Monday, October 19, 2015

Our Annual Hastings Refight AAR

by Ken Kaergard, guest blogger

On Saturday, October 17 in Belvedere IL, Bill Garrett was host to Bob Pavlik's Hastings game. Al Hulton, Ron Jaffe, and Mike Zemuda played the Saxons, while Bill, Bob, and I played the Norman side. We used Bob's "Red die/White die" system of play for individual figure combat. Although we were unfortunate in having a shortened time to play due to events outside of our control (blame the train schedulers), the game did move quickly and got to a crucial point. The miniatures are 25mm Minifigs, painted by Bob in the late 1970's. 

On the Saxon side, Mike commanded their left, Ron the center and Al the right. For the Normans, Bill commanded the left (the Bretons) opposite Al, Bob commanded the Normans in the center, and I commanded the Flemish on the right opposite Mike.

The photos reflect the following:

The Saxon army has deployed. The Normans take heart that the Saxons haven't anchored their flanks on the swamps.

The Normans deploy with archers to the front, followed by infantry and then cavalry.

Al and Ron discuss their deployment.

The Normans approach Senlac Hill.

The Norman army begins to close, and the Saxons secure their position on the hill, also beginning to extend their flanks to reach the swamps. Norman archers have started to weaken the Saxon line, but they run out of arrows and withdraw.

 Another view

Action beginning on the Norman left.

Bill's Bretons are the first to strike, hitting Al's right with horse while closing with his infantry. On the right I cautiously close on Mike, trying to get a feel for where there might be a weak spot in his line. He's left none. Ron thoughtfully adjusts his deployment to deal with the archery losses while Bob steadily advances.

On the Saxon right, Al deals Bill's horse some serious losses, including the loss of their commander. Bill's infantry engages to help the remaining horse be able to fight their way out. On the Saxon left, Mike deals some losses to me as I close to combat with  him.

Another view.

Mike's lines thin as the Flemings grind away, but the attackers take their share of losses as well. Bill and Al both come up for air as they continue to face off, and Bob and Ron have their first direct contact as Bob's Normans try to force their way up the hill.

The final disposition leaves it pretty clear that the outcome is still uncertain. The bulk of the Norman army has yet to strike home, but both Norman flanks are becoming weak from the attrition of the battle. The Saxons are also growing weaker, many of their huscarls and well armored troops have been killed, but substantial numbers remain. The Norman archers performed well, and were ready to return to the fight, and the Saxon Fyrd had performed far better than would be expected. By all appearances, the battle seemed likely to continue as a meat grinder until one side or the other would become too weak to sustain itself.

It was unfortunately at this point that the players mostly ran out of time. Nonetheless, it was good to play this scenario again, and it provided an opportunity to practice for next year's game, which will be for the 950th anniversary of the battle. 


  1. Nicely done, beautiful figures and, of course, a fantastic battle to play and replay!

  2. Thank you for the compliments, which should go to Bob Pavlik, who has been running this game for about 35 years.