Sunday, 3 November 2019

Mortem et Gloriam - Game 43 - 2019/11/03

Hello,

In the last round of the Mortem et Gloriam tournament during WinterCon 2019, I had a great pleasure to play against Carl who this time commanded the army of Late Republican Romans.

I would also like to apologise the readers and Carl in particular for such a delay in preparing this battle report. It was never my intention to allow for this but unfortunately it happened. I hope I will be able to meet my own deadlines much better in the future. At the moment I am still catching up with quite a few battle reports. I do hope, however, they will be entertaining and worth reading, even if published later than planned.

I have played against Carl a few times already and it started to become a tradition that we meet each other in the last round of the events we attend. Fortunately for me, Carl usually brings a brand new army to each tournament. So I always have the opportunity to play against a different foe. This time was unique, because I was about to fight against Julius Caesar himself at the head of his dreaded Xth Legion!

Here are the details of the army Carl brought to the tournament.

Late Republican Roman - Army List




What I found interesting about this particular army to begin with, was that it had the same breaking point as mine, only 4 TuG's to break! However, that also meant that the units I had to go through to achieve that are the best of the best Romans can offer. Not only four Veteran Legions are all superior, but the Xth Legion is exceptional and Caesar, as legendary commander, can further boost their already extremely high melee efficiency.

My first idea was, thus, to try and pin down Xth Legion so that it cannot go through and outflank slower Phalangites too early. Although Silver Shields would have been fighting the uphill battle against it, I thought they are the best my army has to offer to slow the Romans down.

It was also clear to me that I simply cannot rely on luck in one on one fights and apart from engaging Legionaries in combat, I needed to find breaks in formation for the cavalry to exploit. Only with some flank/rear charges against Roman heavy infantry engaged to the front, I should have some chances of breaking them.

Here is my army for comparison:

Early Seleucids - Army List



Pre-Battle

Once again I was an invader. It happened that in all my games I was the attacking side. We ended up having a river on secure flank and a few patches of the terrain that for some reason clustered on the opposite flank, leaving quite an open battle field. 

I thought that is an opportunity so I decided on particular deployment to take advantage of that. 

Deployment

Early Seleucids vs Late Republican Roman

I thought that with the open plain I should be able to keep the Romans pinned down quickly, while at the same time use my skirmishers to try and disrupt their ranks before the second half of the phalanx hits them as well. 

The aim was to create some breaks in the enemy lines that my cavalry could exploit, either by going around the Roman formation in the centre of the battle field (that's why I had Companions and Line Cavalry there) or even somewhere in between the phalanx formations.

Let's see if that worked!

Deployment of the Armies.

Seleucids - Turn 1

Turn 1 - Sequence of Actions

Silver Shields march towards their destiny.

Seleucids implemented their plan right from the start. Silver Shields marched bravely towards the best regiments in the enemy army. Second group of Phalangites advanced as well. And while the skirmishers moved forward at a double to start harassing the enemy, the cavalry waited in reserve.

Strangely, the enemy soldiers remained where they were and did not show any signs that they are going to move at all.

Careful advance of the Seleucid army.

Romans - Turn 2

Turn 2 - Sequence of Actions

The Legions finally moved!

Seleucids continued their advance and Romans finally responded. All Legions moved as one and it was clear that the clash is going to be inevitable. Seleucids re-directed the advance of the remaining Phalangites to try and pin the Roman heavy infantry, especially that a small gap finally appeared in the centre of the battle field.

Ready to begin first combats!

Seleucids - Turn 3

Turn 3 - Sequence of Actions.

Mass combat in the centre.

Silver Shields led the attack but sustained heavy losses against Xth Legion. They did, however, do some damage against Rome's finest as well.

More Phalanx vs Legion fights were erupting as well and Roman battle line started to be uneven. Seleucid cavalry started redeploying towards the centre of the battle field to hopefully exploit the gap in the battle line.

Infantry lines engage!

Romans - Turn 4

Turn 4 - Sequence of Actions

Cavalry battle begins.

While the fight on the left flank raged and resulted in heavy casualties on both sides, the cavalry units in the centre only started to manoeuvre to gain advantage against their opponents.

However, it was clear that when Legionaries advanced, the Roman cavalry would need to do their best to stop Seleucid charging lancers from outflanking the heavy infantry.

The battle hangs in the balance.

