Category Archives: Dux Britanniarum

Dux Britanniarum Campaign May 480 AD (Easter 2014 – Solo )

Raiders living up to their name

Raiders living up to their name

The Picts raided unopposed in April while the British licked their wounds. The loot from this next raid turned out to be some cattle (a cattle raid was the next scenario rolled), so the Pict’s objective for the next game was to drive their loot back across the border.  The British came back refreshed, deciding to mount a unit of Warrior Shock cavalry and attach Cinuit (a Status II noble) to it – there is an option for Northern British to mount a unit of Elite Warrior and a unit of normal Warriors, so for this game I decided to try out 1 unit of cavalry per side, albeit the British cavalry would be led by a Noble whereas the Pict cavalry wouldn’t.

British mounted warriors

British mounted warriors

The Picts had been bolstered by 4 Raiders joining them lured by what seemed like easy pickings. I rolled a double for terrain, so there was going to be a river with a ford placed – not what you want when you are trying to drive cattle to the opposite board edge!

British cavalry feel a bit outnumbered

British cavalry feel a bit outnumbered

The Picts rolled only a single move before British arrived on their left. The British also rolled badly and had a single unit arriving on turn 1 so chose their cavalry. The Pict plan was to seize the ford with their cavalry while the crossbows and 3 groups of raiders took on whatever came on on their flank. The Raiders with the cattle were to follow the cavalry to the ford as quickly as possible. In turn 1 the Picts advanced as far as they could while the sole British cavalry unit watched and their Noble build up his card hand.

Come on then!!

Come on then!!

Things changed in Turn 2. The Pict crossbows knocked 2 British cavalrymen out of their saddles, but got too close to the board edge and were dispersed by the speedy arrival of the British Lord with his Levy.

Levy drive off the Pict crossbows

Levy drive off the Pict crossbows

Dumgal, the British Noble with the remainder of the British forces, brought them on on the other side of the river and headed straight for the ford.

The cream of the British troops march to cover the ford

The cream of the British troops march to cover the ford

The Pict Lord’s card came up so he charged the British Levy before they could get into shieldwall, boosting his level by 2 by playing an Audacia card. In the fight the Picts killed 1 and caused 9 shock, but lost 2 men and 5 shock in return. The second round was much better for the Picts, when they killed 5 British though they still took 2 casualties back in return. No noble was wounded in the exchange and the losing Levy had to fall back 6″, though 1 group with more shock than men had to go back further.

Raiders charge the Levy

Raiders charge the Levy

Although they were victorious, the Picts also were carrying excess shock so fell back 2″. On reflection, the British probably won that melee as it was going to take a lot of rallying to remove the shock accumulated by the Picts and time was something the Picts did not have.

Lots of shock on the Raiders

Lots of shock on the Raiders

Meanwhile, the Pict cavalry arrived at the ford as the British Lord started rallying shock off his Levy.

Pict cavalry hold the ford

Pict cavalry hold the ford

The cavalry didn’t hold the ford for long though as the British played a “Bounding Move” card and they had to evade away from the elite British infantry. They rolled high for the evade and ended up quite a way back from the ford – perhaps a bit too far back….

Pict cavalry are driven off

Pict cavalry are driven off

Out came the British cavalry card, giving them their chance. While the Pict Lord was forced to rally shock, the mounted British charged through the gap between the Lord’s forces and the farm and engaged the Pict cavalry head-on.

First British cavalry charge

First British cavalry charge

Rolling 8 dice & inflicting double shock for being Shock cavalry resulted in no dead but 6 shock in exchange for 1 dead in the second round of combat. The shocked Picts fell back – by the end of the turn Cinuit was able to rally shock from the British cavalry, leaving them ready to charge again.

No dead but 6 shock!!!

No dead but 6 shock!!!

Amazingly, the British Noble cards all came up in the first cards drawn, so the Levy got shock rallied off them and one of the Fate cards drawn was the “Artorious” card. The Picts with the cows moved next, only managing a move of 4″ and positioning themselves precariously behind the Pict cavalry. Predictably, the British cavalry card emerged next and the 1 remaining cavalryman and attached Noble threw caution to the winds and charged the still shocked Pict cavalry. The attached Noble allowed the play of the “Artoroius” card, giving +1 to hit on 6 dice. One Pict died and another 3 shock was added, but the Picts killed the last remaining cavalryman in return. As the Picts now had double the amount of shock than they had men they had to fall back, but this was through the cattle herding raiders behind them, gifting them 6 shock on the way through.

