Below is a more in-depth description of one of our new P500 games this month, Saint-Omer to Saint Crispin, from designer Mike Nagel. Enjoy!
Saint-Omer to Saint Crispin constitutes an evolution of the system presented in Sun of York, providing a lot more options during play and consequently a lot more decisions to be made. Here are some of the critical differences:
Unlike Sun of York, Saint-Omer to Saint Crispin includes a map board. This will either be a full sheet that incorporates the few combat charts and tracks, or an 11×17″ sheet with the tracks on a separate chart. In either case, two flank files are included that can be lifted and positioned as needed. I’ve been playtesting with the smaller map and it provides a nice tight footprint, but I think it would be better to do the full map with all the important reference material at hand. Terrain tiles are included that match the size of each combat area and are annotated with necessary game effects.
To fit the smaller footprint of a map board, the combat units have been changed from cards to 3/4″ counters that are easy to read and handle. Similarly sized Cohesion markers are placed beneath the combat units when they absorb hits. Hit and other status markers are half-inch.
Removing the combat units from each player’s action decks means two things. First, orders of battle for each scenario are fixed rather than random. This contradicts the original design in a significant way, but the historical records of this period are sketchy enough to allow some fudging where needed. Second, it provided the opportunity to replace the combat units with an expanded selection of battle event cards. These events are employed through the expense of command.
Command itself is handled somewhat differently. In Sun of York, command is limited to only areas occupied by leaders and supplemented by the command values on leader and even cards. In Saint-Omer to Saint Crispin, leaders on the field can project their command when needed to order units to move anywhere on the field. The “field” is noted specifically, as there are also specific areas defined as reserve areas as well as routed unit areas. To deal with issues off the field, players must rely upon command cards drawn into their hands. These commands can be used anywhere.
As noted, units under command can be moved. Moving a unit requires a varying number of command points depending upon the type of movement performed. In addition to basic forward and backward movement, units can also move sideways from “battle” (column) to “battle” as well as to and from the reserve and into the flanks. Units that have routed can also be rallied and moved from a rout area into the reserve for redeployment later.
The basics of the combat system remain unchanged. Roll x dice based upon current cohesion at or below a y value based upon the ability of the attacking unit. Key changes include a clash of arms table that provides additional die rolls based upon the type of defender. Additionally, units attack defending units directly (rather than spreading damage throughout all defending units). Defending units that suffer more hits than their current cohesion rout immediately, but can be rallied later.
Finally (at least as far as I can remember … and I’m probably forgetting something important), the morale process remains the same between the two games. Units that fail a morale check retreat (and possibly rout) without taking any damage or stick around and sustain damage assigned. An additional twist is now available where a command card can be used to flip those results when a leader is in an area with units checking morale, thus allowing leaders to lead a bit better.
All in all, I’m very happy with out Saint-Omer to Saint Crispin is coming together. If you’re interested in helping out with playtesting, drop me a note. If there’s someone with VASSAL skills who could help in assembling a module, that would be great, too. And if someone would like to take on the helm of a developer for the game, that would be the best!