Saturday, 16 March 2019

Mortem et Gloriam - Game 25 - 2019/03/16


Day three and game five! This time I was to play against Mid-Republican Roman army commanded by Leigh. I had a great pleasure to play against Leigh on numerous occasions but we haven't met on the battle field for a while. Hence I was looking forward to play against him even more, especially that Leigh often brings a different army to command. This time was not different. I was very curious about the game also because we had a good, historical match-up. For me that is always a bonus!

There were different flavors of the Roman armies in this tournament. I must admit that when I saw Leigh's army I thought I would like to play with such force myself! It looked to me that Leigh fully embraced the historical aspect of Mid-Republican Roman army. He designed his force around many small units, representing Hastati, Princies and Triari with good support of Velites. He also added some Italian allies and Spanish units to the mix. And ended up with no less than 17 units total! 

Mid-Republican Roman - Army List

Mid-Republican Roman - Army List

When I noticed how many units are in the opposing army I started wondering if Leigh is going to have enough cards to move them all. Fortunately, taking instinctive commanders allowed him to get two talented and two competent generals. He should have enough cards to move his units, although he would not be able to gift any from his Army Commander.

For me it meant I cannot quite count on problems with issuing orders. Especially at the beginning where units usually move as blocks.

Phalanx vs Legion games are always interesting. On the charge, both sides have equal chances to inflict the damage, as Impact Weapons claims cancel Phalanx claims. However, Leigh had a good mix of Superior troops and that meant an advantage for Legion. In the melee, however, Phalanx should have a small advantage over Average Legion and be on equal footing with Superior Legion.

There is a lot of risk involved here because it means that both sides would more often have white or green dice to roll and we all know how fickle these can be. If Phalanx units can get into one on one fights, perhaps deeper formation would help. But Legions had more units to overcome that potential disadvantage. And enough Velites to do a bit of damage prior to the fight as well.

It was then no surprise that I hoped to fight against Italian Infantry rather than Legions. 

Here is my Army List for reference:

Early Seleucids - Army List


I must apologize but at this stage I do not recall who had better cards for choosing the place for the battle. I was the invader. We ended up on the coast with some hills here and there. I think I may have out-scouted Leigh and seeing his Legions being deployed on my right, I had a dilemma. Do I deploy my Phalanx across the Legions and get into an uncertain scrum? Or do I deploy on the opposite and march towards Italian Infantry, that was a preferred target. 

The advantage of the first option is that I have a secure flank but I still have to fend off the Velites to avoid unnecessary damage. The advantage of the second option is that I would fight against preferred enemy, although it would take longer to get there. I would have to do something to slow down the Legions if I chose this option.


Early Seleucid vs Mid-Republican Roman

Deployment of the Armies

I chose option two. I placed Thracians and one TuG of Line Cavalry on the left to perform outflanking maneuver. I grouped Phalax into two blocks, the left one was to engage Italian Infantry, while the middle one was to guard against the Legions. The horse archers and Tatentine Cavalry SuG's were to slow down the advance of the enemy. And Companions and remaining Line Cavalry were placed in between the units to stay vigilant and either plug the gaps or spot good opportunities, especially after infantry engaged in melee.

Seleucids - Turn 1

Turn 1 - Sequence of Actions

Delaying maneuers

Both armies advanced towards each other. However, while the Seleucid Phalanx moved forward at a double, the Legions advanced only a little. Partly due to the presence of Seleucid cavalry that has already started delaying actions.

Slow advance of the infantry battle lines.

Romans - Turn 2

Turn 2 - Sequence of Actions

Long march continues.

Both armies stuck to the respective plans. Phalanx continued their long march towards Italian Infantry that held their defensive position on the hills. Legions tried to advance as well but were delayed by Seleucid cavalry. However, the armies were getting closer and it was clear that the formations will start breaking apart soon.

Maneuvers continue.

Seleucids - Turn 3

Turn 3 - Sequence of Actions.

Spanish Cavalry chases Tarentine Light Horse

Just when things seemed to work according to the plan, Seleucid troops started reporting disturbing news. It appeared that the hills occupied by Italian Infantry, was not gentle sloped and easy to access. Thracians first run into them and confirmed that in fact, the ground was uneven and very rocky. Not a good place for advancing Phalanx at all!

Seleucid army commander had to think fast. He kept one Phalanx to watch Italian Infantry and stop them if they attempted to walk down from the hill. In the meantime, the rest of the units, both Phalangites and Cavalry, turned towards the center of the battle field. They wasted time advancing towards well fortified enemy, now they had to make up for it and clash with the Legions anyway.

Change of plans!

Romans - Turn 4

Turn 4 - Sequence of Actions.

First to fight - Argyraspides vs Superior Legion

The best troops on both sides clashed first. Argyraspides fought against Superior Legion but the initial round did not bring any significant advantage to either side. At the same time, nearby Phalangites engaged against another Legion. Although neither side gained advantage, both suffered casualties.

Both armies maneuvered with remaining units to get into flanks of their enemies as well. More units were expected to engage with each other soon.

Finally the armies engage in melee.

Seleucids - Turn 5

Turn 5 - Sequence of Actions

To the rescue!

Italian Infantry proved its worth when it managed to outmaneuver one Phalanx to hit another in the flank. Unfortunately for Seleucids, this attack was powerful enough to break the unit. 

At the same time the Companions charged the exposed flank of the Legion and eventually broke it too. As a result, one of the nearby legions, that has just emerged from the fight against Phalanx in which it sustained heavy losses, have had enough and fled the battle field.

Both armies lost one unit of skirmishers too. Cretans were successful in routing the Velites, while on the right flank, Tarentine Cavalry was a bit too eager in avoiding the Spaniards and fled the battle for good.

Although more units were getting ready to commit to the melee, the battle was abruptly stopped and both armies had to disengage rapidly.


Many thanks to Leigh for the very interesting and enjoyable game! It was great to play again, especially with such a nice historical match up.

I can't believe I forgot that the hill was not gentle sloped, what a blunder! I am glad I got reminded early enough not to commit units to a fight in rough ground. However, I lost time and did not engage the enemy elsewhere. It is obvious now that the first plan where the Phalanx would advance along the coast and engage Legions there, would have been much better.

It was also a pity that we played only 5 turns. The battle was just entering a very interesting stage. I got lucky to rout one Legion and with a Kill-a-Base test another, already damaged TuG, broke as well. That swung the result slightly into my favor so that the game ended with 7:5 in my advantage. 

Both armies would sustain further damage in the following turn. Would Line cavalry be able to catch Spaniards? Would Phalanx prevail against now exposed Italian Infantry? Would Argyraspides hold on their own again to allow Companions to move in between the units and threaten the enemy from vulnerable direction?

I think we would need to play 2-3 more turns to obtain full resolution of the game but a few more combats would have been nice. I guess next time!

Thanks for reading!

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