At the end of the first year of campaigning, Ivar had amassed eight chests of coin, enough to buy himself the title of Warlord, which meant he could now march into battle rather than just raid. Victory in battle would win him and his followers lands of their own, the first step on the road to the conquest of Rheged. With barrels of ale to encourage his troops, the vikings trudged inland to a likely looking settlement. It seemed relatively unmanned and would make a good base from which to begin the conquest.
|Vikings dash toward the thin Saxon line|
This was our first attempt at a battle game. I decided to ply my troops with drink, to give them courage, and it seemed to do the trick as morale rose. The Saxons decided to pray for a miracle and could hide troops in a dip in the ground. I figured I could ignore the ambushers and just rush into the main body of the army, hopefully making a decisive strike while I held numerical advantage, with roughly half of the Saxons nowhere to be seen. But when they appeared on my left flank, I was suddenly faced with two battle fronts. Worse still, the initial charge by the Saxons sent a unit of vikings reeling. My left flank collapsed, to the front a Saxon shieldwall closed in. I was caught in a textbook pincer movement, surely this hadn't been invented yet!
|Viking meat in a shieldwall sandwich!|
What a crushing blow to Ivar's ambitions. It's hard to imagine the battle going so badly, from a levy charge! The dice certainly did not favour me this game, but I was too rash in advancing forward so quickly without first working out how to deal with the ambush. Still, it was a very entertaining chapter in our saga, certainly the most decisive game to date and a real eye opener for Ivar, I doubt he will be so lax in future encounters with Saxon levy. For some filthy Saxon propaganda on the battle, take a look at Matt's blog - wargames in the dungeon.