Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Everybody's favourite Romans

Dead ones, that is:
Casualty markers for the two legions most recently finished. I reckon I need five per legion, since they will most likely fight in duplex acies. That means half of the cohorts need these. Figures are plastics by Warlord Games.

I've also just totted up the running total for 2014: 626 foot, 109 mounted and seven nellies.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

We've never played this before: Parthians vs Indians

Yesterday saw a match-up I've certainly never seen on the tabletop before, thrown up by campaign events in Bactria: a battle between Indians and Parthians. It sure looked purty...
Massed panzer division on the Indian right wing, screened with huge numbers of skirmishers and with cavalry in reserve. Run by Gordon.
Moving more into the Indian centre, the massed foot archers make their appearance, run by Graham.
Their left, run by Simon in person. This is the second time in a couple of weeks we have managed to get the Indians on the table.
The Parthian left, with Billy in shot - he insisted! He doesn't look too happy at having to face all those elephants...
My command is in the centre.
Willy ran our right.

Terrain was pretty basic, comprising a large low hill and a large high hill. I had no idea what to do with the Parthians except hope for the best, so I went for a symmetrical deployment. The Indians, of course, will be leading with their right, straight towards Billy.
Above is a long sideshot, taken from Willy's wing, our right. He does have superiority here, but did I mention all those elephants at the far end?
Staying at this side for the moment: the opening moves.
Same perspective a little later.
More of the same.

I wasn't feeling great, with a headache that developed later on into a really bad night (don't worry, I'll spare you the details). So I'm having a sickie today and trying to concentrate enough to type this. Basically, Billy was pressed back relentlessly on our left, with many of his horse archers having to flee off table. In our campaign, this means that the units automatically survive the battle, but count against army break point - it's a way to try to simulate horse archer armies. I had some limited success in the centre, breaking a unit of foot bowmen but having to sacrifice horse archers to do it. Willy had rotten luck on our right, suffering from very poor morale. The Indian elephants and archers did well, sandpapering our army away until it fled the field, but they did take significant casualties amongst their supporting cast.

With the dust settling, I toted up the damage to both sides and while the Indians won handsomely, they didn't have enough weight to conquer the province, so they have retired whence they came. I think they would be quite happy with a continuously devastated Bactria as a buffer against the Parthians, though. The latter have also retired to lick their wounds, vowing a rematch.

Next up will be a large game at the end of the year: the Gallic incursion of 121 BC into Provincia. We are hoping to get to the club earlier than usual on Tuesday December 30th and try a 50% or even 100% larger game.

Monday, 1 December 2014

An Embossed Legion

Or, to be more precise, a legion carrying embossed shields, by Companion Miniatures:
There are actually two slightly different designs, but together I had enough (barely) to cover an entire legion.
Officers are mostly by Navigator Miniatures, I think. The legate is their Crassus figure.
I'll do one more legion of these guys and then start thinking about the opposition...

On the Painting Tray: November 2014

More Romans: a legion of eighty figs plus mounted legate.  Also, some interesting ones: 15 casualties.  After that, I'll paint some cavalry and then move away from Rome for a while.  North Africa, that'll do the job - I'll need to add to my forces there pending the rise of Jugurtha...

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Hydaspes

I have just updated the ancients scenarios page for 500-250 BC with a modified version of the Hydaspes. We are hoping to run this game at Carronade in May 2015, and maybe again at Claymore in August. However, we were able to try it out at the Glasgow leg of the Armati tournament. This is the second year we have have been able to put on a large 25/28mm game for our visitors. Last year we tried Ilipa, and since Simon has the figures, we thought we would pre-empt the Society of Ancients Battle Day for 2015 and try Hydaspes. The Friday night large game is becoming a bit of a fixture before the tourney proper begins; it's kind of a way of saying thanks to those make the journey to Glasgow, and provides some light relief.

The table was pretty basic, but I hope the photos give you some indication of how the game played:
The Macedonian right, from an Indian deity's perspective. Note that nasty little man in front of the Companions dishing out orders.
The next section of the Macedonian army - plenty more is off table. Bruce ran Alexander and the cavalry, while Vincent took the rest. The echelon deployment makes it difficult to fit the invaders onto the field, so we just fed them on as the phalanx advanced.
A shot of Simon's lovely Indian army: the massed centre. Carl played the Indian left, Mark the centre and Ian their left.
Chariots and cavalry on the Indian left. That's Poros at the top right as you look at it; after the battle we decided he should have an elephant unit all to himself.
Full table shot, side-on from the Hydaspes itself. Alexander's weight can be clearly seen to the left, and the whole Indian deployment at the right.
An attempt at an atmospheric photo-opportunity. Note the celestial hat stand in the corner.
One of the Indian chariots too.
The battle begins, with Bruce attacking aggressively, and being heckled by the onlookers, just because he is playing Alexander.
Mark advances some of the elephants to try to cramp the style of the invaders, who are pretty much all on table by this point.
A close-up of chariots and Companions mixing it.
It's not all going the way of the Macedonians, though, as the leftmost unit of Companions gets caught by elephants as well as chariots - I hope you can see it in the centre of the photo above. In the right foreground, though, Alexander is doing what Alexander does best, apart from killing his friends after a drunken binge.
A gratuitous shot of the Indian army's moment of glory.
Phalanx against elephants. despite the initial crunch, it can only really end one way.

Fleeing Companions. You don't get to see that very often, so we posed them specially for the shot.
In the meantime, the chariots start to have a bad day. Apologies for this one, it seems a bit blurry - just wanted to keep the narrative flowing.
Some of the Companions break through to the cavalry beyond.
I shifted positions to take the one above from the Macedonian side of the table: the Indian left is looking ominously bare, but the elephants in the centre have about-faced to try to come into the flank of the Hypaspists.  They will need to re-order themselves first, though. At this point the initiative dice gods fled and the enemy light cavalry were able to get the elephants from their flank and rear.
Alexander has finished off his chariots, and is now squaring off against Poros in person, who has joined the other Indian cavalry unit.

Alexander meets Poros, especially remounted on an elephant for the occasion. Was that a speed bump? The Indian army disintegrated at this point.

We had a good post-battle discussion, and I have modified the scenario we used accordingly.  People seemed to enjoy themselves, and the armies sure looked pretty.