Monday, May 8, 2017

April South Bay Game Club Meeting

There were four games being played at the April meeting.   The airplane guys were running a scenario where a damaged B27 was trying to make it back to safety.   This one finished early when the B27 got shot down.

Mike was running a Dragon Rampant game set in the age of Arthur.

Nick ran a French intervention in Mexico game.  Lunch break.

The one that I participated in was a Too The Strongest Game with Carthagenians vs. Romans.   To the Strongest uses an activation system for moving units with a one in ten chance of not activating a unit, but also allowing a second attempt to activate if a general is available.   Activation sytems are common in a number of ancient rules where you have to either equal and exceed or equal and be less than a certain score.   While it introduces a certain amount of fog of war, it makes it difficult to simulate the Gallic charges that Caesar describes in his book on the conquest of Gaul.   There is one set I know of where there is a one in six chance of not activating a unit.   So imagine 60,000 Gauls charging and each turn 10,000 of them decide to halt and maybe block the guys behind them  Fortunately that was not the case in this game.  We used a new rule that guys who had gone to England said had been introduced where for the first activation attempt one card was drawn for all the units in a command for the first activation of a turn.   The rules also allow a general to draw a second card for units he is with or near to activate them if the first fails.   This went a long way towards reducing the change of a complete failure to about 1%.

The rules use a deck of 80 numbered cards for activations, combat, etc.   These actually play faster than dice, but the odds of drawing a card change each time compared to rolling a 10 sided die.   There are a lot of games that I have played that use 10, 12, 8 and 4 sided dice in addition to plain old 6 sided and even average dice.   An extreme example of card draw changing the odds happened during the game.  The first ten cards I drew on one turn were all six or higher.    This changed the odds of getting a six or higher for the next draw, which I needed for a hit, to about 43% instead of 50%.  This was an extreme case though as most of the turns the card draw tended to even out.

I was the commander for Carthage with Lawrence as my right wing commander and Chuck as my left wing commander.   Bill McHugh commanded the Romans with Kent as his right wing commander and Robert as his left wing commander.  The Romans card draw gave them the first move for each turn.  The Roman army was about half a full consular army with three units of heavy cavalry, four velites, five each of Hastati and Princepes, and five units of Triarii.   Our army had two units of heavy Spanish infantry, four units of heavy African infantry, two deep units of Gauls,  four units of light javelins, one unit of slingers, two units of elephants, two units of light cavalry,  and five units of heavy cavalry.   Points were 150 each.  I chose to weight our left wing more heavily than the right.  Chris was the game master and supplied the armies from his collection of 15mm figures.   The squares were 4 inches/100 mm across.

Our plan was to have the two cavalry wings encircle the Roman army with the elephants taking out the cavalry and draw the Roman infantry into the center/   Chris had made the Roman cavalry used to elephants so that part of our plan wasn't going to turn out as expected.  

The first turn saw the Romans make a normal move forward.   Our wings made march moves.   On the second turn the Romans started moving infantry to support the wings.   I then attempted to advance our infantry center to aid the wings with mixed luck on the activations.   Our wings engaged the Romans with the right wing not fairing too well and the left getting held up.   The Roman infantry center became disjointed with the middle advancing to engage our infantry and the flanking infantry engaging our cavalry.   This allowed me to attack the ends of the Roman center with multiple units.

Eventually I was able to help our right wing and keep it from being overwhelmed, destroy the Roman center and eliminate the Roman infantry on our left.   Chuck was able to take out the Roman cavalry opposing him and move units towards the center so that they would help defeat what was left of the Roman infantry.

The loss of a unit in the game does not trigger any morale checks by units next to it, but does count towards overall command and army morale.   A command becoming ineffective once it exceeds 50% casualties, which happened to our right wing command.   Our initial plan had succeeded though not quite in the way it was initially intended to.  In addition to losing both elephant units we also lost some cavalry and one of the Spanish heavy infantry while destroying the Roman army.   Sadly our losses made those of Pyrrhus look mild in comparison. 

The game was fast paced and fun to play.  It lasted about three hours.  We still had plenty of time for a second game before the club meeting was over,  Robert had already left before the game was done and several of the other players had errands to run so we called it a day.  Thanks to Lawrence for taking the pictures.

 Our army
 Lawrence' wing 
Another view of Lawrence' wing
 The center, shortly before the destruction of the Roman infantry.



Prufrock said...

Sounds like a good day, Bill!

Simon Miller said...

Sounds like a lot of fun!

There IS a rout test rule- it's new and in the free supplement at

Some other fun rules,too. Best, Simon

William Butler said...

Simon, Thanks for the update information on the rules. It was fun to be able to play an ancients game for a change. The pictures don't show it, but two Roman infantry units were lost on the turn the picture was taken followed by six on the next turn.

Aaron, it definitely was a good day for Carthage. Almost achieved a mini Cannae

Simon Miller said...

Doubtless it was down to Punic tricks! ;-)

BTW I just published a new Early Carthaginian list:-