Sunday, January 27, 2019

Ad gladium

I completed a batch of 27 gladiator minis two weeks ago. I started some of them almost three years ago. Yeah, I know, but that's nothing compared to the 20 years that elapsed between starting and finishing my fearsome boomsticks of war. But many of the freshly finished gladiator minis were only started in December, so that's a little better. It's not atypical for me to buy lots of minis, get cracking at them right away, and then buy lots of minis for something else and get cracking at them right away, setting aside the minis I was previously cracking away at. And so on...

But, here I am now with 27 wee gladiators to bash away at each other. The plan has been to use them with Jugula from Tomahawk Studios. I had apprehensions about Jugula at first because it's one of those games where you need to buy the rules and other accouterments and several sets of cards to play. Additionally, you need tokens and a playing mat, although you can make these yourself rather than buy them from Studio T. Still, Jugula is not nearly as bad at that as Saga, also from Studio T., which I've been sucked into along with all the books and several sets of dice.

The crupellarius stands alone
I arrived at Jugula after trying several other sets, which I found wanting in some way. The other sets were detailed, too much so in some cases, and intended for a single player to run a single figure. Jugula has players fielding four gladiators at once and can works with two, three, or four players. Jugula also has a nicely designed campaign system, where a player controls a ludus of several gladiators whose skills can rise as they survive turns in the arena.

My murmillo takes a bold stance
I first played Jugula at Drumbeat, our local mid-winter game day here in Western Washington. I was instantly hooked and bought the rules, cards, tokens, game mat, and a few packs of 28mm Crusader gladiators. I already had several of the official Jugula minis in 'heroic' 35mm scale, which I planned to use with the aforementioned other rules and, in fact, did. But I liked Mike Lombardy's 28mm minis from Crusader; the price point is lower and the variety greater. Phil Bardsley and I once bought the whole lot of Wargames Foundry's gladiator line and divvied them between us. My thoughts on those minis can be found in a blog post from 2015.

The arena
So now I'm pretty much all in with Jugula. I have four decks of cards and a spiffy mat and, if I say so myself, some pretty nice 28mm Crusader minis gladiators. They're veterans, having already survived, intact, a spill in their box when Bogart, a.k.a. Destructo-Cat, jumped on the box, which sat atop other boxes, and then jumped off, sending the top box, containing the just completed gladiators, flying. After chasing the unrepentant offender upstairs, I reset the minis in their box (they all have magnetic bottoms) and gave them an inspection to assess damage. There was none. Dave: 1, Destructo-Cat: 0.

Rick's hard-pressed thraex
I planned to play with them for a few weeks now, but something kept getting in the way (in one case, I was just too lazy to drag myself to The Panzer Depot on a Thursday evening). I planned to play my friends Rick and Janet at a local game store, Zulu's Boardgame Cafe in Bothell, WA. Zulu's is fairly new, starting business about mid-2018. They're in an old home on Main St., which they're expanding to accommodate more table space for playing.

Janet's veles vs. my crupellarius
Rick, Janet, and I semi-regularly play Eurogames together. Rick and I have been miniature gaming since 1975. He introduced me to the square ancients crowd that played at Al Tilley's house. These days, Rick is pretty much absent from miniature gaming, but an old veteran nevertheless. Janet had never played a wargame before—though in every Eurogame that has a combat mechanism, she's proven to be an aggressive adversary. She took to Jugula right away.

My dimachaerus joins the fun
We played a three-player game. We started by selecting minis from my new collection and matching them to their cards. I took my beloved crupellarius again along with a murmillo, a dimachaerus, and a thraex. Janet took a sagittarius, a dimachaerus, a murmillo, and a veles. Rick took a secutor, a thraex, a hoplomachus, and a retiarius.

My murmillo nearing his last stand
We started slow because Rick and Janet needed to learn the game. After a while we were moving along. Even then the game lasted more than three hours, though the time seemed to fly by and no one really wanted it to end.

