Crossed Lances is a set of rules to enable players to recreate a medieval tournament using miniatures and dice. This rules review is going to endeavour to be objective, describing what you get in the set of rules, how they work and will describe how an actual game played out using the jousting part of the rules. Part two of the review will describe how the mounted melee game works and will contain a description of how a game played out. I am not a completely neutral review writer as my business Sally 4th designed and manufactures the laser cut tokens and scenery for the game. For this reason I am not going to tell you if the rules are good or not, as that would inevitably be biased, so I will stick to what you get, how it works and a description of a game I played.
Physically, the rules are an A4 sized publication, printed in colour on 46 pages of good quality matt coated paper. The cover is thin card and again, printed in full colour. This is the first set of rules to be published by Martin Knight and Peter Bradford, long time gaming buddies and medieval re-enactors. They have brought their lifelong interest in both miniatures gaming, the medieval world and the nuts and bolts of medieval skirmish combat together in this project. The rules are in two parts, describing two separate games; The Joust and The Mounted Melee game. The publication starts with an overview of the history of jousting and tournaments before diving into the games mechanics. The rules are illustrated throughout with photographs of the range of miniatures designed by Curteys for the game and diagrams to explain visually how the rule mechanisms should be applied. The forward and history section are contained within the first 6 pages, pages 7 to 27 contain the rules for the jousting and the mounted melee game and 16 pages of game components can be found at the back of the rules. Game components can be cut directly from the book, photo-copied or downloaded from the Crossed Lances web site or the Sally 4th laser cut game components can be used.
Each player uses a battle board to arrange the tokens or cards used during play and to keep score of the points (or fouls) that they have scored.
Lords Cards or Tokens. Each Knight or Lord draws a Lords card from the pack or bag of tokens. This is used throughout the day, in all of the events he enters and represents how good (or hung over) he is feeling on that particular day.
Shield Cards or Tokens. For each Joust, each knight draws three shield cards or tokens. These represent how well that particular run down the tilt yard went. These can be good, bad or neutral and represent events such as your horse swerving at the last moment.
A joust consists of three runs of the tilt. The tilt is typically 18” long and is marked out clearly in inches. The centre 4” are called the attain area, and a hit caused here is worth the most points. Before the joust starts the players draw three shield tokens at random, decide which they wish to play on each of the 3 tilts and then place them face down on their battleboard in the sequence they will be played. If they have not done so already, they also draw a Lord token which they will keep for the whole day / tournament. This is also placed face down on the battle board. The two opposing knights are now placed at opposite ends of the tilt. Each player rolls 2 six sided dice for their knight, one blue and one red. The miniature is moved the score of the dice roll down the tilt.
If any part of both figures is within the central 4” of the tilt, and the lances of the miniatures have crossed, an attain hit is scored. In this case 1 point is awarded to the fastest knight, the shield tokens are revealed and the players decide if they want to play their lords token on this run. The difference between the totals is awarded to the player whose score was the highest. Each player than cross references their movement dice roll with a table to see what part of their opponent they hit and how many points they were awarded for hitting it. If a double had been rolled while in the central 4” section, the opposing knight would have been unhorsed and the Joust would have been won without having to resolve any additional runs.
If the miniature knights have passed, but any part of their base is within 2” of the central 4” attain area they score a lesser attain. This awards less points than a hit in the attain area, the payer who had the higher move roll scores 2 points, the loser scores 1 point. If any part of a miniatures base is still within the central 4” attain area, they get 2 bonus points and Shield and Lords tokens are compared and the difference awarded to the winner.
If the knights have not yet crossed lances, the dice are rerolled and the miniatures moved again.
That’s how the rules work in theory, so let’s look at them in action. I arranged for my good gaming buddies David and Alex to join me in the borders for a Joust to settle the thorny issue of Scottish independence. After setting up some nice looking terrain, Dave selected Edward I to represent himself and the English cause while Alex selected William Wallace to represent the pro-independence movement.
We decided that this tournament would consist of three jousts. Three runs of the tilt are made for each joust unless the joust is decided early by un-horsing your opponent. Sir William Wallace starts by drawing a Lords token and three shield tokens. The Lord token drawn was ‘Determined today my Lord (+2)’, that was a good draw as the tokens range from -3 to + 3. The draw of shield tokens was not so lucky (No advantage 0, Poor effort -1 and horse swerves -1) so on balance a neutral draw.
