Thursday, 12 February 2015

Review - Osprey's Lion Rampant

Sir John de'Rainham rides to a sit down with Shaun of Rochester escorted by his loyal Men at Arms

I have never owned a medieval army but I've liked rules by Daniel Mersey in the past so was moved to pick up a copy of Lion Rampant from Osprey Games.

Lion Rampart

I was impressed. They were relatively simple, self-contained and I understood them on the first read through. So I persuaded my friend Shaun to give them a try. We used some of Shaun's colourfully painted Brettonian armies and restricted ourselves to three units while we learnt the game.

The various types of troops are classed into a limited number of troops: Mounted & Unmounted Men at Arms (the heavies), Mounted & Unmounted Yeoman (mediums), Fierce Foot (nutters), Serfs (oiks), Missile Troops (bowmen & slingers) and finally Crossbowmen. There are a few special rules to tailor troops and distinguish between, say, bow-armed and javelin-armed light cavalry.

It's a skirmish game, one model equals one man, so has very fluid and free movement and only requires forty or so models for an army.

For our trial game, we decided on a tiny scenario of one unit of knights, spearmen and bows each.

So over to the encounter.

Battle of Wrinkled Bottom

Trial by Combat

Sir John and Shaun of Rochester have long disputed grazing rights for their peasantry in Wrinkled Bottom by The Medway. The Bishop of Rochester, the Right Reverend Taxbrake, organised a meeting to discuss the matter like civilised Christian men.

Unfortunately, the meeting got off to a dodgy start when Sir John congratulated Shaun of Rochester's family for doing so well considered that they had floated down the Medway on a sinking raft after being cast out of the Weald by the other bandits. Shaun noted in rely that Sir John's family had come over with The Conqueror, where they had been employed to muck out the horses on one of the transports.

After that it went downhill.

Such insult could only be settled by blood. So Sir John and Shaun fought a duel (I won the initiative and made a leadership challenge. If Shaun refused it might destabilise his army). We each launch three blows (dice), hitting on a 5+.

We both scored twice, a draw so no effect and the leaders were returned to their units.

The knights charge eager to join the combat

Mounted Men at Arms have a 'wild charge' so I was forced to charge Shaun's knights who promptly countercharged.

My bowmen moved up towards Shaun's while my spearmen went into a huddle (a schiltron) and refused to move.

The knights recoil

After the first clash, our knights retreated to regroup with few casualties. They have excellent armour. Shaun's bowmen shot up mine - memo to self - don't move into bow range of enemy bowmen. Astonishingly Shaun's billmen charged my knights - what were they thinking?


The spearmen got a bloody nose and my emboldened knights, gander up, rode down Shaun's retinue forcing him to flee the field.


So there we are, great fun all round.

Look, this is not the sort of game one will play for week after week, armies will tend to be a bit samey after a while, but it is the sort of game you will come back to for a quick game time after time.

I like it: recommended.

As for Shaun of Rochester, I'm sure he will not take this lying down. I feel a campaign working through the provided scenarios coming on.

He will be back!


  1. The 'Wild Charge' often results in mounted men-at-arms disappearing into the distance, a bit like Prince Edward at the Battle of Lewis. It can be hilarious or maddening depending if they are supposed to be under your control or the opposition.
    Is it ok to link your post on to the semi-official Lion Rampant forum? We are trying to build an useful resource for players of the game.


    1. I would be honoured if you linked to my post Mat. The forum sounds a great idea.

  2. Those Bretonnians look perfect for LR.

  3. I was thinking of getting the rules at Cavalier next weekend. Probably have a chat with you on the day.

    1. Sure, or we could arrange a game at the Rainham Club.

  4. I didn't realize Lion Rampant was a skirmish game. Now I'm interested. Thanks for this post, loved the origins of the Battle of Wrinkled Bottom. Definitely a PhD thesis in there for some bright (and desperate) young thing. ;)