A supplement to start the army lists of the east is now uploaded to the site
a might like nice new range of 15mm Han to accompany these 🙂
A supplement to start the army lists of the east is now uploaded to the site
a might like nice new range of 15mm Han to accompany these 🙂
In case you missed it , here are the first two Dark Age lists for sanctioned play
For our finale game in our 1066 series of game, we saw the victorious (from Stamford Bridge) Harald confronted by William. As this was divergence from the historic events, we had no pre planned events to follow and just let the standard game dictate the events.
The Vikings won the initial roll off and chose to defend the north. They tried to secure their armies flank against a river. The Normans were happy to let them do that – saving a fortuitous draw of cards for the outscouting phase. This resulted in the Vikings being 70% outscouted. The terrain while being ‘dense’, saw 2 large scrubby hills failing to place. So in the end the battlefield was open in the centre and secured by a river on one flank and a couple of field on the other.
While the Vikings were outscouted it largely didn’t alter the army disposition, with 5’ of shieldwall. The Huscarls were spread out across the line, rather than in one particular area.
William didn’t have much in the way of options and really had to destroy the Viking army to keep his grip on England. So, he lined up his numerous Milites and hoped to smash the centre while the Bretons harried the flanks. The Norman left saw the infantry contingent refuse the line. The Norman infantry was at best equal to the Vikings, so it was down to the mounted wing to win the day.
The strategy that both armies deployed was not subtle. The Normans just trying to cave the centre of the line, while the Viking foot resisted in shield wall. In game terms the Hird are average light spear , close order infantry (with shieldwall). The Milites are average , charging lance, devastating chargers… so in the charge they are up 2. But the bit thing was that shieldwall negates any ‘s’s , and only a ‘skull’ gives a shatter. The Hird in 9’s are really resilient, and while the initial charge might have looked good, they can afford a few bases here and there if they can inflict and casualties. As is panned out the Normans charged, had some success, but lost a few bases. The subsequent melee was even more even. The Huscarls are savage in the melee, being 2 up n the fight, and their presence started to take a toll. The Normans had to spend their better cards to break off and re-charge (where they had more advantage) , but this was costing them a lot in card management. The Vikings could sit back to rally off wounds where they could. The Milites in 6’s , were starting to look thinned out. One unit broke and the Vikings had a breakthrough. This had the effect of splitting the line and some isolated Huscarls that dashed out were cut down by the Norman horseman – this seemed all very ‘in keeping’
However, the chances of getting the major breakthrough the Normans required started to dwindle. The Bretons were making little headway on the flanks. There were just a few too many Viking troops, and the gap in which to manoeuvre too small. Having javelins didn’t really help them and the Vikings were in big stodgy blocks. The Viking berserks had not been put in the front line and were acting as a fire brigade looked like a target and some initial success with missile fire looked like they might be seen off, but the more numerous Viking squeezed the Bretons into skirmishing away and their impact was negated.
As the game came to an end the result started to look as a bloody draw. A lot of Norman horsemen had been cut down, with just the Noman infantry intact. In conclusion it looked like Williams invasion would fail. His inability to destroy the incumbent armies would mean that his wish to control the whole of England would be inconclusive. At best we might end up with a toe hold in the south, with Godwinson defeated. Victorious Haldraada , however, might have plans to extend the Danelaw !
Fighting these battles in MeG, is quite tough , there are no quick wins, and most combats have to be ground out. The subtle nuances of the interactions actually give you some tough decisions to make. For instance the Normal quandary about martialling their cards to either ‘feign flight’ or ‘rally up’, gave the more static Vikings an edge. Also the fact that average infantry are so numerous (cheap) make any cavalry breakthrough really hard.
Made for a flavourful game, and did seem to feel right. Surprisingly more decisions to make than in other ‘Dark Ages rule sets ©’ , where they tend to run themselves.. line up.. fight
The next installment of our 1066 anniversary battle is the Battle of Stamford bridge. This time round Harold Godwinson was to take the field against Harald Haldraada. The armies lists were –
The Campaign game replaces the ‘5 days before battle’ section with its own map. The Saxons are always attacking , and the Pre Battle cards indicate whether the battle took place at its original spot (where the Vikings are surprised and the army split) or whether the Vikings are more ‘canny’ and force a more conventional pitched battle. Both sided had 9 cards, so it wasn’t a guarantee that it would take place as historically.
The preamble began slowly with the Saxons winning or drawing the early hands and thus the battle being held in the spot advantageous for them. The penultimate hands saw the Vikings make a break out away from the river and to an open plain for battle. However, a last red Saxons card in the last round saw the Vikings pushed back to the river, and the battle would be fought as per the special rules.
The battlefield was split with a traverse river, which while fordable was difficult going. The Viking army was split in two , each half being deployed on each side of the river. In the first turn the Viking would be dealt cards ‘face up’ – using the allies rules – to represent their lack of preparedness for the battle.
