Saturday, September 25, 2010

Callinicum refight using Basic Impetus

I've had a copy of Basic Impetus (BI) since early 2008 and pushed some units around soon after.  Thought it was a fantastic system and acquired Impetus as soon as it came out (but that story is for another day).  Tried playing it with DBA sized units but move rates are tiny.  It really plays well with recommended base sizes (naturally).  I did a couple of half-completed games solo two years ago.  So I am coming at them fairly fresh.

Basic Impetus, clarifications, armies lists etc can be found at the Dadi and Piombo Basic Impetus site.

There is an active forum, an active Impetus yahoo group and an Impetus news blog. While there are a few reviews of Impetus, the only one comprehensive Basic Impetus review I could find is a review at BoardGameGeek.

Basic Impetus is the free simplified version of Impetus.  Impetus adds in command and control, more interactions, more unit and combat differentiators (and more).  But at its heart, Basic Impetus is a cut-down Impetus (which is a good thing).

Note: I may play the full Impetus at a later date with Callinicum with everything halved - bases are halved and a U=5mm.  Halving the U in Impetus isn't so bad as in Impetus and units have opportunities to move more than once per activation so the total move distances are not as short as in Basic Impetus.Using single DBx type bases, I could reuse my existing deployment.  The forces would be about 360 points each and, while the game would play on a 2'x2', may take longer than a hour.  So full Impetus is still on my maybe play list.

Rule modifications used in the replay
The one main thing I was never keen on in BI was the charging unit got Impetus while the charged unit got no bonus.  The impetus bonus is quite important for combat.  Impetus has rules for counter-charging but not so in BI.  However, there is a Baroque free expansion for Basic Impetus.  This allows counter-charging for non-disordered units.  Somewhere on the forum or the yahoo mailing list the question came up whether the Baroque rules could be used for non-Baroque BI to which Lorenzo's (author) reply was something along the lines of "you could if you wanted to".  So here are the rules from Baroque (and I think there is one from Impetus) that I will be using in my refight:
  • Counter-charging if the charged unit is not disordered.
  • Units can about-face and be disordered.
  • Light and Medium Cavalry that did not win melee versus infantry must retreat 5+d6U and are disordered.
  • Infantry cannot pursue Light and Medium Cavalry that retreat due to not winning a melee versus infantry.

The main hurdle to overcome is that each Persian units fit nicely into 3 bases of 40mm wide on a 2'x2' board.  Impetus uses 80mm wide units.  So the deployments I have used for prevous replays will have to change to accommodate BI on 2'x2'.  Note BI plays fine on 3'x2' and could probably make the deployment look fine on 3'x2', but 3'x'2' is not in scope of the refights.

So I will go with the following units:

Persian VDT=13/7

2 CM(*) M=10, VBU=5, I=2, VD=3, Comp Bow B
2 CM M=10, VBU=4, I=2, VD=3, Comp Bow B
1CL Lakhmid M=12, VBU=4, I=1, VD =1, Javelins

Byzantine VDT=15/8

1 T Skutatoi, M=5, VBU=4, I=1 VD=3, Comp Bow A
1 CM(*) M=10, VBU=5, I=2, VD=3, Comp Bow B
2 CM M=10, VBU=4, I=2, VD=3, Comp Bow B
1 FL Isaurian M=8, VBU=4, I=1, VD=2, Javelins
1 CL Ghassanid M=12, VBU=3, I=1, VD =1, Javelins

Troop types based on the relevant lists.

The Byzantine has one extra unit but this is offset by the Persian having an edge in cavalry quality.

Deployment will be similar to other refights.

Deployment - Persians on the left

Persians from their right to left:
[these two are one group)


Byzantines from their left to right:


Not knowing how groups are going to pan out with less units and table than a normal BI game, I've opted to create one group on the Persian side, just to see.  They are easily split up if they don't work. I was tempted to put the 3 Byzantine's into one group as well but I had already taken setup pictures and feeling lazy to take them again ;-)

Markers: I use a little green bush behind a unit to indicate disorder, and use black casualty rings to mark losses.

Turn 1
As per other refights, i will automatically give the first turn initiative to the Persians.

Activate CL and move full distance ahead.

 Nadia, my 3 year old daughter, very excited to be helping to move the Lakhmids

Activate the CM VB5 and move them a little to the left full distance to support the CL.
Activate the CM VB4 reserve cavalry group and move directly ahead
Activate the rightmost CM and move 5 ahead.

