I had a Natalie Bennet moment the other day or 'brain fade' as the Green's leader called it and got my day for Kevin Bridges wrong, therefore I did end up at the club last night but won't be there next week, and just in case I have double checked. So, without further ado here we go.
Both armies stared at each other across a relatively open plain with only a few slight ridges between them, the British had brought all their men to the field while the Roman commander had sent one cohort on a flank march to surprise the enemy left. The Roman plan was to hold on the left as that side was the weakest while attacking with the right then the centre, the British would do what the British do best and simply attack with their large warbands. The Roman left was forced to move forward to contact before British light troops endangered the end of the line, the rest of the troops waited for the flank attack, on the other side only one bunch of barbarians moved forward, perhaps the others were not happy with their deployments or sensed that all was not well on the flank. The Roman left and British right clashed but neither had an advantage, although this suited the Romans more than the Barbarians. Time passed on the rest of the battlefield and eventually the flanking cohort arrived, but the officer thinking he had completed his orders stood in full view of the enemy hurtling insults and not pilums. The Auxiliary command on the Roman right now moved forward and slowly but surely ground down the British left as they stood waiting for the right moment to unleash their wild charges. As their casualties mounted at a now alarming rate the British chieftains gave the order to withdraw.
So much for the history, what actually happened. Well, as with many of these activation mechanics the centres of both armies literally just stood there for most of the game, the Romans eventually managed to shrug off their bad luck and advance to contact after an hour and a half of play, albeit it in a desultory manner. The main failure was the British left, poor Andy hardly moved past his start point and as the Roman right piled forward, itself having difficulty in moving during the opening turns, he found himself hemmed into a corner due to the way the movement is conducted in squares. This meant he could not easily if at all move back and units who cannot escape are lifted off. The Roman flank attack also suffered from the activations, it turned up in time but then couldn't do anything, it had a cavalry unit dead to rights, surprised and flanked but because the wrong chit came out it stood and merely made faces. Activate away, but let everyone move at some point.
I am sure "To the Strongest" is a great game, and it looks like it works as intended and I would play again but, like others of its ilk is it a wargame? Where is the excitement of seeing your plan coming together, reaching that moment of decision where you order your reserves or a previously supine command forward to glory, and off they step, serried lines towards the enemy. You cannot do that if on turning a card over or picking the wrong chit out of a bag everything suddenly stops, and can stop literally for hours, as poor Andy found out.