Dave Fielder and I have been playing some trial games of Dux Bellorum of late, as we awaited the arrival of his rulebook. Fortunately this arrived at the weekend, finally allowing Dave to tweak his warband to suit his playing style and also to get to grips with the nuances of the rules etc. So after a slight delay caused by Amazon free delivery, we were in a position to start our narrative campaign.
To make things easy and to fit in with the start of the campaign, we went for a straightforward Annals battle as per the rulebook. Both sides had 32 points to choose their warbands from plus up to 5 points of Strategies & Tactics. We diced to see who would be the Agressor, with my Welsh winning this and so Dave as Repellor chose the terrain, which can be seen below.
|The three pieces were the hill, woods and small village. The fields etc are purely for decoration; afterall we all like to play on a nice table don't we?|
In the end both our warbands were very similar in style and feel, with details below:
1 x Companions
3 x Noble Warriors
3 x Ordinary Warriors
2 x Ordinary Riders
2 x Sling Skimishers
1 x Wardogs
1 x Stampede
1 x Companions
2 x Noble Warriors
4 x Ordinary Warriors
1 x ordinary Riders
1 x Bow Skirmishers
1 x Javelin Skirmishers
1 x Monks
1 x +1 Leadership Point
|The Irish deployed for battle, with skirmish units on both flanks and the cavalry on the left flank.|
|The Welsh in a similar deployment, with the Monks in the centre to make sure they were in 'range' as much as possible for their leadership points and the cavalry on the right flank.|
Turn 1 Irish - 6 LPs Welsh - 9 LPs
Both sides managed to advance all of their units, with the Irish skirmishers on the elft flank rolling a double 1, thus allowing them to advance into the village.
|The skirmishers on both flanks advance as quickly as possible to try and gain any advantage of cover offered by the village and woods.|
Turn 2 Irish - 6 LPs Welsh - 9 LPs
The 'Killer' sheep failed their command roll, thus disrupting the Irish left flanks slightly. For the Welsh the Monks failed, which had the potential to disrupt their advance as well. All other units were keen to come to the 'party'.
|Both battle lines start to fragment.|
Turn 3 Irish - 6 LPs Welsh - 9 LPs
Once again the Monks faith in the divine rightousness of their cause failed them as they stayed rooted to the spot and prayed for deliverance from the Heathen Irish. Everyone else was happy to move towards each other.
|The battle lines draw ever closer, with Irish skirmishers on the edge of the village and Welsh skirmishers in the woods.|
|The Monks possibly wisely praying hard for Divine assistance...|
Turn 4 Irish - 6 LPs Welsh - 9 LPs
Combat was finally joined as the 'Killer' sheep lured the Welsh Nobles into an uncontrolled charge, seeing the demise of the sheep and once again another 2 points of cohesion lost as the Nobles gathered themselves together after their little 'dalliance'. The Irish skirmishers in the village decided to advance out of it, only to be charged by the Welsh riders who made short work of them. On the Irish right flank, the skirmishers got a double 1 and advanced through the weekds to threaten the Welsh rear. Fortunately a unit of Welsh warriors managed to engage them ,but failed to destroy them due to poor die rolling.
|Battle finally joined across the board.|
|The Welsh battle line is badly disjointed, unlike the Irish one...|
Turn 5 Irish - 5 LPs Welsh - 9 LPs
Right across the board combat was joined, mainly due to a rash of uncontrolled charges, but nearly all the combats were drawn. However the Irish lost the skirmishers on their right flank, causing another Leadership point to be lost.
|Both sides battlelines are by now badly fragmented, with the Welsh in a worse postion but with more leadership pointes to play with.|
|The battles on the flank could be decisive for the game, plus could the lone unit of Welsh warriors on the hill hold out against the Irish Nobles and their support unit? If they lost, the Welsh right flank would be very exposed...|
Turn 6 Irish 4 - LPs Welsh 9 - LPs
The Welsh still had their pool of leadership points intact, which started to make a difference, as they could place them where it mattered most, whilst the Irish had to husband theirs. In combat, the Irish lost a cavalry unit, whilst the Welsh lost a unit of Warriors and skirmishers.
|Somehow the Welsh warriors still held on on the hill, helping to protect the Welsh right flank. Elswhere things were tooing and froing across the board.|
Turn 7 Irish 3 - LPs Welsh 7 - LPs
The Welsh right flank saw the most action, with the Welsh warriors finally succumbing on the hill, but not before the Irish had lost their final cavalry unit and their wardogs.
|The Monks prayers appeared to have paid off as things appeared to be going well for the Welsh...|
Turn 8 Irish 1 - LP Welsh - 6LPs
The Irish lost another ordinary warrior unit which put them on a break test, which they passed with ease. However they had no Leadership points left for the next Turn plus they were starting to be outnumbered where it mattered.
Turn 9 Irish 0 - LPs Welsh 6 - LPs
In the end the difference in Leadership points finally told, as the Irish lost two more units and then automatically borke as they had reached 75% losses.
|With only two units left, the Irish unsuprisingly broke and took to the hills.|
Post Game Thoughts
In the end an absolutely cracking game! With Dave having the rulebook in advance his warband was much more balanced and fitted his gaming style perfectly. We both thought it would finish around Turns 5 or 6, given our previous games, but we were both suprised it lasted as long as it did. We lost track of time as it was such an absorbing game, only being brought back to our senses as my Son came down to inform me it was time for bed! So as always some post game musings:
- Warrior warbands are great fun to play as their 'uncontrolled charge' means that battle is joined quickly.
- Dave wisely used his skirmishers, wardogs and sheep to try and break up my battle lines, which they did. However the Irish skirmishers advancing out of the village unsupported probably cost him his left flank in the end.
- Stampede is a favourite S&T of both of us, is fun to play and my 'killer' sheep just look great on the table. Dave is now off to try and track down some 10mm geese so that he can have his 'Wild Geese' unit to go up against my sheep.
- Wardogs are very, very useful as they act like skirmishers but pack quite a punch. A unit definitely to be aware of in the future.
- Monks are damned useful with their extra 2 LPs for units within 5 base widths. The only downside is that they have a Bravery of 6 and only move 1 base width per Turn. Great for the Repellor, potentially a dead weight for the Agressor.
- Skirmishers a perfect for attacking units in the flank or rear, if you can get them round far enough that is. Backed up by some cavalry and they are even more useful
- I had not spotted that units charging into the flank or rear get an extra two die to roll in attack!!! I knew about units fighting to their flank or rear losing two die to their rolls. So given the point about skirmishers above, attacking a lone unit in the flank or rear makes them potentially very dangerous indeed. Skirmishing cavalry could be even more of a threat but I need to read up on these more as I haven't used them.
So depending upon family commitments over half-term, our next game will be next week. In campaign terms the Irish have only 4 points to spend on S&T, whilst the Welsh have the full 5 points. So the Irish will be at a bit of a disadvantage, but how much remains to be seen. In the mean time lets hope Dave finds his geese and he is also on the lookout for a Celtic cross for a unit of Irish Monks...