Sunday, July 23, 2006

War of the Roses Campaign: Finale

The two contenders for the throne face off in a climatic melee

The War of the Roses Campaign came to an end (finally!) today.

York and Lancaster clashed head-on near the village of Midden-on-Heap (famed for its peanuts). The initial deployment was the same as for previous games: the two contending Kings in the centre battles, while in the wings Percy faced Neville and Herbert faced Beaufort.

The battle began with Lancastrian forces advancing forward boldy to try and force a decision. On the wings, Warwick quickly moved into the built-up area of Midden-on-Heap, from which he was never dislodged for the remainder of the game. His presence there eventually bent the advancing Lancastrian line, as their flanks folded back to avoid the concentrated arrow fire from the village.

On the other flank, Somerset's forces swung round the woods to face Herbert. After some jostling for position, Somerset's troops, led by his household cavalry, smashed into Herbert's forces, already depleted from the last battle. The tide of battle seemed to be swinging the Lancastrian's way as the knights carried all before them.

Edward committed his mounted retinue to this flank to attack Somerset's forces: eventually, after some hard fighting, Herbert beat back Somerset's knights and defeated them, and advancing with Edward's knights, wiped out Somerset's forces to the last man, bringing the Lancastrians to within 1 unit of breaking.

Meanwhile, the Lancastrian attack in the centre had finally developed, their forming-up having been disrupted by archery and skirmishers. Two units of knights, the household retinues of Percy and Edward (the Lancastrian one: confusingly, this battle was between two King Edwards) formed an armoured fist ready to punch into the Yorkist centre.
The endgame overview
(click on the picture for a larger version)

At the last minute, concentrated bow fire from Warwick and Edward's archers drove Percy's knights back, so only one unit of knights charged home. Their initial success was met with a counterattack from the Yorkist foot, with Edward himself joining his retinue archers in a flank attack, while the (other) Edward threw himself into the melee with his knights.

In a fittingly spectacular end to the battle, and the campaign, both Kings faced each other in a single final melee that ended it all. The outcome of this single combat decided the game both by break-point, and by the death of the Lancastrian contender. Edward was dead: long live Edward!