It’s summertime in Britannia… The crops are planted, this year’s recruits are trained and a Romano-British warlord’s thoughts turn to the good things in life: Raiding, Pillaging and Barbecue…
Things haven’t been easy in Camulodunum just lately; Sagramor and Gwenhwyfawr have been banging on about the lack of diversity in the court, Myrddin is furious that funding has been cut for his crystal healing centre at Ynys Wydryn, the Franks are threatening a trade war and on top of all that, the migrant crisis on the east coast is only getting worse. To be honest, it’ll be good to get out in the fresh air and away from the palace for a few days…
Aside from the Saxon migrant crisis, there is a similar, though smaller-scale problem with Irish tribes in the western civitate of Demetia. Governor Gerontius of Siluria has called for help, as the Irish settlers in Demetia have started raiding into Siluria. One warband even reached as far as Gerontius’ garrison at Nidum. The garrison commander managed to reach an accommodation with the Irish, agreeing to pay them in return for some work in resurfacing the Via Julia… Needless to say, the savages got payment up front, did half a job, used shoddy materials, stole the bronze statue of Jupiter (Best and Greatest) from the forum and ran off with all the half-tidy womenfolk!
I was shocked…
“Is this true, Centurion? Siluria had some tidy womenfolk?!”
“Oh they’re not that bad sir, once you scrape off the coal-dust… The trouble is that they only eat some local muck called ‘Alf-n-alf’ and they just can’t get it in Dumnonia, so they soon bugger off back to their Mam’s.”
Anyway, the insult to Jupiter (Best and Greatest) can’t go unpunished, so I’m leading a punitive raid into Demetia, to give those bare-arsed savages (excuse my Brythonic) a damned good taste of Romano-British spunk!
As we drive deeper into Demetia, the unmistakeable sound of diddlydiddlydiddlydiddly, barking guard-dogs and the hammering of scrap-metal breakers warns us that we are approaching an enemy encampment…
However, a wall of discarded rubbish, chariot-wheels and discarded carts creates a considerable military obstacle, making the camp impossible to storm without considerably stronger forces, so we will have to content ourselves with stealing a few pigs from the surrounding fields (they should be ample recompense for the loss of the Silurian women).
We are soon spotted and are met with the traditional Irish curse of “We know where youse lives!”
[In game terms, we were playing the ‘Cattle Raid’ scenario from the ‘Aetius & Arthur’ sourcebook: I was playing the British, while Ashley had Irish. As the attacker, we had to grab as many pigs as possible (there were six total) from the central strip of the table and get them back into our deployment zone by the end of turn 6. At the end of turn 6, each British unit with a pig gained 1 point – 5 or 6 points for the win, 3 or 4 for a draw and 0-2 for a loss.]
[My 6-point army consisted of my Warlord, one unit of 12 Levy Archers, two units of 8 Warriors, one unit of 4 Hearthguards and two units of 4 Mounted Hearthguards – two Mounted Hearthguards were split off to become Companions to the Warlord and the remaining Mounted Hearthguards were then combined into a single unit of six.]
[Ashley’s Irish were only allowed to deploy four units on table at the start. The remaining two units and the Warlord had to remain off-table until the first pig was grabbed. He deployed one unit of Mutts, a unit of 4 Hearthguards and two units of 8 Warriors.]
My Comitatenses have been in a foul mood since the last Mess Meeting. Sagramor had been winding them up with his ‘Diversity’ talk and they suggested that we should replace the Mess furniture with a single, large dining table! The nerve! Top table Mess dinners are traditional: I sit at the top table with my honoured guests and the Lower Orders all sit on the tables below me! It’s tradition! It’s good to be the Dux… This isn’t bloody Athenian Democracy we’re practicing here… For starters, we don’t have enough pederasts (which is a shame, as my feet are killing me).
The Comitatenses go to sulk on the right flank, which is fine by me, as I don’t want to talk to them…
Anyway, who ever heard of a ROUND table?! Do they even realise how big that’s going to have to be?! It’ll cost a bloody fortune and we’ll have to double the Mess subs!
Unfortunately, Gwenhwyfawr is on their side and she threatens to refuse me ‘marital rights’ unless I agree their suggestion… God knows I like being able to leave the privy seat up, so I’ll give in.
I’ll order the bloody Mess table… But they needn’t come crying to me if they want me to pass the salt and only then realise that they can’t reach the middle of it…
Anyway, the battle… As our battle-line advances, our porcine prey comes into view… She also has some pigs with her.
The Irish seem keen for a ruck and come on enthusiastically, with nary a scrap of armour between them. This should be a quick scrap for my lads!
“Levies! Hairy, bare-arsed ginger savages to your front: with a quiver of five rounds, in your own time go on!”
It’s first blood to the Levies, as an Irish Hearthguard drops to a well-aimed arrow.
“Derfel! Didn’t you read the bloody op order?! ‘Don’t grab a piggy until we’ve driven off the Irish, because the Irish Warlord and his remaining troops will come steaming out of the camp!”
“Not you as well, Centurion?! Does nobody bloody read orders in this army?!”
“Look Derfel, I warned you this would happen! You only have yourself to blame if you’re on the receiving end of the Irish Warlord, his hearthguards and his menagerie…”
“JUPITER (BEST AND GREATEST) ON A BIKE! Do I have to do everything myself?! Derfel, stop bloody crying at the unfairness of the Irish having javelins and just keep the Warlord busy while Bedwyr, Bors and I chop down a few of his hearthguards…”
“Aha! Chief Ashley O’Loonesy, we meet at last!”
“He was a nice chap, I thought… Shame really… Anyway, well done Bors, just pull those javelins back out of yourself and get back to the surgeon, there’s a good chap… That reminds me… We’re going to need some cocktail sticks for these sausages later, so see what you can find in the baggage… Derfel! When you’ve quite finished playing with the doggies, we have some pigs to catch!
“Well done Centurion! But that one’s a dog, not a pig… I’m sure it all tastes the same on the barbecue.”
“Watch out chaps! More of the buggers and these ones have axes!”
“Won’t you just die?!! Comitatenses… Some help here, please?! I’ll buy you your table without increasing Mess subs!””
“So that’s how it’s going to be, eh…? Still sulking on the right flank…”
“Right Centurion, that’s enough pigs! Get the hell out of there and watch out for those bloody Irish javel… Oh, too late…”
“Save the pigs!” At last the Comitatenses get stuck in, and not a moment too soon!
“Right lads, we’ve got enough pigs, now let’s get the Hades out of here!”
The Comitatenses have managed to damage the Irish, but have themselves lost a couple of men… We can probably get away with a smaller table now…
As Lord Derfel and the Warriors withdraw with their pigs, the Irish make a last, desperate attempt to stop us…
“SAVE THE BACON!!!” Dodging British arrows, the last unit of Irish Warriors sprints through the gap and hurls yet more javelins at the Centurion’s band of pig-thieves.
Sadly for the Irish warband, their javelins all dropped short or thudded harmlessly into shields as the Centurion’s boys closed ranks and saved our bacon!
Returning in triumph to Nidum, we were most disappointed to find that Governor Gerontius was not pleased…
“What’s this?! If you’d read your briefing, you would have realised that you gained one Loot Point PER UNIT WITH A PIG! As the Centurion’s unit has three pigs, that still only counts as one Loot Point and you’ve therefore seized a draw from the jaws of victory! You idiot! I’ve a good mind to-“
Governor Gerontius’ rant was ended with the sound of his head rolling across the forum floor…