The scouting phase was not particularily exciting , with 100% heavy infantry armies there is not much in the way of scouting cards. The Saxons did outscout , but only by 20% (which was 2 TuGs)
The blasted north, looking a bit more like Mordor than Yorkshire. The coloured sticks a necessary evil to denote troop quality and command. As they are all my figures and are the same it could get a bit mixed up
So there were 5 Vikings battlegroups on each side of the river. The Saxons had 11. The victory conditions were that the Saxons must break the Vikings (destroy 5 TuGs) while if the Vikings held on (for 3 hours) then it would be a Dane victory. So if Harold could crush the 5 battle groups on the near side of the river, before the others ‘woke up’ then that would be the game.
The cards were dealt.
Luckily the Vikings did have a good hand of cards and not one of their commands was ‘asleep’ – the Saxons has obviously trod on a few too many twigs en route to the battlefield.
Harold and his Hearthguard had made the unusual decision to go right at the end of the line to try and act as a hammer while the anvil of the Select Fyrd held the surprised Vikings in place.
Battle was joined. The Viking on the far bank of the river formed up and advanced (as quick as their cards would allow) , but the river was slow going.
The Vikings facing the onslaught of the Saxon army fought valiantly. The first casualty of the game being one of Harold’s elite Hearthguard. The shieldwalls ground into each other, but they were evenly matched and the Vikings broken the deadlock when one of the Saxon Huscarl catastrophically units broke on the centre of the line. The Vikings started spewing though the gap and rolling up the line
Things were looking close. Harold broke his opposition on the end of the line and tried desperately to turn the line there and capitalise on that advantage. However disaster struck and the huscarls next to Harold were attritted away and broke. They was a sizeable hole in the Saxon line now. The was a slim chance now, as the Saxon training was marginally better and the ‘tribal’ Hird would find it difficult to redeploy in a different facing.
As an indicator of quality green = average, yellow = superior and red = exceptional
At this point the remainder of the Viking force crossed the river. This equalised the numbers and the Saxons would just have to be lucky. This was not the case. The Saxons ended up having to commit elements of the lesser Fyrd, and it was getting desparate. As we approached the end game (3 hour time limit for Viking victory) Tostig and his men destroyed another Saxon Huscarl unit. The only positive being that it cost the treacherous brother his life as he fought in the front rank! The Saxon army teetered on breaking, the coup de grace being when the flanked Saxons had a disastrous set of dice and a unit of Viking Huscarls – who had been 1 hit from breaking for most of the game – hit the end of the lined diced well and broke the unit they hit in the flank for no loses… Harold Godwinsons army broke.
Harold and his men by virtue of being at the end of the line could only be spectators as the Saxons army crumbled and fled. That did save him from being part of the destruction.
As our Battle of Stamford bridge concluded we rationalised that Harold with his army now defeated would not be in any position to stop Willliam in the south, and would flee to the continent. For our next instalment we decided to break from history try and see what would happen with the North still under Viking rule and the South now controlled by the unopposed Normans. Stay tuned for the next instalment …
As the 950th Anniversary of the battles for England in 1066, I set up a game of the first of the three battles – The battle of Fulford
The Battle of Fulford was fought on the outskirts of the village of Fulford near York in England, on 20 September 1066, when King Harald III of Norway, also known as Harald Hardrada, and Tostig Godwinson, his English ally, fought and defeated the Northern Earls Edwin and Morcar.
Tostig was Harold Godwinson’s banished brother. He had allied with King Harald of Norway and possibly Duke William of Normandy but there is no record of the reasoning behind his invasions. The battle was a decisive victory for the Viking army. The earls of York could have hidden behind the walls of their city but instead they met the Viking army across a river. All day the English desperately tried to break the Viking shield wall but to no avail.
Tostig was opposed by Earl Morcar who had displaced him as Earl of Northumbria.
The battle started with the English spreading their forces out to secure their flanks. On their right flank was the River Ouse, and on the left was the Fordland, a swampy area. The disadvantage to the position was that it gave Harald higher ground, which was perfect for seeing the battle from a distance. Another disadvantage was that if one flank were to give way, the other one would be in trouble. If the Anglo-Saxon army had to retreat, it would not be able to because of the marshlands. They would have to hold off the Norwegians as long as possible. Harald’s army approached from three routes to the south. Harald lined his army up to oppose the Anglo-Saxons, but he knew it would take hours for all of his troops to arrive. His least experienced troops were sent to the right and his best troops on the riverbank.
The English struck first, advancing on the Norwegian army before it could fully deploy. Morcar’s troops pushed Harald’s back into the marshlands, making progress against the weaker section of the Norwegian line. However, this initial success proved insufficient for victory to the English army, as the Norwegians brought their better troops to bear upon them, still fresh against the weakened Anglo-Saxons.
Harald brought more of his troops from the right flank to attack the centre, and sent more men to the river. The invaders were outnumbered, but they kept pushing and shoving the defenders back. The Anglo-Saxons were forced to give ground. Edwin’s soldiers who were defending the bank now were cut off from the rest of the army by the marsh, so they headed back to the city to make a final stand. Within another hour, the men on the beck were forced off by the Norwegians. Other invading Norwegians, who were still arriving, found a way to get around the thick fighting and opened a third front against the Anglo-Saxons. Outnumbered and outmanoeuvred, the defenders were defeated. Edwin and Morcar however, managed to survive the fight.
