Ladies and gentlemen, the Rolling Stones.
Last Sunday was the Society of Ancients' battle day, and the battle they were doing was Bosworth. Although a week late, I thought it would do my own version of it on the kitchen table. The rules would be simple - I would use Table Battles by Tom Russell of Hollandspiele - and these rules, unlike the Society's, would use cards, dice, sticks and cubes.
Richard would start, having six dice to roll and assign. But first, a little explanation of the game.
Henry's cards are similar. He has Oxford and himself in the front line, and the Stanleys in reserve. 3s and 4s activate Richmond; 5s and 6s Oxford. As with Northumberland, a full house of 3s and 4s will bring the Stanleys into the battle.
Oxford has eight formation sticks and Richmond two. Oxford will also lose one formation stick for each attack he makes and inflict as many hits as he uses dice. Richmond himself does not lose formation sticks when he attacks, but to launch an attack of his own he must have a pair of dice, and will only remove one formation stick from the enemy. To complete the puzzle, Oxford has a counterattack ability that allows him to use a pair of dice to remove an extra formation stick from any enemy that attacks him.
Both sides start by stacking dice on a single formation card, as shown in the picture below.
As shown above, both sides have three dice in play again, but this time it is Oxford to move. He attacks Norfolk, who is destroyed. Henry takes a morale cube off Richard. One more is needed for the victory.
The only way Richard can win now is to get four dice on his card to take out Oxford with one attack, and then turn his attention to Henry. Over several turns he saves up his dice, but can only manage three 4s.
Oxford, with a pair, is able to play and remove Richard entirely at a cost of one formation loss to himself.
Northumberland has not entered the battle and Henry is the victor. Bosworth I to the kingslayer!
Bosworth II starts with a powerful attack by Norfolk doing three damage to Oxford for one to himself. Henry rolls poorly and is unable to populate his cards with dice. Richard has no such trouble.
With Richard to play in the sitaution above, he inflicts three more hits on Oxford. Henry is still struggling to get the dice in play.
Richard seizes the moment and attacks Oxford again. Both formations are removed at the same time, so no morale cubes are exchanged. It is now a contest between Norfolk and Richmond to collect dice for an attack.
Norfolk is first.
We go to a Bosworth III to find the winner. The third battle commences with another 3/1 attack by Norfolk
A 3/2 attack from Richard follows from the position below.
A pair on Norfolk will be enough: Richard only needs to capture one morale cube to claim the win.
It was an unexpected piece of serendipity to find that today was actually the anniversary of the battle. All in all, I think it worked out rather nicely!
Given the speed of events, I think if anything what we are seeing now is each faction’s game pieces being swept around on the map and scooped up prior to being put back into their ziploc bags.
Game’s over, man.
If you want to carry on, I think you will need a different game.
I haven't done a huge amount of book finishing recently, but the most recent non-fiction book I've got all the way through was this one, The Song of Simon de Montfort, by Sophie Therese Ambler. It is a biography focused on two main points: how de Montfort conceived of his role in opposing and controlling the king, and how he appeared through the eyes of those that followed him.
The book begins with the end: Simon preparing to die on the field at Evesham, and everything that follows then leads us back to this moment. It's a neat trick to engage the reader, and it works.
On the whole I found the book informative - to my shame I didn't know a great deal about de Montfort before reading this - but it is also something of a hagiography, as inevitably it must be given its stated aims. Simon is shown as a great revolutionary driven by his cause, standing up for the common people, wronged by his king, and in the end by his confederates. That his own arrogance, selective morality, manipulative tactics and dubious methods of obtaining funds contributed to his demise is largely overlooked.
The book is engagingly written, nicely weighted and well paced, but if a man's qualities are to be as lauded as much they are here, for his faults to be glossed over so consistently eventually generates a kind of low level rumble of resentment in the reader. When the book was done, it was that sense of discontent that stayed with me.
I'd give it 3.5 out of 5. It's a good read-on-the-plane kind of book, and has motivated me to look more into gaming the period, as well.
It ended up an affecting watch, with the emotional heart of the film turning out to be not quite where you would have expected it to be.
4.5 out of 5 for me. If you have Netflix and haven't seen it already, I would suggest giving it a look.