A Lesson in Lions

Two weeks ago, I introduced veteran Malcolm to Lion Rampant, the medieval game by Dan Mersey. Mal is a veteran of many years of wargaming, a fellow of the Grimsby club before he moved to Devon. In fact he was wargaming before I was born! I thought it was important to introduce him to Lion Rampant to see if he liked it - no point doing a campaign locally if one of our strongest historical players didn’t like it…


Mal had a small collection of War of the Roses miniatures. While these were perhaps a little late for Lion Rampant, I thought they’d be ”Close enough!” (sorry, inside joke, I’m never allowed to allow that thought into my work at any other time). To test the system and to counter his rather compact force of Knights, I took a Spanish Muslim army. I used the models I got from my late good friend Paul Houghton, who passed away nine years ago. I like to see his models getting used on the table and use them whenever I can. 

Battle commences!

Mal took a force consisting of the following:

  • Leader with mounted men-at-arms @ 6 points
  • 1 Foot men-at-arms @ 6 points
  • 1 Expert foot serjeants @ 6 Points
  • 1 Crossbowmen @ 4 points
  • Expert foot yeomen @ 5 points.

To match it I took a force consisting of:

  • Leader with mounted serjeants @ 4 points
  • 2 Mounted yeomen + javelins @ 6 points
  • 3 Foot yeomen @ 9 points
  • 1 Crossbowmen @ 4 points
  • 2 Bidowers @ 4 points.

The bright eyed Lion Rampant players among you will realise this goes beyond the usual 24 point warband… Mal opened the battle by advancing towards my forces as quickly as he could. I did my best to move my yeomen into position to receive him and tried to form shieldwall. As his units began to get closer, I engaged them with my crossbowmen and one unit of bidowers while my cavalry and other unit of bidowers tried to outflank his army. My yeomen finally formed shieldwall only to be pushed aside by first the knights and then the men-at-arms. My bidowers had managed to cause his Serjeants to be battered and finally casued them to flee. Mal’s crossbows inflicted some damage, but most of the time failed their activation test. With my centre missing (‘consumed’ by Mal’s Knights), things looked bad for the Moors. 

The Crusaders are coming!

Thankfully yeomen are pretty cheap, so we were almost even on points lost. The continual attrition from my missile units meant his really nasty units were slowly being whittled down. Eventually his foot men-at-arms broke and that left just the crossbows and his mounted men-at-arms. In a desperate charge, he tried to destroy some bidowers on a hill but they rolled to ‘shoot and scoot’, amazingly killing two knights (that’s a lot of 5’s and 6’s!). With this, Mal’s leader failed his courage test and fled, leaving only his crossbows. Mal conceded and the game was mine… 

Mad charge!

Mal had his revenge this week. We played with two identical War of the Roses armies (Leader with foot men-at-arms @ 6 points, 1 Expert foot serjeants @ 6 Points, 2 Expert archers @ 12 points) and he managed to rout all of my units with only a single loss to his own. Yes, that’s how it goes sometimes. Lion Rampant is a quick and fun game which we’ll certainly be playing much more often. 

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