Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dux in A Row: August cattle raid!

So far in our campaign of Dux Britannarium the Saxons have raided 2 times and 1 time uncontested after a decimating victory over a border patrol.

 The Saxons were to take 3 bases of bacon loot from edge A to edge B - the long way across the board.
 I got 1d3 initial moves before the Romans arrived. That meant 1 in my case. Most of my units got 11 inches in on the board and the piggies also got a good start.
 Janner rolled to see where his forces would enter. I'd gambled and put half my force in the middle of the table and the other half on just one side. Of course he rolled the side which I hadn't put anything on. So I thought I'd send my skirmishes in their direction and harass him.
 He rolled that just 1 group would arrive.. and it was his skirmishers.
 He let the go forward 16'' to the edge of a building.
I find skirmishers to be of little value in Dux... so I wasn't overly worried.
 The rules governing the animals stated that if I rolled a double for movement they'd deviate 6'' from the path they're headed. Now that is a very rubbery way to put it and this was probably the single most important move of the game, but being a pythagorean disciple myself I thought that going their full move in a 45 degree direction would be what happened.

As with everything in Dux it doesn't really say how you should do.. anyway! I chose the option that made the most sense to me and was worse for myself of the ones I could think of.

My lord and his elites were  still slogging forward. As with everything in Dux movement is completely random although of course there are medians and so on. Anyway my lord was getting himself well outside statistical bounderies and a long way away from the piggies he was protecting. (I'm referring to the objectives of course... not his force)
Then the miserable enemy archers fired a deadly spread of arrows killing two of my elites! In one go! That hasn't happened before. In fact I haven't looked at skirmishers as anything worthwhile until now. Let's go back and review the 'I find that skirmishers have little value in Dux' thing..... Yikes!
 OK, so now the bulk of the Romano British forces started arriving. A fairly simple thing in the rules turns out to be completely important and hard to figure out how works: How does troops enter the table. As with everything these things can be discussed peacefully and thoroughly before a game. But once you're in the thick of it it always becomes a bit tense (especially with ego's like me and janner) because you're looking at just ONE sitution in which your ruling will affect the ongoing battle.

Basically we decided that troops entering the board counts as having moved (makes sense.. right) and the leader counts as having used 1 pt to make them all enter. That way you can't enter a block of 3 groups and march them all 18'' inches in one go with a level 2 leader.

 Anyway! Rules aside, things were already seeming to go horribly wrong for the Saxons. The piggies had derailed into a pigsty (maybe they recognised some friends or Romans) and I was fearing that it would be nigh impossible to get them out again!
 My solution to the muddle was to assign the archers to the pigs. In retrospect this sees a bit dodgy to me, after all archers are harder to hit and have a lot of activations in the deck (Missiles card, leaders, special fate card) and they're not a fighting body strictly speaking. I don't know what the scale of Dux is actually... maybe 1 man is 1 man. In that case it seems OK. No matter what, in our game, the archers were now herding along the feeble piggies and sheep.
Running running running. That's what the Saxon do.

 More Romans turned up for the party. Levy boosted by their Lord and a Champion. Nasty unit once it gets into shield wall.
 The warriors and the elites also arrived. The elites failed to reach the warriors and thus couldn't join formation in the first turn.
 I was faced with a decision - run or make a speed bump. I chose the latter.
 I formed the two groups of Saxons in to a formation and told the archers to leg it with the prize.
 I felt confident that my superior troops would destroy the romans fairly easily. One important note to understanding that is that I thought Shield Wall worked completely different to what it actually does. I thought it took off the first kill for the first round of combat (nice but not everything) but in fact it takes off the first kill on each group each combat! It makes good sense, otherwise shield wall would be worse the more units that joins a formation... so I guess I was just hopeful.

