Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Shorties in Major Macedonian Mash ups.

Time again for our almost monthy games down at the pub. This time Jim the painter was in the chair and he elected to dig out his fine colection of 15mm Ancients for a Macedonians vs Persians punch -up. The armies are fairly substantial the Macedonians having 3 by 32 fig units of Phalangites a unit of Hypaspists one of Mercenary Hoplites(in this case) plus Companions- a unit of 20(!!)and assorted skirmishers, peltasts, light cavalry, thessalians etc.About 200 figures in all The Persians were simlar in number but with more cacalry3 units of Heavies 1 light and some Sythian Horse Archers. 2 units of Persian Infantry 3 units of Fott archer skirmishrs and 4 units of Mercenary Hoplites again around 200 figures. Attendance was down - initially only 3 TWATS being present- with Floating Jeff turning up later after some kind of household crisis- it happens to us all mate !. So with Jim umpiring it was your gentle Author who too the part of Darius and Andrew the Tekkie becoming Alexander. Jim's chosen rule set for this game was Tactica, a1990s set we were familiar with but had not used for a while. This game was to -re-affirm my liking for this set. The rules are basically simple only D6 are used but in numbers... The core of the system is the "Battleine Rule" which severly limits the manouverability of battleine units- Hoplites, Phanalgites and the like. Indeed the set lays down some pretty severe restrictions on quite a few things which may seem odd at first but once you getused to the ideas behind the restrictions the result is a very historical feeling game that is nevertheless fast playing and simple to learn. Its sort of IGOUGO but not quite as each turn each side rolls for "activation" the winning side choosing to move first or second- in the following turn the winner ofthe last turns rioll deducts 2 from his roll so its possible to get movemnet choice for 2 or even 3 turns its very unlikely. No orders are written.and the most important part of the game is the initial set up- which ,within its restrictions must be carefully thought about.
This picture shows the initial dispositions of the armies- the sun slanting through the pub windows making photography difficult.
Once begun the action is fast and furious. The Persian plan was- put simply- a double envelopment- smashing the Macedonian flanks whilst holding off in the centre. Now no battleplan survives contact with the ememy- but this one did - sort of. On the persian left a cavalry fight developed which we looked likely to lose until a unit of our famous(ask Jim) "Yellow Hats" infantry intevened. On the other flank a long drawn out cavalry battle ensued which the Persians eventually had the worst of whilst in the centre the main battlelines clashedand carnage ensued. Now came the crux of the actionand unusually a bit of respectable dice rolling by the Persians.
this picture shows the Persian left just before the Macedonian Horse was destroyed.
.The battlelines are- in Tactica vitally important in terms of the game the rest of your army can leg it but if your battleine units are untouched you fight on. However you are defeated if a proportion of your battleline units are routed or destroyed. Its that simple. Non battleline units ,up to a point, exist to protect your battleline and damage the enemies. In this case the 2 battlelines were grinding away with Persian luck offsetting Macedonian superiority when the Left Flank Persian cavalry Crashed into the Flanksd of the Macedonian line. Game as they say OVER. We the broke for some of Landlady Jeans beef butties- and more beer- before having another bash-2 games in 1 day a miracle!!. We swopped sides. This time I took the Macedoniansand quickly decided to simply "get tore in" with all the sublty of a halfbrick round the earhole
The Macedonians going for it Hell for leather.
I almost came an almighty cropper. On my left my cavalry punched a hole in the Persian right but died doing it- only the Companions could exploit and did so. At this point Andrew managed a 2 moves choice in succession and gave my right flank a right sorting outscattering my prodromoi and doing over my peltasts something awful. Fortunately for me his timing was just a tad out- in the centre the grinding had begun but was soon over as the mercenary Hoplites broke again Game over. In analysis both games had been nail biters- even the second which only lasted an hour. The rules are simple and can appear limited in scope but a reasonable umpire can sort that out without difficulty. Simple is not the same as simplistic. TYactica is far from the latter. Thought is required. I like thse rules. I can feel some 15mm Ancients in my water...

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