A gust of cold wind rippled through the formations of women arrayed before the gate. “She must not pass! No matter what happens on the field, she must not pass.” shouted Celeste, Queen on Nica, High Queen of the Valkae. She still used the title of “High Queen” even though her hegemony of the Valkae had fallen apart two years earlier plunging the city states of the Valkae into a civil war.
The Valkae, “the strong women” in their tongue, left the mainland & settled on their island shortly after the Tropilium Republic became the Tropilium Empire over 900 years ago. Now they were at war with one another. Across from the new southern gate of Nica, stood the army of Zoethea, Celeste’s own niece. Many nobles backed Zoethea’s bid for the throne. All Zoethea, “Zoe”, had to do was to enter the temple of Nica Harmonia with the sceptre of Myrine & declare herself Queen of Nica. She had a sceptre, backing of much of the noble class, & an army.
Celeste lifted her spear, shouted an oath to the goddess, & set her army into motion….
My girlfriend & I got to play our first game of “Rally Round the King” by Two Hour Wargames today. It took us 4 hours to play a game of 400 points per side. The extra time was due to it being our first game, having to look a lot of things up, & time to make notes, diagrams & photographs for the blog.
I got to play the part of Queen Celeste, a woman trying to hang on to her crown. Her army was 405 points & consisted of:
4 units of Nobles; 5 units of Archers; 5 units of Warriors; 2 units of Sword Maidens; 2 units of Marines; 1 Level 1 Sorceress.
My girlfriend got to play the part of Zoethea, a young woman who believes her time has come to rule the city state of Nica. Her army was 406 points & consisted of:
5 units of Nobles; 2 units of Archers; 8 units of Warriors; 1 unit of Sword Maidens; 1 unit of Marines; 1 unit of Cavalry.
The figures were a mixture of 28mm miniatures from Eureka, Shadowforge, & Reaper. There were 103 miniatures on the table that took yours truly the better part of 2 months to paint, base, & seal.
Celeste was the defender with a war rating of 4. 20% of the army was on the left wing, 50% was in the main body, 20% on the right wing, & 10% in reserve behind the main body.
Zoethea was the attacker with a war rating of 3. 20% of the army was on the left wing, 60% was in the main body, & 20% on the right wing.
The attacker, Zoethea, moved first. She had deployed her right wing in the woods on top of a hill in anticipation of swooping down upon my flank when the time was right, so she chose not to activate that body. The main body approached to the center of the battlefield. Her left wing moved up the second hill on the battleground near a watch tower.
Celeste countered by moving her right wing onto the hill near the watch tower. An unit of Archers, skirmishers, were able to score a hit on a unit of Warriors & caused that unit to halt. Her main body moved forward to close the distance with Zoethea’s army. The reserve activated & moved cautiously forward as well. The left wing moved forward of the main body & started to wheel toward Zoethea’s main body hoping for a flank attack at the opportune moment.
At the end of the first turn the armies were poised for contact.
At the start of the second turn, Zoethea did not activate her right wing. Her main body charged leaving 2 units of skirmishers behind. The 2 units of Archers in Celeste’s main body fired at the charging Hoplites & retired behind the main body. The 2 units of Sword Maidens promptly counter charged. All of the units were well supported & at the end of the attacker’s turn, 3 of Zoethea’s units had each taken 2 hits & one unit was forced to give ground. Celeste’s main body only suffered 1 hit on 1 unit and 1 unit had 2 hits.
Zoethea activated the halted unit on the left wing, but it failed its “wanting to charge” roll & halted again.
At the start of Celeste’s 2nd turn, the Archer unit failed to register a hit & then wisely moved out of the way. The unit of Marines also failed to register a hit & failed their “wanting to charge” test.
Celeste brought up her reserve to reinforce the main body. The scrum of Hoplites & Sword Maidens in the center got ugly. At the end of Celeste’s 2nd turn, 2 units of Zoethea’s warriors had routed, 1 unit had 3 hits & 1 unit had 1 hit. A unit of Celeste’s Sword Maidens received 2 hits & was forced to give ground. One unit had 1 hit & the other unit of Sword Maidens had 2 hits. The Sword Maidens are killing machines, but with their low AC, they seem to quickly accumulate hits. To give Zoethea additional concern, a unit from Celeste’s left wing slams into the flank of Zoethea’s line.
At the start of turn 3, Zoethea realizes that her gambit to draw Celeste’s army into an ambush has failed & she activates her right wing & tries to move it into position. But is it too late?
Zoethea’s main body continues to take a beating as Celeste begins to roll up the flank. Two more units are routed.
At the start of Celeste’s 3rd turn, her right wing charges into the body at the watch tower. One unit of Zoethea’s Warriors are routed by the Marines who follow up into a unit of Nobles. Zoethea loses another unit off of the flank of her main body. But Zoethea routs the unit of Nobles containing Celeste’s Sorceress. The Sorceress survives, but is out of the fight. The left wing fires at the approaching body of hoplites & prepares to receive a charge.
The start of turn 4 sees the late arriving right wing charge Celeste’s left wing. They have arrived too late & are too far out of position to give aid to Zoethea’s faltering main body. They rout 1 unit of Warriors, but one of their units is forced to give ground. Zoe’s main body is now down to only 3 units. At the watch tower, Zoe’s Nobles force the Marines to give ground.
The stalemate at the watch tower continues. Again, the Marines attack & are forced to give ground. Meanwhile, Archers begin to move into position to deal with Zoethea’s stubborn troops.
The final charge begins. Celeste almost surrounds Zoethea. At the end of the turn, the unit containing Zoethea has 4 hits, but the unit of Sword Maidens facing her has 3 hits. On the left wing, Zoethea’s troops are forced to retire.
The 5th turn starts with a unit of Zoethea’s right wing being routed from missile fire. Zoethea loses another unit in the main body, but finally defeats the unit of Sword Maidens that has been pressuring her unit the entire battle. At the watch tower, the combatants exchange missile fire & are halted by it. Zoethea loses a unit of Archers from an archery duel.
Celeste has moved Archers into position & has pinned Zoethea’s troops, but is unable to activate the Marines for another charge. In the center, Zoethea’s unit is routed along with Zoethea. She narrowly escapes capture, but with the loss of their general, her army routs.
After the major pursuit, Zoethea recovered 72% of her army. Many of the Nobles that were in her ranks have left her. Without the support of the Nobles, it will be a while before she can make another attempt for the throne.
We had fun learning to play with this game. We certainly discovered early that we were doing a few things wrong. But were able to correct them & by the end of the game, things were flowing pretty well.