The release of Dux Bellorum is just around the corner, so I thought I’d do a little demo at the NWA. I roped in Mark there as he had expressed an interest and he used to play Glutter of Ravens.
I put together Middle Period (450-600AD) Saxon and Romano British armies from the figures I had available. The Saxon army was made up of four noble warriors, one being the leader’s companions, three ordinary warriors, and a unit of foot skirmishers with bows. The Romano British got three noble riders, including the companion unit, four ordinary shieldwall, foot skirmishers, and a unit of mounted skirmishers with javelins. I used a couple of army points for each army to buy strategies, focusing on command and control, so the Saxons got an extra Leadership Point, and the Romano British got the Experienced Leader strategy, which allowed them to swap an LP once all the LPs had been allocated. Normally I would have fewer noble units and more ‘ordinary’ troops and skirmishers to give the armies more staying power, but I was trying to make sure that the armies were easy to use, while giving a quick an interesting game.
I set up a pretty empty board with a hill and a wood framing the action. We diced for who got which army, and I got the Saxons. Predictably I was also the attacker. Mark set up in a single line with his riders on his right, and skirmishers on the left. I also opted for a single line, with my skirmishers on my left ready to make a dash for the wood.
In the first few turns my army moved up, while the skirmishers fought on the flanks. Mark charged into the wood some of his noble riders, and while they were disadvantaged they were still more than a match for my skirmishers who were forced to retreat. Meanwhile on the other flank, Mark’s skirmishers strayed a little too close to the frontal arc of one of my warrior units and were lucky to survive the ensuing combat when they were charged down. With my skirmishers no longer in the way, Mark was free to start attacking my left flank with his riders. His mounted skirmishers began launching very pesky hit-and-run charges against the rear of my warriors on the other flank.
At this point Mark’s shieldwall had advanced to within charge range of my warriors, who elected to charge them instead of joining in against his riders. The isolated couple of warrior units that were left behind succumbed to repeated flank and rear charges from Mark’s riders, who then delivered the coup de grace to the rest of my army, which was slowly making inroads against the Romano British shieldwall. At least I got those mounted skirmishers in the end!
We both had a very enjoyable evening. We felt the game really captures the atmosphere of the period well. It’s easy to play, but there is plenty of subtlety in keeping your army cohesive and reacting to the fog of war created by Bravery Tests for movement, when your troops don’t move when you want them to, and impetuous troops who move when you don’t want them to.