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"Rules Questions - Never Mind the Billhooks" Topic


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Comments or corrections?

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2020 7:25 a.m. PST

I just got this yesterday, and admit to not having had a chance to read the rules fully. Just looked at the stats for the various troop types on the back cover, as well as skimming a bit of the interior, but a few questions immediately popped out:

1. why do men at arms have a higher saving value than knights (from what I'm seeing, presumably these latter are usually considered to be mounted on horses);

2. can the knights be considered to be fighting on foot if desired surely that must have occurred from time to time, especially during sieges, and/or smaller skirmishes (I know from what I've read of the larger battles, the knights would rarely if ever dismount to fight on foot during this period, but suspect it must have occurred occasionally);

3. if the knights are permitted to fight on foot, and their lower defensive ratings than MAA (saving throws success) are due to being mounted on their horses, msking them more vulnerable to being thrown to the ground and injured if their horses get hit by arrows) can they raise that if they choose to fight on foot like knights and MAAs did during the HYW, and

4. why are crossbowmen and arquebusiers faster than longbowmen?

In theory, from what I've read, due to their better armor, and possibly better training, knights should be rated better than the MAAs. Is there some sort of adjustment in the rules to reflect that, when defending skill ratings, perhaps?

I know that knights get 2 dice per man when attacking, vs. 1.5 dice for each MAA, and 1 die for others.

Also, in relation to the foot movement for the shooters, it seems like if anything, crossbowmen and arquebusiers should be more encumbered with heavier weapons than the longbowmen, so if anything, perhaps they should be slower probably a trivial difference for the crossbowmen, unless carrying a very large windlass bow, but the guns are certainly much heavier than a longbow.

Perhaps a typo, and the longbowmen should be able to move at the same speed as the other foot troops that aren't heavily armored?

They're rated as being slower for play balance, so the poor crossbowmen and arquebusiers aren't so weak, relatively speaking, to the lowbowmen?

Interested in reading your comments, and/or any other house rules you may have come up with.

MajorB17 Oct 2020 10:47 a.m. PST

1. why do men at arms have a higher saving value than knights (from what I'm seeing, presumably these latter are usually considered to be mounted on horses);

Mounted knights are more vulnerable due to their horses.

2. can the knights be considered to be fighting on foot if desired

No, in "Billhooks" Mounted knights are just that mounted. They cannot dismount during the battle.

(I know from what I've read of the larger battles, the knights would rarely if ever dismount to fight on foot during this period, but suspect it must have occurred occasionally);

On the contrary, in the WOTR it was unusual for men-at-arms to fight mounted. (In "Billhooks" the Mounted Knights troop type are Men-at-Arms on horseback.) Typically mounted troops would ride to the battlefield and then fight on foot. Some archers were mounted but again fought on foot. The reason for this is obvious in "Billhooks" mounted troops are more vulnerable.

The only battles in the WOTR where the sources indicate the presence of mounted troops are Blore Hearth (1459) and possibly Tewkesbury (1471). Even the latter is in some doubt as there is some dispute about whether the "200 spears" were mounted or not.

3. if the knights are permitted to fight on foot, and their lower defensive ratings than MAA (saving throws success) are due to being mounted on their horses, making them more vulnerable to being thrown to the ground and injured if their horses get hit by arrows) can they raise that if they choose to fight on foot like knights and MAAs did during the HYW

Knights cannot dismount during the game.

4. why are crossbowmen and arquebusiers faster than longbowmen?

Because they fight in a looser formation.

MajorB17 Oct 2020 10:50 a.m. PST

In theory, from what I've read, due to their better armor, and possibly better training, knights should be rated better than the MAAs. Is there some sort of adjustment in the rules to reflect that, when defending skill ratings, perhaps?

No, as I have said above Mounted Knights are just MAA on horseback. The only differentiator is whether they are mounted or not.

You might find this series of YouTube videos by the rules author informative:
YouTube link

advocate17 Oct 2020 2:22 p.m. PST

Wasn't there a mounted attack at Towton, or am I remembering that wrongly?

MajorB17 Oct 2020 2:42 p.m. PST

Oh yes, Towton. Some historical accounts claim that a force of mounted Lancastrians were concealed in Castle Hill Wood but I don't think there is any definitive statement one way or the other in the primary sources.

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2020 9:14 p.m. PST

Wasn't Richard's death ride at Bosworth mounted?

EricThe Shed17 Oct 2020 11:46 p.m. PST

Blore Heath had a cavalry charge.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Oct 2020 2:06 a.m. PST

A few notes intended to help.
Bear in mind that I was not at any WOTR battle and the historical records are a bit rough too.


Cavalry in the WOTR were very idiosyncratic in their use.

The first item of note is that the heavily armoured best troops were needed in the front ranks of the infantry. Most infantry would not have stayed for the battle if all the posh types stayed at the back. The men were not fighting for some dearly loved cause that they would gladly die for. Another war would be along quite soon anyway.

Instead of being part of the battle line, the cavalry, if used, would be more akin to a strike force. Thus, they would be formed up to the rear of the line and unleashed as a power smash. This might require removing some armoured men from the front line in order to mass a cavalry attack.

There were lighter armed cavalry, but their job was scouting , pursuing and keeping the army at the front (no shirkers).

Cavalry made a horrible mess of charging (x3) at Blore heath because of the scenery, opposition and loss of enthusiasm.

Bosworth was a "better try a craft charge to kill the snake head before my army collapses".

Hope that is useful???

martin

MajorB18 Oct 2020 3:27 a.m. PST

Wasn't Richard's death ride at Bosworth mounted?

Richard was almost certainly mounted. As commander he needed to be seen. As to how many others accompanied him in that final charge is open to debate. IMHO it was probably no more than his immediate bodyguard.

Blore Heath had a cavalry charge.

Yes, as I said above. Apologies for the spelling mistake in my previous post.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Oct 2020 3:43 p.m. PST

Thanks for the info.

I ran across mention that four battles had mounted men at arms at them. Not sure if all were involved in combat, but they were apparently there.

Yea, as I seem to recall from reading up on some of the battles, and army lists/scenarios, most of the mounted units were kept in reserve, to be used if needed.

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