Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hail Caesar: Rome v. Sassanids

Maharajah Trophy match : Steve's Sassanids v. Mark's Romans

Steve used the same army that defeated Jim, Mark the same army that defeated Mike in the previous round - both 700pts in 4 divisions.
The Romans are on the right. They have their cavalry on ther left, veteran legion in the centre, 2nd legion on the right and heavy auxilia behind the vets in the centre.  The Sassanids have cavalry on both flanks, heavy inf left of centre, light archers right of centre.
The Roman foot advanced in Testudo but their cavalry refused to advance.  The Sassanids advanced into bow range and stood shooting.
The failure of the Roman horse to advance left the vet legion's flank exposed.  The Sassanid cavalry attacked & broke the cohort on the flank.
The Roman horse finally got going and attacked the Sassanid horse.  In the centre the Sassanid foot has counterattacked the weakened veteran legion.  On the far flank the Roman foot is falling back before the Sassanid cataphracts which keep failing to charge home, while their bowfire has little effect on the testudos.
The veteran legion has been broken but the auxilia still hold the centre.  The cavalry fight in the near flank is ebbing and flowing.
The Roman cavalry is verging on breaking.  The Auxilia is hammering the light archers opposite their left while the rest of the division is under hail of bow fire.  On the far flank the Sassanid cavalry still hasn't got to grips with the legion.
The Roman cavalry was reduced to just 2 light horse, both shaken, but they fell back, one was rallied and the division held on.  But an auxilia unit wheeled left and broke a cataphract unit with javelin fire and it was the Sassanid cavalry that broke even though ti won the cavalry fight  The auxilia also broke the light archers - keeping the Romans in the game.  But eventually the large Sassanid cavalry division on the far flank charged home and though it died hard, the legion was broken.  This left only the auxilia and a bit of light cavalry - mostly shaken or close to it facing the two strongest Sassanid divisions.
The battle line revolved as the cataphracts slowly wheeled onto the flank of the auxilia which was mostly pinned down by bow fire. The Romans conceded.

We decided this battle showed that the divisional break test needs altering.  The rule in the book is: a division breaks if more than half its units are broken, or all the remaining units are shaken - but the test is taken at the end of the command phase allowing divisions with all surviving units shaken to survive if they are lucky.  We have found that this can allow armies that look beaten get lucky and hang on through an extended end game as the winning army can't quite nail them. This battle was an extreme example of this as Mark continually kept in the game by rallying shaken units just in time.  We decided to make the house rule that the division break test is taken at the end of the turn (as it is in Pike & Shotte).  

This result means that the Maharajah Trophy Grand Final will be between Steve's Sassanids & Jim's Pontic army next Tuesday.  Steve won the round robin match, but Mithridates was notorious for keeping coming back.

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