Thursday, 24 October 2013

Gaming Weekend - Part 1 - The Dark Ages

What better way to celebrate the recent-ish passing of another year here on the Wargames Table than with a weekend of gaming with friends?

Day 1 saw us take to the field of Stamford Bridge in 1066 for our slightly re-interpreted version of the famous battle between the Saxons of Harold Godwinson and the Vikings of Harald Hardrada and Tostig Godwinson.

Details of the scenario for War & Conquest may be found here on the Scarab forum, but the basic idea was that the Saxon march north had been delayed by bad weather and Harald’s Vikings were ready for them!

Dramatis Personae
Steve ~ King Harald Hardrada
Jenny ~ Earl Tostig Godwinson
Matt ~ Earl Edwin of Mercia
Phil ~ King Harold Godwinson

Both sides were approx 4,500pts with the Kings having the slightly larger force on each side. All of the characters were simply named versions of the standard characters in the respective army lists.

Deployment; Harald's Vikings on the left and Tostig's in the foreground, Harold and Edwin's Saxons beyond.

My plan was to have Edwin’s army act as a holding force with perhaps part of it despatched to help Harold crush Harald’s army as quickly as possible before turning to deal with Tostig’s men. So much for high minded tactical ideals – as you will see!

My force made up the Saxon left flank. At the hinge of our Saxon armies I had a large unit of Ceorls and another of Thegns. You can just see them in the pic below. These units wheeled away from Tostig's lines in order to tackle Harald's right flank.

Phil's Saxons make steady progress towards Steve's Vikings whilst the Ceorls have rather too enthusiastically got stuck in to the unit of Hirdmen holding Harald's flank (upper centre-left, on the road).

Harold's Saxon skirmishers start to pick off Hirdmen and Bondir.

A view from behind Edwin's line. The darker brown playing pieces are hnefatafl pieces which we use as Strategy Intervention Point counters.

Predictably the Ceorls fared badly against the rather more professional Hirdmen and are forced to flee.

However, I didn't expect the nearby Thegns to also take fright and head for the hills! Oh dear, my attempt to help Phil by crushing Steve's flank has backfired and left my own right flank rather fragile.

Another of my units, the Huscarls accompanied by Earl Edwin, are badly mauled and rout from some of Tostig's Hirdmen. Fortunately they ran far enough to escape the vengeful Hird by not so far as to reach the Harald's Hirdmen advancing behind them. But this was only delaying their doom!

On the other side of the table, Phil was doing very well against Steve with the Saxons quickly gaining and holding the upper hand.

King Harold's Huscarls about to slaughter a brave but foolhardy unit of Harald's Bondir. Note the splendid Push & Shove marker behind the unit.

Meanwhile ... the Vikings gain the strategic advantage in the next game turn and elect to go first. They waste no time engaging Earl Edwin and his Huscarls, front and rear! Again the result was never really in doubt. Brave Earl Edwin was cut down with the last of his hearthguard.

Another whole turn saw the complete destruction of Edwin's army, not even a skirmisher remained on the table. Harold would now have to win the battle with his own troops. The battered remnants of Tostig's army head south to fight Harold.

But King Harold has been doing extremely well having largely shattered Harald's army.

Here we see King Harold - with just a few brave retainers - about to drive King Harald from the table.

A win for the Saxons then ... ? Well, nearly I suppose. In the end we agreed on a hard fought draw, although it must be considered a strategic win for the Saxons after the slaughter of the Norwegian King?

A hugely enjoyable game! My thanks to everyone involved.

In the evening we played a little Saga with Jenny’s Vikings slaughtering Phil’s Saxons in the “Battle at the Ford” scenario. The Vikings wasted no time getting to grips with the Saxons, and with Jenny being a fairly mean Saga player, the Saxons were soon defeated. Clearly my keen tactical insight and advice to Phil was not put to good use! ;o)

Day 2 was all about The Great War in 1918 ... more to follow in a later post.


Paul of the Man Cave said...

Wonderful! Lovely figs and terrain as always from you Matt..ahem Sorry Earl Edwin of Mercia.

I like doing re-interpreted battles, it gives so much more flavour and instant context for non campaign games. One of my fav game to setup and run was re-interpretation of the Battle of Fulford Gate a few days prior to Stamford Bridge.

Looking forward to more, as always!

Lurkus Spleen said...

Nice write up mate and some cracking pictures.

Really enjoyed the game and the company :)

One thing though the Vikings will win next time for sure, as long as I put Jen in charge that is ;)

Looking forward to part 2.

Cheers, Steve.

The Kiwi said...

Awesome. An excellent looking game.
Gotta love dark ages games. Simple brutality.

Dalauppror said...

Greate blogspot lovely pictures