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Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Thoughts on Saxon strategy rss

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Bruce Mansfield
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This is a fascinating game and it's been a lot of fun digging into it. But I'm really struggling to figure out the Saxons. They have been a real challenge. At the start of the full scenario have a number of hurdles to clear:

- They start with no forces on the map.
- The seas from which they Raid are both Patrolled, with an automatic -3 Raiders due to Roman Forts at start.
- Potential Raiding spaces in the east are mostly on the road network, making them easy Intercept targets for Cavalry.
- They are limited to 3 Raid target spaces and do not get free Raids like the Scotti.
- Saxons start with only 10 starting Renown.

Considering all of that, it seems the Saxons need to focus on achieving the following goals:

1. Raid, raid, raid to gain Renown.
2. Reduce the number of Forts along the Saxon Shore, either by Assault or Event.
3. Raid Iceni, a fens space without a road.
4. Raid Parisi or Corieltauvi with a sizeable force to reduce enemy Strongholds and break Briton Control. This will sever the road south. If the Saxons get lucky with their Settle rolls, they may be able to place a Settlement here.
5. Establish a Settlement, preferably in a fens space. This gives the Saxons a new Raiding base not impacted by Roman patrols.
6. Remove enough Civitates Strongholds to reduce Civitates VP below their threshold, to prevent an early Civ victory. This usually requires assistance from the other Factions.

This is what I've come up so far.

Any thoughts?
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Jay M
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bcmansfield wrote:

Any thoughts?


Only that I wish my copy would arrive so I can dive into good threads like this one.

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Morgane Gouyon-Rety
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Ah, the Saxons. The answer is simple: as a Frenchman of Celtic (Breton and Scottish) descent, I hate the Saxons and so they are hopeless and cannot possible win ;-)

Seriously, the Saxons have a ton of potential and a wealth of options, but they are also faced with indeed a very daunting challenge at the onset of the game.

Their first advantage is that they have (except under Fragmentation) the luxury of two sets of victory conditions, and hence tremendous flexibility and even ability for deception as to what their actual aims are.

Second, once they have established a secure base with a few Settlements (ideally in their cherished Fens), they can very easily field large numbers of excellent troops. That makes them, typically, the most dangerous in the mid game, when the power of the Dux has waned, and places them on a direct collision course with the Civitates as they are both vying for Control, and peak in the same time range. However, if they cannot close out the game with an auto-victory before the completion of the six Epochs, they tend to lose out to the Scotti who usually are super flush with Renown (but struggle to secure their 4 Strongholds)...

Now, this is all fine and well, but if they can't get that first foothold secured on the island, none of that may come to pass. And when you are playing the Saxons and get regularly skinned by naval patrols and interception cavalry, all of this may seem like a tall order indeed...
All the points you are listing are very valid: reducing the number of Forts along at least one coast is often critical to be able to establish that foothold, Iceni is a natural haven for early Settlement with its roadless Fens weakly defended (at least in the initial setup) - though the Saxons, as shown in their victory conditions in the Barbarian Conspiracy scenario, need to have more than one base, always susceptible to a decided Briton campaign -, Parisi and Corieltauvi are the weak links in the road network allowing to isolate the Northern troops from the Saxon targets in the South (Parisi is easier but also easier for the Dux to retake and consolidate).

Renown is important but not necessarily critical in the early game. A Saxon that does not trigger the Leadership Change condition at least once or twice is either very lucky or not trying hard enough. Remember that there is no point finishing an Epoch with a little bit of Renown, since you get back to 10 anyway... Briton Control must be monitored, but usually is not the primary issue in the early game (Total Prosperity and Prestige is), so make sure to remove enough Prosperity from the map, even if you can't Return it. This is where Ravage can come handy, especially with its dual effect on Prosperity and Controlled Population, though the long-term effects of Population reduction can come back to haunt you if you end up conquering these Regions...

Now at some point you will want to have enough Renown so that Adventus Saxonum is playable, not necessarily to play it as soon as possible, but to threaten the Britons with that and make them think twice before they rob you of warriors... After all, Adventus can only happen once (though there are some events who are weaker versions)...

Now, speaking of Foederati, this is one important dimensions of the Saxon game. Of course these mean troops that are not available for you, and who will often actually fight you. But they also represent a potentially significant source of Renown (I've seen Saxons racking 10+ Renown through Annona), which can be handy if pursuing a Renown-based strategy, provide free and safe Settlements, not to mention, of course their potential to eventually rejoin the national fold, often with devastating effects... They can also be a very effective way of getting rid of annoying Saxon Shore Forts, especially through shaded Tribal War events...
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Joel Tamburo
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It should be noted that the Saxon Surprise feat is also tailor made for breaking up the Saxon Shore system, as it gives you a better shot at cracking Forts - and really even if you crack just one it is telling.

Also, whenever possible Raid using the 2 Renown option to roll 3d4. And be prepared to do it over...and over...and over again.
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Ben McClellan
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I've played 3 solo games now, using the bots as guidance but overriding them when I felt necessary. Your steps 1-6 are almost exactly what happened, all 3 times. The Saxons and Civitates essentially fought to a stalemate in the regions around Iceni - a few better dice rolls I think would have given them the win.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Hooray! it appears my thinking is at least on the right track!

I just finished a 2-player/2-bot game with my son this weekend. We were the barbairan horde--he the Scotti, me the Saxons. I was pretty much focusing on Iceni, Corieltauvi, and Parisi to make a nuisance of myself with the aim of establishing a permanent foothold in Iceni, then spreading from there. I was making headway, but our inexperience, probably rules errors, and some fortunate events for the bots & a fortunate first Epoch stopped all that dead--Imperium dropped to Autonomy & we hadn't beat down the Civitates quite enough.

I knew I was in trouble at the first event card. Dux got to play first, and jumped on the event: Cair Legion right off the bat. Then Camelot showed up soon after such that we weren't able to stop the Civitates from grabbing it. That hurt. Then I failed to hold Parisi & the Dux marched a big pile of cavalry South. shake

It was only our first game, so we were trying to learn the mechanical part of the game as much as strategy, and I know we made errors in that (I goofed up the Escalade/Storm sequence and was going to amend our play after the Epoch). I plan to set it up again tonight & run solo vs the bots to get a better handle on things.
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Morgane Gouyon-Rety
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Parisi is vulnerable early, and so useful to slow down the shift of Dux Troops North to South, but it's relatively easy to recapture and strengthen (for instance with Foederati or a Fort). Corieltauvi is tougher, with both a Fort and a Town, but much more sustainable... But then, the key is that first stronghold, which can be Iceni but also Regni (which is not Fens, but has no Road either), from which hordes of Raiders can roam without caring about sea patrols...
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