In the scenario game the Saxons were always the ‘attacker’.This gave the Viking choice of the ground on the pre battle map. It was the Saxons task to manoeuvre the Vikings on the map. Ideally to get the river to the Vikings rear. This failed spectacularly and the Viking hand of cards pushed them further and further away from the river.
Being 100% close infantry neither side wanted much in the way of terrain and a couple of pieces of fought going were dotted around the edge, with a secure flank of steep hills.
The armies were
The game was played by
All, bar Bob, were relative neophytes … and this game was a challenge.
There was – as Barker intended – very little in the way of manoeuvre tactically with both sides lining up. The Saxons has a larger army, but were lead by lesser generals. The scenario rules were that the Saxons got an additional red card during scouting (which made little odds) , also for the first turn the Vikings were all treated as allies. As such their initial hand was played face up. If they got no coloured cards they would be unreliable, simulating the surprise that the Vikings suffered.
Here is the first Viking ‘hand’. You can just see at the bottom the last card of Harald was green to prevent him getting caught with his trousers down
Again the cards dictated that none of the Vikings were unreliable. So, with all their advantage the Saxons gained nothing, and it would be decided by sword and spear.
The army closed with an almighty clash.
I don’t like the coloured chits to denote unit – but as all the figures are mine identification of who is who was a real problem. So this was a necessary evil, to help those that hadn’t played much !
The ensuing melee was challenging as the big dark age armies who were all subtly different calculated all their factors to try and understand where all the advantages were to be gained. We laid out all the dice for the whole line to illustrate this.
The Viking has 3 bases of berserks and had integrated them in the Hird. So as exceptional devastating chargers they went in first , trying to get the shatter and force their way in the lines and give their lesser comrades more of an advantage. The Huscarls (on both sides) fought to try and push back their enemies The Huscarls were not facing one another as the Viking had placed theirs on the ends of the line to try and hold on to prevent the larger Saxons flanking them. Most troops had shieldwall – so ’S” results would not count. However, ‘Skulls’ would ‘shove’ so the where the troops were better advantaged gave more opportunities for than and therefore aid the supporting files.
At the begining the battle seemed largely bloodless (just on the dice) , but the game progressed both armies ground into each other. The granularity of the troop types did give a choice of on determining the order of the combat, compared to ALDG which would have been a largely droll experience. That said it was tough, and the large number of combatants and different file types was tricky to manager. However, it did feel like a dark age battle decided with a scrum of fighting, with local advantage escalating into a larger one.
The Vikings did win ultimately, while the Huscarls held on the weaker Fyrd collapsed on the wings and when the pub beckoned Saxons had lost 4 of their 5 TuGs before collapse to the Vikings 1 out of 4. That said a couple of Viking Tugs were teetering and their smaller army could have easily have had a reverse – should the dice gods desert.
A hard fought game, which required quite a bit of concentration. Probably not best for beginners!
Firestorm Games (Cardiff) (Tel: 02920 227117)
Any published army
The list submitted must not exceed 12000 points.
Umpire and list checker: Alasdair Harley
Any army from 600 AD.
The list submitted must not exceed 900 points.
Umpire and list checker: Richard Bodley Scott.
Rules: See below
Any European army 1618-1648 (including Russia and Turkey).
The following list modifications and additional restrictions will apply:
To represent usual historical proportions in European armies of this period, ignoring artillery, the army cannot include more than 1 battle foot unit more than it has battle mounted units. (e.g. If you have 5 BGs of mounted battle troops, you can have up to 6 BGs of foot battle troops).
No more than half of all mounted battle troops can be Superior or Elite. Armies with insufficient Superior mounted battle troops in their army list to achieve this limit can upgrade whichever type of Average mounted troops in their list is most expensive in points to Superior to achieve the above limit.
No more than half of all foot battle troops can be Superior or Elite.
The army must have at least 6 bases of foot battle troops per heavy or medium artillery base.
The list submitted must not exceed 900 points.
Umpire and list checker: Richard Bodley Scott. firstname.lastname@example.org
Rules: See below
Any army. List not to exceed 500 points.
Umpire and list checker: John Graham-Leigh
400 points doubles, made up of 2 x 200 point armies (each army must be no more than 210 points with a total combined army size of maximum 400 points). The armies chosen must be listed as potential allies in either army list.
Armies drawn from Ancient Period, Classical Period and Roman Period lists (1-124 inclusive)
4 Games, same games times as the other periods
Umpire and list checker: Mike Baldwin
Cost: £ 25.00 per team of 2.
(Food will be available on site, but is not included in the entry price).
Tickets are available from Firestorm’s web site: http://www.firestormgames.co.uk/events
CONTACT: RICHARD BODLEY SCOTT, 28 PRIORY GARDENS, USK, MONMOUTHSHIRE, NP5 1AJ (RBS@BYZANT.DEMON.CO.UK)
TIME: 8.30 – 9.00 – Registration time on Saturday
Games will be:
Saturday: 9.30 – 1.00 and 2.00 – 5.30
Sunday: 9.00 – 12.30 and 1.30 – 5.00
ENTRANCE: £ 25.00 per team of 2. (Food will be available on site, but is not included in the entry price). Tickets are available from Firestorm’s web site:
If you are able to make a long weekend of it, there are numerous local historical attractions relevant to our period. These include the Roman Legionary Fortress and Museum at Caerleon and the Roman walled city of Caerwent. Among the many local castles, the best are Chepstow, Raglan, White Castle (at Llantilio Croesenny) and Caerphilly. Caerphilly castle has a permanent exhibition of full size working medieval siege engines including ballista, mangonel, trebuchet and perrier. The Welsh Folk Museum at St. Fagans is worth a visit. The Brecon Beacons National Park and the picturesque Wye Valley are also nearby.
