Bloody Pirates! A Two-Player Campaign

The year is 1338. French and Castillian ships swarm up and down the south coast, burning and pillaging undefended settlements. Dive straight into this desperate battle with a new two-player campaign!

Banner3

Baudelio’s galley knifed up the estuary, propelled by a fair summer breeze and the swishing oars protruding from its waist. Brightly painted pavises hung from the gunwhales, and a colourful banner streamed from the masthead.

The land rose sharply on either side of them, rolling dunes giving way to thickly forested country. At the galley’s prow, Baudelio adjusted his shirt of thick leather scales, fussing with the falchion knocking against his thigh.

Up ahead, a plume of smoke gusted out of the trees. A rickety hut and ramshackle landing stage sat beside a sandy dip in the bank, a leaky barge tied up alongside.

A crooked figure, face and clothing blackened by charcoal emerged from one of the huts, eyes widening as he caught sight of the war galley. Baudelio heard the whip-crack of a crossbow string and the man was hurled backwards, a leather-fletched bolt sprouting from his chest.

“Weigh anchor!” Baudelio bellowed, snatching up his shield. “We’ll put ashore here…”

The wealth of medieval England was in its wool export. Taxing this valuable commodity allowed the monarch to finance his campaigns, and enriched the merchants that ferried it across the channel to Flanders.

Central to this trade were the Cinque Ports on the south coast. These five towns were bustling harbours, thronged with ships and merchants. A few castles dotted the sandy coastline, but these imposing fortresses were insufficient to defend the whole coastline from marauding pirates…

Cinque Ports Map
The Cinque Ports, circa 1338. The route of Baudelio’s raid is marked in red.

 

Bloody Pirates!

This is a two-player campaign, using the rules presented on page 40 of the Chevauchee core rulebook. It takes place over five battles, using 300pt warbands.

Baudelio the Castillian and his galley-full of mercenaries square off against Roger de Ypres and an ad-hoc force cobbled together from the local villages and the garrison of a nearby castle.

Both roster sheets are availabe to download here: Crew of the Dona Blanca, and The Rye Garrison

The campaign uses the following scenarios, played in the order presented below.

  1. Hostile Reconnaissance with the Pirates as the attackers.
  2. Ambush with the Pirates as the attackers.
  3. Slash and Burn with the Pirates as the attackers.
  4. Encirclement with the English as the attackers.
  5. Rearguard with the English as the attackers.

Additional Rules

The final battle of the campaign takes place on a Kentish beach. Baudelio’s back is firmly up against a wall, his only hope of escape resting on fair winds and good tides.

The Pirate galley has been tracking the movements of the shore party up the coast but is not in a position to effect an evacuation. Until it arrives, the pirates are trapped.

The Longboats

At the start of each turn, the Castillian player rolls 1d6, adding +1 for each turn that has elapsed. On a 5+, the longboats are close enough to evacuate the stranded pirates.

  • Until the boats arrive, the Castillian player receives no Victory Points for any Fighter that leaves the battlefield.
  • On every subsequent turn, make a Shock Test against a Leadership of 8, representing the crumbling Morale of the two coxswains. If they fail the test, the boats cast off and no more Victory Points can be earned for Fighters leaving the battlefield.

Baudelio ducked behind a low wall as a white-fletched arrow hissed over his head. His men were strung out in a ragged line across a wide cart track, cowering behind arrow-studded pavises, their deadly crossbows forgotten as the arrows slashed from the high ground overlooking the hamlet.

Throwing caution to the wind, Baudelio thundered out from behind the wall. A pair of sleek longboats were grounded on the shingle, oars a-tangle as more arrows fell amidst the rowers.

Reaching the bow of the closest boat, Baudelio thrust a pavise-carrying sergeant between him and the rain of arrows, grabbing the coxwain by his beringed ear.

“Get your men ready to cast off!” He roared, drowned out by the screams of dying men and crashing waves…

Winning the Campaign

After all 5 battles have been played, whoever has accrued the most Victory Points is declared the winner! Did the Castillians make off with the Cinque Port’s bounty, or was de Ypres’ ramshackle force sufficient to protect English soil?

Next Week…

Tom and XXXXXXXX have decided to take this campaign out for a spin. Tune in to see how they fare!

 

 

 

Background: The Hundred Years War Begins!

This week, we’re diving into the political maelstrom that sparked a hundred years of bloody war and tipped the balance of power in Western Europe forever!

Banner1

In 1328, Edward III of England was the nearest living relative of the recently-deceased Charles IV of France. This claim passed to him through his mother, Isabella, who a council of French nobles declared could not pass on the divine right of kings because of her sex.

