Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bear Yourselves Valiantly "Benevento 1266"

This past weekend I put on a game of "Bear Yourselves Valiantly" by John R. "Buck" Surdu and company.  I had played this particular set of rules while at Historicon in July and really loved how fast I picked up the mechanics and how quickly the game flowed.  I was able to find 1 vender at Historicon who had the rules (Silver Eagle Wargames) and bought them on the spot.  While on the plane home I started to read and digest the rules.  I setup a game for 8/15 and set about creating the special dice needed for the game and creating my own roster.  Since this was a test battle I didn't want to modify my current basing system so I creating slugs that accommodated the 3" frontage that the system suggested. I had bases for with that frontage from trying out Impetus.  

I hit up the local game store and bought some blank dice and cut and pasted the labels for command dice onto them. I made 5 sets only because the game store didn't have enough blanks for a 6th set of dice. The command dice work like this: a unit which is a base 3" wide or a commander, and lets say they want to charge, the unit rolls a d10 and a Green die and Blue die for infantry or a Yellow die for cavarly. If they roll higher than their morale value they will look at the blue or yellow die and that tells them what the unit does or does not do. For example you can close with a +1 in melee or just close and so on.  If you rolled lower or equal to your morale value then you would look at the green die. It could tell you to stand and don't close or close and be -1 in melee and so on.

As I read the rules I wrote down questions I had and sent a flurry of emails to the yahoo group. All were answered very quickly and adequately. 

As time rolled up to the appointed date I decided to pick medieval battle (since I had the troops) and then picked the battle of Benevento 1266 as the setup for the game.  This would turn out to be a my first mistake for that night.  Not really realizing how "slow" rough ground would make movement and most of the Benevento battlefield is fought over varying rolling hills.  I should have just lined up the forces on the table with a few scattered pieces of terrain and called it good. 

Saturday arrived and I loaded up the car and took off.  Now mind you I hadn't actually setup the battle previously to see how well it would fit onto the table I was going to use.  

We actually played this game twice. I screwed up the melee rules something fierce the first time around and was killing off stands fast than the plague.  So after I realized my mistake and much apologizing to my group we reset and started again.  I was confusing two sets of rules, Piquet and this one. Boy what a blunder. 

These two photos show the beginning setup of the forces.  The Ghibelline army has the low lands and are setup behind stream. Historically the Ghibelline forces were the attackers and why the commander Manfred of Sicily chose this place is beyond me.  Charles the 1st of Anjou holds the high ground and historically is the defender.  The historical outcome is Manfred is killed and Charles the 1st becomes King of Sicily and starts the Anjou rule in Sicily and Southern Italy.
Also Historically the 3 battle groups for each side lined up one behind the other. I didn't have the depth to do this so I improvised.

Two bases together created the 3" frontage for the game. Underneath is the slug and some Locktite Fun-Tac holding the bases onto the slug.  The label was a quick way to identify who was who.

A few more views of the forces gathered for this battle. There are a lot of mounted Men at Arms in this battle. Very little in the way of infantry especially on Manfred's side of things. He only brought Saracen Archers.

The battle kicked off with the Saracens making it across the river with the German Mercenary knights behind them.  Charles' infantry and crossbowmen waited for them to approach.

The bridge really slowed down the center battle group. In the rules an object like a bridge has a capacity and that means only a certain number of bases can cross it at one time. The bridge was a capacity 2. So only two units could be on the bridge at any one time.

Charles' right flank. The Knights are holding the high ground but it really isn't conducive for mounted combat.  Both sides closed in on each other. 

The Saracens continue to march forward.

Charles' crossbowmen open up and cause hits.  On the next phase the Saracen leader failed his morale roll and had to retreat. He never made it back into the game.

Charles' knights can't wait any longer and start to move toward the slowly advancing knights.

The right flank saw the majority of the action during the game.  Both sides causing each other to bounce back and return the next the round for more combat.

The Saracen archers retreat as the German Mercenary knights push forward. 

The bridge crossing.

More action on the right flank.

The Saracen archers retreated and attempt to rally and would attempt for the rest of the game.  The German knights take up a defensive position on the river banks.

Charles holds his troops from advancing.

The middle battle group starts to turn towards the right flank to help its fellow knights.

Charles' knights turn toward the German knights and close.

Manfred's left (Charles' right flank) crumbles with a failed morale roll and begins to retreat.  We played two more turns with Manfred's left retreating and the follow up by Charles' right flank.  We called the game after 3 hours, not counting the restart.

Over all the group liked the rules even though I screwed up some of the rules and so on.  They liked them enough that we are playing them again in September.  I will continue to reread the rules and ask questions over on the yahoo group.  I liked the rules and I'm trying to think of something to run at Enfilade this coming May.  Have to get a few more games under my belt first.


  1. Great looking game, Vic. Sound like you been itching to this one on the table. I hope you can run it this at Enfilade!

  2. Thanks for the great write-up and photos! I'm glad to hear the group liked the game and you will be running another one. Your set-up looks super.

  3. A first outing with a new set of rules is always an adventure; you hope you don't screw things up TOO badly!