Tuesday 27 January 2015

Tales of Sherwood - A Taxing Day

Rather sadly I was forced to cancel last weeks Monday game due to the freezing temperatures outside…even the shed can be chilly, so it was with great excitement I welcomed five players to christen the table with the new Lion Rampant rules.

Before I crack on with the write up I should start by stating that these rules were written as a two player game and not designed for six. A trawl of the forums found a wonderful review of the game by Dalauppror and on his site he talks about multi player games using card activation.
Link to his great site: http://www.dalauppror.blogspot.co.uk/
 I pressed into action a standard deck of cards and pulled out red diamonds 1-6 and black clubs 1-6. A diamond card was issued to each player randomly. This would be their designated number. The black cards would then be our turn deck cards. The only caveat being that a player who went last in the previous turn could not start first in the next round. Hope that makes sense.

Now if you were reading my blog two years ago you will recall that I started a project called the tales of Shedwood. I even wrote a set of rules but they just sucked with missile fire dominating the game. I was keen to see how these worked given the rave reviews.

It was interesting to note that of the six players in the shed five had actually bought the rules (or in Legatus’s case had won a set from the author).  All credit to Osprey and the author for bringing out such a book and testament to the fact that such a rule set was in demand.

So the Tales of Shedwood’s first action would see a scenario called ‘A Taxing day’, like all good economies the Shedwood denizens have to cough up. In this particular case we had three players clearly collecting money for their own aims (The Sheriff needs a new wardrobe, the Bishop of Lincoln wants a new roof on his palace, and Guy of Guisbourne wants a new subscription to Bastards Weekly) and three players trying to do what is right (Robin Hood, to share with the needy, Little John being needy of his share, and Ivanhoe back from the Crusades to raise money for the good King Richard) .
Nottingham before the excitement

Each force was given four units from the rulebook totalling either 15 or 16 points. This points ceiling and composition of forces was set by the number of figures at my disposal. In the end these 4 unit forces proved more than adequate for the number of players on the table.
Guy's Manor House

The scenario worked as follows. There are seven buildings across the table representing the dwellings of Locksley. Each building has a card ranging in value from 1-3points. These points roughly translate into gold. The combination of cards came to a sum of thirteen points of treasure. You can probably guess that the team with the highest number of points wins. Correct.

To spice this up further an additional two points could be earned for each leader killed.
The Sheriff inspects his troops

Finally the Lady Marian is on the table but is in a dreadful state as she has lost her hand maidens. If one side can reunite the good Lady and her two ladies a further three points can be earned. To make matters interesting the Ladies will move around the table each turn in a random direction (2-16inches – roll a d6 +d10 add together for distance – direction indicated by pointy bit on d10).

Before I start with the AAR a few other points which both helped to speed up the game but also the in house rules we adopted as the game unfolded.


·         Firstly each player had his own roster sheet. These were set up in word and I can now produce new versions for each game.

·         All the figures bar the cavalry were placed on movement trays. I appreciate they are unsightly but they do massively increase the speed of play.

·         By accident we dropped the extreme range on bows – not too sure if we will revert. A couple of the guys had already played Lion Rampant and exclaimed that the game is too missile dominated. In our case the terrain helped to block line of site and the continuous failings by Robin and Little John to get the shooting activations was a bone of contention.

·         This lack of activity by failing order dice instigated a big change in proceedings. We dropped the rule that if you fail your turn is over. This had a better impact on the game and certainly became more engaging for all involved.

·         Finally we introduced a rule that if the Leader becomes the last man standing in the unit he is unaffected by courage etc. After all its his choice, the players choice if they want to continue. This certainly makes sense if you were developing a campaign approach.
The Above picture shows the scene from the ramparts of Nottingham. In the far distance you can see Guy de Guisborne's manor, the chapel of her Fair Lady (currently occupied by the Crusaders). Sherwood Forest lies along the right hand edge of the table and the Lincoln Road can be reached over the bridge in the centre
View from Nottingham

So onto the action….
Think of this AAR as a bit like match of the day...only the highlights. There was so much going on so photos are rather scarce.
So our first engagement saw Ivanhoe launch a charge into the retinue of Guy de Guisborne, with a challenge issued both leaders missed and the fight to the death ensued.

Charging cavalry

Our first melee saw both units wiped out with only the leaders standing. Alas for Ivanhoe he was exposed to Guys heavily armoured mates. Ivanhoe sadly went down in a pool of blood and a pile of metal.

The demise of the Crusader


Meanwhilst the Bishop of Lincoln advanced into town and rather fortuitously captured both the ladies in waiting.

The Bishop of Lincolns armoured retinue march into Locksley and start turning the place upside down for hidden gold.

Bewildered serfs stand in amazement (and dread) as the Bishops men march into the hamlet.

Boldly charging in the front of his troops The Sheriff makes swift work of the peasants and serfs defending the village. With a harsh cackle he rides the corpses down again just to make sure.

Are there no warriors worthy of mighty skills...he cries (subsequently choosing to ignore the taunts from the Merry Men)

Finally Robins men entered the rather depleted village to slug it out with the Sheriff crossbowmen. A lack of orders meant they soon got chopped up by the quarrels of Nottingham.

With Ivanhoe dead Guy de Guisbourne rode his charger towards the Chapel of our Fair Lady for Spoils and loot...

The Bishop of Lincoln leads the charge against Little Johns archers and smashes through them like a juggernaut. Maid Marian falls into his sweaty palms

Turning his charge around The Bishop dashes for the Lincoln road, dragging the horse of the Lady. To his right Little Johns Merry men open fire decimating the cavalry unit. The Bishop all alone rides hard for the village.

He reaches the village only to fall to an unerring shot from Robin Hood. Eager to promote his vanity Robin dashes forward for a photo artist opportunity. Whilst not looking the Maid Marian is snatched and dragged across the bridge by the dead Bishops forces.

But all was lost...half the forces of good had fallen and all the treasure looted.

The final score 13 points to the Ruling Class and Six to the Merry men.

A great game - several turns last about 2.5 hours and a fantastic time had by all. We will definitely be rolling this one out again next week.

For a further read head over to the excellent blog run by Legatus Hedlius


Until next time...



  1. Great pictures. Really enjoyed this one!

  2. Looks like a great game.

    I played a multiplayer game of Lions Rampant last weekend and I must say that I really starts to like it.

  3. Fantastic pictures, really impressive!

  4. Massively impressive I am painting my retinue with similar aspirations in mind. Ps only just found your blog. You have encouraged me to keep on with mine which has only been running for 1 month.

  5. Sir Guy and his retinue love their new home in the Crusader/ Templar castle , sadly the bar was closed when we got there :-(

  6. Looks like it was a fun game. I'll be running an intro to Lion Rampant for my group next month. Your idea of smaller retinues has also been in the front of my mind as well.


  7. What a brilliant setup! The terrain and figures and fantastic!

  8. That table is just gorgeous. It sounds like a great game. I do enjoy these rules, other than the duel mechanic which is just a little bit too random for my tastes. I've been playing with my boys and the rules mods you came up with my be a nice touch for them.

  9. Totally awesome looking game!

  10. That's just excellent, Sir Shed! 'Bastards Weekly' an inspired title!

  11. Fantastic looking setup. I can understand the necessity of removing the fail order dice mechanic with such a large number of players (no one wants to stand around for 10-15mins just watching) but that for me is half the fun of the rules. You are forced to make priories with your troop selection. I'd recommend you try the rule with you're playing against once one player, makes for a very fun evening depending if you have lucky dice or not. Mind you it can be equally frustrating if you have unlucky dice but still fun in a social sense.