“Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it” - Napoleon
Timurilank's 'Storm Within The Empire'
On the map are a number of realms which interact with the Frankish kingdoms; these are the Frisians, Saxons, Thuringian, Bavarian, Avars, the Lombard, the Italian Ostrogoth, Provence, the Byzantines, the Visigoths and Armorica. As a club project, the task of gathering enough willing players for such a campaign becomes quite difficult. Rather than design a system where a lesser number of players would be required, I decided to create a solo campaign system as finding a few willing club members to fight some battles in an evening is not that difficult.
Map: Situation at the start of 540 AD (turn 4)
Reviewing the Quick Play Campaign the next step was to revise this for solo use. The system needed a major change as accumulating ‘activity points’ to pay for movement, supply, reinforcements and such would reduce the game to a bookkeeping exercise for sixteen kingdoms. A simpler solution was needed that offered enough possibilities to represent activity to fill a ten year period. I wanted to retain the use of playing cards, some systems make use of them as event cards but this would require too much time to research. I did find a possible solution as there were websites that defined the symbolic meaning of cards, rather than foretell someone’s future it seemed possible to translate this to a ruling house. From a number of websites I accumulated sufficient detail to formulate possible actions.
I discovered after a few test, the sequence of cards helped generate a story for each kingdom, each turn. Alliances, invasions, rebellions, prosperous period of peace or famine were beginning to fall into place with each card drawn. Extra detail on the reference sheet added the season and month plus the positive and negative value of each card.
Record Sheet displaying each kingdom’s status.
What you are now following at the blog is the result of the modified campaign system. I have listed below a number of links presenting which will help you to experiment with your own campaign design.
Helpful links: MetasymbologyPutting on the suits Science of cards Royal Family The value of numbers
530 – 534 ADChlodomer dies in 530 leaving no heir to succeed him. Both Childebert and Theuderic seize on the opportunity to enlarge their domains, but first the Visigoths must be forced out of Aquitaine. Recalling the Burgundian debacle, a joint venture by Childebert and Theuderic is out of the question and Childebert solicited help form Chlothar. Their planned expedition was cut short by the unexpected incursions by Saxons and Frisians. Each moved to intercept the invading forces.
Accused by his brothers for instigating the invasions by Saxons and Frisians, Theuderic successfully seals an alliance with Burgundy; an agreement would ensure the protection of Burgundy against Visigothic aggression and safeguards Theuderic’s lands bordering Aquitaine. A union of the royal houses was planned for the following year.
The Bavarians march into Thuringian territory in 533 and defeat their army. The loss of their king in that battle forced the vassal kings of Thuringia to seek help across the Rhine to fight the Bavarians.
Battle reports: Childebert confronts the Saxons, Chlodomer the Frisians and the Bavarians clash once again with the Thuringian.
535 – 539 ADDuring the winter of 534, Childebert and Chlothar meet in Paris and discuss how best to deal with the current situation and postpone the campaign for Aquitaine. The Saxons had spent the winter near Bayeux this would mean more raiders would surely follow in the spring. Chlodomer had some respite as the Frisians favoured their island homeland more, but would certainly return the following year.
Claiming Armorica as a vassal state, Childebert ordered its troops to meet with his forces near Bayeux to deal with the Saxons in the spring. The Bretons eagerly assembled its troops to meet Childebert, not at Bayeux, but at the frontier with sword and spear in hand to discuss this misconception of ‘vassal state’. Seething with anger, Childebert assembled the army to deal first with the ‘revolt’ before marching on the Saxons. Further to the south, the Visigoths expand their hold in Aquitaine.
Theuderic did not live long to enjoy his victory over the Bavarians, but his death in 534 did bring small joy to Childebert and Chlodomer as both were recovering from humiliating setbacks by Saxon and Frisian armies. Theuderic was succeeded by his son, Theudebert, an experienced commander having gained a reputation in the wars across the Rhine and a skilled diplomat as he was the principle architect of the treaty between Metz and Burgundy.
As the winter of 539approached, both Childebert and Chlodomer rebuild their lost manpower and more importantly the finances needed to sustain it for the planned campaign for Aquitaine. The Visigothic king knew this and was aware the failed Frankish mission to bring the Byzantines into the proposed conflict as the East Romans were too involved in Italy to help. The most important question for the moment was ‘what is Theudebert planning? ‘So many things to consider.
Battle reports: Theuderic strikes the Bavarians, Childebert contests a Breton rebellion, Saxons raid deeper into Frankia and the Frisians maul Chlodomer.
Childebert confronts the SaxonsChildebert finds the Saxon warband sacking a Frankish village flanked on two sides by hills. Deploying the militia to their front the tribal Franks take up a position on the left flank with the cavalry extending the line further. The intention was to have the mounted Franks encircle the Frisian horde and assault them from their rear.
