Field of Glory Wargaming at Faenza 2010
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After a somewhat disappointing lunch followed up by a top-up of retired railway workers subsidized beer and ice cream I found my Romans facing an Early Aechemenid Persian army - Early Achaemenid Persian for the list
Pictures of Persians from my Ancients Photo Directory
The terrain fell almost all in the Persian half, so the Great Emperor would be emerging rather confusedly from a dense jungle of palm trees to face the glinting swords of the men of Rome - surely a good start, especially as it might also reduce the amount of shooting the Immortals could do, and limit the maneuverability of any pesky LH and cavalry the Great One might have. Oddly enough, the Romans deployed in a thin line ready to consolidate as they contracted and moved forwards.
The deployment was as above (created using the free Battle Chronicler) tool. I was playing in a "proper" Roman way and intended for force the Immotrals into a decisive showdown against my fabulous legions, whilst pushing back skirmishers elsewhere on the table.
before starting Caesar gave a legendary speech to his men
The game started by the Roman auxilia racing forward to claim the rough going in the middle of the table, and the Roman light horse also pushed up to buy space for the Romans to deploy behind.
The two light horse screens exchanged shots, leaving the Romans the worse off - fortunately the boys in red were able to quickly get some additional heavier troops up in support in the form of a legion and some auxiliary cavalry, who exulted in their ability to intimidate someone for once.
The Auxilia were advancing steadily through the middle, delayed somewhat by a skein of light infantry who were surely going to struggle to stop the auxilia from breaking into the palm tree filled woodlands?
I've cleaned up this city.
Have you forgotten my slogan? 'Nihil expectore in omnibus' - no spitting on the public transport.
Out on the Roman left, the large number of auxilia units created some spare troops, who looked to make a dash for yet another palm tree grove before the Persian cavalry could get out to threaten them ....
On the Roman right, the terrain had disjointed the Roman advance, but surely the mix of units on the Red team would be more than a match for the Persians?
Nothing had happened as yet really, however things were starting to get tasty.
With the Immortals struggling to catch up with the rapidly developing fight in the middle, the Romans closed in on many units of Persian skirmishers, even as some of their colleagues faltered under the rain of javelins...
The Romans were leading aggressively everywhere, but would it be enough...?
As the Persians dithered, the Roman mounted wing (all together this time in a place where they could be useful and be usefully supported by their own foot) pushed up to try and exploit the potential confusion of the Persian formation.
The Extraordinarii also rushed forward, yelling like maniacs and clattering the pommels of their swords against their shields as they almost - but not quite - managed to catch some evading light horse. No change there then...
The Persian cavalry were being caught in a trap by infantry - astonishing! Click here to hear Kenneth Williams again
On the extreme right, the thrust by the Roman mounted arm had not gone as well as planned, and the Roman units were forced to retreat as the Persians shot, wheeled and danced their way out of trouble, forcing loads of Romans to fall back in some disarray. But never mind, a big solid block of infantry units was on its way to engage the Immortals in mano-a-mano combat...
In the middle of the board the tow armies were now arrayed for a proper old fashioned battle exactly as Barker Intended. Two units of Auxilia and a Legion kicked things off buy charging into first set of Immortals - who would be next?
But this plan failed spectacularly as the Immortals crushed and broke one unit of Auxilia in the first round of melee!!
Somehow the Persian cavalry had also wormed their way out of the grip of the Roman foot...
- both sides were by now fully committed with almost no reserves to speak of ..
The Extraordinarii decided to take matters into their own hands, and charged home against the second Immortal block. Click here to hear Kenneth Williams
Beating the Immortals should have been easy with a 50% advantage in numbers, but was proving a little harder with even numbers....
The Roman cavalry had also reverted to type and had failed a test after taking only a couple of shooting hits - weakening the Romans right flank as by now all the Roman generals were helping with combats
With Generals on both sides, the balance of the battle against the Immortals swung slowly back in favour of the Romans the Immortals had lost a base...
Back to the left and the Extraordinarii were giving as good as they got, holding off the Immortals as additional Roman troops arrived to provide overlaps. In the distance a unit of auxilia was messing about in the woods to occupy some Persian chariots...
