Monday, March 11, 2013

April, 500 AD: Victory is Ours

The king read Lord Donyarth's letter for a second time. "My King, it is my good fortune to report that on this day we have smote the pagan invader from Habitancum's province. It was brought to my attention that a force of Saxons had landed on our shores. The small folk of the realm came to us as I was entertaining my cousin, Artbranan, from Pictland. He had with him a small force of men and he immediately agreed to join the in pursuit of the Saxon scoundrels."

The farm at the border.

"We could later learn that the Saxon invader was named Garmund who presumed to call himself 'the Bold'. His men had quite the head start in approaching the farmstead. He was far closer to the farm than we were. By the time we saw the invader, they had reached the farm."

The Saxon reaches the farm on

"Our forces quickly became one long slow line of men. Our archers led the way. I followed with my small group of Comanipulares. Next Artbranan's crossbowmen (4), his group of spearmen (8) and my cousin followed. Next, Senyllt and our two groups of Milites followed. Lastly was Gwalchafed and our three groups of Numeri."

"We approached the farm where we were told the invader was moving too from behind a large outcropping of rock. This narrowed number of men that could move through to the open fields near the farm. Indeed, this slowed our movements considerably so that we feared that we would not arrive in time. The Saxon had already gathered up the sheep and cows from the farm and had started to move them back to their ships.

Here you can see the entry point for the Romano-British. With such a narrow entry point, we did not thing we could reach the Saxons before they fled.

"The Saxons began to loot the houses of the farm. The first building was abandoned rapidly as was the third. The second seemed to entice them that something was there. Our canny peasants have so long hidden valuables from our own tax collectors that what chance did illiterate barbarians have?"

The houses to the right and left had 1's rolled for their loot test right off the bat. Nothing was ever found in the center hut even though it was searched almost every turn of the game. Right and center huts shown here.
"One of our archers tripped on his quiver and spilled his load of arrows across the ground. The others moved to assist him. This is the only possible explanation as to why they moved so slowly compared to my cousin's men. His crossbow men raced across the battlefield. They found the enemy skirmishers and fired into them as they attempted to run with the farm's cows. Here they drew first blood killing one of their skirmishers."

Mark's Pict crossbowmen. These are Sergeant Major Miniatures.

The Picts draw first blood. We used Mark's casualty figures from Sergeant Major Miniatures.

"Interestingly enough, one of their groups of warriors that was accompanied by an enormously hairy man, was herding sheep. We never caught up with this group. The farmer lost six sheep to these men. Two were carried by the hairy man, one under each arm. We later learned that this was Wulhere, the Saxon champion.

Senyllt and our Milites quickly formed a shieldwall and faced off against the closest Saxons. They moved into a line with two groups of their elite hearth guard facing the Milites and a group of warriors slinking behind a wall.

"To complicate matters, the Saxon presented cavalry on our flanks. Undoubtedly these were men who stole horses from some luckless Briton. These were no natural horsemen. They moved in lurching motions but still caused our men some concern."
These are a mix of Splintered Light and Outpost miniatures Saxon Cavalry. The standard bearer and spear wielding ones are from Outpost.

"The cavalry threatened and caused the Pict crossbowmen to flee to the safety of a nearby wood. My cousin moved his spearmen forward to challenge the cavalry and prevent them from attacking the rear of our infantry. This halted their advance. The crossbowmen moved to the edge of the wood and gave the cavalry a volley and ran them off."

"I must compliment the courage of my cousin at this point. His men charged the retreating cavalry. In a bounding rush they ran after the Saxons and chased them back to the farm."

"The Saxons began to fall back in order to consolidate their winnings thus far. They had taken another casualty from the Pict Crossbowmen at some point. They fell back to the well in the center of the farm. I saw an opportunity and charged my Comanipulares directly into the Saxon Hearth Guard. Our men slammed into the rough Saxon line and fought with great fury. We lost two men but threw the invader into great confusion. Many more Saxon lay dead at our feet but the charge and heavy fight left my men exhausted and unable to pursue. They withdrew to recover"

The British get very lucky and manage to beat a group of Saxon Elites but loose their amphora as well.

