Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Exercises in France

Marco and I will shortly be commanding the Germans in a short Chain of Command campaign at the club. As a sort of training exercise we decided to have a trial game of the opening scenario of the campaign, to see how we could play it.

We opted for the probe scenario, with Marco attacking with the Germans and I would be commanding the valiant French troops.

We ended up with the same amount of support and I opted for a MMG and the almost compulsory off table mortar support.  Marco opted for a Panzer4. this caused a a bit of a problem as I was not aware that we were going to be using Tanks in this game, and I had no way of actually stopping it.  Being a good sport Marco allowed me to swap out the MMG for an anti tank gun so that helped to even things up a bit.

After the patrol phase had been completed we ended up with all our jump off points centred around the small cluster of buildings on the left flank. I had managed to get a drop off point into one of the buildings and decided to use that as my strong point.

Marco was very cautious in his advance and attacked on a fairly narrow frontage, while trying slip one squad of Germans up the flank.
I had a few problems stopping the tank, but Marco basically advanced his Germans up a very narrow frontage and when I managed to call in my mortar barrage on top of two of his four squads there was not really much he could do about it.

Marco never really managed to advance much further, and apart from his tank taking a few pot shots at the French that were holding the main building never managed to achieve much else, so we called it a day.

A few lessons from my third game of Chain of Command:

Off table mortar batteries are probably the best support choice you can get. They are very effective and there is virtually nothing your opponent can do to stop them.

Always spread out! Marco sent most of his force up a very narrow frontage and as a result of this it was fairly easy for my smaller French force to stop him.

The French struggle to stop Tanks, as they're anti tank guns are quite weak.  I am reluctant to start using tanks in CoC unless it is both sides have access to them. Otherwise it becomes  a bit "I win as I have better toys than you" rather than winning properly, using tactics and luck.

Still enjoying the game though and am going to give some thought about how to tackle the problem of mortar barrages.

Next week we are returning to Mordheim for game eight of our ten game game campaign.  Looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Romans Lose their Way

So another game of Impetus, again at 500 points with three commands.

I brought the same army as last week, consisting of three commands. One of a mixed bag of cavalry, one of heavy infantry with archer support and one of Impetuous infantry and cavalry.  This time I was playing Fraser, and he brought his Yuan Chinese.  I do not own a copy of Extra Impetus 5 and know nothing about the Eastern armies as I have very little interest in them  Consequently I had very little idea of what they were capable of. 

We used an eight foot table and set up a few hills, along with some woods and a field on my left flank.  This basically made 2 foot of the table length unavailable.

I deployed my Heavy Infantry to the left, with the Impetuous Allies in the centre, and my cavalry wing on the right flank, although there was barely enough room to get the on the table.

On the opposite side of the table, Fraser deployed an array of heavy infantry in large units against my left, another set of large infantry units and some artillery in the centre, occupying a hill, and some cavalry against my right.  The infantry face of looked like a fairly even match, but I had the advantage in numbers on the right flank, so I hoped that my cavalry could quickly overwhelm Fraser's flank while my heavy infantry advanced across the table. Making my cavalry a crucial part of my plan was the first mistake of the evening as they tend to under perform on a regular basis.

Early game saw me begin the long slog across the table. Fraser made it pretty clear that he did not plan on advancing so it was up to me to close the distance into the teeth of the enemy crossbow and artillery fire.  Meanwhile on my right flank I tried to get stuck in with my cavalry but some early shooting casualties and the limited space severely limited any progress.

This was set to be a rather frustrating night, with Fraser having some extremely successful shooting and causing me no end of trouble.  He quickly got two of his three generals to raise a command level as well and managing to get the better of me in almost all of the melee's that we fought.  It took me most of the evening to slog my way across the table with my infantry, taking some losses on the way. Unfortunately I was so focused on just getting across the table that I let Fraser get the drop on me and ended up on the receiving end of the Chinese infantry and getting a serious duffing over.  My cavalry were gradually managing to grind down the Chinese cavalry, but should have managed it a lot more quickly considering I had an advantage. I cam very close to eliminating Fraser general but alas my cavalry reverted to type and managed to make a mess of things. In fact my whole army generally performed pretty terribly, with a lot a sixes being rolled for cohesion tests.  

In the end we stopped before the game had reached an official conclusion s it was getting late and I was in no position to do much of anything to salvage what had turned into a disaster.  Still good fun, if a little frustrating.  I failed to make the most of cavalry advantage and paid the price for it. I should also have hung back with my infantry a bit as well.

