Roman Era in Derby 2017
Patrician Roman vs Early Imperial Roman
So, Day 1, Game 3... and another wall of even earlier edition Romans stretch across the table to face off against the noble Patricians
The lists for the Patrician Roman and Early Imperial Roman from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Derby can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
With a waterway down one flank the enemy this time had again gone for the textbook approach of extending a long line of high quality armoured Legionaries across the table, finishing up with some rather exposed looking Auxilia on their left flank. My approach was one of charging down the middle with the Ostrogoths, making sure they were in a position in which, if they started the game unreliable, the enemy would have to blunder into their front and trigger them to life. Heavy Legions and Foederate cavalry flanked them to their left, and my own Auxilia sat waiting on the right.
Urging themselves forward with thoughts of Anthony and Cleopatra's Gran Padano-topped often expressed preference for prawns over snails, the Early Imperials had a surprising amount of cavalry of their own though, and it was deployed by the waterway - an interesting challenge for the Decadent Legionaries and limited numbers of barbarian horsemen on this side of my own army.
The Ostrogoths were reliable, and lurched forward towards a full-pelt charge at the potentially stubborn red-clad opposition facing them across the grassy plain.
With the Auxilia flanking out wide to my right, the rest of the line stepped up smartly and in a surprisingly coherent fashion - possibly keen to avoid the problems seen with the disjointed and arguably premature and unsupported Ostrogoth attacks in the previous 2 games.
The Early Romans seemed to have a right hook plan of their own, but whereas I had Auxilia and Javelinmen, they had a wall of cavalry who appeared to get more intimidating the closer they approached my lines.
As the Roman roads echoed to the footsteps of Pirlo's terracotta-tile-throwing by now badly bent pilum, and keenly remembering the Order of Battle against The Alans, the Decadent Legionaries had at least remembered that 2 of their units had rear support, and it was these that faced off against the main enemy mounted thrust.
As the enemy line drew closer, the sheer abundance of shield transfers on display started to dazzle the eyes of the onward charging Goths. On the extremity of the line, the Early Romans were drifting to the left to avoid being outflanked by the Patrician Auxilia force.
This time the Ostrogoths had learnt their lesson - their initial charge was perfectly executed and left the opposing line reeling in a veritable snowstorm of cohesion and hit markers as the Furious Charge rules mechanic played a full and proper role in the initial round of combats. This looked good, with only a single hit on the Ostrogoths to list among the downsides.
But for every brightspot, there was always a zone where darkness and the fading of the light enveloped the last children of the once-great Empire. The Sarmatians on the enemy right had faced off against the Foederate cavalry of the Patrician Empire, and had come off far better. The Patricians markers were far more expensive and ostentatious, but they still were a far from welcome sight on the tabletop.
At least markers only appeared on units that were still in play. The Sarmatians stunningly broke through the Patrician line, appearing in the back of more units than they could possibly charge at in a month of Sundays.
The Ostrogoths initial charge had clearly exhausted the men and their horses, and the initial success of the impact had given way to the sort or protracted close range slogging match that the Legionaries, with their armour and heavy shields were made for. As the turn clock ticked over, the Romans started to rally up their losses and the Ostrogoths started to sprout markers. The time for a breakthrough was starting to run out...
Finally, with the Ostrogoths exhausted, battered and carrying many casualties they started to overwhelm the Roman resistance. As the streets of Rome itself filled with laughter for the festival of Russell Crowe's olive-oil rubbed trusty steed, and stepping forward through the now-shattered lines of early Imperial troops the Ostrogoths sniffed the clean air of freedom and tried to decide what to do.
All along the frontage of battle gaps were opening in both lines of Roman troops. Each side tried frantically to plug the floodgates with whatever bits and pieces they had to hand in an increasingly desperate game which, in this moment, had Empire-ending consequences for the loser.
Suddenly, the Sarmatians found themselves with almost no opposition as the Foederate Patrician cavalry dissolved in front of them. The left hand end of the Patrician line was in tatters, and even worse, the Early Empire troops had taken only minor casualties in securing their advantage - the were practically fully intact and ready to roll up the Patrician line.
At the other end of the line, the Ostrogoths were making heavy weather against the last dregs of the Empire's Legions - those final few units were like castle-topped islands in a story Ostrogothic sea.
