Last week, Bob and I playtested Alex's fast-play Dark Ages ruleset. The game ended with Bob's Britons laying dead at the feet of my savage Saxons.
After a bit of talking in which Bob and I discussed our opinions of the rules with Alex, we reset the table. This time Alex would be commanding the Britons, with Bob and I both taking half of the Saxon units. Bob would cross at one ford, and I at the other.
Alex used his two turns of unimpeded movement to get his units across the river and turned to receive the oncoming Saxons. His Skirmishers took cover in the woods - being the only units that could.
Much like the first game, Alex used his Infantry to stop the approaching Warbands at the river. Bob, however, decided to attach his Hero and Banner to the second unit - unlike me, who had placed them in the front rank. This would prove crucial, as the bonuses the Hero and Banner provided would be much more useful against an Infantry unit already battered and bloodied.
On the left - where I was in command - Alex decided to pull his Infantry further back, prompting my Warbands to move quickly across the river. Alex then decided to get a little tricky with his movement. He whipped his Cavalry around the side of the ruins, placing them at an angle that forced my lead Warband into a fight with his Infantry. Alex's Cavalry could then attack at range and then charge my Warband's flank at his pleasure!
You'll notice, of course, a distinct lack of cavalry in the above picture. That's because the second Warband unit moved 13" in a single turn and, slamming into the Cavalry at speed, routed them in a single round of combat! Rather than be flanked, Alex's Infantry fell back out of combat and began to move to a new defensive position, aiming to quickly reach the top of the hill.
Only taking a quarter of the wounds done, Alex's Infantry stand strong at the river's edge, routing one of Alex's Warband. They still took a few more wounds than was safe, however, and Bob's Hero began to prepare his Saxons for a charge into the wearied Britons.
Unfortunately, my Saxons turned out to be Olympian-grade sprinters, catching up and running down the fleeing Britons.
With only his Skirmishers on the hill, Alex decided to call the retreat. One again, it seemed that in these cut down rules, any numerical advantage greatly swung the game in favor of one player or another. It may also have been the scenario, which basically focused the game into two points on the table.
However, these games were beneficial to Alex, who has posted an updated ruleset to his own blog. Hopefully we'll get a chance to try out Alex's improvements and see how they change the game.