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Battle Scenarios

Battle of Bosworth (22 August 1485)

By Kyle Burley

The Battle of Bosworth was fought on August 22, 1485 between the forces of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England and troops assembled under the banner of Henry Tudor, the Earl of Richmond. This would be the decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, because its outcome established the Tudor dynasty and set the stage for England's eventual path through the Renaissance.

Troop List

This troop list is based upon research from multiple sources including those cited as first person interviews from Commines. It is what can reasonably be ascertained from these sources. Although none of it can be entirely certain it follows a logical approach to the forces involved. It uses the convention of one-figure equals about 50 soldiers (1=50).

The Osprey Campaign Book on Bosworth contains a rather disproportionate amount of pikemen in the Ricardian army; I have lowered this to show more English troop types, although the Royal force may have had some Pike with which to fight.

The usual figures of troops for each side are Richard III at 15,000 and Tudor at 5,000. If the Stanley's are taken out of the Royalist force it gives us the numbers seen below at approx. 10,000 and 5,000 respectively for Richard III and Tudor. You may also notice that I have weighted the Kn commands for the Richard III and Tudor forces proportionately in order to give some balance and focus to the game and allow for the "Death Ride" of Richard III as well.

Ricardians Troops DBx elements notes:
Norfolk 1,200 Lb. 6 Bw  
(Advance Guard) 600 Bill 3 Bd 1 includes Gen.
  200 Kn. 2 Kn  
Richard III / Brackenbury & Zouche 1,000 Bill 5 Bd Includes Sub Gen.
(main body) 2,000 Pk 6 Pk  
    4 Bw  
  800 Kn. 5 Kn Includes Richard III
  350 Hg. 3 Hg  
  140 Art. 2 Art  
Northumberland 3,000 foot 6 Sp  
(reserve)   5 Bd Includes N., who
    4 Bw may be mtd as Kn.
  1,500 mtd 4 Cv  
    3 Lh  
  10,790 men 10,800 men  
Tudorites Troops DBx elements notes:
Oxford 2,000 Fr. merc. 6 Bd Includes Oxford
(main body)   4 Cb  
    2 Hg  
  1,375 Scots 4 Pk  
    3 Lb  
    1 Art  
Savage (left wing) 600 English 1 Bd, 1 Bw  
Talbot (right wing) 600 English 1 Bd, 1 Bw  
Henry Tudor 150 / 200 Kn. 2 Kn Includes Henry
& Owen Tudor 875 Welsh 3 Ax, 1 Lb  
  5,650 men 5,800 men  
Stanleyites Troops DBx elements notes:
William Stanley 3,000 Eng 1 Kn/Bd  
    5 Cv  
    4 Bill  
    4 Lb  
Lord Thomas Stanley 2,000 Eng 1 Kn/Bd  
    3 Cv  
    2 Bd  
    4 Lb  
  5,000 men 4,800 men  

Game Set Up

Please refer to the maps available on the Richard III Society's Bosworth Page and choose the one you believe most appropriate.

This scenario is designed to facilitate up to 8 players- 4 on each side. The game does need at least 6 players to get the full flavor of the events that happened. At a minimum the scenario needs 3 players - one for the Ricardians, one for Tudor, and one for the Stanley's.

The scenario begins with the campaign's march moves have already occurred and Richard has established his army west to east on Ambion Hill to the west of Leicester. The Ricardian army is facing south with Norfolk on the right and Northumberland on the left. The Tudor Army is forming up to engage Richard.

Other Set-Up Notes:

  • For the wargame Richard III may decide to array differently as long as no troops are two base widths forward of Ambion Hill on the right and no troops 6" forward of Ambion Hill on the left. No troops may occupy the Marsh on the east.
  • The Tudor Army may set itself in any formation desired as long as there are two separate and distinct commands under Oxford and Tudor. Its most forward element may only be 12" from the Road.
  • The Stanley's may be grouped together or separately no more than 12" from the Northwest corner or Southeast corner of the battlefield. The Stanley's may also become part of the Tudor army prior to the battle but may only do so under the combined command of William Stanley, losing a sub general.

