Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Battle Report - 16 Dec 2019 - "The Deer Hunt" Dux Britanniarum

We're on pretty much round 3 of play testing now - last one before things go out to the playtesters. Andy and I are going to have a go at the whole problem of battles on the Saturday after Xmas, but apart from that I think we've played every new raid scenario at least twice except two, and I'll work those in over Xmas too.

Last night was the deer hunt, and boy was THAT a doozy - it contained a bit of play for which I'm very thankful to Derek Hodge's compilation of Rich's answers to rule questions (which will be in the Compendium!). I think this one works really well. The key fun gotcha is that the startup instructions have a totally chaotic 'every unit and leader is chasing after the stag independently' thing where everything arrives semi-randomly, so units may be out of command or not grouped together sensibly. It was, I am assured by Myk (now turning into one of my regular playtesters to the extent he's borrowed the rules over Xmas!) and Colin, a great game...

The majestic stag (a very nice Warbases mini) poses atop a rocky outcrop before starting his run for safety. In the background a mix of British elites and levy try to work out what to do... 
Having escaped from a group of Saxon hearthguard, trailing blood, the stag runs into both factions' groups of missile troops, as well as a single unit of warriors with the Lord and his champion on both sides. Interesting random deployment resulting in two identical small forces in the same area :D
Ok. Pay attention, because this got... amusing.

British mounted warriors (with their noble) and Saxon elite with a level 2 noble), although initially the Saxons were about 12" back from this position.

Colin (British) gets the card for his noble. He's obviously going to charge, being cavalry with no Shock - he gets double dice and then double Shock if he does. Myk plays a Step Forth to interrupt, followed by a Carpe Diem and a Bounding Move to charge the cavalry, instead.

I point out to Colin that being cavalry, he has an ability to Evade being charged.

Myk (who is on the ball!) correctly points out that according to the writing on the Carpe Diem card, Colin can't Evade. Specifically, he can't use the Evade Ability of cavalry. He can however, use the Evade card he has in his hand (thanks, Derek!). So he does. Fortunately for the British cavalry, he rolls low enough to stay on the table, while still getting out of reach of the Saxons.

End of Myk's activation, and the British get their turn back, And obviously enough, charge!

As you were, I guess, apart from several cards being used up!
The first round of combat between the cavalry and the Saxon hearthguard was a draw, due to some very lucky dice rolling on Myk's part as the Saxons. The second round? Not so much, as the British cavalry aren't getting the benefit of doubled dice and Shock - you really do have to get in and get in hard, because cavalry are no good in continuous fights. They fall back on excess shock (and were very lucky not to lose their amphora).

Meanwhile, over by the stag, it dies, full of arrows. The Saxon warriors advance to cover it, the British warriors charge them, and manage to just win a very bloody fight.

Meanwhile the British on the hill (a mix of Levy and Elite) are about to charge the Saxon Elite, with the Saxon Warriors (with the wolf banner) are coming to grab the stag.
The Dead Marshes, bottom left - as good a place to put casualties as any, I guess :D
Just out of sight, the mixed British group has managed to make the Saxon Elite fall back through the group of Warriors.
... and a bunch of uncommanded Saxon Levy rather fancy their chances against the rather shocked and wounded Elite - they're literally hanging on by the skin of their teeth in both groups.
We got through about two more turns from there - the British warriors managed to grab the stag while everyone else was distracted in a whole mess of grubby little combats between the wood and the marsh in the middle, and hightailed it past the barrow with a group of Saxons in hot pursuit.

It was (had we had time) probably going to come down to order of activation and who had the better hand and better dice rolls, but it being 10:30 we had to start packing up.

A brilliant game - one of those where umpiring is a joy (even if I say so as the scenario writer) and the players (thanks Colin and Myk!) had fun too.

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