Spotlight: Hail Caesar and the Viking Age

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We’re setting sail on some early medieval seas this week, with a lightning raid into the history behind some of history’s greatest explorers – the Viking Norse. If you’re looking to get into Hail Caesar, or try out the Shield Wall supplement, this is one of the best and most evocative places to start.

The Viking Age began, as you’d expect, with a murder. In 789, a group of Norwegian men anchored off the Isle of Portland on the Dorset coast. When ordered to report to the local chief’s manor to pay tax duty on their goods, they killed the official and headed back out to sea.

Four years later, a different group of raiders would sack the monastery at Lindisfarne, slaughtering the monks and carrying off their gold and silver.

A.D. 793. This year came dreadful fore-warnings over the land of the Northumbrians, terrifying the people most woefully: these were immense sheets of light rushing through the air, and whirlwinds, and fiery dragons flying across the firmament. These tremendous tokens were soon followed by a great famine: and not long after, on the sixth day before the ides of January in the same year, the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island (Lindisfarne), by rapine and slaughter. — Anglo Saxon Chronicle.

Over the next three centuries, hundreds of Viking longships would sail across seas and up rivers in search of plunder. While their conquests in the British Isles might be best remembered, their influence would spread as far as the Russian steppe and the courts of Byzantine Constantinople.

Viking raids were lightning fast assaults characterised by unmatched ferocity and brutality, storming poorly fortified settlements and massacring the inhabitants before vanishing on the ebbing tide. When fighting in open battle, the Vikings fought shoulder to shoulder in close-packed shield walls, grinding through their opposition with swords and axes.

Viking Raiders in Hail Caesar

The early medieval period is an interesting and evocative place to get started with Hail Caesar. It’s packed with a wide array of bloody battles and skirmishes, from small raids on Saxon burhs to the defeat of the Great Heathen Army by Alfred the Great at Eddington. The Viking Army presents an interesting challenge to any hobbyist – packed with brightly painted shields and billowing banners.

The Viking starter army gives you plenty of models to get started with, including some ferocious berserkers and a heroic warlord. Adding our new metal command group gives you some variation for your unit leaders or some characterful personalities for skirmish games using the Shield Wall supplement.

You can find rules for fighting skirmish battles with individually based models in the excellent Shield Wall supplement. We’ve provided an army list for building your own Viking warbands below.

Viking Warband

Unit Name: Unit Type: Clash: Sustained: Short Range: Long Range: Morale Save: Stamina: Points: Special:
Chief Commander equipped with hand weapon, shield & metal armour 4 3 0 0 4+ 3 Tough Fighter 17
Huscarl Leader equipped with hand weapon, shield & metal armour 3 3 0 0 5+ 2 Tough Fighter 11
Berserker Equipped with double handed infantry weapon 5 1 0 0 4+ 2 Frenzied Charge, Wild Fighter 13
Hirdman Equipped with hand weapon, javelin, shield & metal armour 3 2 0 0 5+ 1 Steady 9
Bondi Equipped with spear, javelin, & shield 2 1 0 0 6+ 1 Marauder, Levy 7

Grab your Viking starter army from the webstore today!

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