Monday, 3 December 2012

Bretwalda Report

The Sunday before last that nice chap Scrivs drove me all the way to Peterborough so that we could play toy soldiers in the Bretwalda campaign day the fellows down there had organised.
It was a one day, three games WAB Age of Arthur affair pitting a loosely British faction against frothing Saxon invaders sometime around the 6th Century.
Any and all army lists from the excellent Age of Arthur supplement were permitted and the day promised scenarios, doubles games and struggles for the kingdom of Britannia.
I chose to use my Saxons as Sea Raiders, the earliest variant of the list. No Cynning, ASB or standard Duguth troops allowed, but you do get to take multiple units of the super hard Gedrith.
My list was:
Atheling, Army General
15 Gedrith
3x24 Geoguth
Thegn on foot
Mounted Thegn
9 Mounted Gedrith
9 skirmishers with slings

By putting the Wiglera in with the Gedrith I could ensure that almost the entire army (with the exception of the cavalry and slingers) was Fierce and would fail Warband tests on a 1 or 2, thereby removing the terrible burden of whether or not to charge forward.
In addition I also had another 250 points made up of a fourth unit of 24 Geoguth led by another Thegn.

As I pointed out to Scrivs it was something of a glass hammer army. With the emphasis firmly on the glass part.

We arrived at the lovely venue, a spacious and airy room owned by St John's Ambulance to find that the Peterboro' Massive had been hard at work preparing. There was a lovely big map, an abundant tuck shop, personalised name badges and even little campaign guide leaflets. Looks like Scrivs will have his work cut out topping that lot for the next event at Maelstrom.
Despite the fact that Scrivs had also bought Saxons with him it turned out we were to be on opposite sides. I was representing the true followers of Woden, while he would be a turncoat ally of the lick-spittle British. Or in fact king of the lick-spittle British as he promptly won the dice off full and fair elections to decide rulers.
Our king led us off to the Saxon Break Out Room where we sat on scatter cushions and threw some ideas at the flagpole to see what looked best going forward, the upshot of which was I was paired with a person whose name badge seemed to say Nic but turned out to be called Andy. He was using a Later Saxon list with big shields, so we agreed a loose plan that I would run forward and throw myself upon the enemy. And he wouldn't. A plan worthy of the great tacticians of days gone by, I'm sure you'll agree.
As is often the way our notional doubles game actually became more like a pair of side by side games. I faced off against Tony (or possibly Tim. Tom?) began with a T anyway. He also had Saxons but again the later type with large shields and a stoic nature. He was allied with Dan who was using Andy's lovely Romano British army.
 Gedrith Cavalry, lurking

 Loathsome turncoat Saxons

 Our battle line

 Andy's lovely Romano Brits

 The central hill is advanced upon

 Whooping geoguth surge forward...

...and crash into the shieldwall

 The elite Gedrith cavalry prepare to run down some peasants

 On the hill my ally hands it out

 Then runs away a bit

 Then comes back again

The battle began well as my Geoguth lurched forward into Tony's lines (let's call him Tony - if you're reading and you're not called Tony, I'm sorry) and astonishingly didn't bounce straight off. However time told and the formed bonus and large shields slowly made a difference. A difference that saw most of my army run away for a bit. Meanwhile the Gedrith cavalry dillied and dallied, dallied and dillied and then failed a panic test and ran off the board. The foot Gedrith gave a bloody nose to one of their saxon opponents, but it was too little too late. Over on my flank Nic/Andy was having problems of his own - although his cavalry saw off the Romano Brits on the far flank, toward our centre rubber spears/poor dice saw his units breaking and fleeing. Although he staged a late game comeback, it was still not enough for us, and the end result saw us go down to a minor defeat.

Between games the victors were allowed to replace pins in the map with ones of their own colour if they'd won a major victory. Those suffering a minor defeat had to remove a chocolate coin from their treasury and put it in the rival factions pot. I described this as My Chocolate Shame. Andy McTaggart reckons using this phrase will drive traffic to my blog. I hope any new visitors aren't too disappointed.

We then adjourned to the pub for a burger, with both kings in attendance and looking very fetching in their crowns. Post food we again entered the Saxon breakout room and after extensive workshopping and a brainstorming session, divvied up the scenarios between us.
I found myself facing Dan from my previous battle, but as our forces hadn't really engaged in that game we figured that was just fine. The struggle was for a rather desirable hill and some fetching Dark Age accommodation.
 Gentlemen, start your engines...

 Andy/Dan's men

 Sling it baby

 Up to the ochee

 Slingers clear the way

 On the hill, fighting breaks out

 The Gedrith smash home

 Dannus Maximus occupies the house

 Are you Arthur in disguise...?

 The Geoguth want in!

 The elites close on one another

 This is our 'ouse now!

 No Romans, no dogs, no smoking!

 Chaarge! No, Wait!

We'll huff and we'll puff...

This battle swung both ways, with Dan claiming the house and hill early on. Repeated assaults by different units of Geoguth eventually ousted the Romano Brits from the house and my cavalry cleared away their Arthurian opponents before claiming the hill. By turn six I had the game in the bag. Unfortunately it turned out to be an eight turn affair (blimmin' rules) and Dan was able to surround the house and evict the partying Geoguth. In a display of dubious honour my gedrith cavalry declined to charge Dan's hearthguard and instead ran on to the bottom of the hill on the final turn to  leave it "contested" and swing me another minor loss rather than a major one and ensure My Chocolate Shame (hello new readers!) continued.

By this stage the British defenders were on top and only heroic mighty victories in the last round would do for the Saxon cause. Oh well. 
In this game I was paired with Andy and his Romano Brits (who I recognised as the Saxons Grahame had used against me on at least one previous occasion). I would be trying to gain entrance to a well defended watchtower and Andy would be trying to stop me.

 The titular tower

 My battleline

 Chaarge, what can go wrong?

 This is what can go wrong

 The Gedrith will save us...

 Or possibly not...

 Let us in!!!

Charge (again)

The battle proved frustrating for me as wave upon wave of Geoguth bounced off the well defended palisade  whilst slingers in the tower took a toll. By the time the Gedrith got in on the act they'd been whittled to a point of ineffectiveness and by the time Andy's reinforcements arrived I was already well on the back foot. 
Eventually it was all over and Andy had scored a mighty victory - so at least I was spared More Chocolate Shame!

And with that the event was all over. Britannia remained in the hands of it's defenders and their perfidious allies. My dice remained as hot as ever in the charity dice off and I won nowt. I'd had three splendid games against three splendid fellows and seen some lovely armies and generally had a super time.
Massive thanks to Andy and the rest of the Peterborough crew who organised a smooth and hugely entertaining day.

But don't just take my word for it, read these other versions of events:


  1. *smile* Glad you had a good time: hopefully we'll see you at the next, whenever and whatever that turns out to be.

  2. Wonderful AAR, the figures are amazing, as the tower...great work!

  3. Thanks,
    I can however take no credit for the tower. I think it was Andy hawes work - a Grand Manner casting IIRC.

  4. Fantastic report on what lloks like a really great game. Thanks!

  5. Excellent figures and layout. Slingers are potent in WAB!

  6. Very nice report and pics, well done.

  7. Very nice AAR !!!

    Best regards Michael

  8. Thanks for all the kind words chaps.