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WAB: Romano British annihilate invading Saxons

March 9, 2007 5:35 PM - Posted by Robartes - Category: Game report


Tuesday (6 Feb 2007) Alan, Koen and myself played a WAB game, of which pictures can be found here. This was our first battle using the new Age of Arthur book, and featured my Romano British, commanded by Koen, defending a river crossing against Alan’s invading Saxons. The scenario we used was the ‘Battle on the River Glein’ scenario from the book, also the first of Nennius’ famous list of Arthur’s 12 battles.

The scenario involves a passable river (half movement speed for crossing, defensible banks) with two crossing points — a bridge and a ford — across the length of the table, with some ancillary scenery left and right. The victor of the battle would be he that controlled both, or controlled one and contested another, river crossings.

The Romano British army was led by Bartholomeus Sinister Grassus himself with Flavius the army standard bearer. The rest of the army consisted of:

  • A unit of 15 commanipulares (BSG’s personal warrior retinue) led by Cassius, a tribune
  • The Invicti Iuniores Brittaniciani, a unit of 18 milites (professional soldiers, in my case with a decidedly Late Roman look)
  • Three units of 24 Pedyt, citizens with sticks (low quality warriors)
  • Two units of 8 cavalry, classed as mounted milites
  • A unit of 10 bow armed skirmishers
  • A unit of 10 javelin armed skirmishers (of decidedly Celtic complexion)

Alan’s Saxons were essentially the Ecgfrith list from the Age of Arthur book, but with the horsemen replaced by foot sloggers and some other minor modifications to fit Alan’s figure mix. They had a general and ASB, and

  • A unit of 12 Gedriht (hearth guard) — the tough professional warriors
  • A unit of 12 armoured Duguth — good veteran warriors
  • Two units of 24 unarmoured Duguth
  • A unit of 28 Ceorls — farmers with sticks, as the Pedyt
  • A unit of 8 javelin armed skirmishers
  • A unit of 8 bow armed skirmishers

Both armies weighed in at around 1500 points.

Alan, being the invader and living up to the Saxon reputation, advanced aggressively across the line, with his hearth guard jogging up to the bridge at a healthy clip (triple move in a three model wide column) and the rest of his army advancing towards the river. Koen advanced the Romano British more cautiously, except for one of the cavalry units that went of on a large outflanking movement.

After the Saxon Gedriht had occupied the bridge and taken up position on it, the action started heating up — there was only some skirmisher fire left and right during the earlier turns — in the center around turn 3, when a Saxon Duguth unit set foot in the ford. The duguth were charged by two Romano British units, and the result of this charge would more or less determine the game. After (barely) losing the second turn of melee, the Duguth broke in panic and fled to the rear — a result that greatly relieved Koen, who was rather glum about his changes in this melee before. This unit fleeing in turn led to the famous WAB morale cascade: at the start of the next turn, every Saxon within a certain distance of their fleeing friends had to check for morale. And, lo and behold, everyone but the Gedriht on the bridge and the lowly Ceorls failed their test and ran off!

Although the next turn did see a slight resurgence in Saxon hopes and fortunres, there never was a full Saxon recovery from this disaster. The slight resurgence was due to a British unit, itself fleeing from a charge in the flank while it was busy to its front, taking a number of its friends with it. All was well again the next turn however, and with the last Saxon unit in the ford area dispatched by the British commanipulares a bit later, the only obstacle was the formidable Gedriht still holding strong on the bridge.

A well placed charge by British pedyt took care of the Gedriht however, who having stayed on the bridge could not deploy any wider than 3 models, reducing their efficiency in the combat.

When the dust had settled, a massive victory was declared for the Romano British. The Saxon invasion had been driven off with massive losses, while the British themselves only lost 22 models (vs the entire army of the Saxons).

We were all very happy with the game and the result, and great fun was had by all. To be continued, definitely.

Comments on this entry

Yes, it was a fun game. I really thought that my charge across the river, including two into Koen’s flank would sweep him away. How sad, therefore, to see my army crumble into dust. How funny, as well, quite frankly.

I have to confess that I’m really quite positive about WAB after this game. To such an extent, that I have ordered ‘Age of Arthur’ and some Romano British cavalry to paint.

I think that you have to play WAB in period. We tried the WAB escalation campaign, which was a great idea and motivator but it is a waste of time to match up armies from different historical periods. Age of Arthur, however, appeals to several of us and could be a big success.

Thanks to Bart for organising the game and taking the photos, and well done to Koen for thoroughly routing those appalling Saxons!


March 9, 2007 9:28 PM - Posted by Alan