Version 5.01 with changes published 16th March 2007 and a further change to artillery (2 dice in close combat at POA -)
I had the Romans, Lance Flint had the Picts.
Significant terrain was a forest half way along my left short edge, a steep hill in the middle and a gentle hill on my right about 15" from the baseline.
I deployed 2 x legionary BG and one Aux Palatina, each 9 bases including 3 supporting LF archers in the gap between the forest and steep hill, with an arty BG on each side of the line. A couple of poor MF units were set back from this line. 4 x cavalry were behind the line with a general. 4 x poor LF archers and 6 x Alan superior LH bow sword were opposite the steep hill and 4 x LH javelin (Equites Illyricani) and 4 x cavalry were on the gentle hill to guard the flank.
Lance placed a huge force of skirmishers backed up by MF spear to go over the steep hill. My main battle line was faced by 2 BG of 6 x saxons and one of 4 x chariots. 8 x Attecotti were poised to attack through the forest.
Lance advanced on my right in overwhelming strength. I pulled back my LF and Alans to avoid them getting shot to bits. My force on the gentle hill advanced, then charged LH to their front. The LH opposite my cavalry evaded, those opposite my LH stood and put a general into the front rank. These soon routed my LH.
My cavalry charge took them past the flank of some spearmen on the steep hill, who passed a CMT and turned to face them, pinning them in the restricted area. On their next move the spearmen charged the cavalry from behind. We both expected the spearmen (MF average unprotected Dspear in column to rout my cavalry (Cav superior armoured LS sword) with the flank charge. However, they lost the combat and were soon routed by my (by this time fragmented) cavalry. LH then charged my cavalry in the flank and broke them.
On the other flank, two groups of LH faced my artillery and one stood around long enough to get broken by the artillery shooting. It fled to the baseline but rallied there.
Attecotti charged out of the woods into my cavalry on the other flank. Spearmen charged off the steep hill into my artillery and routed it.
Other troops swarmed forward to get around my right flank.
My cavalry/Attecotti fight ended with no damage on either side and my cavalry broke off. With 4 bases against 8 I didn??™t fancy charging in again, although I had POA in my favour (with hindsight the odds probably favoured me).This allowed the Attecotti to charge my artillery and rout it.
I had lost 8 AP out of 12 and was totally outflanked, so it was all over bar the shouting.
I had pulled the Aux Palatina out of the main line and turned them to face the spearmen that had been fighting my artillery. The spearmen turned to face me, but I charged anyway. This fight went for several bounds, my auxilia getting fragmented. My Alan LH then charged the spearmen in flank, which changed the POAs seriously in my favour. LF archers then charged my LH in the flank. Luckily they did not do enough damage to cause a CT for me. The spearmen then broke and many surrounding units failed their CT and/or were burst through.
Meanwhile, one legionary BG had charged the two groups of Saxons. It was 6 x superior HF Armd IF SS vs 12 x superior HF Prot IF S. With some good combat dice I won the impact and melee. Both Saxon units rolled 3 on their CT and both routed. A nearby LH BG saw the rout and also rolled a 3, taking it to Fragmented. None of these routing units had lost any bases.
The other legionaries charged the chariots (which evaded) and then got shot at from several directions, causing the loss of 1 base, but no cohesion effect.
We had been playing for over 5 hours (still lots of rule-reading) and stopped at this point.
I had lost 8AP from 12, Lance had lost 11 AP from 15.
MF in a wood had to pass a CMT to advance a short move to the wood edge. Seems a little harsh, but probably not worth worrying about.
Expansion in combat - can you take elements currently fighting as an overlap and expand them on the other side to face off an enemy overlap? On p34 the first bullet suggests that you can??™t, but the 4th bullet implies that you can. I suspect the intention is that only bases with no combat dice can move, in which case this should be made more explicit.
We had one incident where a long line charged at an angle onto a small target. When they wheeled on to conform, the unengaged end of the line swung an awful long way. It looked a bit unrealistic. There were no side effects, but if there had been other units around, the loose end could have swung into a position where it was vulnerable to a flank charge.
Intercept charges. Although it is possible to work out that the intercept charges move before the declared charges, we felt this ought to be made more explicit.
