What a great game last night. Long term opponent and friend, Dave, came over for the latest game in our Dux Brit campaign. He is playing Angles raiding the coast of East Anglia whilst I am playing the Romano British defenders. We had a battle last year, also at the end of the campaign year, and declared it a stalemate. I know there’s no provision for that in the rules and, given the Angles didn’t win, it should, perhaps, have been a Romano British victory, but that just didn’t seem right, so we had a stalemate. Anyway, early the next year the Angles were back again for another go. I should also add that we are not using ‘book’ forces – given this is a cross club campaign, we mixed up the forces for variety.
Now 2 apologies at the begining – the table set up was a rush job at the end of the day, so is not as I would like, I also still have some older terrain to replace, so please forgive me that. My photography is also, quite frankly, poor, but I will improve – honest! But the mat IS a Monty Marvellous Mat, and I’m really quite chuffed with it.
Anyway, to the action!! We rolled about 4 sets of drawn terrain dice so should have had a river, but mine wasn’t to hand so we dropped that. We should also have had about 7 large pieces of terrain, but agreed that that would have made it too cluttered, so we agreed on 5. I won the Pre Battle Initiative and went straight to battle, my Force Morale was a poor 7 and I didn’t want any risk of lowering that further. Dave was up on 9.
We deployed in opposite corners, me on my left and Dave over on his left. I knew he had to come to me so I set up a shieldwall anchored on a thick wood on my right and some heavy, broken ground on my left. I put my archers in the broken ground, 1 group of levy refused to cover my left, another group in reserve and my light cavalry over on the extreme left.
Here is the main Romano British line:
Dave came on with all units grouped closely together:
Dave advanced, swinging his archers to his right and they began to cause some shock on my light cavalry. His centre came forward and then halted whilst 2 units swung wide left.
I quickly realised he was going to bring them through the thick wood to attack my flank so I bravely withdrew! Wheeling back using the broken ground as a pivot and reforming facing the wood. I also brought my light cavalry across to harass the flanking groups and advanced my levy on the left to cover the gap between the broken ground and another wood. Whether Dave had intended this or not, the result was my left flank levy became more exposed. He quickly disposed of my light cavalry, catching them with a Carpe Diem card, and then pushed 4 units forward to mask my shieldwall and sent 2 (the maximum he could get in given the size of the gap) against the levy. His plan, and very sound it was too, was to smash the levy and break my force morale whilst masking my main force so it couldn’t intervene.
So how did it all go? The Angles launched an aggressive charge on the levy shieldwall, but they countered, bracing for the impact. A hard fight followed but the levy bounced the first attack and caused quite a bit of damage. His archers had weakened me before combat (mine had been USELESS!!), but I held and won. Dave’s 2 groups were weakened but he also knew my levy were not as robust as they had been, so he detached a group away from his masking force to finish the job.
The levy after Round 1:
And my right being fixed by the Angles:
Was this a risk – clearly. He left his left flank outnumbered 4:3 and with me having a stronger noble contingent, but he had quality on his side and I would have to break shieldwall to get to him in any sort of time. The odds were in my favour but it would probably have been a hard fight and taken time for me to win through (assuming I did). That would give him the time to destroy my left and break my force morale. So all seemed sound. What he didn’t and couldn’t know was that I had been busy amassing a very good Fate Card hand. My Lord activated, bought another card and then ordered the charge! Everyone made it for one grand fight and I duly played my 5 suited cards, adding another 13 (!!) dice to my hand. Dave’s face was a picture! My dice throwing was also better and I sent one of the groups of Angles packing (routed) complete with the only noble, one other was looking pretty shabby with only one still looking okay. The Angles had lost and fell back, my discipline held so no wild chase, but next round I followed up, not quite getting there, but the writing was on the wall even with the Angle Lord moving to take charge. It was clear I would catch them and the odds would be massively in my favour.
Meanwhile, Dave’s second assault crashed into my left flank levy and sent one group and then the other packing. Absolutely key, however, no hits on the noble, so no force morale test for that and I managed to get no impact results on the tests for the levy breaking – both times!
At that stage, we called it – a Romano British victory. We were clear Dave’s left was doomed – it wouldn’t break his force morale, but my luck with the force morale tests for the levy meant I wasn’t too weak in that respect either, so would probably survive that fight. Dave’s right could come back and join in, but it would all be over before they could get there, they would be subject to the attentions of my archers on the way, further weakening (possibly!!) a force that was already weakened, and so we felt they wouldn’t do it for the Angles either. Overall result, a +4 victory and the Angles out of it for 5 months!
Another great game, much fun and very challenging with lots of decisions to make and it all felt very much as it should. Roll on the next one and roll on Dux the Raiders – due out at Salute, can’t wait!
Monty the Desert Rat