QUERIES: Richard Bodley Scott, 28, Priory Gardens, Usk, Gwent, NP5 1AJ. (email@example.com)
1) Godendag is a Doubles competition. Each army is to be commanded by 2 players. Consideration will be given, however, to entries with only one player or three players if there are special circumstances.
2) The rules to be used are the current Field of Glory rules, together with the latest errata and FAQ posted on the official Field of Glory web site.
3) The competition will use the full rules including the terrain and set-up appendices. There will be no formal division of the battle groups comprising each army between the members of a team. It is usual, however, for each player to take control of the troops on about half of the battlefield.
4) The scoring system will be the standard FOG tournament scoring system, where 25 points are up for grabs each game.
5) Army lists must specify the number and size of battle groups and their order of march for deployment, and the number and type of commanders chosen. They should also include the total pre-battle initiative modifier and the territories list for the army. If the detached shot option is to be used, a second list differing only in this regard must be submitted. Once an army list has been submitted it may not be changed or altered other than to correct any errors. Players may only correct their errors by making reasonable changes to their list. It is not allowed to completely re-write the list, and the list checkers decision on this is final.
6) Please note that the Godendag 2017 Field of Glory event is a single list format. Any incorrect list discovered after a game has commenced (after set up dice have been rolled) must be corrected prior to deployment if spotted in time, and fully corrected in any case before the next match.
7) Army lists must be submitted for checking in advance and must be received by the Tournament Organiser by 14th JANUARY 2017.
8) The Tournament Organiser and List Checker is Richard Bodley Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org) 28 Priory Gardens, Usk, Monmouthshire, NP5 1AJ.
9) Players must fully define their troops as they are placed on table. Figures must provide a reasonably accurate representation of the troops they are trying to represent – they must not look deliberately misleading.
10) Table size is 6′ x 4′ and players must supply their own terrain pieces. These must be to an acceptable standard, and umpires will have the discretion to remove unsightly items. In addition all figures must be representative and painted and based to an acceptable standard.
11) Players must be present and ready to start the match at the appointed time. Where a player has a reasonable excuse for arriving late the match start will be delayed by up to 30 minutes. After which time the affected player will be awarded a bye. No player will be awarded more than one bye for any reason.
12) If a player resigns from a game at any stage after the first set up dice have been rolled their opponents will be awarded maximum points, and they will be awarded 0 points.
13) Time will be called after 3 hours 20 minutes plus up to 10 minutes. Play will stop at the end of the current phase. Players may always commence games earlier than the stated time by mutual consent, in which case their game continues until time is officially called as normal.
14) Admission to the tournament is at the sole discretion of the organisers and their decision on all matters is final. CONTACT: Richard Bodley Scott, 28 Priory Gardens, Usk, Monmouthshire, NP5 1AJ
Tonights MeG game pitted the Huns versus the Lombards in Italy… Dino had not used the Huns before so was trial for him. It didn’t start well with the Lombards outscouting the Huns with some rather fortuitous cards in the scouting phase. The Huns deployed rather neutrally in the centre – which rather played in the hands of the Lombards. With a bold block moved the majority of the ‘devastating charger’ Lombard cavalry was across the table pinning the Huns to the back edge. The shooting was largely ineffectual , and the Huns were crushed – with no room to manoeuvre 🙂
Lombards on the left Huns on the right
The Huns were average flexible 4’s , unprotected with no M/E. This was great news the the Lombards and there was a lot of up 2 or 3 dice offs.
50 bases of Dark Ages chargers lined up
The Lombard army was large – with over 50 bases of cavalry, in chunky 6s, this rather left then in the precarious situation of only needing 4 TuGs to break, compared to the Hunnic 8… However, today was on the side of the big battalions
Last night we played a game that was a combination of introduction and campaign game. Dino, Paul and Peter played for the first time. I picked a game from the 3rd Servile war – Spartacus campaign. To make it a closer run thing , I picked the Romans to be led by Crassus – where the Slaves finally get beaten.
One way to play this campaign is a single game pickup. You can select lists from the campaign pack, select a date. Substitute the campaign maps for the one in the rules and away you go.
Just to talk about the lists for a moment (they are a bit fast and loose, close to 12K points).
The Spartacus list is
There are couple of campaign rules in play.
