The men were promised women, hacked silver and slaves. Instead they now found themselves forced marching across Centish lands in search of refuge. Filip Vígríðr’s raid on Cantwareburh had been unsuccessful and now somewhere, on a windswept horizon, an Anglo-Saxon warband was in pursuit of his vikingr host. Nightfall was in reach, if the Norsemen could just avoid the Saxons long enough then the latter would soon give up and return home. “My Jarl!” Hurried a panting scout as his swift mount came to a dirt flicking halt. “What is it Snorri? Where are the swine loving curs?”. “Beyond that hillcrest, they block the passing with their shield wall!” panicked the scout. There was no running Filip settled with himself. These were Saxon lands after all, the enemy would almost always out manoeuvre any invaders. “Unpack the spears from the mules!” Filip directed the servant boys. “Dismount men! If it’s a shield wall the English dogs want, it’s a shield wall they shall get!”
Today’s battle report see’s Phil’s Vikings face off against Rory’s Anglo-Saxons in a straight up Clash of Warlords scenario with 6 point warbands. This is the debut battle report of what will be a series of connecting games that sees each player’s warlord gather experience points to spend on talent domains using the Book of Battles experience system.
Battle Map Key
Phil won the roll for 1st player and so started off with placing a wood on his centre left flank. Rory then chose to place a steep hill on his near left flank, followed by another wood from Phil in the centre of the Saxon’s deployment zone. Rory then chose to end his terrain deployment and move the previous wood M towards his right flank, out of the way. Only for it to be replaced by shrub land placed by Phil for the final piece! Next the warbands hit the table. The Vikings took up a symmetrical formation set back slightly from the front edge of their deployment border, with a strong centre. While the Saxons combined 3 Warrior units into 2 formidable units of 12 and deployed as best they could amongst the troublesome terrain in their own deployment zone.
Viking Turn 1
The Vikings kicked off the battle with little movement. Limited only to 3 Saga dice as the 1st player for the opening turn, they chose to manoeuvre a unit of Warriors up their far left flank and pool their 3 Saga dice on advanced abilities. Keeping the bulk of the warband set back waiting for the Saxons to reveal themselves.
Anglo-Saxons Turn 1
The Saxons immediately leapt into action on their first turn. With bow Levy on their left flank using a manoeuvre to exit the steep hill and then with the Warriors on the right flank both moving forward using Unison, whilst their Warlord and his Hearthguard edge up with Determination and We Obey respectively. The Warriors crash into the Viking vanguard using Overlapping Shields followed by Viking’s Frigg and finally Saxon’s Crash of Shields. The Saxons win this melee, beating the Vikings off running, killing five whilst taking three casualties of their own. The bow Levy let loose a volley at another unit of Viking Warriors, picking off two men but not before the Vikings reactively activate Odin to fully exhaust the skirmishers.
Viking Turn 2
The Vikings now begin to push their warband forward using manoeuvres. Still limiting their activations and pooling Saga dice for a future turn, the only action they see is a unit of javelin Levy on the right using their free shooting activation, after a move, to throw their missiles at the Saxon bow Levy. The peasants brave the shower and take only a single casualty.
Anglo-Saxon Turn 2
Next the Saxons edge forward, perhaps more cautiously than their first turn, waiting for for an opening in the Vikings formation. Using Unison they move their left unit of Warriors forward and melee Levy out of the central shrubland, whilst the Warlord and Hearthguard move up, again using Determination and We Obey. The bow Levy activate to rest, removing 1 fatigue. The battle lines now stood within throwing distance of each other! Banging shields and shouting challenges.
Viking Turn 3
Both units of javelin Levy activate to move forward and both take advantage of their free shooting. The left unit hitting the Saxon Hearthguard who takes one casualty, and the right unit hitting a unit of Saxons Warriors who take two. The right unit is then activated to shoot again at the same unit of Saxon Warriors who this time take four casualties! The Viking Warlord and Berserkers move up into an exposed position with Determination and We Obey.
Anglo-Saxon Turn 3
Using Truce the Saxons remove a fatigue from their bow Levy. They then use Unison to move the same bow Levy forward towards a unit of Viking Warriors and a central unit of melee Levy back into the shrubland. The bow Levy next activate to let loose a volley at the Viking Warriors, killing one. Followed by an activation to charge the same Warriors. The Viking Warriors Close Ranks, halving their attacks but improving their melee save to 4+. They then also remove a fatigue from the Saxon bows to reduce their armour to 2 and another to increase their own armour to 5. Melee follows with the Saxons failing to kill any Vikings whilst losing three men of their own. The bow Levy then Fall Back towards the far table edge. Next the Warlord uses We Obey to have his Hearthguard charge the nearby unit of Viking javelin Levy, whilst using Determination to move himself back towards his own table edge. The Hearthguard lose another of their number but push back the enemy Levy killing two.