Seleucids - Turn 5

Turn 5 - Sequence of Actions

Charging Lancers attempt to push through the gap.

Although the battle was far from decided, it was obviously entering the stage where any advantage gained by either side could prove crucial. 

On the left flank, both sides suffered heavy losses and where quite exhausted but neither wanted to give up.

On the opposite flank, Seleucid Charging Lancers threatened with outflanking manoeuvres but Roman cavalry reformed and came back to stop them from doing so.

Will Seleucids break through the gap in the centre?

Romans - Turn 6

Turn 6 - Sequence of Actions

Disaster! Xth Legion is broken!

Silver Shields, against all odds, win the fight against Xth Legion! What is more, combination of casualties sustained by nearby Legions and rumours of Caesar's death, create a chain reaction that leads to a massive rout on the left flank. Three legions in total are broken by heavily bloodied but victorious Phalangites!

In the meantime, the Charging Lancers were not able to break through Roman cavalry and Companions had to disengage to avoid being outflanked by one of the Legions.

Dramatic change of balance on the left flank.

Seleucids - Turn 7

Turn 7 - Sequence of Actions

This time Legion is about to defeat the Phalanx

Seleucid Charging Lancers did not abandon the plan of breaking through the gap and kept pressing Roman cavalry to withdraw again. 

At the same time, although victorious Phalangites turned around and advanced against Roman centre, one of the Legions succeeded in routing one of the Phalanxes. What is more, nearby Horse Archers, overconfident that the pikemen are going to hold and that they can skirmish away regardless, were caught by merciless Legionaries.

The battle enters the final stage.

Romans - Turn 8

Turn 8 - Sequence of Actions

Legions surrounded

Although Seleucids seemed to gain upper hand, the Romans did not show any signs of giving up. However, the Phalangites and more manoeuvrable Charging Lancers surrounded the Legionaries who prepared to make their last stand.

Preparing for the last charge

Seleucids - Turn 9

Turn 9 - Sequence of Actions

Companions led the attack and together with Silver Shields charging from the flank, another unit of Legionaries was defeated. Julius Caesar, however, managed to escape and save his life. Apparently not for long, only until March.

After bloody encounter, the Seleucid Phalanx won the day and this time emerged victorious against Roman Legions.

Summary

Turn-by-turn animation summary

After-battle

Many thanks to Carl for a great and quite dramatic game and I am really sorry for his bad luck, both in the cards and dice. 

Poor cards at the beginning of the battle forced him to keep his legions stationary, while the dice, especially for Xth Legion that had a significant advantage over Silver Shields, did not let him exploit the situation. 

At the same time I got lucky to roll consistently with Silver Shields and nearby Phalangites to create a break through and pave the path to victory.

I must say that although all my games were highly enjoyable and all opponents were great, this was my favourite from the whole tournament. It was because it created quite a dramatic story where the elite infantry units of both armies fought against each other, where cavalry units engaged in manoeuvres to obtain favourable position for attacks and where we played 9 turns to reach the resolution to the game! 

It has never happened to me before and I quite enjoyed this bloody encounter. 

While I emerged victorious I am fully aware that it probably should have been the other way around. Xth Legion should have broken the Silver Shields. Thracians were no match for Caesar's finest so I came to the conclusion that if I were to play this game again, I should have adapted a different approach.

I think that I would deploy the sikirmishers on the left this time and let the Phalangites engage with Veteran Legions first, while delaying the Xth. Perhaps I will have a chance to test this plan one day!

WinterCon 2019 - Summary

That concludes the series of the battle reports from WinterCon 2019. It was very enjoyable event and many thanks to Dru for organising it.

In addition to great games against fantastic opponents, Leigh, Phil, Stephen and Carl, I was also honoured by the participants with the award for the best painted army. I would like to thank all who nominated my army for this award, it means a lot to me!

Early Seleucids - group photo.

I would also like to thank Dean, who was selected the judge of the best terrain for the tournament. My efforts in painting and presenting the terrain pieces I often used in my games was acknowledged and I finished the event with two awards! I am really happy as this motivates me even more to keep painting more models and more terrain features! 

I was very happy with my performance as well. Although there is still a lot to learn, I think I managed to grasp the basics of the game well enough to keep building on.

Here is the table with final standings:

WinterCon 2019 - final standings

I hope you enjoyed the series of the battle reports! It was great event and it was good to have 16 participants. I hope the future events will attract even higher numbers of the players!

Thank you!

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