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Tuesday 21 August 2012

Second Game of Dux Brit

Last night saw a fabulous event at Peterborough Wargames Club...The mighty 'Dux Britanniarum' himself, Lord Richard of Clarke, visited us to umpire a game of Dux Brit between Mike 'Trouble At' Mill' Whitaker and myself. An honoured guest indeed!!! And what a great time  we all had!! Mike has already blogged his version of events. My mind is a bit hazy on the order of some of what happened as I was trying so hard (and managing!) to keep up with game mechanics as well as play and take pics, but here goes...

Right...first, we set up the terrain. This was interesting, as we rolled an unfathomably unusual set of dice resulting in the most terrain-heavy battlefield Rich had ever seen on a Dux Brit table. This was to be my undoing, as we shall see later, although I contributed to my own downfall by not taking advantage of the opportunity to move 2 terrain pieces at the start of the game...well, I did move two, but the wrong two and in the wrong direction..hey ho... Still, pretty looking table, isn't it? My Dark Age terrain is rather nice...

 Below the first turn of the game. We rolled for a village raid...actually no...that;'s a lie...we fabricated the roll for a village raid, as we couldn't do a cattle raid cos we played it last time, we couldn't do a wagon train raid cos my wagons aren't painted...yada, yada, so Rich stepped in...a raid on a village it would be (the village of Mill-ton on Kay-nes. Apparently, the Saxons had tried to raid it before, but it had been closed...! Bizarrely, they had decided to have another bash...contrary, these Germanic types!) Anyway, Mike rolled a 'one' for how many turns start he got in his attempt to loot Mill-ton on Kay-nes and I rolled a 4 bringing me on at the far end of the table (b*gger!), although mercifully in a space devoid of too much terrain!
 Below my army at the end of turn 2, with the remaining troops catching up with my vanguard. My plan was to use my best troops to tackle the threat to the village and the rest to screen off the ford, as some Saxons were trying to sneak round that way...canny blighters!
 And here they come...sneakin'...led by some drunkard called Leofric, whose rowdy (and somewhat bawdy) guttural Germanic anthems were clearly upsetting those of a more delicate constitution in Mill-ton on Kay-nes...
 But it's's a small but solid shieldwall to take care of problems here then...
Below...Leofric and crew... "OOOOHHHHHHHH>..'TWAS ON THE GOOD SHIP VENUS (hic!) YOU REALLY SHOUDHA SEEEEENNNNN USSSSSS (belch)...'Ere, lads, theresh some milksop (insert expletive) Briton cowardsh over there...Letsh..go geddum...BURP!!!!!
 Here come the levy in support....great...just what we need...bloody peasants to take on a bunch of thieving lagered up Saxons...this may not go so well!!!!
 So, out of role for a mo, this is how things looked at this point. I was in a right old muddle on my left, as the rocks were totally stalling my main advance and wrecking my formation. I clearly had significantly underestimated the impact of terrain on my army. I was reasonably confident of my right flank, although I suspected that Mike by now had a blinder of a fate deck. Mine was also good, but it would all come down to who got the key activation to use it. I had a Dragon Carpe Diem and some other cool stuff, but I suspected that Mike had something equally good...
 Below, Mike prepares to 'UNLEASH HELL!' Ok, wrong movie, but there aren't any decent quotes from the shite that was 'King Arthur' with that Owen bloke in it...
 Here we go...Mike plays 'goad' on my warriors on the far end of the shieldwall (so they can't help the levy in the fight) and launches a brutal Fate hand which I can only attempt to counter with my 'shieldwall braced' card... Bloody waste of time...zillions of hits...shock up at about 12 and only 4 levy alive...Amphora misplaced, running like soddery, taking a noble with them!!! Hmm...not a good start. The only good thing is that my warriors don't care and the noble should (fingers crossed) escape next turn, as he can activate himself away from the fleeing peasants. The key thing I learned here (apart from how good a decent Carpe Diem run is) is that combat is decided by group on group, not by the whole formation, so, although I lost the combat, it was only the levy who ran, beacuse they were the group who actually lost the fight! Important lesson learned and an error from last game claered up (one of many thus cleared up so far!)
Here's Mike now being really dastardly! At this point, I had split the other shieldwall and sent my lord and commanipulares haring off to assault the Saxon gedriht rearguard (their mates were trying to loot Mill-ton on Kay-nes...unsuccessfully thus far, which is not surprising...nowt there worth having!!) However, Mike cannily played an evade card, leaving me high and dry and about to get it good and proper on Mike's terms rather than mine!! Bother and blast!!
 And get it I did. Lesson here twofold. DON'T break your British formations...DON'T leave your best unit high and dry without a noble, cos even they ain't that good...zillions of shock, amphora misplaced and that's them off and about to get kicked by the group Mike sent round the back of the baseline hill. Don't EVER let fleeing troops get charged... the enemy doubles their attack dice, so about 20 dice smacked into my commanipulares and only the champion fought back...sigh...lots of dead chaps and I was truly on the back foot!!
At this point, my photography skills failed me (pics all blurred!! B*gger!) but I managed to turn the tables with a monster assault on p*ssed up Leofric and his two groups, playing a massive Carpe Diem hand of my own, slaughtering the heathens and securing the ford so that no more Saxons would advance there this day!! And Mike still hadn't found any loot!!! And his force morale was now as low as mine... A comeback of Lazarus-like proprtions was threatening...