Viking Turn 4
The Vikings activate Ragnarok, reducing the armour of every unit (friendly and foe) on the table by 1 and allowing all friendly units to charge freely. They first start off with the Berserkers who engage the remaining central unit of Saxon Warriors. A bloodbath ensues as everyone, including the Berserkers themselves, are slaughtered in crazed violence, both units wiping each other out. The right unit of javelin Levy are activated to move by their Warlord with We Obey, they then throw their javelins at the Saxon bows but fail to do any damage. The neighbouring Viking Warriors however wade in with the free Ragnarok charge and chase off the enemy bows, killing four after using the enemy’s fatigue to increase their own armour back up to 4! The left unit of javelin Levy also use their free Ragnarok charge at the Saxon Hearthguard. The javelin Levy then spend the enemy’s fatigue to lower their armour to 4, while the Saxons choose not to use any of the Vikings fatigue. The melee follows with the Hearthguard being defeated and the Levy left unharmed. Finally we see the central unit of Viking Warriors activate to move forward and then activate to move forward once more, however having accumulated 2 fatigue they choose not to charge the Saxons out of fear of exhausting themselves.
Anglo-Saxon Turn 4
The Saxons activate Valiant Hearts to allow their right unit of Warriors to benefit from Unison which they in turn use to move the Warriors towards the Viking Levy, who they would charge, using their enemy’s 2 fatigue to lower their armour to 2 and increasing their own armour to 5. They send the Levy fleeing, slaughtering seven of them whilst not taking a single casualty themselves. The second Saxon unit to benefit from Unison are the melee Levy in the shrubland, who reposition themselves screening their Warlord before charging at the forward Viking Warriors. Melee between the two units starts with the Saxons removing a fatigue to lower the Vikings armour to 2 (Ragnarok was still in play at this point so everybody’s armour was already at a -1), the Viking in turn do the same to also lower the Saxons armour to 2. The Saxons use the final Viking fatigue to increase their own armour back up to 3. Next the Vikings use Loki, followed by the Saxons using Overlapping Shields, Thor from the Vikings, Crash of Shields from the Saxons and finally Frigg from the Vikings. After a close fought melee the Saxons Fall Back with six casualties, but the Vikings don’t go unscathed, losing five men of their own.
Viking Turn 5
A quick turn this time for the Vikings who’s Warlord uses Determination to move in range of his javelin Levy. The Warlord then uses We Obey to activate said Levy for a charge into the remaining Saxon bows. Now taking massacre points into consideration the Vikings spend two Saga dice in their combat pool to gain two defence dice, they then use Heimdall to gain five attack dice at the cost of lowering their armour by 1 to 2. But this is immediately nullified when they use the Saxons fatigue to return their own armour back up to 3. The peasants squabble with the Vikings taking no casualties whilst finishing off the Saxons.
Anglo-Saxon Turn 5
Saxon Warlord uses We Obey to command his Levy for a charge at the remains of the forward unit of Viking Warriors. The fighting units then use each others fatigue, the Saxons lower the Vikings but it is countered immediately by the Viking raising it back up. The Saxons then used Defenders Of The Kingdom granting an extra attack and defence dice, followed by Closed Ranks to gain another three attack dice and finally Overlapping Shields for another two defence dice. The Saxons save all the Viking hits with their extra defence dice whilst inflicting 2 casualties to the Vikings, who’s last remaining man flees in terror. The Warlord ends the Saxon turn with a Determination move towards the rest of his men.
Viking Final Turn 6
The Vikings make manoeuvres to move the warband back towards their enemy. Starting with the javelin Levy who would then plan on a charge, but the Saxons scupper this by declaring to use the javelin’s 2 fatigue to half their manoeuvre, putting them out of range of any potential charge. Left with little else to do, the Vikings manoeuvre a Warrior unit forward and their Warlord behind this screen.
Anglo-Saxon Final Turn 6
The Saxon Warlord commands his last unit of Warriors towards the bottom unit of Viking javelins. The Warriors then activate again to charge, suffering a fatigue. The javelins use the Saxons 2 fatigue to increase their armour to 5, which saves the unit as the last survivor flees. Next the Saxon Warlord uses Determination to move towards the Viking Warrior screen. He activates again to charge, suffering a fatigue. The Warlord uses the Warriors fatigue to lower their armour to 3, the Warriors use Loki to gain two attack dice each time the Saxon Warlord would continue using an ability or their fatigue. The Warlord then uses Overlapping Shields, followed by Thor from the Vikings and lastly the Vikings then lower the enemy Warlord’s armour to 4 using his fatigue. The Warlord slays two men with ease but takes four hits himself. Three of those hits are taken on his Resilience, fully exhausting him with 3 fatigue but there is nothing to stop the final hit making it through. The Saxon Warlord surrenders his sword and is captured!
Post Game Comments
Phil (Vikings) – “What an awesome game and thank you Rory. At the beginning of the game I was nervous of facing those 2 large Saxon Warrior units. When they use Crash of Shields it can really mess up my Vikings attack dice. But I managed (admittedly not intentionally) to feign a flanking move the very first turn and drag one of the Saxon Warrior units away from the main battle for almost the entire game. I think this coupled with the damage my javelin Levies were doing won me the game. I look forward to the next battle where Rory will ambush an escort of his captured Warlord!”
Rory (Anglo-Saxons) – “Well done Phil! Going into the game I planned on using my archers aggressively, whilst keeping a shield wall in open ground to make the most of the Anglo-Saxon battleboard. However, owing to Phil’s terrain placement, I was not able to rush forward as planned. Javelins were the hardest unit to go against, and I was cautious about their ability to knock my units below ten; preventing easier activations midgame. I think another unit of levies to replace my hearthguard might be needed. Now time to recoup, and attempt to rescue my warlord before the Vikings escape our lands!”