Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mighty Armies Ancients AAR - Greeks Vs Persians

Background
Andy (andyfb at TMP) came over for a game of MAA (Mighty Armies Ancients).  I have played it solo twice before refighting Callinicum and Zama.  Andy had the rules for about a week.  Andy used his excellently painted Xyston Greeks and I fielded some ebay acquired Early Archaemenid Persian.
 
Troops
From memory:
 
Greeks - 15 units: 1 Hoplite General 7 Seasoned Hoplites, 4 Peltasts, 2 Thessalian Light Cavalry and 1 Heavy Cavalry.
Persians - 16 units: 1 Infantry General, 1 Immortal, 3 Sparabara, 5 Subject Foot, 2 Heavy Cavalry and 2 Scythian horse archers.
 
Setup
So, first thing - setting up terrain.  How does that work?  I don't know - Zama and Callinicum had no terrain!  To the rules: OK, set up 2 pieces each.  So we both set up 2 hills on the flanks.  Ok, deployment.  I don't know either - I've only used historical deployment.  To the rules again - dice to see who deploys first, and then dice again to see who moves first.  Andy setup first and I moved first.  This poor die rolling was just the start for Andy.

Deployment, Greeks at the top
 
We used the rules from the forum (and I used in the other games) where combat is all the front rank fighting value and rear rank support value (not primary fighter FV and all others support).  Other things quickly decided on where the rules were unclear was that the start and end 90 degree turn allowed in movement does not subtract from  the movement rate.  And reading the rules seemed that whole groups had to line up - not  just at a unit level, but we decided to play the way I have in previous games where you line up only contacted units in a group, which means possibly not all units in a group get to fight.
 

Andy's hoplites.  Slightly blurred which is a shame as they are excellent.  There is a close up of some of the figures later.
 
Note: After a turn, I realised that all the Persian front rank units, except the heavy cavalry and the general, all have shooting.  While it was not my original intent to do so, this gave a lot of shooting attacks and played a significant part of the game.
 
The Game

The Scythians were on the Persian right flank, moved up for shooting opportunities,  No hits.  Greeks responded by charging them with a heavy and light cavalry. Javelins got one horse archers, and combat took out the other one.  Loses: Greeks 0; Persians 2. After one turn.  Combat is fast.  That is one of the fun parts of MAA - in combat, at least one unit will always be destroyed.
  
The happy Greek cavalry after destroying 2 Scythian horse archers.  The red die is indicative of Andy's rolling during the game

Andy had cleared the Greek left flank, but never rolled enough PIPs to exploit it.  Meanwhile, I managed to destroy a Thessalian Light Cavalry with the Persian Heavy Cavalry.  The last thing the Heavy Cavalry did in the Game!  I was thinking of charging the Peltasts on the hill.  There is nothing about differentiating terrain types so we decide all terrain is difficult.  Note: looking at the new fantasy MA reference sheet, I believe hills would not be classed as difficult, just blocking LOS.  The odds were not greatly in my favour.
 
Meanwhile, with poor PIPs, Andy slowly moves the Hoplites forward.  As they do, I snipe at them with all my shooting, killing about 2 Hoplites, one from each group, over 3 turns. Note: leftover PIPS can be used for commands.  One command allows you to add 1 to a units shooting.  I did this a lot - going from a 6+ to hit to a 5+ is doubling the chance of a kill.


Looking across the Persian infantry at the (slowly) advancing Hoplites.
 
3 Hoplites made it to my Persian infantry 6-unit group and the group lost, turned 180 and moved back.  I then turned them around again next turn.  This was my 'soaker' group, to take a bit of punishment over a few turns.  What I forgot it each time it is driven back, it retreats 3".  And it was only 5" from the table edge.  Should have moved them up a bit. But they ended up not being driven back again (luckily).

Meanwhile, the remaining cavalry was lining up with more Hoplites to charge my general and immortals.  So I pre-emptively charged and destroyed a Greek heavy cavalry.  The light cavalry ran to the flank.
 

The General and Immortals charge the Greek Heavy Cavalry.

The Hoplites that forced the general the soaker group  to retreat charged in again but lost.

The two remaining Hoplites charge the large Persian infantry unit (and lose)

I also managed to shoot and destroy another three hoplites over the next two turns.  The Greeks were now at their break point - 8 units lost - and the Persians claimed victory.  The Greek General holds the centre (by himself though!).


At game end. Note Persian blue die and Greek red one.

Verdict
A very enjoyable game and great company. Thanks Andy.  We were in the rulebook a few times but to be expected for a first game.  Shooting is more powerful than Andy or I expected, especially with the command to increase the shooting chance. Andy only lost 5 Greek units to shooting, and 3 to combat. Persians lost 3 by combat as there was no missiles, other than Javelins, on the Greek side. I note - a day after the game on the just released reference sheet - the new Fantasy Mighty Armies has reduced the chance to hit for shooting.  Andy's clearing a flank worked well, but was hard to exploit due to poor PIPs. In hindsight he believed he should have move faster with the Hoplites in the centre to reduce opportunities for shooting; or alternatively use the Peltasts to screen the Hoplites from shooting.  My soaker 6-unit group actually worked as planned. Most combats were a foregone conclusion (or just about) as to who would win. I think the game play may have lasted an hour including rules discussions.  But cannot really be sure as we chatted during the game as well.

1 comment:

  1. I am working part time on a fastplay ancients ruleset you might like to try out. There are a few controversial decisions I've taken, but those are supported by experience in other games. At this stage they're very much in the "drawing board" stages, but you might like the tension present in the Command and Control system. I need to get a slightly better handle on some unit abilities, but the game is very simple, very fast, and has very few "special abilities", those being produced through the combat interactions.

    I hope to have something testable this summer?

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