Paul and his Saxons had snatched some livestock and were heading back to the boats through some fairly bleak and marshy terrain - see pic. He also managed an awful pre battle speech which cost him Force Morale points and a Fate Card. My Romano Brits managed to over indulge on the booze "Nunc est Bibendum! gaining two points of force morale, losing a fate card (and two bibamous cards added to the fate deck) followed by some pretty damned impressive speechifying which cancelled out the lost fate card and gave the Lord level 4, at least until he and the troops sober up :-)
|Table looking up from Saxon start to their exit at the other end|
|The ill gotten loot|
The main British force arrived quickly as the Saxons struggled to get their stolen sheep home
|A well thrown javelin slows a Saxon Unit|
|Romano British arrive in force|
At the last moment the British Lord tried to wheel his shieldwall to give him maximum frontage fighting, only to roll a "6" for the move and the whole formation fell apart in front of the Saxons! Luckily the Romano Brits (me!) won the next initiative, reformed the shieldwall, and charged in!
The fight that followed was hard and bloody, with only the Shieldwall saving the Romano Brits from terrible casualties, and the pre game drinking session hadnt helped, with Paul playing a sequence of Bibamus cards as the melee ground on.
Luckily the Shieldwall held, and the Saxons broke after a prolonged fight, just before the Saxons could outflank it.
Paul wisely decided to abandon the sheep and other livestock and leg it - and I certainly was not going to contest the retreat. The Saxons got away using some well played retreat cards to minimise their losses, the Romano Brits scoring an overall +2 win.
Good fun, and the Saxon threat to this part of the Kingdom has retreated for a while at least.
This scenario went badly for Paul from the outset, and demonstrated just how unbalanced some of the campaign scenarios can be, but in a good way. Had Paul gained more of a head start, or the pursuit not started as close this could have been very different. It also showed some really interesting facets of the rules off to good effect. Shieldwall is great as long as you can close - in the post game chat Paul admitted he made two mistakes, the first being getting involved with a melee with the shieldwall. Even then he almost managed to outflank it, which would have been pretty bad or me. His second mistake was keeping his Lord at the back with the sheep - he thought it was a good idea to survive campaign turn 1, but in doing so he negated his main commanders ability to influence the fight - lessons learned. From my point of view I learned a couple of interesting ones too. Having two Bibamous cards in the deck from my overindulgence pre game left me with some pretty apprehensive moments every time Paul reached for his fate cards. The +\- 1 in combat is bad enough, but the loss of control, particularly when trying to get a shieldwall together, was a very big worry. May make me less likely to reach for the beer next game.
The other point I was impressed at was just how much fighting a campaign game made us both wary of our campaign positions. My losses were initially low but as the fight at the shieldwall wore on they began to grow to the point that even if I won I was risking my campaign status. I'm going to pay a lot more attention to the pursuit cards in my fate hand next time - it may even be worthwhile letting the Saxons win the odd raid rather than suffer heavy losses fighting over a sheep.