Sunday, 3 January 2016

Legio XII Fulminata, Victrix!

We had my son Stewart and his family over for New Year Dinner and he and I were to play a game on the 2nd before they headed home. This would be interesting as it was the first outing for my Romans and as Stewart is building a Western Frank army of around 800-900AD we made this up from my existing Dark Age armies, it was going to be a learning curve for both of us. The armies were to be 2,500 points each, I rapidly found out that a Roman army is expensive, I could not afford the Praetorians or Veteran Legionaries as I knew Stewart liked quantity over quality, even going for an average army I was going to be outnumbered. I also had a notion to get the best out of my Auxiliary light infantry and archers as I was unused to dealing with this kind of troop type, they can form up or skirmish. In the end I took quite a few Auxiliary units backed up by three average legionary cohorts. I also felt obliged to put the Contarii on the table as I have been banging on about them for some time, so, in the end five battle formations one being cavalry the rest light stuff.

Initial deployment.

I got a fright when Stewart informed me he had nine battle formations, five infantry and four cavalry, my heart sank, obviously to get this number he had to choose troops from the lower end of his scale, most of the infantry apart from one unit had no armour only a shield, I believe the same applied to the cavalry except the Milites who were armed to the hilt. He, like me can have a small, very tough army if he wants but he went with numbers for this battle.

The battlefield was fairly clear, I had tried to close it down but I also had to be fair to my opponent so in the end it was not what I wanted but the broken ground and marsh on my right worked fine. I was unsure of a plan but came up with an advance by the Legion while the Auxiliaries held the flanks, I had the Breakthrough objective and although I thought it difficult to get I would keep my eyes on it as the battle progressed. Stewart had Test Of Strength, he had to get a unit into my deployment area and none of mine in his, the game would last six turns then we diced for an end, from the beginning it was obvious he was going for my flanks with his cavalry but his main effort would be made on his right, he does this a lot, oops shouldn't have given that away. It was a good plan and to be honest worried me, I was more than a tad nervous as the opening moves were made.

I put my light cavalry in a bad position and they couldn't move anywhere as the enemy cavalry bore down on them, but I had hoped that with both them and the large archer unit shooting the enemy would never get close enough, I was wrong. At one point I shot 32 men at them and got one casualty, they were real tough, I lost my left and had to withdraw the Contarii and hold Cohors II as a desperate flank guard. On my right the slingers did some early damage and managed to rout a skirmish unit but my vaunted Auxiliary light infantry proved hapless, twice they refused to form up and just kept escaping from some cavalry. In the centre Cohors III had a hard time beating some crossbowmen and I was beginning to doubt my army's enthusiasm, people who have watched me fight will know I was doing a fair bit of moaning and shaking of my head, what's wrong with you people!

My left in trouble while Cohors III has a hard time.
  Cohors III then managed at last to rout the crossbows and engage the battle formation behind them, which it also routed but this time pretty sharply. I took the chance that my right flank skirmish units would hold and the uneven ground slow up the enemy cavalry, therefore I ordered the Auxiliary cohort in reserve to the left. Stewart now threw four charges in at my line, one of them a front and flank attack on Cohors I, I thought here it comes, the reserve was too far away to be of any use.

The Emperor inspires his men.

We were both shocked at the outcomes, all four charges were repulsed, two infantry units pursued and caught while the two cavarly units fled the field, another infantry block ran in sympathy with their comrades, the enemy King, bleeding profusely, was led before the Emperor. I decided not to follow up with the Contarii and held them to wait for the reserve.

It was time for Stewart to shake his head, he had had the first three moves almost all his own way, he had played well and used his Strategy Intervention Points to good effect on his morale throws. I had not managed to win the initiative at any point, my flank troops had fought half heartedly, partly due to my deployment, and I was beginning to think my boys did not want to fight, then in one fell swoop the enemy were vanquished. I could have went on to achieve my objective but we called a halt and shook hands, both of us I think will go back to the drawing board for the next game.

The End.


  1. Well done! An interesting report and a good looking game.

  2. Haha, looks like your luck turned at exactly the right moment, George!

  3. Thanks guys. The gods had obviously been looking the other way for most of the battle and turned around just at the right time. As I said neither of us could believe the change in fortunes.