I managed to charge. The rules are pretty open about charging. If two models from each side make contact you arrange both formations in close combat. 
I had played Aggressive Charge giving my soldiers +1 to hit stuff (3+ to hit) but Janner played Shield Wall Braces which gives me -1, so I wound up at 4+ ... I scored a lot of kills but the division on the Shield Wall made it dwindle to nothing and the Saxons took a beating.
In the end I managed to sneak off with 2 bases of live stock, which made me the winner. My losses took me back to 0 in combat resolution but the meta card game took me up to 2 again.


Thought on the game:
We are definitely getting closer to how we want the game to flow. It's annoying when rules situations arise and needs to be solved in the middle of the game because one side will always gain from it.
Especially in a game like this one where it's really close and, in fact, almost down to what it says in the rules who wins!
It takes what could have been a really tense and exciting thing and makes it a tense and slightly more frustrating thing.

Also one important point: This game ran for 6 hours!!! I'd rather play for 1,5 hourse and get in 4 games I think. Haha! But it didn't feel like a long time when playing, so that was good.

I'm looking forward to continuing the campaign and I very much fear the first battle. I simply can't see what the Saxons should do against a fully buffed shield wall. *shudder* Haha!

Couple of situations we had were:

  1.  The saxons are running in a sort of column/line/spread out mass formation and are charged by a levy shield wall. My logic told me that the Saxons should be able to evade. But you can only do that if you by luck have the evade card at hand. Not a fan.
  2.  Same situation: The rules aren't really clear on what's a rear charge. In my view you can't surprise someone with a rear just because you're behind one of the groups in the formation. You'd have to be behind the whole of the formation for it to make sense to me. And as a levy shield wall is extremely unwieldly and clumsy it shouldn't be allowed to rear charge at all as it doesn't make sense - after all they're only allowed to go straight ahead! 
  3. Are champions attached to groups or formations? In our game janner wanted to drop a group from his formation because they had a lot of shock and it seemed clever. However they also had a champion attached. I'll make sure to write donkey balls here becase no one reads this wall of text anyway.  I'm not sure how the champion is meant to work, but I thought he was just a member of a group and not a figure you could move around like a noble. Looking at it historically I think it makes more sense to me that he was able to go wherever the fighting was. 

Thoughts on the rules:
 I don't find the answers to many of these issues in the rules. The way I've gamed Too Fat Lardies in the past has always been to look at the situation and go 'what actually makes sense here' and then not care what the rules state. That requires knowledge of the period and not the rules of course. With regards to Dux I have little knowledge of the period and can only rely on the rules. Without a games master that seems very hard to me though.

 I think the setting is enjoyable and I think the size of the game is good. But a lot of the time I think the rules are a bit clumsy. I like the randomness of activation and that of the movement as well. I hope we'll get better at looking at it historically instead of sticking our noses in the rule book. It's just not that kind of game.


My thoughts, when reading about how people on different forums want to use these rules for just about everything including Lord of The Rings, are:

No... not like that. It's the other way around. You ought use Lord of The Rings for this.... ;-)

But as said  - still looking to play more games of it.

17 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. You missed out the bit where you stamped your foot and said, 'let me win' ;-)

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  3. Hard fought game! But then again, those are almost always the most enjoyable!

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  4. Looking good Mr. Sarphuspoccopus!!!

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  5. Stunning looking game and a Very nice AAR Torbjörn, execcept for the donkey b... ;)

    I agree that the rules arn´t that clearly written, but I realy like them anyway, but they realy need to be played in a kind of non competitiv sense, as there are many situations that arrise that need to be solved by common sense during a game.

    We have also feelt that the games take a little bitt to long, it have improved as we learned the rules and how to use them so by now we most often play a game in 2-3 houres...but not to the end but at least as long as we feel that we can decide how it all will ends campain wise:)

    about the missile troops and skirmishers... in our games they only have one activation per turn as no leaders may give them order, might have missunderstod your point, sorry if so.

    about entering the table we always let the units enter on a order fron the big man that commands them and in any formation/grouping they want, assuming that they formed up/grouped of table.

    about the running close to the enemy...don´t do that if your not prepered to fight;)

    agree about the rear charge, if I understand the situation right we wouldent allowed them that bonus.

