Monday, 23 May 2016

War and Conquest Gaming Weekend, Part 1

Doesn't time fly when you are enjoying yourself, it seems like only a minute ago I was fretting over whether to move this unit or that and would the dice favour me or not. Yet again another great weekend fighting battles, renewing friendships and nothing to distract us from what matters, wargaming.

Stewart was already in the bar when I arrived and we must have been giving out nerd vibes as newcomer Mike Nursey spotted us and introduced himself, a newcomer to WAC I may add, not wargaming in general as Mike like the rest of us will not see 21 again. As the evening progressed several other stalwarts arrived, Phil, Jenny and Gary who was also new to the WAC weekend but not to some of the other players. The Saturday morning was a disaster for me, I knocked on Room 51 to get my son up for breakfast only to find out he was in Room 50, oops, sharp exit, then we used his car and I left my trusty manbag of dice, tape measure, markers and camera in the back of mine. Dave Howes and Stewart saved my bacon on that score, but it wasn't the same.

We arrived at our new premises of Coddington Village Hall and set up with five eight by four foot tables, we had upped the points value of the armies to 2,750 points and the larger tables worked much better than six by fours, it also gave the cavalry more room for manoeuvre. We choose the Newark area as it is fairly central for most people in the country, most of us only having a three hour journey at most. A quick cup of tea, a bit of an intro by Phil and we were off.

My first game was with my Saxon Heptarchy army against Dave Howes' Romano-British, my army has a dearth of armour but it can go into shieldwall which helps somewhat, but I do have two ferocious bodyguard units of Gedright who are stone cold killers, for some reason I mounted one of these and will forever kick myself for doing so. Dave had much better infantry but as usual he had them in small units and I quickly thought 'easy meat', but he also brought a huge unit of 36 archers, Dave is a serious wargamer and travels all over to competitions of all kinds. The game kicked off and Dave advanced his left flank which contained his cavalry and Welsh Allies, I tried to position my cavalry on a hill to foil this, the first clash came when his Welsh foot and one of my right flank infantry units clashed, I won the fight easily and swept the Welsh away, I also managed to get rid of a skirmish unit at the same time. Things were looking really good as my main shieldwall slowly advanced on the British, my left was held by a large unit of Ceorls and some skirmishers, the only thing opposing them was a small but capable unit of RB infantry, I outnumbered them by 2/1. OK, the Ceorls are the lowest of the low in a Saxon army, but they had long spears and would get far more men fighting than Dave's, I was quietly confident. Then, as usual things went out the window, I needed the initiative in the next round to regroup my right as I had chased some light cavalry off with my elites, I threw in an extra Strategy die, it may even have been two it was that crucial to me, but sadly I did not win. Even so as Dave's cavalry charged uphill my guys had only to hold to steady the flank, but no, off they went, the enemy then crashed into the flank of my elites and within minutes my whole right flank had gone. Back in the centre that huge archer unit shot one of my infantry blocks to the point it was useless while on the left my Ceorls could not kill anyone despite throwing a bucket of dice. One minute it looked like I was going to pull off a Saxon pincer movement and the next I was hanging on for dear life in the centre, my foot Gedriht did their duty and cut down many of the enemy but then were caught in the flank and died around their leader. It was the end for my boys and a blow for me, it had all started so well.

First game, my army (right) just before it fell apart.
I had to hand it to Dave, he knows how to get the best out of those small units, I think he was disappointed a bit with his Welsh but I was far more disappointed in my cavalry and Ceorls, Phil was also using a Heptarchy army and wasn't convinced about them, but I talked them up and now looked like I had a foot in my mouth as Phil's also went down to the Carolingians. The score was 10/55 in Dave's favour.

My game in the afternoon was against young Tom Poole's Dacians with the Twelfth Legion, I was a bit apprehensive about facing this army with their organisation and depth of troop types which I knew had a good chance of outnumbering me in core infantry. I had my usual three cohorts and one Auxiliary cohort, my support units were cataphracts, contarii, horse archers, a small unit of lanciarii and a block of archers, not as large as Dave's but big enough. I decided to make my main effort on the right flank, test the left and slowly move forward with the cohorts. Once again I had a lot of success initially, I stove in both Tom's flanks but he recovered his right and held it with two exceptionally accurate bold shooters backed by horse archers and a large group of archers, sending cavalry anywhere near that lot was suicide. He still managed to slowly grind me down with those damn bolt shooters though, mine had never been that successful. My cataphracts clashed with Toms and won the first round, I expected to be pursuing them in the next, but no, he made his morale rolls (this was to be a continuing thread in my games) and over the next several turns kept killing one of mine, meanwhile I could not kill one of his, and despite still winning the fight due to pushbacks, he kept passing his morale, so in the end I ran! Despite this as the end of the game approached there were only a couple of  Dacian battle formation on the table, apart form the supports, my legionaries had been devastating. In this particular game once we arrived at turn six a die was rolled and the game would end the next turn if a 4,5, or 6, was rolled, or something like that, I wanted at least another two moves to put an end to Tom's army and slaughter those ballistae crews. I did not get it and in the last move I lost two units dispersed to those bolt shooters and that remaining Dacian cavalry unit I could not kill, while Tom rallied two fleeing units. When the points were counted to my surprise we had a draw 26/26, as I looked over the battlefield I cursed the Gods, one more turn!

Second game, the Thunderbolts on the left. Now that's professionals.

A great game and the Thunderbolts had come through although the Auxiliaries still had to prove themselves, overall I was happy with the way I had conducted the battle, a loss and a draw, about normal for my first day at a WAC event, I always seemed to have a better second day. On the morrow I faced the Carolingians in the morning and Dacians again in the afternoon, I expected two tough battles.

The Dacians about to test the Twelfth.

Elsewhere during the day Adam Poole's Romans were making a name for themselves while Gary's Republican's were having a hard time, despite this Rome was not to be trifled with.
Carolingians vs Vikings.

Republican Romans vs Celts

Adam Poole's Romans
I let the side down not having my camera on the Saturday, you will find another report with many more pictures on the Scarab Miniatures site in the next few days.

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