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Early Medieval Wargaming

This category contains 14 posts

The Last Wars of the Western Empire Part 5: Arles, 411

Introduction Our first scenario concerns a battle between two ‘Roman’ armies. It is one of very few battles of this period for which we have been left any reliable information about the tactics used, and that only by chance. Examining this battle allows us to pick up some points made earlier in this series about … Continue reading

The Last Wars of the Western Empire: Part 3: Barbarians and Barbarization

Fourth-century ‘barbarisation’ and fifth-century foederati The so-called barbarisation of the Roman army has sometimes been argued to have been one reason for the Empire’s fall.  The traditional view (one that goes right back to Zosimus, a pagan historian writing in the early sixth century) is that the Empire recruited ever more barbarians, who in some … Continue reading

The Age of Arthur: Post Roman Britain for the Historical Wargamer Part 11: Campaign Scenario 1: The Eagles have Flown

The Scenario The bid by the British officer Constantine ‘III’ to become western emperor has failed. Realizing this, the commanders in Britain have expelled his officers and agents and declared their loyalty to the Emperor Honorius in Ravenna.  But things are difficult.  Society and economy are in turmoil, and the cabal of officers ruling the province … Continue reading

The Age of Arthur. Post-Roman Britain for the Historical Wargamer, Part 10: Campaign Rules

(This originally appeared inWargames Illustrated 163 (April 2001), pp.21-24 ) Introduction In Part 9 I set out a scenario generator.  This time I expand upon that into more extended campaign scenarios.  There will be a set of rules for more detailed campaigns, and then three historical scenarios, with specific rules and details: ‘The Eagles have Flown’ (early … Continue reading

The Age of Arthur. Post-Roman Britain for the Historical Wargamer, Part 9: Scenarios (1): Mapless Campaign System and Scenario Generator

(This originally appeared in Wargames Illustrated 162 (March 2001), pp.22-28) Scenario generator for early medieval warfare. You will need: 1 deck of cards (with 2 jokers); 1 D6; 1 Average Die.  Note pad and pencil. This system is designed to furnish a context or ‘scenario’ for tabletop battles with fairly small armies, set within the … Continue reading

The Age of Arthur. Post-Roman Britain for the Historical Wargamer, Part 8: Figures, Lists and Rules

(This originally appeared in Wargames Illustrated 149 (Feb. 2000), pp.21-24) In this part we turn from establishing the evidence for a military history of post-Roman Britain and for the appearance and fighting styles of the post-Roman British warrior, to take a critical look at the basic wargames resources available for the ‘gamer interested in this period.  … Continue reading

The Age of Arthur. Post-Roman Britain for the Historical Wargamer, Part 7: The Nature of Post-Roman British Warfare

(This originally appeared in Wargames Illustrated 148 (Jan. 2000), pp.13-16) So far we have had a fairly thorough look at the written and archaeological evidence for the period 400-600 in Britain.  Although this has necessitated some fairly detailed general history, I hope I have shown why this is important to the ‘historical wargamer’.   For some … Continue reading

The Age of Arthur. Post-Roman Britain for the Historical Wargamer, Part 6: The “Britons” and the Highlands

(This originally appeared in Wargames Illustrated 147 (Dec. 1999), pp.62-63) In the last instalment, we looked at the lowlands of the old Roman provinces of Britain, and at the weaponry of the warriors who lived there.  This month we move up into the highlands of the old ‘military zone’: Wales, the west country and the … Continue reading

The Age of Arthur. Post-Roman Britain for the Historical Wargamer, Part 5: The “Saxons” and the Lowlands.

(This originally appeared in Wargames Illustrated 146 (Nov. 1999), pp.41-44) We left the story of Arthur’s Britain with the end of the Roman state.  This had produced a collapse in the structure of society and economy and something of a political vacuum.  The army seems to have withdrawn to the lowlands in the late fourth … Continue reading

The Age of Arthur. Post-Roman Britain for the Historical Wargamer, Part 4: The Archaeology of the End of Roman Britain.

(This originally appeared in Wargames Illustrated 142 (July 1999), pp.16-21.) So far we’ve seen that there is almost no reliable written evidence at all for this period: some names of leaders and battles, some details of kingship, federate settlement, religious and political thought, some possibly stylized poetic accounts of warfare, and that’s it.  What has … Continue reading