My crupellarius (the tank) wades into the carnage
By the time we quit playing, I had lost my murmillo, Rick had lost his retuarius and hoplomachus, Janet had lost her veles, and murmillo. Both Rick and Janet had had wounded gladiators, but managed to play the card that removed the wound.

Sole survivors
Janet and Rick both liked it, so it's definitely on the playlist for future gatherings. Jugula is growing on me more and more. I'm glad I made the investment. I may see about splurging on some Foundry packs, despite my misgivings about them. I already have all the figures that Crusader makes. My box of minis is now in the garage safe from Destructo-Cat ready to be pulled out to play.

Rick's thraex and my dimachaerus face off
I plan on running two game mats at our upcoming Drumbeat game day in March, using Mike Lombardy's mat, figures, and cards along with my own. I'll also have to keep an eye for other opportunities to play. I'm not a regular at the Thursday night gaming at The Panzer Depot, but I've played a few Saga games there in the past. I think I'll need to get down there more often.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Review of Osprey's Rebels and Patriots

Oh boy! I got a copy of Rebels and Patriots four days early. Rebels and Patriots is the long-awaited new rule set from Michael Leck and Dan Mersey, published by Osprey. I say long awaited because the release was announced about a year ago and I've been on pins 'n' needles ever since. I'll cut to the finish and say that I've found that it was worth the wait.

One initial fear I had about R&P was that it might attenuate the Lion Rampant system to the breaking point. I love The Pikeman's Lament, but in some sense I felt that it took Lion Rampant unit types and rechristened a lot of them, with just a few tweaks. Overall, that works. But I feared that doing the same thing for 18th/19th c. warfare would fall flat.

I'm happy to say that R&P has really broken new ground without divorcing itself from its heritage. Part of this is by incorporating some ideas from Dan Mersey's colonial rules The Men Who Would Be Kings. To paraphrase the quotable John Kennedy (proprietor of The Panzer Depot), Rebels and Patriots took the best of Lion Rampant and TMWWBK and left out the worst. While I wouldn't classify anything in those rules as "worst," I must agree.

Indian fighting in the Old Northwest

So what follows is my take on Rebels and Patriots. I won't cover everything, but instead try to highlight the ways in with R&P differs from the previous rules in the Lion Rampant series.

Unit types

Gone are unit profiles with a different activation for everything and "armor" or "stamina" ratings. The basic values are mostly the same for every type. Activation is a universal value (more on activation below but in case you're wondering, they're all 6+). Fighting is almost always 6 (i.e., only 6s on a D6 are hits). Firing is all 5+, except for shock cavalry, who prefer to hack at things with sabres. Morale is all 6+, there are no unpolishable turdy peasants. But although these basic numbers are generic, unit types can be modified to change a lot of that and provide a very large variety of troops.

R&P limits unit types to the following:

Line infantry (4 pts) - As you'd expect, these are the basic foot sloggers of the period.

Light infantry (6 pts) - Nimbler foot sloggers, more expensive than line, but they can skip and run.

Shock infantry (6 pts) - Bad-tempered foot sloggers, think grenadiers, Highlanders, hungry Confederates attacking a Union supply train. Better at activation and better at fighting.

Skirmishers (2 pts) - The nimblest foot sloggers who flit around shooting at people and—if they're lucky—run away when attacked.

Natives (4 pts) - Basically Indians, of which there were plenty in colonial America. Practitioners of the skulking way of war, i.e., not the kind of people who stand in ranks and shoot. Instead, they run around fast, making the most of cover, taking marginally effective pot-shots, then rush in for the kill.

Artillery (4, 6, or 8 pts) - Speaks for itself, the last argument of kings even in the wilderness. Artillery can be light (5+/24"), medium (4+/36"), or heavy (4+/48"). Crew is just four figures, but the Limber option adds two more, which also doubles the movement rate—except for heavy guns, which can't move.

Light cavalry (4 pts) - Fast, skirmishy types on horseback, think light dragoons.

