Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Taking Lion Rampant for a spin

I've been painting up medieval figures since since Christmas in the hopes of getting to try Lion Rampant. I finally finished enough figures to try out a 20 point game and told my son he could get out of chores by rolling some dice with Dad. Check out my trial game after the jump!

The Set Up

Since this was my first run with the rules I kept the board fairly clear of terrain. A single hill dominated the East side of the board, with some rough terrain impeding ascent from the South side.

My son and I took nearly mirror forces:

  • Mounted Men-at-Arms x1
  • Foot Men-at-Arms x1
  • Foot Serjeants x1
  • Crossbowman x1

I didn't have enough missile troops, so replaced the Crossbowmen with another Foot Serjeants unit.

I took the option for leaders to challenge each other as well so we could concentrate on the base rules. With a quick explanation, and the goal of killing simply killing each other, we got to work

The Battle

My two foot serjeants formed my main line, supported by my leader's foot Man-at-Arms.
My mounted knights were ready to charge the enemy knights

While my foot units were eager to get into battle, both my son and I found our knights
hesitant to dirty their fancy pants with bloodletting.
The activation system in Lion Rampant requires a roll to get your units to attack, shoot or even move. Some units are easier to rouse to a fight than simply moving. Deciding which order to activate your units and always risking a change in initiative on a failed roll kept each turn interesting.

As they moved forward, my foot units fell into range of my son's crossbows. I moved my foot serjeants to hold up his knights and skirted my own red knights behind my line in hopes of running down the vulnerable crossbowmen.

My son threw his knights at my foot serjeants killing three of them.
Shocked by the assault, my foot serjeants turned tail and routed!
 During their first melee my foot serjeants suffered a horrendous Courage roll at the end of combat. With a -3 due to the loss of their first three casualties they were forced to rout. That was a bit surprising, and I'm not sure how I feel about such brittle units, but I guess it keeps the game from becoming a slog!

My knights continued up the hill, screened by my foot troops who luckily didn't fall under any more missile fire after my son's crossbowmen failed to activate.

My second foot serjeants met another charge by mounted knights, but this time had the wits to form into a schiltron, improving their resilience.

Each unit has at least one special ability which helped keep them unique and diverse. The knights are forced to charge enemy units within charge range unless held back by failed command roll, and also have the ability to countercharge an attack (improving their ability to deal damage in the ensuing melee). Foot serjeants can form up into a schiltron, but lose the ability to move when they do so.

My knights climbing the hill, hoping to catch the enemy unawares.

The yellow knights continued to pound my foot serjeants, finally breaking their schiltron and throwing them back, battered.

My son's foot troops also reached the top of the hill, forming a schiltron to help guard the crossbowmen on their flank.
 My son and are also began learning to take advantage of the proximity rules in Lion Rampant. Units can't move to a destination within three inches of an enemy unless they are charging an enemy. By positioning his foot serjeants slightly ahead of his missile troops, he made maneuvering my knights into position to charge them difficult.

The battle was coming to a head. My knights crested the hill, ready to charge, but out of position,
only threatening my son's tough troops. 

My son threw his yellow knights at my weakened foot serjeants at the bottom of the hill...

... and was repulsed! My foot serjeants slew several of his knights who failed their Courage roll and routed from the field!
He was miffed.

I threw my knights into the battle, each of our leaders trading blows. The cream of nobility spilt their blood upon the field.
Suffering more volleys from my son's crossbows and some lucky rolls in melee, my leader's unit was nearly wiped out and forced back. With my son still having two untouched units and mine severely damaged I decided retreat was the wisest course of action. 

Summing Up

That was fun! Lion Rampant moves quickly and offers some interesting decisions each round. Each unit also has their own character (from different activation rolls, combat values and special abilities) with very little overhead. The rules are forgiving of measuring and placement and keep the focus on quick, deadly medieval combat. I'm not so sure about how brittle units can be with a poor Courage roll after suffering only a handful of casualties, but that may be a feature not a bug.

I'm looking forward to getting some more units painted up to field full 24 point warbands, bringing in more complex terrain and trying out some of the scenarios.


  1. Great battle report. Lion/Dragon Rampant games are fast and fun!

  2. Nice game thanks for sharing.....they take a bit of time getting used to but for fun games they are great rules.

  3. Great looking game, looks like you had lots of fun.

  4. Looks like you had a great time with your son. I haven't played the game in a while but it is fun. cheers

  5. Fabulous medieval armies, nice report!

  6. I've played three of four games of LR and like it more each time, for the reasons you give. Your collection looks fabulous, by the way.

  7. Great report. Beautiful armies and terrain.

  8. Thanks for this. I was thinking the same thing about the units fragility, but I think it would be cool to play a much higher point game where you have 5 or more units of a particular sort forming a line, and then having them break or stand,but not as a whole group.