Dark Age Kingdoms Rules
Dark Age Kingdoms
A set of Skirmish Wargame rules
for the tabletop.
Fight Vikings against Anglo-Saxons
just like the Television Series
Dark Age Kingdoms is designed to reflect the chaos of battle within this period of warfare. Once conflict ensues, it quickly becomes an individual duel to the death for most warriors. These skirmish rules were created to reflect this confusion and disorder on the tabletop battlefield.
Through the use of warrior actions and allowing targeted warriors to react, we think we had managed to achieve a fine balance for Wargaming in the Dark Ages period of British history.
The Dark Age Kingdoms rules was initially stylised for a Raiding Party sized Warband of 24 warriors. After publication and a lot more battles, it quickly became apparent that the rules had far more scope, so two editions were born: The Warband Edition (paperback) and The Noble Edition (hardback).
The latter includes all the rules of its predecessor, but expands on the rules in most sections, including new personalities and special characters. Completely new legendary characters have been added and the rules now number 146 pages instead of the 70 pages in the Warband Edition.
All the main factions have been included in the rules: The Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of Wessex, Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia, the Vikings, Celtic Romano Britons, Welsh and Brittonic Picts.
The new Gaelic Irish with their hounds and masters.
Your liege Lord commands and leads his Warband into battle.
Select your most powerful Lord to be the Warband Leader, the remaining Lords will become subordinate commanders that are capable of issuing orders to the expanded Warband and controlling breakaway parties or reserves.
All warriors must have an assigned class, this is their personal combat experience: Tenderfoot have none, Blooded have some, Seasoned have plenty and Veterans are just bad-ass warriors.
Furnish your warriors with weapons and armour to suit their role.
A veteran that performs an heroic feat can become a Renown Veteran, this grants him additional abilities and skills.
Eight personalities are available for a Warband, these allow warriors to be tailored, giving an additional level of skill to a warrior. Only one of each type can be used within the Warband, these are the Warband Banner Bearer, Blood Brothers (2), Bodyguard, Ealdorman, Eorling, Signaller and Weard Watcher.
The personalities are expanded with a Messenger, Zealot Warrior, Shadow Hunter and Pack Master.
Special abilities and skills are the mainstay of these characters, they use their abilities to benefit the Warband. You may have one special character attached to your Warband, such as a Blood Berserker, Eastern Mercenary, Weapon Master, Brute Warrior, Shieldmaiden, Custodian, Scribe, Mystic, Soothsayer, Huntsman, Druid or Monk.
You can now select two special characters for your larger Warband and expand your choice with a Fanatic, Wayfarer, Folk Healer and Chieftain Mercenary Leader.
Unique to the Noble Edition, these legendary characters are the folk heroes of the Dark Ages, saga’s and fables have been written of these legendary characters.
In a Legendary or Epic encounter, one of these legendary characters can be selected to fight with your Warband. They may even be accompanied by their own retinue of followers that are there to help and protect them.
This is where the Saga begins and Legends are made.
The Founding Principles
The Dark Age Kingdoms rules are based on two simple founding principles: Action and Reaction.
A Warband starts a bound with a finite pool of actions, these are discarded throughout the three rounds of each bound, until the only actions that remain are spent actions.
Actions consist of three distinct types: movement, missile and combat, these are split into three major action types: normal, special and command actions.
Supporting these actions are the minor actions of free, compulsory, optional and restricted actions. These actions tweak one major action and allow it to be embellished.
When attacked, a warrior is allowed to react, but its reaction is dependant on its facing towards its aggressor. Against a shielded hex-side a block reaction is used, on a weapon hex-side it’s a parry and against any frontal or side hex-sides the warrior may elect to attempt to dodge the attack.
Charge reactions allow the defender to guard against a charge, again it is facing dependent. The defender may elect to evade, brace, set spear, fire a snap-shot, counter-charge or just turn to face.
Reactions come at a cost, you must discard one pooled action from your actions pool.
It’s a game of tactical thinking and strategic planning, you don’t want to run out of actions before the end of the bound!
The encounter may incorporate a number of one-off use events or actions these come in the form of Event Cards or Noble and Legendary Actions.
The basic events pack of 100 cards and the expansion pack of 50 cards for the Noble Edition are both available free for download from Wargame Shop.
The event cards are optional, you can either select traits for your warriors in the Warband selection element of the rules, each trait reduces your available selection of event cards from a maximum of six. At the start of each new bound there is an event card renewal phase, but again it’s a trade off, you must discard an active command action for each event card that is renewed.
Event cards are then randomly selected, so you have to tailor your gameplay to incorporate the listed events, these can be of benefit to you or a hindrance to your opponent. Event cards also have a secondary combat capability that allows them to buffer a combat action.
A noble lord: Thegn, Kingsthegn, Ætheling or King will have a predetermined number of noble actions. Whilst the Ealdorman or Eorling personality and the Warrior Bishop, Bear Hunter or Merciless King legendary character have one noble action.
These are only available in the Noble Edition, but when used a noble action can inspire the entire Warband or just a select few warriors to execute free additional actions. The bearer of the noble action may also use it upon themself to increase their own combat capability.
Assigned only to legendary characters, a legendary action allows them to perform a fabled feat of renown. Each legendary character has a specified number of legendary actions which are outlined within the Noble Edition.
Event cards, noble and legendary actions have a one-off use, so it is essential that their timing for maximum effect is gauged to perfection. This strategic thinking and planning adds another dimension to the gaming mechanics for the Dark Age Kingdom ruleset.