Biblical, Classical & Roman in Estella 2016
Patrician Roman vs Alexander The Great
By now, the second most important thing that day had happened - lunch, in the crossover Spanish/Italian hostelry "Don Menu".
Don Don Don!
Replete with partial success and roast chicken, salad and dessert and topped up with red wine so aromatically intriguing that it required dilution with fizzy water before it was drinkable (honestly, it works - you should try it) the third round gradually took shape back at the sports centre.
What's Going on Here Then?
Lunch. That's what's going on.
The third game of the day saw the forces of Patrician Rome playing one of the Great Captains of world combat - Alexander the Great! The lists for the Patrician Roman and Alexander The Great from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Estella can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Alexandrian - the prototypical Successor army, with Pikemen at the core, high quality Impact Heavy Cavalry lancers, Elephants captured on his travels through India, and a full suite of experiences supporting troops including any variety of flavours of Hypaspist.
Faced with the prospect of assaulting a strong infantry and elephant force I had picked Mountainous terrain after winning the initiative. Na tandra milio Patagonia! This set up - with the addition of a waterway on the left of the table - a classic bowling alley down which the Patrician mercenary foederati could be trundled, narrow enough that a second rank of reserved followed behind the frontrunners ready to fill gaps.
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Costa: coast
The rest of the table was so cluttered on my side with mountains, and had an Impassable Hill populated by wild tribesmen slap bang in the middle of the board. Faced with this difficulty of fitting my own troops on table, and the possibility of the enemy spreading their forces a little across the board the mounted command in the Patrician army was despatched on a flank march
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Caballeria : Cavalry
As it was the Alexandrians did not oblige with the wide deployment I hoped for, and clustered all of their troops on the bowling alley as well, with Companions next to the river, a 4-wide pike block next to them and the obligatory Elephant & Thracian death-star starting in a patch of scrubland next to the Impassable hill. Moving first, the Romans lurched forward....
Pictures of Alexandrians from my Ancients Photo Directory
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The Alexandrians were keen for the fight with their Pikemen, who were deployed slightly forward of the surprisingly cautious Companions - but they were keener to throw javelins and arrows at the advancing Barbarian foot before the pike clash happened. With the Pikemen full-a-meaty goodness but not wide enough to entirely fill the gap between the Companions and the terrain however, and the Companions held back for now there were exploitable gaps between the three Alexandrian commands...
As the Greeks skirmishers fell back under the relentless advance of the hairy Roman horde, a paltry handful of hit markers appeared among the Foederate infantry - not really enough to worry them, especially with both flanks of the pike phalanx still accessible to overlaps. The two Roman skirmishers were engaged in a frantic struggle to sweep away the javelinmen covering the 2 elephants - if they could be engaged by the Roman javelinmen rather than hitting proper foot warriors they would have little impact on the battle
With the Companions still not keen to join the fray, the Romans charged home! Overlapping the Pikemen on the right, and keeping the allied Franks out of charge range of the Companions on the left a full-throated battle charge of Impetuous heavy foot went in along the line on evens odds and an advantage on the overlapping file. Win any of these first round combats and the Pikemen would take an additional hit due to the Furious Charge of the barbarian foot....
Alexander The Great - 10 facts!
Erm.... not quite the start the Romans had planned or expected. In a flurry of 1's and 6's the Pikemen blasted massive damage into the wall of barbarians, with two consecutive 6-1 wins causing 3 hits (red markers) and an adjacent 2-hit win as well rocking the hairy ones on their heels. Adding insult to traumatic injury the Alexandrians stepped up with their javelinmen to add an overlap in the second round of combat, still keeping the Companions out of the battle.
The next round was survived - just - allowing the federate foot to commit yet more men and giving themselves overlaps at both ends of the line where on the right they finally did 2 hits to one of the pike files. Other barbarians found themselves staring down the trunk of one of the elephants in the process. The Romans by now had lost a LF javelinman, after the pair of skirmishers had gone in against a single Greek skirmisher protecting both elephants and lost, despite the advantage of overlaps, freeing up the reeks to move one elephant towards the tasty target of the Roman foot.
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Desmontamos: We dismount
Shortly afterwards the Pikemen delivered the fatal blow to a wide swathe of Roman infantry, exchanging one file for 3. At least now the Celtic mercenaries had stepped forward and were in a position to turn the flank of the hitherto super-solid Greek formation. Leka hallam no pereth que sandro polithia, "Na-na-na-na, Dixon" Dock Green.
Which, of course, ended in another embarrassing reverse as the flanking unit failed to do any damage and then itself started to lose at some rate of knots. The Greeks moved up yet more skirmishers to add overlaps to the unfortunate mix whilst a second wave of Roman mercenary warriors flooded forward and then - just like the first wave - suffered horrible dice-based reverses to evaporate on contact with the remaining pikemen. The Companions had by now decided to join in as an overlap. Great.
By now the flank march had arrived - not that late in the game in terms of turns elapsed, but quite late in terms of how many units of Romans had already self-immolated against the wall of Greek pikemen and elephants. And, with almost no Makedonian skirmishers on this flank they also now had a long way to march before they could hope to have any sort of impact on the battle...
