Help us plan a scenario, part 3: playtest!

August 2018 will see Gaming a Crusader Castle’s first appearance at a wargames show. We’re going to be hosting a game at Claymore 2018, using the scenario we’ve been developing for Osprey Games’ Lion Rampant.

Jolanda Contarini and her retainers prepare to defend the village.

Last week, we had an opportunity to playtest the scenario at Heffers Books in Cambridge. Lion Rampant creator Daniel Mersey was in attendance and was able to offer some advice on scenario development, which was very welcome.

The previous week was spent making terrain and painting the last of the models; it was a bit of a sprint, but in the end we got it all done (This isn’t the terrain we’ll be using at Claymore itself, where we’ll have the splendid new keep from Supreme Littleness Designs to show off).

Panicked servants try to hide plunder from the raiders.

Scenario-wise, we learned some lessons, but it seems like the fundamental idea of the scenario itself is sound. We wanted to communicate several key ideas in play:

  • Castles weren’t just military or residential structures, but places of refuge in times of emergency for the civilian population.
  • Small-scale raiding was a significant problem for local landowners.
  • Groups nominally on the same side still competed politically, socially, and even militarily.
Jolanda’s archers take cover as enemies approach.

The scenario, which consists of two sides of two players each, fulfilled these roles well. Within the sides, each player had objectives that conflicted with those of their partner, meaning that it wasn’t as simple as a two-on-two battle, and the objectives of capturing loot and prisoners meant that the tactics were more complicated than just charging in.

Ghazi volunteers make their way up a flank.

There were a few things we’ll want to change — we’re working on simplifying the briefings and making the way objectives work more consistent, for instance, and we probably overdid it with the terrain — but we’re looking forward to seeing you at Claymore. We’ll be in the Atrium Hall at Table A1, right next to the Supreme Littleness booth. If you’re interested in playing the final version of the game, you can register your interest at this Doodle poll!


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