The submitted draft of Dux Bellorum included a sample turn played through in its entirety, both to act as examples of play in their correct context (with corresponding page references to the rules elsewhere in the book) but also as a taster of what to expect. I’d planned for it to be placed right at the front of the book before readers got stuck into the rules. Unfortunately, being tight for space this was cut from the final version sent to print so I’ll post it here over a series of days – which to be fair is probably a better place to post it as it will tell more people more about the game before they consider buying it.
You’ll notice a lack of images to liven the text up – the photos may surface in the published book, so for now it’s just the text online. If you have any questions about the game, please post them on the rules forum over at boardgamegeek to take advantage of that site's improved interaction.
(Please note that this text has not been through the Osprey editing process, so you might spot the odd typo or inconsistency of capitalisation or terminology; the rules mechanisms are accurate.)
This section gives a blow-by-blow account of one turn of a Dux Bellorum game. Playing one turn out in real time should take only a few minutes once you’re familiar with the rules, and most players won’t need to refer to the rulebook very much after their first couple of games. If you’re an experienced wargamer, much of the turn sequence will seem familiar, but keep a look out for the way Leadership Points are used, the order of movement and missile fire, and the way multiple combats work.
We pick the action up after two turns of a game, just as the mighty armies of Welsh Rheged and Saxon Northumbria begin to clash (flick through to the Sample Armies section to see more about the forces involved; the named leaders didn’t overlap in history, but let’s not let that get in the way of a good game) . . .
Rheged has a good number of mobile, mounted units; the Northumbrians mostly are slower but tougher Shieldwalls. They’re supported by fierce Irish Warriors, better on the attack than the Northumbrian Shieldwall but less well protected. Rheged has its own Warriors and they’re equal in combat to the Irish, but overall the Rheged army has only 8 units compared to the Northumbrian’s 10. Both armies have two Skirmisher units (one of Rheged’s is Mounted); the Skirmishers are happy to note that they’re the only unit in the game who can move through other friendly units, so when out in front of their own army they can melt away when the enemy gets too close.
The Saxons are the Aggressors (attackers) in this game. Their higher Aggression score made this more likely, along with them rolling a 5 when deciding the Aggressor, compared to the 3 rolled by Rheged.