Monday, September 16, 2013

Battle of Sentinum 295BC using Ancient Battlelines Clash

Introduction
This is game 17 in playtesting my ancient rules by replaying historical battles. Previous games used my rules called Ancient Warrior  Battles.  The latest version is on its own blog page. I am playtesting the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  ABC is designed to finish in under an hour on 2'x2' tables.

Battle of Sentinum
It is the third Samnite war and the Samnites gather allies to defeat Rome.  The Romans manage to draw away some of the enemy troops and are left facing the Samnites and the Gauls.

Here is a link of interest that I used to create the scenario:

Wikipedia article

Troops
Romans
Roman and allies - Romans infantry are the two deployed 4 units deep

2 Legionaries, HI, protection 0, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude +1, line relief
2 Skirmishers, SI, javelins
3 Heavy Cavalry, HC

10 Latin Ally troops, LI
4 Latin Ally Skirmishers, SI, slings
1 General, +1 command ability

Breakpoint:14

Samnites and Allies
Gauls on the left, Samnites to the right.

Samnites
10 Spearmen, LI, fortitude +1
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC
1 General

Gauls
8 Warbands, LI, impetuous
3 Skirmisher, SI, javelins
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC
2 Chariots, MCH
1 subgeneral

1 Samnite Camp

Breakpoint: 13

Each general can only command their own troops.  

I do not have any of the Samnites as models so are represented by various Late Roman Auxilia. 

There are a lot of troops for a small board!

Deployment
Deployment:

An overview of deployment - Gauls and Samnites (with camp to the rear) on the left

The Game
Romans move first.  Not sure they will do so well against the Gauls, but they better chance against the Samnites so advance on the right and only slightly on the left.

The Romans right advances

The Gallic warband group

Gallic cavalry and Roman cavalry locked in melee on Roman left.  The warband group advances, as does the Samnites. Note the warbands are now split into two waves.  This is due to an echelon rule where, for a warband, a unit in a rear rank behind a retreating front unit will be disordered and will need to move into the vacant space, and will not get a charge bonus.  But if separated, the warband unit will still be disordered, but will be able to charge in with the charge bonus.   If the separation is more than 6cm, then the warbands will not be interpenetrated by the retreating front line (retreat distance of 6cm for light infantry warbands).

Samnites charge and ensuing melee sees a Latin ally routed.

The Roman right from the Roman side.  Cavalry in melee on the right and the Roman allies in centre not doing so well (green markers are disordered markers).  One lot of Romans in 4 lines can be seen on the far left.

There is a cunning plan for the Gauls on the Roman left - the cavalry melee with the Romans has the Romans at a +1 advantage due to be supported.  Gauls do have a general, the Romans have the command marker (a +1).

Roman cavalry on the lower left in combat with the Gallic cavalry.  The gallic chariots are in reserve,ready to pounce.  And to the right can be seen the advancing warbands.

During the Gallic turn, the Gallic general is moved to the chariots.  It is hoped the cavalry will be defeated and then rout.  The Roman cavalry will likely pursue into proximity range of the Gallic chariots, who will likely charge.  The chariots will be at an advantage as they are not disordered and also will be supported while the Romans no longer will be.  It worked just as planned. And the command marker is captured.  A command marker is deployed for the +1 command ability, and is not a general, so while is does not count towards the breakpoint, it does reflect a loss of the marker and so won't be on the table any more.

The Roman Cavalry in melee with the Gallic chariots, just before the cavalry routs.

Warbands charge in.  A lucky 6 sees a Hastati unit retreat though the other "ranks" (ranks here representing the Romans lines).  As they all have the line relief ability,  interpenetration has no effect.

The Roman lines in melee with the warbands.

Note the rear line of warbands is 6cm behind the first. An unlucky retreat roll (a 6) will see the retreat distance become 8cm and then interpenetration will have an effect.  Will take the chance.

Samnites move into close combat.  Mostly disorders and so locked in melee.

On the Roman right, the Romans are doing OK against the Samnites.

Over next turn or two, a Latin ally unit and a warband is lost. Line relief is working well for the Romans.

The second Roman heavy cavalry in reserve manages to make it around the flank to hopefully cause havoc in the rear.
The Roman reserve cavalry heading for the Samnite camp.  The game ended before they had a chance to do some looting.
Some Samnites units in the centre failed orders rolls for a number of turns and so were unable to clear the centre of the one lone Latin ally that was defending it.

Facing the lone Latin ally at the bottom centre are 4 Samnite units that just did not follow up the opportunity to attack (failed order rolls).

Another turn on both sides sees the Roman centre finally fall.  Importantly, the Gallic general and a warband charges into a disordered legionary unit and routs it.  The Roman reaches their breakpoint and so have lost.

A very happy Gallic general with warband.



The Gallic chariots were in the process of turning to reenter the battle.


End game.  Remaining Roman units are circled in red.  Not that many.

Verdict
I really like this scenario - Romans, warbands, stacks of light infantry (medium infantry in some rules) and an interesting setup.  The rules work as I expected them to, always a good thing.  There was a lot of troops - about double what I would recommend for a game with my rules.  I am still not sure whether the Samnites should be poor heavy infantry or good light infantry.  Sticking with the latter for now.  The Medium Chariot troop type worked well for the Gallic chariots.

