Ancients (Roman Period) at Roll Call 2016
Mithraditic vs Late Roman
A win in game 1 was cool, but in the highly decisive ADLG competition it was not that unusual - in every round 75% or more of games ended with one or other player achieving a total victory and breaking the opponents army. The reward for vanquishing the legions of Rome was... another game against a different flavour of Roman Legion!
The lists for the Mithraditic and Late Roman from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Roll_Call can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
This time the terrain was far more cluttered, with fields and plantations spotted all over one side of the table, leaving a nice wide open space for my theoretical LH overwhelming shenanigans to take place on my right. In turn this mandated the appearance of my heavy foot command in the centre, and the rough terrain command unsurprisingly in the rough terrain on the left. The Late Romans were a rather different composition, with two traditional mounted wings and a less hefty and one dimensional centre.
With my whole army stacked to the right, the Romans found themselves short of troops on the edge of the table which left a large gap - into which my initial pips practically compelled me to launch 2 units of LH Scythian bowmen who raced across the table at the start of their turn and ended up well behind the surprised Roman LH. With the infantry and Pontic mounted bearing down on them the limited number of Roman cavalry looked a little isolated already!
L'Art de la Guerre hint - with light troops starting 7MU / 28cms in from the edge, and with LH moving twice with their 5MU / 20cm move, these LH seem to have managed to get all the way across an 80cm deep table... which seems a bit cheaty - although not by that much. Perhaps I snuck in a 3rd move and forgot that you need to be accompanied by a General to do a 3rd march move in one turn?
On the other flank a huge open space was being hastily vacated by my javelinmen, who were unkeen in the extreme to stand in the open and be hit by cataphracts with overlaps. The rough terrain command would have a busy time here in trying to prevent the largely unopposed Roman mounted wing from swinging round past the ploughed field and into the left flank of my heavy foot command. /p>
In some ways this already looked an impossible task and so my plan was to throw the Thracians forward as an extension of my heavy foot centre and engage the enemy, hoping to break their centre with a fast attack before the Roman wing could be brought to bear.
The Roman Helmet (from a bit of a helmet)
The Roman cavalry on my right had seen the writing on the shields of the wall of pikemen advancing towards them and decided that they preferred Latin to Greek - they turned and fell back. This triggered an embarrassing change of heart from my 2 Skythians, who suddenly realised that they might be eaten by the Roman LH before their own LH javelinmen could arrive. The Skythians turned tail and retreated back to safety.
With the enemy cavalry in full withdrawal mode, it became obvious that Mithradates had far too many pikemen and infantry on the right and so a unit of pikemen was turned and ordered to start marching behind the lines to protect against the envelopment from the Roman cavalry on the other flank. The remaining part of the heavy foot centre ploughed forward, slightly puzzled as to what they would do when they reached the combination of bowmen and artillery that was lurking in a plantation to their front.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - artillery can shoot over enemy LF
The enemy Legions were keen to engage, and stepped forward and slid sideways to get into the Mithraditic pikemen as the Roman cavalry also realised that in an 80cm deep table there is limited mileage in playing the sort of game where you fall back and try to avoid combat - they too were returning to the fray.
Only a few turns into the game and battle was already being joined across the whole frontage of the field. The Pontic army was echeloned forwards, engaging the Roman cavalry on the far flank, with barbarian infantry pushing into the plantation to take on the artillery next to the already engaged legions and pikemen. In the foreground outnumbered Thracians and Theurophoroi jostled carefully against Auxilia, unsure whether their role was to push for enemy kills or lose slowly whilst the more capable troops in the Pontic army hopefully did the business.
One area where the plan was clear and simple was the extreme right. The Mithraditic LH totally outnumbered their Roman counterparts who were soon pinned to the edge of the table, in that tricky position where it is actually better to evade off table (and count as 1 loss) than to stand and fight (and potentially count as 2 losses) - leading the Mithraditic horsemen to stand at close range and pepper their opponents with javelins hoping to shoot them down!
The two blocks of cavalry had also engaged, leaving the Skythians a nice gap to sneak through and potentially do something clever but as yet unspecified or planned later in the game.
The Galatians were unhappy that all of the other units seemed to be fighting already - although having turned up for battle butt-naked only to find that all of the other troops had brought a range of outfits suitable for all weathers, including a number of rather fetching hats, had also teed them off a lot as well. They pushed on towards the artillery hoping that the plantation was a well manicured fruit orchard and not a patch of blackberry-bearing brambles into which their pubic hair might get stuck in an embarrassing Velcro-like incident
The battle is already starting to get serious, with the pikemen engaged in a textbook heavy foot battle of attrition in the centre against expensive (but worth it) Elite Legionaries whilst the Pontic LH try their best to sneak round the back of the Roman army, through a wood and into the camp.
