Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hail Caesar on the Ides of March

Jim & Mike's Mithridatic Ponts
Steve & Rob's Romans

The Romans deployed their 3 infantry divisions in a V with their artillery at the point and their cavalry in reserve in rear.

The Ponts deployed their Galation warbands in the centre with Imitation Romans behind, Pontic Noble cavalry and scythed chariots on their right and Samartan cataphracts and horse archers on their left.

As usual the Romans waited while their enemy advanced.  Their only move being to move their cavalry to the right.

The first contact was the chariot charge on the Roman left.  The chariots caused a few casualties before evaporating.  (Our impression was that the scythed chariot rules are not one of HC's best features).

The Galacians charged as soon as they could, finding that 4 ballistas backed up by a legion are a bit of a handful.  They caused some damage, but basically bounced off.

The Pont command tried to pull the Galacians back, But a Roman counterattack broke the division before they could get clear.

Now the Pontic army formed a new line with the Imitation legionaries taking over the centre with foot archers on each flank and cavalry on the wings.

It took a long time for them to come up but when the Samartan cataphracts finally got to the front they made a big statement - riding down two cohorts and driving half the Roman light cavalry off the table to leave the Roman right in big trouble.

On the other flank the Romans held off the Pontic Nobles' first attack.

In the centre, the Imitation Romans failed to break through, but stayed in reasonable shape.

The battle now turned into a curious end game as the Romans were on the verge of defeat, but kept hanging on.

A second charge by the Pontic nobles broke through & smashed the Roman left, but in doing so became broken themselves.

The cataphracts charged down the pesky ballistas and should have ridden over the shaken cohort behind them to finish things off, but the dice gods decreed otherwise.

All the remaining divisions on both sides were on the verge of breaking, but neither side could land the killing blow.  Finally some good shooting from the Pontic archers forced a morale test that broke the last Roman infantry division to give the Ponts a pyrhic victory.

It was fascinating battle with first one side then other gaining the upper hand and then losing it.  We did not use camps as objectives in this battle and I think this battle demonstrated that the camps are a good idea.  If we had had camps, the Ponts would have most likely been able to finish the battle off sooner by taking the Roman camp.  Also, having 4 divisions a side and having to break more half of them means one side has to lose all but one, which can make it hard to finish a battle off.  It's worthwhile putting some thought into victory conditions before the game.

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