29 October 2014

Some Clarifications of the Dux Britanniarum Rules

updated May 20, 2015

Over the last couple of months, I have asked a lot of questions on the TFL Forum about Dux Britanniarum ruleset, the members of the Forum were very helpful, so I thought I would place what I have found in one place.

  • Card Sequence: Cards are only played on activation of a Noble, not at any other time. If a card is played in response by the non-phasing player, then that activation may take precedence (the example being the Step Forth card being played in response to a possible attack). The phasing player can change his initial plan and does not lose his cards if already played.
  • Fate Cards: When a noble is activated he can use the Fate cards of either suit. The suited cards can not be played otherwise. The bonus of playing a suited cards is that it adds +1D6 to the combat D6 total if the Carpe Diem card is played. The unsuited cards can be played anytime ie. as an offense or defense.
  • Cards used in combat modify only the first round of combat.
  • When using a CI to buy a card you do not have to exchange a card, but at the end of your turn you can only have 5 cards.
  • EVADE Card: Evade facing away from the enemy maintaing formation (a common house rule is that a shieldwall would would break and evade in a mass formation. Playing a Carpe Diem counters use of this card.
  • Only Lords can command other Nobles groups.
  • When attached to a group and leading a combat the noble can only issue commands to groups within 3” and only rally shock off group to whom he is attached. If attached at the rear then normal command rules apply.
  • Captured Nobles do not cause a morale test, only the Lord.
  • Killed Champions pre-battle do not cause a morale test.
  • Activation: In respect to movement and going into formation, it can be done with one activation but cost 1D6 in movement.
  • Movement: Unless the group is moving up to a certain point (to include terrain features or joining another group), the full distance has to be taken from the throw of the D6.
  • Nobles Movement: Move for free when attached to group, otherwise costs 1 Activation.
  • Unattached Nobles Movement in Varying Terrain: No clear rule, will go with the same modification as harassing troops.
  • Attaching and Detaching Nobles: Is at no cost and can be carried out twice in a single activation. Does require CI for movement to attach.
  • Movement through Varying Terrain: No hard and fast rule but Rich Clarke suggests the following; Imagine the obstacle is some boggy ground which reduces movement by one pip per dice. That ground is 5" away from your unit. You roll 4, 2 and 6. I'd let you move 4" with the first dice as you can move that full distance without getting into the bog, but then the 2 and the 6 are both reduced. 
  • Movement through Unbarred Doors and Gates: Costs 1d6.
  • Facing: A group can move in any direction without cost. It just moves in that direction, it can turn around etc, with no cost. But at the end of movement it ends up facing in that direction. If the group then wants to change facing or go into an allround stance then 1D6 is subtracted from the movement.
  • Missile Kills on Formations of Units: Per firing player, may select one unit in a formation.
  • ZoC: If an attacking group fails to engage in combat because of failure of movement, the ZoC does not stop the attacking group at 4".
  • Champion: Is attached to the Lord, if the Lord joins a group for combat the Champion does as well. He can not act independently.
  • Groups in Buildings: Do not offer support to other groups outside of buildings.
  • Test for morale when it happens not when group leaving the table.
  • Moves facing away unlike a routed group that moves facing the enemy.
  • If Saxons fail raid then British awarded 2 points.
  • If British fail morale then Saxons get two points.
  • Throwing a 1 on a looting tests means that building is empty in raids with multiple buildings, forcing the Saxon to move on to the next building.
  • If routing and contact enemy group or formation the routing group is destroyed.

  • In combat throw for hits, then assign the hits equally to each group. If there are an odd number of hits the attacker assigns them unless the defender is in shield wall or up hill.
  • The initiative in respect to choice of raid or battle lies with the Saxon player
  • To win the campaign the Britons have to regain a lost province.
  • In the career paths, each step has to completed before going to the next.