The killing blow

The killing blow

With 6 shock on one of their Raider bands, there was little point going on. The Elite British Warriors could take them out in their fragile state and losing the cattle would end the game. It was a tough mission for the Picts because they not only needed to guard their flank but also needed enough troops in reserve with cattle to fight their way across a defended ford. In the end a good run of turn and Fate cards for the British ended the game quickly.

Although it was a victory for the British, it came at a heavy price in terms of casualties – they suffered moderate losses which would take 2 months to replace, whereas the Picts only suffered light losses, so would be back raiding unopposed in June. The British gained a  Beggar’s Bowl of wealth for their victory (+1 taking them to 4 in total) but the Picts bettered that in unopposed raiding in June, taking a Thief’s Horde in loot (+2 bringing them up to 8 wealth). The problem with all this loot was that Picts need wounds to gain honour to progress, and try as he might Galan the Insane had failed to get wounded. The British however had obtained (painted up?) some mounts for their Nobles, so come July the Picts would be facing 2 units of British cavalry led by a Noble – maybe Galen would end up skewered on one of their lances…but where’s the honour in that?

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Dux Britanniarum Campaign March 480 AD (Easter 2014 – Solo )

The church and the farm

The church and the farm

In order to try out the new “Raiders” supplement for Dux Britanniarum I picked up at Salute, I decided to run a new campaign using the Picts. Although this meant I wouldn’t get to use my Irish Lord in a chariot, it also meant I wasn’t straight in at the deep end with the newer rules for cavalry and commanded skirmishers.

The year is 480 A.D. and Galan, a 20 year old Pictish warlord, accompanied by his champion Drest and loyal (but lustful) 34 year old noble retainer Talorg have decided that a church in Alt Clut, the northernmost of the British kingdoms, needs relieving of its wealth. Galan has already earned the nickname of “the Insane” so a lot of his fellow Picts were probably relieved to see him heading south to seek his fortune and they were also probably the reason why a British force was alerted to the raid and stood waiting near the church.

Picts rush towards the church

Picts rush towards the church

Erbin the Unlucky, the 21 year old son of a British Warlord stood back from the church with his hastily-assembled force of infantry. His father had sent his loyal champion Caw to watch the boy’s back, along with two of his trusted retainers, Dumgal and Cinuit to remind the levy who they owed their loyalty to.

Erbin lived up to his Unlucky title right away, rolling badly for force morale so the British stood at 6 while the Picts stood at 8. British Noble Dumgal was in reserve with the 3 units of Levy, while the unit of 6 elite Warriors and 2 units of 6 Warriors stood by the church with their Lord, Champion and other Noble, ready to give the Picts a warm welcome.

British Warriors deploy to defend the hill

British Warriors deploy to defend the hill

The Pict plan was pretty simple – cavalry were sent around the left flank, skirmishers and missile troops down the right while the main body of Raiders accompanied by the Galen and Drest ran straight down the middle straight for the church. A small force of 6 Raiders along with Talorg (the other Pict Noble) would help the Pict skirmishers contest the hill.

The race was on to occupy the hill overlooking the church, with 1 unit of British Warriors beating the Pict skirmishers to the top, but then having to suffer shock and losses over successive turns as crossbow bolts and javelins were heaved in their direction. Their own slingers were ineffective in comparison.

British take up defensive positions

British take up defensive positions

By the end of turn 2, the British warriors were positioned in front of the church (but in their haste they had not adopted any formation) and their Levy were following on, whereas the Picts, seeing their way to the church blocked, paused for breath (drew some Fate cards in other words) and ranked up.

Picts get into formation

Picts get into formation

The Pict cavalry then rode forward to bait the British troops into attacking them (that’s my excuse – I rolled very high for their movement, but as they are Raider cavalry they can behave as skirmishers and evade if charged, or fight as mounted Warriors, so they should have been safe enough 🙂 )

Cavalry exposed

Cavalry exposed

The young British Warlord took the bait, ordering a unit of Warriors in against the cavalry – the Pict cavalry went to evade, but the play of a Carpe Diem card put a stop to that. However with the Picts counting as Warriors and neither side having any combat cards to play, it was 6 British dice against 4 Pict dice in the ensuing melee.

