Saturday, September 17, 2011

Valerium Noctum: 792ad

Arranging a game in a rush, I had to come up with two armies in a hurry too.  And so my game of Hail Caesar in the week was a hypothetical battle between a regional Ottonian King and Norse raiders led by Ragnar the savage.

The Ottonian foot drew up between woodland and some enclosed fields, whilst the Norse, under first time player and recent Roman army buyer Chris, took a wide frontage including a hill to face them.  The Norse were aware that a major part of the Ottonian army was not present but probably roaming the fields attempting to outflank them, so speed was of the essence.

The Norse came on with enthusiasm, whilst the Ottonians decided to hang back and thicken their main lines.  Outnumbered two to one and outclassed in most every way, they had to rely on holding on long enough for their King to appear.

Perhaps fortunately the Norse Hird and Besirkir, their most potent troops appeared to either be being held back in reserve or still to be drunk from the night before.  Therefore the weaker Bondi led the Viking attack, chasing off the Frankish skirmishers before crashing against the lines of spears repeatedly.

The bishop leading the Ottonian levy managed a stirring job of holding the tidy, and by making counter attacks whenever possible, the Franks managed to weaken the edge of the Norse attack.  The Beserkir in particular came off worse in a series of engagements with a dense shieldwall of levy.  Still the Ottonian losses began to mount up and after an hours fighting they were close to breaking.

But at this point the rallying cry of the Frankish king and the thunder of hooves chilled the Norseman's blood.  The Ottonian cavalry arrived en-masse; outflanking the Norse Hird and smashing through it.

The Norse scattered in the face of an unstoppable charge of armour and flesh, long spear and sword.  But the centre refused to budge, and like many a Viking before them attempted to stand and fight to the death.

And to the death it proved.  Though some of the cavalry were eventually stopped, Both the Norse commanders were cut down in combat, and with the remaining Hird already heading for the boats, it was clear that another victory had put the lie to tales of the northern supermen.

Chris greatly enjoyed his game, and thought the rules were something he could get in to; which is a relief, as he has spent good money on a Roman army.  I gave him a pep talk on how to set them up after the game, as he is new to historical gaming, and five minutes on the basics is going to do you no harm is it.

So Hail Caesar has another convert, and we are hopefully getting to a stage where I can consider organising big games like I have for Black Powder.

Which is obviously a good thing.


  1. I would certainly appreciate (as I'm sure some others would as well) a brief explanation/review of "Hail Caesar" for those of us who have never played it (or "Black Powder" for that matter).

    Perhaps you could devote a post to that end. You know, what you like about it, what is necessary to play, how complex, why you prefer it to other ancients rules, etc.

    -- Jeff

  2. Nice looking game and a good report too. Nice to see the Vikings getting a run . We are still yet to have a crack at Hail Caesar but I am looking forward to it.