I have been looking for a scenario to test other rules with as I am close to being over the Battle of Heraclea.  I was thinking one with warbands if there was one I liked.  Bibracte looked good, but Sentinum could be a contender if I cut down the number of bases by about 50%. Sentinum has more troop types in it!

Side note on Imperator
Lastly, I have been busy since having received Bill Bank's Imperator boardgame.  I love how this game may work.  This may change once I play it :-)  I have spent the last week madly doing up a spreadsheet to take a lot of the tedious bits out - events, random provinces, ownership of provinces etc.  Hopefully I will start to play a game soon and replay the battles using my rules.  I will try out the first scenario which is Middle-Eastern in 1700BC.  Back to chariots!  I will still be replaying the Peter Sides scenarios and also doing some other battles on the side to test out the rules. All part of the plan to have a lot of the playtesting done by early next year so I can get back to testing out other rules - the original aim of the blog!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Battle of Caudine Forks 321BC using Ancient Battlelines Clash

Introduction
This is game 16 in playtesting my ancient rules by replaying historical battles. Previous games used my rules called Ancient Warrior  Battles.  The latest version is on its own blog page. I am playtesting the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  ABC is designed to finish in under an hour on 2'x2' tables.

Battle of Caudine Forks
During the second Samnite War, the Samnites managed to trap a Roman army in a defile.  Eventually they let the Romans go.  So this scenario is creating what happened if a battle actually occurred.

Here is a link of interest that I used to create the scenario:

Wikipedia article

Changes to the Peter Sides scenario
I reduced the Romans to a single line of spears (in DBx, Spears benefit from a rear rank but my rules the rear rank bonus is included in a single unit of troops). Note that if I was replaying it, I would give the Romans two ranks of spears using my rules.  Otherwise the odds are very much against them - the two ranks would give them a bit more of a change.   I also reduced the forces by about 1/3 to account for me shrinking the table size from 36" to 24" wide.

Troops
Romans

5 Legionaries, HI, phalanx
2 Latin Allies, LI, fortitude +1
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC
6 Skirmisher, SI, slings
1 General
 
Breakpoint: 8


Note that the scenario had Tullian Romans with all Legionnaires as Spears, so I have used that.

Samnites

18 Samnites, LI, fortitude +1
2 Heavy Cavalry, HC
1 General

Samnite Allies (behind the barricade)
1 Spearmen, HI, phalanx
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC
2 Skirmisher, SI, bows
1 General
Breakpoint:13

I do not have any of the Latins and Samnites as models. And I definitely do not have 18 of anything that could stand it for them.  So the Samnites use various Late Roman Auxilia and others.

Deployment
Deployment:
Romans in the centre with Samnites Light Infantry on the hills and facing a small force behind the barricade to the top of the picture.
The GameSamnites move first and charge down the hill to the Romans.

From the roman side - Samnites charge down the hill into the sides of the roman line.


It will be frontal attacks and not flank attacks (although it may look like it).  For a flank attack the attacking unit must be at 90 degrees or more to the rear side of the defending unit. 

The Samnites force the Latin Allies on each flank to retreat but stop against the Legionary phalanx.  A lucky 6 on the left side of the ravine see a Legionary disordered but not the attacking Samnite unit (who is with the general). Some Roman skirmishers are also cleared. Note that a group of units, when moving, does not have to maintain the front line - some units can move a little further than others, so long as sides are still touching.

The Roman right flank after combat


...and the Roman left.

Roman turn went badly as expected.  Heavy Infantry can only wheel or move, if they do both they are disordered, very bad for a phalanx.  Best hope is to advance slightly in an inverted U to ensure any attacks will be on the front.  Unfortunately they will count as unsupported, but the phalanx CV of 5 will offset this a bit.  I must admit, the fact that the Samnite have a unit to the rear means even when they advance or pursue due to action test, that they still count as supported is good for them (unsupported is a -1 modifier to just about any test, including combat)  And a roll of a 1 saw the Legionary Vs the Samnite generals rout.

Legionary units form a U shape in the centre.  Will not count as supported but gives them a good chance of protecting the front, and next move bringing the fight to the enemy (except the game ended before then!)

Samnite turn goes well and and at the end of their turn the Roman breakpoint is reached.  Not surprising.  Overwhelming numbers and no room for Roman manoeuvre.  The Samnite tactic was to throw themselves at the Romans this turn.  Light Infantry +1 fortitude is a CV (Combat Value) of 3 Vs Phalanx with a CV of 5 -1 for unsupported is 4.  If the Samnite can cause a disorder, and they will on a roll of 3 or more, then the Phalanx CV will drop to 1 so the turn after they will be at a big disadvantage.  They managed to attack some legionary unit a couple of times this turn and gt rid of another two.

Game end.  Roman cavalry at the bottom and a couple of Legionary units in the centre.


