JOS17 Featured Games: Lesnaya 1708 and Lechnagha 708
One of the highlights of every Joy of Six is Per Broden’s annual exploration of his Swedish heritage as he stages wonderful games with a distinctly Scandinavian feel. At the Joy of Six 2016 he went one further and produced two games. He is repeating this feat this year, with two very different offerings in scope and subject matter.
Here is what you can expect to see this year in Per’s own words:
I, Nick Dorrell and the very decent chums of the Wyre forest Wargames club will be doing three battles (two that took place and one that could have been) from the Great Northern War covering the, from a Swedish perspective, ill-fated Russian campaign 1708 to 1709. Each of these battles will be presented at the Joy of Six show over the next three years.
The campaign is the invasion of Russia by Charles XII of Sweden starting with the crossing of the frozen Vistula river in early 1708 and ends with the Swedish defeat at the Battle of Poltava in the Summer of 1709. It is the beginning of the end for Sweden as a dominant military power in north-eastern Europe.
The first battle is Lesnaya 1708 and is interesting as it is, in effect, an ambush by a Russian flying detachment, led by Tsar Peter himself, on a smaller Swedish army that is travelling through the forests of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Swedish army is led by General Lewenhaupt who is escorting a supply column of more than 4,500 wagons to support the main Swedish Army. From the perspective of doing the battle we need a lot of forest as well as about 40 or more bases to represent the supply column itself.
In writing this the miniatures (from the Baccus range) are about 95% complete with a few more Russian dragoons to go. The main thing remaining is the gaming area itself and a large number of trees is being finalised (there will be about 500 trees on the table!).
Overall the forces consists of:
· Russians, a few leaders and artillery as well as 10 bases (24 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases) of infantry and 57 bases of Dragoons (9 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases).
· Swedes, a few leaders and artillery as well as 10 Polemos bases (24 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases) of infantry and 57 Polemos bases of Dragoons (9 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases)
We will using Nick Dorrell’s adaptation of the Twilight of the Sun King Rules published by the Pike and Shot society, to play the game.
The game, and it's very uneven progress, is being reported on the roll a one blog (rollaone.com) - you can follow it there and see if we make it over the finishing line in July. ‘
So game number one, is another of Per’s GNW epics. His second production couldn’t be more different both in scope and subject matter, although I do detect a little Swedish influence creeping in…
‘The Skirmish at Lechnagha in the Year of 708, since the birth of Suecia, during the Gigantic Northern War 700-721
A black arrow with red feathers suddenly hit one of the pack mules and it fell violently to the ground as its legs gave away to the heavy load it was carrying. This was shortly followed by hideous laughs and taunts from the surrounding forest - the same damn laughs he had heard so many times before. With the black and red arrow signature there was no doubt what was coming next. Prior Lewen Hauptmann of the Knights of Suecia, threw his red cloak over his shoulder, raised his warhammer and turned to his men and screamed; "Get ready for the Greenskin's attack! Push them back to their rotten holes! Give no pardon as it shall not be given to you! From earth they have come and to dust they will go!". He pulled down the visor of his helmet and gave a short prayer and looked around at his men - ironclad battle hardened Knights ready to fight to their last dying breath. "For the Glory of Suecia, give us your strength of battle!" he yelled out the blessing and his brothers responded concurrently; "We accept your strength", to complete the linkage to the divine plane. For a moment a reddish glow could be seen from their swords and spears as they were imbued with the spiritual power.
The Prior reflected for a moment on the stupidity of this wretched mission and how he had been forced into it by the Knight Marshal Carrophlus following his failure holding the Fort at Narvay. He had chosen to spare his men from slaughter and made a deal with the treacherous Steward of Polesh, Arghaust the Strong who, he was the first to admit, surprisingly had let them go after opening the gates. The enemy had grown stronger under the combined leadership by Arghaust and the mighty Warboss Pethor the Brute, a tall Orc whose organisational skill, cunning and patience was remarkable for his kind. Pethor had manage to organise the Goblin and Orc rubble into a formidable fighting force. It had only been a matter of time before the Fort would fall and enough of his brothers had already been slain and reinforcements had not been forthcoming. The Fort was of limited strategic importance and he had chosen to live to fight another day.
As penance for this "disloyalty", in addition to the demotion to Prior, he and his surviving men had been ordered to bring supplies to the cut-off townspeople of Lechnagha. He had no retinue of servants, squires, men-at-arms or Sergeants as was the custom for these kind of soul purification missions. It had been a hellish journey through Goblin infested forests with constant harassment. He had lost half the men they started out with and only half of them still had their horses. If their calculations were correct they were only a few miles away from the Town itself. It had a small regular army garrison and since he had felt the presence of evil watching them for the last few days he had sent a rider for some enforcements. But now that seemed to have been in vain. He thought back on the situation at Narvay and how his death there would have qualified his name into the songs of the minstrels but instead he was facing death here in the middle of this despicable forest - for what?
He was quickly brought back to reality as yet another arrow hit another mule. He looked around and could see Greenskins on both sides of the road riding their growling dire wolves closer. They always got excited at the beginning of the fighting and intensified their laughter, reminiscent of that of a raving lunatic, that normally stroke fear into their opponents. However, this was not what frightened him the most, it was the otherworldly scream he could hear from within the forest itself.
This is a participation game using the popular Dragon Rampant fantasy wargame rules by Dan Mersey (played to satisfaction not perfection). The main purpose is to have fun but also to showcase that 6mm can be used for games normally associated with the larger scales not just replacing individual miniatures with bases of many (like we did for Saga last year) but also scaling it down and still being able to enjoy a game. With a 2' by 2' board (the size of a small coffee table) playing in centimetres instead of inches is in fact like playing on 4'6'' by 4'6" board. We figure if you can have a few blokes taking a flag for a walk representing a regiment in some scales, why not do skirmish in 6mm?
We (the Little One and I) will run a few session over the day (with up to 4 participants each time) and welcome anyone to have a go. 1 to 2 players will control the Knights and 1 to 2 players will control the Greenskins. It will serve as an introduction to the rules and we will limit each session to about 45-60 minutes (including a high level rule go-through). We happily mix fantasy miniatures from Baccus, Rapier, Irregular Miniatures, Perfect Six and Microworld on the table.
We have blogged about 6mm skirmish extensively on the roll a one blog (rollaone.com) - I will bring some of the other miniatures for other periods for you to have a look at should you wish. ‘
For those of you who didn’t already know, the Joy of Six will be taking place on Sunday July 16th from 10.00 to 4.00pm at Sheffield Hallam University, S1 1WB. Entry will cost £3.00.
See you there!