"His Majesty King Mascuidius is not in good temper. I write this entry into the annals of the kingdom with an unquiet mind, for when the king is in this temper, who knows what may befall?
Following the Great Victory, the rout of the Seax and the impalement of their dead along the River Humbre, the kingdom had peace for three long months. Border patrols could spot no activity and even those in the coastal villages could sleep soundly in their beds for a time. The Praefectus Andrucius was in favour with the king and all seemed well - better, in fact, than in any time since the Heathen first despoiled our fair lands.
However, all is now changed. The Saex have returned and have seemingly come with new purpose. The patrols spotted them crossing the great river and heading for the village of Stalling by Humbre, a small hamlet nestling below the slopes of the hills nearby. It is not a wealthy place, but the villagers do make pottery and there is a metal-worker there of some repute.
The Saex moved at great pace and the Praefectus' forces were clearly caught unawares, failing to intercept the raiders before their entry into the village.
In past encounters, the Praefectus has noted that the Heathen are often easily drawn away from their looting and into combat, as was the case in the Great Victory. However on this occasion, it seems that their leaders had greater control, as the Praefectus was quite unable to bring more than one of their warbands to battle before the brutes had looted the village and departed with their ill-gotten gains. Although some limited pursuit was offered, the Praefectus' men were unable to catch the enemy.
Although our own losses were trifling in the affray and despite the fact that the enemy lost at least twice as many men, his Majesty King Mascuidius was furious that the Great Victory had not been repeated and that the Saex were able to escape with plunder. However, while publicly acknowledging his failure to deal with the raiders, the Praefectus is a wise man and understands full well the fact that the Saex lord has come into the war with renewed purpose. The way in which the Saex did taunt and goad our troops, withdrawing from the assault and coming on again after doth demonsrate military knowledge greater than many would give them credit for. In fact, the Praefectus was heard to report that their tactics resembled those of the Heathen Huns, against whom his father fought in the wars over the Saxon Sea in Gaul in years gone by under the great Magister Aetius....
The Praefectus also knows that the Saex lord is fully aware that, if he can loot and pillage at will, the popularity of the Praefectus with both our king and the people will wane and that this may go in the favour of the Heathen - lesser men than the Praefectus commanding the armies may well give cause for the Saex to gain more than simply a few wagons full of loot...
What will happen now? None knows for certain. The Praefectus needs to re-think his tactics and find some way of ensuring that the Saex dance to his tune and not he to their own!"
A very interesting battle, this one. We once again rolled the village raid scenario and once again, by virtue of terrain placement, the village ended up right on the table edge, although this time much closer to the Saxon entry point. Mike rolled well for pre-game moves and I rolled badly for my force entry, which meant that he was in the village before I'd had a chance to do anything useful. In addition, I played badly, focusing too much attention too early on getting formations set up and thereby slowing my advance down. Once I got to the village, I did manage to trap a unit of Gedriht and slaughter it, but this was the only combat of the game.
Mike played it very well. Much better than me! He kept his eye on the prize and got everyone in looting early. Despite dreadful looting rolls (two rolls of '1' indicating no loot to be found among the 4 houses) early on, he managed to gain one set of loot midway through and then led me a merry dance until his Gedriht looted the final building. As he was on the edge of the table, escape was very easy...
Game over... I really should have raced my elites and warriors in and should assaulted the houses earlier. Over-caution and poor deployment of the levy therefore contributed to what amounted to a very minor defeat. Also, I should point out again that Mike played this one very well indeed, which meant that he genuinely won it, rather than me just losing it due to being a bit shite....if you see what I mean. Still, it was great fun! A most enjoyable way to spend an evening!!
Here are some pics...
|The table at the end of Mike's pre-game moves...|
|The table at the end of turn 1. Mike is about to start looting and I have nothing there...|
|My vanguard...note the newly increased size of the unit of warriors following 'The Great Victory'...|
|My reinforcements arrive...Mike is now unsuccessfully looting...|
|Now THAT'S a formation of Romano-Brits!!!! Get that in shieldwall and we can take on all-comers!!|
|Mike's Gedriht (left cente) have abandoned the empty house and are about to be taught a bit of a lesson!!|
|Take that, Saxon scum...Oooh look...thine amphora doth breaketh...Cheerio!!|
|The Britons close in, but surely Mike will roll a '6' soon...???|
|Yup...he did...look, see the loot barrel on the Gedriht base at the bottom? Game over...Saxon win...|
Mike and I are reconvening next week for the next game...Watch this space!!