As Duke of Aquitaine, Edward III was forced to do homage to the new French King, and obliged by feudal custom to obey his liege lord in all things.

The French King, Philip VI, took issue with English ownership of the duchy, particularly the lucrative vineyards of Gascony. He began to meddle in Gascon affairs, fomenting unrest against his vassal.

Chev Example GuyThe army lists and narrative tools included with the Chevauchee core rules cover the opening stages of the Hundred Years War. Future expansions will explore the second (including John of Gaunt’s ill-fated Iberian expedition) and third phases of the war. 

While the game is set in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, players are encouraged to use the flexible system presented to recreate conflicts from any time period they wish!

Enter Count Robert III of Artois. Former close advisor to Philip, now branded exile following a botched attempt to recover Artois from his aunt by deception. Several times, he sought shelter with a relative, only to have them turf him out when Philip threatened them with invasion.

Robert arrived at the court of Edward III in 1332, where he immediately spilled all his secrets on the inner workings of the French court. Philip demanded that Robert be returned to France.

Reluctant to give up  Robert – now a member of his royal council, Edward refused. In response, Philip confiscated the duchy of Aquitaine.

Urged by Robert to press his claim to the French throne, Edward declared open war, and the Hundred Years War began!

TomThumbOut of my own selfishness, I have themed the game around the Hundred Years War between the intertwined Kingdoms of France and England – since watching Laurence Olivier in Henry V as a child, I have been obsessed with this conflict, and regard it as the absolute epitome of medieval-ness.

Despite this, I encourage you to use these rules to fight battles from any point in the medieval period – whether that’s Viking raiders pillaging Lindisfarne, or Venetian bravos duelling in the streets. The only limit is your imagination and the size of your figure collection.

Next Week…

We’re diving into the activation and morale system that underpin Chevauchee’s core mechanics!

The Turn Sequence

We’re diving into Chevauchee’s core rules with a quick look at the turn sequence and how models activate!

Banner2

Chevauchee uses an alternating activation system, designed to make play reactive without bogging the action down with unnecessary dice rolls.

At the start of every turn, each player rolls 1d6 and adds the highest initiative value from their assembled warband. The player with the highest score chooses which fighter to activate first!

Chev Example GuyActivated Fighters get the choice of six different actions, allowing them to engage the enemy in a wide variety of different ways. Shocked Fighters must pass an order test to act – if they fail, they’re paralysed by fear and dive for cover!

We’ll have more on activating Fighters in a future article!

Once the first Fighter has activated, play passes to the next player who chooses one of their Fighters.

If a player’s total number of Fighters ever exceeds their opponent by 2:1 or more, they must activate 2 (or more) Fighters before their opponent activates.

Once all Fighters have been activated, the turn ends and all players roll initiative again.

TomThumbChevauchee has been designed to be frenetic and fast-paced, with battles that are constantly evolving as the combatants swirl around each other in the melee.

I’ve taken inspiration from games like Beyond the Gates of Antares and the latest edition of Necromunda, which incoporate similar systems – something that I think that has contributed to their success as fantastic quick-play games!

One problem with strict alternate activation systems is that if there is a numerical imbalance between the two forces – either because of choices made when building the force or through casualties – one player is left twiddling their thumbs while the other player moves the remainder of their models.

To try and mitigate this, if the imbalance ever exceeds 2:1, the advantaged player must make multiple activations rather than saving them all up till the end.

Next Week…

We’re taking a look at the history of the Hundred Years War!

Featured

Cry Havoc! Chevauchee 2e

Tom’s been burning the candle at both ends to put the finishing touches to Chevauchee 2e – a brand new skirmish wargame from Wanderer Productions and Nordic Weasel Games!

Banner1

Based on the best-selling FiveCore system, Chevauchée brings a new dimension to skirmish wargaming in the medieval period.

Chev Example Guy“Greetings, my liege. I am Sir Edward Cobbham of Beeston in the fine county of Nottinghamshire. I have been summoned to guide you through  this new edition of Chevauchee. In the manuscript, I have illustrated the rules with examples, acted out by two of my retainers – Bardolph and Pistol. “

The second edition revises and expands upon the original system, creating a truly unique gaming experience that combines fast-paced skirmish action with dynamic campaigns.

Set during the turmoil of the Hundred Years War, the book contains all the rules you need to start gaming this remarkable period of medieval history.

We’re currently in the process of putting the game through its paces,  ensuring you get an incredible gaming experience from the very start!

Chevauchee 2e will be available as a PDF download from WargameVault this summer!

Keep checking back for an introduction to the game’s core mechanics and background!