Tuesday 9 December 2014

Conwy Wargames Club 28mm Dark Ages

At my first games afternoon with the Conwy Wargames Club I chose to play a Dark Ages game put on by Pete using the Dux Bellorum rules. We were using Pete's figures which were mainly Gripping Beast, and were beautifully painted.

I've never used the rules and had heard good things about them and I fancied trying them out. I confess a great fondness for Hail Caesar and this was the beacon I was comparing these rules too.

Pete had organised an attack defense game or aggressor or repeller in Dux Bellorum parlance. Both sides were roughly equal facing each other over with both right flanks benefiting from an obstacle, the centres an old Roman road and the left flanks a hill.

The opposing armies were:

Barbarian Conspiracy (Picts, Saxon, Irish):
Noble riders Army Pts:5 Move cm:24 Bravery:9 Aggression:5 Protection:5 Cohesion:5
Companion foot warriors  Army Pts:5 Move cm:12 Bravery:10 Aggression:6 Protection:6 Cohesion:6
Noble Warriors Army Pts:5 Move cm:12 Bravery:9 Aggression:6 Protection:5 Cohesion:6
5 x Ordinary Warriors Army Pts:3 Move cm:12 Bravery:7 Aggression:5 Protection:5 Cohesion:5
2 x Skirm Army Pts:1 Move cm:18 Bravery:8 (6Mor) Aggression:1(2 bow) Protection:4 Cohesion:2

Romano British:
Mounted Companions Army Pts:5 Move cm:24 Bravery:10 Aggression:5 Protection:6 Cohesion:5
Noble riders  Army Pts:5 Move cm:24 Bravery:9 Aggression:5 Protection:5 Cohesion:5
Ordinary riders  Army Pts:3 Move cm:24 Bravery:7 Aggression:4 Protection:5 Cohesion:4
Noble shieldwall Army Pts:5 Move cm:12 Bravery:9 Aggression:4 Protection:6 Cohesion:4
2 x Ordinary shieldwall Army Pts:3 Move cm:12 Bravery:7 Aggression:3 Protection:6 Cohesion:4
Archers Army Pts:3 Move cm:12 Bravery:7 Aggression:2(3 bow) Protection:4 Cohesion:3
Monks Army Pts:3 Move cm:6  Bravery:6 Aggression:1(2 Misl) Protection:3 Cohesion:3
2 x Skirm Army Pts:1 Move cm:18 Bravery:8 (6Mor) Aggression:1(2 bow) Protection:4 Cohesion:2

There were 4 players 2 on each side. Only Pete had played before, but Dave had only read through them so we went through the rules steadily. Pete and I took the Romano British. Pete taking charge of the cavalry. Dave and Gaz split the barbarians between them.

The Game

The Romano British plan was to hold on the left with the infantry and attack on the right with the cavalry.

The Barbarians plan was to split the army evenly and attack on their left. (I think because that's what happened).

The armies face off against each other. Romano British on the left and the Picts, Irish and Saxons on the right.

Arthur and his companions lead the charge. The 3 jewels represent the  3 leadership points given to the unit to aid it either in attack or to avoid casualties.


Saxons holding the stonewalls. The dice represent the number of  cohesion points left. Like Hail Caesar's stamina rating. Once down to 0 you run away.

First clash. Arthur is defeated and pushed back by the barbarian noble riders.

The Romano British cavalry have been pushed back by nobles and warriors but top left a  noble Britons have scattered skirmishers and moved to the flank on the barbarian battle line. The red dice mark noble/companion unit cohesion and the white dice  the same for ordinary troops. The lack of  Saxon movement on the barbarian right (bottom right) was due to poor dice on the bravery rolls, equivalent to Hail Caesar command rolls.

My infantry are taking a beating but are hanging in their with lots of  leadership points being applied. Centre stage are my monks praying up more points to hold back the barbarian tide.

Getting brutal. Gaz's Picts support the Saxons against my line. My Archers move to the flank and pour arrows in to them to support my  shield wall. They miss a lot. The reduced cohesion on the Picts is a  result of melee with the archers when they were caught earlier in the game. My archers went on to cause 1 more casualty out of the umpteen shots loosed. That casualty did see off the unit though.

Top right Pete's British cavalry have lost a unit but Arthur is holding while the nobles  position themselves to roll up the flank.

The infantry slug it out and the Picts rout leaving the Saxons on their own. My small units of archers on the right of the picture near the monks whittle down the Saxon nobles as they advance on  Arthur. Arthur was denied destroying the barbarian noble cavalry because they having been pushed back they tried to charge my shield wall in flank and died. 

The end came suddenly. The barbarians reached 50% and lost a Saxon warrior unit and skirmishers to failed morale, the next combat saw  them lose  the Saxon nobles to a rain of arrows taking them to 75% and defeat.

Gaz's view of my victorious troops

Pete's British cavalry sweeping all before them. 

I enjoyed the game immensely, and the other players were great sports with the right level of insults thrown at other players misfortune. Very entertaining.

So what did I think of the rules. Well they were fun and easy to pick up. I liked the rule where the monks if not in combat could pray for more leadership points that could be applied to units within 30cnm of them. We no doubt made errors and we were beginners with these rules but I would play them again. The only thing I wasn't sure of was the movement, specifically where a unit pushed back in combat could charge next turn and gain charge bonus, even though they were the loser or  swing round 90 degrees and charge another unit. 

I look forward to the next games.