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David Beaupre (Order #16990741)

Shields & Swords: Stamford Bridge & A Hill Near Hastings - Rules of Play 1

Stamford Bridge & A Hill Near Hastings

1.0 INTRODUCTION AND INTENT 2.3 Command Counters
The Shields and Swords (S&S) system is a low- Each Player will have a pool of Command Counters used to
complexity, quick-playing, coarse-grain look at determine which kinds of actions, or "phases", his Units can
medieval linear warfare that strives to be mussless perform during his turn. Each Command Counter is double-
and fussless. Command Markers dictate which sided:
actions are performed by which Units in a given • Move/Shield Wall
turn; troop discipline and leadership quality is • Combat/Withdraw
abstracted via the mix of Command Markers each player has • Fire/Horse
available, and the number that can be played for a given Wing. • Double
Other than that, it generally utilizes concepts common to other
historical wargames, so experienced gamers should be in 2.4 Initiative Marker
familiar territory. The Initiative Marker may be used by the player who possesses
it to take a second full turn in a row; when he does so, his
2.0 COMPONENTS opponent takes possession of the marker. The battle rules will
Each battle is played with one or more mapsheets, a set of die- indicate which player starts with Initiative.
cut counters, and these rules. Each game and battle will also
have their own special rules. A six-sided die is required. 2.5 Suppression Markers
Suppression Markers are placed during the Fire Phase and
2.1 Mapsheets provide a bonus to enemies that target that Unit in Combat.
A hex-grid is superimposed over each mapsheet to regulate
movement, combat, and terrain. 2.6 Charts & Tables
The following charts and tables are used:
2.2 Unit Counters • Unit Type Modifier Matrix: Provides a die roll modifier
Each player will control certain Units per the battle rules. Units (DRM) to Combat.
are represented by double-sided counters, which impart • Combat Results Table: Used to resolve Combat.
information about that Unit and its abilities. Scale varies wildly
from battle to battle; forces are merely representative of 3.0 SEQUENCE OF PLAY
possible relative numbers. A battle is played in a series of alternating Player Turns until
one of the battle's ending conditions are met. Each Player Turn
comprises the following phases, performed in the following
• COMMAND PHASE (4.0): The Player assigns
Commands to his Wings.
• ACTION PHASES: The Player carries out the
Commands he assigned, in the following order:
o Fire Phase (9.0)
o Horse Phase (10.0)
o Withdraw Phase (6.0)
o Shield Wall Phase (8.0)
o Move Phase (5.0)
The background color indicates to which Wing the Unit o Second Move Phase (5.7)
belongs. Each Unit is given a Combat Class (CC) ranging from o Combat Phase (7.0)
"AA" (best) to "F" (worst); Archer Units also have a Fire Rating o Second/Pitched Combat Phase (7.7)
associated with their Combat Class. Finally, the Unit Type is
• INITIATIVE PHASE (11.0): If the Player holds the
indicated by the Unit's illustration.
Initiative Marker, he may Declare Initiative at the end
• Veteran: Game term for the well-experienced, well- of his Turn. If he does not Declare Initiative, or does
trained, and well-armed. not hold the marker, play passes to his opponent.
• Levy: Game term for militia, Fyrd, and other axe-
• Archer: Game term for bowmen.
The rules for each battle will indicate which Command Counters
• Horse: Game term for the men who ride on horses; no,
a Player has access to, and how many Command Counters he
the game term for the horses who men ride on is not
can play for each of his Wings on a single Player Turn. This will
determine which Action Phases he will perform on his Player
Turn. The chosen Counters are placed in front of him, and
Most Units have two Steps of Strength. When a Unit takes a
remain in place for the duration of the Player Turn. At the start
Step-Loss as a result of Combat, it is flipped to its reduced side,
of his next Player Turn, he will take the previously played
indicated by a yellow stripe. When a reduced Unit takes a Step-
Command Counters back into his possession; Command
Loss, it is eliminated from the game. Units with only one Step
Counters are never lost or expended unless specified in the
have the yellow stripe and identical CC ratings printed on both
battle rules.
sides. Once the game has begun, neither Player may examine
the reverse sides of the Unit Counters.

