Plans for Historicon 2016

Clarence Harrison - As mentioned a few weeks ago, Barry and I are going to attend Historicon 2016 and put on a small Beneath the Lily Banners game, probably at least once a day during the event. The game will be based on the battle around Penny Burn Mill outside the wall of Derry, April 21st, 1689.

This sketch is just to get started. The board will be 4x8' and I am going to attempt to build it in two 4x4' sections to minimize the number of joins between sections and give myself a lot of room for sculpting the terrain. I will be forgoing the wooden base because they will be far too heavy otherwise. It won't be quite as sturdy, but beyond the actual trip to Historicon, I don't anticipate carting it around very often! This will also be a departure for me because I am not worrying about making this modular. I can see other applications for this layout - I have some Viking Longships from Adrian's Walls that would great coming ashore on the beach!

The ridges will be more subtle, with a gradual slope towards the streams. The field will be rather flat, but I want to add as much height as I can without making the slopes dangerous footing for the models. There are minor walls and scattered trees I didn't bother to draw. There will be more detail on these boards than my normal method of constructing terrain. The intersection of the streams contains a boggy area that will be difficult going to infantry and impassable for horse. The streams are narrow and merely count as linear obstacles for movement purposes.

The armies will be relatively small for a League of Augsburg game. Without going into detail yet, the Jacobite defenders have three battalions of foot, five squadrons of horse, four detachments of commanded shot, and one light gun. The attackers from Derry have one battalion of foot, six squadrons of horse, and four detachments of commanded shot, as well as a surprise I'm saving for later. Not all of these units begin on the board. None of this is set in stone and I may increase these numbers after I get the chance to playtest the scenario. Accounts of the battle don't agree on the exact numbers involved so we have some leeway on the number of troops. While I'd like to cram as many units on the table as possible, I want to make sure they have room to maneuver.

There are a couple of reasons I tried to keep the game small. First of all the game will be run with a time schedule. Players need to register for their events ahead of time and may have games or seminars to attend after ours. The first thirty minutes or so will be taken by explaining the core rules (orders, movement, etc) and the first turns will be slow as we explain various aspects that arise beyond the basics. Being able to fight to some sort of conclusion is preferable to ending mid-game because we run out of time.

The narrow board is to allow the action to begin on turn one or two. The initial turns will go quicker despite the time for explanations because there will be a limited number of troops on the table. This is important because some of the players will be commanding troops in reserve and it's not much fun if you stand around watching for half the game you signed up to play in. I may hold the latest arrivals for umpire control or players who had their initial force wiped out (or hand them to interested passers by - You there! Want to lead a cavalry charge?).

We will be using some umpire controlled events and some random chaos to keep things lively and entertaining for us! Have you ever run the same scenario four days in a row?

Anyway, there's a bit of the method to the madness and I'll get into the terrain building in a few weeks. I am in the process now of acquiring the foam boards and hope to start roughing in the contours soon. I already have many of the models we need in my collection, but Barry and I are going to paint more to fill out specific units, add vignettes, etc.

More soon!