Monday 28 November 2022

Midgard - Battle on the River Idle

James and Matt came over for a game of Midgard - which is pretty much finished and about to head over to be edited.
We decided to play through the River Idle scenario from a recent Wargames Illustrated written by Dan Mersey (of Rampant games, various) fame.

The River Idle battle was a historic clash between Raedwald (the likely occupant of the Sutton Hoo ship burial) and Aethelfrith of Northumbria. Edwin, king of Deira had been chased from his kingdom by Aethelfrith and, after some travels ended up under the protection of Raedwald the King of the Angles. The Northumbrian king attempted to bribe Readwald to have his rival murdered but Raedwald (allegedly influenced by his wife) refused to do so and instead invaded the Northumbrian lands in 616 or 617 accompanied by his son and Edwin.

Aethelftith responded and the two armies met at the River Ilde (possibly near Bawtrey in Nottinghamshire) and fought a very bloody encounter. During this Aethelftith killed Raedwald's son (perhaps mistaking him for Edwin or Raedwald). In return the king of the Angles sought out the man who had killed his son and put him to the sword. As a result of this bloodshed Edwin became king of Northumbria and (presumably) Raedwald gained influence and a northern ally.

James took the core of the scenario and tweaked it for Midgard. As a result Matt and I had three leaders, all with identical stats but we had to choose secretly one of them to be Edwin. If Aethelfrith killed Ediwn he would gain extra "reputation" (a MIdgard game mechanic that cleverly represents both morale and victory points) whereas killing either of the others would gain him slightly less reputation than the ordinary death of a hero would attract. Raedwald's forces on the other hand had simply to drive the Northumbrians off.

Raedwald's men arrive.

The Northumbrians assemble to drive them off.

The field of the River Idle

The Anglian heroes urge their men on.

Skirmishers lead the way to disrupt the Northumbrians.

A flurry of Javelins see one of the Northumbrian heroes die an ignoble death

Soon enough the lines clash and heroes call one another out for single combat.

It's all getting quite messy.

On the Anglian left flank it is (unbeknownst to the Northumbrians) Raedwald's son who leads the way.

The larger Anglian army begins to envelop the Northumbrian right flank

Over by the river Raedwald's son meets an untimely end at Aethelfrith's hand

The Northumbrian right flank is crumbling fast.

In the centre the Northumbrians manage to punch through.

But the right flank is all but wiped out.

Aethelfrith finds himself called out by another Anglian hero.

The shieldwall fighting is ferocious.

After a titanic struggle Aethelfrith is downed with a series of fearsome blows by the mysterious Anglian. Unbeknownst to James this was, in fact Raedwald who spectacularly and historically accurately (well, according to some sources) avenged his slaughtered son.

Anglian troops were now pouring down on the beleaguered Northumbrians.

As the battle drew towards an end the remaining Bernicians sold their lives dearly.

But in the end the field belonged to Raedwald and Northumbria was Edwin's to reclaim

Great fun to play and the toys all looked splendid. Midgard works really wel for this period and the scenario added an edge of intrigue and excitement. We were especially pleased at the "historic" outcome of Aethelfrith mistakenly killing Raedwald's sone before meeting his end at the hands on an enraged Raedwald.