Saturday, 7 September 2013

First Battle of St Albans (War and Conquest)

The First Battle of St Albans (1455), was the first engagement in the War of the Roses.  It was brought about by the recovery of King Henry VI in 1455, and the subsequent termination of York's protectorate. The Somerset party were again in power, and York, seeing his influence at an end, was determined to secure by force of arms the downfall of Somerset. For this game, my friend Mike took command of the Lancastrian army and yours truly commanded the Yorkists. All of the Lancastrian retinues including King Henry, were hauled up in the defences in and around the town of St Albans. The Yorkists approached the town from the east in 3 battle formations, determined to drive the Lancastrians out of St Albans and reach the King. Mike did a great job of dressing the table, however please note that instead of a ditch running down the centre of playing area, we used a fence instead (soft cover).
The starting positions for our game.
The Yorkist begin to advance steadily towards the Lancastrian's first line of defence.
The Lancastrians used the mass archery rule to good effect and
started to whittle away the advancing battles.
Salisbury directs the fire of his retinue archers
while driving forward his billmen on the far left.  
Warwick's retinue slams into the Lancastrians down the centre.
King Henry oversees the battle from the centre of the town.
Buckingham moves his retinue to the far right to support his retinue billmen.
Salisbury attacks directly down the Sopwell Lane. 
Salisbury's billmen overcome the second line of defences
and begin to envelope the Lancastrians on their right.
On the Lancastrian far left, Somerset directs archer fire into
the Duke of York's retinue with devastating effect. 
Despite being badly mauled, York prepares for the final assault.
Warwick reaches the final line of defences in good order.
Buckingham puts up good fight, however by now,
Yorkist forces are swarming over the town.
The final push into St Albans.
King Henry is confronted by the Warwick and the game ends a Yorkist victory.
Notable deaths: Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset; Thomas de Clifford;
Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland.
Despite the Yorkist having a slight numerical advantage, this was a hard fought battle right to the end with the defences of St Albans playing an important role. It was Mike's first War and Conquest game, however he quickly got the hang of it and subsequently commanded the Lancastrians with great skill. For those of you who have not tried War and Conquest for the War of the Roses, it is highly recommended. Over the next few months, Mike and I plan to fight our way through many other encounters during this period.


  1. Fine looking game & some lovely terrain set-out

  2. Hi Gareth great looking game!

  3. Wonderful looking game! Really like the look of the flags!

  4. Brilliant looking game. very jealous indeed.


  5. Fantastic figures and terrain Raggers, and great AAR!

  6. Thanks for the game, my first experience of the medieval period and I thoroughly enjoyed it, looking forward to the next battle - probably Northampton is the next major encounter of the period.
    I think I got over confident with early success holding the line outside the town, but once the centre was collapsed by Warwick I had to hastily bring both wings into the town to try and plug the gaps - The battle went pretty much as the original one did in the end

  7. Graham
    Very nice game, by the way were did you get those dial markers with the red and white rose motifs.

  8. Graham,

    Dial Dude in the States made the causality makers for me as a special:

  9. Fab looking stuff Gareth.

    How did you find a Coat of Steel worked with the buildings in place?


  10. Darrell,

    We only use the Coat of Steel character cards for unit recognition. We were using Rob Broom's brilliant War and Conquest.

  11. Brilliant looking refight!

  12. Great looking game and nice set up.


  13. Fantastic looking game there

  14. I just wanted to say "Thanks" for putting up all these wonderful and inspiring photos and information! Your blog has helped to get me motivated to paint my WoTR stuff finally!