Now it was on a knife edge, as my Lord activated and , with his warriors should have been in range to attack the Saxons who has seen off the commanipiulares and were threatening my rear. I rolled my dice...10" move...and the Saxons were...held breath... 10.25" away!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I can't get 'em!!!! So now they activate and attack, but it's all holding even-stephen at the end of turn... Next turn YES!!!! British Lord activates.... Right, I have a card or two let's kick some....hang on...dastardly Mike plays a 'step forth' Fate card, allowing him to interrupt my activation, activate his Lord and rear charge my Lord and his warriors... This, as he has a Carpe Diem run, is NOT good!!!! And to make matters worse, his other gedriht FINALLY found a groat lurking in a p*ss-pot in a hovel in Mill-ton on Kay-nes. My force morale shot and game over!!!!!

Wow!! What a great fun game that was! On the edge til the last!! The rules lived up to (the very high) expectation via Rich's expert umpiring and  a number of things that seemed very confusing before now felt much clearer. Bloody marvellous!!!! :-)

So, lessons: Well, several, really.

One: Terrain. It ain't your friend if you are British and trying to negotiate it. It adds shock ands breaks formations. What a Brit player needs to do is to ensure that there are some nice clear araes for his shieldwalls - hence the 'do a better job of your option shift two terrain pieces!'

Two: Formations: Keep 'em together where possible and keep your nobles in the right place - move 'em round the formations for best effect if necessary and keep the command and control up at top whack.

Three: Cards...the Fate deck gives you KILLER advantage, but for one round of combat only. make sure you use that killer combo at the right time in the right place.

Four: Never trust a Saxon - but we knew this already!!! :-)

As always, huge thanks to Mike who is a great opponent each and every time we play. And MAHOOSIVE thanks to Rich for trekking up to Peterborough and taking us through the rules. Not only is he a fine rule writer, but he's a jolly fine chap to boot!!!

Mike and I will start the campaign in early September...the battle for the kindom of Linnius begins!!!! :-)

I hope that you enjoyed the check Mike's blog (it's in my blog list at the left of this page) and read his version of events. Oh, and go buy Dux Britanniarum and a bunch of Arthurian models and join in in the fun. It's really fabulous!!! More in about 3 weeks...

Wednesday 15 August 2012

WAB 2.0 Age of Arthur Gaming Day in Peterborough

Here's advance notice of a WAB 2.0 Age of Arthur gaming day to be held in Peterborough on Sunday 25th November, being jointly run by me and Mike 'Trouble at t'Mill' Whitaker, ably assisted by a couple of our other club members.

