Wednesday, April 11, 2012

If you go down to the woods today...

Impetvs: Ancient Germans vs Imperial Romans, 400 pts.

69AD. The Roman Empire is (once again) wracked by turmoil and so the Batavi decide it is time to exert their rights not to wash, drink beer (and not girly wine ) and cede from the union, or to put it more bluntly tell the Romans to bugger off back south of the Alps. Independence and all that.

Local Roman commmander Kent Galpinius and his side kick Stephanus Malonius  thought it was time to show those upstart Germans a thing or too about aquaducts, law and order, not to mention the benefits of a good forward defence- never mind that the Romans hadn't even heard of cricket (but then again neither had the Germans).

Simon and I hatched  sneaky scheme to throw off the yoke of Roman oppression and once again claim our mud huts, and swamps, as our own. Simon was to take the cavalry wing of our brave army, I'd command the rest of the rabble. We have had maybe 6 games of Celts or Germans vs Imperial Romans and the warband forces have yet to win- would this be their day in the sun?

Simon's Command:
4x cavalry
2x large warband
2x javelin skirmishers

I took the rest of our force
3x elite warband
2x large warband
2x warband
2x macemen
4x skirmishers (javelins)

My plan (plan? what plan) was to attack in depth. Skirmishers screening then the macemen and small warband in the second rank to try and wear down the legonniares and and finally the triarii- er I mean elite warband, leading from the rear in a rather unGermanic fashion to polish them off. Nothing else had worked for us so time to try new tactics! Meanwile Simon would take one of the flanks and turn it. A doddle really.

The Romans had
6x legions
4x auxillia (2 in ambush)
2x bows
2x slingers
2x light horse

I deploy in a  bunch but intend to spread out as I advance. Simon's (camera shy) command is in the distance.

 The Romans (single command) deploy in a corner- scared they was!
 Boo hiss!
 Turn 1 the Roman light troops advance.
 My brave troops move forward- and start to spread out. My aim to get 5 movement units between each wave- never happpened  though as we saw the enemy and started chagring towards them (rather impetuously really).

 Simons' cavalry advance and his warband head for the woods to clear it of any Roman interlopers.
 Suddenly auxilia spring out of ambush and crash into Simon's large warband.Boo!
 When your dice are hot, they are hot. In the first few turns of combat Simon's dice run hot- for example in this round he rolled 6 dice, 4 hits!
 Soon the auxilia regret their picnic in the woods and we have unhinged the Roman flank-this should be a doodle (well at least I didn't keep saying "inconcievable"). The German cavalry destroy another auxilia.
 My own hordes continue to advance towards the Roman centre while the exchange continues in the woods.Simn's javelin armed skirmishers heading over to see what all the fuss is about- and finishing off any badly damaged units in the process.
 The clash in the woods continues.

Simon sends the cavalry to exploit the hole in the Roman lines. While Stephenus sends his reserve legions to counter the threat- reserves? Since when have we used reserves?
 And still the clash in the woods continues- but we are winning it.
 My warband are getting closer and are still almost entirely intact (and not yet disordered)! I think my plan is working.
Te legionniares brace for the onslaught.
 We charge into two units of bows and the wheels start to fall off. We manage to kill one but the other somehow manages to see off three or four frenzied attacks, and destroy 2-3 warband in the process.
 Kentus sends forward some legionnaires to help the beleagured bows- not that they need any help the way they roll dice in combat.

We regroup for another crack- but realise Simon's command is now in trouble- he's lsot all his warband ( a single badly damaged auxilia seeing them off) and so only needs to lose a single unit of cavalry to reach his brreak point. 
 The game is falling from our grasp. Death or Glory! Simon throws in his fresh German cavalry vs the three units of legionnaires blocking our path. The combats are fierce but in the end we lose all of them and after much tooing and froing Simon loses two units of cavalry and his command breaks.

