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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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Battle for Caesar Romagnus, 540AD

The Dark Ages, Dux Britanniarum, 28mm

I’m on a slight Dark Age kick at the moment, encouraged by others at the club, who have been playing Dux Britanniorum since late last year, when the rules first came out. I got a chance to join in this week, taking over part of a British army, which was set to take on the Saxon invaders. The figures all came from the collection of Jack Glanville, who played my fellow British commander. Derek Hodge and Jim Loutitt played the part of the evil Saxons. Our little army had a mixture of troop types – well-trained bodyguard, average troops and raw levies, supported by archers, javelinmen and both heavy and light cavalry. The Saxons had a similar force, except it didn’t have any of the levies. First came the pre-game stage. Both sides made rousing speeches, offered their troops mean, and generally tried to slant the odds in favour of their army. This didn’t achieve very much apart from leading to our leader getting downgraded, but it was all very entertaining.dux-011We began with a spot of skirmishing. Our light cavalry scattered a small unit of Saxon archers, while the javelinmen of both sides harried the enemy battle lines from a safe distance. So far so good. Then, Jack sent his heavy cavalry forward to fight their less well-armoured Saxon counterparts. This worked fairly well, but it left our cavalry a bit exposed. Meanwhile the British infantry had advanced in three clumps, with the levies dragging their heels a bit, and the rest moving up to occupy two small hills in the centre of the table. The Saxons were in two big clumps, separated by a wood. This raised the tempting possibility of rolling up one of the two units before the other one could come up to support them. That was where things began to go wrong very quickly…dux-009Like an idiot I decided to send our good quality bodyguard spearmen forward – a mere 12 figures, supported by the British leader and his champion. Champions are there to take on their opponent’s champion in the pre-game manoeuvring, or else they can throw themselves in harm’s way to protect their lord in battle. The aim was to support the cavalry, and the hope was that the rest of the army would move up to support the leader. The Saxons then rolled their line forward to within an inch of our troops, and the cavalry evaded to the rear. This left out leader and his bodyguard horribly exposed, and heavily outnumbered. In the next turn it would all come down to who would move first. This was decided by drawing a little chit out of a bag – when your unit’s chit got pulled, then it could do something.dux-006Unfortunately the first chit was a Saxon one. His cavalry returned to the fray, and launched a volley of javelins at the British bodyguard. This softened them up pretty effectively, giving them a heap of “shock points”. Too many of these and your unit falls apart. Our light cavalry was doing the same – lobbing javelins at the flank of the second Saxon clump of troops. Unfortunately our javelins had little or no effect. The next chip out of the bag was the Saxon leader. This was the one Jim  had been waiting for. The Saxon line rolled forward, smacked onto our little unit, and broke it. The champion died saving his lord, but by the end of the combat one of out two six-figures bases had been wiped out, and the survivors from the other were fleeing the field. We actually ran out of time at that point, as the game started very late. Still, it was a clear Saxon victory – there was little we could do now to save the day. Despite the drubbing it was a great little game, and the mechanics of “Lardy Dux” work very well. My Dark Age kick will continue for a while yet…dux-010


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