Late medieval skirmish rules

Including pictures of a "knights of the dinner table" skirmish game.

PDF skirmish rules

Actually this is a weird game. It started when my son Ricky got a small army of Schleich "knights" for Christmas - and "coincidentally" Dad (yours truly) received an army in opposing colors. Being large 1:20 scale figures, we repaired to the nearest spacious flat surface to play, which happened to be the dining table. And lo! the name for our new game occurred to me: "knights of the dinner table" (owing much to the original comic strip as my source for "originality"). The main rule when playing on the dinner table is, that after the first soldier sets his foot upon the table, nothing already there can be moved: this produces very interesting and random "terrain!"

My wife wants visitors to this page to know, that our dining table doesn't always look like this: but I have to admit that on a normal day it both looks cleaned off and cluttered, depending only on "when".

The antagonists: the battlefield
I took the name of prince Merlin de Lion: because my army is the blue and yellow with the black lion crest. My son became prince Richard de Fleur-de-lis: because his army is red and gold with a fleur-de-lis crest. We are both princes, since my father is still healthy and near eighty years of age, i.e. the "king" still lives. Naturally, my son was the one who egged me on, and thus brought on the battle. Our first engagement was called after two casualties apiece, on account of Christmas dinner: a 24-hour truce was observed, then we repaired to the battlefield again: which had dramatically changed during the intervening hours: except for the gingerbread pyramid and the stuff down the center of the table, everything else had been moved or removed and added to.

Prince Richard takes the defensive
My rebellious son had the advantage of terrain: the pyramid was the high ground, allowing his shooting to have a longer effective range: he sent a crossbow-man "sniper" up to the top. (The "house" rule says: each 4" of height advantage reduces the lower level missile fire range by 1"; so Richard's crossbow-man had a 3" range advantage at the top of the 12" high pyramid, and, he was well covered). The stack of books and a weird "hour glass" structure effectively covered his position.

First blood
Prince Merlin's marksmen killed two of Richard's men; then one of the lion's crossbow-men broke his weapon, and had to draw sword. Unluckily for Richard, his "sniper" also broke his crossbow on the first shot (must have been damaged against the "rocks" during the scramble up the gingerbread pyramid: the hapless fellow spent the rest of the battle isolated on his perch). Then Merlin's men made a dash to the "books", and approached the gap with the heaviest armed to force it.

Clash at the gap
Richard lost another man in the first hand to hand fighting; but Merlin also lost a man, and both sides saw others run away from the deadly ground. Then both of Merlin's remaining marksmen had their weapons break, reducing them to the status of backup light infantry. Meanwhile, de Lion's halberdiers began to boost each other to the top of the "books".

The contest for the "books"
Richard sent men up onto the "books" to make contest for the high ground. Too many of his men nearby had run off, and prince Merlin's heavy-armed foot took full possession of the gap. He lost a man, but Richard lost the fight on the "books" and two more men.

The rout of de Fleur-de-lis begins
With casualties mounting, most of prince Richard's force took to their heels. He sent in his champion jouster to attack his father and plug the gap, hoping to buy time enough to rally his fleeing troops.

Prince Merlin wins fame and honor
Slapping aside the couched lance of his antagonist, prince Merlin unhorses the champion. His men advance swiftly toward prince Richard's few remaining troops who yet stand their ground. But his banner bearer goes down and more of his troops panic and flee.

The final encounter: father versus son
Prince Richard in desperation threw himself at his father and they exchanged sword strokes from horseback. But when the last of his troops routed away, leaving him alone, Richard joined in the flight. (His upraised arm threatened to dash the battlefield to bits, but he thought better of it, as such "tactics" would accomplish nothing except a lack of chances in the future to get revenge.)

The surrender of prince Richard
Having formed a line well to the rear with his few remaining men, prince Richard sued for peace. His father was lenient: there was no punishment: unless being sent to teach tactics to his sister Suzanna le Jean could be considered punishment enough.