The composition of both forces was revised for this test, the greater fyrd (7Hd) were replaced with select fyrd (Sp), unburdening the Saxons of extra pip cost. The Strathclyde 6 elements remained untouched; however, Norse and Scots are now equal strength, at 9 elements each, adding an extra column of pikemen plus skirmishers while reducing the number of Norse blades. As you will read from the report, the changes made for a tighter game, a longer game with a nail-biting finish.
The Alliance, to the left of the photo, have the Norse facing Aethelstan’s Saxons, the Scots in centre with Strathclyde positioned on the far left to face the Mercian wing.
Both divisions of the defending Saxons move boldly forward only to be met by an eager Norse contingent while the Scots and Strathclyde are still discussing the matter (low pip score).
Overcoming their disagreements, the Scots and Strathclyde join the battle, by this time, the Norse have inflicted heavy casualties on Aethelstan’s division.
Heavy fighting ensued along the entire line, this time with the Saxons equalling the casualty count. Not long after, the Scots breach the Saxon centre having a distressed Aethelstan scrambling to send reserve formations to fill the gap.
For a brief moment, the interior flanks of Wessex and Mercia were both exposed, yet Constantine, in a moment of hesitation (low pip score), saved the Saxons from imminent disaster. Aethelstan, ably sealed seal the breach in centre as the Norse fury dissipated into isolated combats.
The game lasted 7 turns, but took well over an hour to complete. Contact was reached on turn two resulting in 12 combats and this set the tempo for subsequent turns. The casualty count swung back and forth, both sides ending one short of victory at the end of turn six.
Turn seven, the Saxons scored 6 for pips sending a shiver through the Norse, Scots and Strathclyde. A very tight game.