Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Tides of War

Tonight we had a real barn-burner of a game. The Consul and I got together for the third in our series of "learning games" for Warmaster Ancients. Once again, I fielded the same 1000 point Gallic army of 9 Warrior units, 2 Heavy cavalry, 2 light cavalry, 3 skirmishers, and 2 armored warrior units, along with 2 Warlords and Vercingetorix as General. The Gauls had a break point of 7. The Consul fielded 4 trained legions, 4 raw legions, 2 units of Gallic cavalry, and 1 unit of skirmishers. He dropped one unit of skirmishers and one of mounted skirmishers for an extra leader. The Romans had a break point of 5. We rolled for duration and got 8 turns.

Here's the Consul's setup:

The cat attacked and ate my setup picture:

On turn one, the Gauls advanced. The whole army moved, and the center Gallic brigade moved 3 times to take the hill!

The Romans advanced but their Raw Legions shuffled their feet just like the last battle! Maybe Rome would be better off without them?

Final Turn 1 dispositions:

Turn 2: the Gauls launched a reckless charge down the hill into bad odds. They hoped their friends would follow to help, but in fact only the rearmost Gallic brigade moved, all other units failing their command rolls!

A close up of the Gallic charge:

The battle raged, with the Gauls predictably getting manhandled by the Romans in the first round of combat. In the second round it was a tie and the two groups retired. Each side lost a full unit, with the Gauls losing two other stands and the Romans one.

Post-scrum positions:

Inspired by Gallic foolhardiness, the Romans charged up the hill. They expect to be supported by the Raw Legions. Surprise! The Raw legions move once but not twice and therefore cannot assist.

The Legions destroy a single unit of Gauls, as the other Gallic units were not contacted nor supporting.

Turn 3: The remaining Gauls on the hill charged the legions nearby. The skirmishers on the Gallic right and left advanced, but the rear brigade of Gauls failed to move, leaving the charges on the hill unsupported! The Gallic skirmishers on the right drive back and confuse a unit of Roman-allied Gallic horse with missile fire.

Before the charge:

And the Legions all but annihilated them, killing one Gallic warlord along with two units! The Romans fell back to prepare for their next turn.

The result:

The Romans on the hill charged the remaining hapless Gallic unit there, while the Raw Legions advanced to the hill to for a line. A lone Roman legion brought up the rear with two moves, and the Roman-allied cavalry charged the Gallic light horse on the right, who shoot and evade to no effect.

The Roman line of doom:

A one-sided combat ensues with a predictable result: another Gallic unit destroyed. The Gauls have lost 4 units now, and the Romans 2.

Little lost Gauls:

Turn 4: The Gauls on the lower part of the hill charged the Roman line with initiative. It looked like a desperation move andprobably was! Vercingetorix, with a Gallic sense of drama, joins an armored warrior unit to try to tip the balance with his +2 attacks. The Gauls further behind and to the left, who could have also engaged with a couple of good rolls, failed to move at all! Gallic skirmishers on the left advanced to flank the Roman line.

The charge and other Gallic moves:

The charge through Roman eyes:

In a shocking twist that the Gallic commander never dared to expect, the Gauls blasted a hole in the Roman lines, annihilating the last of the trained legions and securing a firm position atop the hill! The Romans were now down to 4 units, just 1 shy of their break point. In other events, the Gallic skirmishers came up big by shooting and driving back a raw legion on the far left and forcing the legion behind to make way, resulting in both becoming confused and unable to move next turn! The Consul was heard to weep and curse in Latin at this point!

Give me back my legions!:

But lo, just when the tides of war were at their height for the long-haired Gauls, and visions of golden torques danced in their heads, the Romans showed why their military prowess was feared. Only two of the Raw Legions were available to fight, but they charged headlong up the hill and into the Gallic armored warriors with Vercingetorix. Simultaneously, the Roman legate successfully gave both Roman-allied Gallic cavalry units two orders each to hit the lone Gauls on the top right of the hill, and the main Gallic rear, respectively. On both of his second rolls, the legate needed to roll a 6 or less on two dice. Nicely done, Bigus Horseshoeus!

The Romans squeeze the Gallic troops in a vice grip:

The Roman-allied Gallic cavalry on the right destroyed the hapless Gallic unit it had charged. That brought Gallic losses to 6, one shy of their break point! In the center, the Raw Legions and the Roman-allied Gallic cavalry delivered 7 hits to the surrounded Gauls. The Gauls, led by their chief, fought back ferociously, and score 6 hits. The Romans won by 1 hit! As a result, 4 Gallic stands had nowhere to retreat (they are blocked by other friendly stands engaged in the opposite direction) and were wiped out, along with the Gallic general himself. The Romans polished off two more units, breaking the Gauls by killing their General and bringing them over their break point simultaneously! Victory points were tallied and the Romans won 505-400.

No nasty Gauls here, Consul, sir!

The rest of the Gallic army flees as their best and brightest are destroyed on Mons Alba:

A large pile of Gallic casualties:

A not inconsiderable number of Roman casualties. No doubt the consul will report the loss of "46 centurions and just less than 800 missing."

Well, this was a very exciting game. The Gallic strategy of seizing the high ground was going well, until the rest of the army failed to show up in a timely fashion! Conversely, the Romans were on the move this time and the Raw Legions stepped up to win the battle after all their trained compatriots had been destroyed. The Gallic counterattack that destroyed two trained legions at one blow seriously shook the Roman commander's morale. The Gauls were a hair away from victory, but the Romans managed to completely envelop the troops on the hill with cavalry and won a close battle that put them over the top. 2 hits going differently in the last combat would have given the opposite result!

Surely the Gauls will return, perhaps with a larger army next time?


Peter said...

Sounds like solid fun!

Consul Scipio said...

Most of the missing have been accounted for. They are reassembling in camp and will be ready for the next fight!

Black Knight said...

Roman propaganda! At least I admit that my dead feed the goddess of war! :)