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Dave Cronin
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Invasion 1066: The Battle of Hastings
This will serve as a review and an AAR for my latest go at the game. This was my first attempt at a game in the Invasion 1066 series. I chose to do the historical scenario and start on turn 3.



Session

Turn 3
It was an interesting turn and ultimately a difficult one for the Normans. The first ranged phase started out well, several house carl units were disrupted. However, attacks against the disrupted units did not go as planned. When the Saxons got their turn to retaliate they hit the Normans hard and were able to make the Flemish route (lucky roll of 6).



Turn 4
This turn became about trying to save as much of the Flemish force as possible. Eustace was able to bring a couple of units out of route and Odo was able to use his ability to save two more. The one bright spot was Fergant was able to fight his was on top of the hill. However, the Saxon housecarls continued to pile up the Norman casualties.



Turn 5
The Norman phase of the turn was working out great for them. The Bretons has forced their way onto the hill and had killed several housecarl units. Unfortunately, Fergant was killed in one of the close combats. Then during the Saxon phase, a route of the Brenton forces was triggered. With the loss of Fergant it looked like most of the Brenton units would be lost. This route triggered impetuous Saxons to pursue and kill several of the running units. The papal banner was also lost.



Turn 6
This turn gave a glimmer of hope to the Normans. The housecarl units routed and since most of them were stuck behind other units were eliminated. The Normans now had a direct shot to the soft underbelly of the Saxon army. Then during the Saxon phase an eliminated archer triggered a route of the rest of the Norman army. The only hope of restoring some of the units was to have them get slowed down by the creek and hope for good rolls.



Turn 7 + 8
These two turns basically were a regrouping of the remaining Norman forces and prepping for one last gallant charge. The aim of the charge would be to kill Harold.



Turn 9
Eustace lead the fight to the top of the hill a couple Saxon units were taken. Then the Saxons repulsed the attack and all hope of a Norman victory was lost.



Turn 10
The Saxon came down form the hill and slaughtered what was left of the Normans. The battle ended as an overwhelming Saxon victory.



Review

Game System – 6.5
I enjoyed the game system for the most part there were a few things I didn’t quite like. It seems like once the housecarl routes you will loose most of the units because they can’t pass through other units. I also did not like how charging units become disordered after the charge, made it hard to keep up the pressure as the Normans.

Game play - 8
The turn sequence seemed very smooth and consistent with this type of warfare.

Game Components - 10
For a small foot print game, I was really impressed with the quality of the game components the map is beautiful and the counters are on heavier material with great art work.

Fun - 9
I had a blast playing the battle and am look forward to playing the next game in the series. I love how there is more strategy then you think when you first look at the map.

Overall – 8.4


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Norman Smith
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Thank you so much for taking the time to do a turn by turn photo presentation of your game and I am obviously pleased you liked it.

The charge rule was written more with a view to a crusade battle, which it had been my intention to do, as in Hastings, despite the large numbers of Norman Cavalry, there is little opportunity to charge, as cavalry cannot charge up the slope (and in the Stamford Bridge game, cavalry are an option and there can only ever be units).

Though in your game the cavalry would have been released early because the Saxons attacked down off the hill and the mandatory advance after combat would have provided the early cavalry trigger.

It reminds me that I must get my copy out again. I have just started reading 'Harold, The King Who Fell At Hastings' by Peter Rex and published by Amberley, as I am doing a figure version of the battle on some hex based terrain, just for fun.
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Dave Cronin
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I was able to get a few charges in once the Saxons came down the hill. They just became juicy targets however after they had charged and were disorganized.
 
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Dave Cronin
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I was wondering if you had given any thought to expanding the series to a third game "The Battle of Fulford"?
 
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Norman Smith
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I get asked about Fulford from time-to-time and way back in the design history, I had considered this with a crusader game to make a Quad Game.

However, my feeling was that Senlac and Stamford are very different games in nature, despite having the same system. Hasting is a long tough grind up the hill .... though obviously yours wasn't (I have never seen a Norman collapse happen that quickly). While Stamford is a wild hack 'n slash games, with casualties almost at a shocking level compared to the first half of a Hastings game.

I just never felt that Fulford brought anything really new to the party that sat apart from the other two games that justified it being offered commercially as a stand-alone game.

As for charging cavalry, there is a time and place to use them - they fight perfectly well in the normal combat phase - using them during movement to charge, has to be justifiable and worth the risks and efforts made to reduce their vulnerability during you own turn - ideal targets are already disordered and / or with exposed flank and that together with the +2 cavalry charge bonus will be a difficult force to resist. But ideally the charge will come from a few units in a co-ordinated fashion to really harm the enemy. If you charge at a point in the game when casualties are high enough to cause routs, then the impact of a three unit charge can be devastating. Used as one off 'take a chance' charges against the front of fully functioning Housecarls is a recipe for disaster. You want the charge to eliminate the target, not disorder it and by doing so immediately make all associated morale checks for rout harder to pass by 1.

Though on this battlefield, the Norman cavalry rarely get an opportunity to enjoy the full benefits of the charge rule. The rule is there in the series rules for what at the time of writing were thought to be future battles in the system.
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Easy Alias
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I think the rout rule may have been misinterpreted in turn 6 of this one -- it's only units which are adjacent to an eliminated unit that may rout, per 9.1, whereas here it looks like entire lines have done so.
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Norman Smith
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Indeed, the idea being to show that routs happen very locally to start of with and it is only over time that wider collapse of an army happens.

By the time the Housecarls are routing, there are generally gaps for them to pass through due to early and mid game losses and the thinning of the rear Fyrd ranks as they drop down into the front line to replace fallen Housecarls.

I also note in one of the photographs, that the Saxons appear to be routing towards to Norman player edge, They should of course go the other way, to their own rear (series rule 9.5). The consequence is that they exit the map faster and so the casualty count for the rout calculation happens earlier.
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Dave Cronin
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yes indeed I misinterpreted the rout rules. I played the second game in the series and it made much better sense when I played it correctly.
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