Ancients in Burton Doubles 2016
Triumverate Roman & Jewish vs Parthian (Elemayan) & Hatrene
After a surprisingly non-pork-pie based proper Sunday lunch in the venue, the last game of the weekend saw the Judeao-Romans leading the pack going into round 4.
Watch a talk-through of this match report on Youtube
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This time our opponents were more Cataphract and less Legion, with Parthians and Hatrene allies. The lists for the Triumverate Roman & Jewish and Parthian (Elemayan) & Hatrene from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Burton Doubles can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The Parthians are a classic Cataphract and LH army, but the Hatrene's have the highly unusual Cataphract Camels. These beasties give enemy mounted troops a -1 in combat as their camels scare the horses - another classic Wargames trope built into these rules.
The table was dominated by a proper honest to goodness hill slap bang in the centre desperately calling out to be fought over, and probably covered in some sort of tricky vegetation. Our guess was that it would be afflicted with enemy bowmen, and that a fast application of Thracians to the back of the throat would be the ideal cure for this ailment.
What's Going on Here Then?
To the right of the hill the proper Legions stood in the open, flanked by the larger Cataphract command whilst on the left the Gladiators, other Cataphracts and finally the Judean legions formed a solid anti-Cataphract line. The Hatrene and Parthians had Cataphracts flanked by Light horse on both wings, with bowmen in the centre.
The enemy had their Camel Corps on our left, and the Parthian Cataphracts on our right - each flank was extended by large commands comprised only of LH whilst our guess about the bowmen had proved correct. With both sides keen to get engaged the two armies rolled gently towards each other as they slowly digested both the potential tactical situation and also their rather fine lunch.
The Thracians and Peltasts were really keen to get to the top of the hill first, but their accompanying skirmishers would have a significant role to play in the battle, both clearing away the enemy skirmishers but also absorbing incoming archery - attacking uphill with a cohesion hit is not an easy task...
The Roman Legions knew their job - stay calm, stay solid and stab everyone in their path in the neck with a 3" wide short sword. The Legionaries marched slowly on...
The Thracians were not quick enough, and a line of enemy bowmen appeared over the crest of the hill, notched their arrows and let fly at the advancing skirmishers...
The enemy forces were expensive on a unit-for-unit basis, and this had left somewhat of a gap next to the hill opposite the advancing elephant and Gladiator command. Or possibly the Camel cataphracts didn't fancy their chances against a 2-tonne animal with a wooden box full of bowmen strapped to it's back, and desperate to make an impact in at least one game over the course of the weekend...?
The Thracians charged wildly up the slope at the enemy bowmen, whilst their accompanying skirmishers took a calculated risk in staying in front of them as the arrows rained down from the line of shooters on the hill crest. LF can only take 2 hits, and so are usually reluctant to absorb sustained shooting but in this case the loss of some bases of LF was deemed a reasonable trade-off if it meant that the Thracians would hit the bowmen at full effect.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Thracians are up the hill and into the Hatrene bowmen, whilst on both flanks the Hatrene & Parthian are being driven back by heavier Roman and Judean troops. The core battle troops of both sides are teeing themselves up for a clash.
On the left the pace of the game was more measured as both sides maintained a solid line in their advance. The sole exception were the Judean Legion, who, faced with only LH as opposition, were pushing forwards at full speed as if keen to make up for their tardiness in the previous game. The Hatrene LH had no answer to this line of steady infantry and fell back rapidly allowing the Judeans to advance past the line of Camel cataphracts at an early stage of the battle.
The same river as the previous game provided a solid anchor on the right flank, hardly leaving any space for our LH to fit alongside the Cataphracts and Legionaries - again here the high individual cost of the Parthian / Hatrene cataphracts had left their LH to occupy space across the table, meaning that our own Cataphracts were facing LH at the edge of the map.
The Thracians LF had largely done their job, suffering some losses but keeping the main force of Thracians and Peltasts fully intact as they got into charge range of the bowmen - some of the javelinemen had even managed to cause a few hits on the bowmen, which would surely be telling once combat was fully joined
The left flank saw the gladiators and elephants continue to push forwards as the two blocks of Cataphracts continued to stare each other out in the centre of this wing. The Hatrene forces had some mounted bowmen who they committed in an effort to prevent the pachyderm command from rolling forwards and past the flanks of the Camelmen
The Thracians went in, in a flurry of rhomphias and teeth-gritting uphill charges against the pseudo-Roman bowmen as the surviving LF prepared to withdraw once they had some spare pips
L'Art de la Guerre hint - troops more than 4MU from any enemy can have one free (zero pips) attempt to rally cohesion each turn. Another good reason to pull LF out of the front lines whenever you get the opportunity
The two commands of Thracians were close enough to act in concert, and peltasts not needed against the bowmen joined their comrades on the flat by charging downhill and into the flanks of the Hatrene cavalry harassing the Gladiator & Thracian command on the left. This time it also looked like the elephant might see some action against fully armoured close formation cataphracts - if it could survive a cheeky attack from their accompanying LF first!