    As we play Champions he is always attached to the Warlord and always move/fight with him and the group he might be attached to. We dont consider him as a big man so he arn+t allowed to give orders just fight and die with the warlord.

    Suppose I´m one of the chaps that want to use the rules for "everything" :) But it have turned out to be huge sucess for my Dux Suecia setting, just the kind of rules thet gives me the kind of games I looked for, even if the rules arn´t that clearly writen...I don´t feel that LoTR, that are rules I realy like to, would give me the game I looking for, and I even used LoTR for Arthurian, Samurais, Vikings etc...:)

    One again thanks for a stunning AAR, It is a plesure to follow your and Sthephens Dux project !!!

    Best regards Michael

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    1. Some very sensible suggestions I think. I must say that my take on troops entered the board is that they have been rushing to the field and won't start forming up and group until the actually arrive.

      I think three groups marching on the board in shield wall is an impossible nut to crack! In fact I'm so daunted by the shield walls that I just don't understand what I'm supposed to do with them. :-D

      Champion following lord - that's how I'll do it from now on for certain. Makes a lot more sense to me.

      And you can't go without donkey. ;-D

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    2. Good point about the rushing to the battle...have to think about that again or be sure to state it before each battle how they are allowed to enter...

      The Shieldwalls are a tought one to crack, suppouse its here you might have use of the Goad card...

      Best regards Michael

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  6. I worked well in costing a single point to get all the units under one noble on table, but it does force the British player to spend (another) turn getting organised once they arrive. Given my inability to roll high for starting units, this can make it missions uphill from the get go. Equally marching on table and straight into combat as a formation in shield wall seems too far the other way.

    We were unsure on missile troops, but the rules said a leader can activate any group not under command of a higher grade leader that was in range and missile troops are defined as a group. My feeling was that as they have a card, they can't be activated by a leader, but didn't want to argue the toss. Most of the time it wont make a difference anyway.

    No problem for me on the donkey front, but you know these Danes...

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    1. Yeah, well I didn't really have the rules in perspective on the skirmishing front.

      As I said, I just found it silly that the big man (lord or noble) right next to them wouldn't be able to tell them to get going.

      The thought that the lord shouldn't be able to order skirmishers to move. Why would he be able to order around every body in his army but the skirmishers?!

      Doesn't make sense to me. No matter what the rules say. It's silly I say! :-)



      I think the reason they have a card of their own is to make them able to operate on their own far from any noble or lord.



      But as the rules said more or less the same thing it didn't really matter in the end.

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    2. It might be, in this period, that they were beneath a lord's interest.

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    3. I may be mistaken but I would assume that whatever aids a lord or noble's road to victory would be of his interest... ;-)

      Seriously, no matter how little he may be interested in them he should be able to tell them to get the hell out of there.

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  7. Many good points, we actually never moves on in shieldwall formation, only in 'group' formation, and never straight in to combat.

    I think the rules tells that the missile and skirmishers are of no interest to the leaders, and even if you allowed the big men to spend one of their orders on them they wouldent be allowd to be a aktivated on their card as each men only may be activated once in a turn. So way not let the nobles order the missile and skirmishers.

    Looking forward to your next game!

    Best regards Michael

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    1. 'Looking forward to your next game!'

      So am I, so am I.

      I think we're at the end of the year now and we have pay stuff and roll to see if our kings and leader die from old age.

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  8. I seem to recall that we rolled pretty high at the start. So there's a real chance of fresh blood having to step-up :-)

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  9. Really nice - looks like a lot of fun!

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  10. Great AAR. Great table too. Who made the buildings?

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    1. Thanks. The buildings on this table are all from Grand Manner in the UK.

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