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London, United Kingdom
A mythical beast - a female wargamer! I got back into wargaming in the summer of 2011 after a very, very long break. My current interests are Ancients, ACW, 30YW and SciFi gaming.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

AAR: FoG 650 point friendly game #2

Last night was very busy at the club - 9 games being played plus a couple of members generally loitering. From memory the games were:
1 of Battle Fleet Gothic
1 of Fire and Fury (a scenario from part of 1st Bull Run/Mannasas I believe)
1 of FoG:R
6 of FoG:AM

Anyway, onto the AAR. I took lots of pics, far too many to include here and far too many to not let you see them all so I've set up a Flickr account, uploaded the full size originals and added some text to each to describe my FoG match. To view them click here. I have resized and done my thing with a few of the pics, for those who don't want to view the whole lot. I'll intersperse the smaller pics throughout the AAR.


The Armies:


My Iazyges Sarmatians

C-in-C: Field Commander
Subs: 2 x Troop Commander

4 x 4-base Armoured Lancers
4 x 4-base Protected Lancers (I was morphing my "other cavalry" for these)
2 x 4-base Light Horse

Wot? No infantry?
Infantry? Are those the things we trample under our horses' hooves?


Jerry's Mid Republican Romans (now corrected - forgot 2BGs and got the quality of the H&Ps wrong):

C-in-C: Troop commander
Subs: 2 x Troop commander

4 x 4-base standard Hastati and Principes (average, swordsmen, impact foot)
2 x 4-base veteran Hastati and Principes (superior, skilled swordsman, impact foot)
2 x 2-base standard Triarii (superior, offensive spear)
1 x 2-base veteran Triarii (elite, offensive spear)
3 x 4-base Velites (average, javelin/light spear)
1 x 4-base Roman cavalry (average, light spear, swordsmen)
1 x 4-base Pedites Extraordianrii (medium foot, superior, armoured light spear/swordsmen)
1 x 4-base of heavy foot - can't remember if it was Gallic or Thuerophoroi
Fortified Camp


Pre-Battle Set Up:

Predictably with my +3 I won the die roll for pre-battle initiative and opted for Steppes as the terrain. My selections were 1 compulsory open piece, 2 more (non-compulsory) open pieces and a gully, Jerry took his compulsory open piece, a gentle hill, broken ground and scrub.

I was much luckier with terrain placement in this game, with only the broken ground in a position that could make things awkward for me. However, it was central and allowed me to commit a heavy flanking force against Jerry's weak left wing, the main problem being negotiating the gap between the rough ground and the gentle hill with all those cavalry BGs without them getting in each others' way.

What about the scrub? Well, that didn't make it onto the table - the die roll would have placed it touching one of my side edges, but as it was the last piece to be placed there wasn't room for it on either.



Deployment:

Jerry (rather oddly in my opinion) decided to deploy his Romans across a wide frontage with spaces between his battle groups.

"See - they do have a few horses!"
"They do?"
"Yeah, that tiny group on their far left wing, next to some infantry"


My deployment was pretty obvious once I saw the way Jerry's Romans were positioning themselves. Large block of lancers in my centre, decent size block of lancers on my right wing, 1BG of lancers to cover my left wing to prevent a flanking march around the gully.

"Where's our infantry?"
"Infantry? Were we meant to bring some?"

***Performs smack to back of head at this point***
What on earth was I thinking when I stuck 1 BG of protected lancers on the end of the 3 BG block of armoured lancers? Why did I put the 4th BG of armoured lancers in my right wing "brigade"?

A view of the main Roman wing from my centre - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 blocks of Legion*

*throughout this AAR, I will use "Legion" to refer to the BGs or Hastati and Principes

The Battle:

Here is a brief turn-by-turn summary:

Turn 1: the Romans trudge forward a couple of inches (heavy foot, doesn't move very fast)

The invincible Romans tramp forward very, very slowly. My Sarmatians' reaction - "Wotever!"


Turn 2: Sarmatians move forward. Light horse BGs get inside 2 inches of the Velites (just to get some dice rolling. OK, you've got me - I'm an idiot who didn't measure the distance properly and took myself in range of them when I could have happily shot at them without them shooting back if I hadn't been such an idiot).

Turn 3: Romans crawl forward at snails' pace again and expand from 1 base wide to 2 bases wide. Some more shooting, resulting in the first disruption marker being awarded to ....... some Roman Velites.

Turn 4: the light horse on my left wing considered it wise to get out of the way of the fast-approaching block of lancers. The big scary block of big scary men on big scary horses with long scary pointy things (hereafter to be known as "BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT") moved forward. Unfortunately the end BG, who were protected lancers in 2 ranks (*smacks back of head again* should have put the 4th Armoured Lancer BG there instead) came within range of some Velites who decided to chuck some javelins at them. This resulted in the battle's second disruption marker being laid.

