Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Battle Report - 05-Mar-2012

The aforementioned freshly painted unit
of Gedriht - largely GB plastic Saxons. By
my standards, one of my better paint jobs.
But I am facing Andy, who's brushwork is
just beyond gorgeous.
Skipping over last week's battle for a while longer (I'll explain later), we move on to this week's...

Namely, an Age of Arthur battle (as practice for a campaign day at Maelstrom in April) with my new early Saxon Kingdoms army... well, to be strictly honest, one freshly painted unit of Gedriht, two gorgeously painted loaner units of Duguth from my opponent, the fabulous Mr. Andy Hawes, and a unit of Geguth and skirmishers made up by temporarily borrowing from other armies of mine (a British warband, and some Roman allied archers). The rest of the army is in various states of assembly/painting/in the post, honest, and I hope to make a sizeable dent in it over the course of this week and weekend (I better, the Analogue Hobbies painting competition finishes in a week and a half!).

We picked the 'Battle on the River Glein' scenario - simple enough: a river across the middle of the table with a ford and a bridge, the objective being to hold the crossings. Andy's Romano-British were the attackers, and he generously let me have first go.

Lesson one in Age of Arthur scenarios - always read the objectives. Why should become rapidly apparent by the end of this battle report!

After my first move. The terrain is Andy's, as are the
tape measure and hands :D
Being somewhat more in practice with a warband army than I was for the start of the  WAB GT, I was hoping to do slightly better. I left my skirmishers to keep Andy's cavalry honest on the left, advanced a unit of Duguth towards the bridge with a second in support, and sent my Geguth and Gedriht to take the ford.

It nearly worked.

I have a hunch I need more skirmishers, or perhaps a better deployment. The archers did a good job of keeping the Romano-British cavalry out of the battle, but they couldn't be in two places at once. The Gedriht advanced one move too cautiously (not good) without the aid of a skirmish screen (not good), and got cut to ribbons by Andy's archers. Being led by my Cynring, they survived the morale check for doing that, and met with his Commanipulares in shieldwall...

And even then it was probably still not a done deal. Except that, amid his protestations of how rubbish his dice usually are, Andy proceeded to not roll rubbish dice. At all. Whereas I did.

The Gedriht actually survived to a second round of melée, which surprised me, They didn't last that round, which didn't at all, as they were at that point a unit of < 5 figures, and it was time to vacate the field. Bye-bye Cynring, bye-bye Atheling, bye-bye army standard, bye-bye my hardest unit.

Panic tests all round. The Duguth advancing onto the bridge in three-wide column? Immune, due to the religious and spiritual fortitude imparted by Bishop Oswulf in the front rank. The Geguth with no character leading them? Hey! The boss is running away. Scarper, lads! The skirmishers? Oooer missus, no thanks. The Duguth in the centre? Mmm. Just remembered an important engagement elsewhere, we're off.

So. Currently Andy's Commanipulares hold the ford, and I hold the bridge with my one (count it, one) remaining unit, as Andy's Pueri are standing off the end in shieldwall, taunting the Duguth, who respond with a benediction from Bishop Oswulf and a hail of theologically sound javelins. If the game ends now, it's still pretty much a draw, though, as we hold one crossing each.

Time to see if we can rescue this impending disaster. Skirmishers? Hey, we appear to be not getting killed. Maybe it's not so bad. Geguth? Well, apparently some bright spark in the front rank managed to kick them into shape, 'cause I rolled a 3 to rally them. And they do so within their own charge reach of the Commanipulares, who are just on the edge of the river.

And the turn after that, in we go with the Geguth - the bunch of impulsive, hot-headed, Saxon youths - to try and retake the ford. Two turns to go. First round of battle? Andy rolls... about average. So do I. Combat result is +2 in his favour. Gut check for the Geguth. Snake eyes.

The worst unit in my army holds off the best unit in
Andy's for four rounds of melée...
Meanwhile, the Duguth on the bridge do the one thing that can lose me the bridge. Fail their bloody warband test, and wade off the bridge into the taunting Pueri, in three deep march column. This is, needless to say, a bit ugly, as Bishop Oswulf isn't the best of my characters, and he doesn't have a right lot up there to help. They break and flee, off the bridge. Ho hum. And the skirmishers really do decide they've had enough this time.

Andy's turn. Not much for him to do bar stand on the bridge, and continue mauling the Geguth at the ford, and have his cavalry mince about on the far side of the river (*grin*).