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Shields & Swords: Stamford Bridge & A Hill Near Hastings - Rules of Play 2
4.1 Wings 5.4 Reinforcements
The Player will control one or more Wings. Each Wing is Some battles allow for reinforcements. The first hex entered
considered a distinct entity for the purposes of Command; counts as one of the three hexes that Unit may move in a
phases chosen for one Wing are not performed for another. If a Phase.
player assigns the same Command to more than one Wing,
then each Wing resolves the chosen action in the same phase. 5.5 Shield Wall Effects on Move Phase
Units in Shield Wall may not move during the Move Phase.
4.2 Wing Integrity (Levies & Archers)
At the beginning of each Phase, a Player must ascertain that 5.6 Second Move Phase
his Levy and Archer Units for a given Wing satisfy one of the The first Move Phase must be completely resolved for all
following two conditions: relevant Wings before a second Move Phase is performed.
• If there are Veteran/Horse Units remaining for that
Wing, the Levy/Archer Unit is within six hexes of that 6.0 WITHDRAW PHASE
Unit, or A Wing may perform one Withdraw Phase during a Player Turn.
• If there are no Veteran/Horse Units remaining for that During this Phase, any, all, or none of the Units for that Wing
Wing, the Levy/Archer Unit is within four hexes of two which begin the Phase in EZOC may move one hex (two if the
other Levy/Archer Units. Double counter is used), provided they move away from EZOC,
Units that do not satisfy these conditions at the start of any never enter EZOC, and end the Phase completely free of
Phase during the owning Player's Player Turn are eliminated. EZOC.
These eliminations count toward Victory Conditions.
4.3 Double Phases A Wing may perform one or two normal Combat Phases, or one
Though a Player may have two of the same Command Counter, Pitched Combat Phase, during a Player Turn. Combat is never
they cannot play the same side of the same Command Counter mandatory.
on a single Wing, e.g., he cannot play two "Move" Command
Counters on the same Wing. However, he may play a Double 7.1 Procedure
Phase Counter (if he has one) in conjunction with another Each Combat Phase is resolved as a series of Attacks. Each
Command Counter: Attack is declared and resolved separately; the Player is not
• Double + Move: The Wing performs a second Move required to declare all Attacks for a Phase ahead of time. If a
Phase immediately after the first. Combat Phase is chosen for multiple Wings, they are resolved
• Double + Combat: The Wing either performs a in the same Combat Phase (but see 7.2). Each Attack is
second Combat Phase immediately after the first, or resolved by performing the following steps in order:
performs a single Pitched Combat Phase. 1. Declaration
• Double + Withdraw: Withdrawing Units belonging to 2. CC Determination
the chosen Wing may Withdraw two hexes. 3. DRM Determination
• Double + Fire: The Wing's Archers subtract one from 4. Attack roll
their target number (C4 becomes C3, C5 becomes 5. Results
• Double + Horse: The Wing's Horse increase their CC 7.2 Declaration
by two classes when Charging. Each Attack is commenced by declaring the target of the Attack,
• Double + Shield Wall: Units in EZOC may also and identifying the Units who will be Attacking. During a single
Withdraw one hex when forming Shield Wall. Combat Phase, each Unit may participate in one, and only one,
Attack: each friendly Unit may only Attack once, and each
5.0 MOVE PHASE enemy Unit may only be the target of one Attack. Further, each
A Wing may perform one or two Move Phases in a Player Turn. Attack may only target one enemy Unit, and that enemy Unit
These Move Phases are distinct and separate. During a single must be within the ZOC of the Attacking Unit(s). Multiple friendly
Move Phase, any, all, or none of the Units for a given Wing may Units that belong to the same active Wing may participate in the
move up to three hexes, provided their movement is not same Attack against the targeted enemy Unit:
restricted by enemies, terrain (12.0), or Shield Wall. • The Attacking Unit with the best base CC is the
Primary Unit.
5.1 Stacking Limit • All other friendly Units participating in the same Attack
Only one Unit may occupy a given hex. A Unit may move are Participating Units.
through a hex occupied by a friendly Unit, but may not end its • Horse Units may not Participate in an Attack with
movement within that hex. A Unit may never move through or friendly non-Horse Units, and vice-versa.
enter a hex occupied by an enemy Unit. • If multiple Units have the same best base CC, the
active player chooses which Unit is Primary.
5.2 Zones of Control
Each Unit exerts a Zone of Control (ZOC) into the six hexes 7.3 CC Determination
surrounding it. When a Unit enters an Enemy Zone of Control The Primary Unit's base Combat Class is increased (B
(EZOC) they must end their Movement for the current Move becomes A) according to the following:
Phase. Units that begin the Move Phase in EZOC may not • +1 if target is Suppressed
move. Units may not move through a friendly Unit's hex if that • +1 if Pitched Combat Phase
hex is in EZOC. • +1 if attacking Downhill (12.1)

5.3 Map Edge The Primary Unit's base Combat Class is decreased (A
Units may not leave the map for any reason during any phase. becomes B) according to the following:
If a Unit is required to retreat off the map as a result of Combat, • -1 if target is in Shield Wall
they suffer a Step-Loss instead. • -1 if Attacking Wing is in Shield Wall

