Saturday, January 29, 2011

Zama refight with Rally Round the King

Background
So, the DBA refight over and done with, onwards to something I find more exciting.  While Warrior Kings was my favourite fast play ancient set, this has been replaced by its updated successor, Rally Round the King.  Very similar but better.
I gave Rally Round the King a go when it first came out,and produced a battle report.

In the Warrior Kings Callinicum refight, I used centimetres rather than inches for movement.  I have reconsidered, and was tempted to go with maybe 2/3rds of an inch per original inch (as RRtK is designed for a 4'x3' board and I am using 2'x2') but will go with inches for this refight.  Should certainly makes things faster, which is not a bad thing with all the AC4, REP5+ troops.

Forces

Roman
1 Heavy Cavalry: Melee, Mounted, AC 4, REP 5, Figs 3
4 Light Cavalry: Skirmish, Mounted, AC 2, REP 4, Figs 2
4 Velites: Skirmish, Foot, AC 2, REP 4, Figs 2
4 Hastati: Melee, Foot, Elite-trained, Combo-weapons, AC 4, REP 5, Figs 4
4 Principes: Melee, Foot, Elite-trained, Combo-weapons, AC 4, REP 5, Figs 4
2 Triarii (one with general): Melee, Foot, Elite-trained, AC 4, REP 6, Figs 4
4 Light Infantry: Melee, Foot, Undisciplined, AC 2, REP 3, Figs 3

Carthaginians
1 Heavy Cavalry: Melee, Mounted, AC 4, REP 4, Figs 3
2 Light Cavalry: Skirmish, Mounted, AC 2, REP 4, Figs 2
2 Elephants: Melee, Foot, Elephant, Undisciplined, AC 2, REP 4, Figs 1
2 Skirmishers: Skirmish, Foot, AC 2, REP 4, Figs 2
4 Light Infantry: Melee, Foot, AC 2, REP 4, Figs 3
8 Medium infantry: Melee, Foot, AC 4, REP 3, Figs 3
4 Heavy Infantry: Melee, Foot, Elite-trained, AC 4, REP 5, Figs 4
2 Heavy Infantry (one with General): Melee, Foot, Elite-trained, AC 4, REP 6, Figs 4

As with DBA, a bit of a tough call on where to place the generals.  So I put them at the back, same as in the DBA refight.  Note that the general figure on the table is just there to remind me what unit has the general.

War rating will be 2 for each side.  I thought about 1 as each side may not need more than that, but it seemed just a bit harsh.

Deployment
As per my standard deployment, but here is is modified with the extra stands:


Or a view from the top:

Overview

Special rules
Carthaginians will go first.
If it looks like the cavalry battle is going to end really fast, I may just stop them for a couple of turns.
Also, the Numidian Light infantry cannot be activated until a Carthaginian comes within 6".

Tactics
The aim of the Carthaginians will be to prolong the cavalry clashes as long as possible and defeat the centre as fast as possible.  Strangely enough, the Roman plan is to hasten the cavalry clashes, and defeat the Carthaginians lines, one by one.  Fairly straightforward.  We will see how close to history we go.
 
Turn 1
An elephant attempts to charge an opposing Velite, but doesn't pass the wanting to charge test and halts.
The second elephant charges an opposing Velite, who shoots, scores no hits, and retires. The Elephant pursues, re-contacts to Velite and routs it. Elephant does not pursue.
The Roman light cavalry charge the opposing light cavalry, both Carthaginians shoot, scores 1 hit, and both retire.  One light cavalry pursues, recontacts the light cavalry and routs it.   The light cavalry pursues off the board! Luckily in RRtK, a unit can come back next turn is pursuing off the table.  Hmmm, seemingly a slight problem with keeping the movement rates the same for a small board, but I actually like it.

The early Numidian clash

The Roman Hastati move up, and one charges the elephant that broke through the Velite line. The elephant and a Hastati are in melee - Elephant receives two hits, Hastati one.  Post melee test sees the elephant give ground (another hit for the elephant) and the Hastati followup.  What a fun game!  Much more activity than the DBA refight.

The elephant pushes through the Velites into the Hastati.

Turn 2

Attempt to charge with the elephant that failed last time, and succeeds.  Opposing velite fire, scores a hit, and routs. Elephant halts.
Elephant in melee with the Hastati routs while the Hastati gives ground and do not pursue.  Elephant routs directly back and contacts the Carthaginian first line who halt.  Elephant inflicts no hits but the Light Infantry inflict a hit on the Elephant.  Light Infantry give ground and the Elephant routs again and so is removed from the board.  Light Infantry pursue.