The Roman list is
There are couple of campaign rules in play for Crassus
During the PBS stage, Spartacus and his slaves dominated. As a legendary leader they beat Crassus (red vs yellow – close thing though). They picked to defend selecting the most central location in Italy. Peter as the Roman had some decent cards, but it seemed that neither side was worried about moving from this location. The Slaves has 9 cards (3 scouting) to the Romans 7 (4 Scouting). The Slaves held on to their best 3 cards for scouting, and the Romans 2. The desultory movement was back and forth to the adjacent square, ending up with initial location
The terrain was dense with secure flank. The slaves picked the Apennine mountain, alongside some large compulsory rough hills. At this point they didn’t realise that the Romans were flexible so could switch between close and loose order. However, it was probably a good plan to at least avoid the potential ‘shove’ that close vs loose would get in the open.
A few more optional, smaller hills were placed and that concluded the battlefield. The hills were scattered evenly across the table, but it did give the slaves a good defensive position
Both sides had held onto their best scouting cards, from the prior stage – But they neutralised each other both sides having 1 red, 2 yellows. The Romans had an extra green, but not enough to give them a discernible advantage.
The armies deployed 4 groups at a time. The slaves just having a slab of ‘imitation’ legionaries, sandwiched between the ‘mob’. Crassus’s army seemed small by comparison, with just 8 TuG of Legionaries (2 of which were poor)
The plan was simple, as a test of the rule mechanisms and introduction to the game, both armies would butt each other, neither side demonstrating any tactical finesse.
The Roman army chose to float Crassus and let his subordinates take the strain. With hindsight Pete thought that this was not such a good idea, but I’m not so sure. Certainly it demonstrated the difference in the command structure.
In the fighting the Slaves held their own. The Roman equipped slaves being average impact weapon matching the Roman. The legionaries has a bit of bad luch by losing a couple of bases to skirmishing shephards ( 2 wounds on 3 black dice!) , but as the fight settled down the Roman quality started to show. Being melee expert, and average gave them a 2 dice colour advantage against the regular slaves. Combined with the ability to shove loose order (vs close) the poor slaves started to take a lot of damage. However, this was mitigated by the fact that the slaves had cunningly arranges that each legion was fighting at least 2 TuGs. So from an attrition perspective a legion could only take 3 losses, vs the Slave 4.5 per tug ( so actually against 2 TuG, the romans need to inflict 9 kills). As long as they kept throwing a white dice the Slaves can attrit their way to victory.
When we called time , the Romans looks shakey, most legions had taken a couple of casualties and were looking like they would be swamped by Spartacus and his followers.
just when I hung onto goof cards thinking – this time I would outscout my opponent – no, Brian matches me card for card and has the temerity to trump me with the final green!
line ’em up – as Barker intended
Huns Skirmish while Sarmatians charge in
Game 5 Leslie with his Greco Bactrian
This was an interesting game, against an army type that I had not faced before. The army was professional with a floating commander in chief issuing orders from the rear. The army was a mash-up of hellenistic pikemen and Xystophoroi and Iranian lancers and light horse archers. The pre game make it really difficult for the germans. they lost the initial roll-off for choice of attack/defence on the same dice. Forcing the Germans to attack into the plains. Having better generals (more cards) stopped the Germans trying to sneak towards any type of terrain. To make matters worse the Bactrians outscouted the Germans which made them start deployment (normally the attacker deploys second), so with a billiard table to play on with two gentle hills in the far corners, it couldn’t get much worse.
The Germans deployed centrally – there was not much else they could do. I would hope to be wide and collapse in on the ended. The Greco-Bactrians obliging deployed pikes, elephants, cataphracts and charging lancers opposite. So, at least it would be stand up game and not one of wheeling. On the left there was 2 Batavian cavalry facing one charging companion type cavalry with elephants in close support. The right had warband screened off by skythians , being formed could shoot with reasonable impunity while the sluggish warband trundled forward.
The game was straightforward with no mincing. The germans has no other plan and the Greeks had the upper hand anyway! the lines crunched and the impact proved fruitless for the barbarians as pike supported by lancers had the advantage. There were quite a few casualties on both side but Leslie wisely stored his better cards to rally of hits off at the end of each turn, leaving the line looking intact.
The German lines are thinning while the Greeks shove on
Small recompense, but the Elephants did suffer some loses and the Batavian ‘poor’ skirmishers who were cowering at the rear had an opportunity to gain some glory and javelin’d the beasts to death (well inflicted the final wound the that finished them off)
One units of germans broke though the line, and flanked charged some Iranian lancers and destroyed the unit in one go. However it was all too little to late.
The Batavian centre broke, and with a few dribs and drabs the Germans capitulated.
15-7 to the Greco Bactrians
Game 4 – Batavians vs Ancient British (played by Simon Hall)
You can see the starting deal. Note that the Chatti Allies are played face up for the first turn. No coloured cards means unreliabilty. So its unlikely that you will see many mediocre graded ally generals ! … or at you peril 🙂
Britcon game 3 – Mark with Republican Romans
Hang on! haven’t we just had this? No, its another Romans army using the Xth lead by Caesar. This time it was Mark at the helm… and it was his birthday – so happy Birthday Mark!
Game 2 – Bren with Republican Roman
I’d played Bren’s Romans at the Challenge so I knew what to expect. There is also a precedence for sharing lists before the game start in these rules, so you get to see exactly what you are facing.