Shock cavalry (6 pts) - Men on horseback who mean business. The basic size for these are 12 figures, so, a lot of shock. This type is rare in America since only the Mexican army actually fielded large cavalry forces of types that charged in (for example, lancers and cuirassiers), but some Confederate cavalry might also fit the profile.

However, the basic types can be significantly altered by unit upgrades (this might have been better stated as "options" since some of the upgrades are, in fact, downgrades). The upgrades, which vary in their availability for unit types, are:

Veteran (+2pts) - Increases the likelihood of activation.

Green (-1 pts) - Decreases the likelihood of activation.

Good shooters (+2 pts) - Upgrades firing to 4+.

Bad shooters (-1 pts) - Downgrades firing to 6.

Sharpshooters (+4 pts!) - For skirmishers only, makes 'em deadly at long range (24"), think Natty Bumppo, Dan'l Boone, or Davy Crockett.

Aggressive (+1 pts) - Increases fighting value.

Timid (-1 pts) - Halves the number of dice rolled for fighting. These are the men who would be kings if only they had bayonets.

Large unit (+1 pts) - 18 figures, rather than standard 12. Theoretically, the unit lasts longer because it can take more casualties before becoming permanently disordered or eliminated.

Small unit (-1 pts) - 6 figures, rather than the standard 12. Likely won't last long, but costs less.

The only people who actually remember the Alamo (the Texicans all being dead)

Because these upgrades vary the unit profile so much, you have a lot of leeway to create units that conform to historical types. The only limit is that no unit can be less than 2 pts or more than 10 pts. For example:

  • Militia, who were ubiquitous in American forces from the French and Indian War through the Civil War, can be fielded as line infantry or skirmishers, with varying qualities. The better quality militia in the Civil War might be green line infantry rated as poor shooters for 2 pts (4 pts basic, -1 for green, -1 for bad shooters). Bad militia could be green line infantry, poor shooters, timid, large unit, also at 2 pts (4 pts basic, -1 for green, -1 for bad shooters, -1 for timid, +1 for large unit). 
  • Line troops, would likely be line infantry, but the quality can vary. British infantry in the AWI might be line infantry, veteran, aggressive at 7 pts. American Continentals might be green line infantry, good shooters at 5 pts.
  • Riflemen, like Daniel Morgan's boys or the over the mountain men who beat up Patrick Ferguson at King's Mountain, could be line infantry with the good shooters upgrade (6 pts), but I think of them more as skirmishers with the sharpshooter upgrade (also 6 pts, but half the size). Other riflemen, like Hessian jaegers, might be skirmishers with the good shooters upgrade (4 pts).

    I have to say that I was unsure how the rules would handle riflemen. Being merely skirmishers wouldn't do them justice, even being better shooting skirmishers wouldn't cut it. The sharpshooters upgrade satisfies me no end. It's pretty much how I'd hoped riflemen could be represented, although it by no means exhausts the possibilities.
  • Bloody Ban's green dragoons could be aggressive veteran light cavalry (7 pts) or shock cavalry (6 pts). As light cavalry, they can shoot. As shock cavalry, they're a larger unit and they're tough fighters who can chase down defeated enemies. I see them more as the latter type, so their historical designation as light dragoons obscures how they tended to operate.
  • Confederate infantry could vary considerably. I tend to think of them as aggressive shock infantry, poor shooters (6 pts) to model the "attack and die" style of fighting—but maybe only if they're Virginians under Stonewall. In this case, shock infantry are a bonus. They already have the +1 discipline that benefits testing for actions, they fight at 5+, and they have the follow up option that enables you to run down your defeated enemies. Add aggressive to that, and they fight at 4+ or 3+ if attacking. Just don't get 'em shot to bits crossing the open ground.

1st Kansas Colored regiment stopping a cavalry charge at Honey Springs


Actions in Rebels and Patriots follow the same flow as in the previous Lion Rampant series games, except:

  • All actions are a 6+ (modified by officer, close order, green/veteran status, and disorder markers)
  • Failure to perform an action doesn't end your turn, you can keep on going until all units have attempted to perform an action.
The actions that a unit can perform are:
  • Move
  • Attack (random movement distance)
  • Fire
  • Skirmish (if ya got 'em)
  • Form close order
  • Volley fire (if in close order)
  • Rally (if disordered/broken)
The attack action is the biggest departure from the previous LR rules. The unit's activation roll also functions as its move distance (cavalry adds 6" to the dice roll). 