Update 4,11,2014

I have added this chart from a UK player with the nom de guerre"Old Guy". I find it very helpful not just because he is using the same interpretation of the rules in respect to units engaged with an oblique attack, but also because it is an excellent aide memoire re interpenetration and allocation of hits. Many thanks to him. A discussion of this issue can be found on the TFL Forum

  • Ransom Rule: A player can ransom back a captured noble, throw a d6 =>4 then 2 gold otherwise 1 gold. The player then gets to add a card for this noble to the card deck.
  • Rivers: throw d6: =>5 there is a river, throw d6: 1-4 short axis, 5-6 long axis, throw d6 for sector lay according to terrain, throw d6 -1-3 stream:4-6 river

27 October 2014

Chronica Iohannes: Raid on Ravenhill Farm

We had our second game in our Dux Campaign last Thursday. This time the Saxons dealt a significant blow to the Briton as detailed on Adam's action report on his blog the Fencing Frog.

This game went quite smoothly with only a few questions, I plan to update my clarifications of the Dux Brit rules in a separate blogpost with a detailed FAQ.

We are hoping to have our next game set in March 551. I understand everyone has survived the harsh winter.

25 October 2014

German Armour

These AFV's have been on my desk for a couple of months now, waiting to get their decals. I like decals but they are a pain to put on. I have to apply gloss over the area, then apply the decal, then apply gloss and then apply matt. I think you get it! All the decals are from Aleran, first class and excellent service.

Three of the tanks were painted by myself last winter and 4 of them were purchased painted but the rest were painted in the last couple of months. The ones previously painted and purchased underwent extensive modification with stowage, camouflage and rust applied.

I have been building tank units for Bg Chain of Command, which allows the fielding of tank platoons as support to the the infantry platoons. Since tanks usually come in boxes of 3 from PSC, it is pretty easy to paint up several. I think I am pretty stocked up on mid war with some late war, but really no early war. Anyway on to the photos.
A tank column moving through NW Europe

A Brummbär (Sturmpanzer 43), support list 8. This was purchased painted.

Two StuH 42, one purchased and one painted by myself for last years Challenge. A support list 7 or half platoon for Big CoC with a -1 list rating. These are from Armourfast.

StuG III, a support list 6. Here we have a full platoon, with a +4 rating for Big CoC. Three are from PSC, they are modeled as Ausf G, the Armourfast model is a Ausf F.

Panzer IV's from PSC. all but one painted by me. These Ausf G are support list 7, 4 tanks is a slightly under strength platoon, so a +6 in Big CoC.

Panzer III, a support list 5. This is also an undermanned platoon so these Ausf J, would be a zero in Big CoC. These are from PSC.

A Tiger II, unknown manufacturer. I purchased this painted and it appears to be all resin. This is a support list 11, but Big CoC allows an Tank Ace to be used, so this is a support list 13 option!

22 October 2014

CoC: Delaying Action at Arthenay

I recently purchased the 29, Let's Go pint sized campaign from TFL. These are great little booklets that are less then $6 and come as a downloadable full colour PDF. I suspect many more are planned.

The campaign booklets are to be used with the Sharpe's End Campaign supplement for Chain of Command. This was has uni-directional 5 scenario structure which involves the exploits of an infantry platoon from the American 176th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division which landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. They were ordered to advance west in order to secure the bridge at Isigny. In their way was the 914th Grenadier Regiment of the German 352nd Infantry Division.

After having a look through the booklet, I decided to go with the 2nd scenario which is a type 4 scenario (delaying Action) from the main rulebook. The challenge for me is having the correct terrain pieces to play the game, this scenario was the best choice. A basic regular infantry platoon was used for each side with 5 CD. 

I took the Germans and Mike took the Americans (we substituted Canadians), Mike had 19 supports and I had 10. Mike diced a morale of 11 and I had a morale of 8. I can say I was a little concerned! 

As my orders were basically defensive, I took two entrenchments, a medium mortar and a Pak 35 AT gun. Little did Mike know that I also had a pair of Marder II's hidden on his left flank. I also started the game with two CoC dice (these last two were part of the scenario design). Mike selected a Sherman tank, a 6pd AT gun,  a medium Mortar and I think a MMG gun team.

My camera's battery died while I was adjusting the white balance, so these photo's were taken with my iPhone, which is somewhat dated.

