Friday 13 March 2015

Dawn attack - Campaign Game 3

For the third game in our campaign, Dave and I decided that the 'Dawn Attack' scenario fitted the bill. The scenario was played straight from the book, with no house tweaks or anything. The game was played over a week ago and despite some notes, my recollection is a bit vague. However I will do my best to give you a feel of how the game played out.

Dave arrayed his forces in his deployment zone, screened somewhat by a marsh and hedge, with a wood in the centre to try and disrupt my troops as much as possible. As per the scenario I moved two of his units (see the end for thoughts on this), choosing his Companions and one unit of cavalry. I 'broke' the cavalry up to try and slow down their formation into a group that would most likely hinder my advance. As Dave only had to hold on for 14 Turns for a win, anything I could do disrupt him would help my cause.

Turn 1 Welsh - 9LPs Irish - 6 (1) LPs
The Welsh advance got off to a classic with:
Steve: "Watch me blunder in the first Turn."

Well suprise, suprise that is exactly what I did! Complete Muppet. It did cause much hilarity but once the laughter died down, the blundered unit advanced forward which was what I wanted to do in the first place. Elswhere the Welsh advanced whilst the Irish tried to form groups.

Both sides deployed ready for a merry-go-round chase around the central wood.
The Irish after I had moved two units.
The Blunder...
... and the Muppet that rolled it.

Turn 2 Welsh - 9 LPs Irish - 6 (2) LPs
General movement by both sides, with the Welsh moving cavalry and skirmish units forward, whilst the Monks just knelt and prayed. The Irish formed up as best they could.

The Welsh wheel around the wood whilst the Irish try and form up to get away as quickly as they can.

Turn 3 Welsh - 9 LPs Irish - 6 (3) LPs
Basically a repeat of Turn 2

The Irish have been able to form up and make good use of the wood to keep away from the Welsh.

Turn 4 Welsh - 9 LPs Irish - 6 (4) LPs
The Welsh line starts to break up due to failed Bravery rolls, especially with the cavalry stalled in front of a major part of the Welsh battleline. The Irish deploy a screening force by the hedge whilst they try and manouevre round the wood.

The battlelines of both sides fragment.

Turn 5 Welsh - 9 Irish LPs - 6 (5) LPs
The Welsh manage to move enough units into range of the Irish, triggering an uncontrolled charge. This is enough to stall the planned withdrawl of the Irish, allowing the Welsh to bring their advantage in units and Leadership die to bear.

Battle is joined at last.
The Welsh win, pushing the Irish back.

Turn 6 Welsh - 9 LPs Irish - 6 LPs
Both sides are irresistibly drawn into the battle, which is what the Welsh wanted.

More units move into combat, but a major part of the Welsh warband is stuck behined their cavalry.
The mixed melee is clearly evident.
Units move into the woods but are unable to see each other. The Irish Companions and support start to make a dangerous flanking move...

Turn 7 Welsh - 9 LPs Irish - 6 LPs
The Welsh cavalry finally manage to charge, but it is still hard to bring units to bear where they are needed. The first losses happen, with the Irish losing 2 units to the Welsh 1, all being skirmish units.

The Monks have advanced but 3 units of the Welsh left flank simply cannot find a way into the melee.
Battle rages in the woods, but the Welsh are able to use their extra Leadership points to their advantage.

Turn 8 Welsh - 8 LPs Irish - 4 LPs
The loss of 2 units really hurts the Irish cause, as the Welsh now have a 2:1 advantage in Leadership points, allowing them to dominate the combat.

Despite still not being able get 3 units into combat, the Welsh certinaly have the upper hand.

Turn 9 Welsh - 8 LPs Irish - 4 LPs
The Welsh pressure finally tells as the Irish lose a Warrior and Cavalry unit. This much surely spell the beginning of the end for the Irish...

The Irish are under pressure all across the battle lines.

Turns 10-11 Welsh - 8 LPs Irish - 2 LPs
The Irish manage to hang on in Turn 10, but in Turn 11 they lose more units, causing them to automatically break.

The Irish under severe pressure on the left of the woods...
... that proves too much in Turn 11, handing the game to the Welsh.

Post Game Thoughts
As always another entertaining game of Dux Bellorum. So as usual some post-game thoughts:
  • This was always going to be a hard game for the Irish, but especially off the back of two successive losses and the advantages that that had given the Welsh.
  • Dave's tactics were spot on in trying to avoid combat as long as possible. However some failed Bravery rolls put pay to his plans early on, allowing the Welsh to force the Irish into combat.
  • We thought that the ability of the Agressor to swap two pairs of units a bit harsh, so we reduced this to just two units. However, this really hampered Dave, so in future games I may ditch this (but see below re: LPs).
  • One thing that has really stood out in this mini-campaign is the advantage that having 3 extra LPs has given the Welsh. At the start I didn't think this would be such a game changer. How wrong could I be. Originally I was going to take 'Stampede', but Dave chose this along with 'Wardogs'. This only left my with my unit of 'Monks', so I chose these plus another point of leadership just to see how it played. Well, it really handed the Welsh a massive advantage, which only became obvious having played so many games. This may be due to the fact that we played with 32 points plus 5 points of Strategies & Tactics, just for the fun of having plenty of choices. However this is something to bear in mind for future games.
Well, for our final game we have settled upon the 'Bard's Tale' for a suitably fitting and bloody climax to the campaign. Both sides will only have 32 points and no S&Ts, so I imagine it will be a fast and brutal game, which should be great fun. Now I just have to paint up a Bard figure in time for next week.

Post game thought

Tuesday 3 March 2015

Dux Bellorum Blunders Table

During our current campaign, Dave suggested we try using the Blitzkreig Commander II blunder table, rather than the 'lose 1 point of cohesion' suggestion from the rulebook. Now I love this blunder table as it can really add spice to a game. Ask my friend and regular gaming chum Craig, who has a tendency to explore all the options of this table! So I thought I'd give it a go and after a few tries, I came up with the following table.

When a Blunder occurs, roll 2 D6 and refer to the table below for the result:
2 -  Roll 1 D3 and the Bravery of the unit or group is reduced by this amount for the next turn.
3 - The Bravery of the unit or group is reduced by 1 for this turn and next turn.
4 - The unit or group makes one half base width move directly towards its own baseline.
5 - The unit nearest to the enemy loses 1 point of cohesion. If there are several unit that qualify, randomly roll to see which one it is. The loss of the point of cohesion may lead to the loss of the unit.
6 - The unit or group makes 1 half base width move directly towards the nearest enemy unit. If this brings a Warrior unit to within 1 base width of the enemy, they must charge into contact as if using the uncontrolled charge rule.
7 - The Companions unit makes 1 base width move directly towards their own baseline.
8 - The unit or group makes 1 base width move directly towards the nearest enemy unit. If this brings a Warrior unit to within 1 base width of the enemy, they must charge into contact as if using the uncontrolled charge rule.
9 - The unit nearest to the enemy loses 2 points of cohesion. If there are several unit that qualify, randomly roll to see which one it is. The loss of the 2 points of cohesion may lead to the loss of the unit.
10 - The unit or group makes 1 base width move directly towards their own baseline.
11 - The Companions unit Bravery is reduced by 2 for this turn and the next turn.
12 - Roll 1 D3 and the Bravery of the unit or group is reduced by this amount for the rest of the game.

It is up to the player whether to include a whole group in the result of the blunder, or just one unit. The former may seem a bit harsh whilst the latter may break up the group as a result of movement or loss. Just play what feels right for you. After all it is only a game.

So there you have it. I hope the above may be of interest to you. In the last game my Monks blundered, rolling a 5 which led to the loss of a unit of skirmishers as they already had lost 1 point of cohesion. As a result my left flank was exposed, but it caused much hilarity for both myself and for Dave.

If you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions on the above, I'd love to hear them.

Sunday 1 March 2015

River Battle - Campaign Game 2

For the second game of our Dux Bellorum campaign, Dave and I decided upon the 'River Battle scenario from the rulebook, details of which can be found below:

Scenario - River Battle
  • Details as per the scenario on p58.
  • Deployment as per p18.
  • The River was not classed as deep, thus allowing for a more fluid battle.
For this game Dave decided, rather reluctantly, to drop the Killer Sheep and Wardogs, opting wisely to spend his 4 S&T points on an extra 2 points of Leadership. Having seen the effects in previous games, this almost gave the Irish parity with the Welsh. 