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Shields & Swords: Stamford Bridge & A Hill Near Hastings - Rules of Play 3
These modifiers are cumulative. Determine the net modification
before applying it (an B-class Unit with a +2 and a -1 becomes 7.8 Advancing After Combat
an A-class Unit). A Unit's CC cannot be improved beyond AA, When an enemy Unit is Eliminated or Retreats during an Attack,
nor degraded below F. one of the Attacking Units may move into the vacated hex,
regardless of EZOCs which may apply. Defenders that have
7.4 DRM Determination repelled or Eliminated their Attacker(s) do not Advance. Units in
Now it is time to determine the Die Roll Modifier (DRM) that will Shield Wall may not Advance, and Units may not Advance
be applied to the attack roll: uphill (12.1).
• Cross-reference the Unit Type of the Primary Unit with
that of the target on the Unit Type Modifier Matrix; this 8.0 SHIELD WALL PHASE
will yield a modifier ranging from +2 (bad) to -1 (good). A Wing may perform one Shield Wall Phase during a Player
• -1 for each Participating Unit of the same base CC as Turn. Until the beginning of that Player's next Turn, all Levy and
the Primary Unit. Veteran Units belonging to that Wing are considered to be in
• -1 for every two Participating Units of a lower CC Shield Wall:
(round up). • They fight at -1CC, and enemy Units Attack them at -
1CC as well (7.3)
These modifiers are cumulative. Some games (e.g., Thor's • They ignore all Retreat results (7.6)
Hammer) will have additional DRMs. • They may not Advance (7.8)
• Enemy Archers add one to their target number (9.2)
Example: Myrtle has two A-class Veterans and one B-class • They may not Move during a Move Phase (5.6)
Levy attacking an enemy Levy. One of the A-class Units is her During the Shield Wall Phase, Levy and Veteran Units in the
Primary Unit. She consults the Unit Type Modifier Matrix and activated Wing may move one hex, provided they do not begin
gets a favorable -1. Her second A-class Unit gives her another - the Shield Wall Phase in EZOC. The use of the Double Counter
1. She has one Unit with a lower CC, the B-class Unit; she gets in conjunction with a Shield Wall Phase allows Shield Wall Units
another -1 as it's for every two Units, rounding up. This results in EZOC to Withdraw one hex. Note that Horse and Archer
in a net DRM of -3. Units do not go into Shield Wall, and so do not receive these
benefits or restrictions. As a mnemonic, only units that can go
7.5 Attack Roll and Results into Shield Wall have a shield on their counters.
The Player rolls one die, applies the DRM, and cross-
references the result with the modified CC of the Primary Unit Shield Wall does not in every battle necessarily represent the
on the Combat Results Table; the indicated result is then early medieval tactic, but the general idea of a strong defensive
applied. Results that indicate a "D" apply to the defending target posture.
Unit; results that indicate an "A" apply to Attacking Units:
• DE/AE: The Unit is Eliminated; remove it from play. In
the case of AE, the owning player chooses one of the
A Wing's Archers may perform one Fire Phase during a Player
Attacking Units to be Eliminated.
Turn. This allows any, all, or none of the Archer Units for that
• DL/AL: The Unit loses one Step. Full-strength, two-
Wing to perform Fire against an enemy Unit. Each Fire is
step Units are flipped to their reduced side, while
declared and resolved separately; the Player is not required to
reduced or one-step Units are Eliminated as above. In
declare all Firing for a Phase ahead of time. Each Fire is
the case of AL, the owning player chooses one of the
resolved by performing the following steps in order:
Attacking Units to lose a Step.
1. Declaration
• DR/AR: The Unit Retreats (7.6). In the case of AR, all 2. Target Number Modifier
Attacking Units must Retreat. 3. Fire Roll & Results
• EX: The target loses one Step, and one Attacking Unit
(owning player's choice) loses one Step. 9.1 Declaration
• NE: No Effect. Each Firing Unit may fire only once in a Fire Phase; however,
• Results with an asterisk (*) may, solely at the the same enemy Unit may be targeted by multiple firing Units in
Attacker's option, be treated as an EX result if the the same Phase. Only Archer Units that are not adjacent to
Defender is in Shield Wall. enemy Units may Fire, and they may only Fire on an enemy
Unit that is up to four hexes distant (count the target hex, but
7.6 Retreats not the Firing Unit's hex). Add two hexes to this distance if the
A defending Unit forced to Retreat must move his Unit one (and Archer occupies High Ground (12.1) and the target does not. In
only one) hex away from all Attacking Units, and away from all specific battles, certain types of Terrain may "block" the Archer,
EZOC; Attacking Units forced to Retreat must each move one preventing them from Firing.
(and only one) hex away from the defending Unit, and away
from all EZOC. Units may not move through or "push" friendly 9.2 Target Number Modifier
Units. If unable to satisfy all conditions of the Retreat, the Unit Each Archer Unit has a Target Number equal to their Fire
does not move and instead loses a Step. However: Units in Rating, typically a "4" or "5", which they must meet or exceed on
Shield Wall ignore all DR/AR results without penalty. a die roll in order for the Fire to be successful. This Number
may be modified as follows:
7.7 Second or Pitched Combat Phase • +1 if target is in Shield Wall
Playing Double + Combat Phase Counters allows a Wing to • -1 if Archer occupies High Ground and target does not
either perform two Combat Phases in tandem, or one Pitched • -1 if target is a Horse Unit
Combat Phase. A second Phase is only performed after the first
• -1 if Double Counter was used in conjunction with the
Combat Phase, for all Wings, has been completely resolved. If
Fire Phase
some Wings choose one or two normal Combat Phases, and
other Wings a Pitched Combat Phase, the Pitched Combat
These modifiers are cumulative.
Phase is performed last. Per rule 7.3, a Pitched Combat Phase
increases the base CC of Primary Units by one level. It is
otherwise like a normal Combat Phase.