These were Caesars boys. 10th Legion, lead by the legendary Caesar. There were a full ‘hangers on’, but they were just ballast for the Roma mincing machine. To my mind the game was largely decided at the beginning. The Romans won the choice to attack to defend, choosing to attack (deploy 2nd, go first). The defenders get to pick the ground upon which we fight. The Batavian chose the densest flank secure location on the map. During the pre battle phase Caesar had all the cards, but chose to draw the Germans away from the wood into the plans , and away from any flank securing sector. We ended up on a largely empty table – with just 2 pieces of rough terrain. Neither side had the edge in the outscouting phase so it was a normal alternating deployment.
This was probably a mistake by the Romans who with such a small force might have been better trying to end up moving closer the coast to get its own secure flank (just my view)
The Roman army was very small, and covered only 1m of the central sector of the table. The German filled that with stodgy warriors and overlapped the army by 30cm in each end with Cavalry and loose formation Batavian infantry
The Chatti in the centre was reliable (phew!) and stayed central. The plan was simple – envelope the flanks while the centre delayed. This all went swimmingly well.
On the left flank the average Roman cavalry capitulated in short order to the more numerous superior Batavian nobles.
On the right Batavian warrior flooded the end of the line agains ‘lesser’ quality romans .. this held and turned into a grinding match. The Romans were just better, but the war band more numerous and it would take a while to carve through
The killer blow was with the Xth. It had been plugging away in the centre and its flank supports had been dwindling. A gap opened in the centre just wide enough for the Chatti iron collars (superior types) to advance into, surrendering the flank of the Xth. The charge was momentous. The Chatti charging the flank, Batavian nobles to the front. The Romans lost a base but held. However fighting to front and side against more opponents the number started to tell. In the ensuing melee the Romans were better (technically killing more), but the Germans had twice as many to lose. Combined with this the Romans dice were appalling, they inflicted less than average, while the Germans seemed always to fine the wounds on the black and white dice.
Here you can see the Chatti hitting the flank of the Xth. The Yellow card you can see is played to prevent the average warriors from impetuously changing the centre
The Batavian noble cavalry had broken through on the left flank, into the soft underbelly of auxiliary archers, and ran amok. The camp was fortified , so prevented that being sacked. Fortified camps can only be attacked by infantry in these rules. But the jig was up. A couple of German units had been destroyed , but Caesar holding on, committed to fight in the front rank. He was wounded , the Xth broke and the Romans collapsed.
15-7 to the Batavian revolt.
The game lasts 2 hours from start to finish. Fast as there was little skirmishing or shooting
The German don’t win very often but when they do it is glorious !
So Britcon 2016 starts and this year with a new system – Mortem et Gloriam. I have selected Civilis revolt, so the Batavians (Early Germans) and Chatti Allies (more early Germans). I’ve played this in DBM, FoG and now MeG, so it seemed appropriate. The army is a core or warband types, with some Roman deserters. So, in this they are Auxiliary types, who are flexible so can either be loose or close formation. The Batavians are ‘loose’ also, while the Chatti are also flexible. The only problem with tribal flexible is that once they are set at the start of the game there is no change between loose and close formation (a luxury afforded only to drilled troops)
My list is
Game 1 – Bob using Skythians
I have played Bob earlier this week as a practice for Britcon, and on that occasion he was using Huns. So the Germans had a hard time corralling those light horsemen off the table. This time it was even worse. The Skythians, while their quality is not quite what the Huns is, they make up for in numeracy, and shooting prowess. The Scythian list is pretty simple, all average, flexible cavalry meaning they can either skirmish or form up. A trade off between tactical mobility and fire power. The game did not start well. I did win the roll off and chose to defend. However, the initiative cards lured my army away from its secure flanks, dense terrain location further and further into the open. Finally ending up on the plains – but with a secure flank. The terrain was simply the secure flanks and one piece of terrain that did fall centrally but had not bearing on the game at all.
The scouting phase was unkind to me also. 6 scouting cards vs 3, and an unlucky draw meant that I was 100% out scouted, meaning I had to reply my whole army before seeing any of the enemy
You can see here the brave germans have nothing facing them after they deploy
The game was one of pushing forward, to try and flee the light horsemen off the table. After seeing my deployment the Skythians weighted both wings, and also had a flank march, there was precious little directly in front of me.
The nomads turn up. This pictures is notable for the Chatti allies cards (1st turn allied cards are face up. If you get no colour cards they are unreliable
It didn’t look good. However, I endeavoured to make a game of it and pushed forward and tried to squeeze the edges of the table so that at least the German noble cavalry would have some bearing on the game. The Germans pushed forward , as did the Skyths. The game played out as I charges , the cavalry skirmished and shot. This shooting did not kill many bases, but the ’S’ (slow) results slowed my charges so that the advance across the table was slowed. Shooting did start taking effect and I lost bases here and there but by which time Civilis was a good 3’ across the table. The cracks, however, were starting to show.
The Noble cavalry did get into good charging opportunities, but being Superior Melee experts the units were small ( 4 bases) The more numerous Skythians has some good shooting and took a base off as the Germans charged, This meant they were always a base from breaking completely. As the ongoing melee continued – while being at a significant advantage it was never enough to break though while the attritional casualties that the Skythians inflicted were enough to break the Germans cavalry.