The Immortals suffered a dramatically bad round of combat, and their game was over.... exposing a rashly positioned unit of unprotected Indian bowmen to boot (or to sandal maybe?)!
The Persian chariots managed to get in a charge of their own - and astonishingly swept away a normally reliable legionary unit in short order!
Back to the right, and strange things were happening as the Roman cavalry wing was in total retreat, powerless against 4 Bw/Sw Cavalry - but they in turn were powerless against the mighty victorious legions.
The Roman left was a more coherent picture, as Persian cavalry were forced to stand against Romans who had been warned of decimation if they went the same way as their colleagues versus the Chariotry. Only the Immortals stopped the Romans from sweeping through to the Persian baggage.
With the squishy Indian MF with swords being down -2 at impact, inevitably the Superior Romans lost the first round and went disrupted... at least the red chaps skilled sword capability would come in useful to give them a further +2 in melee ...
Somehow the steadfast legions were not that steadfast, lost melee as well, and lost a base!
As they wobbled yet another Persian cavalry unit appeared to their rear. The end of the Roman line was at risk ...
A messy melee ensured, with the Romans braking their frontal opponents, but losing another base to the light cavalry behind them in combat.
The Roman LH were powerless against the heavier Persian cavalry !
The Persian right wing was in an altogether more perilous state, with the Immortals now at half strength, and routing and breaking off cavalry retreating rapidly.
The Roman right was even worse off....
The Romans, fresh from pursuing the by now obliterated Immortals closed the noose on the Persian baggage and evading cavalry !
But it had happened in my turn, so the Irish had a chance to react
Look, you know what's happening here. No need to comment. ...
Caesar looked on in horror as the Persian Chariots survived an attack in the rear turned round to face off the Roman auxilia
Equally horrifically, the Persians were somehow managing to reorganize what looked to be a jumble sale of units on the Roman left... and a semi coherent battle line started to emerge.
The Indian Bowmen vanquishing legion were now teetering on the brink of a break against 4 LH ! i
Suddenly, everything facing the Roman left was revealed its true skirmishing nature and evaporated to a situation of near perfect safety, leaving the Roman advance with nothing meaningful to advance against. Unbelievably, the Chariots were still going, and still winning.
Back on the left, the Roman mounted took their life in their hands and confronted a deadly Persian LH unit with a shaky advantage of 75% more bases and 200% more points.
The Romans had claimed the field on the left - but had actually killed relatively few units in so doing. The Persian baggage was now being sacked by hungry auxilia.... and the Chariots had claimed their second victims!
The game moved towards the end with all hands to the pump ...
The Romans looked on in amazement as the Persian cavalry charged into the Roman baggage - which was fortified - in the very last turn of the game, and then rolled a 6 to capture it and turn a narrow Roman win into a narrow Persian one !
Post Match Summary
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
The only saving grace in that shambles was that you deliberately set out to do something that you knew up front was stupid and pointless, rather than stumbling into it through incompetence and ignorance.
The Persians had 14 units.
You needed to beat 7 of them.
So, starting with the 2 toughest, largest ones wasn't the ideal place to start.
And having precisely zero capability in your army (I'm discounting those crap half heated efforts at being cavalry you have) to ever catch and engage with the other 12 Persian units was just staggeringly stupid.
Lets face it, this Principate Roman army is nowhere near as good as a proper Dominate army, as it has less shooters, and less ability to stretch across the entire table. Both of which you have to have to give you an evens chance at sweeping up a shoot and scoot (or occasionally stand and fight) outfit like this.
Without the LH stuff, to win you needed to beat 2 Immortals, 3 units of Superior or Elite Cavalry, the Chariots and the Indian MF (who should never even have some close to the battle line really). And that was never going to happen, was it? The rest you had no way of getting to grips with, unless you count your useless plan of "hope to get lucky with LH vs LH at the start of the game.
I'm actually glad that the camp fell at the first opportunity, as that just underlined how poor this army design is for a genuinely competitive game format.
Lets see how the next game goes then ?
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