Verdict
Very fast (Samnite turn, Roman turn, Samnite turn) but a surprising amount of action went on.  And it was fun - mostly because of the unusual layout of the scenario.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Battle of Veseris 340BC using Ancient Battelines Clash

Introduction
This is game 15 in playtesting my ancient rules. Previous games used my rules called Ancient Warrior  Battles.  The latest version is on its own blog page. I am playtesting the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  ABC is designed to finish in under an hour on 2'x2' tables.

Note the Peter Sides scenario is titled Battle of Suessa but my search of the internet did not find it. I did find the exact same battle under the title Battle of Veseris. 

Battle of Veseris (or Vesuvius)

The first battle of the Latin War sees Romans move to Capua to engage with the Latin allies

Here are links of interest and that I used to create the scenario:

Wikipedia article
HistoryofWar article

Troops
Romans
The Romans in 4 lines.
2 Legionaries, HI, protection 0, fortitude +1, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude +1, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude -1, line relief
2 Heavy Cavalry, HC
4 Skirmisher, SI, slings
1 +1 General

Samnite allies in the rough.  On the right flank.
5 Samnite Infantry, LI, fortitude +1
1 Samnite Cavalry, HC
1 Samnite sub-general

Breakpoint: 12

Romans general can only command Romans, Samnites only the Samnites.

Latin Allies
Latins and Campani - facing the Romans

Latins and Campani
1 Legionaries, HI, protection 0, fortitude +1, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude +1, line relief
2 Spear, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude -1, line relief
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC
2 Skirmisher, SI, javelins
1 General

Aurunci and Sidicini in the rough.  Facing the Samnites.

Aurunci and Sidicini
6 Allied Infantry , LI
2 Skirmisher, SI, javelins
1 Heavy Cavalry, HC
1 Samnite sub-general

Breakpoint: 10

Each general can only command their own troops.  

I do not have any of the Latins and Samnites as models.  So the Latins use Republican Romans, but different figures the the Romans; and the Light Infantry are represented by various Late Roman Auxilia.

Deployment
Deployment:

Romans and allies to the left, Latins and allies to the right.  The brown is rough ground.

Romans are stronger than their Latin counterpart so that should be their focus.  The Aurunci and Sidicini are stronger that the Samnites on that flank so that will be their focus.

The Game
Romans advance, Aurunci and Sidicini advance.  Skirmishers are cleared in front of the heavy infantry while the light infantry get close in the bad going.

Latins  in the foreground advancing on the Romans.

The Aurunci and Sidicini in foreground about to contact the Samnites
Combat in the rough - a few retreats. And I have just realised I had forgotten that Light Infantry are 1/2 movement rate in the rough and should have been moving slower.  It does mean that close combat should have occurred two turns later than it has.

Combat in the rough - the Samnite have been forced to retreat a few units.
In a turnabout, the Cavalry-light infantry clash sees the Aurunci light infantry rout the cavalry unit (a 6 in the second round of melee after both disordered in the first round).

Aurunci light infantry in contact with Roman cavalry.  Both disordered.  The cavalry are subsequently routed.

The left most Latins charges the opposing Romans.


Latins (bottom in two lines with general)  in melee with Romans (in three lines)
Each "column" is fronted by a Legionaire unit (Heavy Infantry), a -1 fortitude phalanx in the middle and a +1 fortitude phalanx in the rear.  The Latins have a general.  All have line relief attribute that means interpretation has no effect, and a disordered unit can swap places with a ordered unit behind it.  The line relief rules worked really well and I am happy with them.  They worked really well to break a melee (normally a 1 or 6 will break a melee between equal unit, a 1 is bad for the attacker, a 6 is bad for the defender.  The line relief allows a fresh unit to perform the combat with a 5 or 6 now being bad for the defender.

So how did it actually play out: The front units were disordered.  In the Roman turn, the Legionnaire units swapped with the -1 phalanx that managed to rout the opposing Latin infantry.  Pursued into the -1 phalanx and subsequent close combat saw both disordered.  In the Latin turn, swapped out -1 fort phalanx for +1 fort phalanx and routs the opposing infantry, pursues into disordered HI  that routs. And then into +1 phalanx that also routs. The Latin General was key in getting the +2 in every combat.

Aurunci manage to rout a few more Samnites.

There are more Aurunci and Sidicini at the front than Samnites.  The latter are losing.


The legionaries melee described previously actually caused the Romans to reach their breakpoint.   I did play out the other legionary "column" but that did not have the swing to cause any routs and simply continued in melee. 

End game with Roman edge to the bottom.  The Latins have control of the Roman right flank and the Latin Allies are doing well in the rough too.

Verdict
I did like the way the line relief rules worked - I have tested them once before and it was good to see that they did work for three deep lines as well.  After this game I did have a deep thoughts about the power of generals (+2 is a excellent modifier for a single d6 roll and the average combat value is 3).  but I did a little bit of reading and researching and soul searching and left it at +2.  The general is not merely the general - it represents a focus point for command and combat across the entire army.  The Roman general should have moved to oppose the Samnite general to cancel out the +2 bonus.  I have done this in a few previous games and it make sense. It also matches Bill Banks Ancients (from which ABC derives some bits from) that had a similar concept to this.  I am good again.