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Shields & Swords: Stamford Bridge & A Hill Near Hastings - Rules of Play 4
9.3 Fire Roll & Results
The active Player rolls one die. If the result is less than the
Target Number as modified by 9.2, nothing happens. If the
Shields & Swords System
result is equal or greater than the modified Target Number, TOM RUSSELL
• and the target is not Suppressed, it becomes
Suppressed; place a Suppression Marker on the
• and the target is Suppressed, the target loses one Game Design
When Suppressed Units are Attacked, the Primary Unit's CC is
increased by 1 (7.3). All Suppression Markers are removed
from all of a Player's Units (rendering them no longer
Suppressed) at the beginning of his next Player Turn. Development
A Wing's Horse Units may perform one Horse Phase during a
Player Turn. During this Phase, any, all, or none of the Horse
Units may move 3 hexes. Horse Units that begin in EZOC may Unit Counter & Map Art
still move, but must stop if they enter EZOC. After resolving this
movement for all acting Horse Units, any, all, or none of the GABRIEL GENDRON
Horse Units that are now in enemy EZOC may Attack enemy
Units. (This includes Horse Units that did not move during the
Phase.) This is called a Charge; it is resolved as a normal
Attack, but only Horse Units may Attack/Support. (If the Double
Command Counter Design
Marker is used in conjunction with a Horse Phase, the Charging JOSE R. FAURA
Horse Units get +2 CC.) Note that the Horse Phase is distinct
from the Move and Combat Phases, and does not preclude the
Horse Unit taking part in those Phases.


A Player with the Initiative Marker in his possession has
Initiative. He may Declare Initiative at the end of his Turn. When
he does so, he passes the Initiative Marker to his opponent, and
then immediately takes another full Player Turn, beginning with
a new Command Phase. If he does not Declare Initiative, or
does not hold the marker, play automatically passes to his


Some Terrain features have important effects on Movement and

12.1 High Ground

High Ground represents hills and other elevated terrain
features. Moving or attacking from a lower level of elevation to a
higher one is called uphill: Units that are attacking uphill may
not advance into the vacated hex unless in doing so they enter
no EZOC. Moving or attacking from the higher level of elevation
to the lower one is called downhill: Attacking Units get +1CC,
and Archers get +2 hexes to their range and -1 to their Target
Number when Firing. Otherwise, the High Ground has no other
effects on movement/combat.

12.2 Rivers
Rivers are impassable, except at a bridge or ford. Units do not
project an EZOC across the impassable hexsides and therefore
cannot attack.
12.3 Trenches
Trenches are a hexside feature. Units attacking across a trench
hexside do so at -2CC.

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Shields & Swords: Stamford Bridge & A Hill Near Hastings - Rules of Play 5
happen: Harold II, Harald III, Tostig, and William of Normandy.

Though the Conqueror would not land on English shores for
three more days, he was both a catalyst for, and primary
The Battle of Stamford Bridge, fought on 25 September 1066, is beneficiary of, what transpired at Stamford Bridge.
in some ways typical of battles from its period, in that two
armies stood in a line and bashed the hell out of each other. The English Succession
Warfare of the period was a bloody affair, and this battle was no Before the Conquest, rule of England was-- at least in theory if
different; there were heavy casualties on both sides. The story not always in practice-- not a hereditary right passed down from
goes that of the 300 ships the Vikings brought to Britain, only father to son. Rather, upon the death of a King, the witena
twenty-seven were needed to carry the battle's survivors back gemot ("meeting of wise men") would elect a successor. This
home. The losses sustained by the English were no less was markedly different from the way things were done across
catastrophic, and I would argue that this would be a decisive the sea in France and the "confusion" that arose between
factor in the Battle of Hastings, fought less than three weeks Harold and William of Normandy-- either real or feigned for
later. political reasons-- may have been a major factor in the events
of 1066.
That being said, we don't know quite how catastrophic the
losses were; we're not even sure how many men each side Further clouding the issue, much like the Holy Roman Empire,
fielded. We don't know much about the battle at all. We know the English Throne did tend to be a family affair. Edgar the
that two armies met at the River Derwent, one headed by Peaceful (r. 959-975) was succeeded by his sons Edward the
Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, and the other Martyr (r. 975-978), then Edward's brother, AEthelred, who was
by Harald III of Norway (with some "help" from Harold's brother between ten and thirteen at the time of his "election". (Clearly,
Tostig). We know that Harold won, and that both Harald and the witena gemot picked the right man for the job.) History gives
Tostig died. And really, that's about it. The historical record is AEthelred the unfortunate cognomen "the Unready", and sure,
dubious at best. Our three main contemporary sources are the I'm pretty sure anyone who is asked to rule a kingdom before
Icelandic historian-poet Snorri Sturluson, born thirteen years and/or while he's going through puberty would not be quite up
after the battle, the anonymous Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and the for the task. But that's actually a later mistranslation of his Old
Bayeux Tapestry. All of these are heavily biased and come from English cognomen, unraed, or "badly counseled", which is itself
a period in which history was largely indistinguishable from, and a pun on the name AEthelred, which means "noble counsel".
as mutable as, mythology and propaganda.
Ready or not, AEthelred ruled until 1013, when he fled the
What we do know quite a bit about are the reasons why the Danes led by Sweyn Forkbeard. Sweyn ruled as King of both
battle was fought, and it doesn't take much guesswork to suss England and Denmark for seven months, dying in February
out the motivations of the four men who made the battle 1014, at which point AEthelred retook his throne, holding it until