It promises to be a typical WAB gaming day, full of good fun, great games and friendly gamers.

Details on the pic below, but please feel free to contact me personally if you want further info or if you wish to have a place reserved for you.

Hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday 8 August 2012

First Game of Dux Britanniarum

Well, on Monday evening, I headed off to the wargames club to try out the Too Fat Lardies' super-looking new Arthurian rules, Dux Britanniarum.

Unfortunately, I had not had as thorough a read-through as I would have liked before the event and, as I am utterly pants at remembering any set of wargames rules I have played for years, let alone new ones with completely different systems, it was always going to be an 'interesting' evening!!

Mike, who is much better with such things, had been on hols, so hadn't even ordered the rules... This was not an auspicious start!!

So I picked a scenario I had the kit for (cattle raid) and off we went!!

We decided to roll up the characters, just to see what happened. In the event, not a lot, although I did gain 'Master of Arms' for my tribune, giving him an extra D6 in combat! Hurrah!!!

The scenario is played down a 6x4 table, short edge to short edge, with the Saxons getting D3 free moves with the cattle wot they had previously nicked from me before my advance guard arrived. Needless to say, Mike rolled high, maximising his free moves. My vanguard (D6 groups - I rolled a '4') and as many nobles as I wanted arrived in the centre section of the table on Mike's left, the remainder arriving on activation in turn 2. This meant I arrived roughly level with where Mike's thieving Saxons now were.

What followed was a comedy of errors as I tried desperately to get us through the game. I made numerous c*ck-ups, including misreading the severity of terrain, activating a noble twice in one turn and not activating another (doh!) and getting very confused over the Fate card deck and what happens when combats are won and lost, but despite this, Mike remained good-humoured and patient to the end...and still claimed he had fun!!!!! In the general mayhem, few pictures were taken (and the camera battery was getting low, to add insult to injury!) but we got through the game (somehow) and the Saxons won, despite taking a mauling along the way, getting 2 bases of cattle off the opposite short table edge by a masterstroke of tactical noble-activating (and a Saxon-friendly activation deck) at the end of the game.

So, how does it play?

Well, it's bloody great, that's what it is!!! I am a dyed-in-the-wool WABber and, apart from occasional games of Saga, Hail Caesar and Operation Squad, play little else, so this was VERY different! I love the card activation system! Basically, when your nobles' cards come up, they activate and can undertake as many activations as they have status points (so a warlord has 3, lesser mortals have 2) and they have a menu of 'stuff' to choose from as well as a command range (which is reduced when they are in combat.) This is great and is actually really easy to use. Troops not commanded by nobles get activated last. Seeemples!!!!

Movement is 3D6 (reduced by terrain, shieldwall, etc) and you MUST move what you roll unless you can give your troops a geographical reference point ("Move up in line with the Numeri...")

Combat is straightforward, although our movement trays being different meant that I made a slight error when leading this on Monday and morale is handled by troops receiving 'shock' when in combat or when moving through tricky terrain. Nobles can rally it off them as part of activation.

The real key to the game though is the Fate card deck. This is a set of special ability cards and I got this a LOT wrong on Monday. However, I now know where I went wrong and it is evident that this will lift the game to a whole new level as the cards can help you to REALLY kick ass in combat. Each noble can play a single card on any activation, or, if he holds a Carpe Diem card, can play multiple cards in one go...if in combat, he gains an extra D6 for every card he holds that corresponds to his 'suit' (Dragons for British; Boars for Saxons.) A player may play any unsuited card in response to the actibvating noble in any activation (e.g. when Mike played 'Aggressive Charge' to crush my shieldwall, I was able to play 'Shieldwall Braced' to cancel his advantage)
Deciding what to play when and what to hold back is going to be the Dux Brit equivalent of the battleboards in Saga, where choices of how to load and use the board are key to the game. I think this means that one could play each of the scenarios numerous times and never really get the same game twice!!!

So, overall, we liked it a lot and are playing again in two weeks (next week is ECW campaign week!) I can see this being one of my 'go to' games in future, I really can.

