Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Hail Caesar - Romans & Brits Vs. Greek

I made a first appearance at the RGMB on a Tuesday night since a Lord Of The Rings game on June 19th with an ancients game of Hail Caesar  booked.  It was really good to see a lot of people who I haven’t really since I started working in Manchester, and always good to see people actually pleased to see me.  In my absence the number of card players seems to have grown, and I still have genuinely no idea what is so entertaining about the whole thing – then again they probably wondered what the hell the interest is in the whole Romans Vs. Greeks model combat!  A game of Dystopian wars was on, while two battles of 40k and some warmachine rounded off the tabletop games.  Anyway, onto the battle.

The Setup:
The Romano-Brits (from now to be referred to as the Brits) turned up first and set up a battlefield with a fair amount of trees and rivers, the Romans arrived second after the hard work had been done.   Overlord Chris Fazey was floating around and accepted a position in the roman army and in the absence of the Greeks we started to set up for a quick game.  Deployment had been achieved when the Greeks arrived, and reshuffling commenced while the Greeks spent 30mins setting up.  The Overlord refused to go Greek on the basis that they all had a cold and he didn’t want to catch anything, plus there were some allegations regarding steriotypes, although overall he may just have not wanted to move chairs.  I took command of the Greek right flank, leaving the Overlord in command of a cut-down Roman army allied to the Brits.  Some wrangling about the size of the Greek frontages and the scenario commenced, and was concluded with the agreement that “the first to die loses”.  And we were off.  Slowly.

The Battle:
The Roman strength was massed on their far right, and failed to get into the battle to any effect apart from encouraging the Greeks to aim more towards the Brits with the objective of crippling them before the Romans could arrive on their flank.  The Brits sent one large division of infantry down the centre, following the combined Roman and British cavalry, and a smaller one on the far left.  The Greeks blocked their hoplites facing the Brits, with a weaker force on their left looking across at the Romans.

The main fighting occurred between the Greek central division against the larger Brit infantry division over possession of the hill between the tree groupings.  The Brits having first sent their cavalry in a hopeless attempt to charge through the front of the Hoplites, then made it to the top of the hill first, only for the Hoplites to start making their way up the other side.  The clash at the top saw the Brits defeated despite their numerical superiority due to the Hoplites skill at arms.  In the other clash in the centre the Roman cavalry followed the Brit example of charging the front of the Hoplites, with the same result!  The bulk of the Roman forces floundered across the river, with only a small, successful, clash against the greek light horse to show for their troubles (proving that men with sock; the slingers, could fight better than the rest of the army).  At the point where they had crossed the river the biggest Roman infantry division distinctly heard the order to head off to the right (off the table!) and went in search of the pub.  With the sideshow on the Brits left seesawing between the Hoplites and Brit infantry there and nothing but disaster looming in any more frontal attacks on the Greek forces the Brit CO – King Arthur, still grumbling about Hoplite unit widths – called it a day and the Overlord concurred.

So what did we learn.  Firstly that Hoplites are very difficult to defeat from the front, something which I had learnt last time out, but being on the Greek side it didn’t seem a good idea to share.  Cavalry to the front was a major mistake, sacrificing the units for nothing.  Secondly that we are rusty, and some more practice is needed!  There wasn’t a huge amount of rulebook consultation but there was a fair bit, and we were generally slower in making decisions.  Thirdly that Red’s Hoplites need their unit frontage widening from their 4 by 4 to an 8 by ¾, otherwise there is the high potential for them to gain an advantage.

In other notes I didn’t manage to notice whether my Romans looked more impressive with their newly repainted red shields.  I also think the battlefield had a bit too much scenery, and give the size of the forces could have been a bit bigger.  Finally a scenario is a preference to the stand and fight game, obviously requiring a bit more pre-planning.  Given I’m now jobless again I might get time for some of that.  Poor pictures I'm afraid, better luck next time.

The first turn or so, Greeks on the right in the white.

The cavalry on their ill-fated charge.

The Romans.

The main clash of the evening.

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