Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Battle on the Ice, an Hail Caesar AAR

My first AAR for 2014 are a sequal to one of the last battles I and Jonas fought during 2013 using our Blatic Crusas minis and the Hail caesar rules.


We used the same army lists as last time but a quite different terrain set-up there the main feature was a frozen river.

Movin on the ice...
As we stated that the scenario occur during the early spring and the ice was not safe to move on I made some simple rules to decide if a unit did fall in...

At the end of a units activation that at some part was on the ice the unit would have to roll 1D6 to see if they did get wet.

Modifiers to the roll:
1 Move action on the ice +0
2 Move actions on the ice +1
3 Move actions on the ice +2
Skirmish unit -1
Infantry unit/Dissmounted horse +0
Mounted unit +1
Close Combat +1

Effect of the Ice-roll
1-5 No effect.
6 Some of the men in the unit falls in and are lost, Unit Stamina -2.
7+ The ice crach beneth the unit that falls in and are lost for the rest of the game. Make a hole in the ice that are as big as the unit, that area are from now impassible terrain, if you didn´t bring a boat to the battle...

13th Century, Somewhere in Karelia...Both the Swedes and the Novgorodians have been out harassed the poor locals and bump in to each other by a frozen river...but it is spring in the air so the ice arn´t that safe...

Both forces approacing the frozen river on their way back to home with the spoils of war...

Jarl Birger make a swift advance with the Knights to the river, eager to get in to the fray. Bishop Thomas seems to have stoped the ledung infantry to pray before the up-comming battle...

Also Chief Kaleva the Suomis leader order his warband out on the ice to engage their Karelian nemesis allied with the Novgorodians...

On the oposing side of the river the Novgorodian horse archers have already moved out on the ice without doupt... but Prince Alexander dosen´t dare to move his druzhina out on the fragile ice...

The Swedish Jarl Birger dosen´t hesitate to move the heavy Knights out on the ice that start to sound a bit odd as they move... In a swift move the Novgorodian horse archers are within shooting range and the Bishops Knights take the first hits...

To support his Horse archers Prince Alexander order his druzhina out on the ice... BUT they havent come far as the ice disappear beneathe their hooft, and both of Prince Alexanders druzhina units as well as the Prince are in the cold icy water and out of the battle...

Despite the loss of their beloved Prince the remaining parts of the Novgorodian force advance to the river to counter the crusaders...

At last Bishop Thomas was finished with his morning prayers and ordered the Ledung to advance to support the glorious knights... that didn´t hesitate to charge in to the karelian pagans on the riverbank...

Somehow the pagans manage to hold their ground...

...AND to force the Bishops Knights to retreat back out on the ice...

...the frenzied Pagans even made a follow-up charge...

...AND managed to finish off the poor Knights, that now are considered saints...

Bishop Thomas was devistated by the loss of his Knights and ordered the Ledung Infantry to form a shield wall and start shooting at the pagans...

...as the Ledung infantry moved forward the pagan, they opened for the Novgorod militia to start to shoot at the remaining Knights under command of Jarl Birger...they had to retreat due to all incomming missiles...

...and the ice broke under them and Jarl Birger was also out of the fight...

Bishop Thomas had to save the day, he ordered the Ledung to charge the pagans...

...it was indeed a costly victory for the crusaders as one of the Ledung units fell throught the ice as they destroyed the pagans...

...due to the loss of the Ledung soldiers the Crusaders broke and started to run, as the Novgorodians didn´t have any cavalry left most of the fleeing crusaders maed it back home...

Indeed a greate game, even as I lost it. The Ice was realy treacherous and it was a fun addition to the game. Jonas almost called it a day as he very early in the game lost his Prince Alexander and the druzhina, but he keept on fighting and won it all by the end...


  1. What a great looking game and very different, I really like how you added the rules for the ice and yet despite this the game stayed balanced even with losses. Great report once again Michael

  2. Really interesting game with those rules about the ice, Michael. This river will be a heaven for future archeologists!

  3. Loved the rules about the ice and a great AAR as always:)

  4. Great AAR Michael!

    And talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat! To be honest, I was quite surprised when I managed to win this game.

