Friday, 14 December 2012

It Pays To Be A Wascal Wo-man

As mentioned in the last game report, the second of our non-Napoleonic outings in this little sojourn from the real stuff was another game of Warhammer Ancients, which we played on 2nd December—a strange way for a Napoleonic-focussed group to pass the 208th anniversary of the Coronation and 207th anniversary of Austerlitz! Still, there will be plenty more Napoleonics to come, especially in 2013.
As with our ANF Australia Day game, Mark set-up a simple points battle, this time of Republican Romans against Britons. Only two of the three amigos were in attendance. Mark gave me the option of which side to choose. Remembering some bad experiences with Dacians using WRG 7th Edition rules in the 1990s at the NWS, I took the Romans since, “I probably have more of an idea of what to do with them!”
We decided to follow the sequence of play from go to woe, so began by placing our units, alternating, one at a time. There were no surprises at the end of this, each of us adopting a classical deployment with infantry in the centre, mounted troops on either flank and skirmishing troops to the front.

Troop deployment, Romans nearest camera

Deployment near complete

Britons deploy the last of their chariots

View from right of the Britons

Romans viewed from their left
Our correspondent on the scene takes up the story...
The tribesman were uncertain of the wisdom of facing the Romans in open battle, preferring to set up ambush in the rocks and woods and to wear the invaders down, but the charismatic Chief Mark was persuasive. He was supported in his pleas for action by the enchanting and fierce warrioress Boudica and by assurances from the druid Aidan that the omens were good. Thus inspired and assured the united tribes went into battle to crush the invaders and to drive them into the sea.
Confident in the strength of their warbands and wishing to use their chariots to good effect the Britons selected an open clearing, broken only by a small, rocky hill to their right and with small woods on either side. The accursed Romans faced them across the plain, but the standoff lasted only a short time as both armies advanced.

Turn 1

The armies advance...

Chief Mark in the centre of the warbands
As the armies closed, the skirmishing troops from both sides exchanged ‘fire’ with javelins and slings. This went slightly in favour of the Britons, building their confidence for the coming mêlée.
Turn 2

Britons get better of early skirmishing (fallen figures staged for the camera!)

Roman cavalry charge Boudica's chariots...

... and are driven off

Chariots pursue and crash into Italians
On left flank, the Romans sent a unit of equites against the leading unit of British chariots. This did not go well, as two casualties to zero saw the equites run. Fortunately the rest of the army ignored this (all passed panic test), but the chariots pursued and crashed into one unit of Italian allies. Oh dear, thought Julius Pescatore, here we go again...
As the feeling of dread was coming o’er him, Pescatore was shaken back to his senses when... the chariots broke! His pleasure at seeing this turned to absolute delight as, seeing the flight of the chariots and their warrioress, Boudica, the two closest units, a warbands and the naked fanatics panicked and ran, leaving a huge hole in what used to be the Briton’s right flank. [The real Mark was not having a good day with the dice]

Turn 3

Chariots and Italians in mêlée

The chariots break!
Wishing to keep the line intact, Julius Pescatore attempted to halt his Italian allies, but, filled blood lust and excitement at their victory, they charged headlong after the chariots. “How quickly good things can come undone,” thought Pescatore. He need not have worried, the Italians smashed into the second unit of chariot-riding Britons and promptly put them to flight too. Buoyed by this success, Pescatore sent his right-flank Italian allies, spearmen and cavalry, against the Briton’s left.
Italians pursue...
...attack and defeat another unit of chariots
Leaving them in control of the field
Another view of same
Meanwhile, on the Britons' left, the remaining Italians attack
Meanwhile, the main bodies of both armies advanced to contact. Druid Aidan urged the leading warband on and they swiftly accounted for the Roman velites, pursuing on to crash into the lines of the legions: vulnerable hastati in the front rank, supported by princeps and triarii.
Turn 4
Druid Aidan leads warband against velites which are brushed aside
But the hastati drive them off
Vulnerable, who said that? Inspired by their Italian allies, the hastati stood firm, sending the druid and his warband the way of their be-charioted friends. Chief Mark tried in vain to halt their flight, but to no avail. As the druid and his warband streamed past him, the second unit of Roman hastati crashed into and overcame the army boar banner bearer and escort. The Chief now stood alone, facing the on-coming Romans.

Hastati (top left) attack the Britons' army banner
There was a glimmer of hope for the Britons though. After several rounds of mêlée, the  Roman right flank was opened up as the Italian spearmen and cavalry were both defeated in their combats. The glimmer was but brief and rapidly extinguished as Chief Mark and his bodyguard were attacked by the hastati, fresh from their victory over the army standard and guard.

A victory for the Britons on their left flank; Italian spearmen beaten
and the cavalry too
Turn 5
Fresh from their victory over the banner party, the hastati attacked the Chief and his bodyguard

He who fights and runs away... not wishing to end his life in defeat, the Chief was soon following the bulk of his army and fleeing the field of battle. The Romans were now free to deal with the remaining Britons in force.
He who fights and runs away...
Following closely on the heals of fleeing warbands 
Druid Aidan lead the retreat

Sometimes it is not good to be King
Defying the odds, the last warband stood firm, determined to cover the retreat of their feeble countryman and salvage honour. It was a piece of foolish bravery that could only end one way...
The last war band
Turn 6
Last stand
Romans move in for the kill
Thus ended a somewhat strange and completely decisive game in which the Britons were neither brave nor mad... in equal measure!
Epilogue: As the Roman army drank a toast to their all-conquering Italian allies, Aidan the druid was last seen feeding the crows; or more correctly, as crow food!

The Italian stallions
(Next game: Ranger Danger in 15 mm. Mon dieu Msr Rosbif, that is a change of era and scale!!!!)


  1. Nice minis, nice report, nice battle...except for the chariots!

  2. Entertaining narrative and more great photos. I don't know much about ancients, but I'm sure the Britons would have won if they'd been facing Imperial Romans!

  3. "When in doubt... take the Romans!"

  4. Thanks gents, it was a fun little battle, although a bit bizarre.

    Peter's short version is about right I think Ian. The longer version goes something like this. The late republican/early imperial Romans, from around JC (that's Julius) to probably Marcus Aurelius or so, are the ones that seriously kick bottom. They are not unbeatable though; who can forget Brian Blessed's fabulous portrayal of Augustus' rage: "Quinctilius Varus give me back my legions!" The quality of the legions declined as the empire wore on, the army was 'diluted' with more and more foreigners coerced, forced or otherwise encouraged into the service of Rome and Rome's enemies 'worked them out' a bit more. I have next to zero knowledge of the Byzantine empire though and I think they developed into a more potent version...more info. anyone?

  5. Good job friends!! fantastic and a lot of photos

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