Turn 5: The Legions inched forward to within charge range of the BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT, the fools. A little bit of totally ineffective shooting followed by rallying attempts on the 2 disrupted BGs - both successful.

Turn 6: The BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT would have had to do a CMT not to charge against the Romans. Not charge? Whaddya mean not charge? Forward they went. The Velites ran like sissies to hide behind the Legions, who suddenly, not to mention painfully, discovered what LCpl Jones meant by "they don't like it up 'em, Mr Mainwairing!".

My BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT crashes into the Legions

The following melee resulted in all the Legion BGs receiving disruption markers as well as 1 suffering a base loss (first casualties of the game). Yeehah! My BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT didn't have to break off!

Editing to add: the protected lancers who were charging the evading Velites rolled a 3 for variable move and ended up 1/4 inch short of the third BG of Legion, so no impact to resolve at that end.

Turn 7: some Romans decided to charge (edit to add: including the Legion that my protected lancers didn't quite reach), and lost all the impacts but one. That one was on my right wing where my light horse had decided to taunt his cavalry by shooting arrows at them and calling them rude names. The Romans rolled very long for their charge move, the light horse rolled very short for their evade and got caught in the rear. Oh dear, that'll be an automatic disruption marker. Somehow the impact resulted in a draw. The melee phase saw the light horse drop to fragmented.



Confession time: we messed up at this point, although overall the end result of the battle would have been much the same.

What should have happened: The light horse should have turned to face the cavalry and the melee should have continued in Turn 8. This would almost certainly have seen the light horse drop to broken, they would have routed directly to the rear, the Roman cavalry would have pursued and would have been engaged by the lancers. It would just have been delayed by 1 turn and I would only have lost 1 extra attrition point in the final tally making it a 5-3 rather than 5-2 win.

What did happen: in the Joint Action Phase we continued the evasion and pursuit.

Why did it happen?: I think we had just been discussing what happens when a unit breaks and is pursued and confused ourselves into applying it here.

The BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT vs scrum continued in a nicely damaging (to the Romans) fashion.


1 Legion with a disruption marker,

2 Legions with disruption markers,

ooooh - look - a third Legion with a disruption marker!!!




Turn 8: meanwhile further up the field on my right wing, the commander of the BG of protected lancers who weren't in a melee was planning to head forwards and turn in to sweep around the rear of the Roman lines. Unfortunately his warriors decided that they'd much prefer to join in on the melee that the armoured lancer BG next door was in so substituted the low-rolling weighted dice into my hand so that their CMT to not charge failed. Grrrr, they got a sound talking to when the army returned to the camp. This took that melee up to 6 dice vs 3, so the Romans were looking decidedly worried.




On my left wing, the light horse decided that perhaps there might be some targets they could shoot arrows and hurl insults at over in the centre of the battlefield, so they did a 90 and headed round behind the BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT.



The BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT continued it's brawl with the Roman Legions, dropping one of them to fragmented and another to 2 bases.

At this point we had just reached the 2 hr 10 min base-time-limit for the match and rolled 1D6 each, added them together, doubled it and added that as extra time, giving us an extra 14 minutes to complete 1 turn each.

Turn 9: 2 more Roman BGs decided to charge into existing melees and both lost their impacts. One of these charges was a 2-base BG of Elite Triariiiiiiii shifting into a gap between two Legion BGs. A Legion that had been standing around twiddling its thumbs for the last 8 turns decided it was time to do a pretty complex bit of manoeuvring on my-right of the BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT by moving forward and turning 90 to threaten its flank.

Turn 10: My light horse managed to move into a position where they could shoot at the Legion attempting the tricksy manoeuvre, not that it had any effect. Onto the melees. The middle of the three Legion BGs being mashed by my BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT lost a base (the two BGs in contact rolled 6 hits against his one!!), leaving it with just one base. Oh dear, I do believe that is called an "Auto Break".



OK, let's resolve all the other melees and then see which units are affected by that. Oh dear, another Legion loses a base.
Time for the cohesion test daisy-chain:
Legion on their right - never liked those guys anyway. I think they were from Pompeii.
Elite Triariiiiiii - we don't give a tuppeny bit about those Hastati & Principes being destroyed.
Legion on their left, beyond the Triariiiii, who are fragmented - "I think it's time to run away from this BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT!" "I think so too - ruuuunnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!"



Tricksy-Manoeuvring Legion (seeing the previously-fragmented Legion break) - "oh crap, those gits have made us have to test. Oh, double-crap - we've picked up a disrupted marker!"

Other melees were going on on the wings, with some Roman base losses.

The final stage of this melee phase was the inital routs and pursuits, which saw the Legion which failed its cohesion test and broke being caught in the rear by the lancers (automatic base loss) and then losing another base when we did the impact.

