Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Old Republic vs Empire.

A Headless Body Production
Venue: Fall In 2019
Event:  L' Art de la Guerre, Theme
Rules Set: L'Art de la Guerre
Theme: Alexander to Aetius Theme
Players: Phil Gardocki playing Middle Imperial Roman
               Ray Weiandt playing Republican Roman

I am going to abuse my position here to offer a link to a different blog post about internet based attempts to commit fraud.  We are all in the target market, and every robo call you receive is an attempt to steal your money.  And while we would never fall for these obvious ploys, we do know people that will, so this may help someone you know.  In my personal experience, the lady that fell for the romance scam would be near the bottom of the list for someone that would fall for this sort of thing.  My write-up is a short read.  Scams.

The Forces:
Middle Imperial Roman
Commanded by Larrylious (Try saying that three times fast), the Brilliant, his brother Darrylious, the Competent and his other brother Darrylious, the Competent, and somewhat unreliable.
8   Legionaries    Heavy swordsmen impact
3   30 mina catapult   Heavy artillery
3   Velities   Light infantry javelin
4   Auxilia   Medium swordsmen impact
3   Alares   Heavy cavalry
2   Illyricani   Light cavalry bow 
Breakpoint of 24

Republican Roman (derived from photos and memory and subject to error)
9   Hastati and Principes Heavy Swordsmen Impact, Amour, Elite
1   Triarii Heavy Spearmen Elite
2   Velities   Light infantry javelin
2   Extraordinarii Medium swordsmen elite
3   Alares   Heavy cavalry
2   Illyricani   Light Javelin
Breakpoint of 20
What is a mina?  From the Greek word mna (μνᾶ) was borrowed from Semitic; compare Hebrew māneh, Aramaic  mĕnē, Syriac manyā, Ugaritic mn, and Akkadian manū. It is equal to 70 drachmaes
Or, it could be a unit of weight, A mina was set to 1/60 talent.
So, the catapults are either 2,100 drachmaes, or throwing rocks weighing 40 pounds

The Romans win the initiative and elect to attack in the mountains.
The Middle Imperials are running a flank march on the right flank of 3 Alares and 2 Illyricani.

The Board:
The Middle Imperials are receiving in the mountains and have two brush in their deployment area.

A great looking camp adorns the field.

The Republican right has 4 cohorts of legionaries, supported by a couple of mediums.

The center has 6 more cohorts of legions
That's 10 Cohorts, a perfect Legion.
Their right, 3 cohorts of horsemen supported by Illyrians.
I have better make the artillery count in this one, as my opponent outnumbers my legionaries, and has a quality advantage of both armor and elite!  His Auxiliaries are also elite where mine are not.
Darrylious's (Darryliousi?) medium swordsmen line up in a column, just out to the 4UD zone from the edge.  The hill is steep, and he intends to sit on it.  Larrylious sets up 6 wide in front of the camp.
The remaining picture is blurry and not included, but here is what is going on next door.

If memory serves, the scenario is Hannibal has crossed the Delaware river on Independence Day, and caught King Arthur’s Grenadiers by surprise in their barracks. 
Turn 1:

First turn move, noting unexpected.  A double march of legionaries and swordsmen.

The center cohorts keep in step as well.  30 mina boulders rain upon them for a pair of hits.
Illyricani advance a bit, but the Alares hold back as there is no Roman cavalry to be seen.

Darrylious has a lousy eye for distance.  After extending his line the race for the hill is in doubt.
Once again, Larrylious sets up his cohorts in a balanced formation when he should have weighted it left.
Catapult crews are taking a break after a first turn of successes.  (damn union rules)
Turn 2:
A cautious advance by the Republic's right wing.  The re-positioned catapults have targeted them now.

Illyricani  advance to the edge of the brush, the Velites invite them to come in further.
I know I used that joke last AAR, but this time it is more appropriate, as Republican Romans are so last millennium

Catapult fire disorders two units.  Giving time for the Imperial Auxilla to ascend the hill.
Larrylious decides to hold in place.
Both sides seem to be waiting for the flank march to arrive.

Turn 3:

A bit of light vs light action.  The main battleline cants to adjust to the Imperial lines.
The Republican center leaves their heavily disordered cohort behind but advances the rest.  It looks like they intend to overwhelm the Imperial main line.
Republican Illyricani decide to go into the brush.  The action is brief and bloody.

No dust in sight, where is Darrylious's cavalry?

Darrylious charges to the top of the hill, Republican lights evade.  Boulder upon boulder pummel the Republican line.
Larrylious stands pat.

