Well, it finally happened...the start of my Arthurian campaign entitled 'Bretwalda' at my wargames club.
The campaign is a 'skirmish' affair consisting of 800pt warbands using Paul Leach's (of WI mag articles fame) 'Character-Heavy Skirmish warbands' idea. I have tweaked it slightly and have popped it below for your perusal:
· Each army (called a ‘Warband’) is 800 points.
· It must contain 3-5 characters chosen from your retinue (9 characters, up to 700pts, basic costs paid only: up to 1 priest character and up to 1 bard character allowed in the retinue). You may take as many of each type of character as you can afford for the battle. The army must be led by a hero (Romano-British Magnate or Tribune; British/Welsh Tiern; Saxon Atheling; Pict Mormaer; Scots-Irish Curadh.) This hero will be referred to as your Warlord. Those armies where the warlord character has Leadership 8, may pay an extra 25pts to give the Warlord Leadership 9. Please note that you don’t have to field the original named warlord in every game, but you must field one character as a warlord who counts as ‘army general’ for that game.
· You may field one of your heroes as an Army Standard Bearer to represent your Warlord’s personal standard. Any character who is upgraded in this way must pay 15pts to do so as per the army lists. Please note that only character types allowed to upgrade in this way as per the army lists may be chosen as an Army Standard Bearer.
· Up to 550 points may be spent on units. A unit may number between 5 and 20 models. Units may have a leader and musician if they pay 5pts for each as indicated in the army lists.
· Units may have standards (5pts each as normal) under the following conditions: With the exception of the Romano-British (they get standards for free to represent their supposed more 'military' as opposed to 'warbandy' nature), the number of standards in the army is limited by the number of Tiern, Atheling, Mormaer or Curadh models in the army. You may have one unit standard for each of the afore-mentioned heroes. Please note that an army standard does not count towards this maximum.
The lists are basically very similar to those in Age of Arthur, but simplified so that there are less choices , e.g. there are two types of Saxon army, one of Welsh, etc. I also added a point of toughness to the Romano Brit decurio to make him more survivable in the 'challenge-fuelled' environment of the battles.
The scenarios are adapted from Age of Arthur and Siege and Conquest, (except for one I wrote myself based on the legend of Tristan and Iseult) but set on 4x4 foot tables. There are multi-player scenarios for 2 players each side and these come direct from Age of Arthur except for the one I wrote which won the recent Scenario competition at Warhammer Historical.
Basically, we will play 7 campaign rounds. Each round has 6 campaign points up for grabs - mighty victory = 5 pts/1pt; close-run victory = 4pts/2pts; bloody stand off 3pts each. Each week, players are randomly drawn against each other, with winners always being drawn agianst winners and losers ahgainst losers to give every player a decent chance of winning each week.
At the end of each battle, there is a 'post-battle sequence' which gives bonuses to winning/surviving characters and units and penalties to losing/dying ones. Also, this is where character advantages are gained. You can't pick them in basic lists in this campaign.
So far, we had round 1 last week and, apart from some arguments afterwards via email about one players very cunning tactics, and it being 'not fair' it went very well!!
If anybody wants the players' booklet, I have it on PDF and am happy to email it out to fellow WAB forum users for personal use or internal wargames club use only. No publishing it anywhere!!!!
So, over the next few months, I will let you know how I get on. Although I'm organising it, I'm playing as well - there's no danger of me winning so I may as well join in!!!
My round 1 was a variant of 'Cattle Raid' from Siege & Conquest, where one has to basically escort a load of cattle off one's own table edge while avoiding the enemy.
My warband consisted of 2 Tierns (gen and ASB) and 2 Uchelwyrs. I had 13 Teulu on foot, plus 16 Combrogi, 14 combrogi and 6 sling armed pagenses - a fairly typical sized warband. My opponent fielded late Saxons and had 2 Athelings (gen and ASB) 2 Thegns, a unit of Gedriht, 1 of Duguth, 1 of Geoguth and a few javelinmen. So actually, we were very evenly matched!!
The whole battle was one of frustration... the cattle in their random movement proceeded to spend all game in the way. We couldn't get round to drive them off the table and couldn't attack each other cos they were in the way. My opponent had a mega round of javelin fire which caused my Uchelwyr 'Dogmail the Bright Sword' and his unit of combrogi to panic and flee (he'll be re-named 'Dogmail the Yellow Bellied' for the next game!!) They failed to rally for 2 turns before their 'run for the woods' made them succeed at what would have been their 4th round incapable of rolling 7 or less on 2 D6!!!
My moment of 'glory' came when my slingers shot the crap out of the Saxon gedriht, leaving my Teulu with a fighting chance of beating them...which they did in the ensuing combat (despite the Saxon Atheling inflicting a wound on my general who had challenged him and failed to wound despite having the charge!!!), but I didn't pursue, as doing so may have exposed my flank to the Duguth...except that the bloomin' cattle wandered across blocking the charge...
At close of game, I'd won, but only a close-run victory putting me solidly in mid-table obscurity. I didn't do any better in the post-game sequence, rolling mostly 'no effect' for my troops and characters...this won't do me so well in the next game when I'll be facing armies who gained some far better stuff...
Round 2 happens on the 16th March... I'll post some pics of my warband when I get a mo, as it contains a few figures you've not seen and I've re-painted some shields on some of my troops to give them a more 'Welsh' look - am especially pleased with the spiral designs on my foot Teulu!!!