Cavalry in melee

Cavalry in melee

Whoever gave the British Warlord the title of “Unlucky” got it totally wrong, as in the first round of the fight the British killed 2 Pict cavalry for the loss of 1 of their own, but both sides rolled badly in the second round, took 1 shock each and so stood locked in combat.

Pict Lord joins melee

Pict Lord joins melee

Seizing his chance (his card came up next), the Pict Lord played a “Bounding Move” card which allowed his formation to crash into the flank of the frontally engaged British Warriors. The fight was hard fought and though they managed to take another cavalry man with them, the group of British Warriors lost 2 more dead and took enough shock to rout them from the field, so they ran taking 2 force morale with them.

Battle on the hill

Battle on the hill

Then Talorg, the other Pict noble, was activated, charging the Warriors on the hill but augmenting his Noble level to 4 by the play of an “Audacia” card. The British responded by playing “Strong Arm” which allowed them to shower the advancing Picts with close-quarter missiles, but to no avail (only 1 shock was caused) – this was an incorrect use of the card as it is a suited card and can only be played by a Noble – thanks to Willie for pointing this out. The Picts rolled 10 dice, killing 2 British Warriors and causing 1 shock, while the British response was a miserable 1 shock. The Warriors were forced back 2″ – the Picts followed up decisively, causing 2 more dead and 2 shock. Having already been reduced in numbers and shocked by Pict missile fire, the 1 remaining Warrior had had enough and routed from the field, but burst through 2 units of Levy to do so, putting shock on each. This, combined with the other retreating Warriors bursting through the same Levy (as it was now the end of the turn) took the Levy’s shock to double their numbers, meaning they had to rout. The British Army morale was now down to 0, so Erbin the Unlucky had to quit the field – Galan the Insane seeing his way to the church open let the British go with only a token pursuit.

Levy are burst through and wait to be burst through again

Levy are burst through and wait to be burst through again

In the post game sequence, the British came out badly, needing 2 months to replace their losses, while the Picts only needed 1 month – this meant that the Picts could raid unmolested for the month of April. Added to that they gained 4 Raiders to their warband, attracted no doubt by the easy pickings to be had in April. This left the Picts with 2 Thief’s Hordes of loot to add to their starting Thief’s Horde (6 wealth in game terms) but without Honour, which a Pict Warlord also needs to get ahead in life and can only gain by being wounded in battle.

The new rules added by Raiders are fairly easy to pick up. When I had to refer to the Lardy Forum and Yahoo group it was to do with Nobles and cavalry – turns out that mounted Nobles assigned to lead cavalry can only rally shock from them or draw a card. They can’t use their Noble card to move the cavalry – this movement is done on a new Cavalry card added to the deck by the supplement and this card activates all cavalry in a force.

The supplement has been promised for a long time, though this has given me time to paint up a sizeable band of Scots, Irish and Picts even with my glacial painting speed. The book and cards are beautifully presented and packed to the brim with ideas and a bargain at £18 – if you own Dux Britanniarum I would see this supplement as a must-have. Highly recommended!

Dux Britanniarum (19/08/12 – Tom)

Romano British army

This must be some sort of record – Dux Britanniarum lands on the doormat and a couple of weeks later we’re playing a game. We like the rules which the Lardies produce, but none have clicked with us the way this set have. We’ve had several fun games of Sharp Practice, but we never could get on with Blinds (don’t know why – they are a great idea) or remember to roll for an event when loads of dice were rolled and there were more ‘1’s than ‘6’s. Dux Britanniarum  gets around these minor gripes by not having any blinds and having a Fate Deck instead of events – hurrah!

After one read through the rules, I ordered a Romano British starter army (great idea) and painted it up in 2 weeks – I must be ill!!! Saxons are from my Anglo-Dane and Viking forces for Saga, but hopefully we will have some plastic Thegns being painted up before the campaign starts in earnest to replace the guys swinging the 2-handed axes with gay abandon.

The scenario we picked for our first try-out of the rules was the “one man and his dog” one, where raiding Saxons have to herd some livestock across the table before the Roman British can stop them. The British got to bring on 3 units at the start of the game, rolling the right centre area for their deployment zone. My Saxons were going to fight off the British with their elite units, while the Warrior units did the herding – the Saxons had to get 2 groups of pigs off the table to win.