The nude Gaeasati are now split into two groups, making command and control rather tricky but no matter as the units within 1MU of the enemy can charge for zero pips in their net turn, delivering devastating flank attacks on the engaged Legions and hopefully crushing the artillery as well
The Superior, Armoured Romans are better than the Pikemen frontally ... but that comes at a price and the narrow formation of legionaries finds its flanks suddenly under attack from the Gaeasati! No-one expects a nudist coming up on their blindside...
The other unit of Gaeasati have made - unsurprisingly - short work of the Roman artillery hidden unsuccessfully in the woods, and the Roman legions, assailed from all sides, are starting to pick up serious markerage as they lose coherence and drop down level after level towards destruction and base removal... by the time the now-victorious Mithraditic cavalry have rejoined the fray the Roman centre may have been crumpled by the overwhelming numbers of Mithraditic foot alone
But, out of shot - and wisely so - the Romans other powerful command of well-drilled auxilia have made even shorter work of the Mithraditic loose formation infantry, shredding them and sending them on their way to whatever form of Valhalla that Mithadates and his laughing henchmen believed in. A block of pikemen, resplendent on their newly-re-based 40x40 have been issued orders by high command to sort it out... but being pikemen they have taken an age to get there and even now are way too late
The exhausted Gaeasati, having finished their giant game of classical-era Jenga with the remains of the artillery, come up against an immovable object in the shape of Roman archers - despite the help of many of their Mitharaditic colleagues now not otherwise occupied on the flank the bowmen pull off a Leicester-city-eque victory and destroy the nude warriors of Galatia!
The Romans are in full cry now on the left, ripping apart the flimsy Pontic screen and flowing like wine out of a broken amphoroa into the rear echelons of the Mithradatic rear. Javelinmen and the newly-arrived pikemen form a hasty defensive screen, turning the flank of the battle 90 degrees as they seek to hold off the advancing wall of Latins whilst their pikemen and cavalry try to finish the job first
But this collapse on the left has also now engendered a large space next to the wall of pikes, and into it Roman Auxilia are flooding - they launch themselves out of the fields and steam into the imitation legionaries even as their heavier colleagues hang on grimly against the Pikes and Galatians
Things are looking desperate on this flank as the sheer weight of numbers of the Romans pour forwards and engulf the much weaker remnants of what was once an entire Mithraditic flank.
With Roman Equites close to capturing their camp some Cretan archers are forced into unwanted hand to hand combat, seeking to delay the inevitable as long as possible
But, the game has turned about and on the opposite side of the board even as the Cretans battle bravely to save the day, the Skythian horse on the long-ago victorious Mithraditic right have made their way through the plantations and are now happily sacking the Roman camp!
Pikemen and Galatians are chewing forwards as fast as they can, and with their own flanks imploding the final Legionary unit explodes....
The Result is an 87-23 Victory!
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 Mithraditic Commander
This was a battle of much intrigue and incident, and one where my strategy bore plump and luscious fruit. Having been soundly and swiftly beaten by the Roman Auxilia in game 1, this time my rough terrain command took no chances and the Javelinmen were tasked with little more than retreating in front of the enemy whilst the Thracians and Spearmen gave their lives in a brave sacrifice - but, this more proactive delaying strategy paid dividends as there was very little time for the Romans to take advantage of their strengths on that flank once they had despatched the Thracians.
The opposite flank was also a success and my approach of outgunning the enemy LH was rewarded handsomely as their weak force of 2 flank guards was swept away by my massed LH wing. This time too my proper Cavalry fought more bravely, and were still able to rejoin the battle after victory.
In the middle the Romans were not as strong or numerous as last time, probably because more points had been allocated to their right flank, and so here too the anvil and hammer of the Pikes and Galatians could grind forward and chew up the Legions with both flanks secure to get us over the line for the win.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You claim the plaudits and laurels of great victories here, but look amongst the crowd and no one here thinks you're worth his attention, his time, a vote, a place in society, or even the light of day.
A botch-job of a terrain setup gave both side almost insurmountable problems and you were more than fortunate that the enemy did not have the boldness to throw all of their forces on one wing, as then half of your army - the useless mounted wing or the half-hearted rough terrain force - would have been cut adrift and left twiddling its thumbs whilst Rome burned your house down.
The success here was to pit 6 infantry against 3 in the centre, and to have the good fortune to find artillery hidden in a wood - but even then your naked Galatians struggled to deal with such meagre opposition. To win a game by stealing the other man's baggage mere moments before he in turn steals your is nothing to be proud of.
You are not the victory in this battle, and no great monetary or honorific rewards will come your way. Simply put, you're an informer and a mudraker, a con-man wheeler-dealer, a gigolo and an educator in evil. All that, Mithradates, and amazingly, you're still broke. I fear the next game will not help your finances nor your reputation
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition
Learn more about L'Art de la Guerre on my ADLG Page.