Tuesday, 1 March 2016

War and Conquest Weekend Swindon 2

Sunday morning arrived and fortified with the full English I set off for the village hall, we were allowed a lie in and hostilities would commence around 0930 hrs. My first game of the day was against Rob Broom and his Masai army, yes we all know the Masai were not an enemy of Rome but as the author of the rules he is allowed certain liberties, it also helps that he is a nice bloke. I have faced Rob before at Foundry and inflicted a heavy defeat on his Spartans, I was unsure of his Masai and indeed of my own troops after a disastrous day on the Saturday.

I decided to put more thought into my tactics, concentrate a bit harder and from my experience of the previous days fighting to open up my cohorts into two lines instead of three the better to withstand elite/fanatical/veteran warbands. My Auxiliary light infantry as the men of the match from the last two battles, I now called Lanciarii as they had earned it, it is less of a mouthful than Auxiliary light infantry, were going to be called on once again to clear the enemy skirmishers along with their mounted friends. This time my objective was Test of Strength, which meant that at the end of the game I had to have a unit in the enemy deployment zone and none of his in mine, I think Rob had the same.

Rome vs Masai
The Twelfth Deploys
 I managed to win most of the initiative rolls and quickly advanced my right flank while holding the extreme left, in a very short space of time I had destroyed the Masai skirmishers and engaged their left, as they valiantly fought the legionaries my Contarii smashed into their flank. I began to win on the other flank as well as Rob had no option but to attack, the auxiliary cohort stood firm and again a cavalry unit made a flank attack, my slingers and Lanciarii along with the horse archers began to make life miserable for the Masai reserve. The balance suddenly tipped and the warbands began to run, all being caught by my rejuvenated 'Thunderbolts' one in particular had fought desperately but this also ran in the end. With only one unit left and it suffering under a hail of missiles Rob conceded defeat, he generously gave me that unit as well as it could not possibly stand alone against the whole Roman army. The decimation had worked, with renewed vigour and eager to please their Emperor the Twelfth had pulled off a stunning victory, the score being 56 to 0 in my favour. My die rolling was at least average if not better in this game, Rob however suffered the wrath of the gods.

The Emperor and his entourage.
I have to mention the detail in that Masai army, it was beautifully painted and organised with little vignettes and fantastic characters from the chiefs wives to the shamans and the hyena's used as push and shove markers it was a joy to fight and despite his loss Rob obviously loved to fight with it.

Another Dark Age clash.

After lunch I was up against more barbarians, Germans commanded by Phil Turner, Phil and I too had fought once before at my first tournament in 2014, I was beating him quite decisively before grasping defeat from the jaws of victory in a spectacular manner right at the end of the battle. My objective was to destroy 75% of the enemy, something which I doubted I would manage but decided to try. Once again I had to deploy first, I put most of my light troops and cavalry on the left this time to contest a wood and delay any attacks in that area. Again the Auxiliary cohort would hold the left of the infantry line while the three Roman cohorts would simply attack and then turn and roll up the enemy. Phil now deployed and for some reason he put two of his warbands opposite or near the wood, it was difficult terrain and they would take time to get through it, but of course he couldn't ignore my cavalry either, the other four battle formations faced my legionaries. Again I swept the field clear of enemy skirmishers within a short time and this allowed my cohorts to race forward without taking casualties on the way in.

As the main lines clashed I found myself inflicting dreadful casualties on the Germans while managing to take minimal myself, a complete turn around from the Saturday, we had a running gag that I had sacrificed one of the chickens wandering around the building that morning, whatever I had done it was paying off. Phil muttered what I can only presume were German military terms under his breath as his units collapsed, ran and were caught. As I turned my victorious legionaries to march to the sound of clanging swords I got my 75% and a score of 46/6, Phil and I shook hands over the bloody debacle. The Twelfth had earned their nickname of the 'Thunderbolts' in spectacular style after a shaky start, I too felt I had actually played better.

My Auxiliary troops and the cavalry had fought well in all the battles and I had used them much better than previous battles, the Germans in particular suffered from my slingers and the Lanciarii. I have an idea to add another Auxiliary cohort to the Legion in the future. And of course the legionaries were back on form just in time. I came joint fifth at the end and I am very happy with that, Dave Howes won overall with 172 points narrowly beating Declan Waters who had been leading right up to the last battle, Colin Farrant of the excellent Charlie Foxtrot Models won the prize for the best painted army, narrowly beating Jenny's Celts and Phil's Germans. Colin's Almohads are a stunning example of the art of painting miniatures with subtlety and precision. Matthew Bulpin got a prize for the youngest player and both he and young Tom Poole knew the rules better than many of us and were not to be taken lightly on the battlefield.

A couple of Colin's units, my picture does not do them justice.
The prizes and points are there in the main to add a bit of interest, I think all of us are happy to fight four battles over a leisurely weekend with like minded individuals, the next tournament the 4th 'National' will be near Newark in May. I am thinking of commanding my Romano-British for that one.

Note: No chickens were harmed in the winning of these games. I also apologise for no pictures of my game with Phil, I was overcome with excitement during that battle.

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