Roman Era Gaming in Central London 2016
Dacians vs Mithraditic
Central London Wargames Club is a hotbed of ADLG action, with a club league running with over 30 players and keen players looking to enter many events around the UK and Europe. But we also host the club in a pub with a curry-cooking chef who lets us use the room for occasional Sunday events, and so, with Warfare in Reading only offering an initial dozen places for ADLG and many people not managing to get in, the idea of Madaxeman.com Central London Invitational One Day L'Art de la Guerre Tournament running on the Sunday before Warfare was born.
As co-umpire and results collator in chief, my ability to play lengthy in-depth games was obviously going to be limited and so the idea of using a decisive army rose to the top of the pile - and clambering to the top of the top of the steaming pile was a classic, unusable in FoG but with moments of occasional event-winning greatness in DBM - the Dacians. The lists for the Dacians and Mithraditic from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Central London ADLG 2016 can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Dacians are a classic "fast Warband" army of Impetuous Medium Swordsmen, but they have some interesting tweaks as well. The most obvious is the Elite 2HCW (or normal swordsmen) Bastarnae, but the army also enjoys quite a few LH and the possibility of a hard-to-integrate Impetuous HC Sarmatian ally. Either way, I owned the Bastarnae Falxmen and lots of already-rebased DBE Gallic-type foot, all of whom I could attack mindlessly with and love if they lost - perfect for what I hoped to achieve in-game, and perfect for what I needed to do to manage the results and draw between rounds.
With the Dacians keen to avoid being run down by Mithraditic cavalry in the open, and Mithradatics wanting a corridor for his pikemen the terrain system had provided an interesting mix of types for the battle to be fought over, with gulleys, impassable swamps, forests and hills sprinkled liberally around and a river on one flank.
The river gave a solid anchor for the Dacian army, and with clear terrain opposite them they had a pretty good idea where the Pontic Generals would be deploying their pikemen - the target for the Dacian's Bastanae elite Falxmen. Other than that matchup, there was not much thought in the Dacian plan other than charge forward and hopefully persuade the Sarmatians to be a semi-sacrificial delaying force on the flank of the headlong infantry rush to combat.
Aaah-hooooo! It's the Central London Theme Tune
Led by their 28mm Strategist (from Magister Militum) the Dacians pelted across the terrain towards the line of pikes and spears facing them on the riverbank.
The Sarmatians had by now worked out just how thin the Dacian leader's plan was, and what a dangerous role they might need to play in order to hold off almost half of the Mithraditic army. They declined to contribute, rolling an initial 1 to become unreliable...
The Dacian army was not to be deterred however, and with a wide 4-pack of javelin-armed LF to sweep away any enemy skirmishers their headlong advance was already within charge range of the Mithraditic infantry after their second turn!
7 Takeaways from Mithradates
With the Sarmatians not engaging in the plan, some unfortunate warrior infantry drew the short straw of trying to die slowly enough to hold back the Mithradatic horsemen from rolling up the Dacian's left flank. Having scared off a handful of skirmishers the warband waited nervously for the Greek cavalry to launch their counter-attack
Boom! The huge line of warband and falxmen crashed home into the trepidatiously waiting Pontic infantry. Who's side would the dice gods be on today...?
How well do these troops fight then?
Dacian falxmen are a pretty spectacular, and pretty expensive troop type. They are Medium Foot, so have 3 hit points, and they move at 3MUs through open and rough terrain, and 2 MUs through dense terrain. They are also Swordsmen, for a base factor of +1 against everything other than Knights, and have the added characteristic of 2 handed weapon. This means they add +1 to any winning score after dice rolls - so 50% of the time they will inflict an extra hit on their opponents. They also - crucially in this game - add +1 to any tied score against Spearmen or Pikemen, improving their odds of beating these troop types in a straight fight by around 15-17%. Finally, they are Elite, and so add +1 to any natural die roll of 1, 2 or 3 in combat, making them more resilient and less likely to lose, or lose big.
With it already becoming clear that the battle may well be decided either way before the Mithraditic horse could get into the flank of the Dacian foot commands, the Sarmatians hoped for a ghostly roll of 6 to bring them back into the fray ....
The Dacians had 4 Elite units in the battle line, and overlaps on both flanks.... against this the Mithradatic foot had bravery and the encouraging words of their Commander on a cool round base to offer in return. The initial clashes were vaguely indecisive, with the first wave of Dacians struggling in the centre but striking some mighty blows on the ends of the Pontic line.
