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Reconquista: El Cid vs. The Moors (1097 AD)

Friday’s club game was refreshingly different. Philip put on a refight of the Battle of Bairen (1097), which saw El Cid and King Pedro of Aragon take on Muhammad ibn Tasufin, near Valencia in Spain.

Mal (El Cid), Tim and I (King Pedro, of course) were the Christians, whereas Doug, Theo and Phil were on the Muslim side, in what resembled a Spanish Battle of Hastings.

The Muslims, partly occupying high ground, were somewhat outclassed in cavalry, but had better missile infantry if less heavy infantry.

The Christians formed a battle line with King Pedro commanding a weak left wing, Tim in charge of the infantry in the centre, and Mal with most of the heavy cavalry on the right.

As the Christian infantry advanced, they were peppered with arrows from the Muslim foot archers, who cleared away the Christian skirmishers, and began to impact the main battle line as it plodded forwards.

Mal charged in on the right, and eventually routed two of Phil’s cavalry units and a skirmisher unit.

The Christian archers were not having a good day: they never managed to cause any damage to the Muslim Black Guard infantry they were facing throughout the entire game, despite plentiful target practice...

On the left, I had only three cavalry units, two of which were light horse archers. I managed to disperse some of Doug’s cavalry.

Eventually, in a '10:30 moment' we fought a melee, with King Pedro outnumbered, but I saw off terrible odds and survived.

Tim had gone in with the infantry, even as Theo pulled back his archers, and Tim pushed back two units of Muslim infantry by end of play. I had earlier managed to dispatch one of the Muslim champions with a roll of 12 on two d6!

The game ended indecisively, though the Christian left was weakened, the Muslim left was in peril, and the Christians had the advantage in the centre.

Overall an enjoyable game with some lovely figures. We used Swordpoint rules, which were straightforward, despite prompting a few quibbles. Historically, at Bairen the Muslims started strongly but were routed when El Cid ordered a resolute Christian attack.

Thanks to Philip for hosting. Phil suggested we fight a bigger battle set in the Reconquista sometime at the War Room, which would be terrific.


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