Published on by Chris Abbey
My good friend Buck Surdu is currently working on a free PDF supplement for Feudal Patrol: The Ancients / Medieval Skirmish system for gaming the exploits of William Tell.
The Tell legend is generally set in 1307 with the famous apple shot to his death in 1354. In his time, the Hapsburg emperors sought to dominate Uri, and Tell vowed to resist Habsburg rule. William Tell was tough mountaineer who was an expert shot with a crossbow. Newly appointed Landsburger Gessler placed a pole in the centre of the town of Altdorf on which he set his hat (or perhaps the emperor's hat) and demanded that all townsfolk bow before it as a sign of obedience. William Tell would not, was outlawed and sentenced to death, although after the famous apple shot he escapes for, in the TV series, 38 episodes of swashbuckling adventure.
I did not have any medieval Austrians or medieval Swiss Resistance in my collection, so have painted these figures up for playing the campaign. I need a few more for both sides, but this was enough to play the first scenario. The miniatures above are the Swiss, unarmoured peasants armed with swords or crossbows. They are mainly 1st Corp miniatures apart from the characters who are made from my bits box... mainly from Frostgrave range
The Austrians are armoured, for the purpose of the scenario they have metal armour on heads, chest and abdomen. These models are also from 1st Corp. In the scenario the Austrains are not equiped with shields, I just added them to my figures so that they could display this lovely coat of arms from the Tyrol region in the 13th Century.
This is the map for the scenario.
This is a small scenario played on a 3-foot by 3-foot table. A group of Austrians has taken up residence in a cabin in the mountains for the night, kicking out the owners. One of the children has slipped away to ask William for help. Tell sees this as an opportunity to kill some Austrian soldiers and gather some weapons and supplies. Tell must kill the Austrians and gather weapons, but he must avoid harming the family. The Austrians can kill Tell, but they get a LOT more points for capturing him.
When Lewis and I played it we had to turn everything 45 degrees as our roads come onto the center rather than the corner of terrain tiles. We had a central building to represent the farmhouse and four roads with trees and other cover between them. We rolled a dice to see who would play which side. Lewis got the Austrians and I got the Swiss.
The Austrians have placed supplies in the storeroom (marked E), represented by four boxes, crates, or barrels. The Austrians also have one cart and four horses, which are located where shown on the map. One group of Austrians and the Officer are in the house. The other two groups of Austrians are placed outside the cabin between six and nine inches from the cabin. They must be deployed as two groups. One Austrian in each group has a crossbow, one has a spear, and the other two have swords. The Frankhauser family is in the cabin: the mother, three daughters, a son, and the father. They begin the game inside the cabin
Half of the Swiss have crossbows and daggers. The other half have swords or spears. William and Hetta must have crossbows. Each Swiss group may enter from one of the four map corners (marked A through D) of their choosing, but no two Swiss groups may enter at the same corner. The Swiss begin the game within six inches of the table edge.
Here we see the Swiss approaching the farmhouse from two directions. The Austrians are doing there best to intercept.
The Swiss put down a volley of crossbow fire with there missile armed troops while the sword armed resistance move up to take the fight to the enemy.
Before long a fierce melee develops at the front and rear of the farmhouse. Two groups of Swiss manage to make it into the Farmhouse, one through the front door and one climbing through a window.
However, at the end of the eight turn the Swiss have not managed to secure any supplies and the Austrians have captured Hetta (Mrs Tell) and 'Bear' Fetog another of the Leaders, so we declared it an Austrian victory... well done Lewis.
As this was a playtest game, we had some observations to feed back to Buck to hopefully make the scenario even better.
Feudal Patrol always gives an exciting and conclusive game and it is certainly refreshing to have the complexity resolved by the clever design of the card-based mechanisms rather than having to cross reference dice rolls on tables in books. If you've not played / heard of Feudal Patrol, you can check it out by clicking here. It covers Ancient to late medieval / renaissance period plus fantasy and there are a growing number of free PDF supplements for specific campaigns, periods or genres.