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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Triumph of the White Ravens!!

So, a few weeks ago, Mike 'Trouble at t'Mill' Whittaker and I reconvened with our new Age of Arthur scenario that we have been playing with for a while. We have had one test game already (on Mike's blog, I think) and this was the re-match. The map is below. Basically, the defender has a non-hearthguard unit and some skirmishers defending a watchtower against an enemy attack, but deployment of all other units on both sides is determined by leadership rolls which are modified each turn to give increasing chances of getting troops to arrive. The objective is to hold the tower at the end. We used 1500pts plus a bonus force of 250pts that would arrive in our enemy's half of the table at some point, time and place determined by dice rolls... I took my Romano-British and Mike took his early Saxons.

Below, my deployed defenders - milites with light armour, thrusting spears and large shields and some rustici with slings.
Here is what Mike managed to deploy and get on table in turn 1. My chaps were already outnumbered, as my troops don't start arriving til next turn!
So, Mike launched his attack with Gedriht and Duguth...oh dear...this ain't gonna end well!

 ...and both units assaulted my palisade, having driven off the skirmish screen... This is turn 2
 And, as expected, my milites crumbled and ran - they only lost the combat by one, surprisingly, but, not for the first time in this game, I couldn't roll dice worth a darn!!
However, things looked better  at the end of turn 3, as my army was beginning to arrive and the milites had rallied, albeit without their banner AND the tower compound was now full of the unwashed saxon horde. Trouble was, Mike was rolling superb depolyment dice so I was still looking shaky and very much outnumbered!
Turn 3! The Saxons line up against my milites against what was MY palisade... On Mike's right, Geoguth advanced menacingly...
However, it wasn't all bad, as my cavalry decided to arrive as well to threaten the Duguth on Mike's left and my skirmishers arrived on my extreme left to play havoc with the Geoguth there. Things were starting to look interesting now!

Turn 4: The Gedriht, sensing that an overwelming British attack was coming in the centre moved out to deal with it. Mike kept the Duguth in the tower compound, as he's very good at remembering the scenario victory conditions - lots of additional victory pts if the tower is uncontested at end of game! My equites were also really being annoying now, threatening the left Saxon flank. At this point, both our reserve units arrived. You can see my allied Saxons at the ford at the top of the picture and the 'White Ravens', which were Mike's mounted Duguth. The smart readers among you have by now worked out what's going to happen here, broadly speaking, from my post title...but do read gets MUCH better!!! :-)

 Here you can see the end of turn 4, with Mike's duguth facing off my cavalry and the 'White Ravens' advancing towards my shieldwall...What??!! Surely not...
So, in turn 5 Mike's Gedriht attacked my Milites in their shieldwall and, wonder of wonders, BOUNCED!!!! Only a remarkably lacklustre British pursuit ended my howls of derision as the pride of the Saxon kingdom buggered off back over the hill AND panicked the dugutrh in the tower compound!!! At this point I was regretting the heavy armour on my Commanipulares, as they were struggling to impact on the battle at all....
 In turn 6, my milites advanced on the palisade to attempt to control it and my allied saxons closed off the 'White Ravens' retreat so they had to advance on my shieldwall...hmmm...cavalry sandwich, I thought....
 ...and, in turn 7, faced with the threat developing up their backside, the Ravens charged my shieldwall and caused a few casualties. No problem...thrusting spears, loads of ranks...16 attacks...and this is what happened!!! My cursed dice made their most spectacular appearance with 9 (NINE!) ones.

It got worse in the next round...these are my saving throws....
...which meant that the Ravens broke and ran down my milites. Luckily, no-one panicked, but all Mike's fleeing Saxons rallied, with the result that, although the tower was contseted, he had most troops close to it and gained 200 victory points in addition to those scored for busting up my milites with his (now much vaunted) 'White Ravens'.
 So, the scenario went to Mike.

Cracking game though, as always. I really enjoy playing Mike. We are evenly matched gaming-wise and we both have similar philosophy: it's all about fun and a great game and the scenario is king!!
We now reckon this scenario is a winner - Mike has played it again since with another club member (Saxons against Saxons) and it was another great game. It really makes you think. The deployment rules are really good - they keep both players guessing and the need to hold the tower keeps the game focused around its objective. The terrain also plays a part, which is very important. Mike and I have created a winner here, we think!

We are doing a club Age of Arthur day in November and are considering opening it up to other gamers wot we know, (details coming soon!) so if you come to see us in November, you may well end of playing this scenario then!!

For Mike's view of this battle go to his blog ( and read his 'Saxon Poetry''s great!!!!


Allen said...

Good stuff, Andy!

Matt said...

Splendid report! Great pics too. Really enjoyed reading this.