Battle of Hastings, 1066 AD

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tonymcenery
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Battle of Hastings, 1066 AD

Post by tonymcenery » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:54 pm

Hi All,

went to visit the Hastings battlefield in the summer, so kind of felt inspired to have a go at doing the battle as a scenario! It also links to Dorostolon, as this is another battle where one side has no cavalry. Have tried balancing it out while maintaining historical accuracy. One way I have done this is to give Harold the benefit of the doubt - I have put four units of Fryd on the London road - though it seems uncertain that he did in fact receive reinforcements during the battle. Anyway, they should be able to join the English in time to help face the peak of the Norman attack, which helps.

Notes:

1.) Do not even bother playing the Normans against the AI. The AI will move the English off the ridge, just like it should not.
2.) The English shield wall is made up of good troops, but, as you should notice, the Housecarls are spread thin. Be careful. If you need to fill in the shield wall with Fryd too early you are well on the way to losing.
3.) The Norman archers are kind of helpful - but if you are going to have a go at wearing down the English with arrows do not bombard them for too long - you have 20 goes to beat them. A draw for the English is fine - they have reinforcements off map which could join them, the Normans most certainly do not.
4.) Fact of the day - the first battle on English soil where crossbows were used!

Anyway, enjoy.

Tony

REVISED - LINK TO LATEST VERSION BELOW. CHECK LATER MESSAGES FOR REVISIONS

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/17052915/Hastings.zip
Last edited by tonymcenery on Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by stockwellpete » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:04 pm

Ah, Hastings!! The "battle of all battles"! Excellent. I am playing it already with someone, Tony. I have been down to the re-enactment a few times but you have left off the burger bar at the top of the hill! :lol: :lol:

The question of reinforcements is interesting in relation to the "Malfosse" incident that occurred late in the day after Harold had been killed. Apparently the Norman horse were chasing the Saxons up Battle High Street but they were then ambushed and badly mauled somewhere past the Kings Head! It has been suggested that these were fresh Saxon troops from the north who were unable to reach Harold in time for the main battle.

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Post by tonymcenery » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:41 pm

Hi Pete, yes, I left the Malfosse - Eustace of Boulogne got his cumuppance there I think. Hope you enjoy the scenario - and as soon as the system has buildings in it the burger bar will get put in, I promise!

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:17 pm

Tony, I have played one game with Dazzam and it ended as a draw both of us on 22/39. I played as Harold's army and for the first nine turns I did absolutely nothing at all as I was shot at by his skirmishers. Then he attacked and the second half of the battle was a lot more exciting.

We have some comments though on which we both agree . . .

i) the hill has too many levels, probably two would be enough, maybe three, with at least hex space in-between each incline.
ii) the Saxons had far too many leaders - anarchy charging should be a feature of the battle but this happens less when everything is within command radius all the time. Harold should be a leader obviously (5 hexes), perhaps his brothers also (3 hexes).
iii) the balance of the Saxon army seemed to be a bit out, too many huscarls not enough fyrdmen.
iv) only William and Harold should be rated as "elite".
v) Huscarls and Norman cavalry should be "superior", everything else "average". Norman cavalry should be "drilled".
vi) Game turns should be increase to 24.

We both think that this could be a really excellent scenario.

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Post by tonymcenery » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:22 pm

Hi Pete,

many thanks - brilliant feedback. Will work away. Will think about the Housecarls, but the numbers there do tally with the historical record (just about. I might shave a few off each unit or something like that, i.e. thin the shieldwall a little. I think your comment about the anarchy is a good one. If the Saxons had behaved themselves I think the battle would have been like your game - a bloody draw. So I will work to get the anarchy back in there! Best,

Tony

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Post by tonymcenery » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:11 pm

Hi Pete,

changes in:

i) the hill - reduced to three levels
ii) the Saxons had far too many leaders - down to three, though this moves the brothers further from harold than they were - but they are the leaders to put on the map, obviously.
iii) the balance of the Saxon army seemed to be a bit out, too many huscarls not enough fyrdmen - I have thinned the Housecarls to 140 per unit. This thins out the shield wall and puts the numbers of Housecarls at the lower end of the estimates for their numbers in the battle. For the Fryd, I have left these at 300 per unit.
iv) only William and Harold should be rated as "elite" - done.
v) Huscarls and Norman cavalry should be "superior", everything else "average". Norman cavalry should be "drilled" - done. I had originally had the Norman infantry as all aveage, but they had a nasty habit of bouncing off the shield wall in testing! See how you go with them - the thinned shield wall might fix this.
vi) Game turns should be increase to 24 - done. This revises my advice to a Norman player - you can have 10 solid turns of archery!

