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Friday, 12 July 2013

The Annals of Linnius Chapter 10: The Raid on the Village of Slea-Ford

It is now late spring in the 475th year after the birth of our Lord and most Blessed Saviour, Jesus Christ. I, Publicus Librarius, scribe to his most majestic King Mascuidius, do record the events of these days that witness the coming of the dread Saex.

"It is now two full cycles of the moon since the Praefectus Andrucius foiled the Saex plot to kidnap the brave noble Maximus Minimus at the border watchtower and once again the enemy have raided our kingdom.

Since the sad loss of the fair city of Caer Lind Colun, the new capital hath been established at Caer Lerion. However, the province of Cavsennae doth bear the brunt of the Saex raids, so the Praefectus hath established a system of regular patrols to ensure that Cavsennae itself and the surrounding villages are protected.

On the day in question, the Praefectus did hear disturbing news that a large Saex force had crossed the borders. Spies did inform the Praefectus that it was approaching the village of Slea-Ford, a small place, but home to a pottery-maker whose goods are very much valued by his Majesty himself and many of the Royal Household and which fetch a goodly price in trade with other kingdoms both here and across the Saxon Sea. Thus the Praefectus knew that this village must be defended at all costs!

The Saex did enter from the North, their advance swift and surefooted through the woodland and marsh surrounding the village. The Saex lord did split his forces, keeping his hearthguard close in an attempt to draw our forces away from the village. However, the Praefectus did anticipate this and, keeping his hearthguard and some milites close, did advance to engage the Saex while the remaining milites and Pedyt under Geraint and Maximus did traverse the woodland and attempt to reach the village. However, they made poor speed and the Saex did enter the village and begin their foul pillaging. Fortunately, due to the excellence of the Praefectus' patrols and the rapidity of his arrival, the locals did receive plentiful warning and did escape into the hills, having done their best to hide anything worth stealing.

The initial combat did not bode well, as the Saex lord's hearthguard launched a tumultuous assault on our brave warriors, driving them back with volleys of sharp thrown spears. Nonetheless, undaunted, they returned to the fray, joined by Geraint with the remaining milites and the combined force did, after much brutal slaughter, finally rout the Saex hearthguard, much of which fled the field. The pitiful remnant did withdraw, harassed by our archers, until finally they were caught by the Praefectus hearthguard and annihilated in deadly slaughter, the Saex lord running like a cowardly dog for the shelter of the trees.

Meanwhile, Maximus Minimus, saviour of the army at Caer Lind Colun, did not do us proud this day. His pedyt, advancing in tight shieldwall found their half-hearted charge fall short, only to receive a deadly assault from the heathen that did send them howling back in disarray. The brave and diminutive noble did extricate himself from the wreck and did manage to locate the remnants of the milites who had been recovering their composure after the initial Saex assault. These he rallied ready to re-engage should the need arise.

At this point, the fight was in the balance. The Saex had looted half the village - victory was in sight for them. However, Praefectus Andrucius called upon his tiring heroes to one last heroic endeavour and, forming up, they crashed into the Saex who had so recently broken the levy. The fight was ferocious and brief. Gearint's milites, exhausted with the fight, did run from the combat, although the Saex opposing them did run also. This left the Praefectus and his remaining hearthguard facing one last group of Saex... Howling his battle cry, the Praefectus did lead the charge, ably supported by Geraint who had extricated himself from the wreck of his milites. The Saex line did crumble and the pitiful remnant fled the field, abandoning the loot! The village of Slea-ford was saved!!!

Praise be to God for such a victory! The Praefectus' forces did slay twice the number of men slain by the enemy. We may have lost the fair city, but this war is not yet over!"

Well, b*gger me, that was a cracker!!! Three solid hours of gaming, twice through the fate deck and goodness knows how many actual game turns.... Wow! The game was really in the balance til the very last combat. Both of us managed to gain enough decent carpe diem hands to add punch to the combats, especially Mike, to whom 'Strong Arm' cards are nagnetically drawn!!

Pivotal moments in the game as follows:

1. Mike's first charge on my elites/warriors combo: I was driven back and in a bit of trouble, although the elites were (miraculously) unscathed at this point;
2. Getting my other milites within 2" of the Saex when they came in again - this took me from being outnumbered to outnumbering with the dice thrown and made a huge difference, as the Saex elites were beaten off, one group losing their amphora and the warlord's group significantly weakened;
3. Me failing two charges by an inch! In one, the pedyt had to throw anything but a 1 to charge with a kick-ass carpe diem hand. Guess what I rolled!!! This was the point I thought I'd lost, as Mike did to the pedyt what I'd hoped they were gonna do to him!
4. Mike being a not very successful looter (again!)
5. Being able to catch the remaining Saex hearthguard who had been weakened by my archery and destroying them, thereby significantly reducing Saxon force morale
6. The British Lord's card coming up at the right time to get in the final charges and break the Saxon force.
7. Me rolling few kills on my troops through most of the fight, although I received LOADS of shock!

I also played my cards MUCH better this time, choosing my moments to play them and playing the right ones at the right time, which I have not always done in other games.

I have to say that three hours just flew by! The raid scenarios are really such great games. We have played this particular one at least three times now and each game has been completely different to the others.

In fact, while playing/tidying away, we were discussing why this campaign continues to inspire us after 10 games. Some of the thoughts we came up with were as follows - I can't remember them all:

1. The scenarios are bloody brilliantly designed - they make you want to come back again and again;
2. The game mechanics are really good. There is nothing we really don't like. The Fate cards are genius and add such great period flavour;
3. Mike makes sh*t-hot brilliant terrain that is a pleasure to fight over (new game boards new the PVA was still a bit soggy!)
4. The period-specific flavour we have put in with our 'in-role' batreps and the way the heroes really have developed characters all of their own;
5. We don't overdo it. A game once every 3-4 weeks, ish. That keeps us interested but doesn't overload us;
6. The blogging: we enjoy writing this stuff for you and taking the pretty pics!

Talking of which, the pics!! Enjoy...

The village of Slea-Ford, ripe for the pillaging (Quote Mike: Let's pillage da village..." ahem...)

Saex deployment and pre-game move (we remembered the watchtower rule this time!)

Andrucius leads his men into action...

Initial Briton moves. See Geraint's men b*ggering about in the woods...sigh...

End of turn 1...

End of turn 2. The Britons are beginning to get some kind of battle line going now...

View through the Gedriht...

After the first combat, the milites have taken a mauling but the Saex are not unscathed...

View from behind the Saex after that first fight...

"See there, men! Slea-Ford...we must save the village!"

After the pivotal combat where Geraint's milites joined in by being 2" from the Saex. This was a real early turning point for me and momentarily put Mike on the back foot - not that he was there for long...

Wide-angle view...

The Saex lord withdraws out of charge range (boo, hiss!)

It's now about to get interesting...

My archers about to get clobbered...

MAXIMIS ACTIVATES!!! YAY!!! Now, you get one D6 for levy in shieldwall...just roll anything...

...but a one...Oh sh*te, b*gger, feck and a*se!!!!

The milites similarly failed to contact the Saex 1 inch (sob!) Now it's me on the back foot! Mike is really back in this now...

Yes...this IS going as badly as it looks (bloody 'Strong Arm' card!)

Oh dear, large hole where pedyt used to be... Now, will I be able to catch those Saex elites? (Err, yes, actually, but the photo was abominably blurred...sorry!)

Where have all the pedyt gone???

"Brave men of Linnius, form up on me and CHAAAARGE!!!!!!"

DIE, Saex scum!!!  Saex amphora lost, force morale zero...victory to the Britons!!! By 3 points, as it turned out, as I had suffered moderate losses and Mike heavy losses...
Many thanks as always to Mike for being a fabulous opponent, against whom I never tire of gaming. Thanks also to Mike's lovely wife who put up with three hours of noisy wargaming in the rrom next while trying watch her favourite TV programmes...with nary a complaint!

Next up, that bat-rep of the Ride to Ruin game I played the other week.


Chris Stoesen said...

Awesome report. I have really enjoyed reading of your campaign. My campaign has stalled due to lack of time. Yours are inspiring.

Andrew Saunders said...

Superb storyline and pictures thanks for sharing

Dalauppror said...

Vell worth the 24 houre wait:)

Greate AAR and pictures Andy !!!

Sounded and looked like a realy nice game, Dux Britanniarum are truly a nice set of rules !

best regards Michael

Matt said...

My word Andy! That sounds like a real cracker of a game. Thanks for posting :o)

I've rather been in the "wargaming doldrums" in the last few months. (Managing a £1M+ software project has rather taken it's toll on free time ... and my sanity!?)

Reading about games and projects like yours does give a me boost. I guess I'm looking to something a bit different from W&C for a while. I have Dux Brit (never played) and I may pick up a copy of Dux Bellorum at Devizes next week, since I've plenty of (unpainted!) Romano-Brits!

Then there's the Perry Samurai I've ordered for when Ronin comes out!

Anyway, enough rambling from me! Thanks again for a real treat of a blog post.



Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Great looking game and hughly enjoyable report! I agree with everything you said about Dux B.