Move a Carthaginian skirmisher up to within range.
Romans tidy up the Hastati line and move up a Velite to within range of a Carthaginian Skirmisher.
The Velite fires at the Carthaginian skirmisher that moved up earlier. Skirmisher retires. Note: The retiring Skirmisher passed through friends behind it.  I've dome this for other skirmishers retiring throught the rest of the game.  This is not so. The question on can retiring Skirmisher interpenetrate friends came up on the THW mailing list.  The answer is no, as per the rules.  Reading the rules, this is so: when skirmishers are moving, there are times they can interpenetrate.  When retiring, they are treated just like any other unit, so should stop when meet a friend (and take another hit).

The fragmented skirmishers (and an elephant that just will not charge!)

Turn 3
Carthaginians failed to do anything, but a Roman Velite managed to rout a skirmisher.

Turn 4
Carthaginian light infantry manages to force a Velite to retire, but does not pursue.  At this rate, the Elephant is never going to pass two dice and charge.  3 or less on both dice is a 25% chance, so hopefully soon.  But no matter, as the Hastati line charges it (and an infantry unit).

Hastati line in combat

Light infantry routs, elephant routs and rampages back towards the light infantry line, but all it manages to do is force a skirmisher to retire before it routs again (via a received fire test from the skirmisher).  No hits received to the Hastati.  Tough bastards, and dish it out too  - +1 for elite trained, +1 for combo-weapons is at least a die roll of 3, and an average of 5.5!  And they outnumber the opposition currently too - an average of 6.5 damage per Hastati element.  With the new line up on contact rules, it means an adjacent friendly unit is normally in corner-to-corner contact with the enemy unit  So in the case above, while the elephant was directly in contact with one Hastati, the adjacent Hastati rolled a die in melee as well. 

Turn 5
Carthaginians try to charge with the light infantry but halt.  They move up the second line to behind the light infantry.
Hastati line charges the light infantry (it is in two battles - 2 on one and then 2 on 2).  The lone light infantry routs and the Hastati pursues but fails the attempting to charge (it would meet the Carthaginian second line). The other ( two on two) actually sees a Hastati hit.  In the ensuing post-melee, a light infantry routs the opposing Hastati gives ground (another hit), but pursues into a Carthaginian Skirmisher that fires (another hit!) and retires.  The Hastati pursues, but does not charge into the second line (passed only one dice on the wanting to charge). The other light infantry gives ground.

For the Romans, I am tempted to also move up the Principes to give the Hastati a bit of a REP boost, but I used up the 2 War Rating points charging the Hastati.  I will do it next turn.  I haven't forgotten about the Numidians, and will focus on them soon.  Not doing anything with them helps me not having to introduce a "do nothing with the cavalry for a few turns" rule.

Oops, the Principes (bottom) are a fair distance from the Hastati that is coming into contact with the Carthaginian second line.

Turn 6
Carthaginian second line charges the Hastati. This could highlight a mistake where I should have brought up the Principes earlier to be directly behind the Hastati  for support.  Second Line receive 4 hits from the Hastati. Note about hit allocation - one of the units in melee is a light infantry and so receives a hit first. The die roll for damage was 18 so first hit to the Light infantry (AC2) leaves 15 more to allocate - one each to the other 2 second line; this leaves 5 to allocate which goes to the light infantry.  The last 2 points are not enough to inflict a hit on the AC4 second line and so is ignored.  
The Hastati receive only 1 hit in return.The Carthaginians roll a double 6 for being involved in melee - oops.  with REP 3 and three friends in contact, this would normally be great, but any hit and they are stuffed on boxcars.  One unit is a light infantry with 3 hits, and the other 2 are second lines with hits.  They are stuffed.  All 3 units rout.  Being outnumbered doesn't help either.The Hastati give ground (extra hit each) and the only ones that pursues is the middle one with 4 hits! Luckily, it halts on its wanting to charge test.

Hastati clashing with the Second line

The first combat line melee results in Romans destroying 3; Carthaginians 0.  But the Hastati are not in great shape.  And hits cannot be removed (another thing I like about RRtK).  Note the total losses so far are Romans have lost 3 units to Carthaginian 9.

The Romans moved up the Principes and the Triarii.

Turn 7
Carthaginians second line charges the Hastati line again.The Hastati pass 0 dice for the receiving a charge (a 6,5 and the best unit has a modified REP of 4 - original REP 5 +1 friend -1 hit).  The 3 Hastati in the line rout (one to the right is off by itself and was not charged - seemed like to much to tempt fate to do so).  Fascinating how nature balances itself out. No Carthaginian pursues.

