Wednesday, 5 November 2014

AAR; Greek Hoplites (Athens) v Thracian (Impetus)

Both armies in this game were supplied by Ian and comprised 500 points using 15mm figures. Unfortunately I forgot my camera and my mobile was out of juice, so I have no photos of the game but have included a photo of my own Greeks instead (Ian’s are far better painted!). Again the rules to be used were Impetus (Lorenzo Sartori; Dadi&Piombo, 2008). My opponent, Ian, commanded the Thracians whilst I took on the Athenians. The two armies would like different terrain set ups; the Thracians would want a cluttered centre and open flanks, whereas the Greeks would prefer an open centre and blocked flanks. I threw to be the defender, so I could place the terrain and secured my right flank with a river, kept the centre open (a couple of gentle hills) and put some rough terrain on the left flank. Ian modified the terrain by moving a wood into my central deployment zone.

I deployed my two hoplite based commands in the centre, with my right flank anchored on the river. My left flank command had my peltasts and 2 cavalry units. Ian deployed his cavalry-heavy command on his left flank, against the river and opposite my hoplites, whilst his 2 peltast commands faced my centre and left flank. Ian’s deployment did surprise me because I expected his cavalry to be positioned on the other, open flank where it could manoeuvre more freely. Both sides had 2 fair generals and 1 expert general.


In the opening moves I rapidly advanced my forces to enable my hoplites to gain the gentle hills to their front. At this point I could have halted and let the Thracians attack me. All the Thracians were javelin armed and remaining stationary would have let them whittle me down, so instead I decided to push forwards and force the issue, thereby retaining the initiative. On my left flank my peltasts were only slightly outnumbered but they did have cavalry support. My cavalry (and general) charged, destroyed some skirmishers and broke a unit of Thracian peltasts, whilst the other peltast units of both sides gradually wore each other down. Ian’s opposing command was close to breaking and his camp was vulnerable to my cavalry breakthrough. Elsewhere on the battlefield, various skirmish units had been lost on both sides, and my hoplites had forced the Thracian cavalry to evade back and was about to engage with the central Thracian peltast command. Some casualties had been taken from incoming javelins and a hoplite unit was destroyed when it managed to engage some Thracian medium cavalry (an ominous sign of things to come!). Time had passed and although one of Ian’s commands was shaky, both armies still seemed to be strong. This game looked to be heading for a solid, timed-out draw. We still had time for one final turn. Ian’s light cavalry moved forward to unleash a hail of javelins again, but this time a hoplite unit broke and others took significant casualties. Ian then launched his medium cavalry who took out another couple of hoplite units. My right hand command suddenly was broken, and due to the few other units lost from the other commands, my whole army dropped below its break point. A shock Thracian win!

This result came right out of the blue! In less than 10 minutes I had moved from a nailed-on honourable draw to defeat: Why? The Thracian victory was down to their cavalry; the combination of javelin armed light cavalry slowly nibbling away at my troops and evading from contact, working with surprisingly strong medium cavalry who packed a heavy punch when launched at the right time. I don’t think my decision to advance beyond the hill line was incorrect, the small advantage the hills offered was not worth the loss of tactical initiative that would have resulted from a static tactic. I was pleased with the attack by my left flank and if it had broken the opposing Thracians a turn or two earlier then I think I could have won the day.

Regarding luck: Ian improved his generals twice (one going to ‘Genius’ level) whereas one of mine dropped a level. Recently Ian seems to be throwing good scores and, for example, in this game he fired with a unit rolling six D6 requiring scores of ‘6’ to hit and he threw five ‘6’s (what are the odds of that?)! My dice rolling continues to be bad and early in the game I had to use two ‘Fate’ bonuses to re-roll bad scores. I have therefore decided to ‘retire’ the yellow set of dice I normally use and replace them with others who have been waiting their chance to shine.
This game was my fourth successive loss! The next match will involve a couple of new rule sets for quick games: Jugular (gladiatorial combat) and DBAv3 (using a range of armies based around 1066).

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