Pig Wars

Posted: February 28, 2011 in Miniature Games
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For a break we pulled out an old set of rules from my collection; Pig Wars, mostly because I had a desire to bash some shields and get up close and personal. I had a number of Dark Ages figures (the old Revenge line from Old Glory and some Gripping Beast). Jon and Denny Walters had some Gripping Beast metals and some of the new plastic Vikings. Thus a Sunday afternoon slugfest was born!

I spent a good part of Saturday night painting my Village Green Norman Keep. We used this as the central objective.

Norman cavalry line up in front of the keep.

A few things to mention about the photo. Yes, those are my Citadel Realm of Battle boards and yes, those are rubber pigs from the “Pass the Pigs” game. If you’re going to play Pig Wars you better have pigs, and I left my livestock at home, so Kathleen at UGG was kind enough to loan us her pigs.

The scenario was as follows. A Norman tribute wagon has to get to the keep without being destroyed. To keep this from happening, the Norman side had a unit of 20 foot soldiers, 5 mounted knights and two units of 20 Saxons (in the employ of the Normans for now). Attacking the tribute wagon were three units of 20 Vikings.

The tribute wagon winds its way from the Saxon village toward the keep.

Things did not go well for the Vikings from the very beginning. One war band made it to the top of the hill with the keep, only to be cut down by two different groups of Saxons, although the Vikings kept it interesting for a number of turns. Archery from the keep was relatively ineffective against the Viking shieldwall, but once they went up the hill the shieldwall disorganized and it was every man for himself.

A few stragglers are left atop the hill, but the remainder of the Vikings regroup, defeated.

My little group of Vikings got to the base of the hill and proceeded to thrash the Saxons facing me. The high point of the scrum between the two shieldwalls was my leader facing the Saxon leader. Two turns later the Saxon dog felt the bite of my axe. We then swarmed up the hill as the Saxons broke…

My Vikings scratch and claw their way to the top of the hill.

We reached the top and took a few casualties to archery fire from the keep while we formed shieldwall again. We were ready to face the approaching N0rman tribute cart! But wait…my fellow Viking Jon was not on my flank. He was busy being chewed to pieces by the Norman cavalry. A first charge left five Vikings dead and the remainder in retreat. A few turns later the Normans (who had headed back toward me) about faced and charged Jon again. That was all he could take. Another five dead and he was retreating once more.

The Norman cavalry does a tap dance on Jon's Vikings.

A predictable result, really, when I stop to think about it. No matter what game it is, Jon and his father Denny are always locked in a death grip with each other. It’s some sort of family thing with the Walters’. “There can be only one!” I imagine.

At this point we decided to call the game. The end result was two pretty chewed up Saxon units, two chewed up Viking units and me standing on top of the hill taking archery fire with no friends around and some angry Normans heading my way. The rules are really very easy to play, although we dispatched with using playing cards for combat resolution and used 12-sided dice instead. We played the game in about two hours. Things bogged down a bit when we got into melee, but that’s par for the course with Dark Ages shieldwall combat. Our only complaint about the game (in fairness to Jon) is that cavalry seems very over-rated, especially against shieldwall formations. Still, with a few tweaks here and there, this is an enjoyable set of rules.

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