Wallace and Edward line up at opposite ends of the tilt. Wallace rolls 6 and Edward rolls 8. The knights close on each other but have not moved far enough to actually cross lances so the movement die are rolled again. This time both Wallace and Edward rolled 8, thundering past each other exchanging curses rather than blows. As there was not a clash, the shield tokens for the first run are discarded and the brave knights line up their steeds for a second attempt.
On the second run both knights initially rolled fives and had to roll again. On the second roll Edward rolled a nine and Wallace an eight. This meant that they had both passed through the central 4” attain area but the rear of both figures bases was still within 2” off it so both knights scored 1 point. Edward had rolled the higher movement roll so he was awarded 2 points and Wallace was awarded 1 point. Shield tokens were revealed. Edward revealed ‘Good Work +2’ while Wallace revealed ‘Poor Work -1’ the net difference of 3 points was therefore awarded to Edward. Overall Edward scored 6 points and Wallace scored 2 points. This joust could still be won be either knight. The King and the Scottish Lord take up position for the last run of the joust. Wallace and Edward initially both roll 7, lances do not cross and more movement is rolled, this time seven for Wallace and eight for Edward, again passing through the 4” attain area but the rear of the base finishing within 2” for minor scoring. Both knights are awarded one point for being within 2” of the attain area. Edward had the higher roll so is awarded 2 points while Wallace picks up one point. Wallace plans to counter his bad luck (‘Horse swerves -1’) by playing his +2 Lord card for a net +1, however Edward equals him by playing ‘Good try, Sire 0’ and ‘Good Work +1’ also for a net +1, so both knights are awarded 1 point for a tie. In this run Edward was awarded 4 points and Wallace was awarded 3 points, therefore Edward won the first joust 10 vs 5.
Joust two was brutal and short. Wallace rolled an eleven for movement against Edward’s twelve. This would have put them both in the central 4” for an attain hit, but Edward’s double unhorses Wallace and because it was a double six brings his horse down on top off him too. Unhorsing you opponents wins you the joust, so no need for the other two runs. In reality Edward has won the first two jousts so Wallace cannot win the match, but we thought it best to give him the opportunity to regain at least a little honour.
The protagonists steady their steads for the final joust. In the first run Wallace rolls six for movement and Edward rolls three meaning they have not clashed. Rolling again Edward moves six and Wallace eight, leaving Edward within the 4” attain area and Wallace within 2” of it, so Edward picks up 2 points. The last movement was eight versus six so Wallace is awarded two points and Edward one. Wallace reveals ‘Excellent Work +3’ on his shield token against Edwards ‘Good Work +1’ giving Wallace an additional 2 points. At the end of the run Wallace has scored four points against Edwards three. Is fortune beginning to change for this proud Scottish lord?
The second runs sees lances crossed within the attain area as Wallace had moved ten and Edward eight. This turn Wallace was certainly the fastest rider, picking up a bonus point. Wallace plays his ‘+2 Lord token’ and a ‘No advantage )’ shield token, his smugness however is short lived when Edward counters with an ‘Excellent Work +3’ shield resulting in a point for Edward. As this is an attain hit the scores are referenced against the hit table resulting in Wallace splitting the centre of Edwards shield for three points and Edward hitting Wallace’s helm for four points. At the end of the second run this leaves the knights even with eight points apiece.
Last run of the match sees an immediate clash in the attain area with Wallace moving ten and Edward moving eight. Wallace picks up the bonus point for speed. Shield tokens are revealed. Wallace thinks he’s out of luck only having ‘No advantage 0’ left but when Edward flips over he’s shield we see his ‘Horse swerves -2’ at the last moment, so Wallace picks up two more points. Cross referencing the move rolls on the attain table results in Wallace scoring a good shield hit on Edward for five points and Edward scoring a body hit on Wallace, also for five points. In the last run Edward picked up five points and Wallace picked up eight bringing his total to sixteen against his adversaries thirteen, so third joust to Sir William.
The net result off this little tourney is 2 vs 1 to Edward which is good news for David and the No Lobby.