Monday, 24 October 2011

Adventus Saxonum: yet another FallCon report.

Dark Age grudge match! Cymric warriors and archers menace Saxon Dogs. No dogs were hurt, but lots of Saxons were.

 Adventus Saxonum, that is in the vernacular 'Coming of the Saxons'.

What a grand little tourney we played Saturday afternoon at FallCon. The Alberta skies were blue, a cool breeze was coming in from the freshly snow-covered mountains. What a grand day to bathe the failed Roman province of Brittania with blood!

This period, the 'Arthurian' period, the 'Celtic Twilight', the British Heroic Age or whatever you'd call it is probably my favourite in DBA, if not in all history. The drama, the peoples, the landscape and the misty lack of details appeal my senses. Yes, I have a beaten copy of John Morris's The Age of Arthur next to my bed, complete with scribbles next to the really dodgy parts. Rosemary Sutcliffe's The Lantern Bearers and The Sword at Sunset top my desert island list. I do indeed know all the lines to a certain movie concerning swallows, both African and European, but in furthering the cause of good manners,  I do not recite it in public. I also have a fun collection books of pseudo-mystical-history that claim things like the Jutes actually came from just outside of Baltimore and that Arthur was a Space Alien Love God sent to complete the Irish Kama Sutra (those missing pages from the Book of Kells? Now you know, and knowing is half the battle).

So it's about time I put on an 'Arthurian Game' dontcha think? Put down the katana and pick up the spatha! But it's all Arthur this and Arthur I decided on a different tack. How about those Saxons? The Early Saxon Army as you may know are the eponymous TOTAL WANKERS in the NAGS/CCF/EDBAG compendium maintained by the sauve Paul Hannah and the indefatigable Andy Hooper. Regardless who they play against, it's not the army for the faint hearted.

Yet, they won. Historically they trounced their opponents in battle. How to make that a little more 'fair'. I thought of lots of ideas, most of them not very good. Maybe we can have all the Sub-Roman British players fight each other first and then have the Saxons play the already depleted winner? Hmmm, thematically correct, but not that much fun for the massacre-ed. 

Constructed scenarios offered the  best solution. I designed three specific battles which I thought evocative of the conflicts (as much as we understand it). I eliminated aggression ratings and each player diced 1d6.

The Beach: Aggressor goes the Full Overlord and tries to take field, with naught but Mannanan Mac Lir's cold waves at their back.

The Forest: If you come into the woods today you're going to lose you head...a thick dirty terrain filled board, with points for killing each others general. Nasty.

The Ford: Probably the most challenging and poorly designed scenario. I rewrote the river rules for the game, so as to simplify and keep things moving. Defender got points for eliminating enemy stands, attacker got points for getting across the river. Unbalanced and really deadly. Most players really liked it. Go figure.

We had a good, keen handful playing that day. The Pre-Teen Visigoth returned under the guise of Liam Pendragon, leading the Sub-Roman British c list. Quixotically he chose the Cv General option. I think he was a little shy of using a knight general after his debacle last year playing the Lombards.
Liam Pendragon deploys his Sub Human Sub-Roman British
Mark of Edmonton joined in again. He fielded my Pictish army. Which was morphed from my Caledonians. The addition of some Pict-i-fied Numidian light horse and some top quality Trey Corbies Warrior Women as psiloi updated things just dandy.

David also of Edmonton, took up the guise of Lord of Isles and fielded a force of Dalriadan Scots-Irish. Crap. David got an Ax army...again.

Liam Pendragon(Left Back) lulls David of the Isles into confidence (Right Back) whilst Don the Goth(Front Left) is locked into a full-on slaughter fest Mark mac Mark the Pict (Front Right)
Cory finally put down the metaphorical musket and joined in the DBA games and bravely took up the Sea Wolves. It's a brave man to play an all Wb army in tourney crawling with Ax and Cv. Cory knows the undying rule of warbands, play for the glory, not the victory!

The Later Visigoths, which I had written into the milieu were claimed by Don.  Don too likes mobility. It's a pretty tough army with extra Bw firepower.

Marco, fiendish to the core claimed the other Scots-Irish army. It was back dated from my Norse-Irish with addition of some Pre-Feudal Scottish spear standing in for the Ax. Marco is a complete fiend with the first turn Ps rush. He will sack your camp.  There will be blood.