Special Rules

  • All players may use march moves per DBM if playing DBA to speed the game.
  • Commanders of battles are represented by their flags and fight as Bd (S) if dismounted. This replicates the ability of the better weapons and old soldiers found in the late medieval retinues.
  • Commanders in italics exert 1 PIP as C2 for their own element. If they become part of another command they sacrifice this C2 PIP ability.
  • If in a separate commands the Stanley's have a reduced command PIP of D6-1 for Wm. Stanley, and D6-2 for Lord Thomas Stanley. This simulates the reduced command and communications ability between separated forces.
  • If the Stanley's are combined it commands at a D6 PIP regardless of where it is stationed.
  • If separated from the Tudor main body the Stanley's may only commit given a D6 "6" roll thrown for and given to Henry Tudor as the C-in-C. This represents the communication ability to send a messenger across the field to meet with the Stanley's and exhort them to come to the Tudor's aid.
  • If a general is killed the command breaks.
  • Blades may pass through Bows and Bows may pass through Bd.
  • Bow in Northumberland's and Stanley's Battles may mount.
  • Knights may dismount prior to contact but not after contact has been made.
  • Dismounted Knights fight as Bd (S), Scots Pike and Hobilars (all Cav) are Inferior; all other troop types are ordinary.
  • 1/3 rule applies to Command Breakpoint.

Victory Conditions

Richard III achieves victory if one of the following occurs:

  • Henry, Earl of Richmond is killed, or
  • Oxford's Command is Broken and Stanley has not committed.

Henry Tudor achieves victory if one of the following occurs:

  • Richard III is killed, or
  • Two Ricardian battles are Broken

Commander Briefings:

Norfolk: You are probably the most able soldier in the realm. You are a loyal Yorkist who has fought many a battle for that house. Oxford is a long time rival whom you detest and would like nothing more than to see his head on a spike. This is your chance to finish this feud once and for all. Your knights are lead by your son the Earl of Surrey.

Richard III: This is it, if you don't kill this upstart now you will never have any peace, and that is something you desire most. Your wife has died, your son and heir has died, there are traitors, even Buckingham- your most trusted Chamberlain betrayed you--now the Stanley's on the field of Battle have arrayed themselves such that you know that you will have to execute his son. If the battle goes awry, you must intervene.

Brackenbury: You must fight for Richard as hard as possible, if this battle is lost then you and your peers- Zouche, Ratcliffe, and Catesby will have no lord.

Northumberland: As ever you are a watchful and cautious Northern Lord. Although your family fought for the Lancastrian succession, that is all gone and Richard has done great things to assist your family in reestablishing itself in the North against the Scots (who are now fighting for Richmond, by the way). The Stanley family now has you concerned and you wonder whither they will commit themselves to Richmond or not.

Oxford: A loyal Lancastrian and esteemed soldier in the fight for their side- a fight that never seems to end. There is no other lord who has done more for the cause. Now, Norfolk opposes you on this field. It is payback time, and the opportunity to see your dreams of Lancastrian succession come true.

Henry Tudor: You have a loyal entourage that you cannot let down and they will not fail you if they can help it. Your negotiations with your stepfather are positive but William Stanley is uncommitted because of the fate of his son.... He will probably back you and your dragon standard, but there is that chance that.....

Stanley: You have been keeping the forces of Richard III and Richmond apart, shadowing Richmond and playing the advance guard for Richard. You have blood ties to the young Welsh Earl but Richard has allowed you to become very powerful in his kingdom. Yet the king has made a hostage of your son and is well....unstable.

Gamer Feedback

Comments are welcome at burley6@hotmail.com.

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Last Update: Jan. 6, 2001

My thanks to Kyle Burley for this scenario. Gamer feedback is welcome. Send comments to Chris Brantley at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.