The Dacian commander sent in his second wave, having held them back in order to fill in the gaps that surely would appear in the line of barbarian warriors. On the river edge the Bastarnae were sweeping al before them, having broken through the Mithradatic line, and were looking to roll up the flank, or chase enemy LF off table. There were almost enough points in the large line of Successor infantry to win the game if they could all be eliminated...
Mithradates' horsemen had now moved through their skirmishing light horse and waded into the flank guards - medium foot in the open with overlaps was not the best position to be in, and soon the Dacians were spouting yellow 2-hit markers.
The Sarmatians had still failed to commit, much to the bemusement of the enemy skirmishing foot who were advancing towards the stationary horsemen so they would be ready to pin them down if they sprung into action.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Allied commands can't change sides in ADLG (unlike DBM), but they can be triggered into action if enemy approach within 4MUs
The main battle line was now developing solidly for the Dacians, as their elite Bastarnae falxmen started to carve the hapless Pontic spearmen into deli-counter-sized slices. A good number of the warband had dashed themselves against the other end of the line of spears and pikes, but as the Bastarnae turned and started to slam into the flanks of the already-engaged heavy infantry the game was looking up for Mithradates Greek-style pedestrians
3 Minute History of Mithradates
The flank-holding force was enjoying very mixed success - half of the warriors had been trampled underfoot by the Pontic cavalry, but the other unit had in turn blunted the cavalry's charge and then gone on to drag them from their horses and secured a spectacular victory - thus delaying the Mithraditic attempt to roll up the main body of Dacian foot.
Both flanks of the line of Pontic spearmen had now been well and truly turned, as the warriors from the woodlands of central Romania lapped around the edges of the line of hitherto solid Greek-style infantry. The Dacians had markers, but the Mithradatic troops would not be on table long enough to see them turn to red..
The Mithraditic attack on the Dacian flank was truly bogged down now, with the bravest unit of swordsmen in the world pulling out feats of heroic dice rolling to remain intact in the face of what should have been overwhelming odds. By the time they were through the valiant Dacian foot there would surely be no pikemen left for the Pontic horse to rescue?
The last stand of the Pontic spearmen was a deeply uneven battle, with the Greeks outflanked and overlapped on all sides - and already down to 1 remaining hit to boot.
In a puff of Pontic smoke the spearmen evaporated, and with them Mithradates hopes of salvaging the game. A stunning and swift win for the Dacians!
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition, or 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 Dacian Commander
The bleedin' speed of me troops advancin' across the bloomin' tabletop surprised even me, but I suppose the bloody fact my Medium Infantry move 50% faster than the barbarian 'eavy foot 'oo were the mainstay of the previous event reports from the sun-soaked Costa del Crime may 'ave summit to do wif that.
I must admit also to 'avin' me doubts before this awl started, but findin' that the Dacian Daft and Barmy was actually effective when played with a flourish of aggression and an admittedly reasonable Half a Gross of Robin Hood Donald Duck in holding Frank Bough the enemy cavalry is very encouragin'
Perhaps I will advise the owner of this Wind & Kite to try more of these barbarian forces in future, as the shield patterns and general standard of paintin' are whistle and pop notch. Now we 'ave Bottle of Glue more games and a Ruby Murray to have a butcher's at.
Wot could be finer in the absence of a plate of jellied eels me friends?!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
To be honest I am not sure what to be most confused about - how an idiot such as you could have managed to concoct a win with such a cobbled together army, or why on earth the leader of a historical tribal confederation who's territory was mostly confined to areas of modern day southern Germany, Austria and Romania appears to be speaking in a cod-cockney accent?
Quite how you can claim to have had any sort of plan here is beyond me - you stuck all your men in one place, and charged forward into whatever was in front of them without deviating a single degree in the process....which, on reflection, may be your best bet. To be fair I suppose holding back some troops in a second wave was almost competent, and was indeed necessary as the brittle skin of your army did tend to evaporate at some rate of knots on the anvil of the Heavy Foot spearmen you faced.
If the enemy had enjoyed even average good fortune your too-small flank guard force would have ended up with the destruction it so clearly warranted, and you would have been 4 break points down for no benefit. The one clear lesson in these rules which keeps coming up is if you are going to do something, commit to doing it 110% as otherwise you will find units frittered away before the key combats take place.
Here you were clearly lucky to come across an opponent who had a narrower line of infantry than you did, and also some very unlukcy dice not to sweep your flank away in a thunder of hooves. Your poor list choice and obsession with taking an allied command in an army where the CinC will not have spare pips to encourage them to join in if they start as unreliable could have cost you dear - but as it was, you lucked out. I imagine the same cannot happen in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition
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