    When Alexander and both his units of druzhina fell through the ice in turn 3, without having accomplished anything, I pretty much thought this was going to be a sure loss. But I decided to at least go down fighting and formed a defensive line on the banks of the river. I wasn't going to risk any more troops on the treachours ice!

    Instead I stood back and let the Swedish crusaders advance towards my troops, while I shot back with all I had – javelins, bows and crossbows. I confess I got pretty lucky at this stage, and managed to roll a bunch of 6:s at critical times: when shooting it lead to Michael having to roll several failed morale tests which forced his troops either to halt or to retreat; and then when testing for the ice both his general and a Ledung unit fell in the water.

    And so, another glorious victory was recorded in the chronicles of Novgorod (but strangely they don't mention Alexander falling into the water ...).

    I think maybe the crusaders got a little too cautious and instead of trying to attack all at once, which I would have a very hard time standing up against, they attacked in smaller waves which was more vulnerable to the Novgorodians' fearful shooting and the hard-hitting Pagans. But after seeing the fate of Alexander and his druzhina I certainly can understand his cautiousness!

    All in all, a very fun game indeed!

  5. A very enjoyable and interesting game Michael. Having both armies fight over an icy river was ,dare I say it, the icing on the cake!!!

  6. Bravo, great report! Great idea! Great photo! Super figurines! Very fun! I love it!

  7. Very entertaining AAR! I can almost feel the cold.

  8. Splendid, simply splendid...

  9. Great AAR yet again! The Novgorodian banners look splendid, where are they from, prey tell?

    1. As I lack the artistic talent of the good Dalauppror, I cheated and used the banners sold by Little Big Men Studios. Highly recommended!

  10. Splendid AAR, armies and twist! I thought the Nov were sunk (literally and figuratively) but Jonas stuck with it. Thats an important reminder to all gamers...never give up! :-)

  11. A highly entertaining and close fought AAR and looks just great too!


  12. Looks like a fun game. I like the addition of the ice rule.
    Always a beauty to see your winter table.

  13. Excellent report Michael! Love the photos!

  14. Ah what a great scenario. Looks great and sounds like a really fun game

  15. Thanks mateys ! Very appreciated comments !

    It was indeed a hard thought game and Jonas did realy well even loosing his general in a early stage.

    Best regards Michael

  16. Your AAR's always seem to amaze me. Really has it all! Cheers, Michael

    1. Very velcome comment Mike:) Thanks !!!

      Best regards Michael

  17. Very exciting battle. The ice was an interesting twist.

  18. Very nice battle, miniatures, and scenery. I have recently found an interest in this time period and was looking for more information on the Battle of Neva. I can't seem to find an accurate Order of Battle for both forces. Would you happen to know anything about this Battle? Thanks -- Joe

    1. Thank you Joe !

      The Battle of Neva 1240 are indeed a interesting part of the history, especial as the Swedes are involved;)

      You will never fins a accurat OOB for the battle because there isn´t one. It is not even sure it was a "Battle" it might as well just have been a large/small skirmish that in the Russian sourses was made a battle to give Alexande Nevskij his epitet. Not much are mentioned about it in the Swedish sourses, but that could be that all whriten sourses about it was keep at the Bishop at Åbo and his archive was burnt to the ground some hundred years later...

      Anyway if we assume that it was a battle the Swedish force would have been an ordinary Ledung fleet probably composed of around 50 snäcks with 30-40 men on each and maybe a few horsed on a few of them. Based on that we could assume that the force would have been composed of about 1500-2000 and if luckey 100 horses. The Swedish Leader are not known vut it seems like the Bishop of Åbo would have been invloved as well as a Swedsish noblemen on the raise Birger Magnusson from the House of Bjälbo (Birger was later known as Jarl/Earl of Sweden, 2nd of the king and also founder of the town Stockholm that later capital of Sweden)

      The force would all have been a mixture of Spearmen and archers that would fight in a mixed formation and shieldwall as well as a few mounted "knights" as a hard hitting strike force.

      The Novgorodians brobably was composed as the Force at the Battle of Lake Peipus 1242.

      Here are some of my erly blogpost about this period:


      Best regards Michael