Last weekend saw my Byzantines vs. Martins Welsh.
Martin played Welsh, led by a mounted Warlord. There were two points of mounted Teulu (Hearthguard) and two points of foot Teulu, one point of Priodaur (Warriors) and one point of bow armed Bonnedig (Levies). The Teulu would be amalgamated into a large foot and large mounted unit respectively, giving Martin only five SAGA dice to roll.
I chose to give my Byzantines their first outing. They too were led by a mounted Warlord. There were three points of Kavallaroi (mounted Heathguards), two with spears which would be amalgamated into one large unit and one with bows. To bring the numbers up there was one point of Kontaratoi (Warriors armed for close combat) and two points of Toxotai (Warriors armed with bows). This would give seven SAGA dice rounded down to the maximum six to roll each round.
The table was set up for a “Battle at the Ford” game. Open terrain with some hills along the table edges, a few fields and small hills and a small village (which would play no role at all). The main feature obviously was the river running through the middle of the table. Seen from the Byzantine side there was a ford slightly to the left of the middle of the table and a stone bridge to the far right.
We rolled for initiative, which was won by the Byzantines. So I set up my Warriors to the left opposite the Ford, with the Kantaratoi up front. Now Martin had to set up all his troops. So he placed his Bonnedig and foot Teulu in front of the Ford as well. His mounted Teulu, Priodauer and Warlord were set up on the other flank, in front of the bridge. As was to be expected, I set up my cavalry and Warlord to oppose any moves made by them.
The first round was quiet uneventful. I had won the initiative and even though both sides advanced at full speed, we ended up without bowshot.
For the second round it was clear, that my archers on the left would still be out of range, so I just advanced them further. On the right the lines would be close enough, or at least I thought so. A quick measure showed that the Byzantine cavalry were just a few millimetres short of making contact with the Welsh cavalry and therefore decided to charge the foot warriors together with the Warlord. Technically they should have had a chance to kill them all, but in the end two survived, at the loss of a single Byzantine horseman. Not too bad a result.
Well now it was the Welsh turn and as came to be expected their eight mounted Teulu and the Warlord charged the Byzantine riders. The mounted archers fired of a volley in support, but failed to make an impression. Since the Welsh spend two extra SAGA dice to gain extra attacks, I decided to sacrifice half my attacks to gain more defensive dice, but in the end there were enough unsaved hits to kill the Kavallaroi almost twice and they perished. This was not looking good! But at least they had taken three Teulu with them. On the other flank the Welsh just advanced as well.
So at the beginning of the third round it was time to take some desperate measures. As a result the Kontaratoi on the left flank got not SAGA dice at all and the Toxotai just two dice to make use of their support archer ability. While it is not great advantage over activating both units to fire the regular way (you still spend two dice) it allows them to fire through friendly units, which they did, firing through the spearmen to their front to attack the foot Teulu. And sixteen Warrior archers is not too shabby. They scored five hits and the Welsh only managed to save two… So it was three Teulu down. Not a bad start for this round. A quick calculation on the other flank showed, that the Kavallaroi archers would not be able to kill the remaining five mounted Teulu with their bows alone. So led by their Warlord, they unsheathed their swords and charged in. Together they managed to kill all Welsh riders, but when the dust settled only the Warlord and one Archer remained, but at least some releave for that flank.
Now initiative passed over to the Welsh. And they were now starting to feel the loss of the Teulu, only being able to roll 4 SAGA dice now. At the Bridge the two remaining Warriors charged the lone Kavallaroi, killing him at no loss of their own. Now the Welsh Warlord decided to charge his Byzantine opposite. But both went into combat with fatigue and decided to use the other ones fatigue to beef up their own armour. In the end neither scored enough hits to kill the other. At the ford, the Teulu advanced and the Levies, now in range, fired a volley at the Kontaratoi, killing one.
Now that initiative passed back to the Byzantines. At the ford the Toxotoi used their Massed Archery on the Welsh Heathguards once more causing them a few casualties (unfortunately I do not remember how many) and the Kontaratoi advanced. That was the best I could do, being down to five SAGA dice now and requiring most for for the other flank, where the Byzantine Warlord charged the remaining two Priodauer. In spite his best hopes, he only managed to kill one and decided to withdraw out of range of the Welsh Warlord with his remaining actions.
Now the Welsh Warlord decided to take another stab at the Byzantine one, removed his own fatigue and charged. Due to the distance this took two actions and he arrived with fatigue once more. Again both Warlords chose to use the others fatigue to raise their armour, and again it came to nothing. At the ford the Teulu charged the Byzantine spears, killing three for minimal losses and pushing them back. For lack of dice, the Bonnedig did nothing.
At the beginning of the fifth round the Byzantines got two re-rolls on their SAGA dice giving them a massive eight dice to draw from. The Toxotoi got the Support Archer ability twice, to take the Teulu out for good, but the first volley already killed the remaining three Heathguards. So the second volley was shifted to the Levy archers killing five. the Kontaratoi, who had been in position to charge the Teulu advanced on the Welsh archers, but were too far away to charge. At the bridge the Warlord removed his fatigue and charged the Welsh Warlord. Now only the Byzantine leader could raise his own armour and scored three unsafed hits, standing victorious over his dead opponent when the dust settled.
This meant that the Welsh were down to one SAGA die. Since the lone Priodauer could never hope to harm the Warlord, this one went to the Bonnedig archers, who failed to make an impression on their target. All that was left to do now was mopping up. The Byzantine Warlord killed the lone Welsh warrior and another volley of arrows from the Byzantine archers killed another four Welsh archers. The remaining three (with no SAGA dice to roll) saw the futility of further actions and bowed to the might of the Byzantine Empire.