Saxon Invasion- A Dux Britanniarium Review

One of the projects I am presently working on is a campaign for Dvx Britanniarvm.  I thought perhaps a brief discussion of these rules might be in order

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Dux Britanniarum is Too Fat Lardies skirmish level campaign and wargame rules for Post Roman Britain.  It is available through the Too Fat Lardies webpage in several different forms and bundles.  I purchased the Hard copy, PDF and Cards bundle.  This meant that I had nearly immediate gratification when I received my email with the PDF down load instruction in a few hours.  It also meant that in a few days I received my hard copy of the rules withe the necessary cards included.  Also included was a beautiful map of Britannia showing the various kingdoms.

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     The book is brightly colored and filled with photographs of figures, easy to read charts and explanatory sidebars and diagrams.  It is divided into five books or sections.

    Book one includes the rules for setting up the campaign.  While the game can easily stand alone it is built around a campaign system that is intended to make game play more enjoyable and to tie the otherwise unrelated battles together into a cohesive narrative whole.  In the basic game, the players play either British or Saxon Lords who campaign over the years to either capture or retain a kingdom.  The campaign rules are created to keep paperwork and record keeping to a minimum so the system is somewhat simplified and abstract, to provide flavor rather than any hindrance.  Book one includes rules for creating your nobles and building your initial forces.

    Initial force size is relatively small.  Forces are formed into groups of six to begin play.  The British player begins with six of these groups and the Saxon five.  These groups also have quality rating of elite, warrior or levy.  Alongside the groups will be four harassing soldiers armed either with bows or slings. In command of these are four characters.  these are the commanders of the force and consist of the Noble, two subordinate lords and a champion.

    Book two gives the details of the campaign system and the career paths for the nobles.  It also has a scenario creation system driven by the campaign.

     Book three contains the wargame rules.  Interestingly, battle are divided into three distinct parts, pre-battle, the battle itself, and a post battle phase.  During the pregame phase, players may attempt various things that will effect their game later.  By prayer, or bardic song etc.  a noble can inspire his men to greater spirit and bravery or other advantages and possibly disadvantages.  Mostly in game turns this means by adding fate cards are increasing or decreasing the Force Morale.

     Force Morale will be familiar to those of you who play Chain of Command.  This is a rating that keeps track of how the progress of a battle is affecting the overall health of the overall force’s morale.  More on this later.

      Fate cards are cards that allow nobles to take advantage of circumstances as the battle continues.  In most scenarios  players begin with five in their hand which they may use, discard or replace at various times throughout the game.

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     Once the pregame phase is ended, the actual game begins.  The game mechanics in Dux Britanniarum are very similar to those found in other Too Fat Lardies products.  The game centers on the activities of the Characters who are rated at different statuses.  This status determines the number of initiatives they may use to command their soldiers or control the battle field.  These Lords are activated by game cards, again a common feature of TFL games.  One change that no doubt will please some detractors is there is no card ending the turn.  Instead turns end when all the card have been cycled through.

       Movement is determined by rolls with various terrain, circumstances or actions reducing the number of dice or pips available.  Two or more groups may form into larger formations with the British having the advantage of their shield walls.  Combat rules are more detailed as is necessary for a period that relies so heavily upon melee.  A large number of diagrams are presented to help with various circumstances that may arise.  One important note, if you buy the PDF and like me save money by printing it in black and white, some of these color coordinated diagrams will be less helpful!

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     Morale is handled for the smaller groups by shock point.  these reduce movement and fighting capability, and determine if the group has “lost it’s amphora.”  Force wide morale is covered by Force Morale.  this is a number which falls throughout the game when certain bad things happen.  eventually it can cause a side to leave the field.

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     The Post game phase determines what happens AFTER one side leaves the playing area.  Some of the fate cards are also Pursuit or Retreat cards.  How many of these are in the players hands can determine what occurs to the players off table.  this phase also determines how long until a force recovers its strength and what gains the battle or raid created.

    The last two books are the Book of Battles and the Book of Kingdoms.  the book of battles deals with terrain allocation and scenarios and Kingdoms lists the various Kingdoms that make up Britannia, and list their provinces and years for Saxon encroachment into the area.

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     The game looks very interesting to me, and I look forward to giving it a try.  The Williamsburg Legati are slated to do that very thing in a few weeks  and I will share with you are results.

Cheers,

Ron

p.s. Photos were all lifted off of the Too Fat Lardies Webpage

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Categories: Dark Ages, Dux Britanniarum, Too Fat Lardies, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Saxon Invasion- A Dux Britanniarium Review

  1. This is a fantastic ruleset from TFL, really good to represent the true problems faced by small lords and commanders of this period.

    Like

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