Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Battle of Arsuf

 Tuesday evening we returned to one of our favorites, Warlord Games "Hail Caesar!" . After a couple years of WAB and its WAB II incarnation. Hail Caesars game mechanics quickly won us over and its been our large format "go to" game ever since.

 This match was a demo for an event our group, (when I say our group, I mean  Rich) is running at Little Wars in late April. The Battle of Arsuf  was a pivotal battle of Richard I's 3rd Crusade.  Rich has a massive Arab army he's been working on for years, and a large amount of Crusaders as well, with couple of us helping out filling out the remaing details. With 4 divisions per side at 450 points per side this is a huge "Hail Caesar" game.

 The game coincidentally or not played out similar to our notes on the real battle.  I was running the Crusader Vanguard and was quickly engaged by annoying Skirmishers, including the incredibly annoying Nafitum (who throw flasks of flaming oil, immediately causing a break check on any wound. super dangerous to Cavalry) Having faced them before my Templars and Mounted Sergeants charged from the line getting lucky with a 3 move Order, However the Nafitum easily evaded. However if I could stand my ground the next round of shooting, I was in excellent potion to run down a whole bunch of skirmishers and med infantry with tough Cavalry, I survived the shooting
and did just that. This led to early collapse of lead flank turning the battle back toward Saladin.
 On the rear flank, per the Battle the Hospitaller Knights broke ranks with a 3 move charge and quickly got themselves in trouble until Mike end up reinforcing them and after several turns it did break his way.
 In the Center a long stalemate of failed orders under King Richard led to Saladin and his Body Guard
just waiting him out to see how the battles on flanks were going.  One of the great things about Hail Caesar, unlike various version of Warhammer is the Late Game , In Warhammer the fate of the game is often decided in the first two turns, and barring some extraordinary circumstance the game becomes an attrition toward the inevitable. Not so in Hail Caesar! where the late game of turns 5 and 6 often is the battle decider. This always keeps the game exciting until the last turn.

 When the Crusader counter attack finally comes in turn 5 with support of the Templars rolling up on Saladins Right Flank while the rear flank was steadily collapsing. Rich wisely pulled Saladin back and reformed a tight unit with his Bodyguard Cavalry..unfortunately the exhausted Crusaders didnt get the orders off complete to bridge the distance and the game ended in DRAW with the none of the four objectives (two for either side being completed).

The Battle of Arsuf

Saladins Forces

Division I

Mamluks with Spear and Bow
Berber Heavy Cavalry
Turcoman Light Horse X 2

Division II
Dismounted Mamluk x 2
Medium Archers
City Militia with Spears

Division III

Mamluks Bodyguard
Mamluks Spear and Bow
Syran Heavy Cavarly
Turcoman Light Horse

Division IV
Ghazi warband Fanatics
Medium Archers
City Militia with Spear
Light Archers X 2

Break Hospitaller Division
Destroy Army Standard

Richard I  Forces

Vanguard Division

Holy Order Knights (Templars) Heavy Cavalry
Heavy Infantry
Heavy Crossbow
Mounter Sergeants - Heavy Cavalry

Division I- English
Crusader Knights- Heavy Cavalry
Heavy Infantry
Heavy Crossbow

Division II- Outreamer
Crusader Knights- Heavy Cavalry
Heavy Infantry
Heavy Crossbow

Rear Guard- Hospitallers
Hospitaller Knights - Heavy Cavalry
Heavy Infantry
Heavy Crossbow
Turcopole Horsemen (Light Cavalry)

Break or Rout Saladin and his Bodyguard
Break two of the three Cavalary Divisions

Looking forward to this game at little wars I am putting together Richard I giant army standard which should be a nice table center piece. I've missed playing HC  this was a really fun game!


DeanM said...

Great looking game with a lot of nice figures. I too was a WAB player, but converted over to Hail Caesar. Although I haven't played it in sometime. Personally, I have not ill will towards WAB, but feel like I've matured and Hail Caesar's mechanics fits the bill now. Warm Regards, Dean

Rodger said...

Fantastic looking game!

Scott Bowman said...

Great looking game, and I concur a preference for HC over WAB... I keep looking at my collection of WAB supplements and wonder if I should ebay them off... but they each have a decent little potted history in them which makes useful reference material, and I guess a sense of nostalgia keeps me hanging on to them...

James Fisher, FINS said...

Really, really impressive looking game and some fabulous photos, thanks.
It's great when you find a set of rules that suits the temperament of the players in the group and aims in wargaming the period. I preface the following by saying, "not that I expect you are looking for another set of rules to try!!" By a bit of serendipity we 'fell' to Impetus as our preferred rules for Ancients and Mediaeval after wishing to move on from WAB. We did not look extensively at others, simply stopping as we found these suited how we wanted to wargame these periods. We've not been using them for long, but have been impressed in the games so far, including an historical re-fight of Boudica's last battle.


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