May 2020 was supposed to be the 10th Annual Ayton game with assorted denizens of the LAW Forum. Unfortunately, the plague got in the way and scuppered the plans. As it did for May 2021. We did manage a gathering in November 2021 but a few regulars were absent (Covid still a big worry) and it wasn’t May…so we decided that Covid permitting May 2022 would still be the official 10th Anniversary gathering. Fortunately, the plague subsided enough to allow the weekend to go ahead. As was always intended, we returned to the 18th century with a single big game over the two days. No shortage of figures as there were quite a few people with collections that had grown since that first gathering in 2011. So, last Friday evening saw us gather at Ayton Village Hall to set up the table. And it was a BIG table! Sixteen players, 40ft of table!
The game itself was organised by Dave Hall (World2Dave) and the rules (Burt and Hall’s Old School Rules) were developed by Iain Burt (Essex Boy) and Tim Hall and the result of extensive playtesting over the last year or so with both ACW and C18th games of various scales. Not Old School in the mechanics, but in their whole ethos of just providing a framework for likeminded friends to play big games and have fun!
The broad scenario was:
The Battle of Zehntel, 1752
Refought at Ayton 2022 by the Gentlemen of the LAW
The War of the Läwrissian Succession
The dynastic and diplomatic entanglements of the Läwrissian Succession have caused swords to be drawn across a divided continent. The vital question of which son succeeds the recently-deceased King Humperdink will be determined by the martial success of one or other of the belligerent factions;
- The YARP Alliance, made up of those supporting Yannick as Ascendent Royal Prince
- The League of NARP, comprising those who support Nicolas as Ascendent Royal Prince
A campaigning season filled with marches, sieges, drinking, battle, painting and mayhem has led to much discombobulation;
~ Altfritzenburg is on its knees, having been ravaged and plundered up to the hilt
~ The Gateway Alliance has conducted a ‘fighting’ withdrawal across the endless plains of Essex
~ St Paulin has raised forces so vast that they’ve hired them out to both sides
~ The contingent from Wheyeydia has woven a disturbingly unpredictable path across the theatre of war in a confusing manoeuvre they call ‘the Sambuca’
Evil times indeed.
However, the pivotal moment has now arrived; both sides are concentrating their armies for a titanic showdown (everyone needs to get home for the harvest, after all). All forces are converging on the sleepy town of Zehntel which has suddenly been thrust into centre-stage as the decisive focus of the campaign. Hurried along by their commanders, each army is striving to reach the battlefield and wrest control of the key objectives. The result of this battle will surely determine the outcome of the war.
The greatest military minds of the age have answered the call to battle, an unparalleled pantheon including Leigh-Pickled, Bosco Jankovic, Prince August, Flappnitz, von Ludwig, Vacqueyras, Barolo, Notgudinoff, von Wolfjager, Hangem-Floghem, von Hesseburg, Holden McGroin, and Lord Peeler himself.
After much logistical manoeuvring and last-minute changes/panic, the two mighty coalitions in the War of the Läwrissian Succession were confirmed as follows:
The YARP Alliance, made up of those supporting Yannick as Ascendant Royal Prince
Your ruler has ‘The Divine Right of Kings’ carved on his blue-blooded stone heart, so therefore you fight to ensure that Yannick, as eldest Prince, becomes King.
Count Belisarius ~ Duchy of Altefritzenburg ~ Duke Otto Fritz von Hesseburg
Goat Major ~ Commonwealth of Brest-Titovsk ~ Field Marshall Bosco Jankovic
Tim.W ~ Duchy of Holmcast ~ Prince August
World2dave ~ Grand Duchy of Medetia ~ General Barolo
Purple ~ Prussia ~ General Flappnitz
John Rich ~ Prussia ~ General Count von Ludwig
Buff ~ Empire of Russlavia and Duchy of Borscht ~ General Count Notgudinoff
Peeler ~ Aytonia ~ Lord Peeler of Ayton
The League of NARP, comprising those who support Nicolas as Ascendant Royal Prince
Your nation is determined to see Läwrissia join the ranks of the Enlightened Kingdoms, which can only come from the ascension of the forward-thinking (and conveniently trade-friendly) Prince Nicolas.
