Friday, 26 April 2013

Battle report - 22-Apr-2013 - Dux Britanniarum

Anxious Britons watch from the walls of Linnius.
Andy having got over Salute, we convened on Monday at the club for the crunch battle - after their defeat in March 474, the Britons retreated within the walls of Linnius to lick their wounds and heal up, and the Saxons sat outside and waited.

According to the Dux Britanniarum campaign game, this is crunch time, big time. The Britons lose, the province belongs to the Saxons and the Britons fall back to Caer Lerion. So all to play for.

The two armies face off.
We still managed to avoid a tie on the scenery rolloff, so no river: Andy won, so placed a couple of large woods on either flank and a hill off to one side of the city gates. I placed (as my small terrain pieces) a small cluster of buildings outside the gate, largely to break up any chance he might have of advancing or standing there in shieldwall. As it was, we both wound up on the same flank, the one with the hill.

The Saxons advance
In the pre battle segment, Andy chose to ply his men with strong drink to bolster their flagging courage, and rolled a 1 - bit of a two edged sword this! Two Bibamus cards into the Fate Deck (which basically can be used to cause his troops to do things that are either alcoholically brave or stupid, depending on which of us plays them), hand size of 4 instead of 5 and a +2 on his Force Morale. I went for the pre-battle speech (aided by Aelfric's Scop) which got me a hand size of 6 and a +1 to Aelfric's leadership rating. At that point Andy decided he'd done enough damage and chose to start the fight.

The British hold their ground and wait for the inevitable.
I have to say, this was perhaps one of the more straightforward Dux Britanniarum battles we've fought. Ecgwine on my left took two units of warriors and advanced to face the British levy, while Aelfric and Beornwulf manoeuvred the rest to face his warriors and hearthguard, and massed them into one big formation on the right. I tried to entice his levy forward so I could charge them, by forcing them using a Bibamus card, but they rolled a dismal 5", and were still so far out of range that after I'd advanced they couldn't charge me in shieldwall with any safety. The following activation I did charge, using a Goad to hold off one unit so I could get an advantage, but it didn't quite succeed - I was hoping to chase off the one unit and give me numerical advantage on the remaining two, but he held firm and did a fair amount of damage.

The British left flank holds. For now.
Meanwhile, on the right, my hearthguard and the remaining warriors just waited at the bottom of the hill: far enough out of range that a 1d6 move in shieldwall down the hill wouldn't contact me, but also far enough that a 3d6 move upslope had at best a 50% chance of contacting them... and would if it failed stand a good chance of leaving me within 1d6".

Besides, I had a fat fistful of boar-suited (Saxon) cards, and no Carpe Diem. So I waited, and let the scrap on the left play itself out. Which it did, but slowly. Until. finally....

I draw a Carpe Diem.
At this point, I took a risk, and can probably be accused of failing to read my own blog articles. The Saxons were just under 8" away, up a hill that was going to cost them 1 pip per dice in movement. Clearly, I'd be insane to risk a two dice roll on that, as the odds on a 10 or more are 1 in 6. However, I do have a Bounding Move card, which gives me an extra d6, and a Strong Arm card, which costs me a d6 of move to potentially inflict a lot of shock on Andy's troops. I decided to play both, which means I get 3d6 move, -1 per dice. So I need an 11 on 3d6, which does improve my odds a bit, but only to 50%. And moreover, if I fail, I stand a pretty good chance of leaving myself in range of Andy charging me.

Nothing venture, nothing gained.

I rolled a 13. Phew. About time my luck with dice turned. Looks like all that running up that hill paid off for Aelfric and the lads.

Now let's tot up my attack dice.

  • 8, 6 and 6 for the elite and warriors
  • 2 for Godric
  • 2 for Beornwulf
  • 5 for Aelfric - 3 + 1 for the oratory + 1 for being a Master of Arms (which I actually remembered!)
  • 1 for the unit facing a unit of a lower standard
  • and a few for the boar-suited cards I played.

A few dice (not counting the ones for my cards)
The remainder of the British flee
the field, actually in surprisingly
good order.
Hitting on a 3 (because of the Aggressive Charge card) I did Andy around about 22 hits. For all that shieldwall on a hill gives him the chance to choose where the hits fall, that was going to hurt.

Wisely, after one unit in the battle broke, and another retreated, breaking the shieldwall, he chose to make an orderly (well, as orderly as possible) retreat, which probably saved him a lot of casualties, and the result was only a +2 win to me.


... I do have a province to call my own.

Watch out for the second part of the IC narrative tomorrow.


  1. This has been a fun story to watch unfold. Well done on the Saxons.

  2. As anybody who has had to do wind-sprints at hockey practice knows:

    "The legs feed the wolf, gentlemen! THE LEGS FEED THE WOLF!"

    Great write-up, and way to turn a bit of risk in-game into a solid bit of narrative. Bravo and well played.

  3. Well done on the victory! All that training paid off. Keep running up that road, keep running up that hill. No problem! ;)

  4. Nice battle. Seemed thoroughly enjoyable.

  5. Really great narrative of a fun campaign - very enjoyable to read, thanks.

    Who makes that very nice wooden fortification you've used for Linnius?



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