Well, yes. Not so much, actually. Andy's dice finally desert him, and the Commanipulares do no damage to the Geguth, despite having momentum. Combat result a tie, the Geguth winning the battle of the bands musician rolloff.

Turn seventh and last. Geguth with momentum, this time. My turn - my dice are crap, Andy's dice are marginally better: tie again. Horn-blowing contest once again goes to the Saxon lads! Andy's turn - the Geguth win by two. He's one (rerollable) Break test from losing the ford...

...and makes it by one on the first attempt. Close-fought victory to the Romano-British, as he has the bridge, and we're still arguing over the ford.

All in all, a cracking battle - my first Age of Arthur scenario - great fun, against a classy opponent, and good practice for April.


  1. Great BatRep. I really enjoyed reading that even if it isn't 'my period'. Lovely painted mini's by the way, very nicely done.

  2. Thanks :D

    I'm quite proud of the job on my Saxons, but I refer you to http://guitarheroandy.blogspot.com/ for the rather depressing evidence of how far I have to go :D

  3. Thanks Mike!! It was a most enjoyable scrap and proved that occasionally, my dice are ok...(Hmmm...I just realised I have probably used up all of the next 2 years good dice in this one game)
    Mike is correct about two things though...deployment and lack of skirmishers. AoArt Saxons with bucklers are very prone to getting mullared by missile fire so as soon as I knew where the Saxon Gedriht (hard chaps) were gonna go, that's where every Romano-Brit with a bow went!! He should have screened his Gedriht with his skirmishers and used a unit of Duguth on the extreme flank opposite my cavalry. Still, you live and learn and next time we'll play a more open engagement where we will both get to use all our troops in a more standard scrap...

    1. Fair cop, guv. That was about what I was thinking while writing the report - I suspect you'd have been just as wary of 24 Duguth with javelins :D

      There's an evil part of me wonders what a full warband in skirmish line looks like!

    2. Yup, the Duguth would have kept me away...

      I have tweaked my list again. I have discovered that if I lose 2 commanipulares, put characters on foot in that unit and upgrade to a Dux as my general I can boost the fighting power of the elites by quite a margin (an additional 3 attacks in the front rank compared to no characters at all)as the Dux is WS5, str and T 4 so can hold his own against even a Saxon Cyning if he's lucky. If he'd been there in the final combat against your Geoguth, it might have been a different tale.

      As for 30+ models in skirmish, they are next to useless as you can rarely get more than a dozen firing and they fear formed foot (we forgot that with my archers on Monday...) so if charged, with LD5, they melt and run and can't use a general's LD to rally...waste of 30 Geoguth IMHO...

      Oh, BTW, if the 19th isn't a WAB campaign night due to lack of players, I'm up for another game if you are. I can also host a game here on an alternative night most weeks if you can get an occasional 'pass' from the good lady wife...

    3. I'd forgotten about the 'fears formed troops' too :D

      I'm *kind* of toying with seeing if I can swap the Duguth cavalry in for one of the foot units, but doing that and keeping the foot unit down to 250 points as an extra seems kinda tricky.

      Re weekdays - ditto here - we have stacks of space, and I have 3 of the clubs old boards. Will get back to you on that :D

    4. Ref cavalry: as you only have 4 formed foot units as it is, reducing it to having 3 plus cavalry weakens the army. I took a Romano-Brit force to an event once with 3 foot, 1 cavalry and 2 skirmishers and got trounced as every army I faced had one more formed foot unit than me and that wasn't good!! You might consider downgrading the ASB to a Thegn (he'll still hit and wound on 3s against most things) as that'll save you 50 points. Reduce the Geoguth to 21 or 24 (you don't need 30, as outnumbering the enemy to cause auto-break isn't in AoArt,) reduce Duguth to 21 (or 20 plus character) and you may have more flexibility. Remember that Geoguth are bog standard troops and are as good as everybody else's ordinary warband infantry. Many Saxon players field 1 Gedriht, 1 Duguth and 2 Geoguth, plus mtd Geoguth (cheaper)...
      Ref other evenings to game: I'd be happy to come to you if it co-incided with an evening when my wife isn't out either clerking meetings or dancing/Zumba...if she is out/busy, I can host here once Junior is in bed (so after 7.30) as we can game in our kitchen/diner on my nice Saga boards (I can do a 6x4...) And I make a mean cuppa!!!!!!!

    5. Interesting set of tips. I'll continue THIS by email :D :D


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