02 December 2009

Thinking About Vikings

I have recently become fired up about gaming in the Dark Ages. I've spent a lot of time looking through the various sets of rules that I've acquired (Field of Glory: Wolves from the Sea, Warhammer Ancient Battles: Shieldwall, and Terry Gore's Medieval Warfare).

In the back of the Gore book I found a brief order of battle for the battle of Stamford Bridge, pitting Vikings against Saxons just prior to the battle of Hastings. I've since read a few online accounts of the battle, which was a rather one-sided affair as the Vikings were caught off-guard by the appearance of a defending army and had sent their armor back to the ships while they goofed off in the river. I've also learned that Gore also published a campaign book featuring the battles of Fulford Gate, Stamford Bridge and Hastings as well as further books of army lists and scenarios for the period. Since I've already got some plastic Vikings I will probably start off with them and attempt to put together enough stuff to recreate these engagements.

The first order of business is to read some books on the topic. It's been a while since I've been excited to read anything so that's a step up for me. Second is to do some research on uniforms (or lack of) and the like. I've already got a few references assembled for that. Once I've got a fair understanding of how it all went down I can get my armies put together and hopefully pick up some of those other books, especially the campaign book. I had a heck of a time finding a U.S. distributor for them, but eventually stumbled on the website of Noble Knight Games, who have all of the books I was looking for at a reasonable cost. Now I just need to write my list up for Santa. Hopefully in the next few months I will have some concrete progess to show instead of mere scheming and dreaming.


  1. Current thinking is that the Vilkings used a shieldwall that was not as tight as the Saxons. Reasoning being that the Saxons Huscarl used his axe in a downward chop rather than the cutting style used by the Viking.
    Viking is a loose description with a number of variations possible. Danes, Norge & Rus were all differentiated in their clothing and weaponry.
    Personally I like the Norwegians and the kingdom of the Isles of Scotland.
    Don't forget the campaigns in Ireland and all that offers.

  2. It looks like I've got a lot to learn.

  3. If you want to be inspired, read Bernard Cornwells The last kingdon and keep going from there, there are 5 now, excellent read but set i 9th century so a bit before hastings, try Harold the king or wind from hastings, Harold the king is a masterpiece. I have numerous dark age audio books and listen to them while painting for inspiration, Gripping beast are on the verge of launching 28mm Plastic viking, under 20 quid for 44! If you want to swap ideas for ispiration or debate figures etc drop me a line at harpo6780@hotmail.co.uk I know my way around miniatures having pro paited for a couple of years and am a BIG dark age fan...