Steel Bonnets – Scenario Notes

Ladies and Gentlemen, below are John Ewing’s notes from the Border Reiver game described previously.

Introduction

For anyone who might be interested in trying out the Border Reivers scenario I posted about earlier, here is a copy of my scenario notes. At its heart, it is a pretty generic “raid on a settlement” game which could be used in other eras or settings.

By way of explanation, we use a group activation method when playing multi-player games to speed up play. Also, we draw chits rather than roll dice for initiative because then I have a chance of remembering the order of play when it changes from turn to turn. Particularly useful when we determine initiative order before each phase of a turn, as we often do in Club games to add to the chaos.

The changes to movement rates and ranges were purely to facilitate the use of the nice wooden measuring sticks produced by Warbases ( a la Saga). We’ve found these to be very useful in running public participation games, especially when youngsters are involved who are unused to tape measures and Imperial measurements. Avoids blank looks when you tell them they can move 6″ and saves my poor addled brain the effort of converting inches to centimetres.

Finally, a couple of pictures of the Robson Heidman and the lads gathered before the Bastle House for their pre-game briefing. (Mad Mick is on the left in the blue jacket and fetching skull cap.) and the objects of everyone’s desire – the coos and sheeps.

JHR8

The Robsons assemble before the Bastle House.

Steel Bonnets Scenario Notes

Setting: Robson hamlet in North Tynedale, a cluster of houses, pig stye, grain store along road, with Bastle House, stable and barmekin at one end. Cattle and sheep ingathered to fields near hamlet. Scattering of woods.

Time: Shortly after dawn, early morning mist rising.

Forces:

  • 4 Reiver players each with 6 mounted Reivers in 2 groups of 3 figures.
  • 2 families ( Elliots & Hendersons) each led by laird with 3 Veterans.
  • Robson Defender has 15 defenders on foot initially led by Heidman and 2 Veterans, plus 2 foot patrol groups of 4 figures who may turn up later.

Deployment: Defenders split between Bastle House and 3 cottages with 2 sentries on road, one at each end of village. May emerge from hiding places on alarm being raised after passing “pluck test”. Score equal to pluck rating means can leave building but not move further that turn, higher can move.

Attackers deploy on long table edge on opposite sides of hamlet, mounted.

Raising Alarm: Sentries will move randomly along road until enemy spotted. Spotting roll equals “pluck test” if LOS to raiders at end of movement. Modified by pace of raider movement +2 if gallop, -2 if cautious walk.

Reinforcements: may arrive at umpire’s discretion after successful pluck roll. One group each of 4 additional foot defenders at either road end. Roll separately for each group. Represents returning patrol or neighbours attracted by the noise of the fight.

Victory Points: 10 points per base of livestock removed off own table edge.
2 points per enemy figure “taken out”, 5 points per veteran, 10 for laird.

Rule Modifications:
Order of activation determined by drawing chits with names of player’s leader characters ( e,g, “Sim the Laird” Henderson, “Mad Mick” Robson).

When chit is drawn, player may activate a group of 3-4 figures to move or act. Shooting and combat still one figure at a time but complete all individual group combats for both sides before moving to next group.

Movement rates amended to 15cm walk, 25cm run for foot; 15cm walk, 30cm trot and 45cm for mounted. Moving more than 10cm incurs a shooting penalty.

Weapon ranges – Dagg (pistol) 10cm; Latch (hand crossbow) 30cm; Hackbut (arquebus) 30cm.”

JHR9

The objects of the game.

Advertisements

The Steel Bonnets – A Borders Adventure

Our Scottish correspondent John Ewing, has reported on a game he put on using the Blood & Faith genre pack that you can find on the Genre Packs page.

So, over to John:

JHR0

Our game and display in the centre left.

We had an excellent day out today at the first Scottish Battlefields Trust Wargames Show in Prestonpans. This inaugural small show was intended to illustrate various episodes from Scottish history. For our contribution the Falkirk District Wargames Club presented a Border Reivers game using the “Blood & Faith” genre pack for IHMN. It’s a credit to the flexibility of the core rules that the game worked perfectly even with a transposition of 300 years. I thoroughly recommend them.

For our contribution, the Falkirk District Wargames Club presented a Border Reivers game using the “Blood & Faith” genre pack for IHMN. It’s a credit to the flexibility of the core rules that the game worked perfectly even with a transposition of 300 years. I thoroughly recommend them.

The Steel Bonnets – A Borders Adventure – the player brief

“It is a dark and moonless night in the depth of winter 1586.
The bairns are hungry, the spur has been served and the Lairds have put out the call to arms.
“The Elliots and Hendersons will go a’reiving tonight.
Let the Robsons quake in their hovels. We ride!”

