Actually got out to the Dueling Grounds last night for a game of Impetus with JJMicromegas from THMG. He kindly donated armies from his extensive collection of true 25mm figs, and we played Pyrrhus (me) vs his Persians. This was our first game of the full rule sets (prior games had been the basic version) so much of what we did was look up everything we were getting wrong ;) The game was 300 points, and deployment was pretty straightforward. He set up a command on his left, I deployed, and then he set up his second command.
In retrospect, I pretty much got things wrong from the beginning. We were pretty loose with terrain set-up, which turned out to be a serious mistake on my part. There is little in the Epirote list that can fight effectively in broken ground, and the really hitty parts of the army - pike, hoplites, elephants, heavy and medium cav, require fairly open ground to be at all effective. As it happened, I ended up on the side of the table with fairly broken terrain - several hills and forests, and it really constricted how I could use my army. You can see here, as the lines close to contact, how constricted things were for me.
The result was a number of one-on-one combats that left my units scattered and unsupported, including one poor unit of Thureophoroi that ended up attacking, losing combat, and retreating to what I was certain was going to be their doom - that's them, sandwiched between me and the Persians, with their flank exposed to a unit of elite persian cavalry.
Needless to say, the cavarly charged, intending to crush my poor light infantry, and likely panic and disorder the pike phalanx holding behind it. This was where we learned something about how Impetus plays. Combat is chancy. Bad things can happen to good troops. While there are definite probabilities that come into play, things don't always work out. Like when his cavalry charged, hit my light infnatry on the flank, and failed to damage them.
For several turns.
Until on my turn, the lights managed to go out in a blaze of glory, doing a couple of VBU's damage to the cavalry on their way down, leaving the Persian heavy cavalry disordered, damaged, and in point-blank range of a unit of skirmishing Cretans, who popped out behind a bush, and peppered the cavalry with arrows. My opponnent then completely whiffed his cohesion roll (despite the attached army commander), and that did it for his heavy cav. We spent some time looking for what happens when the unit to which your army commander is attached is routed, but couldn't find anything beyond the "don't roll a six" rule. Those of you with a clue about this game - what are we missing, if anything?
I had something similar happen to my elephants. Heffalumps are hell on wheels against horse cavalry, but lose their impetus bonus (i.e., much of their combat ability) against light infantry. Which I found out AFTER charging a unit of light infantry with them, losing the combat, and retreating. At which point I was peppered by arrows, and eventually retreated in a panic.
There's a real need in this game to understand both unit-type interactions and unit-terrain interactions, and our ignorance of both showed in the game last night. Having been singularly unimpressed by skirmishers shooting at short range, we found out about their potential lethality at point-blank the hard way.
I think the real risks imposed by combat also lead one into a degree of caution - it pays to manouvure, whittle down the opponent, try to cause disorder and preliminary damage, etc. before closing. Closing is a risk. I'm curious how slower, heavy lists - Romans, mass pike or hoplites, deal with this kind of thing? Is there an incentive for them to just smash forward, and damn the torpedoes, so as to avoid the inherent strength of their unit being ground down prior to engaging?
With the new baby due pretty much any time, it'll be a little while before I get back out for a game, but I'm eager, and in the mean time, will keep trying to plug away at the 15mm version of the army I played last night.
Speaking of painting, I managed to knock out a couple more French infantry, and had my taste for Nappies whetted by a 15mm Lasalle game going on at the next table. I managed to snap a pick of one side before the lines closed for battle:
I wish I'd got some action shots, as the game looked like a painting from some Victorian romantic worshiping at the shrine of Mars. Lovely stuff. Basing quandry for the 1/72 project continues unabated, though I'm leaning towards either a 50x50mm base with six figs or a 60x60 with 8. May not decide for some time. 50x50 saves on space, but the larger ones could, I thing, be standard for all 3 types of units. I figure I have time - with three figures painted, basing won't be a priority for a little while at least.