Tim Hall ~ Britannia ~ General Sir Edward Hangem-Floghem
Jeremy ~ Albion ~ The Lord Honourable General Holden McGroin
Essex Boy ~ Gateway Alliance ~ General Leigh-Pickled
Pemble ~ Duchy of Rabennisten ~ Baron Henning von Wolfjager
GaryP ~ St Paulin ~ Comte de Vacqueyras
MarshalNey ~ Wheyeydia ~ Viscount Gascoigne
Alex T ~ Austria ~ Count Scarbados
Darklord ~ Prussia St Paulin ~ General Housen
I had the great (mis)fortune to be elected CinC of YARP! And using the decisive, can-do, take control, lead by example for which I am renowned I allocated my generals by lottery! And I got to play Gary Phillips. It did not bode well… 🙂
As with all Aytons there is no way to adequately describe the course of the WHOLE battle. Too many people. Too much going on. But for my little part of the field here goes…
There was an objective in the centre of the table. Gary got initiative and was able to seize that early on. That left me with no option but to attack. Each commander had two brigades on table at the start, a third to arrive on turns 2-3 and their remaining two brigades to arrive later at the behest of the CinC. Both myself and Gary deployed two infantry brigades at the start.
As my advance started we both brought on cavalry brigades on my left and it seemed that a clash of horse should be resolved first! We decided to tweak the rules on the fly and allow cavalry to follow up 2D6″. This worked to my advantage as Gary failed to make contact on his charge move allowing me to charge, win, and follow up and defeat the next unit!
Although I drove off his cavalry I had taken enough damage to not risk pursuit so he withdrew and I was able to pull back and rally myself. Then my first reinforcement brigade arrived. The Alterfritzenburg Cuirassiers! This should have been a decisive moment… My heaviest cavalry driving all before them! T’was not to be… I advanced on his already weakened brigade. He charged, won, followed through, won, followed through again, and won though lost his own unit as well! That was my brigade knackered! When his next brigade came on and hit them again, the brigade broke and that was the end of the cuirassiers! My flank looking very vulnerable as my first cavalry brigade was still rallying back to the colours.
In the centre the Savage Swans of von Donovan’s Legion advanced with the Altefritzenburg brigade to their right. Volleys were exchanged and it looked like the elite Savage Swans themselves were on the verge of charging in when… a simple morale check after a few minor casualties saw them retire in haste! The humiliation!! This, with Gary’s cavalry regrouping on the flank, saw a withdrawal to regroup in the centre as further reinforcements arrived on both sides and night began to fall with Gary’s cavalry in control of my left flank…
As a new day dawned my rallied first cavalry brigade advanced to hold the flank against Gary’s two brigades. The Gods were with my and I was able to drive off both brigades enough to allow an advance in the centre. However, my own cavalry were finally blown and forces to retire. Gary charged a regiment into the now recovered Swans only to see them destroyed! While Gary spent time rallying the remains of the his cavalry I had no choice but to push forward…
The final throw of the dice for me was to advance my new infantry brigade in the centre and use my new elite Grenadier unit to charge home and drive off the enemy from the objective. I did it all right. Advanced to just outside close range after Gary had activated his troops, won the initiative next turn and declared a charge! Only to roll a 4″ move which left me stalled in front of his elite unit and heavy gun! Canister and a devastating volley saw my new regiment near wiped out! And as the Altefritzenburgers to their right took equally devastating volleys their brigade too broke!
As the two of my last three brigades broke and my fine new unit rushed to the rear, as CinC I could do nothing but watch as the band played on….
And that was it. Game over! I’d lost four brigades, came nowhere near to gaining the objective (even if my cavalry did do OK at times). Elsewhere on the table the forces of YARP faired little better and only the great Purple One really brought glory to the cause!
Some pics from elsewhere on the table.
So the attendees!
It was a great weekend. Lots of figures on the table but no traffic jams. Easy to play rules that facilitated that. Good food. Lots of drinks. And lots of laughs. Thanks to Iain and Tim H for work on the rules, Dave for the scenario and getting us all going despite being ill on the Saturday AM, Peeler for organising the event itself, and all attendees for making it a memorable 10th Anniversary Game! And Gary for the lesson.
Roll on Ayton 2023 where we hope to return to some late C19th Colonial ImagiNation shenanigans!
More pics from other attendees will gradually appear on the LAW forums: https://www.looseasswargamers.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1855