Thursday, January 5, 2012

A crushing tie!


Got in my first game in Lord knows how many months last night, a 300 point Impetus game against Watts of the THMG. Man was it fun ;) We're both about half-painted at that point level, and were using plenty of blank sabots, but it gave us a chance to get our finished stuff on the table and give the rules a good butchering.

I was running my Pyrrhic list against his republican Romans. He had a pretty standard force, doubling up on a Triarii / Hastati / Principes / Velites formation with some can support, and I ran a core of Phalangites and Hoplites with skirmisher, light infantry, elephant, and a mix of cav.


We went with consensual terrain, and as attacker, I was allowed to move a terrain piece (denying him a hill) and deploy second. I put my heavier cavalry and thureophoroi on my left, my heavy infantry in the centre, and my elephants, the bulk of my skirmishers, and my light cavalry on my right.


My apologies for the sub-optimal pics. I'm going to have to get some better close-ups in future games. The first few turns saw my flanks advancing, and some indecisive conflict between our skirmishers and cavalry.


His pesky, pesky Numidians (curse them!) drew first blood, their javelins (which we discovered are lethal at point blank range) whittling down my Greek medium cavalry.


On the right, I sent forward a screen of skirmishers and light cav to tie up his units, while my elephants manoeuvred for a charge.


This is how the field looked prior to our first real contact. I had advanced my wings while my heavy foot plodded forward. Roman infantry are a pain in combat, and I've learned that deep formations like pike are vulnerable from the flanks. The goal was to tie him up on the wings, and hopefully cause some disruption and superficial VBU damage prior to the contact of our main forces.


I disrupted and damaged his medium cavalry with my light Tarantines, and then hammered home the heffalumps, rolling nine dice, and getting no hits. The cavalry got a hit in (on 2 dice!), and I managed to fail my cohesion test by 2. There is no justice, though I suppose it serves me right for not even having the miniatures on the table ;)

On the left, things weren't going especially swimmingly either. Over the next few turns, the Numidians (curse them!) kept harassing my advancing cavalry, and managed a lighting strike at the end to finish off my poor Greeks (they retired to the sidelines to commiserate).


This did, however, leave my Epirote heavy cavalry unengaged, with the Numidians (curse them!) pushed off to the side, and lined up for dramatic charge.


Fresh, rested, with a perfect charge lane open to his infantry, my brave Epirotes thundered forward, rolled nine(!) dice, and managed the following:


Sound familiar? This was something of a theme last night. I had three really good, hammering charges, and the first two were tragic. There was much gnashing of teeth, and it was pretty clear that someone was going to be falling on his sword by nightfall.

The next few turns were mainly devoted to attrition. I pushed forward with my cavalry, elephants, and skirmishers, expending them in an effort to thin out and wear down his legions prior to contact. His Numidians (curse them!) raided my baggage, but then were then unable to recover from disruption for several turns, which pretty much kept them out of the game (presumably they broke into the wine casks). On the right, my elephants finally rolled over his cavalry (though they were brought down to 1 VBU in the process), and limped and lumbered their way towards the Roman camp.


I think we both learned something about light troops last night. He made fine use of his blunting my second unit of ellies, and I was able to use my skirmishers, light infantry and light cav to good effect softening up his infantry formations. As long as lighter troops have room to manouvre (evade, disengage, etc), they are a real annoyance to heavy troops. While they likely won't do real damage, it is possible, and the potential alone is enough to cause one to tear out hair and gnash teeth(see that unit in the middle of his infantry? That's my Tarantines).

Things were heating up. I was shedding units like mad, but in this list, you pretty much have to take out one of the big infantry units to break the army. His legions were dispatching my light troops, but were being worn down in the process. The last turns of the battle saw our infantry lines clash. My phalanx was nicely lined up:


And I hammered it home in, if not a devastating, at least an effective charge. After some bumping and grinding (where I bounced off a Triarii unit, then closed on his rotating lines of princepes / hastatii), I had wiped out a unit (or two?) of legion, and had my hoplites ready for a second charge.

We had to call the game at that point, and things hung very much in the balance. We were tied at that point for VBUs, and both of us were close to a break point - a couple of bases either way would do it. We rolled to see who would have initiative, and he won, which might have been enough to do it right there, but who knows? Combat in this game, although subject to manipulation, is chancy (just ask my elephants), and we were at a point of crisis. My only real regret is that I never dealt with those pesky Numidians. Curse them.

The game was a blast, a complete nail-biter, and Watts, as always, is an engaging and gracious opponent. This has me completely jazzed to get some more 15s painted and on the table. I'm part way through another unit of SYW French, but once their done, I think it'll be some hoplites.

As an aside, the guys at the table behind us had a game of Lasalle going. I have no idea what happened, other than Russians vs. French, but it looked damn cool, so here's some completely gratuitous eye-candy. Enjoy ;)



**update Jan. 7 **

JJM at the THMG was one of the players in the Lasalle game, and posted an AAR with loads of pics. Check it out!