Sunday, 23 December 2012

Learning Dux Britanniarum the hard way

I guess I didn´t take the best approach to my first battle of Dux Britanniarum. Although I flicked through several parts of the rules, I hadn´t memorised them too well. Also the night before I didn´t sleep before 4 am and maybe could have left a few beers.

But anyway... I was there! And as I unloaded my troops, Dick and I went through creating my characters (yes, I pre rolled a group, but I didn't have the stats handy yesterday). This resulted in my leader Olwin being very average, and with no remarkable traits. My young noble Stig was an excellent horseman (might come in useful someday) while the other, Klapmund, was a local Briton. Stocky, but athletic.

We then selected the scenario and our points of entry. My raid was aimed at a village at the other side of the table, with Dick's forces entering the table halfway between me and the village. This meant that even if I managed to get past him to the village, I would have to get back through him on the way back. I decided to worry about getting back later.

My archers covering my troops against Dick's fully deployed battle line
So Klapmund with two groups of duguth (warriors) managed to race to the village past Dick's troops, while my other troops covered for them and then retreated back to the village facing of his deployed shield wall, There didn't seem to be a point in rushing at him in his strongest formation, while my troops were divided.

When Dick's milites (regulars) were forced to break up the shield wall to follow me up, I had Stig charge them with a group of gedridht, my elite warriors. This was fairly even against superior forces, but I decided to send in the other group as well to turn the balance in my favour. The milites fell back with some losses and a lot of shock, while I had only lost one man. But I had also lost Stig, who in his youthful zeal had tried to hard to gain his warrior's glory.

Stig leading his gedridht against the milites

Even as my gedridht fell back past the village, my warriors were unsuccessful in looting. And because Dick's elite comanipulares showed up, I couldn't try all the huts. At this point I decided to try to make it around Dick's troops while they were divided. I also hoped to gain a bit more speed.

This didn't work. Although I beat off a charge of Dick's numeri (levies), my gedridht lost heavily. And Dick could bring together his comanipulares and milites in shield wall under his own command. This allowed him to break up the shield wall, move and then enter shield wall again. In this way he could still catch me.

My gedridth exacting fearful retribution from the numeri

Although he received a bloody nose in that last fight, he broke up the last effective forces and my troops returned home scattered and I lost almost half of them in this raid. It will take me two months to build up my force again.

Dick´s losses were as heavy as mine (a monument to the skill and courage of my men, or the luck of the dice), so his victory didn't gain him much, except a bit of loot. Luckily for him, he didn't lose many elite troops nor levies, because these are most valuable.

A few lessons: defense is really difficult in these rules. Many combat cards are only useful in your own turn.

I also didn't have a good feeling for the effect of the combat cards before the game, so I didn't work as hard as Dick to prune my hand for the best combinations. That's something I need to study as well

But the battlefield is the better place to learn how to fight, so I'll just be grateful for the lessons I was taught and trust in better results next time.

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