Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Late Imperial Romans v Early Franks

We played a really enjoyable game today that, although it was a decisive result, really came to the wire in terms of what was going to happen.

My opponent took a Frankish list with:
WbG, 7xWb, 2xBw, Ps

I took a Late Imperial Roman West army so that I could use my newly painted Foederati knights and skirmishers along with my Romans.  My list was:
CvG, Cv, 2xLH, Kn, 2xBd, 3xAx, 2xPs

As I got to be the defender I set up a largely open board with just the one lot of bad going - a woods bisected by a road and some gentle hills.  The Franks chose to have the edge with the woods in their deployment zone and put their camp behind it.  I set up in a single long line.  The Franks set up in three groups with their archers on my left facing my Cv and Kn, so I swapped my Cv and Kn to my right side in exchange for 2xBd.

(Click pictures to embiggen)

Kamikaze Psiloi: Romans 0 - Franks 1
Rather stupidly, when I got lots of pips on my first turn, I did the Psiloi Dash all the way up the Wb in the woods and charged them.  Now this was plainly idiotic, but my thinking was that Wb can't kill Ps so I'll be able to annoy him and draw him out of the woods.  Which is all well and good until his turn when he does a double move to flank my Ps and kill it on the recoil.  Sigh... I'm sure that I'd be a much better DBA player if I didn't keep trying to be so clever.

Romans being Romans, barbarians being barbarians
Feeling chastened by the senseless loss of my Ps, I was much more sensible for the rest of the game.  I keep pacing my army forward.  On my left the Bw and Wb came out to meet me but their shooting failed to do anything useful.  On the right I sent my LH for an end-run around to threaten his camp, hoping to disrupt his lines a bit.

We have strategery on tap
The Franks sent their Ps back to intercept my LH, keeping their toes in the woods.  My LH moved to block his ZOC so that the rear of the two units would have some options next turn.  My Cv and Kn moved right, hoping to be able to get the Kn into the Wb which had come out of the woods.  My three Ax attacked the Frankish Bw but only managed to recoil them both.  On the left I got myself into a tangle, wheeling my Bd so far that it was hard to extricate them from the ZOC of the leftmost Wb unit and forming a potential obstacle to my Ax if it had to recoil.

The next few turns saw lots of combat but no results.  My Ax traded recoils back and forth with his Bw.  In the centre his WbG began driving my Ax back despite being double overlapped by my other Ax and my CvG.  On the right my Kn charged his Wb in the open with a flank from my LH but they must have packed their rubber lances today.

One chance in 36.  Romans 0 - Franks 2
In an act of lunacy, the Frankish Wb on the right charged my Kn and to my surprise killed it with a 6-1 roll!  Oh dear.  The back and forth between my Ax and Bw continued on the left with the Romans being unable to make anything of repeated 3-2 and 3-1 combats.  In the centre the WbG continued to push back my Ax while my CvG beside him got stuck against the Wb.

Romans 1 - Franks 2
Still my Ax on the left were unable to buy a win.  In the centre my Cv lined up beside my CvG to give the overlap on the Frankish Wb who were finally killed.

A rush of blood to the head
The bad guy got 6 pips and after a moment of thought put into place a risky yet fiendish plan.  His Bw moved back from my Ax and the adjacent Wb unit made a double move to attack the Ax.  The Wb behind his WbG also made a double move and retreated, turned and flanked my CvG which was also attacked by the Wb in front of it.  The situation before we rolled any dice was as above.  His General has no room to recoil and is in a 4-3 combat in his favour.  My General has been flanked and is in a 1-3 combat to my favour.  Here's what happened:

A rush of blood to the neck.  Romans 2G - Franks 3G
Against the odds, both Generals were recoiled and killed.  On the left my Ax again recoiled his Bw and the Wb vs Ax fight was a tie.  The Romans were demoralized by seeing their General trapped and killed and fled the battlefield with head hung low.

Post-game thoughts:
  1. My kamikaze Psiloi move lost me the game.  If I hadn't been 1 unit down already, the game would have been tied up at 2G-2G each and we would have continued.  Plus I would have had some Ps backup for my Ax, leading them to kill those pesky Bw.  I really don't what I was thinking...
  2. Speaking of Ps, what was I thinking??  My other Ps just sat there all game, forgotten and lonely.  I could have moved through the Bd and given support to my Ax.
  3. I should have been more aggressive with my Bd.  I've had some bad experiences in the past with my Bd being killed by Wb but the odds are with the Bd especially when I would have had the overlap on the left if I'd cared to take it.
  4. Finally a game where I didn't recklessly waste my LH. I was very unlucky with them and my Kn, first to recoil from a flanking 3-1 combat, then to lose my Kn to a 3-2 combat.  Dem's da breaks!
  5. It was a really fun game with both sides fighting in what I think were historically appropriate ways.


  1. Welcome to the Psiloi abusers club. Your t-shirt is on the way. Great report!

  2. Excellent! I've finally made my bones!