We re-rolled our leader characters, me having lost the paper on which I did so last time: the dice were clearly in capricious mood, as Andy, Lord Androsius, (at a loss for names) christened his third leader "Maximus", only to roll his stature as being somewhat height-challenged (and thus stuck with the name 'Maximus Minimus' from here on - Andy was muttering about buying a 20mm figure for him). Conversely, my second character was one Leofric the Drunkard, who, it has to be said, lived up to his name, and the third, one Ecgwine, was clearly a brattish younger son of some Saxon lord, who'd been sent off to learn how to be less of an ass under his less noble, but obviously far smarter, cousin Aelfric.
|Andy's gorgeous terrain from his end|
of the battlefield. We got to see rather
a lot of scenery for this battle!
The ford is front right.
The dice for the raid scenario (after a bit of coercion - "no, we did that last time", "no, I don't have any wagons") came up with a village raid scenario. My objective, as the Saxon player, was to loot two buildings in the Romano-British village, by parking a unit there until they rolled a six. Andy's, unsurprisingly, was to stop me.
I didn't get much head start this time, only one turn's movement before Andy's lads showed up. Annoyingly for him, at the far end of the table from me.
|"Right, ladsh. Letsh head for *hic*|
As this went on, I was quietly amassing a pretty decent hand of Fate cards, all bar a Carpe Diem card which took its own sweet time showing up - considering there are, IIRC, 6 in the deck of around 40 cards, I seemed to reject an awful lot before it turned up!
|The hearthguard under Aelfric in|
a bit of a log jam around the bridge.
|Andy's troops negotiating the|
Back at the ford, Ecgwine decided that downstream of Leofric wasn't a very pleasant place to be, and, besides, there were a bunch of British lads with slings making rude remarks about the size of Leofric's, uh, sword. Funny as that might be, there are limits, so he took a unit of warband and chased them off.
Leofric, on the other hand, figured the insults were coming from the units of warriors and levy just across the ford, so took the other two units and got well stuck in. By 'well stuck in' I mean I blew a hand of five Fate cards on the fight - the Carpe Diem, and four boar (Saxon) suited cards - including a very useful Goad that effectively kept one of his units out of the fight. Despite some truly awful dice-rolling in the first round (Gary, who was watching, was heard to wonder aloud how anyone could only get 2 successes needing 4+ on eleven d6!), the lads and Leofric eventually prevailed, but not before Leofric had earned himself a wound.
|Ecgwine gets A Bright Idea and |
heads off round the hill, while
Leofric... "'M fine, ladsh! Didn't
*hic* feel a thing..."
Ecgwine, meanwhile, had had what he thought was a really good idea, namely to continue on round the back of the wooded hill and see what fun was to be had - after all, he might run into one of the locals or something. Either way, it probably reduced the odds on him getting killed. Getting killed was definitely not in his game plan.
|"I said withdraw, not run away! |
Meanwhile, my bunch of bow-armed scrotty teenage hangers-on had decided that the watchtower looked like a really neat place to be, and so hauled themselves up to the walkway and... ooo, look. I believe the term is 'target-rich environment'. Rolling some remarkably respectable dice, they offed a couple of Andy's warriors who were advancing with their Lord to join the fun at the bridge. Just in time for Andy's comanipulares to pass them going the other way, having rather lost their bottle when my hearthguard came back across the bridge to fight them on their terms.
Looking dicy for the British, was Rich's opinion at this point.
|"See. Told you it was a brilliant|
Less dicy, however, when the second group of shieldwall under Maximus (IIRC) decided to get laid into Leofric's already battered warband. Result definitely one-nil to the British, as the tattered remnants turned and fled, Leofric in tow. My force morale's down to 4, Andy's to 2.
Now it's actually looking more dicy for the Saxons. Even more so when the unit that had been shot at turned to charge into Ecgwine's solitary unit of warriors... "This", observed Rich, "looks like it'll be the deciding turn." And, bad news for me, the Saxon Lord card didn't show up in the activation deck before the British Lord card, so the fact that the other unit of hearthguard ("You idiots. They always hide it under the bed!") had finally found the loot, and could emerge from the building and help, was going to be at least a turn too late.
The British Lord card, in fact, came up first. Androsius charges Ecgwine and his warband.
At which point, Aelfric remembered very clearly his uncle Ecgfrith's parting words. To summarise, "If you get my son killed, I will remove parts of your anatomy with a rusty dagger. Very slowly."
Hello? What's this in my hand of Fate cards that I've been rebuilding over the last few turns? Oh. It's Step Forth, a card that allows me to activate one leader, Right Now. After a quick double check with Rich that "immediately" did actually mean "right now, no matter what Andy is in the middle of or about to be doing", I played it. And, needless to say, activated Aelfric. Removed two points of shock from the hearthguard he was with with the first two actions, and rolled to close on the rear of the unit attacking Ecgwine with the other. Made it by about an inch.
But - wait - this is an activation. Do I get to play a card in addition to the one that activated Aelfric? "Yes you do: it's just like any normal activation," supplied Rich, helpfully.
Carpe Diem. Boar-suited. That'll do nicely.
So, that gets me: an extra dice in combat; the chance to play more cards (in this case, just another boar-suited one for another dice); and, more important still, the chance to attack a unit in the flank or rear if I can hit it in the flank or rear (without this card, they get to turn and face). I'm now rolling a lot of dice, and that's curtains for Androsius, as his force morale hits zero.
The post-battle maths suggested we'd got away with a decent pile of loot, and it was going to take us both a couple of months or more to lick our wounds and heal up.
That was, we both agreed, crackingly good fun. Many many thanks to the Mighty Dux, Rich Clarke, for making the time to come up to Peterborough for an evening, and refereeing with good humour and lots of good advice. It was, I think, an excellent advert for the game (with two people watching the whole game and several more crowding round towards the end), since he went away three Dux Britanniarum rules/cards packs lighter, too! Thanks too to Andy, who I never fail to have fun with as an opponent, no matter who wins.