The Hastati, except one, evaporates.  Principes at the bottom of the picture are advancing to assist.

Romans move up some Velites - can't waste them!

Turn 8
Carthaginian moves the lone skirmisher from behind the second line to in front of it, conveniently in front of the Velite.

Right Velite shoots, inflicts a hit.  The Carthaginian can only halt than advance as it already has an enemy in front and within the enemy's charge reach.

The Velite scores a hit!

Principes continue to move forwards, and join up with the last Hastati.

The centre Velite shoots and forces the Carthaginian skirmisher to retire.

Turn 9
The Carthaginian line charges, mainly to avoid more hits from Velite missile fire. The Carthaginian unit with the hit only passes one dice so halts.  So the Velite hit was important and a useful thing to do.  I feel better - I wasn't sure.  The Velite between the lines routs and the Carthaginian pursues into the Principes.  So we end up with a front of 4 Principes Vs 3 Second line:

Principes to the rescue and contact the Second line.

Romans inflict 4 hits, Carthaginians 2.  As well as being REP 3, the Carthaginians are outnumbered, so their post-melee test may not be pretty - one routs, rest give ground.  The Romans roll a double 6! but with REP 5 and two friends in contact for the units with 1 hit, all is fine - They follow up.

Principes are cleaning up the Second line.

The right Velite inflicts another hit on the Carthaginian who retires, but cannot due to the unit behind, so takes another hit!  And then the Hastati charges it, melee results in the Carthaginian routing, Hastati pursues into the Carthaginian unit that was behind the first one.  It routs.  Hastati has cleared out two units with no hits to itself.

The Principes continue the melee (move up another Principes into corner to corner contact so it is three units to two). Principes inflict 3 hits, the Carthaginians 2; post-melee test sees the Carthaginians rout - no surprises there with 4 hits and REP 3 and a roll of 6,5.  A Principes pursues (note: to pursue after a continuing melee, a roll of greater  than original REP is required, so a Principes will only pursue on a 6, which it rolled)  into the last remaining second line that was behind one of the routed units.   The second line unit fails both dice for receiving charge (it is a REP 3 so not much chance of it staying).  There is no Carthaginian second line left.

Overview with the Carthaginian Second line routed.

Turn 10
Carthaginian Third line charge into the Principes (and the last Hastati on the Carthaginian left).

This is where the final clash gets interesting - Carthaginians has 6 units - REP 5 and 6 (the two REP 6 units are in the centre).  Romans have 5 units - Hastati and Principes, and 2 Triarii in reserve (bound to move up when the Romans have a turn).  So it is going to be close.  All are elite trained.  Due to the way the Roman line has been staggered, there are actually 3 melees.

The Third, and last line, of the Carthaginians enter the fray of what becomes a very long battle.

First melee: Romans give ground.
Second melee: Continue melee.
Third melee: Continue melee.

Continue melee are fairly rare in most of the games I have played as after a hit or 2, most units cannot pass both dice.  But REP 5 and 6 with a few friends in support - reaction test? don't even bother to roll!

Early days of the battle line clash - hardly any hits each!  It gets much worse.

Romans finally get their act together on the Numidians - I forgot that the Skirmisher cavalvy could fire against the enemy, doing bits of potential damage (like the Velite has done recently).  I think is was playing DBA in the previous game where they had to contact, and RRtK does not allow contact until hits are greater than equal to REP.  Ah well, it may have made a little bit of a difference.  There is one Numidian that comes back onto the board (1 use of the war rating) and moved up the other against the opposing Light cavalry (2nd war rating).  Triaii use their move (they must continue move at least 1/2 their move) to wheel towards the left, where the Principes line is in most danger of collapsing.

Turn 11
Carthaginian Numidians fire and cause opposing Numidians to retire. Take that, traitors!

The battle line clash continues - all the Romans are in contact with one another, and so are the Carthaginians, so I'll call in one melee (in hindsight, last turn should has possibly been only two melees rather than three). three Romans units give ground (which gives them a hit as well).

No routs or retires, just a few more hits.

2 Roman Numidians move to face the Carthaginian one.
Triarii move up to provide some stiffening to the left side of the Roman battle line.

The clash continues as two separate melees:
melee 1 (right two units): Romans give ground, receiving additional hits (as chance would have it, both roll 1,6 for post-melee test - The general helped ensure the Carthaginians passed 2 dice, while the Romans only pass 1)
melee 2 (left two units with general and Triarii in the rear): One Carthaginian gives ground.  The general really helped here too for the Romans.


