Friday, 16 October 2015

30 games in 30 days - games 13 to 18

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.  Game 1 to 5 are here; Games 6 to 12 are here.

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 13 Ottonian Franks Vs Vikings (Day 13/14 - Thursday/Friday)
So I get out some Later Franks that have never seen the day and the Vikings again.  I really need to acquire some Bondi archers - I am using stand-in for them.  And more normal Bondi would be good too.

Vikings are on hold so deploy with the Woods anchoring one flank, the skirmisher in front of thee woods just in case.  The Franks are on envelop flanks but the right flank is deployed so they can avoid the woods.
Vikings on left, Franks on the right.

Frankish left flank with the Milites saw off the berserkers (no shieldwall defence), while the left flank lost two units and third stuck in combat with Bondi.  The centre Frank spearmen were finally lost and that is what lost the Franks the game.

End.  The Franks advanced but lost the centre.
The WAIT zone order is very similar to HOLD, but after a charge, the order becomes charge.  WAIT is a good order for deployment, but not really much different from HOLD if changing orders.  So WAIT is now a special deployment order, and changing orders (to more aggressive or less aggressive) with ignore WAIT.

I also was concerned when the Frankish right flank cavalry moved to within 4cm of the Vikings with shieldwall ability.  The rules seem to indicate they would move, and hence lose the shieldwall bonus.  but luckily shieldwall is actually considered to be defending terrain, and when defending terrain you do not charge units that comes into your front zone.  I must have actually thought out the shieldwall rules when I wrote it - this is the first game I have used it!

Game 14 - Picts Vs Mid Imperial Rome (Day 15 - Saturday)
I am a currently a day behind :-(
The Pict Warband should be Battle infantry (since fixed).
And The mid-Imperial Romans had a error in the army lists that would generate a lot of Skirmish Auxilia and rarely the normal Auxiliary (sic) Auxilia. So I swapped out 3 of the Skirmish Auxilia for one Auxiliary Auxilia (high fortitude, long spears).

Pict skirmishers are in wood and also uncontrolled.  This means they will not move unless charge but will fire.  This frees up a group deploy that sees the slit between the light cavalry and infantry on the Pict left flank.
Romans on left Vs Picts on the right.
A very one sided battle.  The Picts reached their breakpoint with no  Romans routed.  While initial left flank Roman cavalry charge faltered due to poor die rolls, the Picts rolled so many ones I could scarcely believe it.  Especially for the left flank that rolled 1 for every move command bar the first and so did nothing.  The Picts were hampered by their inability to move and the battle was handed to the Romans.
End game.  Romans destroyed the Pict centre.
Game 15 - Greece Vs Macedonian Early Successor (Day 15 - Saturday)
I am back on track - halfway for the games, halfway through the time.
This is a battle of the skirmishers! I had a look at the army lists and random generator and generated some more random battles with these lists and the number of skirmishers appearing here is unusual, on both sides.
Hoplites should have some MP (now fixed).

Fairly standard setup for both sides, and both have centre attack.  I finally saw the stream on the deployment map!Streams reduce movement by 4cm and the banks provide a defence bonus.  They are not rivers, that I only use in scenarios.

Successor Macedonians on left Vs Greece on the right
I acquired this pikes last year from friend Andy Bryant - a brilliant painter.

Nicely painted - not my me but Andy Bryant - pikes and cavalry (not the skirmishers in front - I painted them about 20 years ago).
Greek win.  It was very close - The Greeks were only one away from their breakpoint    The Macedonians cleared their right flank, the Greeks cleared their right flank.  In the centre a few units of both sides were routed and it came down to the side that could get the flankers onto the centre units first.  It was the Greeks.  There was some terrible rolls at inconvenient times for both sides.

Note: no end picture - forgot.

Game 16 - Later Babylonian Vs Early Assyrian (Day 16 - Sunday)

The Assyrians have +2 command and lots of chariots and heavy spearmen.  It does not look good for the Babylonians.

Babylonians on left Vs Assyrians on right.

Well, I was wrong.  The Babylonians won. another close game - the Babylonians where one unit away from breaking.  Archery proved the decisive arm for the Babylonians - consistently out-shooting the Assyrians and even causing a few depletes and routs.  This is normally uncommon but with archers Vs archers it happens more.  The Assyrians easily won their right flank, helped by the fact the cautious general went to DELAY on turn 2 and never wavered (with DELAY, you do cannot advance).  The surprise was the Babylonian cavalry taking out a chariot and then going on the hit a Assyrian spearmen in the flank for another rout.

End game with a lot of routed units.
Lessons: none, working great.

Game 17 -  Later Imperial Rome Vs Sasanian Persia (Day 17/18 - Monday/Tuesday)
Ok, so I played five games with these civilisations the only other time I tested out the programmed opponent (in 2014).  But I like these armies, and Sasanian Persia is one of my favourites.  Yes, The army list uses Sassanid not the more recent Sasanian - I have gone and changed it.
camels should be CV 2, a carry over from older version of the rules.
The Sasanians seem very outnumbered but in quality hard hitters they are about the same.  The Sasanians have only 8 units and so are allowed to not deploy on one flank, in this case the left.  They are still going for envelop flanks though.  The high fortitude elephant in the centre will be interesting - it is one of the best units on the table!

Sasanian Persia (left) Vs Romans (right)

Another close game.  While I should be sick of writing that, it is always a good thing as I feel the rules are working for me. The Sasanian Persians, the side I was cheering for, lost.  The Romans were only one unit away from breaking.  The Romans managed to breakthrough on their right flank and then charged into the flank of the levy for the final win.  The Elephant was unlucky and was routed by the Legionaries.  The Roman Camel and Light Cavalry on the left flank managed to hold-up the Persian cavalry on that side.  The Persians should have done better but rolled poorly for both command rolls and combat.

Note: no end picture - forgot.

No lessons.

Game 18 -  Avars Vs Merovingian Franks (Day 19 - Wednesday)
The Franks and the "generic European dark age warriors (acquired in 1993) seem to be getting a good workout in this series of games.
While the Franks could have deployed in only two zones due to having less than 11 units, they (OK, me) chose not to, staying true to the envelop flanks tactics.  The centre is very light.  I do not think it may go well for the Franks.

Avars on right Vs Franks on the left.
Another close game and the Franks won by routing the Avar general.  The Franks were one unit away from breaking.  There were a lot of 1s and 6s in combat.  The Avar cavalry is not great and was outclassed, their bow-fire helping only slightly.  Against the infantry they did OK when two on one.

End. Another close game.
Lessons: No lessons, but I am happy with how bow armed shock cavalry is now working a lot better since I changed it due to looking into it further after the few few games in this series of battles.

Over half way!
I was doing really well the first couple of weeks but work has just got really busy and more stressful and has been for this week. It does mean I find it hard to be motivated to play the games, rather than just de-stressing by catching up on some TV shows.  I was also being good and not catching up much on the internet blogs and forums but I have succumbed.  I am still on track but not sure how I am going to go for the next 7-10 games.  They are still fun and absorbing to play, I am currently one day behind and the weekend is going to be busy doing other things so who knows if I will make it..  All the games seem to be close and I should get to the end if I can still find the time, and I may have to go over time :-(.


  1. Interesting to read on your developments. I am fairly certain that your programmed opponent plays a better game than I would!

    And, thanks for following some of my other blogs.


    1. Thanks for the comment. When playing solo I usually play both sides in a battle to the best of my ability, but the programmed opponent certainly throws up some interesting, and sometimes better, plays!