The Republican Romans have 9 points towards their breakpoint of 20
The Middle Imperial Romans have 0 points towards their breakpoint of 24

Turn 4:

The Republic decides to hold and rally, their lights providing some payback.
Their center command completes it's line up.
Their remaining Illyricani as had enough and breaks off.

At some point Darrylious will show up and the Republic Alares will have someone to fight.
Darrylious makes a small adjustment to his line.  His Velites flank the Republican lights.
Larrylious finally gets his reserve cohort in line.  It's 8 on 8.  Half the Republican cohorts are disordered, but most are elite, and all have armor.
Imperial Velites taunt the Republican X cohort.  (It might be I, who knows?)
Imperial Velites get behind the Republic lights, trapping them.  Impact swordsmen descend on the from the hill top, and one amazingly survives! 

It looks like the turn sequence is a bit off.  Bear with me.
Not obvious above is the gap between the Imperial battle lines is now too small for the supporting catapult to shoot anymore.

Larrylious holds his line, allowing more rocks to descend from the heavens.
Turn 6? 7? 

The Republican Romans have 12 points towards their breakpoint of 20
The Middle Imperial Romans have 1 point towards their breakpoint of 24

Most of the Republican line holds.  Sounds of lyres and flutes fill the air soothing the mass of men while their centurions reorder the lines.  One by one the cohorts find their cohesion.
And then the Republican Romans have 10 points towards their breakpoint of 20
while the Middle Imperial Romans have 1 point towards their breakpoint of 24

I Cohort, didn't get the word, and charged ahead, while cohorts II - X mutter, "Tibi muta stercore"

The taunting continues as X cohort is the only target for both catapults ans the Velites.
Darrylious has an abundance of command points, and charges while leaving his II cohort back for a rally.
Larrylious still holds the line, watching the Republican X cohort disintegrate under fire.
The Republican Romans have 13 points towards their breakpoint of 20
The Middle Imperial Romans have 0 points towards their breakpoint of 24

Turn 7?
I leave markers that don't get published and they say this is turn 10.
A Republican Extraordinarii is destroyed.  If the second falls the Republican main battle line will be turned.
A blurry shot.  Sorry.  But an important one.  The Republican main battle line charges.  Down the line the Imperials suffer badly, losing 5 of 8 battles.

The last Extraordinarii falls.  Darrylious savors is delicious victory.  Possibly his first.

The smirk on Larrylious's face turns to panic as his cohorts begin to fail.
The Republican Romans have 17 points towards their breakpoint of 20
The Middle Imperial Romans have 7 points towards their breakpoint of 24

Darrylious has arrived.  His hope of ransacking the enemy camp is pretty much trashed, so he is instead vectoring towards the battle, his path cleared by a desultory catapult shot dispersing the last Republic Illyricani.
The Republican Romans have 18 points towards their breakpoint of 20
The Middle Imperial Romans have 7 points towards their breakpoint of 24

Turn 8:

Imperial legionnaires are finding out how their ancestors conquered the world
Almost half of their cohorts have been routed.
But elan can only do so much against superior firepower, as the catapults now have new targets to strike.

Despite all the pummeling, Republic legions have resilience.

And with that the Republic reached their break point.  But despite that, I see their legions falling back in good order, as the Imperial legions are in no shape to pursue, and the cavalry pretty much will cancel each other out, preventing pursuit.

I had a lot of fun with the catapults.  The jury is still out if it is legal to put them in the brush.  The judge decided I could not do it again this tournament, and that is the consensus of the major players on the east coast.  The forum, however has an unsubstantiated opinion that it's OK to put them in rough, but not difficult.  To which a Frenchman wrote, "quel est le rapport?"  Loosely translated means "How do you figure?" 

How effective were the catapults?  I would say they were instrumental to victory.  In hard points, they contributed 7 points directly to victory. Plus 3 more due to unexpected behavior.  I don't think the Republic Illyricani would have tried to force the Velites in the brush if the artillery were not there.  I also don't think the Republic Heavy Cavalry would have held back as far as they did.

And when you consider how fast the Imperial legions folded, that was a good thing.

In the future, the catapults will be on the shelf.  Part of their effectiveness is my opponents were not expecting them.  And if I was on the attack, then they would have been useless. 

Some thoughts on the flank march.  There are a number of reasons to do one.  In this case, my cavalry was not very good, and it keeps it out of trouble.  And as the Republic cavalry was kept in reserve the late arrival pretty much balanced out. Also my infantry fit just perfectly in the terrain offered.

But I wanted this game to be about the catapults.  And with fewer units on the board, their effect is enhanced.  So in that regard, mission accomplished.

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