Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Border Reivers withLegendary Wargames

Richard and Andy from Legendary Wargames invited me to play a series of Border Reiver games with the Katrinzky family at their new Legendary Wargames Gaming Facility, as I havent had chance to visit the new premises I jumped at the chance.

I have to say first impressions were just WOW!

The setting couldnt be better, right in Bronte Country in West Yorkshire and about 20 minutes off the M62, the views of the Pennines are breathtaking. The Gaming room is in a dedicated lodge type building.and the room configuration allows for a variety of table sizes from six 6x8 feet tables up to two 22x8 feet tables. So loads of scope. I know the guys have further plans to tart the place up even further but I am sure you will agree it is already a fabulous looking venue.

Rupert, son Eric and Daughter Sissy have played each year with the Legendary Wargames team for a weekend for a few years now, I had the pleasure of playing the year before last with them for a weekend of Arthurian Post Roman games. Rupert has a fantastic approach to tieing a weekends gaming to visits to historical sites and fun education for the kids which is brilliant. In the days running up to the weekend of gaming the family read books, visited museums, Pele Houses, Castles and other sites all along the border marches and the kids had a real feel for both the history and the border "lingo".
The room was set up with 6 8x6 tables. 4 would be the areas where individual games would play out. One would host all the figures and paraphernalia and the last would be the master gaming table.
Each table was different with one representing Carlisle and each of the others various levels of defended village.

The games were based around Andys own designed game. Essentially the meat of the game is a campaign where individual players each have a family of border reivers and one player also plays the Warden (Sissy was very good at arresting people or taking bribes not to!)

Each family would then compete to stay ahead of the others by extorting, raiding, stealing and generally causing mayhem for money.

Great fun!
There is a map of the West March of the borders with each families territory marked. There are also a series of event cards to add spice.

Each player starts with their family or gang leader or Heidman and 6 points to spend on villainous followers. 1 point gets you a general cut throat and 2 points a named Reiver with better abilities. All three players picked one named reiver and 4 general types to add to their leader.

Each figure has a character card and Andy had produced a specific card for each miniature so the miniatures matched their cards which was a nice touch.

The game works through phases with opportunities to buy gear, horses etc or recruit more men along with phases where you can extort black rent from your neighbours or go raiding for cattle and "insight". Your own lands produce a degree of rent every month but you also have to pay your band of villains.

In some ways its like a murderous game of monopoly with sword wielding characters trying to knock each other off
Richard, Andy and I all already have groups of Reivers with mounted and dismounted versions of the same character so it was nice for me to get some of these on table. Andy had even made character cards for my figures. Cheers Andy.
A roster sheet for my family (The notorious Elliots) completes the set up and allows me to keep on top of my gains and losses.
After initial preparations the game kicked off with both Eric and Rupert launching raids for cattle whilst Richard settled for some general extortion and I had to stay at home due to a visit from the friendly March Warden (Sissy needed paying off)
The game play for the raids was skirmish level. Each figure is an individual and movement is you move a figure and I move a figure so lots of manoeuvring. The Long suffering border farmers trying to drive off their livestock whilst the Reivers attempt to head them off, steel the animals and get away with them.

The game play encourages non-fatal fighting, after all you cant go back and extort more from a dead peasant! Anyone killing off too many folks goes up the notoriety scale, if they go too high the March Warden is forced to leave off extorting people and go arrest the culprit, usually with nasty side effects.
After the first round of raiding Eric and Rupert move to the next phase of selling their ill gotten gains at Market, we all pay our followers and the turn is over.

At this point we break off for a lunch of steak Pie, chips and beans before returning to plunder our neighbours.

The afternoon is punctuated with cuppas, buns and cakes and another few moves each as we all get the hang of things and get into the swing of the robbery and mayhem.
We overrun and dont finish playing until after 6pm as we having so much fun we lose track of time but has been a great day of gaming.
Its the only day I can make with other commitments but Rupert, Sissy and Eric play the rest of the weekend with raids, ambushes and various other escapades ably assisted by Richard and Andy. They agree its been the best weekend so far and have already booked for next year. Well done Legendary Wargames team.

For anyone wanting more information on Legendary Wargames the web site is and you can also find them on Facebook.

Finally I would like to sign off by sharing some fantastic news. For those of you that know wargaming chum Howard Brady you may be aware that we have not seen is irrepressible grin around the table for some time. He was diagnosed with a fairly rare and aggressive cancer and things were looking particularly grim. He was offered Chemo more in hope than expectation of anything positive, however yesterday, in a complete plot twist, he had the amazing news that recent tests have no trace at all of cancer. Remission!

This has put a massive smile on my face today. Congratulations Howard, I hope to see you soon. Maybe a catch up and a butty at Partizan?

On that happy note I will leave you again and say thank you for reading. Take care everyone.


  1. Great news about Howard and buildings look great

    1. Isnt it just Jerry and the buildings you did for the boys look great.

  2. Looks like a great game. And so much info Roj. I don't know how you remember it. That pele tower knocks the socks off my Ian Weekly one. Great news on Howard. See lots of you on Sunday

  3. Thanks Roger, nobody was more surprised than Alice and I when we were told the test results. I'm not up to speed yet but that's the next task. Isn't life wonderful!

    1. Brilliant Howard I am over the moon for you and Alice, hope to see you soon.

  4. I, too, like the terrain (I actually live in Northumberland!) - one thing though, External stone stairways were a later addition, usually in the post Reiver period. A ladder would be standard, as it could be pulled inside to make the Pele more defensible.

    1. Afair point Herkeybird which I am sure Richa nd Andy will bear in mind.

  5. The centre looks fantastic. Really looking forward to seeing it in the flesh. Dave told me the good news today - certainly cheered me up. Great stuff Howard!!

  6. Great report. Sounds like a great way to play Border Reivers. We've been trying to figure out how set up a campaign game.

    1. Cheers Bill, I was impressed with how it came together, I imagine there will be a few more games before Andy is satisfied he has done all the tweaks he needs, but seems pretty close to me.