Thursday, July 25, 2019

Nikephorian Byzantine versus 100 Years War English

This was a special practice game for Dave and I to acquaint ourselves with the Basic Impetus 2.0 rules for the our club's league tournament (Hint: we both made it to the semifinals).

After my last game facing 100 Years War English, this was going to be an interesting game.

Despite Dave winning the roll, the Basic Impetus deployment sequence with favoured my army.

 Starting with Turn 1, Dave continually gets the initiative.
Both armies start advancing.

 Turn 2 and my legion had to stop to rally after taking fire.

 Turn 3 and it looks like my cavalry has the English knights at a distinct disadvantage.

 Turn 4 and my cavalry are starting to delivery a steady stream of arrows into the English knights.
The English Men-at-Arms have passed through their archers.

 Turn 5 and it was on!
My legion suffers, but the Varangians and the Kataphraktoi (on the grey horses) do good.

 Dave decided he needed to go first and played his Ace in the Hole - Decisive Initiative.
He got to roll three dice to my two.
It didn't turn out as he expected.

 Turn 6 and the English knights and their commander are dead.
The Byzantine legion has perished,
but the Varangians and the Kataphraktoi fight on.
The initiative has finally switched to me.

 Turn 7
I just need to rout one more unit to break the English.

 Turn 8
It is getting close.
My cavalry are having trouble getting into effective bow/charge range.

Turn 9
Victory for the Byzantines!

Even though the two rulesets are similar, there are significant differences in play.  We were frequently checking to see if we could do something, only to find we couldn't, which is not unexpected as Impetus Second Edition is a much richer ruleset.  The most striking outcome for me was that much more of an army needs to be routed before victory can be achieved.  In that last image there are only three enemy units left on the table.


  1. The 100 Years War English army was a firepower army; the 10th-11th Century Byzantines more of an all-rounder, with lots of firepower, decent shock power for the time, and good 'holding' power as well. And well articulated. A very good all-round army in my view. The 100YW English were probably tougher but not especially mobile.

    1. I'm not too sure how perfect the army lists are. As Dave ran the English they had 3 units of longbow, but with 4 units of foot and a very powerful, but lonely, unit of knights. I took a risk and went cavalry heavy. Next week I'm going to go foot heavy.

    2. The 100YW English army sounds reasonably typical to me. I don't think their knights and men-at-arms went in much for mounted action, but on the whole their 'modus operandi' was 'strategic offensive/ tactical defensive' (defending the table edge :-D). It was when the French figured out a way to force the English into attacking that things came unstuck in France. That was the role of the developing artillery arm in France. Basically telling the English: 'OK, yez can stand around to get pounded into the dirt by our guns, or yez can beggar off; or yez can attack us. Bring it on." If they could occupy a position that obviated the 'beggar off' option, so much the better.

    3. Army Lists are one thing, then as you identify, can the rules depict the associated tactics (and without the benefit of a wider campaign setting) and strategic concerns. A mute point perhaps with unhistorical matchups.

      There will be more battles between my Byzantines and my friend with the Sassanids and I know he is forever trying to recreate actual battlefield tactics with his army. He just needs to know how to do that within the constraints of the rules (probably reading the rules is a good start :-) However not everyone has the benefit of being retired.) My actual knowledge of Byzantine is pretty superficial, but it will improve I hope.