Saturday, May 31, 2014

Battle of Campaldino 1289

While at Enfilade I ran two battles.  This one "The Battle of Campaldino 1289" was to full fill the Obscure Theatre and Battle theme for the weekend and to full fill one of my dreams of running the battle along with one WWI battle (which I will do a separate post for it).  I have to say that this battle has had a long fascination for me as it was the focus of my minor concentration for my masters degree in history.  I compared two written versions of the battle using one first hand account and the second written almost 50 years later.  Enough of my boring school stories.

As some of you know my group and I love using Piquet's Band of Brothers 2 for this time period.  We love the ebb and flow and the uncertainty of the battle once the game has started.  This is also the first time I've tried to run a Piquet game at a convention.  I limited the number of players to 4.  2 per side and as evenly as possible broke up the commands for each person.  In my last test battle the infantry didn't get involved until the very end and only because the Guelph knights broke through to the waiting infantry.  That entire game that night was one big cavalry fight.  

There are some adaptations that my group and I use when we play.  We use dominoes for impetus.  The two C-n-C's roll their d20's and the high side picks a domino.  They get the higher number of dots and the loser the lower number.  This tends to eliminate the big impetus swings and it keeps everyone involved in the game.  Second change, the game ends on a double domino being pulled or if  one side finishes their card deck.  If the double domino is pulled the end of turn is immediate.
My biggest concern is keeping everyone in the game and active, especially with a convention game.  I hate sitting around and not doing anything and I don't want others to feel the same way.

Now on to the AAR for the battle.  With this battle I wanted to create the historic charge by the Ghibelline front rank knights.  So the two gentlemen in charge of that faction were told that ANY move card would cause the knights to charge and melee immediately with the front rank knights of the Guelphs.  This was the only restriction for the scenario.  After that all rules pertaining to movement and melee reverted to normal. 

This is an over view shot of the battle field.  This view is from the Ghibelline side.

One of the Ghibelline battle groups on the hill waiting for orders.  This group historically left the battle field once the battle started.  Not this time.

The Guelph army awaits the Ghibelline attack.

Guelph archers in the woods.

The Ghibelline knights wait impatiently to charge.

The initial Ghibelline charge strikes home and routes most of the Guelph front line knights.  At this point I thought things were going to go very badly for the Guelphs.  The gentleman playing the Guelph C-n-C couldn't roll higher than a 3 on most of his rolls and was getting slaughtered.  I felt bad.

The Guelph archers and crossbow men open fire into the flanks of the Ghibelline knights.  Causing stand losses.  They helped slow down the Ghibelline attack.

The other side of the Guelph archers and crossbow men.

The second line of Ghibelline knights and cavalry waiting for their chance to move out.

The units up against the river were once the Guelph vanguard.  One routed unralliable and the others were eventually brought back.

The Ghibelline command recalls his front line knights so they can stop being decimated by the Guelph  archers and crossbow men.

The unit on the hill moves out and tries to out flank the Guelph army.  He gets close to doing it too.

The Guelph knights form up and charge into the Ghibelline knights causing large losses and routing many of the knights.  The Ghibelline infantry moves forward shielding the fleeing knights.  You can see in the back ground that the Guelph infantry swung to meet the Ghibelline unit on the hill.  The infantry would cause a unit of knights to rout by hitting them on the flank.

At about this time our 4 hour time limit was almost up for the gaming session.  The Ghibellines ended their quest to win and limped home.  The battle was a close one.  Both sides ended up with 4 morale chips left.  The Ghibellines started with 27 and the Guelphs had 24.  At one point the Ghibellines had 12 left while the Guelphs had 4.  In the span of a few minutes the Ghibelline army fell apart with some good dice rolling by the Guelph commanders (finally).

After the game I asked the guys playing what they thought and to gain some insight for future games.  The biggest complaint was too many charts to look at and use.  I had given each command a copy of the QRS sheets so they could follow along and eventually do the dice calculations themselves, which they started to do by the end.  Maybe next time I will just do it or only give them the important charts like Missile Fire, Melee and Morale.  I'll keep the others and do those for the players.  Over all the guys playing enjoyed themselves.  Which is what I wanted.


  1. Victor, I think this is one of the best looking games you have put on!

    Sounds like it had a good ebb and flow and came down to the wire. I like the domino variant, or Eric's Rule of 1/3 for convention games.

    There are a fair amount of charts, but most of them aren't used that often. not surprisingly, I know most of them by heart! For a copnbention game I do a lot of the modifier calculations for the players to keep things moving along, at least until they get the hang of missile fire and melee.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Coming from you that is high praise. You put on such fantastic looking games and they are enjoyable even when I'm getting slaughtered.

      I give out the charts so people understand where I'm getting the numbers from and they don't think I'm just making it up.

    2. All well desrved.

      I definitely hand out the charts too, and explain how they work. Most get the hand of firing easily. Melee and Morale are a bit harder. It takes folks a while to "get" the Moral Challenge concept.

  2. Great looking game, love the mass effect on some pictures...good job!

  3. Very nice looking game and figures, Vic. I think some of the local (Tacoma/Oly) crew were in on your game from what I recall. Best, Dean