This battle is one of the many that makes up part of the Raid! Pillage! Loot! viking DBA campaign!
The time had come, as the sun rose over the trees in the east, so did my big day for DBA. After painstakingly painting my Viking army it was finally time to take them to the field of battle. The first match up planned for the day would be my Vikings vs the Beothuck Indians in Labrador sometime in the earlier 11th century. Although somewhat anachronistic, it would certainly be interesting to see whether the vikings would be driven out of turtle island in our alternate history.
The second match up was a few hundred years earlier somewhere in northern Ireland. One of the last of the Irish Chariot riding, wicker shield bearing, short spear throwing Irish Chieftains was about to face off against the iron wielding, war mongering vikings from out of the seas from the north. It was certainly going to be a characterful day of gaming, and I was looking forward to giving the ruleset a try! And, thanks to WadBag, I actually had a basic idea of how the rules worked!
The Vikings take it to the Skraeling Beothuck Indians
After taking a few moments to have a good look at the wonderful Skraeling army facing me, it was time to set up. The game had my vikings attacking the Skraeling's camp thanks to the extraordinary aggression factor of the viking invaders. After those cute little MiniFigs Beothucks were all set up, I set out my vikings in the only way I knew how: a big, long, menacing line of slavering beastliness! Then, the dice were thrown, the pips were assigned, and the game began in earnest.
The opening few moves of the battle. As my viking horde expands its front
and moves up the, Skraelings attempt to advance despite their poor pip-rolling
abilities! Note that my vikings are on the right, and the Skraelings are on the left.
After a few good PIP rolls, my vikings were on their way to a very wide front and a few moves forward. I realized that I didn't want to be in the woods before the game began, and so my plan was simply to move to the edge of the woods and stop... I had no real idea how this would effect the battle other than allowing me my full bonus by staying in good going, but it would certainly have a major effect later on. Another issue that arose during the first few phases of movement was the rascally advance of the Psiloi (sigh-loy) on my right flank (or at the top of the above picture). They were going for my camp, which was bad news, so I peeled off one stand of vikings to go defend it!
Both armies maneuver to meet the lines of the enemy. My vikings seem to be packed pretty tightly against the left board edge, while the Skraelings bring it from all over the place! Still, that line of Beothucks forming up in the forest is starting to make some of the vikings a bit frightened!
As the lines advances, I was not entirely sure what to do as far as forming up my lines, so I went with the viking tride & true once more. Keeping a massive shieldwall was the only way to go. I used a single Psiloi stand to support my general's stand and two others, and kept one stand behind the lines as a mobile defense, and it simply couldn't fit anywhere else. The only thing that I really had to consider was the Skraelings coming in from the right. The fast moving warband represented a serious threat to my rear, so I had to bring out some vikings to cover the flank. I found out during my maneuvering that since viking blades don't recoil from Skraeling warbands (they simply die!), I was fine with putting the stands protecting the flanks flush with the backs of my front line.
So, during this posturing for position I am sure I simply wasted at least ten PIPs (aka movement points). While my opponent on the other hand continually rolled low for movement points, making it very difficult for him to properly form up his lines and bring his warbands to my shieldwall. I also learned during this posturing that although warbands can support each other from behind against viking blades, they can't do it when in forests! So, my unconsidered movement to the edge of the forest actually paid off heavily, and likely saved my army, contributing quite incredibly to the outcome of the battle.
And so it begins. The lines of the Skraelings close with my vikings and blood starts to
flow over the battlefield. The initial skirmishes in the woods to the right saw two
destroyed stands, one of mine and one of the Skraelings. Was this a sign of things to come?
Or were the vikings about to die a most ugly and painful death under the clubs of the Beothucks?
As the lines continued to close, the Skraelings on the right flank taunted the vikings from the woods. Predictably, those vikings broke from their lines and charged into the woods, with no regard for their leader's strict orders they leapt throught the bush, but their Skraeling enemies were ready. After a bloody exchange among the trees, one of the two attacking vikings were destroyed and one of the Skraeling stands were destroyed. It was a fragile draw there for the moment, except that the surviving Skraeling stand was seriously threatening my right flank after having advanced upon the recoiling vikings...
The Viking chief ordered his men on the flank to pull back to halt the advance from the Skraelings threatening the rear. He also took special effort to remember who it was that had went off in the forest to fight, so as to remind them of their failure later! Just as the order went out, the Skraeling's crashed into the shield wall. The ravening war cries echoed through the hills and off the cliffs of Labrador's coastline as axe and club alike felled their foes. Would the shieldwall break? Would the vikings be driven from the fertile ground of Vinland? Only Thor knew...
At the end of the fighting, only one Skraeling stand was destroyed! One fight was locked and my vikings managed to force three Skraeling stands to recoil, including the opposing general! At this point I was up two stands to one! May Thor see me through the next turn of fighting!
After a vicious exchange, the vikings managed to hold their lines. Their wide shields, adorned with dragons, hammers and ravens saw them through. Although many men fell, no viking stand was lost and the majority of the charging Skraelings were forced to pull back to regroup. One stand of Skraelings died in the fighting, while one managed to keep up the assault, being locked in the fight! The next couple of turns would certainly decide this battle, but for now it was still undecided...