Both sides deployed for battle.
The Irish have their skirmishers in the woods on their right flank, with a large cavalry force on their left.
The Welsh have skirmishers on both flanks and the Monks in the centre for divine intervention.

Turn 1 Irish - 8 LPs Welsh - 9 LPs
The Irish were the Agressors and got off to a good start, with all units moving bar the cavalry, which Dave had declared as his strategic reserve. Obviously they thought that being in reserve meant that they shouldn't move! For the Welsh the pattern was similar, except that the Monks remained praying at the foot of the wonderous cross.

The Irish skirmishers push on through the woods, to try and turn the Welsh left flank. In response the Welsh sent a lone skirmishers unit to try and slow them down.

Turn 2 Irish - 8 LPs Welsh - 9 LPs
In essence a repeat of Turn 1, with the Irish cavalry and Welsh Monks refusing to move, leaving both of us cursing said units.

The Irish line holds its shape, whilst the Welsh one breaks up to deal with the developing threat to its left flank.
The Irish horse in the background are not playing ball, whilst the Irish skirmishers are really disrupting the Welsh line, just by their presence.

Turn 3 Irish - 8 LPs Welsh - 9 LPs
Things really hotted up in this turn. The Irish horse had obviously been lulling the Welsh into a false sense of security, as they rolled a double 1, promptly charging right across the river into the Welsh horse. Shooting by the skirmishers was ineffective on both sides. However a mass of uncontrolled charges erupted from both lines, the result of which was the loss of 2 Irish Noble units with the Welsh having sustained lots of hits, but no losses.

The Irish horse charge home.
Battle is suddenly joined.
Leadership points are carefully placed.
The Welsh sustain lots of hits, but crucially are in a position to turn the Irish left flank.

Turn 4 Irish - 6 LPs Welsh - 9 LPs
The battle continues to rage, with the Irish turning in on the Welsh left flank, but critcally the Welsh have turned the Irish left flank, with the Irish losing another unit.

The centre generally holds, bit both flanks are being threatened.
The Welsh left flank manages to hold, but the Irish one has been turned. The Irish horse have been unable to destroy their Welsh counterparts and are now threated to the flank and rear by Welsh foot units.

Turn 5 Irish - 5 LPs Welsh - 9 LPs
The battle reached its bloody climax, with boths sides taking significant losses. The Welsh Monks kick things off with a blunder, resulting in the loss of a skirmish unit on the left flank. In the cavalry clash, both sides lose a unit of horse. The slow attrition that the Welsh have suffered in previous turns finally tells, with them losing 3 units to the Irish 1. 

This put both sides on a break test, which the Irish failed and the Welsh managed to pass.

The bloody end...
...with the Welsh just managing to hang on.

Post Game Thoughts 
Once again another great game, that could have gone either way at the end, even with the possibility of both sides routing off the table. So as always a few post game thoughts:
  • Not having the river classed as deep made for a much more enjoyable game. It allowed both sides freedom of manouevre, but still restricted the horse units.
  • Not having a hill made the game more fluid, as neither of us were fixated upon one piece of terrain.
  • Leadership points are proving to be the most useful thing as far as Strategy and Tactics are concerned. Once you start to get behind on these, it is very hard to come back in the game as the opponent can dominate the combat area.
  • Lose a flank and you lose the game. A simplistic view but the loss of the flank tends to be critical, unless you can realign quickly.
  • Again I had one turn, Turn 3,  of some very lucky die rolls, leading to the loss of 2 Irish Noble units. Dave on the other hand had poor die rolls in his cavalry charge in the same Turn. If I had lost my cavalry, his horse could have rampaged into the Welsh rear, which would have greatly affected the outcome of the game. On such little things do games turn upon.
So with another Welsh win, the next game will be 'Dawn Attack', which should favour my Welsh as not only will I have more points to play with, but the Irish will only have 1 leadership point on Turn 1, 2 on Turn 2 etc. Dave will also only have 3 S&T to play with, so has decided to call upon his wardogs again.

Things are moving nicely towards a natural finish for this campaign, after which we are most likely to move onto Black Powder in some form or other.