Sunday morning and fortified by a full English I arrived at Foundry for the final days gaming, a big disappointment for us all was the fact that Dave Howes' Sunday best did not fit him this time, but there is always a next time. It was a bit of a red letter day for me for I was up against another Spartan army but this time commanded by the rules author himself, Rob Broom.
|Captain Fantastic Dave Howes with his new suit.|
Obviously I was a bit anxious at playing Rob as I am by no means an expert at the rules and many of the nuances I was only just learning thanks to these weekends, although I normally forgot them on the way home. Our armies almost mirrored each other but I think I had the edge in heavy armour, I was supposed to knock out Rob’s two most expensive units, it was a long shot as after deployment his really expensive unit was in a nice position on a hill. However I noticed I could possibly damage his left and flank him just as my phalanx hit. I don’t know what objective Rob had but he had two units at the foot of a ridge and two on it and they hardly moved at all as I advanced into what was obviously some kind of cunning plan. I duly managed to make a mess of his left flank protectors despite fighting through a temple complex, however he did have a chance to rally, it was at this moment the Gods looked my way and a Spartan phalanx ran for the rear, that I caught up with it in the next turn and destroyed it put the Spartans on the back foot and brought them off their hill. A turn or so later and it looked like plain sailing, Rob had sorted out my left flank but slingers and cavalry were on the way to protect it no longer being required on the right, I was actually thinking like a general in this game, a tad late but there you go.
|Rob sits on his ridge while I sweep around his left with the good Hill Tribes.|
I needed the initiative to put the finishing touch to my assault, Rob knew it and threw in an extra die, I couldn’t as I had none to use, he threw snake eyes, I whooped with delight and allowed myself a small jig, Rob sat dejected, I nonchalantly tossed my die on to the table, Rob and several onlookers erupted, it was a one! The next three throws were tied and eventually Rob achieved success. It was not enough to entice the Gods back to his side, I got rid of another two phalanxes and his veteran Spartans knew better than their commander and legged it at the very moment he needed them. I hadn’t achieved my objective but neither had Rob, I had however destroyed most of his army and felt I was at last getting the hang of these Greeks albeit a bit late, score this time was 32/17 in my favour.
|Dave Toone before falling on his sword as my Romano-British beat him led by son Stewart.|
|Macedonians vs Spartans|
My last game was against Declan’s Macedonians and I have to admit I thought my hoplite phalanxes stood a good chance against him as his army looked a bit weak with only three phalanxes although they were well supported with some tough light troops and cavalry, but I had a few of my own and felt confident. My objective this time was to knock out 75% of the enemy, I am not keen on the objectives and like only a few of them, Pitched Battle, Hold the Centre or kill the top enemy units, these of course tend to favour the armies I like to handle, the others favour cavalry or light armies who can dodge around and either take your rally point out or retire off the board, I do however play them and if you don’t like the chosen one you can change it, so fair enough, I can live with that.
I had to deploy first and Declan deployed in order to get his objective, I should have twigged but I didn’t, it looked like a good fight for me, but it wasn’t to be a fight. It went pear shaped from the beginning, my dice rolling was brutal, I threw almost continuous one’s for initiative winning it only once, which as it turned out was only one of several disappointments waiting in the wings for me. I had two Hill Tribes units one of which I put on each flank, now one of them fought well and the other didn’t, but I couldn’t make out which was which until the battle started, sure enough the useless one was on my left which I rushed forward and got smacked by a wandering phalanx, they only needed to hold and a heavy armoured hoplite unit would crash into the enemy flank, instead the Tribes ran and so did the hoplites, unbelievable. Meanwhile Declan was keeping his other phalanxes away from mine while his cavalry and light troops destroyed my right, my die rolling in combat was dire, I think even Declan felt sorry for me. Not sorry enough though to stop marching his three units off the table and claiming victory, I had garnered a measly three points for a final score of 39/3. Kudos to Declan, he took advantage of my deployment, played for his objective and taught me a lesson in something like three moves. This happened elsewhere during the two days to other people so you do have to sit up and use the old grey matter.
|Declan ready to out general me.|
All the games finished fairly early on the Sunday so the prize giving was done around 4.30 pm if I remember, it was still just light, this is a fun part of the weekend as Phil takes a chance to jazz things up with some very individual prizes. First of all though the two main prizes, overall winner and best painted army, Ian Scovell romped through with four wins and a whopping 224 points, Tony Rodwell received most of the votes for his Arab army which was simply stunning. Jenny got one for putting up with 16 guys over the weekend who simply treated her as one of them, as indeed she was and an excellent wargamer, young Tom Poole (14) got a well deserved prize for also putting up with a bunch of adults and playing some great games. There is a specific prize for the worst act of generalship during the weekend called the Tony Rodwell Prize, as there were no obvious examples this time around I was the recipient of this prize seemingly for dancing jigs and whooping at good dice throws and shaking my head furiously when things went badly, while also plainly enjoying the weekend, I was well chuffed.
|Phil's lovely Thracians, just look at the cloaks.|
|More of Tony's Arabs.|
|Phil in a pose which is becoming more and more scary.|
|Dave and Tony slog it out.|
|Why a sheep for a rally point, because everyone flocks to it, geddit?|
So there you have it, another great weekend and four good games despite the losses, I came 12th in the league table but I wouldn’t expect anything else and I don’t turn up to come first, although maybe one day. There is an interim tournament near Swindon in February (Dark Ages and Enemies of Rome) and the 4th National at Foundry at the beginning of May if any of this sparks an interest and you are within shooting distance contact Phil or Dave with these numbers here.