The Norman warlord, Alan Rufus steadied his nervous horse and gazed at the Saxon lines and the village beyond. He knew how formidable the row of shields looked but smiled as he remembered that those 4 years earlier had been almost identical yet had still broken in the end.
His Lord, no his King, William had given him lands and riches and now required Rufus to come with his retainers and help him break the resistance that had erupted in the North. An uprising? Don’t these filthy Saxons know when they are beaten? And led by a Priest too. A clergyman inciting rebellion against their King, ordained by God!
As the warriors assembled, Rufus drew his sword and ordered his vanguard to attack. Blood would be spilled this New Years day, 1070.
The Harrying of the North, 1070 – Saga Campaign Turn One
The opening game in this campaign used Champions of God scenario from the Crescent and Cross. We bid for scenery as per the rules and being a Norman player I didn’t want too much terrain blocking lines of sight and impeding my cavalry. I was lucky that we had a couple of woods and some small rock formations which were mostly on the flanks.
Phil formed a near perfect Saxon shield wall which I hoped to flank and give him something to think about.
After short and ineffective exchange of arrows, especially since shooting casualties are not counted for victory points, lance and shield clashed.
I normally use Stamping, Terrified and Gallop as my key Saga abilities and this combo succeeding in whittling down the numbers to bring most of his units under the required strength to capitalise on key Saxon abilities.
Father Sweyn the Saxon religious advisor is very good for keeping fatigue down so my own became a concern. My flanking attack didn’t do much except be an annoyance and I was lucky with some dice rolling.
In the end a spearhead of knights and warriors and a cheeky sacrificial charge from my bowman to build up fatigue succeeded in destroying key units and my Warlord saw his chance at riding down a weak Priest. Or so he thought…
|Things look a bit sticky on the flank - thanfully for them the game ended|
The Saxon priest must surely have previously been a warrior of renown; he had used his Cross like a Dane axe and prevented Rufus from landing his killer blow. The death of their leader would surely have ended the futile rebellion, but no, those Saxons who had survived the vicious onslaught of hoof and blade somehow managed to wrestle their hero away and carried him bloodied but alive from the field.
Rufus drank from an offered flask and the taste of the rough apple liquor made him momentarily yearn for his Norman homeland. There was work yet to be done. Victory was not yet assured and vowing to make the Saxons pay for their impudence, turned his eyes to the nearby village of Lundsby.