Pics below from the game:

First, evil, Pagan, thieving Saxons sneakin' off with good British beef and lamb!!! Not on my watch, Guvnor!!!
 Below, the result of an unfathomably good set of dice on my part!!! Considering you need 6s to kill Saxon Gedriht, I did well here! Shieldwalls negate the first kill on any group, so although Mike did kill a couple, these were in separate groups and the shieldwall saved them!!!

 Below, Saxons catch me out!! A unit of Numeri (levy) about to get mullared by the Saxon warriors. This was over in 2 turns...everybody dead bar the noble, who wisely legged it!! Lesson here: Levy wot ain't in shieldwall are sh*t!! Oh, and don't forget that groups can be activated more than once by different nobles...they can be a long way away and still get you!!!!
Keep an eye on the blog for more, as I'll keep writing up the games as we play them. Overall though, this game is a winner!!!

Saturday 4 August 2012

Starting Out With Dux Britanniarum

Well, I have my first game of Dux Britanniarum on Monday evening and I must say that I am really looking forward to it! It does look as though it's going to be a great system to play!!

Here are a few pictures of what I will be using for this first game.

Below is the starter warband that each Romano-Britsih player has for the beginning of a campaign. I must say it is great to be able to start with a new set of rules and have models already painted - a luxury that is all too alien to us here at Geetarhero Towerz!! Anyway, the models are obviously from my WAB armies. At the back we have, from left to right:
2 groups of 'warriors' or 'milites, as us Romano-Brits call 'em. These are the standard fighting warrior of the age. They are mostly unarmoured, but all have helmets. This differentiates them from the other models in the army. In the centre are the elite hearthguard, called 'commanipulares'. These are fuly armed and armoured and I have chosen to use, surprise surprise, models from my WAB commanipulares unit, the red and white shields making them stand out well and truly from all other fighters in my force. Sadly, us Romano-Brits only get one group of these kick-ass fighters in our starting force! At the back right we have 3 groups of Levy, who are basically pretty crap! The Saxons don't get any of these, obviously, having an additional group of each of warriors and elites compared to us Brits...Bloody barbarians...think they are all so bloomin' hard 'n that!!  In front of the levy is  a group of missile troops. In the front centre are the heroes.
Below, a close up of the heroes. These are a Tribune (chap in the posh purple cloak - clearly wants to be thought of as Imperator!), with his Champion behind his right shoulder. Next to them are two Decurios, minor nobles who'll lead the units into battle.
Below, a close up of the Commanipulares. You'll note that each group of formed troops consists of 6 models. The movement tray is by Warbases...they did them specially for me as their stock ones have round holes. Great service too...I highly recommend them to all of you.
 Below, the Milites...
 ...And the levy...
 ...And the archers. Missile troops onl;y come in groups of 4 and won't impact too much on the game as a whole, I'm guessing.
Below are 4 shieldwall markers. I'll use these to help remind myself when my troops go into shieldwall, as I have a brain like a sieve and would otherwise forget!! I do the same when playing WAB!!!
In Dux Britanniarum, units gain 'shock' as they fight combats, get shot at, or move through tough terrain, etc. Keeping track of this is crucial in the game, so I made myself some shock markers using various Dark Age casualty models I had in my bits box, plus some casualty marker bases from Warbases. Pics of each one below. I painted these in 4 evenings this week, using the 'white undercoat, bright neat basecoats, Army Painter dip, one highlight with the original basecoat, Testors Dullcote' approach. I think they look pretty darn good and sit alongside my 3-layered army pretty well! They will also come in handy when playing Dan Mersey's Dux Bellorum as well, so two birds killed with one stone there!

And that's the lot ready for Monday!

I hope that you have enjoyed this brief glimpse into my initial force and resources for Dux Britanniarum. I am now going away to create some character profiles for my heroes ready for setting off on the campaign trail. Whether Mike and I will do that Monday or just play a practice game, I don't yet know. Whatever happens, I hope to take pics and write a report following Monday's game, so tune in next week to check that out.