The First Crusade- 1096-1099- Hypothetical Battle in 15mm Hail Caesar! April 13th, 2019
On Saturday, April 13th, 13 students include 8 brand new players, 3 current club members, and 2 US students played in an extensive First Crusade battle. This was a hypothetical battle taking place somewhere in the desert as the crusaders marched on Jerusalem. This was the first time we tried Hail Caesar, which we felt produced a very fun, engaging battle that tested the limits of what the players could handle.
There were 6 players per side, each with their own command. On average, each command contained 4 units plus a commander. The crusaders relied mostly on heavy troops such as knights, spearmen, crossbows, and some additional skirmishers and lights. For the Turkish/Fatimid side, horse archers, cavalry, and foot archers ruled the day.
In a funny sort of way, the battle reminded all of us of the Horns of Hattin, which I am lucky enough to have seen having chaperoned a recent trip to Israel.
The crusaders opened the battle with a very aggressive maneuver, advancing quickly to a series of two hills with a valley in between. For anyone that has played Hail Caesar, however, will know that sometimes battle lines can become unwieldy and disorganized due to poor command checks.
The Muslims took advantage of this maneuver, and battle became almost a siege of these two positions. Many, many units of horseman surrounded the hills looking to deliver a knockout blow to the crusaders. Unfortunately, the Muslims did not fire enough arrows at the various Europeans lining the hills, instead opting to charge fresh knight units with mounted troops of their own. While the Turks and Fatimids did well, to the point of "shaking" all of the crusader knights, they couldn't deliver any killing blows.
In the end, crusader reinforcements were able to plug the gap in the line, and despite losing a unit or two, were able to drive the Muslims back from their positions.
The game was a lot of fun. The high point was when the Turks/Fatimid alliance realized that the crusader's overall commander was on one of the hills. Things became very personal very quickly!
As we debriefed, one of the student comments were interesting in that they said something that has come up many times before- it always seems that Turkish/Fatimid/Arabic armies struggle against the crusaders in the field, seemingly with any ruleset we play.
I don't disagree, and have spent a bit of time thinking about possible tweaks that can make the games a bit more competitive. Students often make the mistake of NOT shooting at the crusader enough, opting instead to rush in. It could be that their tactics need to change, focusing more on shooting, mobility, and the old bait and hook.
I look forward to playing this game again during my summer program.
Enjoy the pictures! They go in order, from the start of the battle to the very end.
Battle of An-Loc- 1972- Bolt Action 15mm February 9th, 2019
On Saturday, February 9th, students in the game club had the chance to refight elements of the Battle of An-Loc, which took place during the Vietnam War in 1972.
The battle pit a North Vietnamese tank force, which included both T-54s and P-76s, vs an ARVN force containing infantry with air support. We used a slightly modified set of Bolt Action rules, which our club is very much into.
The players had a great time, and learned quite about the time period. The PAVN tried their best to accomplish their task, which was to get off the board at a predesignated location and drive onto the city of An-Loc. Unfortunately for them, roving LAW teams were hidden on the board, which made the tanks quite suspicious and slow moving.
In the end, the battle was somewhat of a draw, with the edge going to the ARVN for holding the village and preventing most of the tanks from escaping.