It’s always great to be there at the beginning of something! L’Art de la Guerre is fast becoming a favourite at Cardiff’s number one palace of gaming pleasure, Firestorm Games. The competition trophy case can best be described as “Spartan” despite over thirty years of gaming. The unkind may put this down to lack of intelligence on my part but I prefer my choice of armies to account for a noticeable lack of silverware ( although I do have a fair number of ‘sportsmanship’ awards to my name).
The Normans style of warfare does not readily lend itself to the intricacies of competition gaming but therein lies its attraction to yours truly. Having been to the excellent re-enactment that take place at Battle Abbey, one wonders how anybody had the minerals to stand in front of the furious Norman charge. I was present when two hundred re-enactors charged up the battlefield, a few thousand knights and we’d have all have been dropping our mint choc-ices and seeking out the St. John’s ambulance!
A few years ago now, I used to organise school trips grandly entitled “In the footsteps of William”. Over the course of a week, we would visit Normandy, including Falaise, Caen and of course Bayeau. The Tapestry itself would always excite the group but not half as much as tales of Baldwin “the Bastard” of Boulogne. Sharing the same surname became a real burden, especially when the Normans in the Holy Land supported Baldwin the Leper King of Jerusalem. How cruel school children can be! I of course drew only inspiration from my illustrious name-sakes. The Archangel Michael would guide me to wargaming glory, just like those amazing De Hautevilles before me, my destination would be Sicily.
L’Art de la Guerre gives the potential psychopathic Norman potentate a number of options. I decided to go with the obvious and maximise the number of hard charging knights.
Army number 180, page 177 of rulebook
Normans in Sicily
Corps One- Competent commander, four medium Knights upgraded to elite (ouch), two Sicilian crossbow units.
Corps Two- Competent commander, four medium elite Knights and two Berber light horse units.( You’re getting the picture!)
Corps Three- Competent commander, two ordinary heavy spear, four Greek ‘Griffon’ swordsmen units, two Saracen close fighter units and a lowly light infantry unit with bows.
The plan, as is usual, with me is of course an all out assault on the enemy’s weak point but would this week’s challenger/victim be so obliging?