Sunday 28 June 2020

Kingmaker Campaign - Battle of Shrewsbury

I must apologise in advance for a rather brief AAR and the quality of photos. This game was played with an opponent - my son Jack. We did not have time for pauses to take notes or ensure lighting was about right for photos. 

For this game I had a Yorkist force against Jack's Lancastrians. As he was the defender he selected which side of the table he would deploy.

Table Size - 4'6" x 3'
Figures - 6mm Baccus
Rules - Ancient & Medieval Wargaming by Neil Thomas (Medieval Module)


Continued -

Terrain consisted of a wide open valley with a fordable river winding its way between hills. Jack elected the position on the left in the photo defending a long ridge line and a hill bordered by the river.

My initial deployment

Jack's initial deployment

Closer view of my troops looking across towards Jack.
Closeup of Jack's centre.

My centre consisting of the CinC. Neville's command.

My initial advance saw Neville moving out ahead of the more sluggish Clifford and Howard. Jack advanced off his defensive position, no doubt in the hope of catching my central command isolated from its flanks.

Clifford on the right made a rather laboured progress across the valley floor much to the annoyance of Neville.

Roos moved off the hill to defend the river line as Howard repeatedly stalled in his advance. Out of camera shot to the left, Scrope's small force, having been ordered to make a flanking march, remained frustratingly static.

After a couple of volleys of arrows, Jack moved forward his billmen and men-at-arms ready to attack my centre.

Howard still made frustratingly slow progress although Scrope had now woken up and began his outflanking manoeuvre (just beyond the trees far right). 

A closer view of Jack's advance in the centre. 

The Lancastrian (Jack's) left flank.

My centre failed a command test preventing me from moving forward my own men-at-arms and billmen to counter Jack. I had to rely on my archers filling the sky with arrows to bring this threat to a halt, and although casualties were inflicted it was clear they would not be stopped.

On the right of the photo, my Welsh spearmen lined the woods edge and despite the cover, were taking casualties from Jack's archers.



My centre and right flank are now embroiled in bloody melees. Let the slaughter begin! In these early exchange of blows neither side gains the obvious upper hand.

Jack's patience runs out and Roos crosses the river to engage the sclerotic Howard. My Shire levy archers on the left fair badly in the early melees and for a while it looks as though Howard will be outflanked.

The rest of Howard's command blunts the initial charge of Roos' men. 

A breakthrough for me on the right flank as Clifford succeeds in outflanking Holland. A unit of mounted men-at-arms has wheeled onto Holland's left flank destroying one of his units. 

Another gap opens in Jack's line (middle of photo) which Howard exploits pushing his men through.

At the bottom right of the photo, Scrope adjusts his movement through the woods to threaten Roos' right flank.

The situation deteriorates for Jack on his left flank as my mounted men-at-arms systematically roll up his flank.

In the middle right of the photo, I have launched my mounted bodyguard into a unit of Jack's billment destroying them. 

Holland's morale collapses and his surviving troops flee the field.  

Stafford hopes for divine intervention as his rapidly depleting forces desperately try to hang on. He is sandwiched on the right by Howard's archers and billmen, and Neville's forces on the left. 

Scrope has now engaged Roos' right flank (bottom left) with the latter facing defeat. The red dice denote casualties for my troops and the blue Jack's which gives you a clearer idea of the relative positions of our forces. 

The end arrives with the collapse in morale of Stafford's command. Although Roos was still fighting he was also close to breaking point so we called it a day at this point. A resounding Yorkist victory!

As I celebrate with my troops, news arrives. Clifford was killed in action (a Kingmaker card drawn!). A serious loss I could have done without in the campaign.

In the subsequent wash-up with Jack we both agreed he would have been better off waiting on the higher ground for me to attack. It would have allowed him to bring his artillery into action and more opportunity to pepper my forces with arrows. Even so he was unlucky suffering from adverse command tests at critical times.

In hindsight I should have reduced the width of the board by 9" (one of my terrain boards) as we were faced with several turns before our opposing forces got anywhere near enough for the archers.

This is my second outing with these rules and the jury is still out. When battle proper was joined it became something of a slogging match. What may improve the situation is to introduce push back and retreat rules - something I will tinker with prior to our next outing. To be fair to the rules, they are designed for around a dozen units each whereas this battle was far bigger. 

We will return to the Kingmaker board game to plot our moves in the next blog update.


  1. Well despite your misgivings about the lack of notes, poor lighting etc, that's still a lovely looking game and one I would be very happy to have put on. As noted in my games with NT's rules, the close combat does become a slogging match. I agree that some push back here and there would probably benefit the game, just to add some movement to the combat. Your game does seem large for the rules, but with a couple of other players playing at the same time, I imagine it would have seemed OK.

    Love the idea of using the Kingmaker game for off board action as it were, which is a neat idea.

    1. Many thanks Steve. I think for a game of this size adding that movement to combat should hopefully get around this problem.

  2. As Mr Carlsberg said "probably the most colourful battle ever reported".

    Once again an excellent AAR, thanks Jon.



  3. Absolute joy - thank you.

  4. Beautiful troops and table, Jon!
    As it turns out, I have been playing a LOT of Wars of the Roses games via Zoom with Tim Cooper and David Knight in Scotland, play testing rules and scenarios for their planned WotR adaptation of Field of Battle 3rd edition.

    1. Many thanks Peter. I am not familiar with the Field of Battle rules but will keep an eye out for their WotR adaption.

    2. There's an extended play through of Napoleonic FoB3 on my blog currently.

    3. Thanks Peter. Will check it out.

  5. Very nice table and minis - yet another fine example of the mass effect obtained in 6mm. Your pictures are just fine too. Although it’s been ages since I last played it Kingmaker must rank with the all time greats - integrating it with tabletop gaming is the ultimate!

    1. Many thanks Mike. Have used Kingmaker on and off over the years as a source for generating tabletop games. Beginning with the old 25mm!

  6. Hi Jon
    I revisited this report because the colour of your armies really hit home initially and has stuck in my few grey cells all this time. I guess these are painted as pick the colour but paint them 1 shade brighter.

    Wonderful work and always an inspiration.

    Regards Peter

    1. Many thanks Peter. Generally speaking yes, one shade brighter. Because I prime black, it will mean some colours required 2 coats such as reds and yellows.
      Kind regards

  7. Some lovely photos - really inspirational stuff ! Its been a long (long) time since I played Kingmaker so would be interested in how you create the battle forces from the map counters (in particular the proportions of the various troop types) ? I don't have a copy of the rules you are using and wondered if they provide guidelines or if you get this from elsewhere. However you do it, please carry on ! Great to see these figures on the table.

    1. Many thanks for your kind comments. The points values on each card are translated into War and Conquest rules points. I use 1 Kingmaker point = 50 W&C points. You could make it whatever you like and with your rules of choice. Army lists are pre-prepared before the campaign starts with each force roughly corresponding with what is likely to be found in whatever army that card represents. I have also used army lists from various rules to gauge roughly appropriate ratios of troop types.

      My regret so far is to probably create a little too many mounted troops for WOTR. I have not found any guidelines for transferring Kingmaker to the tabletop but it does lend itself quite well for wargaming actions.

  8. Thank you for the quick reply and the helpful explanation. A great idea to use a board game like Kingmaker to provide a campaign structure. There are probably a few similar games that could be used as well (for other periods). I was interested to read your comments about the mounted troops as I was wondering about this (particularly the units of mounted knights). They certainly look excellent and I'm sure act as a nice change from painting the massed infantry. The lack of cavalry is probably the only drawback to WOTR games. Thanks again - I'm very much looking forward to reading further blog entries.