Battle Reports


Wargaming 600-1400 AD

    This period is a great period to wargame, for a number of reasons.
    • It is a period rich in history- some of the most famous individuals from medieval history ended up fighting in the Near East: e.g. Saladin, Richard I, Baybars, St. Louis, Frederick Barbarossa.
    • Armies weren't all the same- the armies of the Islamic Near East- or Turco-Mongolian Central Asia- or the Latin West- all had different doctrines.  They were organised, deployed and employed differently.
    • No army was dominant- each army-type had strengths and weakenesses.
    • Warfare had changed- the influence of the Classical era had almost completely disappeared.  Armies had responded to the Turkish invasions and Arab conquests to move on to a new pattern of warfare.  Many battles were also relatively small compared to the 'large' battles of the classical period. This makes table-top games for this era often quite manageable. 

    Many wargame rules however, generate a poor representation of warfare in this period.  Many generic sets are centered on the classical period.  In effect, you are forced to use say a Mamluk army 'like' it is a bunch of Romans-on-horseback.  Apparently the Arab achievement of conquering an area from Samarkand to Spain and holding it for a few centuries, does not indicate any indigenous military talent of their own.  

    The major challenge with writing rules for this period is Islamic warfare.  You can't get Crusading warfare right, if you can't get Islamic warfare right.  This means you have to use Arab military manuals and histories.  A lot of rules clearly do not use this source material.  In the end, these rules represent Muslim armies as either Byzantines in funny clothes, or some Hollywood fantasy-army.  

    Needless to say, I got pretty frustrated with these crappy rule-options.  So I did something about it.  I wrote Shattered Lances.  These work very well in my not-so-humble-opinion- but you don't have to take my word for it.  Give them a go.