Sunday, 18 October 2020

Playing with the Parthians....

 Mid-Bug Catch-up

Paid work, family issues, roof leak issues and four days knocked down with a "Not Covid" Man Flue bug (Rare for me. Apart from actual breaking of parts and operations you can count my days off just "sick" over the last two decades on your fingers) have led to little painting and minimal playing.

Realised the other day that my Parthians still hadn't had a set-to with my Romans.

So...

Take the other week's battlefield, strip away the Oriental Temple, slap down a couple of buildings, jiggle the stones around and away we go.....  



The Romans are to get across the board.  My job is to stop them.

Usual Activation, by Token, one per Unit Leader.

In addition, I get a Commander Token and a cub-commander Token, plus three "Command Tokens" in the mix. 

The Romans get one Unit Leader token per unit, plus their C.O.'s Token, plus a token for their sub-commander.

They also get FOUR Command Tokens (better Command and Control than my army) and a "Cohort Command" Token (which if allows the C.O. either another free Command point of action if he has already been activated OR, if he has not already been activated, the chance to command ALL units within his command radius at once - even if that number is greater than his Command Level).   



Just to make my life even more difficult the Romans get a "Hidden Reinforcement Token", allowing a random unit to enter play on their side  - as well as their usual "Shock Recovery at "Tiffin" bonus if a Legionary Unit has not carried out any other action that move and has Command Team figures.

When Activated a Roman unit/leader will react based on ad-hoc decision throws; typically using a 1x10 die. For (random) examples:

Example One: The Roman C.O. is activated. There are no enemies in sight. His choices are:

1-3: Hold back the main force, probing with his leading century.
4-5: Advance his whole force slowly in defensive mode.
5-10: Advance whole force rapidly towards the enemy.  

Example Two: An isolated Roman Leader is activated. His orders are simple; to advance straight towards the enemy side of the board. However, there is an enemy foot unit exposing its flank to him to his left front within charge range. This could be a temptation, but will take him off his bee-line to the board edge. Also, his unit has already been coming under a heavy arrow barrage and taking Shock and casualties. His choices, taking 1 from the dice throw per 2 Shock Points so far inflicted on the unit, are as follows:

1: Halt and go into full testudo to protect his men from the arrows.
2: Halt and go into "shield wall" to protect his men from the arrows.
3-5: Go into "shield wall" to protect his men from the arrows, but otherwise follow orders (at reduced speed).
6-8: Follow orders. 
9-10: Charge the Target of Opportunity.
 
My detached unit leaders/sub commanders will react to circumstances in a similar in the same way. 


The Battle:

Developed along predictable lines to start. The Romans probed, then moved forward to seize the heights. I harassed the enemy lead centuries with my horse archers and horse javelins, and probed his right flank.







As the enemy moved up the heights so did my horse archers and skirmishers, with the Romans taking shock and casualties from my lads' arrows. 





There was a lot of arrow exchange - but because of the terrain (yeah, right) some of my horse archers got too close to the Roman line and suffered as a result (my bad).

Slowly my infanty clambered up the heights in the centre. On the Roman right things bogged down, with the lead century going into testudo. The officer in charge here either failed to get Activated - or when he did his nerve failed (or he was just sensible) and he concentrated on keeping his men's morale steady for the next few moves. Meanwhile my close-combat infantry discovered that fighting mano-a-mano with the legionaries was not a good idea....





Midway though, and things were getting stalemated... On my left my horse archers and mounted javelins were peppering the testudo, but seeming making little concrete impact. In the centre and right my attempts to contain the Romans were proving fruitless. On the other hand the Romans had suffered from the barrages of missiles.   






Suddenly, however, Lady Luck looked in my direction...

My only useful unit of infantry clambered up the heights....




And actually managed to force back a Roman century... 



Then my heavy cavalry on my right got a chance to get stuck in....A potentially decisive moment came as heavy cavalry went round the enemy left to charge the Roman archers. But they skedaddled to cover with minimal casualties as my men went though them.




 My heavies, in turn, ended up being attacked by one of the legion centuries, then coming face to face with Roman cavalry (reinforcements). I skedaddled my heavies out of the way of what had suddenly become trap. 






Sudden an opportunity arose on my left; the leading century pulled back in response to seeing my cavalry behind it. As it came out of testudo I launched my left-hand heavy cavalry, which had earlier moved over seeking targets of opportunity,  into the century's flank, then hit it with my (exposed) heavy cavalry coming from the enemy's centre. The century broke, then was destroyed.   









But my heavies had been over-bold - and the enemy got lucky. A combination charge of their freshest century and their cavalry rammed into front and flank of the already confused cataphracts.





