Biblical, Classical & Roman in Estella 2016
Patrician Roman vs Alexander The Great
Game 4, after a somewhat late night in which the clocks changed, giving us another hour in the pub. Never really a good thing in the UK where the clocks change at 2am...
...but certainly not in Navarre where they changed at 4am.... Bono Estente!
At least there had been a fine meal in Don Menu the previous night, with all types of roasted meat, especially suckling pig.
But, the crisp morning air cleared almost none of the cobwebs out of any of us, and we staggered past the mountain scenery towards the playing surface
Today's Weather in Estella
Many of the other players were rather shaky, and so I was somewhat relieved to find I had been offered a chance for instant redemption against another Alexandrian army, commanded by a Frenchman who, incredibly, appeared to be even more hungover and also still drunker than I was. 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.
The attempt to deploy a Roman Bowling Alley of terrain had been another partial success, with Hilly terrain dropping several large, erm, hills all over the board, but unfortunately mostly on my side of the table. Fallia-hella fallia-hella fallia-helle fallia-helle Chris Waddle. Keen to make amends on the wasted flank march front, this setup gave a great opportunity for a frontal press with the two warband commands and a crushing left hook from the arrival of the flank march.
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Colina: hill
The Alexandrians were deployed cautiously, and so a speedy attack was needed to pin them before the flank march arrived. But, the dice gods had not yet done their worst, and the very first roll of the game saw the Allied Frankish command roll a 1 to start off unreliable - unable to move until they rolled a subsequent 6,
Adding insult to injury, the flank march then decided to arrive at the earliest possible opportunity, rolling 6 in it's first attempt. The CinC's command had now both to race forward to support and combine with the flank march, and also if possible send pips to the Ally to encourage him to move
L'Art de la Guerre hint - CinCs can donate an additional +1 to an unreliable allied commanders dice rolls in order to try and get him reliable on a 5 or 6 instead of just a 6. This costs 2 of the CinCs pips per turn - a not inconsiderable penalty for something which has a 5 in 6 chance of being wasted.
The flank march sailed onto the table, appearing in the flank of the pair of Heavy Cavalry who had inched forward to drive the Roman skirmishers back up the steep hill where they surely belonged. The Alexandrian Companions had been holding back, partly to see what was coming onto the table but mostly because the enemy commander was struggling to remain upright in his chair due to the excesses of the previous night and moving 2 blocks of troops was probably beyond him.
Pictures of Late Romans from my Ancients Photo Directory
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The Companions finally swung into action and swept forward, having worked out that they were in fact better than the Roman cavalry facing them and so the prospect of a head on fight wasn't that frightening.
Moments before the pedestrian infantry could get close enough to distract their attention, the Companions charged home against the Roman flank march, as the non-impact seemingly pointless Greek heavy cavalry proved their worth by evading from the walking barbarians. All of this frantic urging forwards by the CinC had also left the allied command to its' own devices, and non of those devices had managed to unearth a 6 so far...
The initial round of combat was not too bad for the Romans, with the barbarian cavalry more than holding their own against the Companions. Both sides exchanged the odd marker, but, ominously, the Greeks had by now taken an overlap position with their LH javelinmen, bullying the Romans shooting bow-armed LH away in the process. This would be about whether the Roman general could get his infantry into play before the Elite Armoured Companions ground down the Non-Elite and only partially armoured (some were MCv) Romans...
And there were many chances and opportunities to do exactly that - as well as the rear attack on the occupied Companions the extra-large CinC'c command had managed to get into contact with the Hypaspists and the Phalanx - engaging a Makedonian general surprisingly deployed with the MF spearmen in the process. But, the psychological scars from the previous game were clearly still affecting the barbarian warriors, and they struggled to gain the upper hand, in some cases taking massive hits themselves at first contact as well.
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Tiro los dados: Throw the dice
Much to no-one's surprise the cavalry battle was starting to go well for the Greeks - the Roman horse had broken through with the support of their infantry charging the rear of one unit of Companions, but elsewhere the superior quality and overlaps of the Makedonian nobility were knocking the Romans down by hits each turn - one was already removed and two more were now just one hit away from destruction, leaving the entire flank march an impotent shadow of its former self.
