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Saturday 15 August 2009

Bretwalda: The finale

Well, Bretwalda is now over... Round 7 was the usual disaster I've experienced through most of the campaign. I played 'Mt Agned' against Pete's Romano-British and managed to lose a mighty defeat, largely through severe ill-luck, as Pete had several rounds of unfathomably good shooting that destroyed my skirmishers and reduced my Teulu to an ineffective mob...

So the campaign was effectively over. Phil and his Picts won it (no surprise there - he very rarely loses a wargame of any sort, especially WAB) The following week was the prize-giving accompanised by a final fun game. Here is the text I sent to the players before this final game:

Camlann - The Aftermath

“The battle of Camlann is over…Arthur and Medraut are slain, their warbands shattered, the survivors scattered.

Now, in the aftermath a few battle-shocked heroes and the pitiful remnants of their warbands scour the land, for, with such slaughter comes the chance for loot. Many famed artefacts are rumoured to lie in the countryside around the battle site. The right hero, with the right artefacts might even gain all that the great Arthur lost…”

This, then, is the scenario for Monday evening’s battle. Each player must provide a warband that meets the following criteria:

1 fully equipped major hero (Tribune, Tiern, Atheling, Mormaer, Curadh)
1 fully equipped minor hero (Decurio, Uchelwyr, Thegn, Champion, Toiseach)
Up to 72pts of comitatus warriors, (commanipulares, Teulu, Gedriht, Nobles, Fianna) equipped as you would normally field them please (so basically, that’s about 4 warriors…)
Up to 70pts of ordinary warriors (milites [NOT sagitarri], combrogi, Geoguth/Duguth, Pictish warriors, Ceithern) equipped as you normally field them, please. Romano-British players may swap up to 2 milites for sagitarri. Pictish players may swap up to 3 warriors for hunters. Irish players may swap one Fianna for a packmaster and may then swap up to 2 Ceithern for hounds. This gives an average of 9-10 ‘ordinary’ models for each player.
ALL warriors fight on foot.
Characters are newly-created for this game, so have no special attributes or items – this keeps the playing field totally level for all players in the campaign.

The game will use the basic movement, shooting and hand-to-hand combat mechanisms of WAB. However, ALL models move, shoot and fight as individual skirmish models. There are no ‘units’ as such.

When models lose their last wound to either shooting or hand-to-hand combat (most only have 1 wound , but heroes will have 2 each…) they are not necessarily dead, but a d6 is rolled and the following table consulted:

The force of the blow knocks the warrior to his knees. Place the model face up to show that it is knocked down. Knocked down models may crawl 2” in their movement phase if able to actually move at all (i.e. not in combat). Knocked down models in combat may not strike back, so stand a VERY good chance of being killed in the subsequent round, unless the opponent is fighting other models at the same time!! They may stand up at the start of their next turn, but may only move at ½ speed and may not charge or run (assuming they can move at all). They may fight and shoot as normal. From the next turn, they may do everything as normal, assuming they haven’t been hurt again, of course!.
The force of the blow knocks the warrior to the ground. He is barely conscious and can do nothing…nothing at all! Place him face down to show that he is stunned. If the model is still alive at the start of its next turn, the player may turn him face up to show that he is now ‘knocked down’ with all the problems that go with that! If he survives, that model can recover as explained above in subsequent turns.
If a model is a hero or a comitatus model, he is assumed to wear a helmet and therefore has a 4+ save against being stunned. If he makes the save, he is assumed to be merely ‘knocked down’ (see above)
5-6: DEAD!
The force of the blow hits a vital spot and the warrior is slain! Remove him from the game!

This potentially keeps models alive a wee bit longer and reflects the very ‘individual skirmish’ nature of the game!

The object of the game will be to collect ‘loot’ counters which will be placed on the board by the umpire prior to the game commencing. Each ‘loot’ counter will be numbered and the umpire will declare what it is and how much it is worth as a player claims it.

To claim a counter, a player only has to move a model into contact with it in its movement phase. (Any model that happens to be fleeing may not claim a counter!!!) The number is then revealed, with the umpire informing the player what he has gained. Of course, some counters actually are not ‘loot’ at all, but something a weeny bit more interesting/sinister!!! All will be revealed as the game progresses!!

If a model is slain (i.e. is actually ‘dead’), it drops any ‘loot’ counters it is carrying. Any enemy model in base-to-base contact may immediately pick it up in their next turn assuming that they have not been charged by another model in the interim. In that event, the counter is simply placed back on the table.

Any model may, for sake of ease of game-play only carry one loot counter. Loot counters do not impede the model from moving, shooting or fighting!

Andy will umpire – depending on the number of players, we may run 2 games concurrently, as too many players on one table in this sort of game doesn’t work!!!

Game Turn:

1. Initiative dice: Play will proceed in order of dice scores, high to low.
2. Compulsory movement phase (for all non-player stuff).
3. Each player now goes through the following in the order of the initiative dice:
a. Recovery phase of ‘knocked down’ and ‘stunned’ models (i.e. turn them over/stand ‘em up...)
b. Usual WAB movement phase
c. Usual WAB shooting phase
d. Usual WAB HtH phase


- There will be NO warband tests!! All models move and fight as the players wish!
- It is a fight to the death! There will be no leadership tests for losing models! Play continues until the umpire deems it a good time to stop, as he has no idea how long it will take to play each turn!!! Players may concede at any point if things are going awry for them!!Umpire’s decision on all things is final!!

There were only 6 players available for this game and I umpired. basically, we used an 8x6 table and placed thre small villages and church enclosure, various woods, a river, difficult groun, yada, yada and players diced for deployment, deploying 6" in. The table was coverd in 24 loot counters, face down. As a player moved in to contact, I revealed what he had 'found'. There were lots of cool loot, including Excalibur, the Cauldron of Herne, The Holy Grail, the Dragon-Sword of Hengest, plus treasure, etc, as well as ravening wolves, a bear, various peasants and skulking warriors. At the start of each game turn I rolled a D6. On a 4+, a random event occurred (of my choosing on the spot, actually) which included more wolves, peasants with waggons, wild boar, etc...

It was a fun game and the only changes I'd make would be to make the wolves and bears tougher, as they died too easily... As the game progressed, it sped up, as we simply allowed everyone to move in intitative order, then do their shooting and combat, otherwise it took too long to play a turn.

So...what did I learn from leading Bretwalda?
1. You can't please everybody all the time - lots of folk loved the campaign, but to others it was all wrong. I shouldn't get stressed by future, I won't get so up tight!!!
2. It's a lot of work!!! A LOT of work...
3. It WAS worth it for the vast majority of players who did enjoy it.

If anyone wants a copy of the full 'Bardic Chronicles' poetry booklet, request it in the comment section, with your email address added and I'll send it, but be warned, it is a 5 Megabyte monster as I put some photos in it. Same goes for the final game notes and loot counter list (much smaller files those!!)

Next project: Writing a 'Raiding Season' style campaign (see Age of Arthur for Raiding Season campaign) based on the heroic poem Y-Gododdin (using Rosemary Sutcliff's amazing 'The Shining Company' as inspiration...)

1 comment:

Sire Godefroy said...

I'm interested in the booklet. You find me under the name Stolzenberger who is AT the provider GMX, ending with a DOT and then DE.

Sorry for this ridiculous riddle, unfortunately you have to complicate such things on the web these days a bit.

Thanks in advance!