They ran, disrupting the other cataphract unit behind them. The enemy pushed forwards, and my heavy cavalry broke, taking the light cavalry behind them with them. Suddenly my whole left flank was running from the table...





My sub-commander managed to hold my centre and right flank together, but my Army Morale was pretty shot.  With my left scattered in flight my army slowly withdrew.



The enemy had suffered a bloody nose (though if this had been a campaign battle they would have been deemed to have held onto their wounded, so actual fatal casualties would likely have been slight) but I could not risk the fragile moral of my infantry and remaining cavalry. The Romans had won..... 
 


Summary: An interesting fight, though the table should have been bigger. 

As always my House Rules are a Work In Progress, but this worked well. My foot had little chance in a one-to-one fight with the Roman legionaries, but their skirmish supporters levelled-up the playing field by inflicting Shock and (minor) casualties which would have hurt the Romans badly had we won the day and held the field. 

I already add scenario-specific tokens to a mix. I'm thinking of playing around with adding other tokens to mixes in a series of upcoming experiments. Some examples are;

1) "Whole Army" Tokens (to speed things along).

2) Involuntary Advance.

3) Involuntary Formation. 

I'm also re-thinking the Activation process, and will be experimenting.. R
etirement beckons. So I should have more time to play.....

As always, queries/comments welcome....


Friday, 25 September 2020

Back to the Queen of Scales...

A Table Recycled...

A little jiggling and the table from last week becomes a new playground for a (rare for me) WW2 skirmish while I'm 1) reading and working on some drawings, writing, the pond and the house, 2) messing with my "Sanders" project, 3) pulling my hair out over a "never drying varnish" issue (tried everything except talcum powder or stripping back to the plastic and starting again... Grrr....), 4) musing on some "Commander Character" ideas (of which more anon..).

The Skirmish:
Very simple; the Australians have instructions to set up an O.P. on the ruined temple. No (Japanese) enemies in sight. My "hidden enemy rules" in play.




The squads move off, but at once some under fire (the usual one dice to activate, playing card for enemy number type, 4 dice for max range process). There is an exchange. NOT a good start...





Oh great.. More of them.. In the rocks...



My squads lay down covering fire, pinning the enemy as the main body rushes onward. 



Things go pretty well. One casualty thus far, but the Bren guns and accurate rifle fire from my squads are making the enemy keep their heads down. 

A couple of snipers pop up, but no large groups of new enemies emerge as I flank the enemy in the centre to hold them there, and the commander and radio group press on to the  target.  




My guys get to the target - no occupants (phew) - and the job's done... That's that....



Sod's Law however; one of my squads prompts a new enemy appearance on the very last move - a squad with a machine gun. Too late to affect the game - but not too late to inflict another two casualties...



Target achieved. However, all four of my casualties prove to have been mortally hit... Not good at all..Japanese casualties two dead, four wounded...

A quick, exciting mini exercise...

In theory that is the end of the game (target achieved), but hey, the guys are out there.. I decide to play on (solo - my game, my rules) to get rid of the machine gun...

Private Bruce takes a Brave Deed test, and under covering fire from his mates, rushes in with his grenades. Excellent work that man.. Game over....




Or not...

I test for Enemy Action - a six for Bruce's squad, so MORE enemy.. They draw a KING (!!) Banzai Charge.. The Range Throw puts it's point of origin in the rocks, alongside where the machine gun was...





The charge
inspires the Japanese in the nearby rocks to also make a sortie - suddenly things are complicated. 

Despite the gunfire and another grenade from Bruce - which luckily takes down the Japanese officer - the enemy charge home.

There is a tussle with the rest of Bruce's squad, and they go down fighting hand to hand with the Japanese - as does one of the Australian sergeants (with a sub-machine gun) to small arms fire at close range.... 







But the combined firepower of the squads (two Brens, two rifles, crossfire from the temple and Bruce shooting into their backs from the forward rocks) is too much. The charge is halted.



From then on it is just mopping up - with Bruce ending the job with another grenade.. Looks like someone's going to be mentioned in dispatches....   



One more Australian dead and two more wounded.. Not good. But with no prisoners being taken by the Australians ("Too late chum") there are nineteen additional Japanese dead on the field. All in all we can count this a success...

Well, that was a quick and fun game with an unexpectedly exciting ending. I'l be tweaking the table again for 
another clash shortly, before launching into a bigger game.... 

As always, thoughts, comments, queries etc. welcome.









Playing with the Parthians....

 Mid-Bug Catch-up Paid work, family issues, roof leak issues and four days knocked down with a "Not Covid" Man Flue bug (Rare for ...