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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

First Playtest of My War & Conquest Romano-British and Saxon Army Lists...

Interesting game this...

I have been drafting some revised Arthurian army lists for Rob Broom's war & Conquest rules. It is a thoroughly interesting process and has resulted in mucho debate, especially about whether Saxon Gedriht should be KA4 (killing ability 4, so killing on a 3+ compared to everything else's 4+) Now, I know that in WAB, Gedriht are S4. Difference in War & Conquest is that in second and subsequent rounds of combat, they fight in 2 ranks so you get about 18 attacks coming in hitting on 3+, then you take normal saves (usually pretty crap in Arthurian armies) then they kill on 3+s. Now, I'm not sure that's a problem, but it has led to much debate and this was the first play test... Oh, BTW, you can have 2 comitatus units in a 2000pt plus army...

The following is copied from my post on the Scarab Miniatures War & Conquest forum....

My opponent (also called Andy, which may be confusing later... :?) had had difficulty accessing my lists due to email hassle, but had been unable to let me know. As I only took my British lists along to the club, we cobbled something rough together from my ailing memory. Anyway, I took the following:

Dux (with +1 SIP)

12 x mtd commanipulares (heavy armour, thrusting spear, regular formation)
21 x foot commanipulares (light armour, large shield, heavy thrown weapon, which I bloody forgot to use...)
2 x 24 milites with large shield and thrown weapon
1 x 12 Equites with alight armour upgrade
12 x sagitarrii
2 x 12 skirmishers, one lot with short bow one with slings
This came to 1997 points.

Andy had

Cyning (+1 SIP)

1 x 24 Gedriht
1 x 14 mtd Gedriht
2 x 24 Duguth
1 x 18 duguth
3 x skirmisher units, 2 with short bow one with javelin

Approx 1990 points (we think....)

Andy had never played before...

We set up with Autumn deployment because it looks nice...

I favoured an infantry centre, with skirmishers screening my right and all my cavalry on my left. Andy favoured matching my skirmishers with his. His foot Gedriht were in the centre, flanked by large Duguth units accompanied by personalities. These were flanked by his mtd Gedriht and finally his small Duguth unit.

I won the strategic advantage for turn one and advanced slightly. The idea of this was to convince Andy that I was playing aggressively, only to fool him by forming shield wall in turn two and hoping to turn the flank, although I realised this would be tough with Andy's clever deployment of the 18 Duguth on the extreme flank facing my Equites. My initial archery dispatched a fair few of the heathen to their maker, which was a sound start.

Andy surged everyone forward at full pelt and I suddenly realised my error  - I HAD to win strategic advantage for turn 2 or all would be lost....

I didn't.... You can guess the rest....

But anyway, what happened was that I got charged by everything, so the skirmish screen fled, revealing the heavy infantry. The Equites were JUST in range of the Duguth charge (DRAT!) and their javelin fire proved useless.

The game then became one long protracted combat until I died.

This is how it went.

The mtd Gedriht demolished the mtd commanipulares in rapid order, with the equites suffering a similar fate. Both my units were run down in the pursuit. I think I lasted about 4 combat rounds. The mtd Gedriht did not lose a single figure and killed over half the heavily armoured commanipulares!!!!!

In the centre, I forgot my heavy throwing spears (STOOPID!!!!) which meant that my foot commanipulares stood no chance.

They lasted about 4  rounds of combat before eventually being run down. Interestingly, the 2 personalities both died in combat as I rolled an uncommonly large number of 6s when finding out if they were wounded and uncommonly large numbers of 1s and 2s when rolling for divine intervention...sigh...

However, my milites did defeat both large Duguth units, with one being run down in the pursuit. The other, despite losing 4 more men as they fled through my strategically placed sagitarrii, rallied on snake eyes!!!

So it was game over as over 75% of my units were gone, for the loss of one of Andy's. Absolute massacre.


Mtd gedriht are very, very, very awesome. Probably too awesome! I do think the saxon buckler rule (may re-roll all hit dice in any turn they charge - that's all hit dice, not just misses...useful if you roll really shite dice...) should only apply to foot troops, as it was the re-roll in turn one of the combat that meant they scored 6 hits rather than the 2 they got on first roll!!! Also,  I think it's not appropriate for mounted fighting, having reflected on the fighting style described by those 'in the know'....

Foot gedriht are also very, very awesome!! It's that second (and subsequent) rounds of combat, where suddenly, 18 attacks hit and kill on 3+. I had a save of 4+ on my foot commanipulares and it mattered not a jot. Ok, had they been in shield wall, it would have been 3+. However, my mtd guys had a 3+ save and died virtually to a man without inflicting a single solitary casualty!! Yikes...

Duguth and Milites are well balanced. In a grind out, the milites will win. That's pretty historically accurate in my opinion, as late Roman style infantry were still capable of holding their own and grinding out wins against barbarians in this period. I didn't field Pedyt as this was a late Roman style Romano British Field Army...

Equites probably work fine if you don't get them charged by enemy infantry (sigh.....)

So, overall, the only questions I really have are as follows:

1. Should Saxon gedriht cavalry be KA4? Or would KA3 reflect less comfort fighting from a horse in the earlier armies at the very least?
2. Should mtd Saxons get the buckler re-roll? Gut feeling suggests that the answer is 'no' as it was a weapon best suited to foot combat where the individual could swirl about flailing buckler and axe/sword at all and sundry. That's bloomin' hard to do on the back of a nag....
3. Whatever one does about questions 1 and 2, how on earth will one balance Pict, Scots Irish and Welsh armies who have no shield wall? Welsh Teulu should be KA4, as they were every bit as good as the saxons - they maintained their lands for many, many years in the West and Rheged was never conquered, falling to the Saxons via dynastic marriage in the end - the warriors of that kingdom regularly trashed saxons from Deira and Bernicia (which became united as Northumbria) in the 6th century. But what about Picts? WAB gave their nobles toughness 4, but does Durability 8 (making them 5+ to kill) really work for them in these rules? Is there any justification to it beyond making Picts more attractive as an army??? Durability 8 is usually assigned to cavalry with metal mega-barding, rather than racking up a stupid armour save, so is that appropriate for a bunch of half-naked barbarians? Were Pict and Irish nobles really super humanly tough? I think some serious thinking is in order to make Picts (esp early Picts pre thrusting spear schiltrons, so pre 7th/8th century) and Irish viable armies.

I am also wondering about war band rules for Saxons. I am increasingly thinking that later period armies have no justification for the 'surge' rule in particular, although I think raiders must have it. I am inclined to say that buckler armed Saxons should be subject to war band surge, but am questioning whether shield armed ones should. Then again, maybe Geoguth should always be subject to 'surge' reflecting their eagerness for glory....

Anyway, Andy and I are playing again next week with almost identical forces (he'll make a proper list this time) and we'll see if I can get better results tactically!!! I also intend to just play through some combats seeing how shield wall fares against gedriht, both for milites (who will obviously die immediately regardless unless armoured) and commanipulares. BTW, I have resisted allowing foot commanipulares heavy armour, as that would mean they had a 2+ save in shield wall.

I hope you enjoyed that. I am looking forward to playing again!!!!

I do urge regular readers who are interested to visit the  Scarab W&C Forum General Discussion area. It's not a busy place, but that's where most online discussion about these lists will take place...

1 comment:

DeanM said...

A great looking game! Nice figures too of course.