Friday, 21 December 2018

Dux Bellorum: The River Battle Scenario

The Dux Bellorum Shooting query featured in my last two posts absorbed our attention but didn't actually stop our game because the only shooting was from a hill and all targets were completely in arc...

We were playing the River Battle scenario which has a river running across the table and a ford towards its centre. The object of the game is to be nearest to the ford at the end of the game or to rout the enemy before that. Unfortunately, no game length is specified but as this game was essentially a rules refresher we decided to just start playing.

I chose Late Romans while Ian had Early Saxons. The armies comprised:


1 Mounted Companions
1 Noble Riders
1 Noble Warriors
5 Ordinary Warriors
2 Foot Skirmishers (Bow)


1 Mounted Companions
1 Noble Riders
1 Cataphracts
2 Noble Shieldwall
2 Bow

As expected, Ian ended up as the Aggressor while I was the Repeller. It's not a good idea for Shieldwall units to to attack into rough ground so I formed a plan to block rather than occupy the ford, at least initially.

As Repeller I was able to place two additional pieces of terrain. I chose hills and placed these either side of the river overlooking the ford, so I would get use of one of them regardless of which table edge Ian chose. Sneaky or what?

The armies deployed. The 28mm plastic figures are Ian's and only recently acquired. They were undercoated in two contrasting colours so they could be used in the game. I like these figures!

 The armies advance towards the river.

The Romans Bow gain the hill as planned but the Shieldwall troops didn't quite reach the river. At first I thought this was a failure but it turned out to my advantage.

The barbarian Companions characteristically but rashly attack across the ford.

3:1 is not good odds and Ian's Companions are severely mauled and withdraw. Had I been more up to speed in playing the rules I should have interrupted this retreat and finished them off.

More fodder for the Roman meat-grinder. (The cavalry have not yet been properly fixed in their bases and were prone to falling over - they are not casualties).

They keep coming...

...but there are less and less of them...

Thanks to my Bow, local superiority on my side of the crossing and good dice, Ian's units were getting chewed up one by one and he conceded the game.

Ian could simply have occupied the ford without attacking thus fulfilling the victory condition. I would then have been forced to attack at a disadvantage, but I would gradually have chipped away at the occupying unit with my Bow. Whether that would have worked would have depended on the game length so that really needs to be set.

Anyway, apart from our one big, seemingly resolved, rules query, the game flowed smoothly and we were pleased to be playing it again.


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Phil

      The mat was Ian's. The river was an old resin one of mine. The lowish camera angle bring things to life.