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Shields & Swords: Stamford Bridge & A Hill Near Hastings - Rules of Play 6
his own death in 1016. AEthelred was then succeeded by his causing a sharp divide between "native" Anglo-Saxon lords and
son, Edmund Ironside (r. 1016), who did not solve mysteries their "foreign" counterparts. These tensions came to a head in
from a wheelchair, but whose kingdom was invaded by Sweyn 1051 when Eustace II, Count of Boulogne, was attacked by
Forkbeard's son, Cnut the Great (r. 1016-1035). Anglo-Saxon peasants in Dover. Eustace being married to
Edward's sister, the King was displeased and instructed Godwin
Cnut ruled England, Denmark, and Norway until his death. At to punish Dover for the insult. Godwin refused, siding against
that time, rule of Norway passed to Magnus the Good. England the Count, and the King. In response, the King had Godwin and
was given to his son Harold Harefoot (r. 1035-1040), and his sons exiled with the support of the Earl of Northumbria.
Denmark to his son Harthacnut. Upon his half-brother's death,
Harthacnut was elected to the throne of England as well, but The Godwins did not take their exile gracefully. In 1052, they
only ruled for two years before his own death. The throne of returned to England, intent on restoring their earldoms, through
Denmark then passed to Magnus, now King of both Denmark force if necessary. They garnered support with both the
and Norway. populace and the navy, and Edward caved. The House of
Godwin had strong-armed the King, and won. When Godwin
Harthacnut's mother was Emma of Normandy, who in addition died, his son Harold succeeded him as Earl of Wessex. In 1055,
to being the great aunt of our future conqueror, was also the the Godwin family's hold on power was strengthened when
widow of Cnut's predecessor AEthelred and the mother, with Harold's brother Tostig was made the Earl of Northumbria upon
AEthelred, of Edward the Confessor (r. 1042-1066), Hartha- the previous Earl's demise.
cnut's half-brother and successor in England. Edward's own
successor would be his brother-in-law Harold Godwinson, who Tostig was not the worst of the Godwins, but he came close.
was himself the nephew of Cnut's brother-in-law. (The worst would be Godwin's eldest son, Sweyn, who had
been exiled multiple times from multiple countries for
House of Godwin kidnapping a nun, murdering a cousin, and other assorted
Harold's father, Godwin, enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence indiscretions.) In Northumbria, Tostig proved himself a heavy-
upon the seizure of the English throne by Cnut the Great. handed and ineffectual ruler who oppressed the peasants and
Godwin would have been fifteen years old when Cnut was assassinated members of the Northumbrian aristocracy. He is
crowned. Within two years, Cnut had created him an Earl, likely supposed to have gone so far as to murder two guests in his
only of eastern Wessex; by the time he was nineteen, Godwin home that had been promised safe passage, which was
had been created the full-blown Earl of Wessex. His holdings particularly egregious.
there, and the family estates in Sussex, made him a very
powerful and wealthy man. The reasons why he was especially After ten years, in 1065, the Northumbrians rebelled, occupying
a favorite of the King's, and what he could have done to merit the city of York and killing Tostig's supporters. They demanded
this elevation at such an early age, remain obscure. Tostig's removal from power. The King sent Harold to negotiate
with the rebels, and Harold advocated branding his brother an
There is a story of a daring midnight raid Godwin personally led outlaw. This, naturally, did not sit well with Tostig. He publicly
during Cnut's campaign in Denmark against the Wends, which accused his brother of being behind the rebellion so that he
may have earned the King's trust. This either occurred before or would have a pretext to get rid of him.
after he became Earl of all of Wessex; if it didn't result in
Godwin's elevation, it at least seemed to confirm the wisdom of There are several theories behind Harold's repudiation of his
Cnut's decision. While in Denmark, Godwin married Gytha brother. It could be that, as Tostig claimed, he wanted Tostig
Thorkelsdottir, the sister of Ulf Jarl ("Ulf the Earl"). Ulf was removed for some reason. It could be that exiling Tostig helped
Cnut's regent in Denmark, himself married to Cnut's sister to distance himself from the more unseemly elements of his
Estrith, and the foster father to Harthacnut. Godwin's marriage relations, making it more likely that the witena gemot would
to Ulf's sister further cemented his ties to Cnut and his line. name him successor to the ailing Edward, who would be dead
in less than four months (perhaps for the same reason, he had
In 1035, when Cnut died, it was unclear if the Danish King's son been a strong advocate of his elder brother Sweyn's permanent
Harold Harefoot would reign, or if the deposed House of exile). And it could have something to do with William, the Duke
Wessex-- AEthelred's line-- would retake the throne. One of of Normandy.
AEthelred's sons with Emma of Normandy, Alfred the Noble,
tried to do precisely that, returning from a long exile in The Boy Duke
Normandy. The story goes that Alfred was met by Godwin, who The illegitimate son of Robert I and a tanner's daughter, William
swore loyalty to the credulous pretender. Rather than lead became Duke of Normandy at the age of seven. As is ever the
Alfred and his men to safety as promised, Godwin delivered case in these situations, the real governance was conducted by
them to Harold Harefoot's men. Alfred's eyes were put out, and the young Duke's guardians. Control of William, and thus his
he died early the next year. duchy, was hotly contested, and his guardians often met violent
ends. Sensing weakness, rebellions and invasions of the duchy
One would think that Godwin's power and influence would have abounded during these formative years. But William was
ended abruptly upon the ascension of Alfred's brother Edward. anything but weak, proving himself an able commander and
But that was not the case; Godwin may even have been ruler. He more-or-less had consolidated his power in Normandy
instrumental in having Edward elected in the first place. The in 1060, at the age of twenty-five.
connection between Godwin and the King was again cemented
by marriage in 1045, this time between the Confessor and In 1051, with Godwin and his sons in exile and no longer
Godwin's daughter, Edith. Around the same time, Godwin's son considered contenders for the throne, the sixteen year old
Harold became the Earl of East Anglia, strengthening the William went to visit his cousin Edward in England. According to
family's power. With the King childless, it was not a stretch to William, the King named him heir to the throne. Setting aside of
suppose that Godwin would be the natural choice of the witena course the nominatively elective nature of the English monarchy
gemot to succeed him. at this time, the return of the Godwins to England the following
year, and the steady accumulation of the family's power, put
But then the Godwins overplayed their hand. When Edward William's claim in doubt. Certainly, this is something that both
came to power, he peopled his court with many Normans, William and Harold Godwinson would have been cognizant of.

