History is Fun

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sword and Spear play through!

Hi everyone.

Well, I had some time this past week to play a solo game of Sword and Spear so I can try to learn the rules and see how the game works. I have to say I am happy with how it works.

Set up.
I had my Viking Army fight my Anglo-Saxon army. Each had 8 units and a General as well as a Captain.  The Anglo-Saxon army has a group of Mounted Thegns.  That was the only mounted troops in this battle.

The end of turn one.
 So I set up each army on other sides of the battlefield with no terrain, since I am trying to learn the rules.

The end of turn two.
So each turn is made up of many steps and a lot can happen. The rules use a system of pulling dice out of a bag each phase. At the beginning of each turn each player puts in one dice for each stand of the field of battle. So for this game I had 8 white D6 for the Vikings and I used 8 gray D6 for the Anglo-Saxons. So at the beginning of each phase you pull out 7 dice from the bag. This will determine which side has the initiative and also how many units from each side can move in that phase.

The end of turn three. The first casualties are the Berserkers how take fire from a unit with javelins.

After you had your dice for each side you end up rolling them to see if you can use them for units. You compare the number on the dice to the units discipline. If your roll is equal or higher than the discipline roll then you can active at the unit. It adds a lot of guessing when it comes to planning your battle. it is not just line the two armies up and they all go charging into each other.

The end of turn four.

The game played out very well and there was a lot of time I though a side would win but thing did not turn out like I thought. I think this has a lot to do with the activation of units and it is hard to get a large line of troops to move all at once.

The end of turn five and some hand to hand combat is coming up soon.
Shooting combat is easy and if you role high enough your skirmishers can move then shoot or shoot and move, which is good so they can get out of the way. Unfortunately for both sides some of the skirmishers could not move or evade when the enemy units charged into them. It is is not always a good thing to be armed with a sling or a spear when you are charged by men in chain mail holding shields and with axes and swords!!!

The bodies stat to pile up!
I use replica coins from the Viking era to represent loses. So in the above image you see three coins behind a unit. that is there to represent the loses that unit has taken, when a unit takes is fourth loss it is routed.

Below is a little play by play of some of the hand to hand combat that took place.
So on unit of slingers, with the gray dice and two coins is attacked by a unit of Warriors that charge into to it, then the same slinger unit is hit bu a unit of Warriors with an attached Captain and eventually the unit of Slingers is routed.

The slingers are removed and the unit with the grey number one dice took a moral check and took a hit for losing the moral test.

And the wining Viking unit gets to continue its charge and runs into the unit that failed its moral check, combat continues! No additional hits are scored on the Anglo-Saxon unit from the Viking Warriors but another unit of Viking Warriors charge into the fight.
More units added to the combat. The unit that had one coin ends up taking more hits.

The set up for the next turn and the continued combat.

Now on the other side of the board, the Anglo-Saxon cavalry slam into the Viking Archers. the fight is detailed below.

So the Cavalry slams into the Archers which fail to evade and you know how this usual turns out....

Sure enough the Cavalry is able to score two hits which is the strength of the unit so the Archers are routed. the one hit on the Cavalry is from the archers firing earlier in the turn.

And the Cavalry continues its charge and is now behind the Vikings line.

Here is the  end of turn six. Things get bad for the Anglo Saxons as a unit of Warriors have turned there flank! But the Vikings need to be careful of that unit of Horse behind there lines.
So hopefully you are getting an idea of how the game works. The combat is pretty brutal and can last a few turns to resolve. Also when you think things are lost the dice can always save your bacon.

Yes the Cavalry is going to hit a unit in the back while it is engaged in combat with a unit in its front.

 For example the Viking Sandwich that was created when a unit of Huscals with an attached General is hit with Cavalry from behind and then from infantry from the front. You think you know how this will turn out but the dice had there way with this fight. Details below.

OK so in the middle of this Viking Sandwich is a unit of Huscals with a General attacked by two units one on the front and one in the rear.

So the Cavalry attacks first but losses the battle... What... Yes it happened!

Next the unit of Saxon infantry attacks the same unit and it losses the fight as well.
The Saxon infantry unit takes two hits from the Viking Huscals. The Vikings only took one hit. I did not think the unit of Vikings would survive that attack.

The end of turn seven and the end is near for the Anglo-Saxons.

The Anglo Saxons had taken a lot of casualties and eventually reached there Army Route limit and they ran away.

Here is a picture of the routes units for both sides.

Here we have one unit of Slinger, two units of Infantry and the one unit of Cavalry for the Anglo Saxons.

And for the Vikings, one unit of Beserkers nd one of Archers.

The game lasted 8 turns, I am pretty sure I messed some things up along the way so I plan to play another member of the Wargaming club in the new year.

I really had fun playing the game and I am happy that I have been able to play a game of Sword and Spear this year.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Thanks for the post - they do seem like they give a good game. I have these rules too and was hoping to play them this year but did not manage it. I do note you did cut it close in managing to play them this year!

    1. Hi Shaun, Yes it was a close run thing to get it in before the end of 2016. I like the rules and you should give them a try and see what you think of them. I have more 6mm figures to paint up to have some more interesting and hsitorical battles.

  2. Interesting game and I'd like to see how those rules work for bigger games with bigger units. Might have to go and buy a set to fnd out.

    1. Hi Paul, I agree I am working on painting up more miniatures and it will be interesting to see how larger battles work out. They have rules to cover having allied troops fighting from a different army so it can be a fun option. I am working on some cavalry to build a late Frankish army.

  3. Nice report. It's one I have but am yet to actually play!


  4. Hi Aaron, I hope you are having fun in Japan, I was across the Sea of Japan in Korea for several years (8 total) but never did any Wargaming there. I checked out your blog and it seems like you are doing a lot of ancient gaming. Give Sword and Spear a try and let me know what you think.