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Monday 20 February 2012

An ENORMOUS Dark Age game of Hail Caesar

Yeah...I know...It's been too long since I last blogged. Truth to tell, I have had neither time nor inclination, nor real reason, as I have had nowt to say... However, today is different!!

Last weekend I was one of the 'Dark-Ages A-listers' (quote James Morris) who were invited by Mr Morris to Nottingham to play a giganto-normous Hail Caesar game for an article to be published in Wargames Illustrated 300th issue bumper special for Sept 2012. We were to re-fight part of Y-Gododdin for this mammoth undertaking and so pitted 200 mounted Welsh plus various foot troops against the best part of 700+ Saxons. The pic above was taken by WI UK head honcho Dan and shows just how much better the pics in the mag will be compared to mine below come September!!!

Anyway, I had never played HC before but it wasn't gonna stop me! I painted a handful of additional Welsh cavalry (dipped and single highlight...!!) to give me a full HC division and I was off! I am not allowed to say too much about the game to avoid detracting from James' article and I have stuck to pics of the whole table to give you an idae of scale, plus a few pics of my division in action. Hopefully this is ok! If not, I'm sure James or Dan will chastise me and I'll then edit this post somewhat!!

Below, the set up...that's a lot of toys!!!

Here's the Saxon lines...

Here's one of my fellow Welsh commanders, Steve Jones (he of WAB Age of Arthur fame) looking somehat bemused by the enormity of his task on the Welsh right flank.

Here is my division on the Welsh left, simply charged with slaughtering as many of the foe as gloriously as possible... Tom W D ( was our supreme leader and held the centre.

Here's my own models. Note my Welsh infantry banners temporarily transplanted to cavalrymen as I didn't have time to paint 3 new Welsh standards prior to the battle!!

Here's a great example of how HC can b*gger up your plans good and proper (below). You have to roll less than or equal to your command value to get orders through to your troops...clearly Tom ahs managed this, whereas me and Steve haven't!!!!!! Refused flanks anyone??!!

Here's my glorious charge about to go gloriously wrong (yes, it isn't just in WAB where it all goes t*ts up for me!!!)

Battle lines clash across the board...Mr Morris (our esteemed umpire) is just deciding whether it's me or Tom who gets the dubious honour of being first to charge that wall of Saxon death!!!! This is because, in HC, units within 12" of the enemy can move without a leadership test. Me and Tom both had units with 9" (cavalry charge distance) so both potentially could claim that honour. I won't spoil the article and tell you who got it...

This is me about to launch a second charge into what is now looking like a FLOOD of Saxons...

Well, stone the crows (or should that be "stone the ravens???" joke for the Arthurian fans amongst you...) look at this!! In HC, if you obliterate the enemy in combat, you can make a sweeping advance...especially handy when his supporting units roll shite panic dice and get obliterated also!! So, cavalry have actually broken through, slaughtering 2 Saxon units and seeing daylight!!! Can you spot the two dipped figs in this unit???

My other cavalry didn't fare quite as well...too many of the heathen b*ggers!!!!

And that's all I can show you, as I don't wish to give any more away!!

It was a fabulous day out. HC is a great rule set for this size game. We played 7 turns in approx 6 hours, including breaks. The Saxons were led by Dan 'Dux Bellorum/Glutter of Ravens' Mersey ( and were ably assited by Paul 'Scrivs' Smith (HC expert) and Andy Mactaggart. Some of us had never played HC before, which shows you how easy it was to pick up.

And, more to the point, I am re-invigorated and ready to rock again with my gaming and painting! I have a new Welsh mounted Teulu unit ready to go on the painting table and I have been sorting all my Dark Age models for dual roles in WAB and Hail Caesar. This has meant a few alterations here and there to get the right size units and some banners have had to be replaced anyway due to transportation accidents (dontcha hate it when a banner cross-pole bends and the flag rips???!! That's happened twice with Romano-Brit cavalry banners recently!)

Then there are the new rules! Dan's "Dux Bellorum" is out in August (pics of my models in the rule book, we hope!!) and the "Too Fat Lardies" have a STUNNING looking Arthurian set in the works ( This latter set look like they could be the mutt's nutz of Arthurian wargaming for me (although Dan's set sounds interesting too...) Wargaming the Dark Ages has not been as exciting since WAB Age of Arthur came out!!!

I hope that you enjoyed the above!! I hope to be back soon... :-)


Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

That's some fantastic pics of an awesome game! Nice to see you picking the brush up again as your one talented painter!


Mike Whitaker said...

Looks absolutely awesome, as I'm sure I've said elsewhere. And nice to see you blogging again.

I won (*cough*) a copy of the HC army lists supplement over the weekend, BTW - doesn't yet cover Dark Ages, but is a useful read for ideas on how to build specific armies.

Guidowg said...


Bedford said...

Great to hear that you're back. I've had somewhat of a hiatus myself.

Love the piccies and very much looking forward to the WI article.


Matt said...


Delighted to hear that you've got your gaming energy back!

Can you please post some better pics of your dipped figures? Interested to see how they've come out.

Look forward to the article.



BigRedBat said...

I missed this at the time- what a spectacular game! I look forward to seeing somethign along the same lines, at Partizan...

Cheers, Simon