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.
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.
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...
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).