Sunday, 5 August 2012

Dux Bellorum: Playing through a game turn (Movement Phase)

Continuing the game turn...

After missile fire, the movement phase begins. This plays out in a set order, which sees the Aggressors Skirmishers moving first, followed by the Repeller’s Skirmishers; then all other Mounted, and then all other Foot move, Aggressor going first each time.

One of the Northumbrian Skirmish units cannot move as it used its bows in this turn; the other Northumbrian Skirmisher, out wide on the battlefield’s flank, may try to move – it’s armed with javelins, so even if it had conducted missile fire, it would still be able to move. To move, the Northumbrians need to take a Bravery test, rolling equal to or under the unit’s Bravery score to succeed. Foot Skirmishers have a Bravery of 8, so the roll of 7 means they’re able to move as the player wishes. Individual units may move in any direction they wish, up to their maximum move, so the Skirmishers head off at the trot towards some nearby woods, which will make them a harder target to damage.

Now that the Aggressor’s Skirmishers have moved, the Repeller’s Skirmishers may do the same. Rheged’s Foot Skirmishers want to make a beeline for the same woods, but fail their Bravery test by rolling a 10; they may not move at all this turn. Rheged’s Mounted Skirmishers are next to move, and intend to move away from Oswald’s now rather angry Companions; however, before the Mounted Skirmishers take their Bravery test, Oswald announces he will spend his Companions’ LP to interrupt the move sequence; ah, so that’s what he was up to! By spending the LP, he can move his unit out of the normal sequence, allowing his Companions to act swiftly and charge the Mounted Skirmishers before they move away. Oswald spends his LP, and takes a Bravery test to see if his Companions charge – with a Bravery of 10, the Companions’ roll of 6 means that they move forward into contact with the hapless horsemen, stopping at the first point of contact. If Urien had spent his LPs more wisely, the Mounted Skirmishers might have had their own LP to cancel out Oswald’s interruption.

All Skirmish units have tried to move now, so Rheged’s other Mounted units move next; there are no Aggressor Mounted in this game, so the sequence skips through to Repeller Mounted. The group of Rheged Companions and Noble Riders passes their Bravery test and moves into contact with the solitary Northumbrian Shieldwall; the Noble Riders have a Bravery of 9 and the companions a Bravery of 10, and a Bravery test is always taken against the best Bravery within a group. The units both contact the front edge of the Northumbrians. Oswald considers spending LPs to interrupt the move sequence again, but realizes that his 3 LPs could all be cancelled out by the 3 LPs allocated to the Rheged group, so decides to keep his LPs back to use in close combat. The other Rheged Noble Riders decide to charge into contact with the same Northumbrian Shieldwall; their Bravery is 9, but they roll an 11. Urien wants to press home the attack, so spends the 2 LPs allocated to those Riders on boosting their Bravery, temporarily bringing this up to 11 and allowing them to pass their test. Although the Noble Riders contact the outnumbered Shieldwall on its flank edge, this will still count as a frontal attack because the Riders did not start their move entirely behind the target unit’s front edge. Oswald couldn’t spend LPs to interrupt this move, even if he’d wanted to, as his Shieldwall was already in contact with an enemy. For the moment, this close combat looks as though there will be only one winner.

As all Mounted units have now tried to move, Foot units go next, starting with the Aggressor’s units. Northumbria’s Irish allies had expected to make an uncontrolled charge at an enemy unit within range, but that unit (the Rheged Noble Riders) has now moved out of the Irish charge distance. Instead, they’ll have to content themselves with trying to move into a position to strike next turn. Passing their Bravery test, the Irish elect to move as a group, which means they can either move directly forward or wheel forward at an angle; group moves are pretty inflexible. They wheel into a position to follow those Rheged Noble Riders – maybe next turn they’ll have a chance of catching them from the rear, giving a crucial advantage in close combat.

The group of four Northumbrian Shieldwalls passes its Bravery test and moves forward; needing to move through some marshy land to approach the action, the units break into individual units upon contacting this and can only move half of their remaining move distance into the marsh (which is area terrain).

Urien wants to keep his Warriors in check, preventing them charging into contact with the Northumbrian Skirmishers as that will pull them away from the action next turn. Warriors will make an uncontrolled charge at enemies within move distance, but to avoid them doing so, Urien can try to make them fail a Bravery test and not move at all. Each unit tests individually, and upon seeing the results, Urien decides to spend his LPs to make one of his units fail the test (the reverse of the usual way of using LPs for Bravery tests). Even so, 2 of the Warriors charge into contact.

Urien’s Monks move as Shieldwall, but decide to stay put this turn, as they’re well positioned to spend their LPs next turn; and finally, Urien holds his Stampede in reserve, hoping to crash them into an enemy unit later in the game.

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