That was fun and very satisfying.
AndyH has been here for the afternoon and early evening so we can figure out the new battles ideas for the Compendium. I've had the idea for how to do this kicking around since fairly soon after the idea for the Compendium was mooted, but it's been held off on playtesting, partly because I wasn't sure and partly because I wanted to get the raids tested. Ran my draft outline past Andy earlier in the week, and he basically thinks it's a goer, so we decided to give it a shot.
First battle - for a settlement.
|The Britons are defending the villa. Pre-game phases results in force morale boosts for both of us, and me as the Saxons getting an extra Fate card in my hand, but otherwise little effect.|
|The Saxons start to advance, aiming to get to the villa before word reaches the rest of the British forces.|
|At last. I get to wade in with this delightful fistful of goodness.|
|Crunch. Andy's elites, the front rank, do not survive two rounds of combat, and leave the field....|
|...but not before he does this to me. Which leaves my big unit of mixed hearthguard and warriors in NO state to deal with the big block of levy you can see top right... my big unit has taken far too much shock to cope..|
Ok. Battle two. The British attempt to retake a captured province by bringing the Saxons to battle over a river crossing. (Believe me, if you look up Nennius' '12 battles of Arthur', battles for river crossings were common as muck! 7 out of 12, in fact.) We dug out my unfinished river boards for this one.
|The Saxons square up across the river from the advancing British. Meanwhile in the distance, the Saxon relief force of warriors is massing trying to force a crossing.|
|Andy decides the time is right, and charges with elites and warriors to drive the Saxons back.|
Ok. Maybe not.
So the Saxons charge in.
Somewhere during the two combat rounds of back and forth, I lose any remaining ability to roll dice.
Did it feel like a battle? Hell yes. In both cases, we wound up manoeuvring into battle lines and facing off until our troops were psyched up enough to fight. It seems to fall into a style of combat that feels like it fits the period and the kind of battle that was chronicled.
Is it balanced? We tweaked a couple of setup rules, but then with hindsight they were dumb and I should have noticed them when I wrote them. Even in the face of extremes of setup rolls, crap combat dice and ridiculous pre-battle rolls (seriously, FIVE ones out of 6????) neither battle was a foregone conclusion. With a bit more guts and less waiting for cards on my part the first battle would have gone very differently,. and if I could roll dice at all for the last two turns of the second I'd potentially have or at least made Andy sweat. So yes.
Was it fun? (the acid test). Oh my goodness, yes. So much so we're testing it again on Monday!