I had the opportunity to join in as well while Don tutored a new player. Strangely all that was left was my killer Welsh. So I picked them up and waded into the fray. 

It turned out I supplied all the armies in this game. Whew... I had two left Saxons and Franks. It was a total pleasure seeing my work (both high and lowly) used by so many people.  
Backs against the sea, the fierce Cymry charge the Saeson devils.

I was lucky enough to play three games. First I was able match with Cory and the Saxon dogs.
I had the honour of playing the invader on the beach scenario. Fair turnabout there, take that Saxons! And took it the Saxons did. From the start of the game nothing went Cory's way, from PIPs to outcomes. We did have some wonderfully hinky battlelines resulting from the warband's impetuous follow up. In the end the Cymry held the field, and the pasty Saeson were driven away.

Next battle I defended in the forest against David of the Isles and his unsavoury Irish. Not a great match up for Welsh. The mostly all Ax Irish are faster and better than the Welsh warbands in the woods. My strategy was to hold the gap between the woods with my Cv general and move the rest of the troops out into the open. Could I roll better than a 2 for PIPs? Nope. The shining heroes on the Cymry were blundering around in the woods playing blind man's bluff when the howling Irish hit them. I rolled OK for the combat,  but none were to my advantage and slowly David took me apart. The only moment of epic glory was when matched against the perfidious Irish chieftain my General had his Carmina Burana moment and blew through him in a 6-1 split.  Alas, too little, too late.

While I had more luck with the pictures this day, I still lack lots of representational shots, so bear with what I have.

Mark's Picts demonstrates how to stop Gothic cavalry with light horse and skirmishers. How'd that go Mark?
Visigoth nation of the move...again.

Duel on the Dubglas. Saxons spill Marco's Scotti blood.

We're over the river! Howling Welsh warbands boldly challenge the uppity Sub-Romans and their hated Saxon Feodorati.
My third game was pitted against the young and treacherous Liam Pendragon. I had to heave my ponderous columns of warriors over the river. I hit his spear hard. Repeatedly, and they shoved me back, repeatedly.  Then his horse troops showed up. My general and my hopes died in the mud. 

Egads, again with Visigoths.

Marco's Irish prepare for the Goths.
Pictish Warrior women try to turn Cory's Saxon flanks
On the whole I was happy with the game. Everybody had a kick and there were tense, tense matches. Which is what counts. Next time...I suspect if I was to reformat this tourney I might make all the games fixed by terrain and army,  having the players rotate through set-piece battles. This would give players a chance to command warbandy sorts, auxilia forces and Romano-British cavalry all in one tourney.
But I do think having a momentary attachment to an army (Grrrrrr, I'm a Pict!) adds a lot to the game, especially with this milieu.

I really want to thank all who participated, you guys were brilliant and a blast to play with. Anytime.


Probably may favourite picture of the game. Two women and a dog take on the Visigoth charge. A forgone conclusion? Yes, but no dogs were hurt.

I see that all the text I wrote did not make into this post. Interested in who won and how? Read on...

In the end, David of the Isles and his Irish badass army took the prize. I awarded him 'Foamhenge' which I picked up off eBay for cheap. The stones were carved out of some dense foam and glued to a mini-CD.  It was pretty basic, painted black and green. I tarted it up substantially with paint, flock and glued a figure in the middle (actually the fellow in my banner) for a trophy. (David if you have a pic of that, send it down to me so can throw it up on the blog.)

As the cellar dweller, Don Ray was offered my consolation prize, the 'Sad Sack of Saxons'. However Don 'won' them last time in the ' I Was a Teenage Visigoth' tourney. So he was offered future options from the new releases by Trey Corbies (more on those later...).

Scoring on the whole was pretty close despite the scoring on the Fords tourney being totally broken.
Liam stoked to have finished third, thanks in part to his patricide. The Irish armies were the most successful, and the Picts under Mark's generalship made a good show as well. He quite liked the composition, I suspect he may be making one soon. Marco, Cory, Mark and myself made up the middle.

1 comment:

  1. Great report. I really enjoyed this scenario, but it was tough to cross the Rubicon. The minis were very cool. Nice set. Thanks for all the hard work!