Saturday 22 October 2016

Mead sodden, blood soaked Irish - another Dux Bellorum disaster for Rheged

This week I was delighted to get my Dux Bellorum 10mm armies back on the table. Still one of my favourite games, still my favourite armies, but not used anywhere nearly as often as they should be. As we hadn't played in a while, we just threw down some terrain and randomly selected army tins. 

I was lumped with the Romano-British of Rheged again who - though glorious to behold on the battlefield - have a pretty bad track record against the Irish, who would be commanded by Brett. The Romano-British are a nuanced, mixed force. The Irish much more of a one trick pony/blunt instrument. But it's a good trick, and blunt force trauma always hurts. Brett also decided to soak his boys overnight in booze, making use of the Mead strategy. That meant his aggression factor when through the roof, compromised slightly by a lack of unit cohesion.

In the opening turns, my mounted companions and noble riders headed out to destroy his riders before the infantry clashed. As he broke his line of warriors up to lend support to Irish riders, I brought up my own common riders to intervene.

Before the Irish warriors could catch my noble mounted group, I threw my common riders into them with a full whack of LPs to aid them in combat. Meanwhile the nobility of Rheged charged square it the Irish riders. Rather than riding them down them (very much my intention and expectation), I rolled very poorly and Brett rolled lots of sixes. I was stopped dead in my tracks. My common riders were predictably beaten when faced by two units of noble warriors.

Over on my left, Brett sent his skirmishers off through the woods as my shield wall wheeled to take on the rest of his noble warriors. The Romano-British archers got off one good volley at long range before the lines crashed.

The Irish skirmishers emerge from the woods to threaten the Romano-British left flank. In the distance, it appears the British common riders have been destroyed while the Irish common riders manage to hold out further against the British companions and noble riders.

Another view of the infantry clash. My archers hold on surprisingly well against noble warriors, while my own noble shieldwall takes a hammering. It is always easy to blame the dice, but Brett would admit he rolled a vast number of 6s that game!

Crisis point. Having finally driven off the pesky Irish riders, my mauled companions and their noble friends now face Irish noble warriors.  On my left, my archers have been dispersed and the Irish skirmishers now harry the flank of my shield wall.

One of my noble riders heads up the hill to prepare for a flank charge. It would prove utterly  worthless as the Irish noble warriors managed to break my companions. Now, leaderless, my army was hanging on through sheer determination.

On the left, the Irish cleave straight through my noble shieldwall, removing half my army and forcing a morale check. In the ensuing panic, the left most shieldwall broke and fled leaving just one shieldwall and the two noble riders left on the table. The damned Irish had only lost their riders. At that point, I sounded the retreat and left the Irish in control of the table.

What can I say? Brett played aggressively. His Mead strategy gave him an extra dice each time he attacked while he used his Leadership Points to soak up damage. I relied on my higher protection values to help me out in the melees, but to no avail when he rolled 6 after 6 after 6. A great wee game of a great wee game. Dan Mersey has released a number of games since Dux Bellorum, but I hope that he is still immensely proud of this one. A true gem.


  1. I have Dux Bellorum, but not played it yet ... sounds like I'm missing out on a great game!

  2. nice, thank you. I like the 10mm armies, what frontage have you based them on?

    1. I use 60x30mm bases for my armies. Dux Bellorum handles any size, so long as base widths are consistent.

  3. Great set of rules. Your experience with cavalry sounds similar to mine. If I can actually get them to move, they inevitably get stuffed by poxy shield-wall infantry.

    1. Funny, just discussing this with a mate. Not sure what use they are, but there must be a use, so I am painting up more! :)

  4. Great battle report. I have to play a game of those rules some time.

  5. I am not at all sure that the shield wall as we tend to understand it was used by tribal armies in the Post Roman era. I think theie formations were looser, and more vulnerable to mounted attack.

  6. Hi there
    I have shared your blog post on 10mm Wargaming Facebook Page ( and 10mm Wargaming Facbook Group (

    Take care


  7. Great AAR, I love Dux Bellorum. My results seem to be a little more balanced when the Romano-British face off against the Irish. The Romano-British, when victorious, typically use the shieldwalls to pin the Irish warbands and use the Riders to smash a flank and roll the Warbands.