For example, a shock infantry unit testing to attack while in close order within 12" of its officer is testing to attack. It needs a 3+ (normally 6+ with +1 discipline for shock infantry, +1 for close order, +1 for officer). The unit rolls "8", which passes the activation, and moves 8" to attack. Note that if the unit rolled "3" it would still pass the activation, but only move 3", which may make it short—just hope the unit you were attacking fails its activation roll to shoot you.

Shock infantry, natives, shock cavalry, and all aggressive units also have the follow up special rule. If they force an enemy to retreat in fighting and have no disorder markers, they can move up to half their normal move and, if they contact the retreating unit, attack it again. Follow up was introduced in The Pikeman's Lament for some unit types. It's pretty powerful—as I've learned from being on the receiving end of it.

Part of the excellent Wm. Stewart, esq. collection of Sash and Saber ACW minis


The way casualties are inflicted and removed in Reels and Patriots is similar in some respects to previous Lion Rampant style rules, though more like The Men Who Would Be Kings, only different.

R&P uses the LR system where units fight or fire with either 12 or 6 dice, but is more like TMWWBK in how the results are applied.

Instead of armor values (or stamina in The Pikeman's Lament), the ability to resist damage in R&P is not inherent in the troop type. Instead, it depends on cover or defense, which is more in keeping with a game that represents an age when firepower started to really matter.

In TMWWBK, results can be very deadly. In close range firing and in fighting, every hit scored on a die equals one casualty removed. This number can be modified down depending on range, cover, and defensive positions.

In R&P, it's less deadly. Close range firing and fighting cause one figure loss for every two hits, which is diminished by range (3 hits), cover (+1 for cover, +2 for hard cover), and position in fighting (+1 for defending cover or obstacles or uphill). Light infantry and skirmishers also count open ground as cover.

But firing in R&P can still be deadly. The standard firing value is 5+ (i.e., 5s and 6s are hits). At close range, using first fire, volley firing, with the good shooters upgrade a unit will hit on 2s and remove a figure for every two hits. Unless the shooters roll poorly, it's easy to see four figures lost in a blast, which will cause a morale check at -4. With good shooting, a unit could inflict six figures lost, which will cause a -6 morale check and for a 12-figure unit cause permanent disorder, which would make the morale check at -7.

Don't fire 'til you see the whites of their eyes!

Fighting seems to be less deadly than firing, but not always. The base fighting value is 6 (i.e., hit only on 6s), which seems anemic. However, shock troops are a base of 5+. Also charging is +1 and the aggressive upgrade is +1. Aggressive shock cavalry charging standard-issue line infantry in the open will score hits on 3+ which remove one figure per two hits. The line infantry fighting back only hits on 6s and inflicts one figure loss per three hits. Also, if the infantry were timid or disordered, they'd only throw 6 dice.

But before a unit—however puissant it may be—reaches its target, it likely has to move through a turn or two of being shot at, with at least one turn in deadly close range. Instead of J.E.B. Stuart scattering the Fire Zouaves at Bull Run, you could easily wind up being the 5th Texas Lancers (yes, lancers) at Valverde.

First—and last—charge of lancers in the ACW


The morale rules have a new twist to them. Much essentially works the same, but moral failure is expressed as disorder. All units test morale when taking casualties from fighting or firing and need a result of 6+ to pass. Unlike previous LR series games, there are no differences in morale between types.

The roll for morale is modified by being within 12" of the company officer (+1), being in close order (+1), and the number of casualties incurred in the action that required the test (-1 per). This last point is another big departure from the older rules in the series where a unit incurred a cumulative -1 per casualty. Now the -1 per casualty is taken only for the immediate cause of the test.

