strike it did! The cavalry units each struck with a CF of 4 with a +2 charging bonus for a total of 6. The unit attacking Bedford even rolled a 10 for a grand total of 16! Bedford answered with a measly 2. Uh oh. But CF4 +1 for support +1 for support +1 for Bedford equaled 9. Whew. Just a D which became a DD (Shock) for a -1 to the Morale and a push back. The Lombard unit promptly failed its Pursuit roll and rumbled demoralized into the English camp to fight next round. It turned out that 2 cavalry units were beaten and demoralized while the remaining cavalry unit broke through to assist its colleague in attempting to sack the baggage. Scottish archery was doing acceptable work and the French foot bravely soldiered on.
It became brutal as the Scots closed to short range. They gave as good as they received and kept advancing. The French did some damage with their missiles, but their crossbows were forced to halt, leaving the rest of the foot to continue their advance with a large gap in the line.
English archery was decisive versus the French. The double demoralizations inflicted, the failure of the Lombard cavalry to seize the camp despite promising opportunities, and the piecemeal approach of the French foot and MAA saw the French battle finally reach its limit. However, the Scots followed up a vicious short range archery exchange with an advance into melee. Excellent Scottish die rolls pushed Salisbury's smaller battle past its morale threshold.
At this point I realized that I hadn't firmly decided on what partial defeat of an army meant. In BBDBA, the defeat of the larger French command and its overall general would have meant an immediate English victory. Meanwhile, the defeat of Salisbury's smaller battle would not be the end of the English till Bedford's battle had lost "enough". But what was enough?
The Scots still had an Army Morale of 8, while Bedford had a 7. Still plenty of fight in both. I decided on the spot that the loss of a battle in a two battle command structure meant that the remaining battle lost one quarter of the lost battle's basic Army Morale, which if you recall was based on its starting number of units. The Scots lost 4 points (one fourth of 15 rounded up), while Bedford lost 2 points (one fourth of 8). Possibly not a perfect solution, but as both armies still had some fight left in them, I was anxious to see how it played out. It ended in two turns. The victorious Scots were not in a great position to follow up their success and turn on Bedford, while Bedford conveniently had demoralized Scots near his MAA units. He promptly led his MAA with archer support in the trouncing of two enemy archer units and the game was over. A hard fought English victory that was anything but certain.

That was indeed a great game in which the rugged underlying DOK mechanics shined once again. But before too much back patting, let's recap the mistakes. Number one was in not firmly thinking through the victory conditions and effects of one battle breaking in a two battle army. My second was in my deployment of the French and Scot MAA. They should have been closer to the center so that they could exchange more blows with their English counterparts. My third was deploying the French crossbows in the center of their battle. They would have been better served on the flank, or by being deployed as skirmishers screening the MAA and foot (which would make an excellent variant, by the way). Finally, I should consider making the French and Lombard cavalry their own command. Their fate had a significant effect on the morale of the French foot, which arguably could be lessened a bit.
Thanks for reading this far! My goal is not to circumvent or altogether discard existing DOK, DBA, and/or Flower of Chivalry rules, unit characteristics, and victory conditions; far from it. Rather it's to take all my favorite gaming mechanics out of the toolbox and combine what I think will work best to achieve an authentic feel for what mattered on that specific battlefield. If this article series entertains a bit, and even better inspires others to use their favorite rules and house adjustments to play a game that in some way celebrates our admiration of medieval history, then it is a smashing success.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 1:09 p.m. PST

Pics or it didn't happen! grin

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 1:26 p.m. PST

Thanks for posting this. I missed the release of that book, so I just went and bought the Kindle version. Looking foward to reading that.

This battle has been on my "must play someday" list for a couple decades, so I'm happy to see somebody else's reconstruction of it. I really do want to see pictures. Please post!

This scenario went back on the "try again soon" list early this year, after a couple games of Lion Rampant got me excited for Medievals again, and then a fully painted castle about the right size fell in my lap. I let the castle go after agonizing about storage for a couple months (it was a fragile plastic model and needed a HUGE box), but I know who to borrow it from. grin

A review of my 15mm Medievals shows I have all the miniatures I need, most of it painted (even Scots MAA, from my DBM days). I just need time to pull it all together, and paint the missing units.

- Ix

SBSchifani28 Oct 2019 5:46 p.m. PST

Glad to, thanks for wading through it. Send me an email and I'll be happy to get you some pictures of the game.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP29 Oct 2019 1:06 p.m. PST

Thanks for the photos. They look great!

Those look like 28mm miniatures. Are the squares on that mat 6"?

- Ix

SBSchifani29 Oct 2019 1:41 p.m. PST

Hi Ix, the marked squares are 150mm, so essentially yes. I got the mat from Big Red Bat's shop. I just use each quarter as a defined spot on the grid. The figures are indeed 28mm.

gavandjosh0229 Oct 2019 2:45 p.m. PST

enjoyed the posts.

rampantlion06 Nov 2019 4:50 a.m. PST

Enjoyed it Steve. DOK is a great old game. I still go to Ken's site even though it hasn't been actively updated in years…the good old days…

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