Wednesday 19 December 2012

Battle Report - 17-Dec-2012 - Dux Britanniarum

As you've probably guessed from the previous two posts, this week's game down the club was an absolute doozy of a Dux Britanniarum game with my regular opponent and good mate Andy Hawes.

The table after the Saxons' three
deployment moves.
We set up some terrain, most of the large pieces for once mine rather than Andy's, and rolled for a scenario - raid on a farm/settlement. I got at least a little lucky with the terrain placement and starting conditions, as the settlement wound up on top of a hill in one corner, and the British came in from the wrong side of a wood and a swamp, about as far away as was possible.

That, apart from one other event of which more later, was pretty much all that went right for the Saxons, unfortunately.

Ecgwine's warriors follow the
missile troops, just visible
through the trees ahead of them.
Andy rolled for three units to turn up after the Saxons had moved, and his Lord and a group of warriors and comanipulares turned up first. Brilliant. I left good old Leofric the Drunkard and two groups of warriors to deal with them, kind of comfortable in the knowledge that I had a remarkably fat fistful of cards from the get go - Step Forth, Carpe Diem, Goad, Aggressive Charge - and that Andy wouldn't be in shieldwall, in order to move through the marsh, so his Shieldwall Braced card would be useless. My Lord (Aelfric), my hearthguard, and the rest of my warriors (with Ecgwine) and missile troops (with a new figure for the girl in their number) headed for the settlement on the hill.

This is how it should have gone!
And joy of joys, I got to activate Leofric and charge Andy's troops as they made it to the edge of the marsh. I had 18 dice at 3+ to hit, Andy about 23 at 4+, and not in shieldwall. The end result of two rounds of combat was that he was pushed several inches back into the marsh, with four or five casualties and not inconsiderable shock... Result! Something went right!

And then, while taking the photo you're now admiring, I looked down at the top card on the activation deck, the one I'd just activated on...

"Saxon Leader Two."

Oh. Bother.

Saxon Leader Two isn't Leofric. It's Ecgwine, who is off traipsing merrily through the woods to the village.

This little British settlement won't
know what hit it...
I drew this mistake to Andy's attention, and we backed out the combat, and I activated the right noble. After all, Leofric was bound to activate soon, right?

His card was right at the bottom of the deck, of course. By which time, the rest of the Saxons are most of the way to the village, and Andy's had a chance to shuffle his Fate hand a bit. Never mind. The British are still in the marsh and not in shieldwall, so let's get stuck in!

I charge. Andy plays his newly acquired Step Forth card. I play mine. So Leofric gets to charge anyway, with 18 dice at 3+ against 23 at 4+ as before. Easy. We know how this goes.

Remember my appalling luck with dice when it matters? Yeah, that. The Saxons take a serious pounding in two rounds of combat, and recoil back, Leofric taking a wound and dishing one out in return. And my hearthguard are too far away to help.

So - shuffle the Activation deck, and off we went again. Andy's levy came through the gap between the woods and the hills, and then his Lord activated. And that, as they say, was pretty much that. Of the twelve warriors Leofric started with, he was down to either one or none, depending on the roll for a wound on him  Easy enough. Three wounds on the group he was with, so two die and on 1-3 he takes another wound, 4-6 the last warrior in the group dies instead.

Theobald leaves the battlefield,
bearing Leofric's body.
As you've read the past two blog posts, you know which I rolled.

There then ensued a rather spectacularly messy fight over about four activations. I charged Maximus Minimus and his Levy, and my dice, once again, suck. Even though he's in shieldwall, we're both hitting on 4+, I shock him on 2-4, kill him on 5-6, and he's shocking me on 4-5, killing on 6. And I lost the fight.

Andy pondering his next move. 
And then along come Andy's Lord and hearthguard, with Leofric's and the warriors' blood still fresh on their blades. Fortunately he doesn't have a Carpe Diem card, so he can't hit the hearthguard in the back. But he can do a heck of a lot of damage. One group of hearthguard is now down to 2 figures and 3 shock (so retreating out of the fight), the other 5 and 4. Mind you, so can we. On one unit of warriors we do four hits. Andy rolls for shock/kills. All 1s. On the hearthguard we do three, and I comment that sixes would be nice. He obliges with three. But even so, that's only one group out of the formations he has in the fight.

I don't have a lot of choice here, really: my only chance is really to activate Aelfric, rally off a point of shock, get the other group back into the fight and hope I can beat Maximus and the levy enough they run and I follow a bit further out of harm's way. It doesn't help that I'm on a Force Morale score of 2 right now.

So back in we go. And come out of the fight surprisingly well, considering. One group's on 5 figures and nine shock, and the other on 2 and... again... 3. And to add insult to injury, the damn British archers  decide that it's their turn, and take potshots.

Remember my dice rolling?

Yeah. That again.

Two groups heading in opposite directions, having lost their amphora. Force Morale level? -1.

I always wanted to see what happens when you win a battle by 5+. Well, now I know.

I have to say? This was an absolute corker of a battle, even though I got absolutely mullared. Especially when you consider that Andy's first reaction on realising where he got to deploy was "well, this is a win for the Saxons, then." Hats off to Andy for a great win.

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