So with the last move of our game, I toy with the idea of going down in a blaze of glory with Alfred wading in among the Vikings and thinning their ranks before they fan out into the countryside, but the risk/benefit profile of that option in terms of still leaving the Vikings with a sizeable force to go forth and grab real or should I say Royal Estate, with the likely hood of not really making much difference.
Alfred returns to Cippenham and I throw in an Earl at Malmesbury rather as a gesture rather than expecting it to make much difference to the outcome.
The Viking response was fairly predictable, free to go anywhere they like in the knowledge that no one will come and get them if they do. On reflection I missed the opportunity to protect Wilton from a raid by Kings and Jarls from Readingum by the simple expedient of putting a warrior road speed-bump in the woods at the junction west of Basengas, but it really doesn't make much difference to a Viking minor victory.
With secure major bases in the south and west it is time to think of raiding all those exposed Viking outposts in June.
Turn 15 last turn
As it happens the Saxons do none of the possible moves I had considered and instead run for cover into Chippenham, this leaves me completely free to go wherever I want without the hindrance of having to fight unnecessary battles.
Malmesbury is an obvious target so I send Guthram and thirty-two warriors to attack it; The Reading garrison spreads out along the river picking up towns as they go. Everyone else grabs whatever towns that have been left unguarded, and there are quite a lot left unguarded!
The Jarls and Kings have ten movement points so this gives me a small but powerful strike force and I look around for viable targets. Winchester is tempting but being a castle I can only breech the walls on a 6 and whilst the Saxons will only hit me back with a 3 or a 5 , I don’t think I can sustain more then two failed attempts so I decide against it . Fortunately Wilton sitting nice and quiet in the rear area, with its head down hoping not to be noticed, is also just in range so that’s the place to go.
The Malmesbury attack breeches on the first turn so it’s a slaughter, religious Areas like Malmesbury are easier to get into being a 50% chance. The Defenders with no king to help them fail to hit in reply.
The attack on
is a little more stressful, it takes me three goes before I manage to get over the
walls however the defenders left leaderless by their betters are not interested
and miss on all their combat rolls, once across the walls I take pity on them
and only kill them and forgo despoiling their bodies.
Obviously spreading out like I do is because of the game mechanics, I know this is the last turn and that the Saxons cannot strike back at my dispersed armies however I prefer to see it in a different light.
I think a recently discovered passage from the Anglo- Saxon Chronicles puts it better than I can:
The Vikings did gather up all their stolen Horses and rampaged throughout the kingdom, the Saxons cowering in their palaces closed their ears to the cries of the poor and the dispossessed. The King Aethelred cared naught for his people, safe behind his walls he spent his time instead painting small figures and writing epistles. It was not long after that one dark night a hooded figure crept into the Kings bedroom and plunged a dagger into his worthless chest, the Prince Alfred was spared the wroth of the disaffected but there are some that say that this hooded figure was Alfred for he was well happy about being King.
So that is the end of our game, I hope you have enjoyed the play through as much as we have swapping our moves day to day and trying to bluff each other with the commentary you have seen getting written up during each move. One final post to come with Steve and my thoughts on our game play and overall strategy and then we can think about more fun in the Westcountry as King Alfred continues the fight with King Guthrum in 876 AD.