Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Picts invade Vikingland - a Dux Bellorum mini-AAR

A couple of weeks ago the Picts and the Vikings had a rematch. If you recall, the Vikings trounced the Picts in the last game. This time around the Vikings were a more settled bunch, having invaded and taken land from the Picts, so I used the Saxon army list.

I decided to try some different strategies, so I opted for some War Pigs (War Dogs in the list) and I chose to try an Assassination. Steve had chosen War Dogs and Veterans, and I believe that he opted for very large numbers of Leadership Points (LPs) too. My army was bulked out with Ordinary Warriors to give me greater numbers. I feared that Steve would have loads of troops and that I might get surrounded and cut down rather too quickly.

The assassin was rubbish and failed to kill even the enemy leader's teddy bear, let alone assassinate the enemy leader, so we began the battle.
Note: Assassination is expensive. It costs almost as much as a unit of Noble Warriors. It also only has a 3 in 36 chance of success (causes the enemy to lose 3 LPs) versus a 10 in 36 chance of costing you 1 LP. The effect if it works is great, but I do wonder about its cost-effectiveness given that you have a three times greater chance of hurting yourself than you do of hurting your opponent, and even without an effect you are down a Warrior unit on the field. I'll still use it though. It would be worth it to see my opponent's face when it does eventually succeed!

With the pre-battle assassination attempt out of the way, we set up. I was the defender and had chosen a piece of impassable ground and a lake as the terrain.
The Vikings are in the foreground. Black dice are my LPs. Red dice are Steve's LPs.
I anchored my right flank on the lake and deployed my Nobles mounted together with their trusty War Pigs. I planned to defeat Steve's light cavalry and circle behind the enemy line, using the big rock as cover. Steve set up to flank me with his light troops while hammering me down the middle with his War Dogs and Warriors.
The Pictish light cavalry took fright at he approach of the War Pigs and headed for the centre, while the Pictish archers fired desultorily at my flank and failed to score any hits at all. My cavalry clashed with the light cavalry while the War Pigs headed round the big rock as planned. The Pictish War Dogs charged straight down the middle and hit my skirmishers. It was at this point that I started consistently failing to put my LPs in the right place. Note that the War Pigs have 3 LPs allocated to them and no way of using them. I managed to do that a lot in this game!
Blue dice represent Viking casualties. White dice are Pictish casualties.
The battle progressed. The Pictish warriors began to advance as the Viking cavalry sought to cross the battlefield. Casualties mounted and I really wished I had a traffic plan as my troops got in each other's way and I continued to place my LPs with the wrong units. Still the Pictish archers failed to score any hits though. Around this time I turned the War Pigs around to try to support their Noble masters on the horses.
Sadly, the War Pigs failed to reach the Noble Riders in time, and I once more managed to put my remaining LPs in the wrong place. At the end of the battle, the Pictish line had been broken and their numbers massively reduced but the Companions and the Veterans still remained. They were battered and bloodied but still they fought on, each declaiming their ancestry and great deeds as they fell to the Vikings. At last they were so worn out that the Pictish general fell. His veterans took to their heels and fled. The Vikings held the field and retained their small hold on Pictland. I had won despite every mistake I made!

It is clear that Dux Bellorum suits us well. The playing time is short enough for our regular gaming sessions and the strategies add the kind of colour that we like to see in our games. The armies are small enough that we could easily collect several too. It's like DBA but better!


  1. Nice report!

    I have the DB rules as well, but havent had the chance to try them yet.

    On a different note, where is the blog follower gadget thing, your blog doesnt appear on my reading list anymore, hence I miss stuff....

    Have a good Christmas and new year.

  2. We like DB. The rules are simple, well-written and still give a fun game. They suit us well. It's almost like what DBA should have been.

    I've added a 'follow by email' gadget to the top right of the menus, but I don't see a follow gadget to add. I'll look into it and see what I can find.

    1. And yes, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope it's a good one for you.