Sheer weight of numbers should by now have been starting to count as wave after wave of barbarian foot flooded forwards to surround the isolated pockets of Makedonians - but each time things started to look good, with flank charges hammering the odds in favour of the Romans, the dice gods hammered harder in the opposite direction and the Makedonians survived, and fought back.
Alexander The Great's Empire
The Companions had not even fought other than as an overlap as the allied Frankish general put his own body on the line to see if being Elite and having an additional +1 in combat could sway the outcome and see some of the remaining Pikemen swept away. Fendra kettrick moutros maspandro unda chantiaklos mirage DVLC in Swansea. The Romans still harboured some hopes of blasting the pikemen in a turn or two and closing in on the Companions from all sides..
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Mas dos: plus two
But, other than an occasional elephant losing heart and fleeing, the Pikemens ongoing trail of 6's and 5's was matched dice for dice by the Romans flurry of 1's and 2's and the much anticipated and hoped for breakthroughs were taking place in favour of Makedon, not Rome, Even the Elite General was losing bigly against the seemingly invulnerable wall of long spears,
The Frankish ally general's unit suffered a 3rd hit - and the only 1 to be rolled seemingly all game by the Alexandrians meant that the commander himself was slain, and fell to the playing surface and was trampled by sandal-shod feet who had walked to India and back and were clearly not in any mood be upset by the upstart Franks this evening.
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Esta muerto: he is dead
His loss in turn caused his own unit to suffer a fourth and fatal hit in the process, resulting in a 4-VP loss for the Roman army in just 2 rounds of combat.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Generals who are in combat are at risk every time their unit takes any hits in hand to hand combat (not shooting). A roll of 1 will see the general killed, also causing his unit to lose an additional hit point at the same time. The effect on the army is 1 additional break point plus the Generals command rating. So, a Competent general dying causes 1+1=2 additional break points, and a Brilliant General would be 1+2=3, over and above the VPs for the loss of the unit he is with.
The Roman flank march had little opportunity to make an impact - by now the game was about seeing if I could score some casualties to up what would be a losing score. Attempts to pick on lone enemy skirmishers with barbarian cavalry were about as good as it got. Heth-eth-eth-eth-eth- eth-eth-eth-eth-eth
Unfortunately there was no prize for killing enemy elephants, only the opportunity to fight Thracians in rough terrain with Heavy Foot, and to take lots of hits in the process of getting to that not entirely satisfactory position. The surrounded pikemen continued to fight back stoically even as the Roman commander was called in to try and keep his men in play by bolstering them from Red damage.
Alexander The Greatest Warrior!
That whole "fighting Thracians in the rough in order to stop them attacking an infantry unit already on 3 hits in front of them, and hoping to win the first round to get Furious Charge extra damage on a 3-hit unit" thing worked as poorly as all of the other attacks attempted during the game...
The Companions were clearly determined to sit this one out entirely, and stepped aside whilst the seemingly invulnerable pike phalanx advanced ominously towards an allied command of Frankish foot already becalmed by the loss of their commander.
Losses were racking up at a ridiculous rate by now, and with the game already lost Aetius the Roman Strategist committed himself to a final-round combat to see if he could inspire his men to at least kill off a second pike unit.
He couldn't, and the game was a total defeat.
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Sin Vaselina - Without Vaseline
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
Well, this is a bit of a puzzle. I appear to have lost my entire army in combat against 4 pikemen. Quite how this happened when this was a matchup I actively sought out, where I had overlaps on their line for large parts of the combat, and where I managed successfully to turn the flank of their line and split up their formation so it could be attacked piecemeal I really cannot fathom
If I played this game again I can see very few things that I would have done differently, except of course rolling - I would hope - better dice, but if you put me in the shoes of my opponent that is a different story.
Then I would have attacked aggressively with the Companions, as they can cause great damage to a wall of unarmoured foot such as mine, and I would also have removed the gaps in the line.
If the Elephants were in the open, starting next to the pikemen, and the Companions had pushed forward then I would have expected to be in for a serious scrap, but as it was the only redeeming feature of this disaster was a deep reinforcement of my familiarity with the Spanish phrase "Seis, en contra Uno" .
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
If you really had no foresight of this shambles, I fear that too much imbibing of the foul waters of the Tiber has rotted your brain, and with it any semblance of coherent ability to see where your failings blossom like the boils that disfigure your countenance with such brutal efficacy.
A disaster of this magnitude has been coming your way like a brutal hangover follows an evening swilling 14.5% red wine and not drinking quite enough water, and finally it has arrived in full and chilling effect.
This was, as many of these defeats I see are, a failing of your list design which was entirely avoidable if you had bothered to attempt even a single practice game before deploying this one dimensional pile of steaming Rioja lees on table. How can a Roman army, possessed of the best rough terrain troops in the history of the world, fail to bring enough of them along to a competition to even contest one small piece?
And Legionaries? Where were they? How much more resilient, how much more manoeuvrable, how much better would your line of hairy arsed layabouts have been with the stiffening effects of even a couple of those Elite Armoured Impact Foot types to prevent such disasters as befell you here.
Admittedly the dice were poor, but even so you should be able to field a better composition than this comedy barbarian army dressed up in the stolen clothing of the empire that even managed to give me a bit of a tricky time for a while? Maybe we will see more of your failings exposed in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition