After I had played Lee at Maelstrom games it took me two weeks of fairly high pain levels to get over it, was it worth it? My brain says no not really but to hell with that!! So we were keen to try and get another game in as soon as possible to build on our experience with the rules. This was delayed a bit by Lee getting some metal fragments in his eye but this only slowed him down (he built the terrain boards whilst off work ready for the game!!!) So rather than brave the cold of Maelstrom we played in Lee's sauna. He knows I feel the cold more than you normal folk so had cranked up the heat in his man cave. I thought I would pass out it was so warm. We also had stools to perch on so it made for a far more pleasant experience.
A quick word on the boards, lee wanted something that would also be able to be used for 28mm as well as 15mm. Looking at the texture I thought originally he had over played the 28mm and that they would not be so good for 15mm. I was wrong, the bases stood fine on them and they worked well. Lee's games room is so big that this lay out took a rather small part of his total table space. It's a fantastic games room that I hope we will use plenty more in the future.
OK same drill as the time before. 800 points (ish) and Lee was fielding the Macedonian army again and I was using the Persian. Lee has painted up a few more units whilst I have not rebased anything in the last two months but had plenty of options. Both of us learnt lessons from the last game so our armies had changed. Lee had added Elephants (4 of them) and had cut back on the light foot but mostly reduced his cavalry commitment. I had binned a unit of Hoplites and upgraded two of my Cavalry to the best I had on offer. I also had one Paphalgonian Javelin/LightSpear LC unit but it was larger that the original. Another upgrade was the Commander, I went inspired. Again the main idea was to get to know the rules rather than play for kidneys so we both were to do things, just to see that would not happen in a normal game.
At start set up, the village in the foreground was used as much because Lee had just bought it recently and painted it for the game, though it was placed as per set up, unlike the river that was added for the same reason but out of the way as it was just added for eye candy. Now given that Lee 6 weeks ago had no terrain for 15mm at all, suddenly we had plenty, we still need vineyards and olive tree groves which I need to supply but we agreed that I would do these post March 20th as I am in a painting contest. Both Lee and myself dislike the terrain set up rules that with odd dice could have all the terrain in one area, it makes a mockery of winning initiative if then dice decide where a terrain piece starts, lets face it, you have as much chance that that hill you picked will be in your opponents area as your own, and very little chance of it being in your centre. So we simply changed it so that you can place the piece but the rolls for changing it's position were still kept. Having won initiative again I went first.
Again my plan was to get the lights as far forward as possible and slow down the pike. Causing casualties would be a bonus but add a few turns to making contact was the aim of the game. I wanted to win on both flanks but overloaded my left to I hoped guarantee a quick win there. On the right I thought just a Medium Infantry should shake out a couple of lights and backed them with Light Horse bow armed and Cavalry with bow and Sword. Clearly enough.
Lee had the pike in the centre with Elephants protecting the flanks. On his right he had two BG's of Cavalry Lance and two Light Horse, one Javelin the other Lance. His left was just a BG of Cretans and another of Javelin/Light Spear. I had high hops on the flanks, no hope in the centre.
I was to move the left hand Hoplite BG onto the forward hill, knowing this would speed up contact but keen to give Lee a taste of what they could do and hoping that by then his flanks would be shredded. My camp is that sheet of plastic!! well by the next game it will be populated, finished the figures yesterday, now I just need to paint and flock the base and arrange the figures then I can hold my head high.
Oh so brave, Lee was charging them every opportunity and they just melt away, unfortunately often by far to much (AGAIN!!!), fearsome view though. Elephants can really be vulnerable as losing just one base will remove the whole unit but the -2 for shooting and -1 for Elephants really made this a difficult prospect as I could not get enough shots in and when I did Lee would need to roll a 1 to loose out. Rather frustrating as they stood up well but it all added to the fun.
Oh the first of many charges on my right flank. I did get them right up to the board edge where the Cretans would have had to face me but at this point my guys had lost their puff and the disruption they had picked up stopped them charging in. If only I had taken the LC along as well I could have netted at least one unit on that flank and the baggage, in the end nothing more than keeping two LF BG's out of the battle was achieved. Lesson learnt.
I tried being sneaky but I know I missed a rule that would not have been in my favour (I failed to step forward)I charged his Lances with a unit that could only get one base into contact so the impact phase had less effect and allowed my Javelin armed LC to fire. I had charged his LH which had evaded hence the nice looking lines. The net result was the Companions picked up a Disruption, yes Persian Cavalry did something, these were one of the two better BG's, both of which matched the Companion regiment for Quality and Armour though the guys behind were Agima and as such better quality. Note the use of my casualty marker :-)
Midgame and Lee is closing in whilst I fail to put a single dent in the attacking troops. I think next time it will be Javelin Light foot.
The lights on the right, are in fact Prodromoi Lance armed and in trouble. These also disrupted but they managed to do the same to me and I lost a base as well! But they had just 4 bases in the combat whilst I had four and that's before reduction for being lights. I had a good chance of rolling these.
OOOOps! My Cavalry get to grips with the Pike, shame really then it was really the other way round. The pike charged my lights who scarpered and left the Cavalry to take the hit. They help up fairly well but went Disrupted and lost a base. Being Cavalry they at least could get out of it.
Crunch time. My hoplites take on the whole Phalanx and hold out well. Out numbered on the dice they took their lumps and whilst Lee was causing me to loose bases I was doing the same to him but I was also losing Cohesion. The hill was all that was keeping me in it.
Push comes to shove! Close up of the action in the centre. I know I can't win but they held for a few turns, a victory in itself.
Time for Lee to have a play. In a normal game he would have waited but wanting to see if he could make a dent in me he charged up hill into my second Hoplite unit. The nett result was a lucky casualty save after becoming disrupted. The tough girls just kept taking the lumps right to the end of the game. Lee was lucky here as he should have lost them but next time, oh yes next time.
On the other flank I had a chance to charge into the rear of the other Elephants with my lights. As this is a auto drop in Cohesion I was eager to get that done. I passed my Complex test and needed 3 or more to contact so of course rolled a 2 and fell short. A shame as along with a good set of shooting rolls I could have got rid of these guys.
The game ended here. On my left I had routed the Companions and they were destined to go off board without rallying, the Lance LC had been destroyed and the same fate was soon to happen to the Javelin armed LC whilst the Agema was facing off against two fully ordered Persian Cavalry at full strength. This would leave the pike without protection as the nellies were off forward. I doubt I would have stopped the destruction of my centre though. The right was a joke with neither of us doing more than chasing each others tail. We called it a draw though it would have been fun to leave set up to continue to the end.
Lessons learnt. Most important was that we really do like these rules. I hope the Impetus rules grab me as much as these as then I will be truly happy with my Ancients gaming choices. We got used to the rule book a little more, though I am still baffled why they hide RULES in the Glossary section????? They score low on layout and order but if you want fast play rules these seem to fit really well. I am now supposed to be re-basing my ECW for the Renaissance rules sometime in the none too distant as it has fueled Lee to advance that bit further (Help anyone?) As I headed out the door Lee commented on how he needed to finish off a Naps unit that night, whilst I was more concerned with a sit down and maybe a nap happy in the knowledge of a bloody fine day.
So this is what he finished. I'm rather green with envy. Nice one Lee. thanks for the hospitality and a great day. Lets get to the next game.