The game would be heavily influenced by the film and about half of the players were either El Cid first timers or Hail Caesar first timers.
I was given command of the Moors with Malcolm and Mike on my flanks whilst opposite me Richard, Chris and Brian would command the Spanish Christian forces.
At one end of the table were the walls of Valencia and at the other a monastery, clearly the Cids first task would be to rescue Sofia Lauren from the Monastery and then it was just a question in my mind of when the Christian Knights would debauch from the City and if Alphonso would arrive with further reinforcements. I wasn't a million miles away from the truth as it goes.
A level of minor confusion was added by the presence of at least 8 El Cid model figures on the table, only one of them of course being used as the man himself.
|Just one of the many El Cid's on table this is the Gripping Beast one|
The Christian Forces were as follows.
Rodrigo Diaz Commanding rating 8
El Cids bodyguard 2 units of light horse
Valencia Garrison 4 x unarmoured foot, 1 x archers, 2 x crossbows
Asturian Light Horse x 4
Asturian Knights x 4
Leon armoured foot x 3
Leon unarmoured foot x 3
Leon slingers x 1
Leon crossbows x 1
Catalan Armoured Foot x 3
Catalan unarmoured foot x 2
Catalan Slingers x 1
Catalan Archers x 2
Alphonso's Royal Knights x 4 may or may not turn up (Of course they did!)
Each section of the army had its own commander with a rating of 8.
Commander Ben Yusuf rating 8
Cordoba armoured foot x 2
Cordoba Unarmoured foot x 2
Cordoba Archers x 1
Cordoba Crossbows x 2
Cordoba Light Horse x 1
Cordoba Armoured Horse x 3
Cordoba Light Horse Archers x 3
Berber Light Horse x 6
Berber unarmoured foot x 6
Berber archers x 4
Black Guard Foot x 6
Black Guard archers x 3
Three commands all rated at 8.
All of the skirmishers for both sides had the MARAUDERS rule allowing no deductions for being outside command radius.
The Knights had the LANCE special rule, reducing saving throws of the enemy by one, the horse archers had PARTHIAN SHOT allowing a closing shot before they evade. Berber and Black Guard foot had LONG SPEARS negating enemies charge bonus and making them a little tougher. Odd units also had STUBBORN or TOUGH FIGHTERS, but as predicted before we started we all forgot to use these last ones.
Overall the forces were balanced. The Moors had one extra unit and slightly more missile troops, this was more than balanced by the quality of the Christian forces, particularly the Knights.
|This particular El Cid sculpted I think by Mark Copplestone appeared on table at least three times|
The Black Guard now occupied the centre of the table with their right flank anchored on an impassable marsh and skirmishers thrown out and causing some pain and frustration to Brians Christian Cavalry.
However at the same time King Alphonso turned p as predicted with a further force of 4 units of armoured Knights.
Mikes great block of Berber foot was still sat on the base line practically but his cavalry had now driven back Brians light cavalry and was harassing the supporting Knights.
I had pulled by my light cavalry back to fill the gap that was starting to open up on my left as Malcolms foot charged forward after their blunders and his cavalry engaged with the Christian hordes now pouring out of Valencia.
Alphonsos newly arrived Knights charged Malcolms exposed Andalusian foot and forced them back whilst Brians Knights charged the Black guard with slightly less positive results. Brians Knights retired after losing and inflicting about equal numbers of casualties. In my go my archers went back forward to harass Brians men only to have him charge me again and force half of the Black Guard back one move.
The Christians were doing marginally better but there was a huge amount left to play for. The Christians claimed victory but we were not so sure.
A cracking game with the three who had not played before being converted I think.
Thanks for reading and please return for our next thrilling instalment.