Thursday, 5 March 2015

Rapid Roses

Campaign at Milton Keynes is back. Great news. It’s my favourite show because it is free and accessible to the general public as it takes part in a shopping mall, right outside the main department store. If you want to reach out to new and potential gamers this is the way to do it.

This year we are intending to be there promoting the Northampton Battlefields Society. Phil will have his game board and figures there so we’ll be putting a game on. Previously we’ve played this as a matrix game with varying degrees of success. This time when we were discussing the whole thing I just suggested that I could adapt Rapid Raphia as “Rapid Roses” and we could use that.

This falls under the heading of “seemed like a good idea at the time”. Raphia is a very different battle to Northampton.  The latter battle has no elephants for a start. However the basic idea of evening out the luck and limiting the game length through use of equal decks of cards for both sides is still valid for a participation game.

Rapid Raphia, the elephants aside, probably has more troop types and also more sophistication in tactics compared not just to Northampton but to Wars of the Roses battles in general. The main thing missing from Rapid Raphia is a set of missile rules, and I definitely need them for Rapid Roses. After all half each army is made up of longbowmen and as has been recently discussed on this blog Northampton saw the first verifiable instance of artillery being fired on an English battlefield. An absence of missile rules would clearly be an oversight.

There's another challenge for WotR battles generally and there are some specific issues with Northampton. Raphia enabled me to have multiple units per side, - by coincidence 12 as it happened. WotR battles are fairly formulaic with the three divisions. These vary in size but clearly manoeuvre together. That means that I need to do some surgery on the number of cards / units dynamic.

And then there's the perennial problem with the Battle of Northampton. One side is sitting behind a barricade waiting to be attacked which means that player has limited choices. And then the battle is all resolved by some treachery.

I've started to work my way towards some solutions, and I'd have made more progress today if my netbook hadn't frozen up on the train (I had an extra long journey today as I was working from a regional office, not in the City). I think I know how to deal with barricades, and I think I know how to deal with the treachery aspect without it being inevitable either way.

Finally, of course RR is a square based game, and Phil's terrain board is anything but. I suppose we could leave his kit as a static display and I could build a stylised version, using my figures, but that'll just be confusing for the punters.

Much to think about.


  1. I unfortunately no have a mental image of Yorkist Elephants !!!

    1. Watch out for the Lancastrian camels...

  2. I'm kind of hoping there won't be any elephants ....

    Treb: re squares, the fields around the Lancastrian position are all ploughed in furlong sectors ... if you recall I was intending to use those furlongs for zonal movement and range chunks (rather than have measured moves): I suspect that is probably how soldiers on the day would have judged their distances anyway (by field and furlong, rather than by range as we would adjust it on a modern weapon or inches as we might measure in a wargame) ..

    As a thought, the battlefield will take map pins if it needs more sectoring than the current ridge and furrow gives ...


    1. I remember discussing the furlongs. I think that we should have about three moves of approach march, but apart from that I'm a bit stuck.

      I'm hoping for inspiration to strike when I'm not looking.