Classical & Roman Era at Brixham 2021
Sertorian Spanish vs Early Successor
Finally, with the end of the fish and chip fuelled, Bays Brewery-denuding set of wargamers-related festivities hoving into view like an over-laden trawler returning to port, the fourth round was upon Sertorius and his oft-defeated band of brightly painted men.
The game saw The Man Of Clay, the Morph of the North, the Finnish Fantastico, Mr James Alexander Clay himself setting up a text book Early Successor army across the table from the somewhat exhausted Spanish army. The prospect of taking on a lite version of the Seleucids who'd ground them into the dirt the day before was not that enticing, but at least there would be t-shirts to be had.
The lists for the Sertorian Spanish and Early Successor from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Brixham can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
In a radical change of fortune.. oh no, it wasn't.
All the terrain that could be ambushed from fell on the other side of the table, leaving the ambush-loving Spanish with a pretty much bare field (save for a couple of rough patches and one small corner of a wood) to set up in.
The tiny command had been banned from flank march duties by now, having caused or significantly contributed to two of the army's three defeats so this would now end up as a frontal clash of fearsome impetuous infantry and purloined legions against the Claymeister's multi-faceted wall of pointy nastiness.
Immediately the starting cannon fired from the deck of the nearby "It's not a pirate ship, it's a lifesize replica of the Golden Hind" the Successors belied their feet of clay management team by springing into high speed action.
Making a middle eastern and Makedonian bee-line for the Rebellious Legionaries as the I Can't Believe They Aren't Companions exchanged places with the phalanx to charge directly at the all-medium-foot part of the In The Open Spanish army
The arrival of the Companions on this part of the battlefield filled the Lusitanians and Spanish warriors with trepidation, and filled their Spanish underpants with other less savoury biological products to boot.
Two skirmishing light infantry checked their wildly dinging smartphones, to find a stream of Classical Era Whatsapp messages from their buddies in the infantry line behind them, all imploring the javelineers to stay as long as possible and aim mightily carefully to seriously damage the Companions before inevitable impact.
What's Going on Here Then?
The terrain is not as constricted as in the previous game against a Successor army, and the Spanish have spread wide to both flanks to try and draw the enemy forward and disrup their formation in the process
The Successors are so far obliging, with attempts to reorganise their army to generate better matchups currently creating a number of gaps in their lines, each of which is a potential overlap for the Iberians to utilize. Neutralizing the Companions however remains a key task which the Spanish army is ill-equipped to undertake
But, amazingly, the only place there was scope for a real ambush on table suddenly sprang into a blur of shifting branches and shuddering leaves as a set of Iberian Woodsmen lurched forward out of the tangle of branches, stepping out of the darkness and into the game in dramatic fashion!
OK, this meant little if anything to the Claysters Companions, but the Successor elephant corps now had an awful lot to consider before rolling forward to join the well-heeled horsemen in their attack.
With the Spanish line coalescing rapidly as legions drifted left and warbands drifted right the stage was being set for a mighty clash between the Finnish-inspired and led men with very long pointy sticks and those from warmer regions of Europe who felt that throwing rather shorter sticks followed up by a sharp sword thrust to the knackers was a better martial strategy.
This maelstrom of possible carnage attracted the BURNING CART OF DOOOOOOOOOOOM!!! like, erm, a flame to a moth (is that right?) and the wheeled temple of pyromania chuntered towards the line of combat at some pace.
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Just bask in the beauty and glory of this rapidly developing battlefield face-off, as the master of Clay spins his potters wheel of strategy, and with his bare hands (and the soundtrack of a song by the Isley Brothers - very important) creates a thing of beauty out of the basest material!
Yes, it is indeed a solid line of pikemen as wide as is possible - a thing to delight the gaze of any observer even more than a mid 80's Demi Moore/Patrick Swayze collaboration!
The Iberian legions and Warriors were both intimidated, delighted and unmoved in equal measure by this development, as what laughingly passed for their "plan" was still simply to charge anything with a stick as fast and as hard as possible.
Keeping that fundamental principle front and centre, and also conscious that they'd utterly failed to achieve any good impact and furious charge results in the previous game against the Romans so surely dice luck was owed them this time around (that's science that is), the Spanish warband decided that this whole solid line malarkey was for wimps and losers, so they piled forward as soon as possible to break up their formation and hit the nearest Phalanx with a dramatic initial charge.
What's Going on Here Then?
With the Successor army at all angles, the Iberians are both struggling to control their impetuous infantry and also are keen on trying their luck against a pike force which has rather more Mediocre units than the Seleukids in a previous round. With extra troops in reserve as well it seems a good opportunity to take the game to the Successors and try and punch a hole in their lines before they re-line-up again into a solid mass.
The Companions and the Elephants on the Successor right have both been slowed down, if not entirely neutralized, so starting those combats where the Spanish have hope of victories as soon as possible also drives the pace of the game in their favour.
The whole line of battle was fast developing into a solid mass of close fighting men as virtually all of the massed units of both sides were either already joined in combat, or revving their sandals and unshod feet in anticipation of slamming together in a mighty mutual charge.
The only exception to this generally held principle was the BURNING CART OF DOOOOM!!, which has set itself on fire and was milling around aimlessly until it inevitably and utterly failed to make any impact on the Successor Companions in a subsequent turn before being removed to rightly avoid further embarrassment.