For example, if a unit that started with 12 figures and has already taken 4 figures lost takes another casualty from fighting or firing, the die roll modifier is just -1 for the casualty just taken. Cumulative casualties aren't taken into account.

In three of the four occasions for taking a morale test, there are no minuses because they don't involve figure loss.

When units fail morale, they take one or two disorder markers depending on the severity of the failure. Again, unlike older rules, rolling snake-eyes on a courage test when your men-at-arms lose one figure from a volley of javelins thrown by smelly bidowers doesn't pull the unit off the table. It does, however, give you two disorder markers, which is perilously close to being removed from the table. Disorder adversely affects how your unit behaves. Three disorders for a unit is a strike-out and your nicely painted figures go back in the box.

When you have disorder, you can rally it off. It's basically the same as a morale test, but subtracting 1 for every disorder marker, as well as getting the plusses for officer and close order (if only one disorder, two disorders and you must break close order). Rallying removes all disorder markers.

The new morale/rally rules look pretty good in theory. I haven't played a game yet, so I'll have to wait and see how they work in fact. It makes me think that large units are a good investment for +1 pts to the unit cost and being in close order near your officer is a good idea. Large units are also a nice investment since a unit becomes permanently disordered after falling to half their original number or less.

We fired once more and they began to runnin'
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf o' Mexico

Final thoughts

If you're familiar with Lion Rampant and The Pikeman's Lament, then a lot of the rules won't be a surprise.

Many of the newer features are adapted from The Men Who Would Be Kings.

There are 12 scenarios in the game, plus a random scenario generator.

I think Michael and Dan have done a great job with Rebels and Patriots. I only wish that in the year I waited for its release, I'd have spent more time painting minis for it. Now I'm scrambling to paint all the Perry AWI figures I bought last May, but only puttered with all these months.

I look forward to many enjoyable games. In addition to the AWI I'm working on, I have some ACW minis on order and I'm starting to think wild thoughts about other areas. For right now, I'm concentration of AWI in the Southern theatre. I think the actions there are much more interesting and smaller, well suited for Rebels and Patriots. I've got Patrick O'Kelley's multi-volume set Nothing But Blood and Slaughter that provides details about numerous small actions in the Carolinas in the Revolution. That'll keep me going for now.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Feeding the ravens: Saga mass battle

I've been playing a lot of Saga lately, more so than anything else I've gamed since September. I gave Saga a miss in its 1.0 incarnation. Now that Saga 2 has been released, I've jumped into the deep end. I have two warbands painted and am completing another two with more ideas for other warbands to come. There's something satisfying about the game that makes it always a delight to play.

Everything in Saga is about trade-offs. There are no über-warbands or über-troops. Where a unit is strong, it has corresponding costs or weaknesses:
  • Javelin-armed troops are powerful (as I've learned to my joy playing Welsh), but have lower armor in melee, making them easier to kill.
  • Mounted troop types (I have mounted hearthguard and mounted warriors with my Spanish warband) move fast, but are more vulnerable to missile shooting—unless they're cataphracts (in the works for my Byzantines), in which case they're expensive.
  • Building larger units gives you advantages in combat, both in how many dice the units throw and in how well they survive taking losses. However, larger units will mean that you have fewer Saga dice for activations.
The three basic troop types (apart from hero/warlord) provide a good set of options for building a warband:
  • Hearthguard have the best combat punch per figure, provide a Saga die even if only a single figure survives in the unit, and have the best armor. But they cost 1 point per four figures and despite their better armor, they die pretty quickly. I've experienced melees where two 4-figure hearthguard units took each other out like the Kilkenny cats—only without even the tails being left. You need to use them judiciously. 
  • Warriors still have decent armor (typically 4) and also have numbers on their side. 1 point buys eight figures. A unit of 8 warriors throws as many combat dice in melee as a unit of 4 hearthguard. Hearthguard may be harder to hit because of their better armor, but Saga abilities and using fatigue against them can change the balance of armor. Even if the losses are even, a 4-figure hearthguard unit suffers more from three lost figures than an 8-figure warrior unit does. Eventually, losses will cause a warrior unit to stop generating a Saga die, but the unit will still remain in being and can melee or shoot with half its figures rounded up.
  • Levy missile troops are the bomb. At least that's what I think. They're not going to do well in a fight (though they can sometimes drive off their attackers), but they don't need to fight. They can torment their enemies from a distance. You may get only a couple turns of shooting, but that can whittle down an opponent. When they are hit, it's highly unlikely they'll be destroyed in one go. 12 figures (you should *always* have 12-figure levy units) are hard to kill. Even after getting thwacked a few times, there always seems to be a few still hanging on. They may not be worth using at that point—especially since they won't be generating a Saga die after getting chewed down to fewer than six figures. Nevertheless, a timely missile shot—even if it's just 2 dice—can turn out to be a game-changer.
The game

