Friday, 10 August 2012

Another Hail Arthur Game

James and I got together at the White Hart for a game of Hail Caesar set in the "Age of Arthur" with Saxons battling Britons. Back in February we played a huge game that will feature in issue 300 of Wargames Illustrated. We are re-staging the game at Partizan on the 2nd September (please come along and chat) so we needed a warm-up to remind ourselves of the rules. Although Scrivs was in the same room (playing with Napoleonic boats!) James and I agreed we would limit ourselves to a single "phone a friend" option to ask him how the rules worked - the point of this game was for me and James to regain a flimsy hold over how HC works! In the end we managed without asking Scrivs, or anyone else, the rules, though we did spend a lot of time early on flicking back and forth through the book.

The scenario was that Aethelfrith and his Saxons had occupied a defensive position round an ancient standing stone on top of a hill, and the attacking Welsh needed to dislodge them.
I was using the Saxons (mine plus James' and some from the Gripping Beast collection)  and had three commands:
3 Spearmen
1 Hearthguard
1 Hearthguard cavalry
1 Skirmishers

3 Spearmen
1 Hearthguard
2 Skirmishers

3 Spearmen
1 Hearthguard
1 Skirmishers

I deployed with Aethelfrith on the right of the with his flank secured on some woods, Aethelfric occupied the left of the hill and Osferth drew up his men off the hill on my left flank

James deployed a command of light cavalry and noble cavalry with skirmishers on each flank and two commands in the centre, one hearthguard and light cavalry commanded by his general and one mixed command of spearmen and cavalry.
All the commanders were leadership 8 with the exception of the Welsh general who was 9.
Most of the welsh cavalry had the marksman skill, the Saxon foot were all impetuous, meaning they had to pass a Ld test to not charge if enemy were within 6". The Welsh spear brigade was Reluctant.
Finally I drew a couple of cards for my sub commanders, giving them some suitably Saxon character traits. Osbert and his command were fired up with Mead and so would charge anything in range on initiative and Aethefric was Reluctant and old, so would only have two attacks in combat and his troops would not move on command roles equal to his Ld.
With that we were off!

Saxons on the hill

All that a Saxon holds dear. A phallic stone, some beer and a dead horse. Worth fighting for I'm sure you agree.

The Welsh

James pushed most of his men forward to the treeline in the centre of the board, though his right flank refused to move. Inevitably skirmishing horsemen pressed forward and unloaded sharp implements into the Saxons faces.

Have some of THAT!

Largely I responded by standing on the hill and asking my skirmishers to lob stuff back.

White shielded Welshmen on the prowl.

However the drunken fool Osferth defied my cunning plan and was lured into attacking the Pictish horsemen in front of him. Surging forward chanting drunkenly they were inevitably counter-charged.

"C'mon you basterdsh I fight the lottavyez!"

Fortunately my left flank held, though there were plentiful shaken units on both sides. Despite the clear danger, Osferth kept right on charging!
Over on the right Aethelfric tried to send his cavalry to see of the light horse but his powers of command were weak.

Meanwhile, back on the Welsh right the Noble cavalry were still refusing to budge, even when their leader joined them and tried a follow me order (James rolled a succession of 9's, 10's and 11's for this brigade).

Eventually, tired of shilly-shallying the Welsh commander ordered a general assault on the hill. At first this went in my favour as the uphill advantage meant the first units of Welsh cavalry were thrown back.

Eventually however the Welsh general threw himself and his commitatus unit at the centre of the Saxon line and punched through to take the heights of the hill.

Despite this cutting the heart out of the Saxon line Aethelfric was able to fling a battered but potent unit of Gedrith around and take revenge on the Welsh general, wiping out his horsemen and killing the general at the same time!
However it was to no avail. The Gedrith were themselves wiped out in the following turn breaking Aethefric's command, and Osferth's drunkenness finally caught up with him as his command was broken too.
With two of my three commands broken the game was up and Aethelfrith conceded the field to his foes.

It was a great game. Took us a while to get going as we flicked back and forth through the rules, but soon speeded up as it all came flooding back. We started in a room full of people, but by the time we finished we were the only two left in the pub!
All-in-all a great evening. The models looked lovely and it's always a good game against James.
I'm really looking forward to Partizan now. Please do come and say hello if you're going.


  1. Jolly good stuff, old bean!!!

    I'm glad that you and James have managed to play HC again, as I have had precious little opportunity so will be a total liability at Partizan!! I promise to read the rules again before turning up though! :-)

    Looking forward to seeing you and being trounced by the Saxon hordes on the day...

  2. A great batrep with beautiful pictures!


    PS, you've got a really nice blog, I've put you on my blogroll.

  3. great report and pictures! Can't wait till WI 300!

  4. Lovely AAR and stunning pictures !!!

    Greate commander with the tree and the 2 ravens, please tell me where to find the ravens, need to have some for my vikings:)

    Best regards Michael

  5. Beautiful looking game and an excellent AAR. Well done!

  6. Great looking games, the figures are stunning

  7. Great report and awesome photos.

  8. Awesome game! Thanks for sharing!