Yesterday saw the Grand Opening of the new and very shiny Monty HQ.


After working in a cupboard in the roof for what seems like eternity, over the summer good friend, wargaming buddy and Mr Fixit in the grandest sense, Jimmy, has been hard at work converting our old garage into the new Monty HQ. He has, in short, done a superb job, turning a shell with an uneven and collapsing floor into a fully insulated and lined, light, airy space with room for a painting station, an office area and, most importantly (of course) a permanent table! At the moment, I have a 6′ x 4½’ table set up but I can go as large as a 12′ x 5′ should I so wish. Happy Days!


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After (but with the table still needing clearing off!!) The cage is to keep the dog away from the nasties such as glue!!:

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To mark the occasion, I invited the guys round for a game. Some had family/holiday commitments and pleaded leave to be excused on the grounds that domestic harmony was actually quite important to them …..bizarre!!

So, the stage was set for 4 of us to meet – Steve R (who kindly provided the buildings and beautiful figures – many thanks, Steve), Steve S, Jimmy (yes, the man behind the work) and myself. We have been playing a lot of Lion Rampant recently and having lots of fun. It is quick to grasp, plays quickly and gives a fun and enjoyable game – perfect. We had a 30 point Retinue each and 2 players a side. As we tend to play War of the Roses, Steve R and Jimmy were Lancastrian whilst Steve S and myself were Yorkist. We were essentially defending – I was the local (appropriate!) and deployed on table whilst Steve S was rushing to assist me, arriving on my right. The Lancastrians deployed with Steve R opposite me and Jimmy opposite Steve S. We all had secret, individual tasks to achieve – I had to secure the furthest building from me as it was the local food store, Steve R was also after a building, the one furthest from him (and closest to me) as he had hidden some money in the garden last time he passed through and was keen to recover it. Steve S simply had to break as many units as he could whilst Jimmy had a personal feud with me and needed to see me dead!!

Here’s the table. Looking at the first picture, the Yorkists are on the right with me nearest the camera and Steve S at the top:

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The woods on both flanks actually proved key. On my side of the table, Steve R pushed some Yeomen and his mounted Men at Arms through the wood. I really didn’t want the latter coming out behind my flank and also saw an opportunity to deal with them in the broken ground, which would put them at a disadvantage. I therefore pushed my Foot Sergeants and a unit of Yeomen into the wood to at least contain and, hopefully, destroy them. As it was, this flank played out inconclusively. The mounted Men at Arms wisely withdrew but never really came into the game so, in that sense, I succeeded. However, 2 of my units were drawn in and lost to the rest of the game, engaged rather in a inconclusive struggle in the trees with 2 units of Yeomen, although I did eventually, with the help of my archers, break one unit.

On the other flank, Steve S choose to move through the woods to deploy and it took forever! This left me somewhat thinly stretched and Jimmy wisely moved his men up on to the hill and the lower ground to his right, successively pushing forward a unit of Yeomen down the right hand end of the hill. Meanwhile, his mounted Sergeants pushed into the woods to try and turn Steve S’s right flank.

My archers were split both sides of the village, which was occupied by 3 units of Serfs, one in each building. My expert archers on the left side got themselves into a duel with Steve R’s expert archers and came off worse, freeing Steve R’s expert archers to engage other targets. To the right of the village, I had some archers and some crossbowmen backed by a unit of yeomen. The missile troops did well, targeting Jimmy’s yeomen coming down the hill and breaking the 2 units in succession. However, they were subject to the attentions of Steve R’s other archer unit, a unit of Jimmy’s archers in some rough ground and, for quite a bit of the time, Jimmy’s expert archers on the hill. Slowly my missile men died, retreated and broke. Steve R’s expert archers had shifted fire to a Yeomen unit blocking the road in the village and, whilst not breaking them, he reduced them to half strength and forced them back and out of the game.

Steve S was slowly coming into the fight but the activation dice meant he did so piecemeal and Jimmy’s archers were able to focus on units as they appeared and devastate them.

With the Lancastrians formed up with their archers dominating the ground and our missile troops gone or going, we had but one choice – close and close quickly. I led my yeomen from the centre forward in a desperate bid to get to grips as Steve S’s mounted sergeant’s did the same. The end result was our men looking like a whole bunch of pin cushions!!

And, at this point, we conceded. I had dropped to below half of my retinue’s points and one of the units of serfs had legged it as a result. This left me with my foot sergeants and a unit of yeomen in the wood waaaay over on my right, 2 units of serfs in the village just waiting to be shot to pieces and then bundled out, half a unit of yeomen in full withdrawal mode and me! Steve S was in better shape, but just wasn’t able to make headway against the mass of Lancastrians.

As for our objectives – the routing serfs ran from the food store itself and there was no way I was going to hold, so I failed. Steve R would take the village and so would recover his money. Jimmy had done his very best to kill me, but I survived, so a fail for him. And how many points worth of units had Steve S broken………………..0! So we reckon that counted as a fail as well! (Although, to be fair, he had done quite some damage, it had just been my men that had caused the breaks.)

And the photos:

The early moves:


Here you can see my troops heading off into the woods, Steve S coming on and Jimmy and Steve R establishing their lines:


A close up of Steve R’s troops with the mounted Men at Arms coming back out of the wood:


Steve S struggles with the woods, the stream and a turnip field!


The Yorkist centre! The troops top left in the wood are mine, there I am all on my own to the right of the village, the troops at the back are all dead/routed and it’s not looking too good!


And the final view from the Yorkist right flank (where we had some troops left!)


But the overall aim was achieved – a fun game with friends to mark the completion of Monty HQ and to set the scene for many more games to come!!


Monty the Desert Rat.

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