"Following our example, the Warriors quickly follow us into the faltering line of Saxons. Our Warriors further drove the Saxon back and shattered their line of battle.

The warriors proved even luckier and managed to beat another group of elites and did great damage to the supporting Saxon warriors. They would take 6 casualties in these sharp fights.

"The Saxon now only had a thought for escaping with their ill gotten gains. They began to fall back further and further. Our men had fought bravely and done very well. Gwalchafed and our three groups of Numeri finally had arrived. The levy proved decisive. As they were still fresh troops, they charged forward and drove off the remaining Saxon hearth guard. The remnants of their hearth guard fled from the field in terror of our martial excellence."

The levy had the worst movement rolls. On 3d6, I managed to roll a 3. In poor judgement, I attempted to wrap around the others by passing through a small field that further slowed them. Eventually, they got to where they needed to be.

The levy actually managed to cause some damage to the Saxon elites. The suffered 2 dead but inflicted more damage to the worn Saxons.

The uncultured Saxons must have been raised in a barn, as they ripped off the door to the hut rather than close it.

"Unexpectedly, the cavalry made another appearance within the farm. The Saxons threatened to charge our warriors that were regrouping after fighting off the infantry. I rushed to their side. Senyllt, Cadfan (my champion) and myself led our renewed warriors in a neck or nothing charge against the Saxon Cavalry and defeated them to a man."

Editor's note: The four cavalry were outmatched on the big men's dice alone in the fight. Only three cavalrymen were killed but we failed to check if it was horses or riders that died. Either way, the unit broke and ran causing the Saxon force morale to reach 0. This was enough to give the Briton's the game.

"The remaining Saxons fled the field. The two cows were recovered for the farmer. We looted the bodies of the dead. We won a great victory. We killed no less than 8 of the Saxon hearth guard. Another 7 of their warriors fell as well. We found three bodies of their cavalry and recovered several horses. Also we should not forget the first Saxon claimed by Pict Crossbows. Our losses were six of our warriors, two of my Comanipulares and another 2 of levy. I offer you this shirt of Saxon mail as evidence of our great victory."

"Your obedient servant,
Donyarth, Lord of Habitancum"

Editor's Note: The mail shirt offered was slashed open and nearly useless. The rest of the booty that was useful, he kept to himself and for his men.

The king shook his head. The arrogance of Donyarth worried him. Two attacks this month. Yes, both Aethelfrith and Donyarth had been successful. But this was only the beginning. His spies have told him that the numbers of Saxons hungry for plunder and land are limitless. Only time will tell if his kingdom will survive.


On Saturday March 9th, we had another game of Dux Britannarium. This was the Farm Raid scenario from the main rules. Doug had decided to go with a Saxon force and I tried my hands at some Britons.

Having extra players we added some additional forces to the base troops each command would have. Mark had painted up 8 Pict Spearmen and 4 crossbowmen. He commanded these and the Briton Warriors. I had based my Saxon Cavalry. So these were added to the Saxon forces. Doug and Steve shared the Saxon Command. We should have given additional skirmishers to the Saxons. The Saxons nearly had the game won before the British could reach the farm. Just bad luck kept this game from going their way. They were close to their friendly edge. They did make off with some of the sheep.

The results of the battle gave the Britons a Thief's Horde in plunder. In addition, we gained two additional warriors and are able to replenish our dead immediately. Doug's Saxons will replenish their troops in 2 months.

Thus far, the campaign is going well. We have only played out April of 500AD in two games. Thus far it is going well. Hopefully we can get Brian's troops on the table shortly to get him involved. It looks like we now have 5 solid players in the campaign. Stay tuned for the next installment.

Mark's pictures can be found here.


  1. Looks god fun for your players, Chris. Look forward to more !

  2. I am really getting into this campaign despite the fact that I have next to no minis. Thank you, Chris for getting this thing organized and on track. maybe next game we'll have some rolling terrain instead of the craggy landscape that we worked around on this one.

  3. The game was great fun. The terrain worked for it and nearly decided the outcome of the game. Once we get Brian going this campaign should take off.

  4. It is a good report Chris, I also like the look of the well.

    1. Thanks. The well is from Total Battle Miniatures.

      I really like it. They have some nice stuff.