Using the simple, one page version of the included war game of 1066.
With apologies to Dave Elrick
A few birthdays ago, my friend Dave got me the book 1066 by famed illustrator Peter Dennis. This is a book of gorgeous “copy and print” paper wargames miniatures and terrain, with an included set of rules by Andy Callan. Dave asked me to let him know how the rules worked as they did other periods including some that interested him. However, because of work, I never felt up to the task of scanning, printing and assembling two armies.
The figures for the game are grouped into stands and there are a respectable selection of groups of each type, so your armies shouldn’t look like a copy and paste set of sprites. Other copy and print stuff includes printable buildings, fortifications, ships, trees, streams, tokens and even a fancy turn counter in the form of a burning candle.
Wind forward a couple of years, and a Romanian company called WoFun started producing acrylic flat war games miniatures, now available in 28mm and 18mm. I can’t remember if they were Peter Dennis illustrations, but by now many of their ranges do use his and they sell a deal that comes with a PDF of the book inc rules. I got the 18mm “1066 Full Pack” with MDF bases. This has Saxons, Vikings, Normans and some Civilians, and this Good Friday I set up for the simple, one page version of the rules, which uses a “battle board” of 10 squares by 7 squares, stands of figures moving from square to square.
The full version uses a proper wargames table with measuring, and unit types not in this demo, particularly archers and cavalry. I should point out that the “Full Pack” doesn’t have enough Leidang to do the Starter scenario, so I used Bondi to make up the numbers.
With the book you can print as many as you want. The WoFun pack talks about including “48 figures of Select Fyrd”, for example, but that is 12 stands each of which has two groups of 4 figures, so those 48 figures are equivalent to 12 stands.
The simple game is a Saxon commander, 5 stands of huscarls and 6 of Select Fyrd against a Viking Commander and their 11 stands of Leidang warriors, kind of the Norse equivalent of the Fyrd. The Viking Liedang hit harder in their attack turn, the Select Fyrd are consistant, the Hurscarls hit as hard as the Liedang in both attack and defence.
Each commander has a random number of command points used just to move the troops in a IGOUGO turn. Troops can be moved as a whole body, singly or as part of an army reform. tracks happen automatically. Each stand attacks individually, the attacker calls the attack and both sides roll their attack dice. Hits are always on a 5 or 6, the better the unit, the more dice to roll. If one side has more hits on it, then it has to roll a save for each one that got through, fail that and it is off the table. If a stand is flanked, then it gets to roll fewer dice to attack, so it is worth trying to open up gaps to get flank attacks later in that turn, as a stand that has defeated its enemy is able to flank others later in the same turn.
Onto my test battle. The vikings, at the bottom of the board, have their commander on the right, the leidang ready to patch any holes in the line. The Saxons have the huscarls on their left, the Select Fyrd on the right, The vikings won initiative, and rolled a six for command points, which allowed the whole army to advance right up to the Saxons.
The next few turns saws back and forth between Norse and Saxon, with the Norse getting the better of it, the commander opening the flank as the Saxon reserves were exhausted. The battle seems certain for the Norse, now they have the numbers.
However, some luck, especially when it comes to picking fights to allow for the advantage of outflanking, turns it around for the Saxons, until only the Norse commander is left.
This is only the light, teaching, version of a light rule set, so it isn’t full of subtlety. The mail rules however, are not fantastically laid out, so i had some questions from just reading them, and this teaching aid was useful for some of the principles. This version, with counters, would be fun on a train ride or the like as it would be say to take out, play, and put away, so i am looking forward to printing out some terrain and trying the full rules.