Using a standard playing card deck of 52 cards, each suite is assigned to a barbarian (Pict, Scots-Irish and Saxon) and the fourth suite is a rival Romano-Briton or warlord. The value on the card determines the month and year of battle while any face card can influence the political or military situation. The random generated system for dating these encounters would make this campaign set useful for conflicts covering longer time periods, such as the Suevi conquest of Hispania or the Vandal invasion of Africa. This would also allow actual historical events to be used within the context of the game.
As part of the test both sides would start with six elements representing the army’s core strength and this number will be augmented by casting a die. The score not only serves for adding extra troops, but also determines on which ground battle is to be fought on, the majority being arable with a lesser chance of this becoming hilly, forest or littoral.
Testing the rules.
In late spring, a Pictish army cross the frontier and reached the interior of Maxima Caesariensis near Eboracum (York). Both sides were of equal strength, but the Picts seemed up for battle as their taunting shouts could be heard clearly from across the field.
Pictish archers surprised and bested the limitanei holding the wood. Despite the onslaught, the legionnaires supported by limitanei did push back a column of spearmen and chariots. Unfortunately, a second column broke through unsettling the Roman commander enough to call a retreat. Score 3 – 0 for the Picts.
A raiding party of Scots-Irish land on the shores of Britannia Secunda and threaten Uriconium (Wroxeter).
A large force (12 elements) was assembled to meet the Scots, but with the imminent threat of a Pictish invasion this was reduced. As fate would have it, the Romano-Britain force slightly outnumbered the Scots, but as the armies met in the hill country of the Ordovices, that advantage was lost.
The battle lasted hours with the Scots simply wearing the Roman strength to a breaking point. Too exhausted to pursue, the Scots held the field with a 3 – 1 victory.
The Scots gathered a second invading force and reached the British shore in May. Marching inland and plundering the countryside they met a near equal sized force outside Mancunium (Manchester).
Having long heard the tales of the previous expedition, these Scots-Irish were eager to better their brethren. With the Scots warriors forming the centre and chariots protecting their flank. The Scots-Irish surged forward, half recoiled from the Romano shield wall, but the other half broke through crumbling Roman resistance. Score 4 – 2 for the Scots-Irish.
The situation was quickly becoming grim when news came of a Saxon invasion of Flavia Caesariensis. With disastrous events in the north and west a small force was sent to meet the Saxons at a spot between Camboricum (Cambridge) and Camulodunum (Colchester).
July was unseasonably warm and hopefully the Roman commander had planned to catch the enemy in a fatigued state. Those plans however quickly dissipated as he viewed the enemy lines (the Romano-Britain assembled 6 elements to meet the Saxon 10).
Forming two wings, the shield wall on the right, the mobile force on the left, and the Roman commander would use his mobility to out manoeuvre the Saxon horde. An excellent plan, however this failed as a unit of equites suffered horribly to Saxon skirmishers and luckily the equites Dalmatae in a support role narrowly escaped a similar fate.
By now, both sides were committed to a serious test of will and the Romano-Britain struck first. The shield wall held with the exception of the extreme right flank, but the timely attack by the equites decided the day. Score 4 – 2 for the Romano-Britain.
Next post shall cover an assessment.