Sunday, 22 February 2015

Ivar Sveinson and the Seige of Tunnocellom

Fighting at the gate to the town
The summer of AD809 faded away, the days shortened, the cold winds blowing in from the North Sea heralding the return of autumn. Ivar and his men sat glumly in their camp, the seige of Tunnocellom dragging into the fourth month. Suddenly they were roused by the blast of horns - the Saxons had returned to liberate the townsfolk. Battle lines were quickly formed.

Ivar shouted words of encouragement to his men, but they seemed unappreciative of his efforts. In contrast, the Saxons seemed buoyed, singing as they positioned themselves outside the town walls, no doubt their vocal chords well lubricated by mead. Ivar moved up quickly, hoping to strike a swift blow to the advance portion of the Saxon army. His men rushed to the attack, hurling spears and axes, but then faltered, pausing for breath. The two forces clashed, but the Saxons had the better of it and pushed the vikings away.

The Saxons gain supremacy of numbers
The Saxon Lord seized on the hesitancy and continued the onslaught, bringing up more men to throw into the fray. Ivar and his men found themselves pressed on all sides and the Saxon's fury was unrelenting. Ivar's champion was just one of the many casualties in that brutal moment. Three months sitting idly outside the town walls had obviously not been ideal combat training.

On the verge of defeat
Casualties mounted on both sides in the vicious combat. Ivar could see his men were hanging by a thread and pushed forward to make a mighty effort, but suffered a wound for his efforts. The Saxons were out for revenge and were merciless.

(My opponent Matt was using his infamous blue dice of doom. When he uses them, they invariably roll 5's and 6's. When I use them, they revert to 1's and 2's. There's some kind of Saxon skullduggery going on here!)

Dice = shock, skull = Ivar wound, another one on the way!
Ivar's compatriots could see his perilous situation and rushed across to reinforce his efforts. They had sprinted across the fields to come to his aid and were poised to launch an attack, when a Saxon horn pierced the din of battle. Once more their seemingly blessed blades proved better and Ivar was struck again! His men, shocked at this calamity, dragged him from the field, blindly running into the reinforcements and carrying them from the battle too. It was a disastrous defeat.

(My last ditch chance here was to hope my reinforcing noble activation came before the Saxon Lord, allowing me to charge in and help Ivar. And it did, but Matt played a step forth card to interrupt the sequence and finished me off, curse his Saxon dogs).

The cards and the dice all seemed to favour the Saxons this day and Ivar suffered a hammer blow to his dreams. Two years into the campaign, he has just one sack of gold remaining, while the Saxons had such a mighty victory that they attracted even more to their numbers. As the vikings solemnly rowed back the their camp, utterly defeated, the Saxons began a building program, reinforcing all the border towns with watchtowers. You can get a much better Saxon perspective (and better photos) from the wargamesinthedungeon blog.

I'm not quite sure how we can progress the campaign from here, after half a dozen or so games, the vikings are right back where they started, the Saxons have gained four archers and a handful of towers. While we both enjoy the gaming mechanics, particularly during raid scenarios, the campaign seems painfully slow. I might have a tinker round and try to come up with some improvements, I'm not sure we could stomach another five years of this plodding. I wonder if anybody, anywhere, has actually completed a full blown conquest of a region campaign, it must take dozens of gaming sessions and months, even years of gameplay?

1 comment:

Matt Crump said...

I'm starting to feel sorry for Ivar ! I noticed in the photo I loaded that he was in literally the last person to pull out of the fight. Not really cowardly at all.

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