Classical & Roman, L'Art de la Guerre in Oxford in 2015
Late Imperial Roman vs Palmyran
The lists for the Late Imperial Roman and Palmyran 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.
With the Late Roman Cataphracts not really having achieved anything of note so far, the final game matches them up against a Palmyran army! The Late Romans have weighted the right side, and are sending Auxilia up towards the hill. The enemy have a wall of steel on horseback on their right, and a load of bowmen who want to get to the top of the hill before the Auxilia get to them!
Those bowmen get a shift on and are on top of the hill in a flash - the two armies close as their skirmishers exchange fire and damage each other in the process...
On the left, a familiar refrain - the armies are not wide enough to fill the table, and there is a gap for the Late Roman lancers to break through - scattering the enemy LH and CV Bowmen they are suddenly sort of in the rear of the Cataphracts!
On the left the hill is coming under sustained assault from much of the Roman army.
On the right, the turn-and-charge mechanic catches the Lancers out for the second time in as many games...
Yes, you can... you just lose an MU (4cm) from your normal move. For some troops who are unmaneuverable it also takes more pips.
Suddenly the much vaunted breakthrough appears to be a recipe for one Lancer to be surrounded and shot to death by enemy bow-armed LH and Cavalry...
The Auxilia look for clever ways to attack the hill full of bowmen, and with some of them suffering cohesion losses from shooting as they advance
The Auxilia can only take 3 hits, so the one with a yellow marker is in real trouble. The bowmen are not great in combat usually, but with a +1 for uphill, and if my Auxilia remain on -1 for having suffered cohesion losses they are suddenly at evens or better. Bearing in mind that the 6-wide bow formation can also count on some overlaps, the Auxilia need a better plan than a frontal assault.
The remaining unit of Lancers has now learnt what to do - they turn and charge themselves, catching an enemy unit of LH in a place when they can't evade, and wipe them out !
The hill full of bowmen is now starting to look like a hill full of Romans, and this is not a great thing to have happen if you are an Palmyran bowman. The Palmyrans are broken up, and the Auxilia are regaining their confidence ..
The Auxilia at the foot of the hill are mow mostly out of shooting arc of the bowmen, so have a much better chance of making it up the hill without losing cohesion on the way.
In the centre, the Palmyrans had finally gotten into the, erm two Roman Cataphracts, and were gradually rolling round towards the flanks of the Roman Legions
The vice tightens around the bowmen...
The Palmyrans are frantically trying to push their Cataphracts through the Romans own horsemen as they need to get into the main Roman infantry line before the Romans in turn overwhelm the bowmen on the hill and push onwards towards the Palmyran camp
The camel-mounted bowmen have evaded from the much slower Roman infantry. Evading is pretty much as in other rules - a D6 roll can see you add or deduct 1MU (40mm) from movement for chargers and evaders alike.
The enemy have been broken up into multiple units, damaging their ability to move quickly across the table as the Roman Legions shrink back into a defensive perimeter and try and hold the line whilst the Auxilia continue to make slow headway against the bowmen on the hill
It's done! The hill falls to Rome!
The Roman General commanding the Auxilia has joined a unit to help it rally from it's (green marker) cohesion loss.
With the hill finally captured, the Romans suddenly realise that they have lost all coherence in their battle lines in the process, and manoeuvring their army is now almost impossible - the Palmyrans however are starting to get into shape to sweep them up from the left - oops!
Two Roman LH look on at the rapidly coalescing Palmyran line, and wonder if there is any way they can stop the wall of steel...
By some knitted terrain the last Lancer is running like a dog, with 2 hits it cannot afford to be shot again by the enemy LH, but if it is to rally it can't move - so will be caught and shot... a dilemma indeed!
I have no idea what was happening here...
The most likely thing is that some evading LF have been caught by a charging cataphract. LF who evade and are caught are instantly destroyed, no need to roll dice. So, keep them out of too much danger!
nor here really...
The Result is a defeat for Rome..
Post Match Summary from the Late Imperial Roman Commander
This rather unfortunatel event can be chalked down as a learning experience I believe - sometimes when one is picking up a new mechanism it is possible to make accidental mistakes, or for one's opponent to have luck and this can upset even the most succesful or commanders - as happened here.
The Palmyran infantry did a great job of holding the hill, and even though my men managed to sneak cleverly round their flank the damage was by then done, with the delays caused as we reorganised ourselves in the face of highly accurate shooting.
This long day of three battles has however proved that these rules can be easily picked up and mastered, and for that I am grateful indeed as it means more ancient gaming experiences in the future on this website
And, over the three games I have won the most importabnt one - mastery of Rome is mine!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Surely after such idiocy, Jupiter and all the gods will damn you to hell and back! To claim this was luck is as ludicrous as the word "ludus", which is of coursee based in a latin origin
In a pip-based game, how can you hope to control your army of slow moving pedestrians when you have separated every element into a stand-alone unit - and against a faster moving enemy who in many ways just stood there and waited for you to break up your forces, waste your efforts assulting their strongest position and then throwing away your best troops by forgetting a rule that you have had demonstrated to you in every game you have played so far - the turn and chaaaaaaarge!
This was however, I must admit, a nice day out in which three games were easily fitted and after which the mechanics of the rules have been mastered competently. I imagine that North Star Games will have many people visiting their website to buy this one-volume set of rules and army lists in the forseeable future - which means many more people for you to lose to!
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?