Field of Glory Wargaming at Warfare 2009
Well, what's the plan this time eh? Pick a brilliant army? Try to sneakily min-max it to win ?
Well, actually no. More a case of "I've got 4 bases of cute new Gladiators, how can I use them?"
The answer of course was to include them in a LRR Army whos list is available here
Pictures of Gladiators from my Ancients Photo Directory
The first game saw me facing yet another LRR army who's list is available here The table was almost bald, leaving a nice and historical straight legionary-on-legionary clash to decide the victor. The strange river thingy is an impassable bit of terrain my opponent deployed - the far higher quality bits of beige carpet tile are my own contribution to beauty on the wargames table.
It was a true Roman Civil War like Caesar & Brutus
The game started as my Legions rushed forward eager to engage any enemy they could find, secure in the knowledge that whilst there might be troops as good as them on the opposition side, no-one was going to be better than they were. The opposing Romans had deployed in a strange single line sort of formation, whilst I had gone for a more simple several blocks with rear support where I could manage it.
All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures
On my left flank the Rebel Romans were thinly stretched, and had deployed a couple of elephants as well. Either way, my unafraid legions charged towards them eager to start the killing..
The two armies were evenly matched, apart from at the near side where my close formation spearmen were quietly confident that 8 of them and 4 legionaries could see off 6 MF (loose formation in old money) spearmen and 4 cavalry.
As a rule, men worry more about what they can't see than about what they can.
Having drawn out one of the enemy's legions, my own Roman cavalry turned tail and retreated - a fair swap to neutralize a decent unit with a rubbish one.
As sunlight burst over the battlefield as some bloke opened the door to sneak out for a cigarette, letting in a wave of freezing cold air and letting out a competing wave of fetid "air de wargamer" (a delightful combination of BO, curried flatulence and long chain acrylic molecules from evaporating glue) my cutting edge clashed with the enemy. At last I had got the phasing of the battle right - attacking early where I had an advantage!
Look! Elsewhere on the table, where it was a total tossup between two identical sets of troops, I'm not yet fighting! But the Rebel Romans have managed to do some clever contracting and stuff to get out of their linear formation. In theory this was supposed to allow them to redeploy a bit from side to side, but frankly I couldn't see it myself. (my guys have the sandy coloured bases - the Rebels have the darker ones)
The brilliant plan however was failing to survive contact with the enemy, as the MF (Light Medium Infantry, Regular C, Long Thrusting Spear, Shield) spearmen managed to shrug off with utter impunity all of the sword blows and spear thrusts of my loyal legions.
Wine and other luxuries have a tendency to enervate the mind and make men less brave in battle.
Oh well, I was sure they would win soon enough - why not commit everything else all along the line as well? A bit of judicious staggering of my lines allowed me to instigate some intercept charges and catch 2 Rascally Roman Rebel legions with overlaps - buying me a few vital rounds of extra combat dice to achieve a breakthrough here as well.
Meanwhile over on the left, things were getting interesting - especially for the Gladiators from Strategia et Tactica who looked set to play a vital role intercepting the legion who had given up chasing my cavalry and decided to help out their Pachyderms. Supporting the elephants were some more MF spearmen, who were having trouble deciding whether they were better off deployed across the beautifully realistic Steep Hill or in a column in the open. At least the Gladiators mettle would soon be tested, and I would find out if they had Testes of Metal..
Despite the initial expectation of success, the MF spearmen were doing a more than adequate job of holding up my flank - battering the apparently-useless HF spearmen at every opportunity. Fortunately whilst the HF (Regular C Heavy Infantry, Long Thrusting Spear, Shield in old money) spears combat dice were truly and consistently appalling, their resulting morale throws were uniformly excellent and they stood firm despite losing repeated rounds of combat to their theoretically weaker enemies.
The advancing lines in the center allowed space for another of my loyal legions to sneak through and catching the rebel Roman cavalry unawares, they charged home trusting on their better morale to allow them to beat up the mounted troopers. If they could fling the Roman horse back it would further expose the remarkably resilient MF spearmen.
In war events of importance are the result of trivial causes.
My Loyal Roman cavalry also now returned to the battlefield, and suddenly the Rebel Romans attempt to overwhelm the enemies facing their Elephant Corps were in tatters. The Gladiators could now work with the horse to cause them all sorts of problems.
In the center both battle lines were starting to thin out as casualties mounted up on both sides - unfortunately they were mounting up rather faster on my side than the enemy's, despite (or perhaps because of) my clever intercept charge tricksyness earlier on. Several casualty figures from LKM's Feudal Castings range were now well and truly deployed.
The Rebels gave up their attempt to support their elephants, and turned to face the twin threats approaching them.
This then allowed - or forced - the Elephants to charge home, accompanied by the MF spearmen who had decided to try being both on and off the hill at the same time.
