Sunday 29 October 2023

Never Mind The Billhooks: Mister 2 Billhooks 2023

Following on from May's Mr BIG Billhook 2023 event down Bristol Independent Gaming, yesterday saw a second Never Mind The Billhooks day at BIG - Mister 2 Billhooks 2023! Despite only having managed to get one Billhooks game in since the last event I took my Burgundians along for a day out...    

Game One: as in May my first game was against Lloyd and his Lancastrians, though this time he said he'd learnt his lesson and equipped his archers with stakes to protect them against my cavalry...

To counter the stakes I decided to load my right hand flank with all my cavalry to try and get behind.

Which Simon Le Bon and his new painted Coustilliers managed to - charging into the flank of one of the Lancastrian veteran bow and breaking it...

And then straight into a second breaking that one too! So much for the 'curse of the newly painted unit'!

Lloyd's luck was such that firing his cannon for the first time it inflicted three casualties on the Burgundians but blew up as it did so!

By overloading my right flank with cavalry it did leave my left somewhat exposed and Lloyd took advantage of this. His Hobilars bounced off my crossbow in their first attack, but subsequently polished them off.

Then my cannon exploded! It had though already inflicted a large number of casualties on the Lancastrians.

Whilst Simon Le Bon and his men finished off the second unit of Lancastrian bow...

Charles the Bold, utilising a special event card that allowed for a flank attack to which the Lancastrian Men-at-Arms and bill could not turn to face, charged in. Despite inflicting 15 hits, Lloyd managed to save all the hits on his Men-at-Arms and only lost two Billmen. The Gendarmes bounced off!

To add salt to the wound, the Lancastrian Men-at-Arms then charged in on the stunned Gendarmes, breaking them and almost routing them off the table (which would have secured Lloyd a victory as Charles the Bold, my army commander, was attached to them).

Fortunately Antoine de Bourgogne, the Bastard of Burgundy, came to the rescue charging his Gendarmes across the field of battle to break the bow and bill who were causing problems on the Burgundian left.

And then the true hero of the battle, Simon Le Bon, and his Coustilliers, finished off the remnants of the Lancastrian bow, winning the battle for Burgundy!

Game Two: my second game was against Nathan who had brought the most interesting army of the entire event - a Teutonic Crusader army comprising entirely of five squadrons of Knights! Faced with such a mobile army I decided to anchor of corner of the battlefield with the bulk of my army, use longbow, crossbow and cannon to whittle the Knights down, then unleash the Gendarmes - well that was the plan!

Blimey, those Knights were quick! My Handgunners picked off one but quickly go out of the way.

In a clash of heavy metal the Bastard of Burgundy, Antoine de Bourgogne, charged his Gendarmes in on a unit of Teutonic Knights besting them in the melee.

The cheeky Simon Le Bon, having fled a Teutonic charge, did a swift about turn and charged his Coustilliers in on the flank of a unit of Knights!

Massacring them! (apologies for the blurry photo, I was a bit shocked by this success).

Nathan tried to charge down the Burgundian light horse but Le Bon and his men managed to evade the Teutons - just!

On the Burgundian right Charles The Bold and his Gendarmes were charged by another group of enemy Knights and were forced back right to the table edge - another half inch and they would have been routed!

Philippe de Clèves though ordered the longbow in has ward to fire into the victorious Crusader Knights, the arrow storm breaking them and winning the battle for the Duchy of Burgundy!

Game Three: my final battle of the day was against Colin who brought along an Italian army which had some interesting technological advantages compared to armies from a slightly earlier period like my Burgundians - like a non-exploding cannon! Unfortunately I did not have such technology and my cannon exploded in the first turn!

We had erroneously used too many terrain items and the three areas of marsh in front of my army extremely limited its manoeuvrability. However my Handgunners managed to inflict notable casualties on the Italian Stradoits!

The surviving Italian Light Horse attempted to charge down the Burgundian skirmishers, but they managed to evade the Stardoits.

Despite his heroics in the previous two games, Simon Le Bon and his Cosutilliers had a mare. Having managed to get behind the Italians, they charged a unit of Arquebusiers in the rear and failed to inflict a single casualty, bouncing off!

The Burgundian Light Horse swiftly retreated back to their lines and with time having run out we called the battle as a no score draw (neither Colin or myself had lost a coin).

Overall, a great day of Billhooks gaming, against three different and challenging opponents. Thanks to Mike Peters for organising the event and Jim and Ellen at BIG for hosting it. If you have been intrigued by late medieval warfare but not dipped your toe in, I would heartily recommend Never Mind The Billhooks, especially with a couple of boxes of Perry Wars of the Roses or Hundred Years War plastics giving you the basis of a viable army.


  1. Excellent report Steve, well written, it gives a feel for the excitement of the games.

  2. That looks fantastic. Billhooks is on my list of things to do in 24. Great to see how it plays in technicolour!