The Spanish ambush seemed to have confused both armies and both commanders.
Even the Hero of Helsinki was struggling to work out what to do as the eclectic mix of units in the woodland tried, and failed to wheel into combat involving Javelinmen and elephants.
With Sertorius himself standing in such a position as to avoid being stabbed in the back ("they've all got it....", hey, you know the rest) the Iberian army was also throwing nonsense at the Successor Companions, in the vain hope that fighting them with light horse might not be entirely successful, but may yet leave more of the actual Spanish Impetuous Warriors free to fight things they could potentially kill.
BOOM BOOM Shake the Room!
In what would surely go down in Spanish History as the Great Triumph of Tampere, the Successor Phalanx shattered and was blown away by the initial Spanish Charge! Que te jodan Successors!
These were clearly not the heroic warriors of the Terracotta Army in pseudo-makedonian form, but far more crudely cast and poorly fired versions that were proving to be weak-willed-warriors of Clay!
Vast vistas of open space appeared before the men of Iberia, as if they had not merely beaten 2 phalanxes but instead had for the first time crested the Picos de Europa to gaze upon the endless upland plateau of Cervantes Castile and Aragon!
This was all well and good, but the really important stuff was that the BURNING CART OF DOOOOOOM!! was now in combat against the Companions.
The whole world held its breath (possibly a good thing given the high levels of garlic and chorizo eating, combined with a middling EU ranking for daily smoking amongst the Spanish troopers) as fire took on sarissa, and horses propelled by well trained noble riders faced horses who were fleeing from the embarrassment engendered by being forced to tow a cart festooned in an oversized mass of carefully curated and hastily dyed cotton wool.
Aaaah, Phalanx vs Legion, the great matchup of the Classical World!
ˇVete a freír espárragos! With well-trained semi-Romanized Lusitanians extending the Red Wall into the terrain and facing down the Successors elephants as well, the miniature men involved in this particular battle were in two minds whether to actually roll dice and try to resolve their combat, or to hawk the pictures of the pre-combat phase to multiple authors of DBx-based rulesets as potential cover art!
What's Going on Here Then?
After the initial success against the sub-par Phalanx, the Iberians are now ready to engage on combat on a wider frontage aganst the rest of the enemy army, secure in the expectation that it has enough frontal weaknesses to make combat lean in their favour, and that their infantry will soon be exploiting their earlier victories at the ends of the Successor pike block.
With the Companions still hesitating and struggling to find sufficient targets to attack to damage the Spanish army materially, initiating a rapid tradeoff in the infantry combats that already favour the Spanish is now very much looking like a path to victory
In a development which it is entirely possible may not surprise regular readers of the preceeding 4 reports in the slightest, the BURNING CART OF DOOOOOOOOOM!! had been seamlessly removed from the table shortly after rolling its one-per-game hapless combat dice against the Companions, doing no damage at all in the process.
The Successor nobility were left with a sense of puzzlement as to what the pantechnicon of flames had been trying to achieve, and a nasty smell of burnt nostril hair where the Claymotion Combat troops had leant too far forward to try and work out what the hell was going on with that load of old nonsense.
Lusitanians vs Elephants however was clearly a different matter, and the punchy but well drilled Spanish warriors had prevailed in short order (and with good dice) against the Pachyderm from Porvoo, leaving the end of the Successor line dangerously exposed.
This finally was the opportune time for the all-conquering, double-battle-deciding Spanish micro cavalry command to swing into action as it appeared from out of shot to threaten the Thracians at the end of the line.
With their flanks now under serious pressure, the will to fight evaporated amongst the Clay King's Phalanx, who fell like trees in a Finnish forest under the tender ministrations of a psychotic Lahti-born lumberjack.
In seconds the whole centre of the opposing army exploded and removed itself back to the carry case in anticipation of a fast getaway and a Finnair flight to the land of the Moomins, leaving the 15-casualty suffering Iberians sole masters of the near-bottom half of the final standings. A win for Spain!
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 Sertorian Spanish Commander
Well, what a fantastic end to a lovely weekend, sending the Finnish Champion (?) back to moomin-land with his tail between his legs and a trophy to boot! Finally my army lived up to it;s undoubted potential and heroically attacked with aplomb and vigor, sweeping all before it in a flurry of exploding phalanxes
From that first moment of combat the tide was coming in on my victory as surely as it was sweeping into the Brixham harbour only steps away
I will go and celebrate wildy with chips, fish, and bathe myself in pasty fillings such as diced swede and potato, together with some juices of undecided meats.
This is the beginning of the start of a new dawn for my Spanish army - onwards and upwards!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Thou weedy clay-brained varlet! Dice in the attack phase won this game for you, against an admittedly less elite-infested line of opponents than in the games when you had faltered against the same sort of army, and the photos show this as clear as day.
After three defeats surely your army must have had no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune, but still they must be commended for being brave in the face of your incompetent leadership, even as you threw them haphazardly at the enemy with barely a plan in sight
This wanton disregard for the lives of your men means you are indeed a bloodier villain than terms can give thee out!
Thou fusty idle-headed pigeon-egg, the end result of this farce of a fighting weekend is surely marked in the final table - and that is one you are doing more looking up than looking down
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