Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Dux B - post game thoughts

On the whole I like the Dux Britanniarum rules. The random movement through dice rolls and the card activation system work well for solo play, opening some options and narrowing others. Once in combat the dice and cards do pretty much all the work, and in the recent game there were plenty of surprises and moments where I thought 'Huh. I didn't see that one coming.'

Another factor is the pre-game ability of the player with initiative to move areas of scenery to best advantage. As the Saxon Lord Ebba scored higher I determined he would ensure a pretty clear path for his force up the centre of the board, the quicker to get his stolen cattle away. The judicious placement of areas of bracken and a rocky outcrop made it difficult for the Romano-British to get a clear line of advance on the raiders.

For the raid scenarios it's a matter of a die roll to determine how far the defending force travels before the enemy appears, and where that enemy enters the board. In the cattle raid game just played the Romano-British appeared hard on the left flank of the Saxons after they'd travelled just two moves with the stolen cattle. I thought at the time it would be a short game as the Saxons would be embroiled with a host of angry Romano-British and defeated before they got the cattle away to safety. As it turned out the dice and cards introduced a hefty amount of friction to the plans of the two Lords.

The scenery blocked the Romano-British path, but not to the extent I thought it would. They got a force of levy within striking distance of the stolen cattle and the drovers, but stalled when the Saxons managed to put on a spurt of movement and place a formation of hearthguard within striking distance. At that point I considered the lord commanding the levy would err on the side of caution and form shieldwall.

In combat terms this proved a shrewd move. The sheildwall was able to deflect the missiles hurled by the hearthguard on their way in to attack, and also proved resilient in hand to hand combat. Had the levy not formed shieldwall and made a stand it's pretty much odds-on that they would've been caught and destroyed without being able to intercept the cattle, leading to a much great Romano-British loss at the end of the game.

From the first the group of Saxon warriors driving the cattle lacked a Lord to guide them. I didn't consider this much of a problem since leaderless groups activate at the end of the turn in any case, but having a leader with them made them move much quicker and sooner, especially when a Step Forth or Bounding Move card is played.

The end of the game saw the Saxons with two Retreat cards and the Romano-British with but one Pursuit card. Although I felt the Saxons had the worst of the fighting, totting everything up at the end saw them with a marginal victory from the raid. Ebba will have to lick his wounds for a couple of months, as will Gaius Menusius. This means they'll both take to the field again in June.

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