Monday, 19 December 2011

Hail Arthur! Dark Age Hail Caesar Battle Report

Last week Scrivs and myself convened at the White Hart Gamers venue for a large-ish Early Dark Age battle using the Hail Caesar rules. This was part of playtesting for a Top Secret gaming thingy James Morris is organising. James unfortunately was delayed by attending a Carol Concert at his school (he never revealed what part in the proceedings he was playing - my money is on Shepherd), but would be joining us for the later stages of the game*.

The scenario was a simple one with the heroic Welsh attempting to break through a (shield) wall of pagan Saxon defenders. The Saxons were mainly Scrivs models, bolstered by a few of mine and the Welsh and Pictish alliance came from James extensive collection. This was the second game we'd tried using these forces and we were testing out a few "Character Advantages" to give a little Dark Age flavour to proceedings.
Most of the infanty we rated as Medium, with a smattering of Heavies on the Saxon side, whilst the bulk of the Welsh forces were Medium Cavalry, supported by several marauding light cavalry.

The Saxons deployed along a ridge of hills (rubbish GW ones that the models kept sliding off) with their cavalry held in reserve on their right. The Welsh meanwhile deployed their cavalry in the centre and held their flanks with blocks of infantry.

Clean shaven Welshmen

Hordes of Hairy Pagans

Allied Pictish Cavalry. Fresh from James' painting shed.

The battle began with the Saxons trying (and failing) to move their skirmishers and cavalry forward, while the rest of the army clung determindley to the hill line.
Meanwhile the Welsh signalled a general advance and were soon chucking javelins at the nasty pagans.

Onward Boyos!

Eventually their stick throwing skills pushed some of the Saxons from their lofty perch and the cavalry (who had taken a few sharp implements in return) decided to charge in.

Over on the Welsh left the infantry pushed the Saxon cavalry back and pushed on toward their route homeward.

While at the other end of the line rival warbands taunted one another

Smack 'em in the side!
In the centre the Picts saw an opportunity and smashed into the exposed flank of some over-enthusiastic Saxons, wiping them out. However this bought them into conact with some Saxon Hearthguard, who were to prove a somewhat trickier proposition.

The big fight between Welsh cavalry and Saxon shieldwall saw the pagans come off worst but at some cost to the flower of Welsh horsemanship

On the Welsh right the infantry clashes proved indecisive with both sides wiping out at least one of their opponents. Toward the centre the Picts (as befits the most recently painted unit) were routed by rampant Saxon Gedrith. However next to them the Wesh cavalry were clearly forging a way through the battered shieldwall and their infantry on the left flank were all but ready to receive their "welcome in the hillside".
And with the game thus finely poised we drew a veil over proceedings...

Again Hail Caesar gave a fun, fast paced game wth lots of models on the table. The character rules added a little Dark Age flavour without breaking things. I think we need to get a bit more familiar with some of the rules regarding push backs and the like, but we muddled through most of it in a couple of hours with plenty of dice rolling and bloody combat.
Looking forward to some more games over the coming weeks.

*On a related, but non-wargaming, note I was priveledged this week to witness my youngest child in his school Nativity deliver what I think was the definitve reading of that well known biblical character Joseph's Friend the Line Dancing Cowboy.


  1. Fun report and great looking table!


  2. Looks like a very nice game, lots, lots of lovely painted minis!!! Very inspiring !

    You might want to put some work on your gaming table...the bright green arn´t that nice;)

    Best regards dalauppror

  3. Great report and lovely photos.

  4. Fantastic game. Great photos.

  5. Yeah the game boards don't really match the models do they. They were painted Goblin Green to match my models many moons ago. I usually use them 6x4 with a gaming mat over the top, but we needed 8x4 (and even that was a bit small) and so I couldn't cover up the "glow in the dark" horror.
    Usually James provides nicer tables but he was too busy being a shepherd, or a wise man or somesuch so we had to make do with mine.

  6. A lovely looking set up. I think the goblin green is brings out the troops..if the surface was the same as the basing..they may get "lost" in it..if you know what I mean.

  7. Wonderful game mate - some beautiful minis and terrain there!

  8. Hey, nice game. Would you mind telling me where you got those Welsh miniatures from? They look awesome.

    1. It's a long time ago now, and none of the welsh are mine, but I reckon the majority are Gripping Beast figures