Monday, December 3, 2018

Ebba's Cattle Raid

The Saxon warlord Ebba sensed the Romano-British were close by, lurking in the mist-haunted flat landscape of the Fen country. He deployed his forces as best he could to anticipate attack from any direction. A group of warriors drove the stolen cattle onward, the hearthguard to the right flank, the remaining warriors and skirmishers to the left.

Ebba's instincts proved correct when groups of British warriors and elites emerged on his left flank...

First priority - get the cattle away. The drovers urge the beasts to greater speed whilst the raiders turn to face the enemy.The skirmishers fire at the oncoming Roman-British, inflicting mild shock on the warriors.

Cynbel the Magnificent leads the elites in a fierce charge against the Saxon intruders. Facing off against his opposite number Oeric the Insane, shrewd blows are traded.

As Cynbel engages the enemy Lord Barriventus leads the levy across the broken ground to intercept the cattle drovers. Has he made it in time?

Cynbel's men strike down two Saxons. Armour Bright preserves both British and Saxon Lords from harm. 

Barriventus is more concerned with the safety of his levy than with intercepting the stolen cattle. He orders the two groups into formation and erects the shieldwall just in time. Ebba himself leads his hearthguard into action. A hail of missiles strikes the shieldwall to no effect before the clash of arms commences. A third group of levy are hung up in the gorse and bracken, but are poised to come in on Ebba's flank - if they can pluck up the nerve to tangle with the fierce Saxon elites.

It looks like Barriventus' taking his eye off the ball will cost the Romano-British dearly. At Ebba's behest Saxon Lord Wigmund leaves the hearthguard and joins the cattle drovers in urging the beasts onward. The cattle need little encouragement to get away from the screaming and clashing of combat.

Over on the left flank the Romano-British warriors engage. The pressure is too much for the Saxons. One group breaks and routs. Satisfied all is well there, Gaius Menusius becomes anxious about the cattle. He pushes through the rough heathland to the isolated group of levy, and sees all is far from well with Barriventus.

The stalwart Lord is holding the Saxon hearthguard, who can make little impression on the shieldwall, but beyond the melee Gaius can see the cattle being driven away. Cursing under his breath Gaius urges the levy group into combat in a bid to break the Saxons so he can get to the cattle before it's too late. Coming in on the flank and rear of the hearthguard makes a serious impact for which the Saxons have little response.

Concerned for his fellows, Wigmund pauses to look back at the battle. The sight of Saxon warriors running away from battle justifies his concern, but he has almost got the cattle clear from the scene.

Gaius' plan works. The Saxon hearthguard take enough casualties and shock to make them fall back. Shaking the levy free of the fading melee Gaius leads them in a race against time - but the hot pursuit isn't hot enough. With a last effort Wigmund and his men drive the stolen cattle into the Fenland mists and safety.

The end of the affair. The deaths of numerous Saxon warriors will lead to much weeping amongst the womenfolk in the halls and bothies back home. Tired and battered, the survivors make their escape. Two won't reach the halls again, falling victim to accident and banditry in the hostile countryside, but the cattle are won and there's loot to share out. Ebba grudgingly concedes the enemy aren't as weak and feeble as he'd been led to believe, but he is content enough. Once he's had time to lick his wounds and recoup his losses, he'll be back to test the Romano-British once more.

So ends my first game of Dux Britanniarum, and very enjoyable it was too. I'll post a write-up of the way the rules played soon, head cold and time permitting.

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