Tally Ho!

Saturday 2 April 2016

Sword and Spear - second game

It being Easter we were on reduced manning this week so decide not to start the Montrose Campaign until we had everyone back. So we thought we'd try a second game of Sword and Spear.

As we've packed-away all the Crusaders we did nt repeat the previous game, but went for a classic encounter - Imperial Romans verses Dacians.  As you will see from the pictures we went to 160mm frontage units e.g. 4 of my standard 40mm bases. The table was 8 feet by 4 feet.

The Setup

Overview of the table with dice and movement sticks

The Romans deployed with their left on a large hill, this had the bulk of the Legionaries. On their right were  the Auxuila, backed by the veterans.  From John's deployment it was clear he was planning a defensive effort an hoping the missile troops would soften up my Dacians

Roman centre

Roman left

Roman right anchored on a hill
The Dacians went for a pretty simple set-up. The centre was occupied by Falxmen backed by Dacian warriors. On the flanks I deployed the most manoeuvrable units; Samaritan cavalry to the right and Dacian Nobles to the left.

Dacian's sir - thousands of um

Decebalus looks confident

The Game  

My plan for the attack was to grind forward in the centre and use my two most manoeuvrable troops on the flanks to try and envelope the. By placing the Discipline level 3 Saramtians and Nobles in groups accompanied by a General  they would be able to move on 2's. The Romans favoured a fairly static defence and hoped to use their greater firepower and resilience to wear-down the barbarian hordes.

Sarmatian assault on the right
The game began with a general advance from the Dacian hordes. On the right the Sarmatians quickly camr to grips with the Romans. This proved a slugging-match as the both had good armour and low discipline. So with good dice both sides were able to stay fairly fresh and go toe-to-toe. In the end the stalemate was only broken when some Dacian horse managed to flank the Romans.   

Dacian right pushes ahead
On the left the Dacians initially made good progress, mashing the weaker Auxilia and creating some big holes in the line.  The Romans reserves stabilised the position somewhat and the Dacians attack stalled on this side.

The action in the centre
In the centre the Dacians found it very heavy going  - Romans uphill with artillery support was near impossible for them to shift. I also made a deployment error by placing my Falxmen (Lacking Protection) in the front rank, this making the Roman artillery more effective.

We finished with the Roman's ahead on points but with their left broken and a large force of hairy Samratians about to gobble-up the flank. So a Dacian victory was likely had be played a little longer.

The Verdict

My opponent really enjoyed the activation system as it enabled constant micro-management of the combat. As a Hearts of Iron fanatic he loves that find of thing!

The combat / activation system is certainly ingenious and does force constant decision making by the players. I guess the issue though is its pretty abstract and does nt seem to reflect "wargames logic" as its not clear what you are really allocating when you make your choices about the dice. So in the end the dice allocation matters much more than tactics or deployments as troops are nt very differentiated from each other and once the main lines clash there is nt much manoeuvre.

I suspect we'll play occasionally though as its a fun game and does give a different feel from most games I've played.

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