It's time for some payoff with a game of Clash of Spears set in the Dark Ages.
The Build up
People who read this Terrible blog regularly (Fools that you are! Your time would be better spent re-watching reruns of Gilligan's Island) know that there's been quite a bit of build up for Clash of Spears Dark Ages gaming going on.
|I made these dials to track Command Points,|
just for Clash of Spears games.
|I made a pantsload of these tokens to track Actions in Clash of Spears,|
But to be fair they'll have other uses in other games.
I also suppose they can be used as earrings as the kids these days seem to like putting
large disks in their earlobes.
|I made a slew of these 5mm die holders to track Fatigue in Clash of Spears,|
but to be fair they will have other uses as well.
I suppose the 5mm dice can dangle from the rearview mirror
of a car in 28mm.
|I made two Longships and some coastline terrain.|
Which is not needed for Clash of Spears but are now REQUIRED
for every Dark Ages game I'll ever play because, dammit, they look cool.
I invited my friend Mr AS over for a game on a Monday afternoon. "Monday afternoon?" you say. Yes, I have Mondays off and Mr. AS is retired so days of the week mean nothing to him. This might become a regular thing. Mr. AS claimed he had Viking heritage so chose the Vikings to play; so I took the Saxons. I don't know my heritage and don't really want to know. Who knows what I might find if I went looking.
CLASH is set in the ancient times / Punic Wars, but ports easily over to the Dark Ages (it's ALLL swords and boards anyway). I used the Beta Dark Ages lists and traits that you can get online as a guide and made the following lists. These will mean NOTHING to you unless you have the rules so skip and skim if you like...
Muster WarBand, 1042 Points
Level 4 Saxon Leader x 2
-add heavy shield to both
Skirmishers with Bows (1 unit of 6)
Combat: 5+ Ranged: 5+ Grit: 5+ Save 7+
Weapon: Bows Armor: What Armor LOLs
Traits: Skirmish Specialist
Ceorls (3 units of 8)
Combat: 4+ Ranged: 5+ Grit: 4+ Save 5+
Weapon: Throwing Spears Armor: Heavy Shields
Traits: Shield Overlap, Wall of Spears
Thegns (2 units of 7)
Combat: 3+ Ranged: 5+ Grit: 3+ Save 3+
Weapon: Throwing Spears Armor: Full Armor and Heavy Shield
Traits: Drilled, Fedelis, Shield Overlap, Wall of Spears
Ad Hoc Warband, 1043
Level 5 Viking Leader with Heavy Shield
Level 4 Viking Leader with Heavy Shield
Bondi (2 units of 8)
Combat: 4+ Ranged: 5+ Grit: 4+ Save 4+
Weapon: throwing Spears Armor: Partial Armor and Heavy Shield
Traits: Drilled, Furor, Shield Overlap, Wall of Spears
Hirdmen (2 units of 7)
Combat: 3+ Ranged: 5+ Grit: 3+ Save 3+
Weapon: Mixed Weapons Armor: Full Armor and Heavy Shield
Traits: Combined Arms, Drilled, Shield Overlap
Hirdmen with Dane Axes (1 unit of 7)
Combat: 3+ Ranged: 5+ Grit: 3+ Save 5+
Weapon: Double handed Dane Axe Armor: Full Armor
Traits: Shield Breakers
You'll notice that the Vikings list is worth one more point than the Saxons. What's one point between friends? (Editor Note: If the Vikings win then the Saxons can claim that the game was RIGGED!)
In general the lists represent my preconceived notions of what makes a good dark ages game. The Vikings are better troops with traits that help them be (be) aggressive while the Saxons have more troops and traits that help them be dogged defenders plus being ruggedly handsome.
Scenario (The play is the thing):
This time around we're doing the Force Projection scenario that I slightly modified to fit my 5 x 6 table (the battlefield is 5 x 4).
|Board set up.|
Told you the Longship was Mandatory.
Here we have the outskirts of a peaceful quiet Saxon village, when in the morning mist a Longship shows up on the shoreline. "Why do we KEEP building our villages close to the water?" the Saxons ask. "Hey nice village. We think we'll take it" says the Vikings.
The objectives: There's a marker in the middle of the table to fight over. Also, the Saxons want to get a unit within 8" of the shoreline; which threatens the Longship and the Vikings ride home so they will have NONE of that. The Vikings want to get a unit within 8" of the village wall; which threatens the village and really pissing off the Saxon women so the Saxon men want NONE of that.
|What, you didn't need another view of the battlefield?|
Did you notice that the Saxon village wall mirrors the shape of the Viking shoreline?
That's called Fairness. Something Vikings wouldn't understand.
Now after all that foreplay, it's time for the BIG payoff with a detailed, knock down, blow by blow AAR. And just like my wife, I'll leave you disappointed.
Because I was teaching the game, playing the game, and having too good a time to really take enough pics or remember what happened. Also the lighting was terrible. So here are some of the better pics:
|Here are the troops right after the Engagement phase.|
The Saxons seem to have gotten the jump on the Vikings
as they seem to have just barely waded onto the shore.
|Thegns and Vikings square off on the central objective|
|Hirdmen and Ceorls face off in the woods.|
Trees removed for game play.
My woods are pretty and functional!
In the end the Saxons beat off the Vikings, but it was a close run thing. Second to last turn both forces had 3 break points just from slaughtering their enemies (never mind walking all the way to the shore or village). The Saxons auto passed their force morale check (being a muster force) and the Viking made their roll. After the last turn the Vikings had 4 break points to the Saxons 3, and then failed the roll.
Overall: I, adore this game. The trading of activations and reactions just keeps the players engaged throughout the game. The option of choosing the type of attack and the defending response makes every combat interesting. It's a constant dance that keeps you interested but is not grinding in complexity or options.
Playing this game is like going to an ice cream shop that only sells your favorite flavors.
I was also very pleased that all those counters worked well with the game and looked good.
The hard part about the game is remembering what all the traits do. Traits that come up a lot like Shield Overlap and Drilled are easy. Remembering the rarer ones are harder; I think I forgot that the Hirdmen with dane axes had the Shield Breaker rule. Not that they needed it as they slaughtered two units of Ceorls.
Least I remembered to use my fate points (those are re-rolls).
Next time I should try out some Normans.
These Things Always Cost Money
What things? Fun things! fun things cost money. Sometimes unexpectantly.
After this fun game I went online to see of there were any developments in the dark ages supplement and instead found another Ancients supplement.
|Again, I know very little about Romans.|
But this cover is EXACTLY how I picture them.
All stoic and hard bad asses.
I wasn't interested in any of the army lists, but there were some new traits and rules in there as well. The book focuses on 100 BC to 100 AD as seen on the cover and my knowledge of history doesn't really start to around 400 AD but they're getting close to pleasing me; this one person. But I have blog read by dozens of people so my voice will be HEARD!
I bought the PDF. Mainly because it wasn't very expensive and to support the company. I skipped all the army lists (though sample army lists are nice examples of unit profiles, and it's all swords and boards anyway) and potted history and went right to new traits and stuff, which I did like. especially the Poorly Equipped trait that I'll be using for now on; so am pleased with the purchase. If the eventual dark ages supplement is this nice when it comes out then I'll be even more pleased.
I Know the End When I See It
This is the end. Hope you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading and comments appreciated.
Till next time.