Each time I sign up for one of these I promise myself I won’t just roll up with the venerable Saxon army that I’ve used so frequently in the past. No, this time I tell myself I’ll finally finish those Late Romans and use them. And every time I fail and end up using the Saxons again. And do you know what? I used the Saxons again. However at least I had a unit of newly painted archers to see this time, and the one unit of Romano Brits I’ve actually finished were pressed into service too. Next time. Definitely.
In my head, although it’s a Saxon force with Romano British allies, the power behind the throne is the Tribune who has signed up the hairy barbarians to do the fighting for him and has turned up with his unit just to check his money’s been well spent.
On arrival we helped Scrivs decorate a few tables and ten got down to the business of gaming. I was to play the River Glein scenario with my regular gaming chum and his Welshmen as allies against a fiendish alliance of Franks and Romano British led by Steve and Neil. I’ve played (and lost to) Neil several times in the past, and his RBs are one of the reasons I started collecting my own, so I was quite relieved to end up facing the Franks. Though this relief was perhaps a little premature.
As is the way of WAB double games it largely turned into two parallel one-on-one games with me contesting the bridge and the Welsh fighting for the ford.
The Franks largely surged toward the bridge with some powerful looking units, whilst a large unit of allied geoguth skirmished their way toward my left flank. I pushed my own unit of skirmishing youths forward to meet this threat, with little hope of matching the superior numbers. I parked the Romano Brits at the end of the bridge, confident they’d take some shifting whilst the rest of my line advanced.
The enemy geoguth forged across the river and a failed warband landed my fellas in a field in front of them, ripe for the reaping, meanwhile the other geoguth also failed their test and with a whoop of youthful enthusiasm splashed across the river.
On my left the inevitable clash occurred, but some astonishingly good dice (me) and some equally poor dice (Steve) saw the Frankish allies chased off and run down by my marauding geoguth. Who then rather spoiled it for themselves by failing another test and charging a big formed unit with inevitable consequences. My delight was interrupted as my allies’ cavalry suddenly appeared and thundered up to the river before plunging across the stream into a horse based fight with the Franks.
Meanwhile a stand up fight was in progress across the ford with Welsh and Roman blood mingling with the foaming waters of the Glein. My Cyning and his hearthguard, not wanting to miss out, splashed across the stream and, before I could stop them a unit of duguth launched themselves into the cavalry melee.
Eventually a Frankish unit failed a warband test and launched itself at my Roman Bridge guards, but neither unit was able to much damage the other, and even a musical interlude couldn’t separate them. My Gedrith and Warlord saw off a unit of Franks, but then rather overstepped themselves and crashed into the Frankish King and his bodyguard.
At the ford the combat ground on. Briefly enlivened by one Welsh unit turning tail and being run down Sadly for our opponents panic neglected to take hold amidst our forces.
After several grinding rounds of fighting the Frank cavalry was finally broken and run down.
However, with time against us, the Frankish general issued a challenge and my Cyning, mindful of the watchful Scop beside him stepped up to the plate. And was summarily dispatched without even scratching the mighty Frank. Oh.
With that the Gedrith decided to flee too and despite the stout Tribune and his men holding the end of the bridge the battle drew to a close.
Looking at the rules, both crossings were contested, meaning it should have been a bloody stand-off, but seeing as my general had been cut down in his prime it was clear the field belonged to our opponents.
A thoroughly enjoyable game of WAB that could have gone either way. The Welsh and Romans fought themselves to a standstill at the ford and with a little more luck my Gedrith and general should at least have held their own against the Franks.