I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the Impetuous troops in my army list. The advantages of the large warband seem to be offset by them being so unwieldy. Also while I think the Musketeer Miniatures Saxon range is an excellent range they all have open hands that you have to glue the spears into.  This is in contrast to his Late Romans where all the hands are modelled as closed fists that you then drill a hole in to hold the spear firmly in place.  With the Saxons every time you look at them a spear seems to fall of one of the models.  I have tried superglue, 2-part epoxy and a mixture of the two but I still seem to permanently have half a dozen models with missing spears. It is very frustrating.

Next week is a practice game for our Chain of Command campaign.  I am commanding a German Platoon as we carry out an assault on the French town of Bainthun.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Proper Impetus

In our club there are quite a number of people who play Impetus, including some who enjoy tournament gaming. As such the default game of Impetus is to use whatever the tournament standard currently is.  At the moment that appears to be 350 points, which is what my last game was.  

I really dislike tournaments and so for this game Pete and I decided to see how a 500 point, three command game would work in 28mm.  I would use my Late Romans and Pete opted to bring his Sassanid Persians.  We used an 8 by 4 foot table and randomly generated the terrains, which as it turned out resulted in a completely empty board.

I split my army into three wings.  The centre was held by my always reliable heavy infantry, with supporting archers and some skirmishers. On my right I put my cavalry forces. Two heavy cavalry, two medium and two light.  My Saxons were standing in as Visigoth allies, and I stationed two large warbands, 2 units of impetuous heavy cavalry and one unit of skirmishers to hold my left flank.

Pete stationed his Medium cavalry on my right, a large number of spearmen with skirmish support in his centre, and his Armenian allies on my left. The Armenians consisted of some Light cavalry, one unit of mediums and a couple of units of archers.

View up the battlefield

Visigoths hold the left flank

Infantry in the centre

Cavalry on the right.
We kicked off with my army advancing in good order. I decided that it was more important to avoid disorder than move quickly so opted for a slow and steady advance with most of my army.  My light cavalry started to harass the Persian Horse while I tried to manouever my heavier horse into a good position to charge.  Almost the entirety of Pete's line was armed with missile weapons and advanced to within range. Luckily Pete's dice rolling was pretty awful and I got off with no casualties.

I eventually managed to get my heaviest cavalry unit into contact with Pete's general, and a protracted melee followed. 

I also managed to get my other heavies stuck in and after a few rounds of combat I defeated both units, for the loss of one of my units of heavy cavalry. This broke Pete's flank command, leaving his left flank open to my cavalry.

On the other flank my Impetuous troops were busy trying to get to grips with the Armenian horse archers and generally failing.  Pete charged in his unit of Medium cavalry into one of my heavy horse, and the ensuing combat actually lasted for the remainder of the game.  This was a good thing as the other unit of heavy cavalry was gradually shot to pieces by the horse archers and foot archers.

Visigoths start chasing after some slippery Armenian

The Persian left flank hoofs it (sorry!).

My centre continued the long march towards the Persian centre where a short range exchange of missiles ensued. This managed to disorder a few of my units, and Pete took advantage of this and charged in with his line of spearmen, with neither side managing to gain much of an advantage.

This continued while I tried to bring my cavalry to bear on the Persian centre, but in the end I managed to get one of my large Visigoth warbands in to contact with a unit of Pete's light infantry, and then followed that up with a lucky flank charge on a unit of skirmishers which managed to break Pete's centre command, and consequently his army.

On my left flank one of my units of Heavy Cavalry was basically shot to pieces by all the Light Horse, while the other unit managed to drag the combat it was engaged in out for the remainder of the game.

Still at it, even at the very end.

Romans rushing towards the Persian centre

This was probably one of the most entertaining games of Impetus I have had, although Pete had a terrible night. He invested heavilly in shooting and it failed to pay of for him. Having multiple commands makes the game turn much more interesting, and the whole mechanic actually makes sense.  Also the larger size of the game means that you are less likely to lose the whole game as a result of a couple of bad cohesion tests.

I have also realised that Impetuous heavy cavalry are very vulnerable and need some kind of support, otherwise they will have a very hard time of it.  Or you could just bring loads of them of course.

I think in the future this will be my preferred way of playing Impetus in future. I am having another bash at this next week, against a barbarian type horde and am looking forward to it.