Thursday, March 29, 2012

First try at Lasalle

Nick and Chris had a first try at Lasalle. As it was our first try, we stuffed a lot up. But we also got some things right. The battle was French (Chris) vs Austrians (Nick) -- each side with one division.

For the first few turns, we were confused about the sequence of play. In the end, it is easy. When it is your turn, you shoot, fight, then move. This sequence of play means that if you charge into contact, the opponent then gets to shoot at you charging in, followed by fight the resulting combat, and then make his moves. It works quite well.

Combats were bloody and quick -- probably more bloody than normal due to Nick's uncanny ability to roll 6's. Musketry did not break any units, but did render some so ineffective that when the charge went in the units evaporated. Due to our screwing up the sequence of play for the first few turns, we may have also skipped a French musketry -- leading to their eventual defeat.

We did miss the ability to make reaction moves -- which is probably a critical part of the game. And we didnt use commanders correctly, which is where the French have an advantage. But the game was enough fun the Nick and Chris are doing it again in a few weeks!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Barbarians at the Gates Version 2

Mike's Barbarians v. Steve's Romans

I remembered I had a model town wall I'd made a few decades ago & dug it out of a box buried in the junk room.  It looked so good I had to make up a scenario to use it.   This is an adaption of the Barbarians at the Gates scenario in the HC book.

The city in one corner of the table is besieged by the barbarians (Dacians and Samartans).  The mercenary engineers have made a breach in the walls and the barbarians are preparing to assault when news arrives that the Roman provincial governor has forced marched a relief army from his capital and is about to arrive down the Roman road at the far corner.

The barbarians have 2 infantry divisions of 4 warbands and 2 skirmishers, a Sarmartan division of 2 cataphracts and 2 horse archers and a cavalry division of 2 medium & 2 light cav.  They have a camp which counts as a division lost in the army break test if taken.

The Romans win by breaking the barbarian army.  The barbarians win if they break the relief army, or they break into the city.  The garrison is allowed to sortie out.

The city has a garrison of 3 citizen spearmen and 3 light archers.  The Roman relief army has 2 infantry divisions of 4 legionaries & 2 skirmishers and a cavalry division of 2 medium & 2 light cav.

The 1st pic is about turn 2.  The Romans are coming on in the far corner and most of the barbarians have turned to move towards them.  

The barbarians made a move towards the breach with one division.  Their onagers fired in support.  They had the option of trying to make another breach, but chose to shoot at the defenders.

The barbarians formed a line and advanced to meet the Romans.  The Romans brought their cavalry on on their left (they had the option of either side of the road) and immediately threw it forward at the barbarian right flank.   The bold cavalry move paid off big time as they rode down the end infantry unit and their supporting unit broke as well.

Suddenly, the barbarian line fragmented.  Their cavalry on the left charged forward at the Roman right.  The remaining infantry fell back while the Samartans turned right to deal with the Roman cavalry.

The attack on the city was called off and one warband rushed back to guard the camp.

The Roman cavalry regrouped and turned to face the Samartans.  The warbands in the centre advanced again after the Samartans had gone past and charged towards the Roman infantry.

On the far flank, the barbarian cavalry and their opponents had reached a stalemate of shaken units & could do little but chuck javelins at each other hoping the other side would break first.

The barbarian infantry attack in the centre was a disaster - the Romans broke it straight up.

The camp guards charged out of the camp into the flank of some shaken cavalry and the Roman horse was pincered between them and the Samartans.  But the Samartans too were caught out by a rapid advance of the Roman foot and pincered themselves.

Both the Roman cavalry and the Samartans broke, but when the other barbarian cavalry division finally broke on the far flank it was all over for the barbarians - they only had 1 division left out of 4.

A good battle enjoyed by players and umpire alike - an example of how well Hail Caesar works with scenarios that go beyond line them up, charge and throw dice at each other.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

FOW V3 25/03/12

Jim's Hungarians v. Byron's US Armour

1555 pts MW - Encounter Mission

The Hungarians are on the near side in the pics.  The US initially tried a Honey rush down their right flank, but thought better of it when the artillery turned & popped the lead Honey.

Next the Shermans moved up to hull down on the central ridge and engaged the Paks along with the artillery & air strikes.  With the Paks seemingly immune to everything and one Sherman burning and others lucky to get away with bails, Byron withdrew.