The Byzantines best best it to try and gain an advantage on their left flank with the infantry and elite cavalry.
Activate infantry and move full ahead.
Activate the leftmost CM and move full distance ahead.
Activate the elite cavalry and move full distance ahead.
These units of cavalry are 15 away from the opposing Persian cavalry which is sort of in charge reach - charge distance for the CM is 10 +1d6 so there is a 2/3rd chance of not making it and being in disorder.
no other moves.

Note: as most of the units moved, no firing would have been effective.

End of turn 1

Turn 2
Persians win initiative

Activate elite cavalry, rally disorder.
Activate CL and move to 10 away from Ghassanid CL
Fire a CM at opposing elite CM: 4 -3 = 1d6. rolled 6!
Elite CM passes cohesion test (just - needed a 5-1 =4 and rolled a 4) but still disordered.
Other firing cavalry had no effect.

Move CL to the rear.
Rallied elite CM.
fired CM at opposing CM - 1 damage and Persian passed cohesion test so only disordered.
Fired Skutatoi with 3d6. No damage.

End of turn 2

Turn 3
Byzantines win initiative.

The Byzantines are actually in a great position - they can snipe at the Persians and are in a decent defensive line.  Without the normal flanks that you get on a larger board, there is not so much the Byzantine player needs to worry about.  Loathe as I am not to move anything, I will simply fire at the Persians.

Skutatoi 3d6 at opposing cavalry.  1 Damage that the Persian cavalry fail to pass the resulting cohesion test - first VBU loss of the game.
No other firing resulted in damage.

Really need to move!

Lakhmid CL move to within 12 of the opposing Ghassanid CL.
Elite CM with general moves ahead 10U.
CM in the middle with disorder move ahead to be within 11 of opposing CM.
CM in the middle that was in the group with the disordered CM moves up alongside.
I am tempted to move the cavalry opposite the Skutatoi infantry up as well....why not.  They move there full distance up (and end up 11U away from the Skutatoi).

Note: is was this turn I noticed that with less units, groups do not seem to play a big part of tactics, though they do with more units.  If the CM unit in the middle was not disordered, i may have been able to charge them as a group, but that would have been the case in a larger game too.  It is simply there are not as many units to make up groups...
it was also this turn that the board being side to side full of units means there are no flanks to cover like there normally are in BI on a larger table.

I didn't take a end of turn 3 picture, so here is Nadia during turn 3, helping out still.

Turn 4
Byzantines win initiative

Time to fight back!

Skutatoi fire at the opposing CM - no damage.

The CM next to the Skutatoi charge the disordered Persian CM.  The distance is 11 so they make contact.  Persian CM cannot counter-charge as it is disordered.
Byzantine have 4 (VBU) +2 (impetus bonus) = 6d6.  rolled 1 damage.  Persian's fail cohesion test and take 1 permanent loss. 
Persian have 4(VBU) -1 (disorder) =3d6. rolled 1 damage. Byzantine's pass cohesion test and are only disordered.
Persians retreat 1.
Now, the Byzantines could followup but would be 3d6 to 2d6 which isn't great odds. If the Persians manage to get two activations in a row they could remove disorder and charge with 5d6 to 3d6 (Byzantines would not have had a chance to remove their disorder).  Much the same if Persians remove disorder in the next turn and then the Byzantine turn - not worth charging with disorder, especially as I am using the counter-charging rule.  Maybe the Byzantine will followup after all.  The main aim was to remove the unit from the group so the other Byzantine CM can charge the other unit of the group and not contact both units (which it would have done).
I will charge, just to see how pursuit works.
Neither player scores any damage so are locked in melee.

The elite CM with the general charge the opposing CM.  Opposing CM countercharge and the troops are moved to meet halfway between them.
Byzantines roll 5 (VBU) + 2 (Impetus) = 7d6. 2 damage.  Persians critical number is 2. fails cohesion test (rolled a 6) and takes 4 losses which removes the unit.
Persians roll 4 (VBU) + 2(Impetus) = 6d6. 2 damage.  Byzantine critical number is 4 (including +1 for general). passes test and is disordered.
Fired other CM with no effect.