The players were Mike Lombardy, running his Irish, and me, running my Welsh on one side. Dean Clarke and Bill Stewart, on the other side, both ran Late Roman warbands from the Aetius and Arthur book (a.k.a. Age of Invasions).

This was the third time I'd played my Welsh, so I was feeling good about my options on the battle board. I've found that the Welsh suit my style of play very well. They've got some defensive reaction abilities, but they also have a very strong offensive or counter-offensive punch. They do well in rough terrain because they have a Saga ability that lets them move through uneven and dangerous terrain with no movement loss.

The Roman players were both using their armies for the first time. The Impetus rule for that faction is a little like trying to rub your tummy and pat your head. You have to activate Saga abilities that increase your impetus so you can activate abilities that use up impetus. You have to keep priming the pump or you're stuck doing just basic stuff, which can get you from here to there, but it lacks sparks.

We wound up with a lot of terrain in the center board, which benefitted us skulking Celtic types, but didn't do much for the Romans. It gave us stuff to hid in and behind, but which we could also burst through at full move if we played the right Saga ability. I got to use my Fogou Games ruins for the first time.

The men of the Tiber won the coin toss and deployed in an impressively tight, straight linear formation. We just kind of formed up in clumps higgledy-piggledy. Bill was opposite me and Mike and Dean faced each other.

My Welsh formed up against Bill's Romans
Bill had two 6-figure mounted hearthguard units, two 8-figure warrior units, and one 8-figure warrior bowmen unit, plus his warlord. I had two 4-figure hearthguard units (with javelins), three 8-figure warrior units (with javelins), one 12-figure levy bowmen unit, and my warlord (with javelins). I certainly had the missile advantage.

The Welsh teulu ready to rock 'n' roll
The Romans moved first, but with only four Saga dice on turn one. Bill didn't rush in and take the ruins. It would have required two moves for one unit. Instead, he used his four Saga dice and warlord's abilities to get the whole straight line moved up one M move.

On my turn I played my Children of the Land ability to move without penalty through the uneven terrain. I rushed a warrior unit into the ruins with the intention of making them sacrificial lambs to inflict as much pain and misery as I could on the Romans before they overwhelmed me. I got off my free javelin shot and took out one of Bill's warriors. I also moved up my bowmen out from the woods they were skulking in and took a shot at Bill's other warrior unit, which effected one more loss for him. The rest of my move was just shifting things in my backfield to support my forlorn hope in the ruins.

Sticking my chin out
Bill pitched in right away. He shot a volley of arrows at my warrior unit, but I escaped from injury. He followed that up with a charge by one of his warrior units. To my surprise, I won with no loss to my unit. Bill took four casualties and went reeling back.

Holding fast—like their descendents will do at Rourke's Drift
Bill's next attempt was to turn my left flank using one of his fearsome 6-figure mounted hearthguard units. I think he decided that doing a von Paulus and sending his units into a meatgrinder was a bad idea. 