Here is the terrain looking toward the east, that of the American advance. I had some received some new roads that day, they do need some work. The bocage here are hedges rather then true bocage so can be fired from, are a medium obstacle and provide soft cover. I was able to advance my two JOP to my right and left flanks almost half way up the table. Mike got a little stuck and was able to get his JOP to just in front of the hedge on my right flank.  
Most of the action was not photographed but essentially you can see that I laid down a strong defensive perimeter to the right and the left of the road, with entrenchments on both sides. The stone wall abutting the house was also hard cover. Mike slowly and surely advanced his troops but did suffer significant loss from the my entrenched troops. This photo is from pretty late in the game and you can see that many German troops were lost as well, fortunately I was pretty lucky on my morale throws unlike Mike who was whittled down to a 5 pretty quickly.
Mike's 6pder and his FO.
Blurry, blurry, blurry, I have my troops dangerously running across the road to get to hard cover. My FO was planted in the orchard behind the hedge, you can just make out my truck mounted Pak 35 entrenched.
I was really hoping that Mike would advance his Sherman so I could shoot at it with my Marders, they could be only activated with a CoC dice.
Is this game the main tactic appear to be a Mortar barrage and I would say most damage was done by German 8cm mortar. 
I made 4 barrage markers to delineate the area of the barrage, you can see one of them above, they are a lot of work and I definitely need at least 6-8 more.
Mike packed it in when his morale fell to 4, so a German victory, I really thought I was not going to win one, but I think the dice gods favoured me. I believe it is the first time that Mike played the Canadians (substituted for Americans); he, as I, found that Commonwealth troops have to play a slow advance while whittling down the Germans before they attack!

13 October 2014

The Return of Iohannes

Good news, it looks like a second copy of the famous dark age script, Chronica Iohannes has been discovered in the vault of the Church of St James in Rawcliffe, Yorkshire. Rawcliffe, an attractive village dating from about the 12th century, has been called the Queen of Villages. It is near the market town of Goole and lies on the banks of the River Aire. Although the present church dates from the 19th century it is known that there has been a religious structure there since the 14th century.

The priests at St James (a very high Anglican church) have always been known for their learning and many have been collectors of old scripts. It however was quite a shock that a second copy of Chronica Iohannes was discovered in a previously undiscovered crypt under the Creyke Chapel. This version, the Rawcliffe Chronicle, differs somewhat from the Lindisfarne Chronicle in the starting date as well as some of the names of Saxon invaders as well as the chronology of events.

I feel that this version, since it is more complete, will be better on which to base our Dux Britanniarum campaign. We had our first game last Thursday and although there was still some debate the rule mechanics, the game went quite well and I am pleased to say that Britons repelled the Saxons in their first encounter. An excellent pictorial of the battle can be found on Adam's blog, the Fencing Frog. The Saxon Characters are listed below. I have carried over the Britons from my solo campaign, but I did re-dice the attribute of my champion Uther as he was originally a horseman, but alas is without horse.

I had a 4+ victory, so I earned A Thief's Hoard, added 2 warriors and the priest Iohannes to my retinue. I think I will probably upgrade Antoninus from a Tribune to a Praefectus. This will allow me to build some Watchtowers once I gain some more loot. Our next game will be set in Oct 550, hopefully in actuality next Thursday!

Dux Mechanic Clarifications: A few things came up in our game, most of them were resolved with reference to the rule book, but help was also sought from the trusty denizens at the TFL Forum.

  • Raid Points: It seemed somewhat unclear from the book whether the Britons were awarded points when the Saxons were unsuccessful. This was clarified as being the case in most of the raid scenarios (church, village, farm and cattle raids).
  • Amalgamation of Groups: The British start the game with 3 groups of Levy, the question arose during our game as each group suffered attrition would their footprint reduce accordingly (specifically could you use 2 movement trays instead of 3). It was felt that the groups can indeed reduce their foot print but they still remain separate groups and thus have to be identified in some way.
  • Attachment of Leaders: Leaders can attach and detach to groups freely without CI cost, but if they have to move to do this than this requires a CI.