In the last round of MiniMeG III tournament, where we used Pacto version of Mortem Et Gloriam rules, I commanded my Early Seleucids to repel yet another Galatian invasion! This time, the hordes of barbarians were commanded by Leigh, against whom I had a pleasure to play a few times already.
Leigh brought a force that had a very similar core to the army I played against in round two. The main difference was perhaps in the fact that he also had some Chariots and the commanders were of higher skill (Legendary and Talented). From my point of view this army posed a similar challenge, though, so I hoped to adapt similar plan. And improve from round 2 by applying freshly learned lessons.
Here are the details of the army Leigh brought to the event:
Galatians - Army List
Legendary commander ensured that the battle was fought on Galatian's terms and this time we ended up on the relatively empty terrain with a secure flank, this time in the form of a river. Great! I could use my terrain for that at last!
|Early Seleucids vs Galatians - Invasion No. 2|
It added to the challenge, however, because I was not able to use narrow frontages to keep the sides of the phalanx safe. I decided then to approach in an oblique line, with cavalry making wide outflanking manoeuvre, one group of phalangites on the centre left advancing ahead of the other group and light horse slowing down the advance of the enemy on the right.
This time I was an invading player.
Seleucids - Turn 1
|Turn 1 - Sequence of Actions.|
|Light horse vs Feared Warriors.|
Seleucid army approached the enemy according to the plan. The phalanx advanced at regular pace, with charging lancers moving to outflank the enemy on the right and light horse to intercept and slow down the Galatian Warriors on the right.
Galatians responded by sending their own light troops to intercept the cavalry and advancing the battle line as one.
|Steady approach - for now.|
Galatians - Turn 2
|Turn 2 - Sequence of Actions.|
|Phalangites re-arrange the formation.|
Both armies continued the advance but this time the Phalangites begun re-arranging the battle line in order to achieve two goals. One was to block advancing Warriors and two, open the path for one group on the left to either intercept the enemy cavalry and/or chariots or to be able to outflank the Warriors.
|Careful advance continues.|
Seleucids - Turn 3
|Turn 3 - Sequence of Actions.|
|Meanwhile on the left flank.|
The Seleucid Line Cavalry was slowed down by the enemy skirmishers and mounted troops but had no choice but to press forward. Especially that the main battle lines have already getting to the striking distance of each other.
Tarentine Cavalry and Horse Archers succeeded in attracting the attention of two groups of Feared Warriors. However, there were a lot more left to fight against the phalanx.
|The moment before the battle lines crashed.|
Seleucids - Turn 4
|Turn 4 - Sequence of Actions.|
|Minor success on the left flank - foot skirmishers are routed.|
Seleucid cavalry attacked on the left flank and managed to catch two groups of Javelinmen. It was a success but both units were still moving to the positions to help the infantry in the centre.
Phalangites, however, were hard pressed. The initial ferocious charge of the Warriors harmed them more than expected. When the unit of cavalry also perished, that sent a ripple effect throughout the ranks and more soldiers routed. The phalanx still held but it was a dire situation.
No wonder then that when the opportunity presented itself, Seleucid commanders decided to broke contact with the enemy and withdrew before the enemy could defeat them.
|The battle filed before the forces disengaged.|
|Turn-by-turn animation summary.|
Many thanks to Leigh for a great game! This time Galatians were clearly taking upper hand. I believe we actually did one more charge turn but due to time running out I was not taking photos.
My Phalanx was really hard pressed by now due to combination of losses at the initial charge, melee round and Kill-a-Base test when I lost Charging Lancers. In the subsequent charge phase I lost one more TuG and Cretan Archers and Leigh won the game 7:4.
I think if we continued the game for 1-2 turns it would have been his full victory. I may have broken some of his units but phalanx TuG's were in bad shape and my outflanking force was late. It seems to me that I engaged the Phalanx a bit too early.
If I were to play the game again I would attempt to approach along the river with skirmishers shooting at the advancing Warriors. I would try to use that to create a gap. I would also place the Silver Shields on the right to hopefully do better and grind through the Warriors. And, of course, be more patient with advance of the group in the centre of the battle field.
Tournament - Summary
Many thanks to all participants and Dean for organising the event! It was a small but very enjoyable event and all the participants had a lot of fun. Either playing the games or discussing the outcomes during the breaks.
It seemed that the format was generally accepted and the experiences positive, which is always great!
Pacto - Observations
I have some observations about Pacto I would like to share.
In general, my understanding is that Pacto version is to have an entry point for beginners and an option to have a quick-game variant. For those like myself, who do not have vast collection of models and/or would like to start a new army, this looks very promising.
I noted that some limitations to the type of actions one can perform in comparison to regular MeG speed up things a bit. However, it seems that the number of units is the same or similar as in normal rules, the same amount of cards are dealt etc. It resulted in games that lasted 4-5 turns only in the given time. It means that while certainly faster, the time savings come from a different element of the game, rather than faster set up and/or game play itself.
The games resulted in a few triumphs mainly because the units evaporated much faster, especially as a result of a deadly Kill-a-Base test. It was often a chain reaction of a few tests that decimated entire flanks of the armies.
It is not a bad thing in itself but quickly showed that Pacto is not simple scaled down version of MeG. One has to design armies in a bit of different way. For example, if I were to do it again, I would definitely avoid 1-base cavalry units as way too fragile. In my games, losing one often triggered tests for many nearby units with some dire consequences.
In addition, smaller units pay the price for special effects as Shove when it was never used, because units have only a single file. Phalanx in particular needed to be used with care because losing 1 base brought them quickly to simply Long Spear unit. In regular MeG Phalanx can afford to take a charge and keep its full combat prowess.
It simply means that one needs to play differently in Pacto than in regular MeG. It is not a problem in itself but creates an interesting dilemmas. If it is used as a learning method for regular MeG but plays differently, would it serve that purpose properly? After all you want to avoid surprises when a person uses that works in Pacto in regular MeG to see it does not work anymore and vice versa.
And if it plays differently and is used as an option for quick games, why not used other games, that are already established over many years instead? I personally do not have an experience with other historical systems but I did hear a question raised by those who have.
In summary then, I would support Pacto as an initiative to introduce players to new game. In that capacity it needs some further work to make it closer to regular MeG but keep the speed of play.
Otherwise, I would most likely try to organise full games with regular Mortem et Gloriam rules instead.
Thanks for reading!