Disturbed by the appearance of the Franks, the Saxons quickly formed deep columns and marched forward at a brisk pace.
A small detachment left behind to defend the village would keep the Frankish cavalry at bay. Childebert’s shield wall collapsed under the Saxon fury leaving his mounted group dangerously exposed. A quick assessment of the mass number of Saxons pouring through the Frankish line, Childebert called for a general retreat handing the Saxons a convincing victory (5 – 0).
Frisian pirates plunder the realm of Chlodomer The Frisians have deployed their battle line not far from their camp. Chlodomer formed his shield wall to face the bulk of the Frisian force and positioned his tribal warriors on the far left. These would attempt to flank the enemy line as the Frisians moved forward.
Noticing the hesitancy of the Franks to advance, the Frisians chose to clear the wood before making a general assault and so made the necessary adjustments in their approach.
The Franks countered this by advancing their line forward which had the adverse effect, the Frisians changed direction to fall on the Frankish shield wall and breaking it. Within minutes the battle was over as all Chlodomer could view was a oncoming wave of Frisian pagans leaving the corpses of nearly half the army soaking the battlefield (5 – 1).
Thuringia and Bavaria continue their feud. The Thuringian and Bavarians (top of the photo) deployed their armies in a narrow clearing between woods and a lake forcing both sides to form deep columns.
As their positions were askew of one another, both forces had to wheel their lines as they approached. In that moment, both sides secured the wood on their right flank.
The struggle was long and hard but the Bavarians persevered by killing the Thuringian king. Seeing this, the Thuringian warriors lost heart and fled the field (4g – 1).
Theuderic confronts the Bavarian threat.Theuderic confronts the Bavarians on a battlefield reminiscent of many previous; plenty of wood, marsh and lakes. The clearing between wood and marsh would allow sufficient deployment for both armies and each side formed their battle lines with reserves positioned as a second or even third line.
Theuderic moved his mounted force far to the right allowing room for troops from the third line to extend the main battle line. Theuderic placed greater reliance on the performance of his Riparian troops and these would form his centre and right flank.
The Bavarians charged first catching the Franks by surprise; both sides inflicted casualties. The decisive moment of the battle came with the loss of the Bavarian king thereby creating a moment of confusion. Theuderic seized his chance to charge home with his cavalry encouraging the Bavarians to flee the field giving the Franks a clear victory (4g – 1).
Childebert engages the Bretons Childebert viewed the non-compliance by the Breton as a rebellion and the Breton were more than happy to discuss the matter with the sharp edge of sword and spear. Half the Breton force was mounted giving them an advantage with their mobility. Childebert extended his infantry line reinforcing the left flank with extra troops. The Frankish cavalry formed a reserve ready to counter any attack attempted by the Breton cavalry.
Seeing no flank attempt on his left, Childebert quickly advanced his line to overwhelm the Breton infantry.
Both lines were heavily engaged with the Breton gaining a slight advantage of casualties inflicted. Sensing the moment right for committing the Frankish cavalry, the Breton cavalry suddenly appeared as an apparition. This gave the Breton tribal infantry time needed to crush their militia routing the remaining Frankish infantry to gain a clear victory (4 – 1).
The Saxons meet Childebert for the second timeSmarting from the defeat dealt by the Breton, Childebert was forced to meet the Saxons near their encampment at Bayeux. With the shoreline protecting his left, Childebert used the marsh to cover his right flank.
The Saxons adjusted their battle line as they approached to match that of the Franks; as they were in no hurry to attack.
The Saxons destroyed the Frankish shield wall in quick tempo sending a shock wave to the cavalry forming the Frankish reserve. The breakthrough on the left was the last step needed to see the battle could not be turned around. Childebert sounded the general retreat leaving the Saxons the field (4 – 0).
Chlodomer battles the Frisians Unaware of Childebert’s defeat from the Saxons, Chlodomer decides to confront the Frisians on similar ground. The Franks used a novel deployment of a small first line supported by a longer second line not far from their camp.
Somewhat surprised by the unusual deployment the Frisians were determined to take the battle to the Franks if need be. As expected, the first line moved to new positions on either flank giving the Frisians no choice but to clear both woods before moving ahead.
After clearing both woods, the Frisians engaged the main battle line of the Franks. The gaps created by Frankish casualties were quickly filled by the cavalry reserve. Repelling the cavalry strengthened the Frisian resolve to continue with the slaughter of the Frankish militia and tribal infantry; the loss of the latter tipped the scales for the Frisians giving them a convincing victory, but not without some losses (4 – 2).