Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Battle Report - 2-Dec-2019 - Dux Britanniarum "The Boar Hunt"

More playtesting - most scenarios are on their second round of testing for flat out brokenness and unbalance now, and seem to be going well.

[There is a question for folks who think they have their head round Dux combat at the end of this post - comments appreciated.]

For giggles (and because Carl had just finished painting them) I let Carl and Myk take a Gwŷr y Gogled force from Raiders, which basically meant his normal 6 elites (or warriors) could be replaced with 4 equivalent Shock Cavalry. Or Mobile Threshing Machines, as we prefer to call them.

If you've never done this before, my advice as a Saxon would be not to face them with a force you're at all fond of until you've figured out some tactics ;D Things to be aware of:
  • Move 3 x (d6 + 2)
  • Double all dice if charging into combat - no that is not a misprint: and Rich has clarified that as figure out all your dice bonuses etc, and double the lot
  • Double all Shock handed out if charging into combat.
Now sure, there are only four, plus (one assumes) your Lord, plus his Champion. But that alone is nine dice before adds, and the adds go on before the doubling, so if (say) you have a dice for being better than the warriors your hitting, and a couple of dragon-suited cards (including the Hero of the Age you get dealt to start with as a Briton which makes your Lord roll 6 dice in combat) you're potentially rolling 2 x 14 or 15 dice. And if you're lucky enough to have played Artorius, you're hitting on 3s.


AndyM and Rob's warriors were testament to the fact that that hurts.

However, they do have certain disadvantages:
  • They're one Group. So all defensive attacks go on them.
  • No shieldwall (obviously)
  • They can't charge if they have any Shock on them

  • They can evade if charged, but it costs them a point of Shock 
  • They risk becoming unhorsed (essentially a 50% chance of not) in difficult (-3/dice) terrain

  • If you face them down with two groups of undamaged Elites, you'll be throwing 17 dice (with Lord and Champion). Statistically (i.e. if you're not AndyM) that should mean around 8 hits, one kill and 2-3 shock. You'll be taking about 10 hits per group worst case if they charge you, so 1-2 kills, and 3-4 shock per group. You will lose, but with average dice rolls all you'll do is fall back. And they won't be able to follow up next round with any shock on them, remember.

    Interested in comments from folks who've used the Gwŷr y Gogled force more than I have as to how to deal with those cavalry.  As far as I can see one way to deal with then would actually appear to be to dance around with your Harassing troops and try and keep Shock on them as much as possible...

    So what happened last night, I hear you ask.... well....
    Ready for battle. The boar is off in the woods to the right, and the Saxons are hearing the echo of hoofbeats....
    Warriors vs Warriors. A win to the Saxons after a couple of rounds, although the Saxons have just noticed the looming wall of horseflesh and are looking worried... 
    The Shock cavalry decide the Saxons aren;'t worth the effort, and start on a long arc round the stone circle to come round behind the rest of the Saxons....

    Meanwhile, the boar is unconcernedly rootling up truffles in the far corner of the wood, since no-one seems to care about him. As a playtest of the Boar Hunt scenario... mmm, not so much :D
    Some while later (I was having too much fun to take photos) one lot of Saxon levy have been chased off, one lot of Saxon warriors likewise, and here come the Companion cavalry, into the Saxon hearthguard,  'cause... frankly, we wanted to see what would happen.

    What happened is Andy and Rod rolled dreadfully, and the Saxon elites retreated. :D
    As an aside, if you've got this far, one other thing I discovered, as I've been trying very hard to get the rules scrupulously right (it's very easy to fall into bad habits, like, for example, AndyH and I getting combat result calculation wrong for several games - he says that's how Rich taught us, me, I dunno!)

    A very useful tactic as Britons, given you only have one unit of Elites, is to rank up Elites in the front of a shieldwall with Warriors in the rear (or ditto with Warriors and Levy). If you do this, the movement restriction is based on the front rank AND the front rank ONLY takes casualties in melée. This is both good and bad - bad in that it concentrates the damage your opponent does on just the front rank, but good in that
    1. it makes you pretty much immune to Goad
    2. the first kill gets soaked by the shieldwall
    3. you're harder to damage (because you're the better troops of your formation).
    4. your opponent counts as facing the front rank for determining if he gets extra dice
    The slight awkwardness is what happens if the front rank has to fall back. I got a bit confused about this at Steel Lard, but I think I now have this straight:
    • If the front rank fall back 2" or less, the rear rank can fall back with them if it wants (as per Excess Shock on p54 of the main rules): no loss of Formation or shieldwall, but your front rank is still the better troops, is still somewhat damaged and Shocked
    • If they fall back more than 2", as I see it:
      • they will (and clearly, in fact, must) interpenetrate the rear rank (see p39 of the main rules - "Troops retiring due to excess Shock will ignore some of these restrictions, see Withdrawing through Friendly Troops on page 55." I would assume this rule also applies to falling back for any other reason due to a combat result - the wording on p 55 is not entirely unambiguous.)
      • as a result (p 55) the rear rank takes one Shock per excess Shock that the front rank has (plus one Shock per quality level difference). Obviously, also, because the front rank has fallen back > 2" the Formation and shieldwall are broken
    Uff. It does make sense if you apply the rules in order, carefully. Comments very much appreciated on this one

    Thanks as ever to my loyal playtesters, Myk, AndyM, Rod and Carl!


    1. A mixed-status shield wall seems logical. There have been examples in history where similar formations were used. I wouldn't want to try it with too great a disparity between troop classes, though. Having the wall crumble if the front rank gets pushed back seems realistic too.

    2. You can’t in fact - elite + levy is specifically not permitted.


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