Classical & Roman, L'Art de la Guerre in Oxford in 2015
Late Imperial Roman vs Classical Indian
This was a 1-day "learn the rules" event which pitted the Central London Massif against the unwashed Royalist hordes of Oxford - or more accurately, pitted 20 ignorant gamers against the test of learning a new(ish) set of rules
The lists for the Late Imperial Roman and Classical Indian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Oxford can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Pictures of Romans from my Ancients Photo Directory
I had wheeled out an army which hadn't seen the light of day for several years, my Late Imperial Romans, which had been European Champions in FoGAM and which were nicely painted (IMO). I hadn't played with them as an ADLG army at all, but Elite Armoured Legionaries must be good in any set of rules, right...?
Terrain fell mostly on the enemy half of the table, allowing my Indian opponents to fill the gaps between the terrain with mixed bow/sword units and elephants,. No surprise there then. The low light in the hall made taking decent photos fairly hard, but a solid wall of Legions teed up against a wall of Indians is pretty easy to understand.
The table is about 4x3. ish.
The Legions marched forward, trying to work out if this might actually be the set of 15mm rules that could allow me to buy a Testudo as they advanced towards bow range of the Indians. The Roman cavalry and cataphracts were a bit useless, so decided to redeploy into the middle. Over on the right, the Auxilia were considering advancing towards yet more Elephants and Bowmen, but waiting in the woods was a better option.
Finally the tripod was properly deployed and a decent photo is the result. The advance is continuing, and the Legions are nearly into the 16cm bow shooting range of the line of Indians (their skirmishers are at the front of the line, and are already in range), whist the mounted command has pretty much swung round to the middle - although what they will do once they get there is questionable to say the least.
Bowfire has several effects in the game. Firstly, cohesion losses can - of course - kill your troops. This is much more of an issue for light troops who can only take 2 losses before being removed. Get shot in your turn and you could see your own LF removed by shooting in an enemy turn before you get a chance to move them to safety. Heavy foot can sustain 4 losses and MF can sustain 3 so are much less likely to be wiped out by shooting. However a cohesion loss counts as a "-1" in combat, and with relatively few combat factors in the game this can prove important. The way to get rid of cohesion losses is to rally - which means a turn being stationary, and passing a test - even if you fail it, you can't then move. So once you take a cohesion loss from shooting you need to consider whether you are better off standing and trying to rally (whilst being shot again) or wading in at a disadvantage... the choice is yours!
The game suddenly swings into life as the Indians wheel forwards and the Legions charge on forwards. An ambush of Indian bowmen has also appeared from the woods in the middle of the table, providing food for thought for the cavalry. The Romans have now left their two units of bowmen behind as the legions pile forwards - their skirmishers have taken casualties (the green markers) and have fallen back to regroup, teeing the two lines up for combat.
Rallying from cohesion loss (markers) costs command pips - unless you are 4 MU or more away from all enemy, when you can take the test for free. This encourages you to pull your skirmishers out of range once they are hit, as every unit that has lost cohesion counts as "1" against your army break point, and every unit lost counts as "2".
The Auxilia have decided that cowardice is the better part of bravery, and execute a 180 turn and fall back.
Units of regular troops can turn and move away fairly easily in ADLG - as long as they are not "unmaneuverable" they can turn and move, losing 1MU in the process. But, with 40mm movement units and a 4x3-ish table, there isn't really much space to run away...
The Legions are IN! And one is instantly taken from the board in a 6-1 combat loss to the enemy Elephant ... just as if to prove that this set of rules is basically the same as every other one... The Indians have also take some damage though, and other than the Legion that has been destroyed, the rest are broadly OK
The Elephant on the right has 2 markers next to it - unlike other troops, Elephants can't "rally" in ADLG - a neat mechanic that makes them brittle, and extremely wary of picking up the odd marker from skirmisher shooting before they get into combat
The Indian bowmen in the middle fight their way out of the forest and try and find out if they are any good at shooting Cataphracts. The answer appears to be "no" based on the lack of markers appearing here...
The Auxilia have fully retreated - the Elephant-squishing-Legion thing having rather put them off their initial plan
The Indians are starting to use sheer weight of numbers to erode the Legions on the left, and some of the Indian forces break forwards, looking for easier targets in the rear of the line of Roman infantry. Legionary archers spin around and take aim...
I'm using Green/Amber/Red for my markers to indicate 1/2/3 cohesion losses. Everyone is gone with 4 losses, so only 3 colours are needed!
The Roman cavalry have been somewhat caught in no-mans-land, with so many archers on table they have little opportunity to do anything sensible - so charge against a line of elephants and bowmen, to unsurprising effect. The Cataphracts have joined the Legions, who are still making slow work of the line of mixed bow/swordsmen and elephants
The Auxilia start to flood back realising that their colleagues can't really fight a much larger army with 1/3 of their own troops not even playing... but with both sides now starting to lose their formations, and with markers sprouting across the table, the game ends...
The Result is an, erm, some sort of draw/loss for the Romans..
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 Late Imperial Roman Commander
Firstly, I must say how delighted I am to be back on the field of battle, showing my Ancient Era troops the bright light of day. After such a long layoff it is perhaps no surprise that they were a little ring-rusty, although having said that we did put up a good fight, and even better we managed to do something more complicated than just wade forwards and fight what was in front of us.
Yes, the retreat, sorrt, tactical withdrawal by the Auxilia was a positive, and we did manage to get our best troops into what should have been a rather squishy opponent. The fact the Indians then failed to crumble to order is hardly something that can be lain at my door, or portico.
So, good looking Roman troops on table, lots of pip dice to make the game frustrating when your own men don't do what they want, and a robust test for these new rules.
A satisfactory start to the out-of-the-club era for these new rules.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You hopeless fool - it is surely best that you have been consigned to the draw for so many years, as with such lack of ability even the thought of you emerging mewling into the daylight will be enough to strike encouragement and hope into the hearts of your nation's enemies!
Surely we can see from the pathetic retreat of the Auxilia a lack of competence and bravery which must have been instilled in you at birth - indeed it has been said that your mama is so fat, when she goes to Rome it has 8 hills!
Your horse were entirely wasted, your legions essentially attacked with both flanks conceded to overlaps, and your Auxilia did less than naught - and this is the only truth here to be seen
This may have been a narrow defeat, but mark my words, before none too long you will feel the keen edge if the sword of doom, and your men will again be consigned to the drawer of no-good stinking corpse-eating tomb-ghouls!! Let us hasten then to the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition