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Saturday, 29 March 2014

'Age of Warlords' WAB Arthurian Campaign Playtest Game

Last week, Andy Mac (one of the 5 Andys at the club!) popped round for a game of WAB. We are about to commence a WAB Arthurian campaign at the club, a bit similar to the Bretwalda thing I ran a few years back (in the blog archives for 2009 if you search about a bit) and this game was a play test of a Drustan and Essylt scenario I have been tinkering with.

I took a Lowland Briton force (basically a combination of Age of Arthur Romano-British and British Kingdoms, so they have shield wall, but are warband  - they play like later Saxons actually) and Andy took a typical Saxon force. In the campaign we use the 'character heavy warband' idea popularised by Paul Leach in his Wargames Illustrated articles from a few years ago, so 1000pt armies including 3-5 characters with no 'kings' and with army lists taken from Age of Arthur, except for the Lowland Britons which I have made up myself, based on Romano-Brits and Welsh, simply because I felt that balanced the armies better with the smaller warbands we are using.

Anyway, back to Drustan & Essylt...

This scenario is basically the defending warband protecting the princess Essylt who has secretly stolen away from her husband to be with her lover, the general of the defending army. The attacking force represents her husband coming to get her back. It's a dawn-attack type scenario, so the attackers have to dice for where units deploy. Defenders are deployed unformed, as they are all asleep. Essylt is in a hut on the edge of the deployment zone and only one unit of defending foot is allowed within 6 inches of the hut on deployment.

Also, it is dark - there may be one or two turns of darkness dependent on a D6 roll. This limits sight and movement, so units may move as far as they can see up to their maximum march rate, may move normally or even not at all while darkness lasts. Defenders also have to pass leadership tests to 'wake up' and form up. This includes the characters who may not be deployed in units at the start of the game!!!

Andy rolled the attacker, so I prepared to defend Essylt. I took 2 Tierns (one as army general) and two Uchelwyrs, (one as ASB) with one unit of 10 mtd Teulu, 2 units of 17 combrogi, who were allowed to upgrade to large shields and thrusting spear at extra cost (using the last of the Roman weaponry and all that...) and a unit of 13 archer skirmishers. Andy took 3 Athelings, a unit of 12 Gedriht, 2 units of about 20 Duguth, one unit of 6 mtd Duguth and 2 units of skirmishers; one a massive 16 models in size!!

Deployment below:

As you can see, most of Andy's force (top of pic) was squashed into his centre by the deployment rules - he basically had to indicate which 4x4 square he wanted each unit in, then, after I deployed my entire force, he diced for each unit. We allowed a re-roll for the General's unit, so he, at least, was where Andy wanted him... This left my Teulu in a potentially great position on my left for swift flanking moves. However, we got two turns of darkness, which messed things up a bit...

Close up of Andy's deployment...


My infantry holding force, deployed between the wood and the hut containing Essylt...


In turn one, all my characters got to move to join their units and wake them up, which was mighty handy! This enabled them to attempt to move, but darkness hindered me here. Similarly, Andy had a few problems with the dark. At least we didn't have war band to worry about (no war band tests in the dark, as you can't actually see anyone!)

At the end of turn one, it looked like this...


By the end of turn two, it was all rather different! Andy had a much better turn of movement, with the pre-dawn murk hardly affecting him at all...sadly, my Teulu decided a bit of pre-dawn mist was too scary, so they stayed still!!! A*rse, feck, b*gger and b*llox!!!!


However, things weren't looking so bad on my other flank, as Andy had set up his skirmishing javelin men close enough to shoot my combrogi, who, not liking this much, decided to see them off, re-directing their charge into the suddenly revealed Duguth when the skirmishers failed their fear test and fled. Now, despite only having thrusting spears, as we only clipped the unit by a couple of blokes, and, as we are close order and therefore get that extra point in combat result, we managed to avoid taking a tw*tting!!



Pulling leaders and characters into the fight then gave me the advantage as I was using thrusting spears, so Andy advanced his remaining Duguth to try to tempt my other combrogi out of the shield wall I had hastily formed in a hopeful attempt at protecting Essylt who remained cowering in her hovel...


Meanwhile, over on my left flank, my Teulu's earlier tardiness was looking like it would prove their undoing as they were going to be forced to charge headlong into the Saxon Gedriht. This, dear reader, is what is known as 'a very, VERY bad thing!!!'


However, clearly God had chosen to side with the good Christian Britons on this day, as I finally managed to break the Duguth on my right. Despite the fact that the general's leadership was available, the other Duguth failed their panic test, I pursued the broken duguth, crashing into the mtd Duguth, who weren't happy at all. In short, the entire Saxon line apart from the Gedriht, soiled its britches and ran. This left me with two key questions:

1. Would my Teulu mangle themselves on the Gedriht?
2. Would the central unit of duguth rally? Important this, as if not, and if my Teulu could survive two turns of combat, I had a unit of combrogi who could possibly flank them pesky Gedriht and tip the balance there...

So, I charged... Bravely (stupidly?) I also reformed the central combrogi unit to face the Gedriht flank and, holding my breath, awaited the combat round...

Which looked like this...I actually won the combat!!! Could I survive the second round in Andy's turn? Would his Duguth rally?


Well, yes...I did survive the round, albeit with only 1 man and the general left in the Teulu....and no...Andy's Duguth failed a second test on leadership 9.... FLANK CHARGE!!!!!!!!!


And that was that...Andy's general died along with the pitiful remnant of his Gedriht, pretty much everything else ran off and that was the end of that! Essylt could remain with her lover...

Aaaahhhhhhhh....how sweet...lovely couple....


So, mighty victory to Bedwyr and the Britons.

Overall, we felt the scenario generally worked. Andy certainly felt it needed no more tinkering with. I, however, having thought about it since, feel that it's a bit too easy for the defender to get his troops in gear quickly, so I will tweak it a little, so that defending troops are not allowed to move on the turn they 'wake up'. This might give the attackers a bit more of a head-start, as, after all, they are the assailants coming in at dawn...

If that whetted your appetite for more, do look out for a series of posts over the next few months as the campaign gets under way. We will be gaming it the second week of each month, so there should be a battle report each time (for my battles) and possibly some narrative as well. I may even try a few more Dark Age battle poems like the last time we tried this kind of idea. Have a backtrack through my blog and look in 2009 for the reports from the previous campaign...


5 comments:

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Great looking game Andy!

Christopher

Emilio said...

Great report, Andy.

George Anderson said...

So have you given up with Dux Britanniarum?

Your WAB campaigns and battles look really good and I look on with envy.

George Anderson said...

I like the look of your games, great period and terrific looking battles.

Have you gave up on Dux Britanniarum or does WAB fit the period better?

GuitarheroAndy said...

Hi George...no we haven't given up on Dux Brit - I am painting Northern British cavalry at the moment, amongst other things.

We just like WAB and as lots of us have Arthurian models, we can always enjoy a few games and, having run a similar campaign a few years back, I thought it would be fun to do a similar thing again.

Dux Brit and WAB both work well for the period as far as i am concerned - very different types of game, but both great fun nonetheless.