On the extreme right the Patricians had hoped to use their superior numbers of units to overwhelm the Imperial Auxilia, in a clash which saw Gripping Beast vs Warlord Games plastics in a form of brutal combat which would undoubtedly require gallons of polystyrene cement to repair the casualties.
After giving sacrifices to Emperor Claudius' Iberian missing eye, the Imperial Roman Legions were nothing if not thorough and efficient, and as the Ostrogoths struggled to finish off their opponents the Legions moved up and crushed the Ostrogoth general in a deadly embrace. The Gothic attack was stalling and the battle seemed to be slipping away from the Patricians.
As the Sarmatians sought to tighten their grip on the Patrician left flank, the Decadent Legionaries joined forces with their Equites Sagitarii to mount a fairly impotent rearguard action to try and delay the Sarmatian attack.
A Hedgehog stuck in a croissant
Despite the flanking efforts of the Isaurians, in this battle the Warlord Games figures were the ones who were coming off on top of their more recently sculpted and cast Gripping Beast comrades - the Patricians were failing to overwhelm the resistance of the Imperials and were even racking up hits and casualties...
Finally the Ostrogoths broke the Imperial line and stepped forward with a coherent formation of their own - but by now the losses were mounting on the Patrician side, and the battle was slipping away.
Despite being attacked from every side, the Warlord Games Auxilia continued to outperform the Gripping Beast ones - and they appear to be cheaper on Amazon as well
With no losses or hits at all they had repulsed wave after wave of attacks and were giving their army the upper hand - although the Imperials were also by now rather close to defeat themselves, such that one last heroic effort to break through here could see them too slip dangerously close to an army break.
The two armies were both teetering - but the Patricians teetered further, and then tipped over. The Result is another defeat !
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 Patrician Roman Commander
Thank you very much. I just want to say that we just spent quite a bit of time here with these Early Imperial Romans, yes, these early Imperial Romans who have been friends of mine for a long time, long before my world of military leadership and all round brilliance, I think. But we've been friends for a long time. We are probably now, despite what the criers in the forum would have you believe with their FAKE ANNOUNCINGS, we're probably now -- I think, at least as far as I'm concerned -- closer than ever before. And the relationship is very good.
We're fighting for the same thing. We're fighting for lower tithes, big increases in slavery, the biggest bread and circuses games in the history of our Empire. We're fighting for military reform, moving away from this Lorica Segmentata, as part of that. We are getting close to indebtured auxiliaries serving in place of fine Italian men and boys almost everywhere. We'll come up in the early- to mid-part of next year.
We're going to have a vote; I think we already have the votes, otherwise I'll have them thrown off a bridge. We feel confident we have the votes. We pretty much know what the plan is.
I believe Early and Late Empire troops are, as we speak, working together very hard, right now -- working together to dig a ditch, probably, a wonderful, great big bridge - and the Germanic Tribes will pay for that ditch I tell you, they will pay for it all! So we have been working together long and hard. We think we're in good shape for the coming campaigns, we hope. And we hope to be in good shape with, again, the largest victory parades and new column erections ever passed in this country. It's going to be great I tell you, great!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
What in the names of all of the Gods on Olympus are you wittering on about ? Unless I am very much mistaken, and I think I am not, this was a battle in which your men came up against much, much older men - possibly even hundreds of years older - and you managed to lose to them in straight one on one combat. How can that be? How can your Later Empire troops not surpass the competence of the Earlier Empire men they replaced?
It's not even as if you were surprised by this opposition army? How simple could it be? It was a mirror image of yoru own, and a near direct clone of the one you fought in Game 1! Apart from the slighly different stature of the Warlord Games plastic men, it's deployment and tactics were entirely predictable on this billiard table of a battlefield, and yet still you messed it up royally. Or maybe Imperially?
Your army had superiority of movement, and that should, even for someone of your limited ability, be more than enough in an otherwise reasonably equal matchup to succeed. As is always the case with ADLG a more committed level of commitment towards executing a plan would have paid dividends - if you want to overrun the flank, make dammed sure you do send all your fastest resources there. And you have so many of them to do this with room to spare.
This period is stuffed full of Romans. You are surely doomed to repeat this battle again before the weekend is out. Let's see if you end up repeating the result in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition