Thursday, 5 July 2018

Ilipa 206 BC - Battle Report

On Wednesday evening, the Ilkley Lads game night, we took are first crack at Ilipa 206 BC using To the Strongest! rules. The battle was good fun and went to the wire. 

Accompanying this post are some photos of the game in progress.
Peter, having drawn lots of good chits is looking very happy with himself - this might have been the point at which Mark said "Give him a dice."
Last night's set up worked O.K. but it could be improved upon. To that effect, I have edited the Ilipa 206 BC scenario I posted on Tuesday with all of the changes. I'll quickly point them out here.
Peter's troops on the attack!
I've decided to use the rule for triplex acies exactly as written in the 3rd edition of the Punic Wars army lists. This has extended the Roman line to conform with the length of the Carthaginian line and should give the Romans a little more flexibility and oomph on the flanks. Having read this rule again I think it will work extremely well for this battle; it puts the cavalry in a better position to carry out it's flanking moves; the army number ratios are not substantially changed (the Roman army is just 2 VPs stronger). 
It's all about to get messy in the centre.
Initially I had thought to give the Roman cavalry a save on 6+. Just prior to last night's battle I changed this to a save on 7+ with a +1 bonus when in melee with Carthaginian cavalry. This worked better, and it better reflected the morale ascendancy the Roman cavalry had over its Carthaginian counterparts.

I cocked up the ammunition for Spanish scutarii - they should only have one ammunition chit for ranged melee weapon (Soliferrum / Spanish - Saunion). There is a change I'm going to make to the basic rules regarding shock missiles (see advanced rules). In my Punic Wars games, I will play that where two units oppose each other with shock missiles, Roman legionaries and Alae legionaries will always throw first. My reasoning is this: the risk of being disordered when charging will dampen a Roman player's willingness to be 'aggressively Roman', and Roman legions and their alae legions are 'trained regulars'.
In you go, boys! Note the Spanish with the wrong kind of ammunition chit markers. The beads should be red and in the singular. I don't allow ranged melee weapons (pilum, siliferrum, etc.) to be used in a 'general missilery' role.
I am fully aware of the limitations of pachyderms in war and I think Simon Miller must be too. Personally though, I like elephants to be a little more useful than they probably were historically - purely on the grounds that they look too cool to be that bad. To liven them up, my elephants will be able to make a double attack twice. I'm also going to allow for a save on 7+ versus rampage - historically, when an elephant went berserk its mahout dealt with it by hammering a chisel into its skull, and mahouts were all so equipped for just that purpose - and if the save is made no rampage will take place. I will maintain my own house rule on square occupation for elephants as my squares are large enough to accommodate them and it doesn't really effect game play. Otherwise they are unchanged.

I have changed the effect of Scipio's element surprise. The change is minor, but I thought that the Carthaginians got off the blocks a little to easily last night.

Some rules for To The Strongest! are not in the rule book. These can be downloaded from the To The Strongest site as the free download "Even Stronger". We used at least two of the rules last night. The first is that for command group moves, the second is the replacement rule for command group demoralisation. I have to say that the latter rule is very much better than the rule it replaces and I'm using it from now on.
The Romans, about to lose two units in quick succession - game over!
As it was, the Carthaginians took the laurels with some flukey saves and hits right at the end - in the penultimate Carthaginian turn I made six consecutive saves and in the last Carthaginian turn Peter made several consecutive hits, virtually none of which were saved. The game finished with the Carthaginians having just 5 VPs left, it could so easily have gone the other way.

Next week we will re-fight it again, swapping sides, with the Romans under Peter J. and myself and the Carthaginians under Graham H. and Mark D. We will also swap over the table opponents.


Jonathan Freitag said...

Looks brilliant, James!

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Outstanding looking game!


roma912 said...

Awesome looking game!

Gonsalvo said...

Looks great!
I agree, those are two of the most important additions from "Even Stronger". We use them for all games.