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Shields & Swords: Stamford Bridge & A Hill Near Hastings - Rules of Play 7
In 1064, Harold Godwinson makes an unusual and fateful sea Stiklestad when attempting to win back his throne. Harald was
voyage, and is shipwrecked on the coast of Northern France. fifteen at the time and took part in the battle. After his brother's
There he is captured, and given into William's custody. Harold death, Harald went into exile, earning a considerable fortune in
fights alongside William in Brittany, and-- at least according to the Byzantine Empire and Kievan Rus', and finding great
the Bayeux Tapestry and other Norman sources-- is knighted by success as a military commander.
William. In doing so, he swore fealty to William, and promised to
support his claim to the throne. Norman sources further state As we previously mentioned, when Cnut died, rule of Norway
that Harold was sent to France by Edward to do exactly this. fell to Magnus the Good, the illegitimate son of Olaf, and
Magnus picked up Denmark upon the death of Harthacnut.
Magnus's rule in Denmark was challenged by Sweyn
Estriddsen, Cnut's nephew and the son of Ulf Jarl (told you we'd
get to him in a minute). Harald allied himself with Sweyn against
Magnus. Perhaps fearful of his uncle's military prowess,
Magnus offered to share the throne with Harald, who agreed.

Two years later, in 1047, Magnus died while in Denmark,

leaving Harald sole ruler of Norway. While he had no problems
consolidating his power in Norway with a brutal efficiency that
earned him the cognomen Hardrada (hard ruler), enforcing his
claim to Denmark proved to be more difficult. He spent the next
seventeen years campaigning against his former ally Sweyn
Estriddsen. The war was costly and frustratingly indecisive;
victory in combat and repeated coastal raids did not translate
into actual conquest. Finally in 1064, Harald threw up his hands
and relinquished his claim.
"Harold swears an oath to Duke William."
Having just extradited his country from the Danish quagmire, it
Of course, we have no way of knowing whether or not any of would seem odd that Harald Hardrada would ally with Tostig
this is true. It could be no promise was made; it could be one against Harold Godwinson, and Harald may indeed have been
was made under duress as, after all, Harold was William's reluctant. And yet, besides the conquests of the Great Heathen
hostage. What we do know is Harold knew of William's intention Army a couple hundred years prior, there was never a time
to take the throne, and had had first-hand experience with when England would be more vulnerable to a Viking invasion.
William's military capabilities. If Harold was intending to take the With Harold II anxiously waiting in the South for the Normans to
throne-- er, to be "elected"-- he knew he would need a united cross the channel, it would leave the North vulnerable to attack.
England in order to keep it. Exiling his brother would win him The English would be fighting a war on two fronts: a dicey
the support of the Northumbrians, and allow him (in theory) to proposition in modern times, and dicier still nearly a thousand
triumph over an invasion by William. Ironically, his decision to years ago. This, of course, was something that Harold
exile Tostig may have been the very reason why Harold lost at Godwinson was entirely cognizant of, and eager to avoid.
the Battle of Hastings-- though Tostig would not live to see it.

Tostig's Rebellion
As with the previous exile of the entire Godwin family, Tostig did
not go gracefully but immediately began plotting to reclaim his
position through force. While his brother Harold was being
elected as Edward's successor, Tostig had fled to his cousin
Baldwin V of Flanders, who gave the rebellious Godwinson a
fleet of ships. Lacking the manpower to pose a credible threat,
Tostig contented himself with harassing the coast until Harold
mobilized men and ships to bring him to heel.