Revised link given in first message. Best,

Tony

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:07 pm

tonymcenery wrote: iii) the balance of the Saxon army seemed to be a bit out, too many huscarls not enough fyrdmen - I have thinned the Housecarls to 140 per unit. This thins out the shield wall and puts the numbers of Housecarls at the lower end of the estimates for their numbers in the battle. For the Fryd, I have left these at 300 per unit.

v) I had originally had the Norman infantry as all aveage, but they had a nasty habit of bouncing off the shield wall in testing! See how you go with them - the thinned shield wall might fix this.
Tony, the changes that you have made will definitely improve the scenario. However, the change in point iii) will not alter anything at all because casualties are calculated on a percentage basis in FOG. You could put huscarls at "1000" or "100" and it wouldn't make any difference at all. If you are satisfied that you have the balance right (and I haven't done any research) then you should stick to your guns unless the gameplay is obviously unbalanced. One possible way of tipping thins to the Normans a bit would be to make either the archers or the crossbows medium foot instead of light foot (I think that is what they are at the moment) - although you do need to have some skirmishers for the Normans so as to to try and create "anarchy". It follows from all this that point v) might then need further consideration.

However, with just three Saxon leaders there are going to be some Saxon units out of command radius all the time and these will make good targets for the Normans. I will try the new version tomorrow. Cheers mate!

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Post by tonymcenery » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:58 pm

Hi Pete, see how it plays - it should be fine. I like this scenario. Have had some good fun with it. Playing the English requires nerve! Have semi-thought of having a go at Tours/Poitiers next. butmight wait for a later version which gives more options for early Islamic forces. Anyway, if I do that will be my last battle where one side has no cavalry for some time! Tony

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Post by dazzam » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:22 am

Tony thanks for making those changes...looks a bit more competitive now. The extra turns will def help.as will the lower hill and the lesser generals. Last time it was just getting interesting when it finished. I think Pete makes a good point that the number of men in a unit doesn't really impact on its strength. I reckon it maybe better to make the Housecarls even bigger..say 500..and have less units..that would limit them. I found last time I could not really get to the Fyrd as the Housecarls took up almost the entire frontage. Anyway will challenge Pete again on this and get back to you. Thanks again for setting this up.

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Post by tonymcenery » Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:04 am

Lengthening the game is a very reasonable thing to do - this battle went from dawn til dusk! Will be interested to hear the next battle report. One quick question - is the range of the Saxon javelins sufficient? With a range of two it is fairly easy to get at the Saxons without them being able to use their projectile weapons. The accounts of the battle are clear that this never happened -the Normans suffered badly as they approached the Saxon line from the javelins etc. thrown at them. See what you think when you play the scenario next - I have been tempted to increase the range to 3. Best, Tony

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Post by pantherboy » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:25 am

I just took a look at the scenario and the English will never anarchy. To anarchy you must be shock troops which none of the English are. The defensive spears of the normans are useless versus heavy weapon as they count nothing if charging during impact and do not negate heavy weapon in melee (they negate sworsmen if in good order).

Cheers,

Steve

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Post by tonymcenery » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:35 am

Hi Steve, yes, thereby hangs the rub. The Fryd who broke and ran down the slope at the battle (on a couple of occassions) were certainly not shock troops. Quite the reverse. Also, the Norman infantry did indeed find their weapons of limited use against the Saxons with heavy weapons. Remember that the infantry on the Norman side had such a miserable time of it that one wing broke (the Bretons) and the Franco-Flemish almost broke at the end of the day. This all poses a conundrum for the player and the designer! Best, Tony

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Post by cothyso » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:52 am

What pantherboy is trying to say is that as the fryds from this scenario are non-shock troops, they'll never anarchy. Changing some in shock would be nonhistorical, but will present a chance to anarchy.

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Post by stockwellpete » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:40 am

tonymcenery wrote:Hi Steve, yes, thereby hangs the rub. The Fryd who broke and ran down the slope at the battle (on a couple of occassions) were certainly not shock troops. Quite the reverse. Also, the Norman infantry did indeed find their weapons of limited use against the Saxons with heavy weapons. Remember that the infantry on the Norman side had such a miserable time of it that one wing broke (the Bretons) and the Franco-Flemish almost broke at the end of the day. This all poses a conundrum for the player and the designer! Best, Tony
I didn't realise that only "shock" troops will anarchy, Tony. What myself and Dazzam found in the first battle was that the Saxons were drawn off the top of the hill on three or four occasions when they were "following-up" as a result of routing Norman units in melee. And once a unit came down the hill a bit it was not easy for it to go back up without leaving itself open to a rear attack. So a skilled Norman player may be able to find tactics to draw the Saxons down, maybe by sacrificing one or two infantry units.

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Post by tonymcenery » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:43 am

Yes, I can see that - I am just not too sure that the Saxons going into anarchy is that important. The Saxon right was certainly thinned by the charge of the Fryd down the slope. But the Saxons for most of the day were well disciplined and the battle turned into a hack fest with high casualties on both sides as a result - remember the Normans had 25%+ casualties and had to proceed with caution after the battle. With that said, if folk want to edit the scenario to get the Saxons charging down the slope they could give it a go - but I think that overall the Normans can win anyway without getting the Fryd to charge.