The Hatrene cavalry had been overwhelmed by the swarm of MF coming off the hill, and soon were broken and destroyed leaving a huge gap in the middle of the enemy army. Only 2 bowmen still survived, and surely their days were also numbered...?
The Thracians swung their rhomphias furiously, keen to complete the job before the peltasts working with them even had time to join in on the flank of the rather shellshocked bowmen
To the right of the hill, the full-fat Roman legions were enjoying mixed results against the assault of the Parthian cataphracts - serious cohesion losses netted off against a steady erosion of the Cataphracts own morale - and one brave Legion had punched a hole right through the middle of the enemy line, generating double overlaps and the opportunity for a devastating flank attach in a future turn
Latin for All!
One bowman to go....
What's Going on Here Then?
The Thracians have swept the bowmen from the hill and are now pouring down both sides into the flanks of the Hatrene and Parthian forces who are already heavily engaged to their front by Roman Legions and Cataphracts. On each wing the Romano-Judeans are continuing to drive back the LH of the Hatrene and Parthian forces.
The two lines of Cataphracts finally clashed on the left, but by now the Judean foot and the Gladiators had both pushed well past the line of engagement, putting the Hatrene forces on notice of imminent rollup of both of their flanks.
The whole rollup scenario was even more real for the Parthians on the right, as their inability to fill the while table with combat troops had resulted in a scenario in which our own Cataphracts could push past the line of engagement, sweeping LH before them and getting in position to roll up the enemy flank.
The Hatrene camelry were being crushed on the left, and were being put back in the tin at quite a rate of knots as weak dice threatened to obviate the need for the Gladiators to get involved at all
Despite a significant breakthrough against the main force of our Legions which had seen three units swept away after a long struggle with the Parthian Cataphract line the whole right flank was turning grim for the Parthians
Their victorious force of 3 cataphracts took stock and realised that they were now the only viable combat capability on the entire side of the table. Legions and our own Cataphracts were meanwhile engaged in more of a mopping up operation against the last isolated units of the enemy
What's Going on Here Then?
The capital troops pf the Hatrene and Parthian forces either side of the central hill are crumbling under the frontal assault from the Roman Legions and Cataphracts, and rolled up by the Thracians as the hatrene-Parthian alliance collapsed to defeat.
The same outcome was transpiring on the other flank, and shortly afterwards the game was over with the main strike force of the enemy destroyed on both flanks and their central anchor overrun on the hill by the Thracians
The Result is a 91-19 win for the Romano-Judean forces!
Read on for the post match summaries from the Generals involved, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Post Match Summary from the Triumverate Roman & Jewish Commander
So, the forces of Rome have triumphed, not only in this Cannae-like reconstruction, but also in the overall tournament. This clearly means that all is now right in the world, and ancient wargaming has a warm, happy and fruitful future now that the cold northern wastes of Brittanium have been brought lovingly into the international continental bosom of L’Art de la Guerre.
Here the brave Legions of Rome, and the (arguably braver because they have not as much high spec equipment) Legions of Judea put in a very solid performance against a wall of screaming iron-clad horse and camelmen. But this was not just a victory of strength of will and fastness of sword. No, indeed, we outfoxed our opponents by correctly predicting both the makeup and the disposition of their army, which allowed us to throw proper soldiery up the hill and into the teeth of the arrowstorm of their archers. Once this strategic bastion was captured we could start harassing the flanks of both sets of enemy forces, setting the scene for a roll-up not witnessed since Cleopatra was unwrapped from her carpet for Sid James’ delight in Carry on Cleo.
To play a game of such vision and genius is satisfying, but to sit back and look at the weekend in which we maneuvered huge armies made up of perhaps FOUR times as many manoeuvre elements as we used to do in the dark days of FOG was greatly edifying in the extreme. This added complexity and granularity are welcome returns to those of us who did not veer towards the dark side of DBMM and have spent an over-long interregnum in a world of 12-element battles. I look forward to many more competitions in the world of ADLG, both here and as part of the global network of players that even now is coalescing around this simple yet elegant ruleset.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You fortunate dog, you witless cur, you do not realise by how little you missed the asp-kiss of death from these desert dwelling nomads! Time and time again you committed troops to equal, or at times worse combats – like against the camelphracts – and somehow, with a degree of fortune that you surely do not deserve, you came off best.
Your opponent had the misfortune to use an army that was designed for more open terrain than this cluttered field between a river and the edge of the known world, which rendered his units of LH almost useless against your unimaginative and uninspiring wall of men with shields – is such a victory something to be proud of? I suppose in this element-based game at least an equal matchup of this nature does have choices still to make, when in the dark days of FoG this would have been all but done and dusted in a matter of 3 combats, of which your ability to influence the result once battle was joined could not be more limited if you had been kidnapped, tossed into an amphora and shipped by the long overland route to Tashkent whilst the battle here raged.
I fear that victories such as this will force you further overseas and into a form of exile in which you will continually battle against the legions of ADLG players already present in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and even as far as the unknown USA – as surely no-one in the UK can handle the humiliation of facing your hairy and boil-festooned arse when looking up the final standings in the overall league table many more times than this ?
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?