During the next turn no vikings advanced, but the fighting that took place against the locked stands raged on. The Skraelings were driven back there finally, to join their fellows, regroup, and bring the assault once more against the viking shield wall in the next turn.
And so it was, the Skraelings came in screaming out of the forest again. And so it was again that the viking shieldwall held. As the Beothuck's strove to find gaps in the defenses of the vikings, the spears, swords, and axes of the Norse landed true. Two stands were destroyed, and so the game ended. The remaining Skraelings withdrew into their forests to regroup and plan their next battle. The viking lines stood for a moment, and then jeered at their retreating foes! The viking camp in Labrador would stay in the fertile Vinland this day... But perhaps not for long!
And so it was that I won my first DBA game! But what a battle it was, and what an example of beginner's dumb luck! Really, me advancing to the edge of the forest and the poor movement dice rolled by my opponent were two major factors in the outcome of this one. I did learn a few things, primarily that vikings blades should forget about fighting in the forests against their warband opponents! Still, it was great fun and my opponent was a superb opponent! Luckily however, I had yet one more match before the day of battles would end!
The Vikings take it to the Northern Irish!
The next battle up was the vikings squaring off against some celtic northern Irish types. Perhaps a community of Irish that had yet to see the effects of the viking invasion sometime in the early ninth century... But certainly since there are a few Irishmen in my viking army, not too much earlier!
I was looking forward to fighting this battle actually, because I had been considering doing Scots-Irish army in 28mm for some time (to go with my likely-never-to-be-used 28mm viking DBA army). In any case I was looking forward to going head to head with some chariot driving cheiftain with a horde of determined hounds and Fianna! And so it was that the armies took to the field of battle on the shores of the forest-rich Ireland began!
The vikings were again the aggressor in this battle. Despite this a waterway still managed to be placed on the board thanks to the fact that the Scots-Irish army is also considered to be litoral! Foolishly I picked the waterway to be at my back purely out of a desire to put my camp (which has some water on it) against the waterway to it would look cool! It wasn't until later that I realized that my opponent could have done a litoral landing to my rear! I was wondering if they were going easy on me as a first timer, because this possibility never materialized ;)
And so it was again that I lined my vikings up in a huge shieldwall formation at the start of the battle. I had the same plan to march to the edge of the forest and wait for those Irish to come at my proven shieldwall, axe wielding, maniacle vikings. Hopefully they would again be able to hold their own against the warband hordes!
As I expand my line to the right, my psiloi went off on a forest adventure with
two bases of Irish psiloi! A great party is surely to be had by all in that forest today!
With the first few turns of movement the vikings to the right began to expand the shieldwall and ensure that no Irish would get in behind it! The right flank would not fall in this battle as it had in the previous! Of course, I was worried about my left flank this time, things weren't looking all that great there... And as the Irish advanced I sent forward my psiloi to do battle with a couple stands of Irish psiloi in the forest. Certainly I could hold them there if Thor allowed it, perhaps even block that path from the Irish and force them to reduce their frontage... Of course, they may simply be lost to the blades of the Irish as well...
Sure enough, the viking psiloi are lost in the forest, and much carnage ensues on the right and left flanks! Outside of this image, in the top right side of the board, a singe stand of vikings, always out for glory, began to run headlong for the Irish camp! Again this battle hangs in the balance.
And indeed my psiloi did fall, and with nothing to say about it except two turns of tying up those two stands of Irish in the forest. But thank Thor I had a plan. While tying up those psiloi I began to advance with one stand of blades toward the Irish camp! And thanks to those psiloi, I was able to get them far enough along before they could be stopped by the Irish psiloi! Although those Irish did harass the advancing viking stand, it looked like they would make it to the camp unscathed!
But back to the main battle line... The fierce fianna crashed into the shield wall along with their chief and his hounds. THe sound of ringing iron echoed over the hills, and so did the sound of falling bodies! In the first two clashes no less than one viking stand and three Irish stands were destroyed. This marked the game at a very close score of three stands to two for the vikings... The game hung in the balance indeed. It would most certainly be decided by the next clash of arms... Just hopefully my vikings heading for the Irish camp would be able to get there in case things went badly for me elsewhere!
Then, by the grace of Odin, battle was joined again, and again blood flowed. The Irish line, strong as it had been must have lost its resolve, and another stand fell before the viking shieldwall! But at the same time, jsut as the vikings had brought the battle to a close, the stand of vikings that went for the camp reached it, sacked it, and took all of the Irish sheep for themselves! And so, the battle closed with another victory for the vikings!. However, it hung in the balance right up until the end, and was a very well fought game indeed!
As the battle ends, both the viking and Irish lines are broken!
What a great day of gaming that was. What a pleasure to be introduced to the DBA system by such a great group of players, so thanks Sean, Don, and Cory for giving me guidance every step of the way! At the end of the day, by some miracle of the gods (or perhaps by the well disquised good graces of my opponent), my vikings were undefeated, but my grasp of the DBA rules system was still quite poor! I am looking forward to the next match up when Sean's Welsh, who have never been beaten by vikings, and will no doubt chase my horde back to Sweden as fast as those little vikings can row!fin