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Post by tonymcenery » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:46 am

Hi Pete - yes - that is how I have got the Saxons off the hill when I played the scenario. It is also, more or less, what happened. The Bretons attacked, bounced off the shield wall and the Saxons followed them down the slope. The Saxons did not get bored at the top of the slope and just decide to charge down. It was a follow up to combat that got the Fryd off the ridge when they did budge. Tony

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Post by pantherboy » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:16 am

My post was concerning other peoples comments regarding anarchy so I wanted people to be aware that you can't expect the english to anarchy. My initial look at the scenario gave me the impression that it is a classic stalemate scenario. I just played as the english and found it too easy to mop up the Normans. My first move is to advance one ridge line down and wait for the norman anarchy. Charging uphill the norman knights are even with the heavy weapons on impact and then down 1 in the following melee. The knights have no chance unless the english come off the hill. As for the defensive spears they are next to useless in this battle. The English MF are deadly on the flanks especially where the terrain is set. Ultimately the normans need to wait for the english to come off and the english for the normans to come up. Thus stalemate.

Possible changes:

1. Turn the defensive spear normans into offensive spear.
2. Tun the LF into MF as their archery is too weak to make a difference.

Edits:

1. Replace the 5 figure MF with 3 figure MF.
2. Two of the MF arriving as reinforcements move like HF so maybe they've been incorrectly classified.

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Post by stockwellpete » Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:08 pm

pantherboy wrote:My post was concerning other peoples comments regarding anarchy so I wanted people to be aware that you can't expect the english to anarchy. My initial look at the scenario gave me the impression that it is a classic stalemate scenario. I just played as the english and found it too easy to mop up the Normans. My first move is to advance one ridge line down and wait for the norman anarchy. Charging uphill the norman knights are even with the heavy weapons on impact and then down 1 in the following melee. The knights have no chance unless the english come off the hill. As for the defensive spears they are next to useless in this battle. The English MF are deadly on the flanks especially where the terrain is set. Ultimately the normans need to wait for the english to come off and the english for the normans to come up. Thus stalemate.

Possible changes:

1. Turn the defensive spear normans into offensive spear.
2. Tun the LF into MF as their archery is too weak to make a difference.

Edits:

1. Replace the 5 figure MF with 3 figure MF.
2. Two of the MF arriving as reinforcements move like HF so maybe they've been incorrectly classified.
Do you play many of these new scenarios, Steve? You obviously know the game inside-out and I am sure I am missing some "tricks" when I write my scenarios. If you ever notice anything I would appreciate your input - I am working on 100YW at the moment. Tony has done Byzantine and Crusader battles. Max is near completion of an epic Spartacus series and both Enzo and Frank are doing very interesting medieval stuff.

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Post by pantherboy » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:39 pm

stockwellpete wrote:
pantherboy wrote:My post was concerning other peoples comments regarding anarchy so I wanted people to be aware that you can't expect the english to anarchy. My initial look at the scenario gave me the impression that it is a classic stalemate scenario. I just played as the english and found it too easy to mop up the Normans. My first move is to advance one ridge line down and wait for the norman anarchy. Charging uphill the norman knights are even with the heavy weapons on impact and then down 1 in the following melee. The knights have no chance unless the english come off the hill. As for the defensive spears they are next to useless in this battle. The English MF are deadly on the flanks especially where the terrain is set. Ultimately the normans need to wait for the english to come off and the english for the normans to come up. Thus stalemate.

Possible changes:

1. Turn the defensive spear normans into offensive spear.
2. Tun the LF into MF as their archery is too weak to make a difference.

Edits:

1. Replace the 5 figure MF with 3 figure MF.
2. Two of the MF arriving as reinforcements move like HF so maybe they've been incorrectly classified.
Do you play many of these new scenarios, Steve? You obviously know the game inside-out and I am sure I am missing some "tricks" when I write my scenarios. If you ever notice anything I would appreciate your input - I am working on 100YW at the moment. Tony has done Byzantine and Crusader battles. Max is near completion of an epic Spartacus series and both Enzo and Frank are doing very interesting medieval stuff.
This was my first time to download a custom scenario and play it. Currently I have influenza so have an enforced stay at home and nothing to do :( . If you send me a mail with the scenarios you want me to look at then I'll give them a go.

Cheers,

Steve

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Post by tonymcenery » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:12 pm

Hi Steve, thanks for the suggestions. I will have a go at the offensive spear suggestion. I will probably leave the archers as LF as I wanted them to be somewhat ineffective (as they were on the day until quite late in the battle). The HF in the woods was a clumsy attempt to slow down the appearance of some of the reinforcements. I will try to think of a more elegant way of doing this. I feel kind of honoured if you broke your duck on playing downloaded scenarios with this one! Anyway, thanks again - and get better! Tony

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