Sunday 14 May 2023

Never Mind The Billhooks: Mr BIG Billhook 2023

So having managed to finish paint my Burgundian army for Never Mind The Billhooks, the next day saw me down Bristol Independent Gaming to play in Mr BIG Billhook 2023 - somewhat daunting given I'd only played three intro games with organiser Mike Peters prior to this and had forgotten most of the rules! Fortunately there were enough people on hand to assist and my opponents were helpful chaps as well!

Game One:

My first battle was against Lloyd who you may recall well and truly twonked my Italians at En Avant III last year...

The initial turns were a bit to and fro, the game largely turning when Lloyd's men-at-arms hacked down most of my crossbowmen but the two survivors passed their morale check when I rolled a double 6 (see my dice rolls are always bad). This allowed my pike to smash into the flank of the men-at-arms and although the pike/bow block itself was hit in the flank by some Lancastrian billmen...

Victory was gains as Charles the Bold charged his Gendarmes into the Lancastrian levy pike who broke, securing a Burgundian win!

Game Two:

My second game was against Steve, a veteran Billhooker and he inflicted what many thought was the quickest defeat in the history of Billhooks on me, as his cannon and archers took down the Gendarmes and Charles the Bold half way through turn one!

Game Two (Redux):

As game two was over in about 15 minutes we agreed to replay it, Steve graciously allowing me to change my deployment. This game (which did not count in the scoring of the event) was a much closer affair with my Burgundians sneaking a win.

Game Three:

My final game of the day was against Elliot and initially things did not go my way with Charles the Bold and his Gendarmes "bouncing off"his billman after trying to charge them down!

In Billhooks you have to give up coins (you get one per unit) when bad things happen to your troops (a little bit like Force Morale in Sharp Practice) and when you have none to give up, the game is over. However you keep you stash hidden and only surrender a coin when your opponent claims it so Elliot was unaware that quite early on he had already wiped out my stash whilst I'd only two of his (he had six left!). Now not only did I have to try and take coins off him, but avoid getting into a situation he'd be able to claim one off me that I didn't have!

The Gods of War(gaming) were definitely on my side as I managed to whittle down his coin stash in a series of charges by my second unit of Gendarmes, my Coustilliers (light horse) getting in behind his troops and my Pike standing firm in a hard fought melee against Elliot's Billmen. An unlikely victory secured for Burgundy - and the decisive final battle of the day handing overall victory to the Yorkist (and their Burgundian allies) against the Lancastrian menace!

Individual battle honours on the day went to rules author Andy Callan who won all three of his games, but somehow I ended up joint second with Steve (who had trounced me in game two), something of a surprise given my usual level of dice rolling and my novice level at playing Billhooks. I'm already looking forward to Mr Big Billhook II in October!

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