The table is devoid of troops in the centre as they retire to the entremities
The Batavians did make it to the Skythian camp, and generally the whole army – or what remained of it – was less than 30cm from the enemy table edge, when the Germans collapsed. In the end after a hard fought battle the Germans had destroyed a single base of the loss of their whole army – so a maximum loss 25-0
While it was disaster, the game was fun and it felt that the Batavians had a chance – even when all the cards were stacked against them
The journey begins …. Mortem et Gloriam is out on Monday July 18th at www.thewargameszone.org. The shop and the Ancients Zone will go live at midday. I am very pleased with the end result and hope you will like it as well. It has taken a little longer but is better for it. We look forward to welcoming you to the site.
The rules are available for purchase from the store. With the very special 300 Spartans offer where the starter set is £10 off at £39.95 and you get a lifetime subscription so you will never ever pay for a single army list!! Also on the site you can buy the booster pack which has he card holder players have been enjoying, a set of purple MeG markers and a second set of dice to make things even easier. This bundle is £5 below the prices of the individual items.
Deliveries will begin to go out in about a weeks time. Priority deliveries will be given to anyone who has signed up for the first open competition at Britcon [BHGS, UMIST Manchester] on August 12-14. There were 13 players signed up before launch – so if you are not yet signed up do come along and join the fun! Plenty of help for inexperienced players and a nice prize for the best non-tester result. You can find the details at the BHGS website www.bhgs.org.uk
THE ANCIENTS ZONE INITIAL MATERIALS:
In the DOWNLOADABLE TUTORIAL PDF section you will find the first pdfs showing you a game between Rome and Carthage to give you a quick feel for how it works. Additional files will be added over the coming months to take the game to a finale.
In the ARMY BUILDER AND ARMIES section there is the launch ARMY BUILDER to download for use with the latest army lists. You will also find around 10 example armies from my recent games – some from testing in the later periods. More of these ready to play armies will be added in the coming weeks.
In the ARMY LIST section you have an index of 89 armies for our opening period The Dominance of Greece and Rome – the Classical period. Crafted by Richard Jeffrey-Cook and developed by the list team these come as 9 PDFs showing the evolution of armies in different geographic regions. So lots to choose from for Britcon and beyond already.
In HISTORICAL REFIGHTS AND SCENARIOS you will find the first of each series. The refight is a MeG version of the Battle of Ruspina 46BC between Caesar and the Numidians where Caesar barely survived envelopment. Its a real challenge to play it well. The first scenario is called Moonlight Mayhem and is a dawn attack on a poorly camped army. More of these will be loaded over the coming months.
In the CAMPAIGNS section you will find a campaign setting for the Roman Slave Wars from Simon “Lurkio” Clarke with suggestions of how to play any of the three revolts – so including the famous third with Spartacus!
In the TOURNAMENT ORGANISER RESOURCES section you will find the current suggested points for competitions of different types, downloadable score sheets and a spreadsheet for tracking points. I am hoping several clubs will organise 3 game one-day competitions – go on give it a go!
The HALL OF CHAMPIONS has all the winners of MeG competitions so far and the latest ranking system – 2016 really being a bit of fun between testers. It can all get much more serious for 2017 and Paul Cummins has kindly offered to run the rankings going forward.
The end of a two year initial development journey but just the very beginning of what I hope will be a much longer playing era, where a much wider community will be involved in developing the game and items around it. I very much hope you enjoy Mortem et Gloriam. I look forward to seeing you some of you at Britcon 2016 in August for the first main competition. Best wishes to all. ….. Ad Mortem et Gloriam
Mortem et Gloriam is Si Halls new set of ancient rules. Its been in development for over a year now, and the Challenge was the last beta test tournament before go live in July. The Challenge was set as 2 days, with the first day with the release lists (Dominance of Greece and Roman – book 2 in old money) , the 2nd day being ‘open’ to test some of the newer test lists and test the rules to destruction with some really anachronistic match-ups.
The rules themselves have some familiar concepts and some new ones too. The command and control is via a shared deck of cards. A card will be of 1 of 5 colours indicative of a ‘quality’. The better cards being rarer as you might expect. The players share the same deck. Each turn cards are dealt to each command depending on the generals rating. These cards can be spent in a number of ways. They can spent to move, bolster troops, prompt charges etc. So the is definitely a hand management aspect of the game. Troops are moved by alternate activations so IGOUGO but only by spending cards. This is a neat mechanism as both players are engaged in each turn. There are mechanisms to allow delaying actions and there are good reasons to move first and pin enemy troops in place and going 2nd to react to what your opponent is doing. So this is more ‘euro game’y than what you would expect in a traditional wargame.
The armies are based in units but combat is done on a file by file bases. Each troop type generate a set of advantages going up and down a colour ladder similar to the cards – black,white,green,yellow ,red (from worst to best). There is a set of combat dice also in these colours. These dice have 4 options. Kill a base, Wound (1/2 a kill), Special & nothing (blank). The higher up the ladder the more likely you are to get a result. Specials are a neat idea as it allows some effect that some troops might have. The S results count in both close combat and shooting, so an S for archers would be a ‘slow down’. So in what happens is that you might declare a charge against bowmen, as a response they shoot if they score enough ‘S’s then you deduct a distance from your charge (and maybe not make it into combat). In combat Hoplite have a ‘Shove’ special rule, so if they get a ‘S’ in close combat then the adjacent file gets a boost as the spearmen push into the ranks of the enemy. Warband have a ‘Shatter’ special rule … you get the idea.
