3CvG, 3Cv, 2LH, 3Bd, 3x4Bd, 3x4Ax, 2Ps, Art
Mark was using II/65b Early Visigoths:
3KnG, 3Kn, 8x4Wb, 2x2Ps
More Kn to face, which I am a bit scared of, especially now that I only have one LH unit.
This was the board and initial setup: (click on pictures to embiggen)
A big steep hill centrally to my right, gentle hills in each deployment zone, a waterway running down my right table edge, and a patch of rough adjacent to this. I deployed two Ax to try to seize the the steep hill and drive off any Ps incursion and hopefully exert a ZOC into the central clear space to slow down his advance while my Art blasted away. My LH went on the right, hoping to scoot around the edge of the steep hill. My other Ax was far left to seize the rough. The Art formed up centrally in between my Bd line, and my Cv formed a reserve behind. Perhaps the Cv would have been better behind the Art - you'll see later on that they get jammed a bit behind the Bd. My first pip roll was a 1, again.
My opponent set up his Ps to seize the steep hill, which he did very well with a multiple move first bound. He also set up a flanking force of Kn and Wb on my right and his main block of KnG and Wb centrally. All moved forward.
My Ax had trouble getting onto the hill at all! His Ps flanked me and had the uphill advantage but a lucky die roll recoiled them. Uh-oh, here come the Kn, getting ahead of the slow Wb. I lengthened my line with the LH, hoping for overlaps to save me. My Bd/Art line advanced, keen to shoot. Perhaps I should have left them where they were but fortune favours the brave. My Ax got into the rough so he split off a column of Wb to deal with them. After the first casualties the board looked like this:
What happened was that after some ZOC games on the edge of the hill, my LH charged his isolated Kn with an Ax overlap, while my Ax charged a Ps. I rolled luckily and the LH got the quick kill on the Kn, and the Ax killed the Ps at even odds. So that was two kills that I didn't really earn but I took them anyway. I had already started to bring my Cv over in support in case things went badly against the Kn. My Art in the centre laid a few recoils on his Wb and Kn.
Then this happened:
We realized that Wb aren't penalized when fighting in bad going! Doh! So his Wb column to my left chased my Ax out of the rough and the other unit to my right hid on the steep hill where it would be safe from the LH and Cv. Wow - this changes everything for Wb. From now on I'm going to have (even more) trouble with these pesky barbarians.
Figuring that the LH could be more useful elsewhere, I ran them right up the middle of the battlefield, thinking of either flanking the Kn or attacking his camp. My Ax pursued his Ps up the hill, forgetting that the Wb was there... This is what I got for that mistake:
One of my Ax on the hill was flanked and massacred. The other one decided that the hill was no longer strategically useful and returned to the shelter of the nearby Bd line. The Bd on the left of the Art retreated with a large expenditure of pips to buy me some more time while I tried to win the game by charging his camp with my LH.
Sorry about this next photo. It's woeful. But it shows some important stuff:
His Ps somehow got killed by my Ax, which then retreated off the hill away from the 2 Wb elements. My LH repeated bounced off his camp. My Bd stupidly advanced, cutting off my Art shooting angle. Whoops. An impulsive charge with my Bd was what lost me the last game, and it nearly lost me this one. I wanted to shoot the Wb and overlap the KnG to win the game, but because I was unable to shoot the Wb because it was in side contact with my Bd, it simply rushed past me and straight for my Art. My CvG took a couple of turns to scoot left around the back of my Bd/Bd/Ax line and then made it a Bd/Bd/Ax/CvG line, which fortunately for me had the faster units on the outside of the wheel, allowing me to square up to those Wb bullies in the rough.
This is the final photo I took, just before my last turn:
His central Wb column charged my Art and killed it. His Wb came screaming off the hill and attacked my Ax, and recoiled it back into line with my Cv. In my turn the Cv closed the door and the Ax won the combat, killing the Wb. And finally my line of Bd/Bd/Ax/CvG with Ps support charged the Wb in the rough and killed two units.
So I won the game, but to be honest it was more to do with lucky rolling than clever tactics. Still, this time I didn't get split up into too many small groups, I more or less stuck to my plan, and I made only two obvious bone-headed mistakes (charging my Bd when I should have hung back, and getting flanked by the Wb on the hill while Ps-chasing).
Things I learned:
- Art is useful for slowing down the enemy and disordering the enemy line. But keep your firing lanes clear!
- Wb are useful in bad going!
- I need to pay attention to command distance and line of sight. I think we may have forgotten about the steep hill blocking line of sight.
- Ps can support Ax just like they can Sp or Bd.
- Keep units together to protect their flanks. I think I might not have been able to kill Mark's Kn if they hadn't gotten so far ahead of the Wb.