Pigs in the wood

Turn 1 did not start well for the Saxons. The Big Man cards for the 3 units of warriors with the pigs came out quickly, but I rolled doubles for the 2 groups on the left (this means the livestock veer off in a random direction) and they ended up chasing their pigs around a wood, whilst the single group of warriors who also rolled a double (!) moved very close to the British Elites and Levy in pursuit of their pig. The Saxon elites moved straight up the road hoping to pin the inevitable shield wall against the board edge by threatening to outflank the damned thing. The British spent their turn shuffling about waiting for reinforcements to arrive, but with high movement rolls some of them would be in position to strike on turn 2 – damn!

The rest of the British arrive

On turn 2 after their mates arrived, the British elites felt bold enough try to charge the single group of Saxon warriors with the pig, but I played a Goad Fate card to stop them short and right in the path of my Lord and his elites. The Saxon Lord card came up next, so I ordered a charge against the British elites with my Lord leading 2 groups of elites against one. The sneaky British turned tail and ran (they had an evade card, another useful Fate deck card) meaning that no battles were fought on turn 2. The rest of the turn was spent by the British getting into formation and the Saxons in the wood going nowhere as they rolled a double 1 for movement – the dice Gods were shining on me as usual!

British rush to form shield wall

On to turn 3. The Saxon Lord & 2 elite groups charged the British shieldwall of  2 warrior & 1 elite group, which had been formed just in time by the British Lord (his card came up first, followed by the Saxon – the Saxon prayed it would be the other way round, but it was not to be – did I say I was the Saxons?). Surprisingly, no-one had a “Seize the Day” card, but the British had the “Shieldwall Braced” card which cancelled out the Saxon “Aggressive Charge” card – double damn!  Of course, the Saxons came off worst losing 3 men to the British none and so had to fall back 3″ due to the shock (of losing to peasants, though worse was to come). The pig-herding Saxons on the flank continued their slow progress towards the edge of the board which would give victory, while the other British leader whipped his levy into formation on the flank of the Saxon warrior line.

The Saxons clash with the shield wall

On Turn 4, once again the British Lord card came up first, and he ordered the British shieldwall to follow up into the retreating Saxons, but victory was not so swift this time – the combat went on  for 4 rounds  over 2 activations, but when the dust settled the Saxons elites had been broken or wiped out and the Saxon Lord had to run back to join the warrior group which had previously lost their pig to a bunch of levy. The only good thing from the Saxon point of view was that the British champion had fallen, taking a sword thrust intended for his lord. The pig-herding Saxon warriors continued to try to move their charges down the flank, but the British skirmishers had moved across to them so they were now being harassed by slingshot as well as making continuous poor movement rolls.

Turn 5 and the British Lord card came out first again, so he ordered a regular group to charge one of the flanking Saxon warrior group with pigs, trampling the  Saxon bowmen in the process. Amazingly, he took a wound and lost the combat, falling back 1″. Maybe the pigs might get off the board after all….

Saxons caught by British

It was not to be – the British leader with the Levy was now activated, and ordered the formation of Levy to charge the Saxon warrior group which their Warlord had sought refuge with. Again, the dice gods deserted the Saxons and the peasant Levy beat them up so badly that they had to leave the field at end of turn due to excess shock, taking the Warlord with them and sending the Saxon Army Morale below zero. This ended the game and put paid to the Saxon pig rustling on the flank as they lost the will to fight and melted off into the country side with no filling for their bacon butties.

The all-conquering British Levy

I lost badly as the Saxons – I think I only won 1 combat and was beaten twice by Levy with pitchforks. On the other hand, my archers were quite successful, dishing out 2 kills and some shock – this was not going to win me the game though. The British shieldwall which they managed to form in the nick of time was dead tough – I lost count of the number of kills it saved by being in the formation. The movement trays, though they sped up the game, confused us for a time – we were trying to wheel on the corner of the tray etc, but we didn’t have to do this as the mass formation is fairly flexible. Only when in shieldwall formation is wheeling necessary and most manoeuvres can be done by just subtracting 1D6 from the movement. The Fate Card Deck added a lot of spice to the game, never mind that I couldn’t pull a Carpe Diem card to save my life – this allows you to play more than 1 card in a turn, which can make for some devastating combos in a fight. Tom pulled all 3 of mine but didn’t pull one of his own until the final turn, and as we didn’t make it through the deck I was never going to see one – in the end I had to press the attack without one, which ended predictably given my usual dice rolling. The game was a really good introduction to the rules, and has given us an appetite for the campaign system where casualties matter – if this had been a campaign game I may well have thrown the towel in earlier. Highly recommended.