For my day 1 list I took Slave revolt. Si had asked for this competition to use larger size armies than normal to extent the runtime to allow other competitors to see the games in action. The Slave revolt was enormous, and I had to draft in some proxys!
Here is what the list looks like
Game 1 was against Sassasian, played by Bob
I’d played Bob the week before with this army so I had a good idea what to expect. The pre pattle phase consists of an attack/defend rolloff (using the coloured dice based on the quality of the general), whoever wins this gets to pick whether to attack or defend. The defender then picks the region. There is a map, and which is basically a matrix of terrain types, so closed flanks on one vertices and density of terrain on the other. The defender picks a start position on this map (which is dictates by his geographical region), then cards are dealt. The number of cards depends on your generals. 5 hands are then played. The winner of each hand gets to move the place on the map so you might wish to try to head towards the coast and get a secure flank. During this phase you may will to hold onto better cards if you don’t care about the terrain so much. Once the final position on the map is decided the terrain is generate (ie whether there is secure flank – coast , mountain etc), and the amount of pieces of additional terrain. Once the table terrain is set up you move onto the scouting phase. So cards are dealt based on generals and the number of horses you have in your army (you make have kept cards from the prior phase if you thought that scouting is more important than terrain). Each hand is shown – and an outscouting percentage is calculated. For these each card has a value – green 10, yellow 20, red 40. The delta between the two hands is the ouscouting amount and by how much (as an army percentage). So even if you attack you make get oustcouted and have to deploy first.
These are not good cards
The Sassanids chose to attack and while Spartacus being a legendary general had a lot of cards, they weren’t very good, but we did manage to hold onto a secure (mountainous flank). There was only one other piece of terrain as the Persians are wangled their way from a dense terrain situation to an open one.
The game itself was one of attrition. The slaves by and large are of a poor quality but you get big units and a lot of them. All units break on the same amount 50% , so you can try to play the numbers by your trying to keep rolling enough dice to kill your smaller opponent. The Sassanids had a robust centre of cataphracts and elephants, and this proved a hard nut to crack. As they all have shove and generally a better factor as long at they throw OK they prevented me from much of chance of killing much (in game terms if they ‘shove me’ my dice goes from white to black, and the chances of getting a result then is much reduced)
That said it was hard for the Persians to whittle down so many bases, and the slaves did have some success working the flanks
The result was a loss – albeit not an army break
Game 2 – Classical Indian played by Dave.
We made a couple of errors in this game on the interactions that really messed up this game. As such it made the Indian Elephants far more fragile than they should have been. Hopefully this will be clarified on the QRS
As a result of this the elephants were destroyed too quickly and ended up as a big Slave victory
The scoring mechanism is neat too, as you score for units that you destroy. So defensive play where players risk little will result in a smaller score.
Game 3 – Late Republican Romans played by Bren
Day 2 was the open period and I picked Libyan Egyptian as they have been languishing in a box for a long time since I stopped playing FoG:AM.
The Roman army was tiny, but they have a couple of special rules. These being Shield Cover, and Melee expert. The game open up well as the Chariots swept down one flank and destroyed the single unit of Roman cavalry. However, the army was mostly legionary types, and the end of the end went into shield cover (with a reduced movement capability). This negated a lot of the chariots shooting and where we did get some wounds Bren managed his hand to always rally these back up. The centre advanced on and while it got stretched when it got to the Egyptian foot it was rather like a hot knife through butter. I made a mistake with the Mesh Wesh, who are great ‘charging’ types, but my movement meant I couldn’t take advantage of that and in a protracted fight with Legionaries they are dog meat.
Big loss to the Romans
Game 4 – Lithuanian played by Paul.
I’ve not played any of the medieval stuff yet and this was an eye opener. Paul had a mostly mounted force with a centre of war wagons and bombards. His plan was to come forward and drop back luring me towards the shooting centre. In the rules its reasonably easy for mounted troops to go backwards as well as forwards. I rather fell into the trap and found that bombards against chariots its not great! The Egyptians gave a reasonable account of themselves with a heroic charge by the Mesh Wesh sweeping away some Slavic foot and looting the camp.
Looting the camp has a rather neat effect. Once destroyed each unit in the army has to take a test or lose a base – simulating the morale effect on seeing the baggage lost)
This did have some potential with some key units on the Lithuanian side only 1 base from breaking – Teutonic knights, I’m looking at you. However they passed those tests and the Libyans were consigned to utter defeat.
Hope that have given a flavour of these rules. I’ve been enjoying them. The main reason it they are quite different to what has come before. Sure, they have elements that feel more like a board game, but compared to its derivative peers that are currently doing the rounds, if feels more like a breath of fresh air.
They are out in July , and the site & forum are active and Si is keen to get all involved.
Looking forward to Britcon and first tournament!