Tostig needed an ally if he was to succeed. One story has it that

he went to William of Normandy, but the future conqueror
balked, as did Sweyn Estriddsen in Denmark (more about him
later). Tostig tried to make an alliance with one of his brothers,
Gyrth, who also refused. I'm assuming the conversation went a
little something like, "He's the King, has everyone behind him;
you're Tostig; no thanks." Militarily incompetent, widely disliked,
and charismatically-challenged, Tostig's men deserted him after
Harald Hardrada.
a decisive defeat in Northumbria. Tostig fled to Scotland for the
summer, probably asked them for help, definitely got turned
Tostig and Harald landed in Northumbria in September, and
marched for York-- Tostig's old seat of power. On 20
September, in the nearby village of Fulford, they were opposed
Undeterred, Tostig sailed to Norway to ask Harald Hardrada to
by English forces led by the brothers Edwin and Morcar, the
stake a claim on the English Throne. Surprisingly-- and much to
Earls of Mercia and Northumbria, respectively; Morcar was
his misfortune-- the last great Viking King agreed.
Tostig's replacement, so one imagines Tostig took particular
glee in the Vikings' decisive and bloody victory over the
The Hard Ruler
Northumbrians. York was captured and raided for supplies and
This Harald was the brother of Olaf II, King of Norway and later
hostages. Tostig offered peace to the Northumbrians in
a Saint of the Catholic Church. Olaf had been deposed by our
exchange for their support of Harald's claim.
old friend Cnut the Great, and was killed in the 1030 Battle of

David Beaupre (Order #16990741)

Shields & Swords: Stamford Bridge & A Hill Near Hastings - Rules of Play 8
News quickly reached Harold in the South. He immediately The Norse went into a shield wall formation. The English likely
gathered what forces he could. He had to decisively defeat the did the same. What followed was a long, violent, exhausting
threat in the North before William crossed the channel; it would day-- a costly battle of attrition. It's quite possible that it could
be the only way to avoid a two-front war. So, he moved fast-- have gone either way.
much faster than anyone would expect. He travelled night and
day for four days, and cleared some 185 miles, taking the The tipping point was the death of Harald Hardrada. With the
Vikings completely by surprise. King of Norway slain, command fell to the former Earl of
Northumbria. Unsurprisingly, Tostig's leadership was lacking,
Stamford Bridge and Beyond and he too was quickly slain as the battle turned into a rout.
As I said up top, a lot of what we "know" about the Battle of Reinforcements came from the ships, in full armor and led by
Stamford Bridge comes from sources that are dubious at best. Harald's son-in-law, Eyestein Orri. This romantic, doomed,
Sometimes, these "facts" are slanted to forward an agenda, and quixotic counterattack comes to us as "Orri's Storm", but if it
sometimes it's just because it makes for a better and more happened, it did little to change the outcome.
exciting story.
Harold II had decisively defeated the invading Vikings. But that
We're pretty sure, for example, that the Vikings were not victory came at a great cost. He had lost perhaps as many as a
expecting Harold to be anywhere in the vicinity any time soon, third of his men, with the heaviest casualties coming from the
and so they had relaxed their guard. They were not in any kind best-armed and best-trained. In order to defeat William of
of battle formation when the English appeared. At least some of Normandy's imminent invasion, he would need time not only to
them had crossed the bridge that gives the battle its name, and levy an army and to physically recover from the rigors of the
so had their backs to the river when Harold attacked. We can pitched battle, but to find the sort of well-armed and well-
guess that, sustaining heavy casualties in the process, the disciplined fighting men he had lost at Stamford Bridge.
Vikings retreated via the bridge, which resulted in a painful, Unfortunately, he didn't get that time, as William's invasion was
frantic bottleneck. So, those are things that, if not absolutely more imminent than Harold could have imagined; the Normans
certain, are at least quite probable and make for logical had landed at Pevensey on 28 September, three days after
conjecture. Harold's victory.

But then there's the story, for example, that the Vikings had He gave battle to William on 14 October 1066 at Senlac Hill,
been so relaxed that they had left their heavy armor back on seven miles from Hastings. Defending from the higher ground
their ships, as it was unsuitable for the noonday heat. Did this and deploying his men in a shield wall formation was a sound
really happen? I don't know; I have a hard time believing a tactic. Had his men been disciplined enough to hold their
bunch of Viking warriors would be lounging around in enemy positions, instead of breaking formation to give chase, Harold
territory without any armor. At the same time, wars are fought may have won that battle. If not for the nearly forgotten Battle of
by humans, and humans are capable of some incredibly stupid Stamford Bridge, the outcome of its more famous cousin might
things. have been quite different.

There's a bit in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle-- and this is probably

the story that everyone knows about Stamford Bridge, if they've
heard of it at all-- that tells us that a lone Viking, a hulking brute
armed with a Dane axe, held the bridge against the entire
English army, covering the Viking retreat. He killed forty men
single-handedly, and was only defeated when a clever English
soldier floated underneath the bridge in a barrel, killing him with
a spear thrust through the laths. Then, and only then, the
English crossed the bridge to meet the rest of Harald
Hardrada's army.

