Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dux Bellorum Playtest 2

Second playtest game of Dux Bellorum, this time depicting the Norman incursion into Wales.

I kept the Norman list as it was, and drew up a Welsh list using, well, the Welsh list.

A lack of figures forced me to field a smallish army of seven units, but this meant the Welsh Leader had a whopping 9 Inspiration Points to spend each turn; this proved to be useful as we shall soon see...

I used the terrain set-up rules from the rulebook for this game. The Welsh player as the defender had 3 pieces of terrain to place, and decided to narrow the battlefield by placing a woods on one flank, and then to ensure he had a hill to place his Companions unit on, placed a hill on both base edges of the table. The river with the bridge demarcates the edge of the game-board and is not in play.

Once again the defender placed the Companion unit in the centre, and anchored both flanks with Noble units, this time Warriors instead of Shieldwall. In addition, the Welsh player placed two units of Foot Skirmishers on the left flank, hoping to capture and then infiltrate through the woods to snipe at any Norman unit coming that way.

The Norman player planned to stall the Welsh left wing with skirmishers of his own, while attacking the Welsh right with his Bows and Knights.

Both armies start at about 6 Base Widths (BWs) apart. The photos are taken with the camera on a tripod, so you can see the progress of the units.

The Welsh begin their advance on both flanks, as do the Normans

With little terrain in their way the Welsh Warriors soon make it into charge range, where their 3 BW movement brought them into melee with the Normans despite the fact that the latter would have preferred to weaken the former with some shooting first.

The right-most unit of Noble Warriors rout the Norman Bows, and carry on their advance into the Norman rear, while on the Welsh left the Norman Skirmishers are similarly despatched, allowing the Welsh Skirmishers to snipe at the Norman right flank. I used the Follow-up optional rule here, which meant Warrior and Mounted units that win their melee must follow-up by 1 BW where possible. This meant that once committed these troops tend to continue forward.

The Norman general now decided to throw in his reserve to try to tip the melee on his left flank to his favour, prompting the Welsh general to come down from the hill to prevent that.

The Norman's loss of two units means they have fewer IPs to spend, while conversely on the Welsh side the fact that most of the Norman units are already engaged in melee meant the Welsh player could pick and choose where exactly to spend his IPs.

Nevertheless the high Protection values (5 and 6) of the units involved meant that melees tended to last a few rounds, allowing reserves to be fed into them.

Eventually the Norman's lack of IP meant that the Welsh player could add additional dice for attack at the melees, eventually routing enough units to cause the Normans to test for Morale - the Mounted Companions and one unit of Spears broke, leaving just two units of Spears with their flanks dangerously exposed.

This game produced a very different flavour from the previous one.

The opposing armies not being Shieldwall-heavy armies, the battle was more fluid. The mobility of the Warriors units meant that a slow battle of attrition against them wasn't really an option.

One reason why the Normans do so poorly so far may be because of my tendency to throw the mounted units too far forward without supporting them with the slower-moving Spears units. While they do not do so badly against Warriors units, if outnumbered they can get into trouble and be routed before support arrives.

In my next game I may try a Welsh vs. English battle to see how Warriors match up against Shieldwalls.

Welsh Warrios meet Norman Knights and Spears in the open.


Sean said...

please let me (us!) know more about the mechanics of the game. I have Glutter of Ravens and a host of Dark Age / 1066 period figures and like Glutter the mosr. And now i am back in the UK was thinking of changing them for games on a grid. Five moves to get units ready seems like a long time to me!

Please do continue - looking forward to the next post!

captain arjun said...

DB is not played on a grid, but distance is measured in Base Widths instead of cm or inches. Base Width is just that - the width of the base used in the game. I use a 2 x DBX bases width or 8cm.

DB is a bit like GoR. The Leader has Inspiration Points which he can spend on the units each turn, to either absrob hits, roll an extra die for melee, or to make it easier to move/restrain units.

Instead of tracking 3 stats as in GoR, you now only need to track Cohesion or hits.