Looking for the soft underbelly
I decided that I had to get ballsy at this point. The Welsh don't defend well—despite my warrior unit's survival in the ruins. At his first opportunity, Bill would charge my hearthguard behind the ruins to my ruination. Fortunately, I rolled a dragon on the Welsh Saga dice. That meant I could use the very nice Wild Charge ability. I supplemented that with the Deception ability. The upshot is that I added four dice to my attack for wild charge (in addition to getting +1 on my dice for charging with javelins). Deception let me discard two attack dice to gain four additional defence dice. There were no other Saga abilities used by Bill or me. No one had any fatigue to use. I was rolling 10 dice looking for 4s, bill rolled 12 dice looking for 4s. (Had Bill been attacking me, I would have 8 dice looking for 5s against his 12 dice looking for 4s—and no additional defence dice.) I came out just ahead. Bill lost three figures, I lost two. 

Knowing Bill's hearthguard weren't defeated and seeing Dean's hearthguard looming just beyond, I decided to withdraw my surviving two hearthguard to prevent them getting slaughtered.

A rare moment of caution
The turn also saw the demise of Bill's other warrior unit. I shot my bowmen twice, both times scoring 5 hits, not enough of which Bill managed to save. It was a pretty hot dice turn for me.

On turn 3, Bill attempted a main strike against my bowmen: revenge for his warriors. I had a Saga die on the Evade ability of my battle board. I placed it there on turn 1 figuring that I would get to a point where buggering off rapidly was my best move and I wanted to have it available. However, I really had no place to bugger off to. Bill's warband came in and smacked me. When the dust settled I was seven figures fewer and hunkering down.

Bill then sent his warlord in to fight mine. At this point I wanted to invoke the run away rule, but I found out that not only was that cowardly, but the rules don't let warlords evade from warlords. Bill had one fatigue from moving + charging; I was fresh as fruit. We also both had hearthguard within S distance so they could die for us. I used his fatigue to up my armor to 5 and we rolled off even odds: 8 dice looking for 5s. I suffered one casualty, which I took from my hearthguard. Bill suffered three, which he took as fatigue and two dead hearthguard. And he scurried back.

One the other end of the table, Dean and Mike had been fighting their own little war. Mike was getting the best of it, having taken out two of Dean's mounted hearthguard. At this point it looked like certain loss for the Romans. We were already very much ahead in points. We decided to play out our half of turn 3 and see where we were.

I got two dragons on my Saga dice roll. I was reduced now to generating just six Saga dice, but I had dice still on my board, so still eight dice in play. I set up what I hoped to be a chain of events against Bill's hearthguard and warlord:
  1. I removed my warlords fatigue.
  2. I moved up a full unit of warriors and took a javelin shot at Bill's hearthguard (to no effect).
  3. I charged in with my hearthguard against his three surviving figures.
  4. I used Wild Charge (+4 attack dice), Combat Bonus with a dragon die (+2 attack dice), Deception (-2 attack dice, +4 defence dice).
When the fighting was done, I'd lost two figures, but eliminated Bill's hearthguard unit. Then I charged his warlord with mine. Bill already had two fatigue from earlier in the turn. I got +1 to my dice for attacking with javelins, so we were 8 dice each looking for 4s. I took one hit, Bill took two, which ended him.

The end
That same turn, Dean lost his warlord to Mike. The Romans decided Wales wasn't worth the effort.


It was a fun game—for Mike and I. I'm really liking the Welsh. They're kinda brittle because the javelins reduce their armor in melee. I've found that they die quickly if I'm not careful. The key is to maximize the effect of their javelins and to not get caught standing by a charge. The one-two punch of Wild Charge and Deception is a nice combo for a crucial attack. Adding Combat Bonus dice to that is just gravy. If you can use your opponents fatigue to increase your armor, all the better. It's a good riposte style warband.

Bill got to use his beautiful newly painted Late Romans for the first time. Every army needs to get bloodied; they just more so this game. The local ravens had Italian for dinner.

Bill's lovely Romans
I got to use my Fougou ruins. I bought them online from Fogou Models in November. They came quickly and are very, very nice resin castings. They're a lot of bits and pieces that can be arranged in multiple ways. For this game I used the Osric's Outhouse set. I'll use the Farmhouse later.