By Paul Stevenson
Played first WAB2 game (or, at least, first six hours of it) this afternoon. Slightly anachronistic later Successors game, with Seleucids vs Royal Macedonians (Antigonids). Anachronistic in that we still gave the Antigonids Companion cavalry in good numbers whilst the Seleucids had started the changeover to cataphracts and imitation legion, but still had Silver Shields.
Overall Comander: Inertios Baseliniertes
Sub-Commander: Josephus ‘Autokakon’ Nonadeka
1 x Sub-General and 9 x Agema Companions in Heavy Armour (Old Glory)
12 x Scythian Horse Archers (Foundry)
60 x Galatian Tribesmen (Foundry)
24 x Syrian Archers (Minifigs)
3 x Indian Elephants, each 1 archer & 1 pikeman (Old Glory)
1 x Armoured Indian Elephant, 1 archer & 1 pikeman (Old Glory)
3 x 24 Levy Pike, light armour & shield (Minifigs)
3 x 24 Argyraspides, heavy armour & shield, stubborn, cause fear in all
Antigonids with leadership < 8 (Old Glory)
2 x 24 Levy Pike, light armour & shield (Minifigs)
1 x 24 Imitation Legion, light armour, big shield and throwing spears (NOT pila) (Gripping Beast)
1 x 24 Mardian Archers (Foundry)
1 x Ballista
1 x Sub-General and 11 x Agema Cataphracts, titanium plate and kontos (1st Corps)
2 x 12 Cataphracts (Old Glory)
2 x 10 Companions with heavy armour (Old Glory)
1 x 10 Neo-Tarentines (Minifigs)
1 x 10 Cappadocian Hippakontistai (Old Glory)
Antigonid Macedonian Deployment
Overall Commander: Caledonicus Abdomenititanicos
Sub-Commander: Paulos Spinaltapios
1 x 10 Thessalian cavalry (Foundry)
1 x 11 Achaian light cavalry (Foundry)
4 x African elephants, each with one pikeman and 1 javelineer (Gripping Beast)
Sub-General and 9 x Agema Companions in heavy armour (Foundry)
10 x Agema Companions in heavy armour (Navigator)
10 x Companions in heavy armour (Navigator)
20 x Cretan Archers (Foundry)
5 x 24 Pezhetairoi in light armour and shield (Foundry)
5 x 24 Pezhetairoi in light armour and shield (Minifigs)
Sub-General and 9 x Thracian Light Cavalry (Foundry)
12 x Thracian noble cavalry (Foundry)
1 x 24 Thracian Peltasts with shield and romphaia (Minifigs/Old Glory)
1 x 24 Thracian peltasts with thrusting spear, javelin and shield (Old Glory)
1 x 27 Mercenary Greek Thureophoroi with javelin and shield (Crusader)
2 x 12 psiloi with javelin and buckler (Foundry)
Points total: Didn’t count before the game but a rough totting-up this morning suggests about 6500 each.
Table fourteen feet by six. Seleucids deployed along the edge of a Gettysburg-like escarpment with fish-hook at the left end. Antigonids anchored their left flank on mountainous territory and their right on an area of broken, hilly ground. We gave each commander and sub-commander two dice for Oracles (Oracles are _so_ much more fun than standards) and allowed the big cheese to re-roll one of his dice.
- width over depth. I STILL can’t find a single, actual rule that dictates units will be wider than before. Our deployment didn’t change one iota:
cataphracts 2 x 6 or 3 x 4; pike battalions 4 x 6; warband 5 x 12; peltasts and thureophoroi n x 3; wedge-enabled cavalry in, er, wedge (open or close order: anyone made up their mind yet?); skirmishers skirmishing.
- open order troops can’t become skirmishers. Their manoeuvrability combined with effectiveness in rough ground made no-one choose to deploy O-O troops as skirmishers. No-one regretted this choice.
- no musician roll-off breaks, ‘momentum’, beaten, stubborn troops pushed back;
all agreed that this made combat more protracted, with fewer of the huge, ‘turn three line-breaks’ of yore. A good thing.
- elephants. Was the game playtested with four elephants fighting four elephants on a six-foot deep table? No march? Why?? Predictable stampede direction; all bemoaned the loss of the unpredictability. One of my stampeding elephants hits another one of mine, head-on. They fight. Does the winner come back under control? Can HIS elephant join the combat?? Least satisfactory bit of the game.
- leadership -1 at half strength: excellent. Troops were pulled out of the front line as they were attrited (is that a real word?).
- Cavalry as effective flanking force. For the first time in 10 years of WABbing, my instinct to keep a reserve was not just a waste of ‘to-hit’ rolls. Hoorah!!
- change in max rank bonus. No noticeable impact whatsoever: given that we matched for depth anyway, it was never going to, was it?
For those interested in battle reports, deployment was ‘Impetus’ style: we rolled off a division at a time (I win, I choose to make you deploy a division, you deploy your centre. You win and reciprocate, I deploy my right wing, etc). Antigonids got first go and threw skirmishing cavalry forward to try to see off their lights, with elephant corps crawling along in their wake. Antigonid right wing, faced with PanzerKeil Seleucus, disposed itself around all available rough ground and said Mass.
1st line of phalanx went straight ahead, 2nd line started to echelon to the right, in anticipation of the bad news coming from that direction.
The Seleucids stayed stood standing still in the centre, used their Scythians to shoot the Antigonid lights out of the game and trundled GrossDeutschland forward on their left.
The skirmish battle developed for a few turns, with a very slow gain for the Antigonids on their right, then a stalemate occasioned by ‘Autokakon’ rolling a 1 for every ‘to wound’ roll for three turns. This allowed Spinaltapios (‘so, I’ve killed two and have a rank, you’ve killed four and have three ranks. You break, don’t you?’) to dribble reinforcements in and reassert himself.
On the left the Antigonids experienced almost complete disaster in the elephant fight with, after about seven turns, all eight elephants stampeding, in more or less the same direction, towards the carefully husbanded Companions. After some touch-and-go terror testing, Abdomititanicos got two wedges out of the way and used a third, the one with the trial-version force-field, to dance around in front of Scythians, deflecting arrows.
The Antigonid first-line phalanx had been standing at the foot of the escarpment asking in vain for the Seleucids to come down to play. Eventually, seeing that the Seleucid right flank Galatians, with Companions in support, now had room to threaten their flank, they decided to force the issue and charged – well, proceeded slowly with malice aforethought – uphill. There ensued a see-saw fight which eventually say two taxeis of levy Seleucids break, leaving a gap through which the Antigonid pike could get onto the high ground. The Seleucid flank charge developed and they were able to break and destroy one of the Antigonid taxeis. Then, in a classic Warhammer moment that you either love or hate, all seven units within testing distance of the destroyed pikemen passed their panic test. I don’t think I rolled higher than a four in seven rolls.
This was the moment for the Antigonid reserve-line phalanx to, in turn, hit the Galatians in their rear and, of course, they failed _their_ panic test.
So time was called with the Antigonids sneaking a foothold at one end of the escarpment and still facing off the Argyraspides further down the line. The Seleucid right flank had all but disappeared and the Antigonid cavalry, which had cravenly, er, sensibly kept well away from the jumbo-fest was menacing that end of the line. At the far end, the Seleucid cavalry had largely disperses the Antigonid lights but was miles away from the point d’appui and with the new restrictions on manoeuvre, would take some time to rejoin.
Game to be resumed Thursday evening.