Deferelas wavy line spooky tooth. Everywhere the Barbarian foot were engaged they were failing to do their jobs properly and were suffering serious casualties in the process. The CinC simply did not have enough pips even try and rescue all of the units which were losing cohesion across the playing surface...
Turning the Companions flank, the roman foot sought to redeem themselves.
But it was slow going, and now the Makedonians had several free bases of Companions, and the Roman army was fast running out of red 3-hit markers as they continued to lose the war of attrition that was by rights theirs to win against the 3-hit Greek infantry and cavalry they were locked in combat against.
The Makedonian horsemen flooded back in a series of telling charges into the beleaguered Roman pedestrians, skittle-ing them down to the very edge of destruction all along the front line of combat.
Every round saw more markers and more deaths for Rome
The longer this went on, the less inclined the Frankish allied general was to join the fray - but by now he was so far away from the action that he could achieve little even if he wanted to join the rapidly growing debacle.
Finally, against his better instincts, the Franks and their comander Francis became reliable when the Roman LH, having extricated themselves from the carnage around the rest of the flank march, managed to flee and then catch some Greek LF into close proximity to the allied troops, committing them finally to the game
L'Art de la Guerre Rules Hint as well as rolling a 6, if the enemy comes within 4MU unreliable allies become reliable again.
But this was all too late, and all the reliability achieved was to bring down a rain of javelins from enemy skirmishers who had hitherto been waiting just outside 4MU but who now rushed in to inflict more pain and humiliation on the Roman army.
L'Art de la Guerre In Spanish - Infanteria ligera con Javalina: light infantry with Javelins
The Roman flank marching cavalry were now totally eliminated and the Makedonian horsemen were busy mopping up the survivors among the Barbarian foot - things were utterly grim for Rome.
With enemy horse smashing into them from all sides, the Roman infantry finally gave up the ghost - another crushing defeat to Alexander the Great
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
Yet again the dice have left me and my army badly undone - and in the cruellest fashion, with this time a 6 and a 1 of my own doing creating a situation which gave me two impossible to reconcile options, both of which I had little choice but to try to execute simultaneously.
But even though I drove my mercenary infantry forward mercilessly, and to be fair to them, they responded with bravery, speed and enthusiasm, this was not quite enough to overcome the lack of in-combat fortune that I needed to prolong the combats enough for the jaws of my somewhat jerry-rigged trap to close.
Perhaps when I return to Rome I can offload some of the blame onto the cowardly and already-once-reanimated (from the dead) Franks, as had they also been in play I may have been able to attack with more resources into the rear of the Companions instead of spreading my own 9 units of barbarians across the rear and front of the entire enemy army?
Going forward, at least I have the prospect of coffee, sugary drinks, and not another bloody meal at the Don Menu to endure in such quick succession as this 5-battle campaign will end around lunchtime allowing me and my fellow travellers to enjoy the market-square of tapas bars in this town over which we continue to fight. Roll On game 5.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
There are idiots, there are fools, and there are those who are so befuddled that they do not even dare to aspire to idiocy or foolishness, but I fear that in this weekend you are intent on creating an entirely new class of half-witted charlatan so great is your descent into incompetence. Surely after a fine meal and good company there is no need to stay out until daylight cracks its egg-yolk over the frying pan of mountains that surround this picturesque citadel? The only saving grave in this poor planning is that your opponent was in a worse state than you, but even so he had better troops, a better plan and better execution, all of which unsurprisingly combined to generate your doom.
Here your lack of numbers of Elite troops yet again came home to roost, as the enemy were able to engage just with their heavy hitters and leave the rest of their forces safe whilst the quality systematically ripped a new one for your poorer quality mix of odds and sods in the mounted command. This command is neither fish nor foul, not good enough to fight frontally but too big to insert like a dagger in the ribs whilst your sluggish and blunt-witted pedestrians struggle to exert meaningful pressure on the enemy to distract them.
Delving deeper into the fallibility of this command, the choice of Bow-armed LH seems even stranger as there is little to see how their paltry shooting could assist that of the rest of your army with its, erm, 2 other bases of bow armed troops - meaning that any idiot with a javelin and 4 hooves will bully them all day long,
Bad tactics, terrible execution, and self-generated mental frailty. I hope you can get some dammed strong coffee and rehydration down your neck before the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition