The Pikeman’s Lament is a Pike and Shot skirmish game and the third in the series of expansions to Daniel Mersey’s popular Lion Rampant rules. The focus of the game is not on large battles but on encounters between smaller companies where pikemen and musketeers are grouped separately. Every unit has different special rules that provides special attacks or reaction effects. With different scenarios and a progression of experience for company commanders, there is the opportunity to stage campaigns with this rule set.
The game puts emphasis on the personal traits of the company officers. He can either be a useless no-good nobleman’s son or battle-hardened veteran. Officers have the option to challenge each other to a duel, being struck down or refusing the challenge will require a morale test for the whole company. To accompany this, there are traits that an officer can be rewarded with through honour gained in a game which will then be used in campaign although I decided to leave this element out for the first game.
For my first time hosting a game I put together some companies based on some samples from the rule book. Using Rob's ECW figures, the companies were dived into Parliamentarian and Royalist forces. The game was set around a hamlet with the main centre piece being Rob’s traditional English country church. To keep the game fast paced there is a rule that if a unit fails an activation test it is the end of that players turn. Despite some issues regarding how the instructions for the game were presented and the composition of some of the companies, everyone had enjoyed how the game played out.
With positive feedback and some suggestions for improvements in the event of future sessions I will be looking into creating a more condensed custom reference sheet that will attempt to simplify the rules as well as looking at a new approach to building companies.