Attempting to play 30 ancient games in 30 days using my own small table fast play rules to test out a programmed opponent. A few more details at this introductory post. The first five games are here.
I am still on track - I am up to day 12 and have completed 12 games. I would have thought that weekends I may be able to squeeze in few more games and Monday was a public holiday in Queensland. But I seem to be able to only manage one game per day. A few more minor rules changes and the programmed opponent is holding up well. I am using the programmed opponent for both sides. If it keeps going with no changes, I may play a few games with me actually playing one side, and the programmed opponent the other. This is more likely how I would be using it anyway.
Note this may be a bit of a dry read - there are only few pictures of each game and a lot of the text is about playtesting lessons learnt.
Game 06 Italian Goths Vs Early Byzantium (Day 5 - Wednesday)
Very excited - I have never used these Byzantine forces before - I have a whole DBM sized army but will only using a few. Ah well, at least some of them see daylight.
|Byzantium (left) Vs goths (right)|
|Some of the never used Byzantines.|
|The skirmishers managed to rout this cavalry unit with good dice rolls.|
|A bit of Cavalry on Cavalry action. Goth general is on the right.|
|End game - very close.|
I had updated the programmed opponent to account for bow armed heavy cavalry after the playtesting back in April 2014 (using Sasanian Persians rather than Byzantines) but noticed that the rules had them charging in reaction rather than firing. Looking at older rules I had it correct, but somewhere I must have had some epiphany that bow army heavy cavalry would always charge units within 4cm rather than fire. I think my epiphany was flawed, went back and looked at the tactics for these types of troops and have gone back to them firing. The programmed opponent works correctly, just the rules themselves need reversion.
Also, I tried a few group splits in the game that failed. Group splits require a 3+ and if it fails the entire group does not move. This doe snot really make mush sense, especially on this game scale when moves may only last 3-4 turns. So I have changed it so the if the group split fails, the entire group can still make a normal move if it rolled more than required for a normal move (a 1+ but their are a fee modifier than sometimes make this worse).
Game 07 - Early Carthage Vs Pyrrhic (Day 8 - Saturday)
I don't think I have ever used the Early Carthage chariots before. I have 10 but only two make it to the table :-(
|Carthaginians (left) Vs Pyrrhic (right)|
|The Pyrrhic general meleeing some Carthaginian spears and Hoplites.|
|The end. Not many Pyrrhic forces left.|
|My daughter helped roll the dice in this game and the last and insisted on a photo.|
Game 08 - Early Byzantium Vs Merovingian Franks (Day 8 - Saturday)
I get the Byzantines out again - woo-hoo! And I obtained some Carolingian Franks (close enough to Merovingian) that I have been wanting to use for about three years and have never hit my table. So more figures from my collection that get out from the cupboard for the first time.
|Byzantines (left) Vs Franks (right)|
|General on general action - the Byzantine general routs.|
|Rogue warband (centre) in the Byzantine battleline|
Lessons - none.
Game 09 - Viking Vs Carolingian Franks (Day 9 - Sunday)
More Franks on the table, and the Vikings again. I am really enjoying getting some little used figures out onto the table.
|Vikings (left) Vs Franks (right)|
|The rushing Frankish cavalry.|
Game 10 - Parthia Vs Late Republican Roman (Day 9 - Sunday)
Well,this should be a good test for the rules - I haven't done Parthians before. I think they will walk over the Romans. Especially as they are command +2 so the Romans have to rout most of the Parthians.
|Persians (left) Vs Romans (right). Romans leave their left flank blank.|
I acquired these in the mid-1990s and are some of my favourite figures (Sasanian cataphracts standing in as Parthians).
|Some of the "Parthian" miniatures.|
|Just before the main lines clash in the centre.|
|Cataphracts surround the Romans. Both Generals at the right.|
|Parthian General routs the Roman general and pursues into the other Roman unit.|
|Other Roman unit routed. Game over.|
|End game - the Romans have 3 units at the top left.|
Game 11 - Old Kingdom Egyptian Vs Nubian (Day 10 - Monday)
I realise I have no Old Kingdom Egyptians figures and so am using Middle Kingdom. I also only have about a dozen Nubian bases, mostly skirmisher with javelins. For Nubians, I have fleshed them out with Assyrian archers.
The Egyptian left wing deploys on an angle so it can fit. It moves for one turn, wheel in the next and then be out of the archers way.
|Nubians (left) Vs Egyptians (right)|
|Halfway though a single turn on the Nubian left flank. Egyptians are charging the Nubian warriors after routing the screening archers|
|End of the turn and units are all in melee and disordered.|
|End. Note the archer lines never moved.|
|Persians (left) Vs Early Indians (right)|
|The Indian General on the elephant, all ready to roll over the right flank.|
|End - the Indians have done well on the flanks.|
12 games down - how is it going?
It has been incredibly useful to get back to using these rules. I feel the rules are cohesively coming together to provide a very fast solo friendly ruleset for 2'x2' (can you get any more niche that that :-) ). There have been a few changes to the rules and a tightening of the programmed opponent. After 12 games I am being lulled into thinking that after 30 games the rules may be as close to final as they are ever going to get for 3000BC to 1000AD. Army lists I can see tinkering with forever but will publish the 80 or so I have done at the end of the 80 games. Back in reality, I am bound to find something while replaying the Peter Sides ancient scenarios - indicating I should stop being lazy and do some more of them! I am not finding it too hard to find the time to play one game a day but I have had to give up some other things. My ancients wargaming mojo is definitely back. Although when reviewing the blog,the games are becoming a blur! I am enjoying each game - most are very close, tons of fun and I am getting out loads of miniatures that have never been pushed around on a table.