The usual suspects were there, Stewart, Phil, Jenny, Mike and Rob along with George and Steve who were both completely new to War and Conquest, Steve never having played a game before, brave man. Andy Hawes had organised the event but lost out as one of his club members was sick and had to return home, Andy volunteered to sit out a couple of games, Andy had put the army lists together for WAC and was happy to talk about them in between charges, routs and dark murmurings on the tables.
|Merovingians vs Saxon Heptarchy|
My first game was against Mike Nursey, Mike and I had crossed swords before when the Twelfth had cut his Dacians to pieces, this time he had Romano-British and I had Saxon Heptarchy. The deployment was fairly typical of a Dark Age battle, we both had a strong infantry centre and I had cavalry on both flanks, Mikes right had two skirmish units and a large bow unit, so my cavalry on that side was going to have to be careful, his elite cavalry were on his left and I wanted to wear them down with skirmishers and possibly fling an infantry unit into them if possible.
|Romano-British vs Heptarchy Saxons|
|My game against Mike|
I pushed my infantry forward with the elite Gedriht leading, these were the best troops in the army, the rest of the it were in big units but their quality was not good and even if it was all they had for defence was a shield, a big handicap in this game, which will become obvious later. I brushed aside nearly all of Mikes skirmishers and my slingers, shooting from a wood managed to decimate his Sagittari unit, the Brits quickly lost an infantry unit which caused another to run in sympathy while the Companion cavalry could not catch my mounted skirmishers and suffered from my bowmen. Mike looked to his gods to save him but it was no use, my men could not be stopped and swept on to victory, even the Romano-British general fell to my wolves. A great start, 25 points in the bag. I did feel sorry for Mike, his die rolling was not great while mine was certainly better than average, just like the last time, he did nothing wrong as a general he simply had no luck at all.
|Mike's Romano-British winning his second game I think.|
After a quick bite at a nearby Subway my second game was against Rob Broom, the author of the rules if you have not picked up on that before, I have beaten Rob twice now and this, allied to his die rolling reputation, gave me a little confidence boost. Rob's army was Patrician Roman and looked fairly weak against my burly Saxons, Rob had quite a few infantry units but they were small, his only cavalry if I recall were the Bucellarii, hard as nails professionals. I decided once again to go straight in with my Gedriht and because of the deployment for this game I either had all my skirmishers on the left or sent them there to destroy the Bucellari as my cavalry would not stand up to them in a fair fight. In the first clashes I sent two German mercenary units to meet their makers, and had not even engaged my elites at that time, Rob frowned, like a fool I cheered him up and said it was early days. I had a dilemma at this point, I could hit a unit with two of mine or leave it to the Gedriht, I chose the latter and this was a turning point, this meant I had a unit hanging and then next turn I forgot to move it. Not moving them meant that one of my previously victorious units had had to take on a bunch of Romans who outclassed them and were now hit in the flank because I hadn't moved their mates. The Gedriht then failed to smash their opponents, things began to look dodgy, I did manage to almost wipe out the Bucellarii but Rob managed to keep them in the fight by the skin of their teeth and my boys failed their morale, Rob had also managed right at the end to grab the Strategic Advantage from me in a turn which was critical. It was all over, I even managed to move a unit away from the centre to hand Rob 20 points for getting the objective. A very hard fight for my boys and both of us had large dead piles to show this but a well deserved victory for the Romans.
My third game and Andy Hawes stepped up, his only game of the day and he had brought, Patrician Romans! But a very different army from Robs, this one three cavalry units with a very large Bucellarii command of fourteen cavalry, not something you see often in WAC, if at all. He only had two infantry units, albeit it one was pretty large, easy meat I thought, keep my cavalry out of harms way as long as possible and let the infantry win the battle. Hold on, it was roll to see who deployed first and as usual I got a one, so Andy got a pretty good head start on me, I had to spread my army out as I knew he could easily win a flank battle and I was unsure which one he would attack. Even so I had his line covered and a spare unit to send to my left which was going to need help. I started my line forward and then could not win the advantage for the rest of the game, Andy let me get so far and then came at me. His Bucellarii hit my infantry, OK, just hold then let my numbers take him out, but no, to my chagrin his mounted tin cans beat me and my men fled. At the same time our skirmish cavalry clashed, an even combat but my men again ran, meanwhile I did get a victory in the very centre and his large infantry unit went south, my Gedriht were back on form, they now eagerly turned to get those damned biscuit eaters. I desperately needed to get the advantage but it was not to be, despite some desperate fighting from my troops I took some real punishment in the last but one turn and it was all over. A real tough slog, but no dishonour for my men, apart from the skirmishing cavalry.
|My game against Andy|
|Patrician Romans vs Saxon Heptarchy|
Phil Turner was the overall winner, he too had Patrician Romans, a good day for the end of empire, my son Stewart was second and we all had a good day with three excellent battles.
|Phil 'The Winner' Turner and Rob|
All the armies were of a high standard but Andy Hawes' men were a joy to look at, they are also pictured in the rule book itself, however Andy has won quite a few awards for them and was happy that someone else picked up the painting prize, this went to Steve, our newcomer, another lovely Dark Age army. There are some really interesting armies to choose from for this period, and with their different make up and characteristics and the odd special rule they are challenging to use.
|Steve's Saxon Heptarchy|
|Robs German Mercenaries, easy meat.|
|Andy's beautiful Patrician Romans|
Now what about that shield comment above, well when your opponent has armour, large shield and may possibly be in shieldwall chucking armour piercing darts or heavy throwing weapons at you, trying to kill him when all you have is woollen shorts and a shield is pretty frustrating. And with the Patrican army and my sons Merovingians you can get small but highly resilient units on the table, you don't get a lot but look at the results above. In a lot of my combats I could get a decent amount of hits but simply could not convert them to kills while my men suffered very badly at times. You pays your money etc. and anyway, I still like big units and some of them did all right during the day, but I should have took two Gedriht units, I won't leave the house without them in the future.
So there you have it, a good but intense day's battling, my thanks to Andy Hawes for organising, the newcomers for turning up, my friends for being there and my three opponents for some excellent entertainment, what a great hobby. The only thing missing was the Recrimination and Bragging Phase at the bar, but that will resume in Newark in November.