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"Never Mind the Billhooks - Historic Refights" Topic

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EricThe Shed15 Oct 2020 4:54 a.m. PST

Finally managed to get back onto TMP my email verification code sitting in junk box ;-)

Anyway to bring everyone up to speed we have been using the excellent Never Mind the Bill Hooks rules to refight the battles of the war of the roses in chronological order.

Starting with first battle of St Albans


Then onto Blore Heath


and most recently Northampton


Thanks to the new covid restrictions in London we might not get to fight the next tranche very soon…;-(

Personal logo PaulCollins Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2020 5:18 a.m. PST

That's a great looking table and figures. Thanks for sharing.

tomrommel115 Oct 2020 5:58 a.m. PST

great looking tables indeed

Thresher0115 Oct 2020 7:11 a.m. PST

Looks great.

Thanks for sharing.

Hoping to pick up my copy later today. Can't wait.

Then of course, I'll be needing a castle to besiege preferably a smallish one that is easy to scratch-build, but that looks nice. Don't want anything too plain and boring, or too large either.

Any suggestions?

The ones I've looked up and found for historical sieges were quite large, e.g. Alnwick, and other North Coast castles like Dunstanburgh, and Bamburgh.

How does one pick which nobles and armies to paint up, with ALL their various standards, banners, livery coats, etc., etc.?

It seems ALL so complicated with so many choices, unlike for other conflicts, where I can just wing it with English and French, Italians, Swiss, Germans, etc., etc.. Yes, of course they had a number of choices too, but for the WotR, that seems to be available in spades.

MajorB15 Oct 2020 9:20 a.m. PST

Then of course, I'll be needing a castle to besiege preferably a smallish one that is easy to scratch-build, but that looks nice. Don't want anything too plain and boring, or too large either.

There were few if any sieges in the WOTR. The only one that comes to mind is Caister Castle in 1469. Caister is more of a fortified manor house than a castle. Although the siege lasted about a month it was rather asymmetric – 3000 besiegers against 27 defenders.

Thresher0115 Oct 2020 4:24 p.m. PST

Thanks for that reference, which interestingly, isn't listed below, perhaps as you say, since it was really against a manor, and not a castle.

I looked up more info, and the small number of defenders were able to hold out for 5 weeks, which is a pretty good run when outnumbered more than 100 to 1. Seems the defenders were armed with crossbows mainly, and a few guns. Apparently, only one or two men on each side died from the bolts fired.

Presumably, the siege took so long since the attackers didn't want to damage the tower.

I thought that as well for the sieges, before referring to the listing of the WotR battles on Wikipedia, which lists these:

Siege of Harlech, 1461 to 14th August 1468

Siege of Alnwick July 1462

Siege of Alnwick Dec 1462 Jan 1463

Siege of Bamburgh Dec 1462

Siege of Dunstanburgh Castle, December 1462

Siege of Norham, June-July 1463

Siege of Dunstanburgh Castle, June 1464

Siege of London, 12-15 May 1471

Siege of St. Michael's Mount, 30 September 1473-February 1474

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Oct 2020 1:25 a.m. PST

Those games look terrific Eric.
That sort of game will bring people into the hobby.
Nice work.


martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Oct 2020 1:28 a.m. PST

The lack of sieges is mostly because of the shortness of the wars and the limited number of field armies available for such tasks.


Arcane Steve16 Oct 2020 4:31 a.m. PST

Hi Eric, I've said it before but will say it again here, your armies and battlefield scenery are simply superb. Your use of the 'Never Mind the Bill Hooks' rules to replay all the major battles of the period is inspirational and way beyond what was originally thought possible with the rules. I spoke to Andy Callan ( the writer)last night and he is 'tickled pink' to see what you have achieved!
For those that would like to give the War of The Roses period a try, I think that these rules are a great way to start. You can play an entertaining game with about 100 figures a side. The rules are straight forward enough to pick up the basics quickly and they are designed to allow players to fight large skirmishes or small battles, similar to say, Nibley Green. The rules also encourage you to build your own retinue and create battles from your own imagaination. A small siege sounds like a great idea!

4DJones16 Oct 2020 7:03 a.m. PST

I hope Major B isn't TMP's official historian.

dapeters16 Oct 2020 8:32 a.m. PST

Ask him about Crossbows (sorry MajorB could not help myself.)

I thought "Never Mind the Bill Hooks" is a skirmish game and not meant for big battles?

EricThe Shed16 Oct 2020 9:05 a.m. PST

Hi Chaps

First up thanks for all your great comments

Thresher01 – not planning on any sieges although a castle will feature in the battle of Wakefield

dapeters: Bill Hooks was designed as a skirmish game, however the rules are flexible enough to handle big battles. Each of my reports contains some scenario specific rules etc.

Arcane Steve: Thank you for your very kind feedback. I have now spoken to Andy.

Martin Goddard: if an extra person starts playing any wargame on the basis of these posts then I am happy.

All the best folks

MajorB16 Oct 2020 9:44 a.m. PST

I thought that as well for the sieges, before referring to the listing of the WotR battles on Wikipedia, which lists these:

Please can you provide a link to the page on Wikipedia?

Thresher0116 Oct 2020 2:39 p.m. PST

Sorry, I was wrong, it wasn't a wiki site. I found it here, as a cached post – looks like the original link doesn't work anymore:


It's from

British History – Battles in the Wars of the Roses. I've clipped the non-siege listings out.

MajorB17 Oct 2020 11:03 a.m. PST

It's from

British History Battles in the Wars of the Roses. I've clipped the non-siege listings out.

Unfortunately, that's not a very reliable source. None of the links work off that page and the site is no longer live (as you say). As far as I am aware there is very little evidence if any in the primary sources for sieges in the WOTR. The Caister Castle siege is in the Paston Letters.

takeda33318 Oct 2020 2:00 a.m. PST

Magnificent! Gorgeous table, setup and minis. Glad to see you back.

clifblkskull19 Oct 2020 8:45 p.m. PST

Really well done Eric
Thanks so much

dapeters21 Oct 2020 9:51 a.m. PST

Are figures general played on movement trays or as individual figures?

EricThe Shed17 Nov 2020 10:43 a.m. PST

movement trays

thanks for the comments chaps

takeda33318 Nov 2020 2:05 a.m. PST

Good gawd man, awesome armies and table!

MacColla26 Nov 2020 1:22 p.m. PST

Just noticed the query in this thread about contemporary sources for sieges. According to the Battlefield Trust, there are two contemporary sources for the 1473/4 siege of St Michael's Mount, John Warkworth, Master of St Peter's College Cambridge and William Worcester. There's an article about the siege in the Winter 2020 of the Trust magazine.

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