Kent and I had a great game last night which really went down to the wire. It was very evenly balanced and closely fought. I had the advantage for the first few turns but couldn’t quite capitalise on this (a couple of failed command rolls paralysing units in the middle turns when I really needed to take advantage of Kent’s disrupted centre command and had seen a major opportunity to destroy his centre. I used my new tactics (see below) to use my light infantry more effectively and this worked well and meant I was able to dictate the tempo in the early turns but in the end Kent’s large command on his right flank managed to grind their way through my larger command, get into flanking positions and finally turn the game and a Carthaginian victory. We both had our share of luck, I rolled really well for my hits most of the night and Kent’s dice abandoned him but his rolls came right when he had to take break tests and this helped even things up a bit.
It was a good, close game. It could have gone either way but when I failed to destroy Kent’s Libyan heavy infantry on my right flank (curse passing those break test rolls when you are shaken and have been badly mauled), he was able to reorganise his command and then slowly ground his way through my troops and eventually emerged victorious.
Things Kent did well
1) Used his commanders effectively. Whether to reduce the number of hits on units or by throwing them into combat for a +1 dice Kent always maximises their use and it kept 2-3 units in the game and prevented at least one division from breaking. This is one area I still need to work on.
2) Use of skirmishers. Kent used his skirmishers well, when I did create gaps in his line it meant that my infantry was unable to charge through to get flanking advantage as the skirmishers were screening/protecting the flank and forced my troops to go forward.
Note: Actually, this was a rules mistake on my behalf- checking up today I should have simply ignored the open order troops and charged into the open flank- but we were playing it that they couldn't be ignored. A mistake I only thought about after the game doh! Still, each week we are making fewer mistakes with the rules.
3) Changed his deployment: I am really enjoying Kent’s early moves which set up a battle line but then use the width of the table to prevent a simple line up and bash. In both of the last two games he has used terrain and changed up his deployment to try something new and they have both paid off for him and caught me by surprise a bit- which is a good thing and to me highlight one of the strengths of the rules.
4) Kept his main combat units cohesive. He used his general’s to get shaken units back combat effective and also to prop up faltering units. There were two or three times I was on the verge of breaking commands but Kent managed to rally the troops enough for some breathing space.
My cunning plan: A change of Tactics
I had a good long think during the week about how to use my troops to best advantage and put a “cunning plan” into action. My strategy? Make maximum use of my javelin armed troops (skirmishers and light infantry) to pepper and disrupt Kent’s lines before engaging with my warband units.
The plan: Have my warband units screened by 2-3 units of Lusitanian light infantry and skirmishers. The light infantry only have 5 dice on clash/sustained but give +3 as support, by keeping them in open order I was able to minimise losses (harder to hit) but also screen my warbands.
The second stage of my plan was to keep the light infantry/skirmisher screens just in front of my heavier infantry so that when the Carthaginian troops charged my light infantry (deployed in open order) were simply able to evade back though my warband units and become support units.
This meant that invariably Kent’s charging units fell short so were left exposed to a counter-charge in my own turn by the warband units. As my light infantry were now safely behind my battle line they were able to add their weight as support units.
But even on the rare times that Kent’s troops did charge home my warband benefited from the +3 support dice from the light infantry directly behind them.
By using the above tactics my warband were able to get the charge in first for most of the battle and it was only on the last couple of turns that Kent was able to get some charges in and turn my line.
A few shots of the game:
Turn 1 the Carthaginians move to their left.
The Celtaberians swing right to counter the Carthagian manouvre.
Turn 2 Cavalry clash.
Kent then throws his light cavalry against my remaining mdium cavalry, who become shaken.
On the left the Celteberians throw the Carthaginians back.
Turn 6, the Carthaginians are starting to win the clash on the far right of the battlefield.
And a video report of the game:
Things to work on: Use of Medium Cavalry
Once again though our medium cavalry failed miserably on the first charge we both lost a medium cavalry unit- mine was only just beaten in combat but rolled badly on their break test (again) and legged it, then Kent’s did the same.
My remaining unit of medium cavalry was eventually shaken and made ineffective (though I did rally them at one point) and this is one troop I need to work on improving my tactical use of. Just because they can charge does not necessarily mean that they should and like the infantry should probably make better use of their short range missile (javelins) ability first to soften up targets and for charges vs shaken units- I must learn patience with them!
Kent won the battle so captured Aquitania granting him more treasury.
We rolled for our losses, I rolled badly and lost 4 units (2x warband, 1x med cavalry and 1x light infantry) and Kent lost one unit of medium cavalry.
Next week if Kent wins and captures Gallacia then he will have won the campaign so next week’s battle is a very important one...