Both sides fired artillery with singulary little effect while they gathered their reserves.

Hungarian plans for a counterattack were delayed by most of their 38T's getting bogged in the woods in the foreground.

After finally getting their armour out of the woods, the Hungarians advanced up to the ridge line.  At the same time the US reformed to attack now the Hungarians had left their trenches.

But by now time was up and the battle was a nil-all draw, both sides being too intent on not losing.

We did a lot of looking up V3 rules, but mainly just making sure we had things right.   The index sure makes it easier to find stuff, as do the chapter tabs on the top RH page corners.   I finally got to do a V3 assault - it does seem a lot cleaner. .

Saturday, March 24, 2012

FOW V3 24/03/12

Steve's Panzergrenadiers v. Jim's revolting Hungarian Light Infantry

1555 pts Counterattack Mission 

This is one of the new V3 Missions.  The Hungarians defended and deployed in the LH corner (except for Paks in ambush & T38's in reserve to come in on the RH corner).

The Germans as attackers deployed all their force in the corner.  The Germans had 2 objectives - one in the Hungarian deployment area & one in the closest quarter.

The battle started with the Germans rushing to the right with most of their force (leaving 2 platoons in the far corner to force the Hungarians to defend both objectives.  The Hungarians rushed infantry towards the RH objective and were fortunate to get their T-38's first turn - they moved into the cornfield and set to shooting up the Panzergrens.

The Germans unlimbered 88's and Paks to take on the T-38's.  The Hungarians dropped their ambush Paks on the hill.  The Panzergrens advanced on the objective while their artillery smoked the Paks.

The T-38's lead a charmed life for a while but eventually the 88's got the range and killed them off.  But not before they had (with help from the Paks & artillery) destroyed all the Panzergrens.

The battle was now a stalemate.  The Germans had no infantry left to storm the objective & in this Mission the defenders have no objectives to attack.  The two sides exchanged shots until time ran out before either side had to test morale - so  the Hungarians, as defenders, won.

Some comments on V3:

The air seemed to work ok - simpler than before, though just as chancey).

We found the armoured transport rules a bit confusing & clumsy - it seems that a bail can cause a platoon morale test that can result in all the half tracks being sent to the rear, but then they are able to come straight back.  (But then the V2 rules for half tracks were pretty confusing too).

We never got to test the close combat rules.  We kept forgetting the changed terrain rules for rough ground.  The new index is a big improvement - we found what we wanted straight away each time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Romani ite domum !

Steve & Rob's Romans have invaded Britain again.  Jim & Mike faced them with Boudicea's horde.

The Brits (on left in pics) deployed Jim's infantry division (4 large warbands + 2 skirmishers) in the centre with his cavalry and chariots (1 medium cav, 2 small light & 3 chariot) on their left and Mike's infantry(4 standard warbands + 2 bows)  on the right.  Mike's cavalry division (2 medium & 2 small light) were behind his infantry.

The Romans put their mixed division in the centre (3 artillery, 2 legionaries, 2 Numidian cav), infantry on each side (each 4 legionary, 2 skirmisher) and cavalry on their right (2 heavy, 2 horse bows).  Steve commanded the Roman right, Rob, the left.

The Romans surprised the Brits by charging forward on their right.  The Brits countercharged the cavalry resulting in combat from turn 1.  But the cavalry fight was indescisive, both sides having wins and losses.

The Romans held back their centre and left as the Brits made a slow general advance of their centre and right.

The Roman infantry on their right continued to advance over the hill to be counterattacked by a warband.  They beat it off, but the warbands had overlapped the Roman flank which was exposed by the failure of the Roman centre to advance.

Meanwhile on the other flank both sides seemed content with long range sniping waiting for things to develop elsewhere.

With Boudicea herself taking control, a warband wheeled into the flank of the Roman right. The legionaries gave ground but held on initially.  A warband on the flank prevented the Romans outflanking the outflankers and they supported the melee instead.  The Brits threw in a cavalry charge supported by chariots and Boudicea herself joined in.

It was a complex combat requiring some resort to the rule book, but eventually the Romans threw some bad morale dice and the 3 cohorts involved routed.  In the same turn, the chariots routed the last horse archer unit and both Roman divisions on their right were broken.