But in the middle a catastrophe was occurring! Loyal legions had been swept from the field by identical troops - with my extra-tough 6-man unit taking the brunt of the pasting! Rebel Romans were pouring through the Loyalist center even as on both flanks my men fought back bravely pushing Rebel legions down the cohesion ladder (making them take and fail waver tests in old money, or forcing them to take and fail reaction tests in pre-decimal currency) without a safety net. Who would manage to turn first and batter the vulnerable flanks of the engaged enemy troops?
Well, one thing was finally decided. After standing up for far too long the 6 MF spear finally mploded in a matter of a bound or two and fled the field, pursued by the Giant Xyston spearmen who were looking to destroy both them and the Rebel Cavalry - who were now also in full rout.
The Rebel legion was spoilt for choice for targets - but options were in dire need to support. It chose to go to its left - but this was the wrong choice, as a spectacular set of dice from my Red Shirted Legion saw it break its opponents from disrupted (that translates as "a really bad set of reaction test dice" in old money) in a single turn!
The Loyalist horse and the impressed Gladiators were also dishing out a lesson to the enemy legion - in a bitter struggle they started to whittle away at the enemy numbers.
As Yoffy arrived to give us all a small break and undertake the long awaited and much overdue re-introduction of Fingerbobs to the UK's competitive wargaming scene...
.. the battle was finely poised. The Rebels had broken through my center, but I had rolled up their left wing and was well poised to crush both wings of their center (does that make sense?). The Elephants were engaged but not making much headway, and my Gladiators and Cavalry were outnumbering an isolated Rebel legion as well.
The Rebels left suffered further reverses as two more legions turned and broke. Now it was all hands to the pump as they sought to stem the red-shirted tide enveloping them ..
But this was the ideal time for the Rebel Legion which had broken through my center to return to the fray - coupled with a bad result for another of my legions, suddenly my flanking envelopment was itself in danger of being enveloped.. With all this enveloping, someone was going to get well and truly posted quite soon!
Soon things went from bad to worse for me as some of the routing legionaries rallied just short of their table edge. Victory was slipping from my grasp!
The Rebels hacked their way forwards, and my army teetered towards an unlikely seeming defeat, and my Ordinary legionaries were drawn into the fray!
Aaargh! A broken unit busts through one of its colleagues, sweeping them away!
But elsewhere the power of Roman steel had finally sliced up the Greeks supporting the enemy elephants, and with the benefit of overlaps the legionaries concentrated their pilums on the elephants, smiting them a mighty 5 times in one round of melee! This could be it - until the Elephants rolled a 5 to avoid death! What more could we do to kill off the immortal beasts ???
How would rolling an 11 on 2D6 to kill the enemy general, and then seeing the elephants roll a double 1 for the resulting waver test work (that translates as "being bloody lucky" in old money) - pretty well indeed as it turned out, and soon the elephants were despatched!
With the nellies dead, the triumphant legion was able to turn and join the noble gladiators threatening the enemy legions rear. But then time was called with the charge yet to go in. I needed to break one more unit ....
With a heroic effort, the Gladiators recovered from disruption and rolled 3 hits - breaking the last enemy legion on the last dice roll of the game! Victory was ours!!
Post Match Summary
Despite not being personally present at this battle through the potentially injudicious use of 4 TCs by the boy Porter, I feel obliged to take credit here for the inevitable victory of Roman might of arms in this particular clash (unless it had been a draw of course).
Really the good old tactic of making sure you have as many legionaries as you actually own, and sticking them into anything they could find paid off handsomely for us, and crushing victories against the 2 units of MF Greek skirt-wearers and the pachyderms did us fine in the end.
Losing a few legions along the way is par for the course really when you have little else in your army, and so I am not too concerned about the consequent losses.
Anyways, I won even without actually being there in person, and so normal service is resumed after my last two prize-gathering outings, maybe I can pick up some silverware here too. "Uzvara senata un cilvekiem Romas" as they say (that's Latvian you know - Google doesn't have Latin).
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Boring boring boring. Identical troops, one troop type - I mean, to be a real genius you need to have the skill to meld a heterogeneous mix of nationalities, capabilities, armour classes and morale grades into an effective fighting force that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Like what I did for example.
Now, admittedly in FoG that seems rather hard to do and it's arguably sometimes (often) better to take bucketloads of one thing and throw it at the enemy - and I suppose you deserve credit for recognizing your level of (in)competence here and picking an army that was too simple to mess up with.
Even so, you yet again reverted to a "equal quality troops, lets hope we get lucky" approach a bit too often, and certainly way too soon given the advantages you in theory had against the MF Greeks elsewhere on the field. And those Gladiators - I admit they are nice figures, but they will cost you dear some day, I promise you.
At least you have some points on the board early doors. I wonder how many more you will rack up before you are racked and stacked yourself though?
Lets see how the next game goes then ?
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