Still no routs or retires, but the hits are now piling on. The Triarii have joined to the left rear.

Check out those hits!  The Hastati is buried under 6 hits on the far right of the Roman line!

Turn 12
Numidians fire on the Roman Numidians; eventually the Carthaginian retires off the board.  Even though the Roman skirmishers do not need to roll to pursue (as it is not melee), I make them do so to simulate the actual battle.  One Roman pursues off the table (it can come back later as did a previous pursuer).

OK - the battle line clash continues!  It is two different melees (Carthaginian right unit and then the other three line units form the other melee) due to give grounds last turn. Three hits each and every Roman unit on the front line has 4 hits!

The first melee results in both giving ground, which mean neither do and both get an extra hit!
Unsurprisingly, the Hastati with 6 hits routs.  The other give ground.  There is a Principes with 7 hits in there.

A rout! (on the right - a Hastati).  More hits...


Romans move a Principes to fill a gap. Battle line clash again, three melees - two flanks units are each a melee and the centre two is the other.

The centre two Principes rout (they did have 7 hits each so it was not unexpected). The left most melee would have seen both units rout but simultaneous rout means neither do.  Interesting as the Roman unit currently has so many hits it cannot pass no matter what it rolls; the opposing Carthaginian modified REP is a 1 so is hard to pass too.  Unless the general and more friends appear, these two units with continue meleeing until the end of the game!  I do not see a problem with this - quite a few battles in ancient history had troops fighting until the end of the battle (and one side then flees).

The centre Principes finally rout.


Turn 13
Hmmm. For the battleline, the Carthaginians have two unhurt units, and three with 4 or more hits.  Romans have three unhurt units,and one with 7 hits.  They also have some skirmishers that can charge when it gets bad.  There is also the Heavy Cavalry that have been standing off since the start.  Not game to charge with the Romans - the one additional REP does increase the chances of winning the flank, but losing it would be bad.
The Carthaginians could charge a flank, but the Triarii would automatically pass both dice, so what would be the point.

The Carthaginian Veteran does not charge into contact with the opposing Triarii - it would lose the flanking friends, and no longer be adjacent to the general.
The nearly never-ending melee ends - neither scored a hit and the Carthaginians passed one dice.  The Romans routs.

The leftmost Principes routs.

Romans charge in with the Triarii.  No need to roll a check with REP 6.  On the Roman right, both units could have routed so neither do.  It is looking bad for the Carthaginians, who cannot pass a test, but the opposing Roman has a modified REP of 2 - not good either.

On the Roman left, the Carthaginian routs.

Triarii are now in the front line (on the left).

Turn 14
Carthaginian general wheels to attack flank of the Roman general Triarii unit.  The Romans have a modified REP of 8, so would pass any test, and so do not count as flanked.  But now the roman general unit could potentially be outnumbered and so a -1 in a test.
The Carthaginian veteran  facing the Triarii General rout.  Ah well.

The other melee of the Carthaginians and Principes becomes a never-ending melee - both are the same REP and both units cannot pass a test.

Never-ending melee on the far right. There is a gap in the Carthaginian centre. The leftmost Carthaginian unit routs next melee. 

The left most Triarii and the General Triarii charge the opposing veteran unit.  Post melee for the veteran - 2 hits on a REP 5 lone unit and outnumbered...hmm...passed 0 dice.  Rout. Romans pursue. 

The battleline and surrounding units.  Carthaginian units circled in blue.

The Carthaginians only have one unhurt unit (REP 5) and the Veteran general unit (with 5 hits). Oh, and a foot Skirmisher with 4 hits.  The Romans outnumber this by two, and also have the Numidian cavalry to assist.  The Heavy cavalry is still at a stand-off.  I'm giving this to the Romans.  It was close though.

 
Overview at game end.

Verdict
A long game.  This was due to the high quality troops.  Two Rep 4 lines (AC4) will not last long and will often fail at least one dice.  Two REP5-6 lines will almost automatically pass both dice for at least turn or two.  As a comparison to Armati, two average lines clashing will take just as long to resolve as 2 quality lines.  Ah well.  I enjoyed it, but is wasn't as fast play as normal - probably because there are lots of troops!  The casualty rings on the figures are normally no problem, but when I got to 6 or more, it was getting hard to keep them on. RRtK works fine for an infantry game like Zama.  My enthusiasm for it has not waned.  On a final note, Zama is not really suited to fast play, and I think I will try out only one more ruleset with it.  That one will be the fastest I know, Mighty Armies: Ancients.

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