 The legionnaires are driven back by the cavalry charges but none are destroyed!
 Seeng my stalwart comrade's troops retreating in dissary I throw my troops in for one last chance to kill the 2 units we need to ensure victory- or at least gain an honourable stalemate, but once again the bow unit refuses to die and although we do some damage to the legionnaires not enough to count.
Decisive victory to the Romans (again)- maybe 13 pts to 30

Our warband units have yet to gain a victory over the Roman but it was a hell of a fun game, and closer than the final result suggested. Kent had originally taken two commands but decided to unify them under a single commander and this worked in his favour as we rippedd to pieces what would have been his "Non legionnaire" command (he had put the legionnaires under one command, everything else in another) and the non legionnaire commmand would have been well and truely broken from our initial successes.

Once again the battle see-sawed and both sides were in with a chance to the very end, but again the dice- or luck- deserted us. Kent's dice were woeful in the beginning (my skirmishers accounted for both his light cav units when they imploded by rollings 6s on cohesion tests), Simon's dice ran hot, then cold, while Stephen's dice started average and ran hot in the last round of desperate fighting vs the cavalry and my warbands.

The layered attack almost paid off and meant our heavy hitting units got into combat fresh but alas bounced off the stubborn bows that refused to die. I feel the tactic was sound, just the dice didn't go our way at the end. We had a good mix of harder troops (large warband) and seveal small manouvre units as well, probably next time I'd look at having all our foot in one command and the cavalry + a couple of units of skirmishers in the other (metagaming to get the commands VD to 13 or 14 meaning they' have to lose 3 cav to fail a break test).

Great fun though and I really enjoyed the crazy, no subtlety approach of the Germans.

We'll be back.


  1. Great looking game and always nice seeing more Impetus!


  2. Hi Craig - yes I'll give you that having the Romans as two commands is key. We always use the tournament guidelines here so max 60% in any one command. I played Jason on Monday and 1. For once, his Cavalry didn't die (CM 'bouncing' worked in his favour there...) and 2. My Cavalry DID die (being stubborn CP. So he ended up breaking the flank command, which won it for him. The low VD of the war-bands is possibly the best thing about that list.


  3. Might suggest that to Kent- no guidelines for 400pts in 28mm but a single command is rock hard to defeat in combat. 60% eh, there goes my 14/33 split to get a Cav + javelin command happening. Will suggest we adopt the 15mm standards

    Glad to hear of Jason's victory- they have been few and far between for us Germans. I'm tempted to morph the army into Dacians supported by Samartian Cataphracts and really scare the Romans.

    Simon is now looking at an army so that makes 5 of us.


  4. Yeah, they didn't have our points level for 28mm but I figured we were almost playing 15mm (frontage wise anyway) so was happy to crib off those rules. We do one command @ 300pts.

    FWIW, the Germans are just about my ideal warband list. They are FL warbands - so benefit heaps from all the rules changes (have you been using those?), get longspear armed units to intersperse with the line to fend off all my cav and their cav get pila. Jason thinks he'd rather have the Dacians but 1. MUCH harder to paint and 2. Even with the rules changes I don't see the attraction of bow armed units.

    One thing we will do, IF he does Dacaians, is add the Roman ballista to the list.

    Andy, Jason, Poochie and I have a 4 player game planned for next Friday. Another Christchurchian is also building up some Romans and has bought the rules.

  5. Excellent

    I agree those rules make sense for 400 pt games and may allow me to break a command once in awhile.

    We are using the EI4 updates- so our troops are better in bad going vs legionnaires etc but auxilia is still a pain. Just noticed large units lose their rank boonus in difficult going too- haven't been applying that.

    We've found ballistra pretty underwhelming- probably due to the bigger board size limiting its ability to shoot.

    I do like the Germans, but think the Dacians have more flexibility and so are probably a bit better at taking on the Romans- swap German Cav for Samatian Cataphracts- add some falx and you are good to go- have been looking at the Dacian box and am a bit dissapointed it has so few falx in it. Of course our 2-3 Roman players don't have cataphracts so the large spears aren't so useful- handy just in case though.

    Ancient Germans vs Romans is a classic match up and a lot of fun but i think the Romans have an edge.