Charge the Ghassanid CL with the Lakhmid CL. No room for the Ghassanids to retreat so counter charge
Persian rolls 5d6.  1 damage. Byzantine rolls a 6 for cohesion test - fails and is routed.
Byzantine rolls 4d6. 2 damage.  Persian's critical number is 2.  Roll a 4 and receive 2 losses.

Elite CM charge the opposing CM and FL.  Distance is 13. roll a 5 for charge bonus so OK. Both opposing units counter charge.
Byzantines nominate the CM as the main unit.
Persians roll 7d6.  2 damage. CM critical number is 2.  rolls a 5.  3 losses.
Byzantines roll 9d6 (4+2 for the CM and (4+1)/2 for the FL).  1 damage.  CM critical number is 5.  Rolls a 4 so passes and is disordered.
CM retreats 1; FL retreats 2

Persian decides to pursue, no need to roll for pursuit bonus -  the Byzantine CM is only 1 away.  The Byzantine Cm can countercharge.
Persian elite CM rolls 4d6. no damage.
Byzantine CM rolls 3d6 (1 VBU + impetus of 2). 1 damage.  CM critical number is 4.  rolls a 2.  passes.  Already disordered so takes a loss.  Persian has to retreat and retreats 3.

Byzantine pursues (it will be 3d6 each so why not?). rolls a 5 for distance so makes it. Elite CM cannot countercharge.
Byzantine rolls 3d6. no damage.
Persian rolls 3d6. no damage.
Locked in melee.
Note: I have just realised the FL should have been the main unit at the start of this melee as it is the unit with most contacted edge.  Ah well.

The next activation is the carryover CM melee.
Persians roll 2d6. 1 damage. Byzantines critical number is 3 and roll a 4.  Fail and take 1 loss.
Byzantines roll 3d6. no damage.
Byzantines retreat 2.
Persians do not pursue.

Persian CM opposite the Skutatoi charge (else they will get whittled away with missiles).  Distance is 13.  Roll a 5 for charge bonus so OK.
Skutatoi countercharge.
Note that this would not occur in Impetus as infantry cannot countercharge cavalry.  If I play with the countercharge rule again, I would disallow infantry from countercharging cavalry.
Persians roll 5d6. 1 damage. Skutatoi critical number is 3. They roll 3 and pass, just disordered.
Skutatoi roll 5d6. 1 damage. Persian CM critical number is 2. They roll a 5.  3 loss which is all their remaining VBU and rout.  Skutatoi do not pursue.

VD status
Persians has lost 2 CM with a VD=3 for a total of 6 (7 is 50%)
Byzantines have lost a CL VD=1 for a total of 1 (8 is 50%)

End of turn 4

Turn 5
Byzantines win initiative.

Elite CM with general charge the Persians in melee with another Byzantine CM.  The main unit is the other Byzantine CM as it has more frontage in contact.
Byzantines roll 5d6 (3 for main unit, 4/2 for support). 2 damage.  Persian critical number is 1.  Rolls 5 which is 4 losses and routs.
Persian rolls 2d6. 1 damage. Byzantine critical number is 3.  rolls 6.  3 losses.

FL charge the elite CM in melee.  rolls a 1 for charge bonus which is not enough to gt there.  Oops.  disordered.

Activate the CM in melee.
Byzantine rolls 1d6. no damage.
Persian rolls 2d6. no damage.
Stay in melee.

I will not bother moving anything else as the Persians cannot move enough to affect any unit.  They only have once chance to destory a CM, which still will not be enough to reach the Byzantine VDU breakpoint.

I'll just do the melee to see if anything happens and nothing else.  Persians have lost and the end of the turn regardless.

Activate the CM in melee.
Byzantine rolls 1d6. no damage.
Persian rolls 2d6. no damage.
Stay in melee.

End of turn 5 and the game.

VD status
Persians has lost 3 CM with a VD=3 for a total of 9 (7 is 50%).  Army broken.
Byzantines have lost a CL VD=1 for a total of 1 (8 is 50%).

Basic Impetus is a great game.  It has good mechanisms that tie nicely together.  It plays fast.  But...I do not think it is well suited to 2'x2'.  5-6 units a side is actually a lot different to the 7-10 normally for BI.  There is less flanking, less groups and generally even more random than BI normally is.  I didn't really feel like I was capturing the tactics used in the original battle.  I think I would have with a few more units on each side. So,  while I did enjoy BI, it needs to be played on a larger board (as it is designed to do!).