The Roman left was still intact, but so was the Brit right.  It would take the Brit left a little time to reorganise and come over, but the Romans recognised that their position was hopeless and conceded the battle.

This was a complete contrast to the slogfest of last week.  There was some initial too-ing & fro-ing between the cavalry, then it all depended on one messy multi-unit combat.  But Hail Caesar handles these pretty easily.

Half the divisions of both sides were mere spectators this week as both sides tried to win on the far side of the table.  The Romans hoped to smash the Brit left and roll up their line, but the Brit cavalry & chariots held them up and the warbands swamped the exposed left of the Roman attack.  A weekend painting more Celts paid off - the large warbands had so much more punch.

The last pic is from behind the Brit right (added because the action was a long way from the camera in the pics above).  The figs in the distance are Romans fleeing from the Britsh V, one cohort and one Roman cav unit remain, but have to retire as they the remains of broken divisions.

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.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Army Lists

I am starting to convert the excel army lists to appear on the web. 

They are available at

Have a play around and leave any comments.  Note:
- I can only upload 30 lists a day, so it will take a while for them all to appear.
- There is no print function at the moment -- I will investigate that.
- I have only tested this on IE9 -- please tell me if other browsers have problems
- As you work on a list, your settings are remembered on your PC.  Lists are not carried from PC to PC.
- The control button RESET removes all selections you have made.
- The control button SUMMARIZE hides all entries that have no selection -- so you can see what you have chosen in a compact form.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Hail Caesar in Launceston

Jim's Persians v. NickR's Greeks

I stayed on after a work trip to Launceston to visit the Launceston gaming Club.  I just happened to have two Hail Caesar armies with me.  I did however forget the box of counters.  We had to muddle through with marking the casualties on paper - not an ideal method, but it sort of worked.

The Greeks are on the left in the pics.  2 infantry divisions centre and their right, cavalry division on their left.

The Persians have cavalry divisions on both wings, Persian infantry right centre and mercenary holpites left centre.

The Greeks advanced on their whole front, the Persians generally advanced to bow range then halted.  The first combat was between the cavalry on the far flank.

The Greeks had some initial success, but numbers told and the Persians came out on top with their 2 medium units surviving after breaking the Greeks.

On the other flank, the Persian cavalry played for time, keeping the right flank hoplites busy.

In the centre the Greek attack was disrupted by bow and javelin fire, only the left end of the line charging home on the Persian foot.  The hoplites broke 2 units, but without support, they were surrounded by bowmen and cavalry and shot to pieces.

Meanwhile in the centre, the other half of the hoplite division was charged by the mercenary hoplites with support from some of the Persian foot.  The central hoplite division broke, which was 2 of 3 division broken and game over.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Barbarians at the Gates

Scenario from the Hail Caesar Rule Book

Mark & Mike's Barbarians v. Steve & Rob's Romans

The scenario starts with the barbarians pillaging the village with an advance guard guarding the ford and bridge.  The Romans start beyond the river and have to force a crossing and save the village before the barbarians have completely destroyed it (about 9 turns but randomised).  The Barbarians have more troops arriving between turns 3 & 5.

The Romans advanced reasonably smartly.  Their cavalry quickly cleared the light cavalry from the ford and crossed over.  The Goth infantry on the bridge bought some time when their javelins caused the lead cohort to recoil.

A second Roman advance on the bridge cleared it, but the Barbarian reserves came up fast.  Barbarian cavalry charged the lead cohort - which held on bravely while their comrades deployed over the bridge behind them.  They eventually broke, but the cavalry were in no state to follow up.

On the right both sides' cavalry deployed to face each other off.  On the left barbarian cavalry  peppered the legionaries with bow fire but came under heavy fire from the scorpions over the river.

The scorpions were making a mess of the barbarian left, but the legionary advance was slowed by bow fire.

On the barbarian right, the Roman cataphracts charged to try to break the deadlock.  They ran into a wall of Oakie's dice and the Roman cavalry wing broke along with some supporting infantry.  This left their remaining infantry with a hanging flank and in deep dodo.

At the same time roaring flames in the village showed that the relief was too late anyway and the Romans gave up.

We didn't have all the right figures for the scenario as listed and had to use subs for quite a few of the troop types (like Persian horse archers for Huns), but they looked fine at a distance and as always with Hail Caesar a good time was had by all.