Fighting after a flank charge. I had a unit charged in flank (not in front as well). The one element contacted turned to face the attackers in the impact phase. The remaining ones did not turn. In the melee phase the attacker conformed and contacted another of my elements. We could not find any rule saying that my element had to turn to face, but we assumed it should. Two elements not contacted also did not turn to face. Could they still fight as 2nd rank in melee? With hindsight I think they should have turned to face as a "Reform" in the movement phase.
A couple of times we had BGs broken due to being charged. We were not very certain about whether to fight a round of impact combat or just take a base off, or both, or neither and only remove a base if the pursuit stays in contact. If pursuit maintains contact into the melee phase, do we fight melee, take a base off or both? Does the BG rout from the melee? (we thought it would wait until the interbound as it did not break in the melee phase). We thought it would be useful to have a summary table of when to take bases off and when to do rout moves.
Cavalry LS versus MF IF in impact phase. The POA worked out as follows:
IF + for vs non-shock mtd
Cavalry + for vs MF in open. No net POA so + for mtd LS
So the MF impact foot were still overall worse in the impact. Just checking that this is as intended.
On a couple of occasions I had enemy LF to the rear of a mixed BG of HF with LF supports. Could the enemy charge my BG as they would be contacting only the skirmisher bases?
On another occasion I turned such a BG 90 degrees resulting in ranks of:
(front) 2 HF, 2HF, 2 LF, 2HF, 1LF.
This was shot at from behind as a LF target and from the side as HF(armd). It lost a base so I took off the LF (cheesy ?). Now I was a fully armoured target from behind, but Lance then worked out that one of the sandwiched LF was a priority target for one of the side shots. As far as I can see, the only constraint on a 90 degree turn is that the front rank must be of the original front rank type, so I could have made a hard shell of armd HF when I turned. (Much later: I see there is a rule on P40 to cover shooting at a mixed target, but it wouldn??™t cover the case where the rear rank was mixed)
In one melee I had a swordsman fighting enemy to his front, but he was attacked by enemy to his flank. Did the sword count as a POA against the flank attacker? I thought it did, Lance wasn??™t so sure because I was not fighting back. What if I was, say, steady spear in 2 ranks? I think the POA would still apply as there is nothing to say the POA counts only to the front.
We nearly had a charge, not counting as flank, which hit the flank of a column somewhere near the back. If I had done that charge, then after impact I think I would have moved back about 5 element depths and shifted sideways a whole base width to conform to the front of the column. This seems a long distance to move.
In both the case above and the long line wheeling in to conform, the need to conform seems to lead to some unrealistically large movements. As conforming is not necessary for combat, wouldn??™t it be simpler and more realistic to drop the idea of conforming (but allow stepping forward) or maybe make it optional? I imagine this must have been tried before, what were the problems? By the way, the current rule for overlaps doesn??™t quite work for the non-conformed condition. The excess bases in contact that are dropped should count as overlaps and need to be at the end of the line. Bases further extending the line on that end cannot be overlaps.
We had skirmishers charging skirmishers who evaded exposing non-skirmishers to the charge. We played it that the chargers stopped 1 MU away although this is not the current rule.
Luck seems to be a big effect in this game. At the end of phase 2, I was all-but defeated, but in one bound I completely turned things around. In general Lance feels AOW is too luck-dominated and he mentions this EVERY time we talk about the game.
Based on this game, skill and numbers can certainly compensate for inferior troops.
Supporting LF have a bad press in this forum. I certainly never had the opportunity to shoot with them so the cost of the bow was wasted. On the other hand they boosted the BGs from 6 to 9, so I had to lose 3 for 1 HP3B or 25% , 5 for 1 HP2B. Also they fight at front rank POA in melee (albeit only half the dice), which would have helped my Auxilia (once they had lost an element) if I had remembered it.
So front rank 4 MF
second rank 2 MF + 2 LF
3rd rank 1 LF
would be quite an efficient formation. Even better for legionaries where 12 points gets you a dice that would normally cost 15 points.
On the other hand, not taking any LF would have given me 54 points, = 2 legionaries and 2 Aux Palatina and 4 points to spare.
I took 3 x FC. 1 FC and 3 TC would have been more useful. In fact 4 TC would have been more useful.
We both thought it would be useful to have summary tables of:
- When to take off bases and when to move in rout/pursuit;
The rules for skirmishers charging (allowed, CMT needed, prohibited).