Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Battle of Cibalae - To The Strongest

The Auxilia look keen to make the pretender from the east pay a heavy price.
Last night provided we very keen TTS gamers another opportunity to try a few new things with our favourite ancients ruleset - Simon Millers "To The Strongest". 

Following on from last weeks games we decided to play an historical battle on Guido's urging.  The game chose was the Battle of Cibalae fought in 314AD between the two Roman Emperors at the time: Constantine and Licinius.

The excellent Command and Colours map of the battle

Peter (Guido) has tried for many years to get the lads to take up playing Command and Colours at the club however simply replacing the blocks for actual wargames figures.  We can say that his endeavours have had limited success.  However he has always espoused the wonderful resource for battles that the C & C provides.  Since Late Romans were in abundance at the club we decided to have a two a side battle to see how we all fared.

The set-up was pretty much as the map indicated.  In the absence of correctly sized impassable terrain for
the table we simply turned over some old club river sections.  Apologies for the aesthetic look
but it did serve the purpose until we get our terrain organised a bit better to fit the 150mm grids.

Guidos command looks at an extended line of Light Cavalry and Auxilia

We were a bit short of Roman LC so Steven's Huns had to stand in!

The Romans in the centre look reasonably well deployed and confident

Love this unit of Steve's - Wargames Foundry with a couple of Gripping Beast thrown in as well.

Martin's lovely Gripping Beast Romans which have lain dormant for years.  Now out twice in a fortnight!

Need to finish the bases of my Roman light infantry with bow

Some intricate and fortunate manoeuvring finds my cavalry well positioned early in the piece

Some excellent evading and counter-charging sees Constantine's cavalry in a superior position on the right as
indeed they were in the original battle.

The legio in the foreground is part of a small reserve that has seen an opportunity to exploit the centre

Huns lay on the flank but drawing 1's on your chits will do that to you!

Some unfortunately positioned light cavalry get enveloped

The only thing better than activating on two successive 10's... doing it to follow up combat whilst on the lank of a weak enemy.  Sorry lads.

The Roman lance armed Equites now dispatch the enemy legio and see the camp undefended.

The centre of Constantine's forces press forward to attempt to hammer home the advantage

We had several queries on evades.  The poor old legio on this occasion had the Equites evade to the rear and then
activate to flank them on the next turn.  In my opinion an example of mounted out-manoeuvring foot.. We have
asked young Simon for a clarification to make sure we are doing it correctly.

A view from the lines Licinius

Three Victory Medals are only a grid away

Guido refuses the flank beautifully on Constantine's left to help anchor the battle lines.

Once again we had a wonderful time and enjoyed the battle, the game and each others company tremendously.

Another game next week where the Sassanids may get a nice outing against the Romans this time.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Steve the Hun takes on the Romans - TTS latest!

Roman Auxilia prepare to take the high ground - yes the camp engineers are too early but that's for another post!

The NWS is was abuzz with ancient wargames of varying rule types last night.  There certainly seems to be a bit of a resurgence in the ancients at present, no small part being due to the adoption of two excellent sets of rules - "Impetus" and "To The Strongest"

The games we have played so far with the very clever Simon Millers "To The Strongest" have been enormously enjoyed by both Steve and myself.  The game mechanisms are simple to learn without being "simple" if that makes sense.  Their are many subtle and wonderful elements to the play which make for a very fast moving and enjoyable game with all the aspects of ancient warfare I have consistently placed with gaming in this period.

Steve setting up his "Scourge of God" dream team - Huns hordes with Frankish allies

We went once again with a 150 point a side battle with my Late Romans taking on the menace of Steve's Huns with some Gepid and Frankish allies.  Lots of deep warrior units and excellent cavalry with bow as far as the eye could see.

We also decided to use stratagems and a bit of terrain this time as we are starting to become far more familiar with the rules.  They certainly once again added a few lovely twists into the game.

I spent a bit of time making up some camps for both armies - Franks and Huns seem to be common
bedfellows so I put a few lovely Foundry figures on both bases. 

Not a great picture.  I will take a few more aesthetically pleasing ones next time.

The Huns deployment - three commands including two heroic attached Generals.

First Roman command - entirely foot and anchoring on some rough ground where legio supporting lights lay waiting 

Second Roman Command - nervous and out-numbered cavalry 

Another view of the Roman foot

All the figures on the left of this shot are from the excellent Gripping Beast range of Romans - lovely sculpts

The view from across the table.  In the background Peter and Martin play a lovely looking
Pictish  v Late Roman battle on the wonderful sagebrush mat from Big Red Bat Ventures. 

This cavalry wing looks like it may cause me a bit of bother this evening!

"Head for the high ground lads!"

Victory medals are safely ensconced in camp along with  a camp guard...a first for me!

The Huns quickly advance on the Roman right wing.

As well as across the centre with the deep warrior units moving with some alarming speed in march mode.

Those Roman light troops on the flank look like they could think of a few better places to be.

Sensing the danger the Romans Illyricani and Sagitarii move over to the right behind the steep hill 

March moves are a great aspect of the rules and enable battle to be entered into quickly and in good
numbers long as you can keep activating.

Steve's lovely Hunnic nobles doing their best to form wedge.  We have some basing plans for this formation
which should work well.

The light infantry look on at the rushing masses - ammunition chits on the bases.  Great idea.

A bit of action has happened on this flank with some toing and throwing that my camera missed.  Suffice to say that Steve had a wonderful chance to cut through me with his nobles but the dreaded "1" popped out.  He had already used his Generals ability to redraw a chit earlier in the turn...thank goodness!

Not quite as many as there was a while ago.

Action in the centre heats up as infantry and mounted clash

An opportunity for some Roman Equites to distinguish themselves

The skirmishing action continues on the far right Roman flank

The Roman auxilia make use of the uphill save advantage

As do these lads as they face the onslaught of Frankish veterans.  These Franks saved wonderfully well all night and
 took a fair amount of hits without suffering to much for a good deal of the battle

Roman lance armed Equites try to stem the flow. 

Whilst the Gratianenses Luniores look to make a distinct difference to the situation in the centre

I do love this unit!

The Hun Nobles have destroyed their opponent however now find one of their Gepid allied units flanked by
Roman Catafractari - surely nothing can save them!

Maybe a "1" followed by another "1" might give them some respite.  At the far left you can now see that the Romans
have managed to destroy a Frankish foot unit are now turning to try and roll over the flank in the centre.

The fight for the hill intensifies

On the Roman left that Auxilia zone of control coupled with some constant high activation chits for Steve
is allowing the Romans time to plug some holes.  Deployment in depth was a key tonight! 

The "Luniories" have dispatched another Warrior unit and set their sights on some Frankish bowmen.

With the Hun flanking move stymied by more poorly time "10" and "9" chits the Roman auxilia
turn to add some pressure.

Not quite as bad as it looks at first glance

The end.  Catafracari finish the Gepid cavalry whilst the stubborn Frankish unit at the top takes all it can and is also destroyed.  Deep unit, three victory medals, thanks for coming.

It was a great game and once again Steve and I had a ball playing it.

As I mentioned at the start of the post, Martin and Peter "Guido" G were playing a game of TSS as well.  I took a few quick photographs to show how wonderful a game it looked from our table.  Peter has 200mm square grids which I personally think are a bit large however it allows him not to rebase to many of his figures and that's a good enough reason in anyone's language.

Larger grids and a wonderful looking mat

Beautifully painted Picts from Guidos collection - all Wargames Foundry.

Martin has a wonderful Roman army which has lain dormant for years - great to see them on the table.

They did very well on their first outing and I think Martin enjoyed his first taste of TTS

That's a very big unit of warriors making its way down the centre.

We all enjoyed the games so much its a 200 point a side Roman Civil War next week with all four of us.

Should be great.