So, we had ourselves a gigantoliscious game of Impetus last night, two on two teams, 300 points each, so 1200 points total on the table. Watts and I teamed up with a couple of new players from the THMG; Watts teamed with DaveB and I teamed with marke. Both the new players were using marke's Seleucid figures, so we essentially had a Seleucid civil war with allies (Watts' Republican Romans are now unofficially lead by Maximus Anachronus). We actually used enough of the table that it was generally difficult to get pics of the entire action.
Watts and I arrived first, and rolled off for attacker. With my advantage in cavalry, he ended up defending, and laid out terrain. I adjusted a little, to define two or three clear "channels" punctuated with rough ground. In the picture above, you can see the two main channels available for our side to attack, defined by the hill and the two forests. On my far left was another forest that broke that side of the table up into two even narrower channels, visible here:
Once the rest of the gang arrived, we deployed. I was on our left, with Watts across the table (see above), and marke deployed to my right, opposite DaveB.
We decided to use the terrain to try and pull off a refused flank. I deployed my cavalry on the left wing. The goal was to advance through the "slot" between the hill and the forest with my infantry, and then loop around to flank DaveB's phalanx, while marke pushed forward to engage his front. I hoped to use my cavalry to screen / hold off Watts' Romans long enough to help marke break DaveB's command, which you can see across the table here:
The early stages of the game were the usual process of shuffling forward. I hit a bit of a snag on my first turn, when my leading cavalry unit disordered, and then spent several turns stubbornly refusing to rally. This had the effect of bunching up my entire cavalry wing, and had me moderately concerned that I wouldn't get them forward in time to screen my infantry.
The result was that Watts was able to "cork" the two clear channels available to my cavalry on the left, and I couldn't use my numerical advantage. The cavalry fight on our left turned into a unit-on-unit action.
Watts added insult to injury when his pesky Numidians (curse them!) swooped in and managed to deal a point of damage to my CP Agema, robbing them of their lovely impetus bonus.
I was, however, able to counter with my skirmishers and peltasts, who had advanced over the hill, and after a few successive waves of point-blank missile fire, Watts pulled the pesky Numidians (curse them!) back out of danger. Meanwhile, the rest of my cavalry managed to shake themselves into some kind of order, and moved up to engage the Roman cavalry on our far left.
In the centre, both my and marke's phalanx continued to grind forward, as the skirmish lines closed. Our opponents had pushed their light troops up a fair ways , but had left their core infantry in their deployment zones. It was becoming clear that if marke and I wanted a fight, we'd have to go to them.
On the right, marke was heading into a cavalry duel of his own. DaveB had looped a unit of Skythian horse archers around the forest defining the right flank, and a several-turn dance between them and marke's cavalry was about to commence.
On our far left, things were shaping up. While my persian cavalry had failed to do much to Watts' Romans, a double helping of greek light and medium cavalry had seen them off, while my skirmishers and peltasts had used successive waves of missiles to finally eliminate the pesky Numidians (curse them!). If they have room to maneuver and take advantage of the interpenetration rules, light infantry and skirmishers are an effective tool.
Watts still hadn't advanced his infantry, so my cavalry were clear to advance, and engage / screen the infantry as they lumbered their way around the woods. I could actually hear Han Solo yelling "You're all clear kid, now let's blow this thing and go home." The timing was perfect, as my phalanx had just cleared the wood, and could now being to swing right. The were opposed by a couple of units of cavalry, Watt's second Roman, and DaveB's heavy greek cavalry. The right of my phalanx was protected by the woods and a couple units of marke's light infantry, and my left had a skirmish screen.
On the right, marke had brought his own phalanx clear of the woods, and was poised to begin pushing back DaveB's skirmish line, while the cavalry continued their duel.
Watts at this point brought his cavalry forward in a bid to flank my phalanx, swinging them around his skirmishers. As I recall, however, they disordered before he could bring them to bear.
As a result, I was able to throw my own heavies forward and engage them. The combat was inconclusive, and the two units locked into a protracted struggle. Meanwhile, DaveB also brought up some Thorakitai to support his cavalry.
Way out on the far left, my cavalry, disordered and out of command range, began a wide sweep around the Roman flank. Watts moved his Triarii to intercept, but FP against CL is a tough match-up.
In the centre, things were going pretty well. Marke continued to push back DaveB's skirmishers while grinding forward with his phalanx. I had both my pike and Lykians lined up for a charge.
The Lykians managed to disperse the skirmishers in front of them with a reaction charge, while my pike block drove back DaveB's Thorakitai. DaveB countered with a charge into my pike with his heavy cavalry. We ended up pooching this a bit. His initial point of contact was on the flank of my unit, which meant that I didn't get to roll my bonus dice. Marke pointed out at this stage that DaveB's charge hadn't, in fact, been a flank charge (which must begin from behind a line drawn across the front of the targeted unit). Marke, despite this being his first game, had already been right about a few rule questions in the game; it seems there is some benefit to having recently read the rules. I rolled my extra dice, but shouldn't have, as the loss of depth bonus comes from contact on the flank. I'm not sure this had a significant effect on the outcome. As I recall, my pike ended up recoiling anyway, and DaveB was able to recontact, this time to the front. It was a screw-up, however, and my apologies to DaveB.
In the following turn, my Lykians took out his Thorakitai, and my phalangites finished off the cavalry. I had cavalry and light infantry lined up to engage the Roman foot, which still hadn't moved, and marke's line was beginning to consolidate with mine in a drive toward's DaveB.
Although I'd lost a stand of pike, things were looking pretty tasty from the perspective of the Antigonid heavy foot.
On the right, marke was about to finally chase off the Skythians, and his line was closing to engage DaveB, who was starting to look like he'd been caught between a rock and a hard place.
Unfortunately, we had to call the game for time at that point. The table looked more or less like this, although marke's pike were more advanced, and Watts' end of line Triarii went down to javelin fire from my greek CL before the end ;).
While there was a chance that Watts could push forward quickly, his FP were in rough ground on the hills. I think marke and I were in at least a decent position to engage DaveB's pike with a clear numerical advantage, and I'm confident that my cavalry, elephant, and lights could have held off Watts long enough to engage DaveB's command.
This was the first game we've played with multiple commands on each side, and it definitely adds a further dimension to the game. I'm also coming to appreciate the more subtle advantages of good command structure, and good commanders. I'm also increasingly of the opinion that the Antigonid list is damn good fun to play. It really does offer the chance for real combined arms dynamics, and learning how to use units together is becoming a source of pleasure for me in-game.
I'm hoping that we managed to hook a couple of new converts. I think another hour of play would have produced a decisive outcome. One factor I'm noticing with Impetus is that unless both players close to contact, it can take a while before real engagement takes place. This isn't a huge factor when dealing with FP armies like we've been playing, but I think that having to march across the table against a static force with good shooting (say, Indians or 100YW English) would likely be frustrating. This is pure conjecture, obviously, but it would be interesting to see the outcome.
Thanks to both my ally, and my opponents, for what was a tremendously fun game. Hopefully, there will be more in the future.