David Beaupre (Order #16990741)

Shields & Swords: Stamford Bridge & A Hill Near Hastings - Rules of Play 9


End of the Viking Age Beginning of the Norman Conquests

Anglo-Saxon Player (Initiative; Goes First) Anglo-Saxon Player (Goes First)

The Anglo-Saxon Player (red) controls one Wing. The Anglo- The Anglo-Saxon Player (red) controls one Wing. The Anglo-
Saxon Player may play two Command Counters on a turn. He Saxon Player may play two Command Counters on a turn. He
has the following Command Markers: has the following Command Markers:
• Move/Shield Wall x 1 • Move/Shield Wall x 1
• Combat/Withdraw x 1 • Combat/Withdraw x 1
• Double x 1 • Double x 1

Viking Player Norman Player (Initiative)

The Viking Player (white) controls one Wing. The Viking Player The Norman Player (blue) controls three Wings. The Norman
has the following command Markers: Player may play three Command Counters for one Wing, and
• Move/Shield Wall x 1 one Command Counter for a second Wing. The Norman
• Combat/Withdraw x 1 Player has the following command Markers:
• Double x 1 • Move/Shield Wall x 1
• Combat/Withdraw x 1
The Viking Player's play of Command Counters varies: • Fire/Horse x 2
• On his first turn, he may play one. • Double x 1
• On subsequent turns, while Harald Hardrada is his
leader, he may play two. Set-Up
• When Tostig is his leader, he may play one. The Anglo-Saxon Player sets aside the Units marked with an
• When Orri is his leader, he may play two. "S"; they are not used in this battle. He randomizes his
• See Viking Leadership for more details. remaining 18 Units in an opaque container and blindly pulls 15
of them, deploying them at full-strength along the red-dotted
Set-Up hexes as he wishes. (After his hard-fought victory at Stamford
The Viking Player will set aside the three “AA”-class Viking Bridge, Harold will take whatever he can get!)
units. All his remaining units will be randomized; the Anglo-
Saxon Player will draw six of them. The Viking Player must There are three sets of blue set-up hexes for the Norman
deploy these six units at full-strength as he wishes within the Player. The Light Blue Wing (7 Units) sets up on the left, the
white-dotted hexes West of the river. His remaining units (but Dark Blue (8 Units) on the right, and the Medium Blue (9 Units)
not the AA units!) are placed as he wishes at full-strength within in the center. He may arrange the Units within each Wing as he
the white-dotted hexes East of the river. wishes: historically, archers would be in front, and mounted
units in reserve.
The Anglo-Saxon Player should set aside the Units marked with
an "H", as they are not used in this battle. He then deploys all Discipline
his remaining units at full-strength within the red-dotted hexes Following the first elimination suffered by the Anglo-Saxon
as he wishes. Player, the Anglo-Saxon Player must begin checking for
Discipline. Starting with the next Anglo-Saxon Player Turn, and
River Ford & Roads continuing until Discipline fails, before playing any Commands
Only the Anglo-Saxon Player may utilize the Ford to cross the the Anglo-Saxon Player must roll two six-sided dice, sum the
River. Units that move along the Road is this battle may move total, and add the number of eliminated Anglo-Saxon Units. If
one extra hex (total of four), and Units that move only along the the total is 12 or higher, Discipline fails. For the remainder of the
Road may move two extra hexes (total of five). game, he no longer rolls for discipline but he must issue only
Move and Combat Commands (no Retreats, no Doubles, and
no Shield Wall).
Viking Units
Viking Units are a special class of Veteran Unit. They act as
Veterans except where differentiated on the Unit Type Modifier
Senlac Hill
Matrix. From the beginning of the game, and until Anglo-Saxon
Discipline fails, when a Norman Unit Attacks uphill, he does so
at -2CC.
Viking Leadership
Harald Hardrada is Leader from the start of the game. When 8
Viking Units have been Eliminated, Tostig becomes Leader.
Bow Range
When 12 Viking Units have been Eliminated, Orri becomes Bow Range is 3 hexes instead of the normal 5.
leader, and at the conclusion of that Player Turn, the game
enters a special phase, Orri's Storm: the Viking Player Victory Conditions
immediately takes three Player Turns in a row, and the three If eight Anglo-Saxon Units are eliminated, the Norman Player
"AA" Viking Units enter the map at the hex marked "R". At the immediately wins the game. If Anglo-Saxon Discipline has not
conclusion of the third Turn, the game ends. failed, the Anglo-Saxon Player wins immediately when he
eliminates 8 Norman Units. If Discipline has failed, he wins
Victory Conditions immediately when he eliminates 13 Norman Units.
If the Viking Player eliminates 12 Anglo-Saxon Units, they win.
If at the end of Orri's Storm the Viking Player has not won the
game, it is an Anglo-Saxon Victory.

David Beaupre (Order #16990741)

Shields & Swords: Stamford Bridge & A Hill Near Hastings - Rules of Play 10

Shields &Swords & Charts & Tables

Combat Class Modifiers
• +1 CC for:
o Pitched Battle
o Against Suppressed Target
o Attacking Downhill
• -1 CC for:
o Attacker in Shield Wall
o Defender in Shield Wall
• +2 CC for Double + Horse

Die Roll Modifiers

• Per Unit Type Modifier Matrix
• -1 per support Unit of same CC
• -1 per 2 support Units of lower CC
(round up)

Fire Target Number Modifiers

• -1 versus Horse
• -1 versus Suppressed
• +1 if Defender in Shield Wall
• -1 if Firing Downhill
• -1 in Double Fire Phase

Combat Results Table

-3+ -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6+
AE/DE: Eliminated. AL/DL: Step-Loss. AR/DR: Retreat (ignore if Shield Wall). EX: Exchange. NE: No Effect.
An asterisk (*) indicates that if the Defender is in Shield Wall, the Attacker has the option of treating this as an
EX result.

David Beaupre (Order #16990741)

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David Beaupre (Order #16990741)