Monday, March 13, 2017

Kierion - 48bc

Ah, an excuse to push around a whole bunch of soldiers at last.  Myself and Paul arranged a game to introduce him to Kings of War: Historical a couple of weeks ago.  Looking at what we had handy it was agreed to play my Peloponnesian League (aka: Sparta) against his Caesarian Romans.  A slight mismatch chronologically, but less extreme than many and one which I at least was happy with, after all it was still two ancient armies, and neighbours to boot facing one another.  In a club where DBMM still sees plenty of action with Han Chinese facing Egyptians, late Imperial Romans or Caroligians on a regular basis, it sat far more comfortably with me.

So one could suppose a timely rebellion of the Greek states, taking the opportunity of Civil war amongst the Romans to reassert their independence, this would be one more problem for Caesar to deal with if he was to become triumphant.  Thus my Greeks could take the field against Paul's as yet untried Roman army...

Opening Dispositions
Having laid out some classically barren terrain Paul opened the deployments, my Greeks having out scouted him, forcing more of his units to deploy.  Not that this made a huge difference, as he outnumbered me anyway so we finished deployment about the same time.  Both armies formed a central line, with Paul able to deploy more cavalry to his flanks, but I being able to lock the flanks with units of spearmen.
The Roman centre

Greek Phalanxes

Early movements
I took first turn initiative, which was probably of benefit to my opponent, who was new to the rules.  I began a steady advance and threw out a little missile fire; my cavalry decided on a re-positioning to the centre of the line hoping to charge down his artillery park.  For his part Paul largely held back except on his flanks, anticipating and eliminating my cavalry thrust but little else.  So on my second turn where the cavalry failed I was able to throw forth peltasts to undertake the same task.

Skirmishers vs. Artillery
In reply Paul charged down the peltasts on my left, but the success left his horse dangerously exposed.

Chaldicians lure out the cavalry
The Chaldician phalanx hit them in their flank.  Far away on my right a Spartan Phalanx had skirted around the farm and driven Paul's' other cavalry unit back onto the flank of his infantry.  His centre line still stood firm, but the Greeks steadily advanced.

Roman flanks under pressure
Finally in turn 4 Paul let the men off the leash, and accepted that if he did not advance I would dictate all the terms of the fight, already I was manoeuvring to threaten the flanks of his line and advancing was the best way for him to clear the danger.

The lines close
Battle was joined at my lead.  The Roman auxiliaries were thrown in disarray when they found the two strongest units of the Greeks (the royal guard and a toughened unit of Spartan heavy infantry) to be their foes.  This allowed me to threaten the flank of the Roman legionary line, which otherwise largely stood firm.  One unit its' centre wavered, and would not charge, but none broke.

Roman auxiliaries break

Then the weak city Hoplites break
The Romans made redress and countered.  The city Hoplites on my left, already badly mauled by missilery on the way to contact soon broke, so I would have to push forward my limited reserves, but elsewhere the Greeks held firm.  The artillery finally drove off the peltasts (on reflection I think we played a rule wrong here and the artillery may have been a tougher nut to crack than it should've), but their chance to contribute to the main battle was now passed.  They had been neutralised for the most part.

End game...
On the final turn the Greeks broke the centre of the Roman line, and Paul was forced to use commanders to hold the crumbling right flank.  His final reply failed to break any crucial units, but time and the turn count drew the battle to a close.

A quick calculation of victory points showed it was essentially a tie at this stage, I had had scored 15 more points against him, barely enough for bragging rights, but had we played a 7th turn, with my chance to reply coming first, the situation on the field would've been dire for Rome.  Both his flanks were depleted and turned, and his Legion was reaching a crisis point with more threats than it could respond to, where he had extra utility it still had to wait for the Greek wave to crash against it first before its' chance to reply.

I think nightfall saved Caesar this day.

This was a 2,000 point game of KoW: Historical, and as a club casual game it worked very well.  Given the rules were new to Paul he picked it up easily, how sold initially on the relative passivity you experience on the opponents turn he was is something we debated; unlike virtually all other wargaming rules you cannot influence the actions of your opponent at all on their turn, but of course this cuts both ways, and has the advantage of speeding up play.  It is something you get used to very quickly I feel, but it is the biggest difference in the rules from their peers.

Overall, KoW in general is a system I will keep coming back to, for its' simplicity and scalability.  And anything that lets me get a full sized army into play in a short week-night timeframe is fine by me.


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