Dare you don your steel bonnet, take up your lance and ride with your family, neighbours and friends across the Border hills to lift the black cattle and sheep from the hidden valleys of Tynedale?

Can you face the fearsome Robsons in their lair or will you ride back empty handed to your family?

Life in the Borders was hard, the area devastated by repeated wars and large scale raids between the forces of the Scottish and English Crowns. Hardly surprising then that the people turned to cattle rustling, sheep stealing and extortion to make a living. Loyalty to family was all. Raiding and feuding are a way of life.

Our game today is a public participation event which gives you the chance to learn a little of what it was like to ride with the Border Reivers in the 16th Century. Take charge of a small group of mounted Reivers as they try to lift the cattle and other livestock from a homestead in northern England. However, the defenders have been alerted to your approach and stand ready to protect their homes.

Some photos of the game

JHR1

The village is very quiet, perhaps too quiet…

Only the sentries are on duty but other defenders wait in the shelter of the hovels. The Reivers make their appearance.

Only the sentries are on duty but other defenders wait in the shelter of the hovels. The Reivers make their appearance.

Some of the protagonists from the Elliot family. Not that there are mounted and dismounted versions of each figure.

Some of the protagonists from the Elliot family. Not that there are mounted and dismounted versions of each figure.

More Elliots - mounted and dismounted versions.

More Elliots – mounted and dismounted versions.

Some of the marauding Hendersons.

Some of the marauding Hendersons.

A final scene with the Robsons scattered in the north as the Hendersons lead off some cattle from the field. However, in the south the Robsons have driven off several Elliots and recaptured the sheep who are returning to the fold.

A final scene with the Robsons scattered in the north as the Hendersons lead off some cattle from the field. However, in the south the Robsons have driven off several Elliots and recaptured the sheep who are returning to the fold.

I meant to say for those interested in rule mechanics we made full use of the flexibility of the “Pluck roll” mechanic to require Reivers trying to cajole unwilling livestock to make a pluck roll. Failure meant they had to test again, at best the animals ignored them but if they failed a second time they were deemed to have been knocked over. A bad failure, i.e. rolling a 1, meant they were injured and out of the game.

In our games, there was much hilarity as various Reivers struggled to stay on their feet midst cow pats and pig dung. While in one game the pigs “took out” a veteran Reiver, in the other it was the donkey in the stable who did for one. Dangerous things these “domestic” animals!

Blood & Faith is now available

“This world is an uncertain realm, filled with danger. Honour undermined by the pursuit of power, freedom sacrificed when the weak are oppressed by the strong. But there are those who oppose these powerful forces, who dedicate their lives to truth, honour, and freedom. These men are known as Musketeers. Rise, D’Artagnan, and join them.”
King Louis of France (Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers)

The first half of the 17th century is a time like no other in human history. Protestant Europe is beginning its rise to supremacy over the globe. The English and the Dutch are on the attack, severing the Kings of Spain and Portugal’s tenuous grasp on the East Indies and the Orient. In North America the English colonies are thriving and English buccaneers plague the trade routes to central and south America.

musketeers74
In Europe Protestant and Catholic princes are locked in a war that will see hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians perish in the name of Christ. For thirty years it will rage, sapping the strength of once mighty empires like Spain, Austria and France. The continent is awash with landless soldiers, mercenaries and brigands, with no loyalty to church or king, only to coin and loot.
In England a King who believes in his divine right to rule clashes with an increasingly powerful Parliament in a battle of wills that will lead to a bloody civil war and regicide.

whendidyoulastsee_0
Yet behind all this is a deeper and most secret war. The foundations are being laid for the coming Age of Reason, when science shall start to provide explanations for things that only religion could before. New technologies, new weapons and new philosophies are unsettling the established order. Men and women are taking up arms against the superstitions of the past, seeking to consign to myth the many monsters and ancient orders that are holding mankind back.
Small companies have been formed by those on all sides and are being sent on missions that may well affect the future of all mankind.

uktv-the-musketeers-still
This is a period made popular by such films and books as: The Three Musketeers, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Crucible, Lorna Doone, Solomon Kane, Mathew Hopkins – Witchfinder General, Captain Blood, Flesh & Blood, A Field in England, Day of Wrath, By the Sword Divided, Cromwell, The Scarlet Blade and many more.
It is time for you to buckle your swash and swing into action with your rapier and pistol!

To find this excellent document please go to the Genre Packs page of this very blog: https://inhermajestysname.wordpress.com/genre-packs/