Monday, 29 February 2016

War and Conquest Swindon Weekend 1

Another weekend of wargaming mayhem is over, I returned a few hours ago from 'down South', packed away the wargaming paraphernalia, had lunch and am finally sitting doing nothing, mind you I didn't do much apart from sitting during the four hour journey home. The journey down took over five hours because a bunch of truckers were driving within spitting distance of each other and one of them must have slowed down, because four of them were all disabled at the side of the road, cutting the motorway down to one lane and causing a tailback for tens of miles. No one was hurt.

My satnav told me the local Holiday Inn Express was the Premier Inn, the guy on reception put me straight with a strange look and pointed to the real Premier Inn, I was not the only one to fall foul of this mix up. Anyway around eight I was ensconced in the bar and renewed contact with friends as they turned up, there were twenty signed up at one point but that had dwindled to thirteen, it meant some juggling so everyone could play four games each in their chosen category, Dark Ages or Enemies of Rome, but it was all managed with enthusiasm, good humour and the help of a volunteer new player on the Sunday, well done Steve.

The hall was in a small village and was a perfect venue, we had plenty of room and a small kitchen for endless tea and coffee's along with a well supplied lunch buffet on both days for which a big thanks must go to the organiser, Jenny, we even had tea biscuits, salad and fruit, a huge improvement on our last supplier.

Reputations still intact, we begin to set up.

For my army I had chosen a core of three cohorts, one veteran with an Auxiliary cohort in reserve, my flanks were to be held by my Contarii and Auxiliary cavalry while slingers, Lanciarii and horse archers would skirmish, the Lanciarii I would use to kill other skirmishers. The Emperor and two of his most trusted centurions took command.

My first game was against Jenny's Celts, I had been disappointed in my last fight with them using Phil Turner's Romans but I hoped my own Romans would prove better fighters and avenge their friends. I got the same objective, to destroy her two most expensive units, and Jenny deployed them on the same flank as last time, so the battle took the same course, I moved forward aggressively all along the line. The skirmishers on my flanks did alright, especially on my right against the enemy chariots, my horse archers pinned them and then my Lanciarii hit them in the flank and wiped them out, just as they were despatching the last of the charioteers a look over their shoulders filled them with dread. The main lines had met and my cohorts were very quickly despatched and dispersed, I lost my main fighting force in less time than you can throw a pilum. It was game over for the Twelfth, decimation awaited. I thought having despatched the chariots I had the opportunity to get on the Celts flank but the punishment my legionaries took was shocking and all three routed and could not outrun their pursuers, Jenny won convincingly and the score was 45 to 7. My tactics were not brilliant but the battle simply called for slaughter, sadly it was my men who were slaughtered.

The sharp end of the Twelfth.
We move on the Celts, I still high hopes at this stage.
I was supposed to fight Sertorian Romans next but my opponent was involved in a long drawn out struggle and as I was at a loose end until it finished I was offered a game against Adam Poole's Vikings, it was unhistorical but we went ahead. This time I had to capture the enemy general, I also had to deploy my army first, I never win the roll for this. As fate would have it Adam's general was in a front line unit of Hirdmen, I had my legionaries opposite him albeit they were not veterans but I had faith. Adam also elected to keep some troops off table so his front line was well outnumbered and my spirits rose. Once again my flankers despatched their opposite numbers in rapid succession while my cohorts bore down on Adams thin brown line, a speed bump at best thought I, Adam himself voiced his concern the game was nearly over. Sadly I could not convert hits into kills and at the same time I could not stop the Vikings killing me, my morale held up as I always managed to rally my troops but each time there were less and less of them to stand up to further charges. Near the end my die rolling became even worse, everyone around the table nodded in agreement and I raised my eyes to the heavens and cursed the gods. I did manage to get something out of this battle losing 14 to 24. There was a bit of tactical flare to this game and I thought I handled it well in the beginning, but my failure to inflict kills while receiving large amounts of them meant a slow but sure descent into defeat.

Parade ground precision.

The 'weak' Vikings.

One of the things which I believe went against the 'Thunderbolts' was the number of veteran/fanatical units in both the armies I faced, there is no reason in WAC to take rubbish troops, I know no one wants to take the dross but it should be represented, it is one thing to take a bunch of elite vets on a raid but to marshal an army for a do or die fight is another thing. This is an historical observation and in no way let's me off the hook for not fighting better or coming up with an infallible Plan A.

One of the Dark Age games.
 We of course met up again at the bar later and I was confronted with a faux cocktail as I had taken a glass of white wine the preceding night with my dinner and seemingly this is not what hard drinking, hard fighting wargamers admit to drinking, never mind ordering in front of their peers. My major sin being that I actually knew it was rubbish white wine!

So, a great day meeting old friends and talking to new ones, and despite my losses I enjoyed both games but will admit to being disappointed with the 'Thunderbolts', I ended the day second from the bottom of the ladder and wondered what the morrow would bring.


  1. George it wasn't that the wine wasn't for war gamers....It just isn't very Scottish, or ex-Navy 😀

  2. Neither is not liking porridge, tartan, kilts and Scottish whisky (will drink Canadian), but I always expect Bannockburn on the football pitch but end up with Flodden!

  3. You need to change your accent!