Confession time: we made two minor errors here.The legion which auto-broke did a rout, with a pursuit by the lancer BG it had been facing. It should have simply been removed from the table and not pursued. This would have left the lancers in overlap of the melee to their left (and those protected lancers on the end of the BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT would have appreciated their assistance - there was talk of buying kegs of ale if they helped out. The Legion they were facing had in the last melee phase managed to drop them to fragmented!
The Legion which broke on seeing the auto-break was correctly routed and pursued, caught in the rear (automatic base loss) but the impact should not have been resolved at this point - it should have been in the impact phase at the beginning of Turn 11 if the game had continued.
However, neither of these would have affected the outcome of the battle.

Under our club's tournament rules, as this was the final turn there would be no joint action phase.



The Final Result:

Battle as actually played:

Roman losses: 2 BGs broken, 1 fragmented = 5 attrition points (Tournament points = 6 + 2 = 8)
Sarmatian losses: 2 BGs fragmented = 2 attrition points (Tournament points = 8 + 4)

Battle if We'd played the LH vs Cav correctly: 

Roman Losses: 2 broken, 1 fragmented = 5 attrition points (Tournament points = 6 + 3 = 9)
Sarmatian Losses: 1 broken, 1 fragmented = 3 attrition points (Tournament points = 7 + 4 = 11)



Oh, and I spotted another rules mistake we'd been making - we had both thought it was odd that disrupted and fragmented units didn't seem to suffer ill effects in close combat. We'd missed the line at the bottom of the quick reference sheets where it deal with that part (lose 1 dice per 3 if disrupted; 1 per 2 if fragmented). In pretty much every case this would have been in my favour if we had thought to look all the way down the sheets, so it could have been an even bigger or earlier win for me. Also that the light horse should have been down 1 dice per 2 in their impact and melee with the Roman cavalry.


Conclusions and what did I learn?

1. Roman Legions don't like it up 'em, Mr Mainwairing! In other words a BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT rocks. It would probably have rocked even better if I hadn't stupidly put a BG of protected lancers on one end when I could have put the 4th BG of armoured lancers there.
2. Light horse can be useful, but 2 BGs of 4 isn't enough to be any real use. And 6s would be better for shooting (but could make them less easy to manoeuvre). Hmmmm, Scythian allies like quite useful now that I think about it.......
3. I am an idiot who really must learn the rules
4. I am an idiot who really must learn the rules
5. I a........
6. I was greatly helped by Jerry's deployment - the gaps between his blocks of Hastati/Principes meant that in melee my BSBoBSMoBSHwLSPT got extra dice for overlap, although there were some rear-rank bases that couldn't contribute dice. However, he couldn't expand to match the overlaps as this would have brought my sitting-idle-not-contributing-dice bases into the fray and he would have BGs throwing 4 melee dice against up to 8 from mine instead of the 6 they were facing by not expanding to match. I think his original plan was for the Triariiiiii to storm into the gaps, but only one of those BGs managed to do so, and that was too late to be much help.
7. I might have been better off dropping one of the BGs of protected lancers and using the 48 points to upgrade the remaining 3 to Armoured. Actually, I'd probably have changed them to 2 sixes which would have been useful on the wings.
8. I must make sure that I keep my light horse (if I use them) outside of javelin range
9. I must make sure that my light horse only taunt enemy cavalry if they have some lancers who can actually intercept the cavalry charge!!
10. I am an idiot who really must learn the rules!

My suggestions for Jerry:

1. If you are going to leave gaps between your Hastati/Principes for the Triariiiiii to step into, you should probably consider using larger BGs, which will also be less liable to auto-break and could allow you to move into or match overlap positions for melee.
2. You might want to deploy across a narrower frontage, particularly against an opponent with lots of heavy cavalry.


Overall, it was a good fun game and I think Jerry and I both learnt a lot from it. My thanks to Jerry for last night and here's wishing him good luck in his group matches for the club tournament.

12 comments:

  1. Very interesting report. Thanks for sharing your mistakes: it'll help me avoid them if I ever find myself playing FoG.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can see what Jerry was (maybe) trying to do - replicate the Roman checkerboard formation.

    However, this should be in supported blocks (i.e. no gaps in the line, but BG's are staggered - almost like the crenelations on a castle). This is a great way of mashing impact troops like Gauls. Their numbers in Impact are negated (as only contacting bases count at Impact). Presuming that the contacted Romans can survive the melee (as they tend to be Skilled Swordsmen, Superior, Better Armoured this is usually the case). Then their colleagues on either side charge in and the attacking force finds it is fighting more BG's than it has in combat. This means that hits (and death rolls) are split around 3-4 BG's for the Romans against 1-2BG's for the attackers. The attackers take more hits per BG than the Romans and are therefore more likely to have to take cohesion tests and larger death rolls as a consequence (for losing impact and melee). The Romans are good at this tactic as they as drilled, Impact foot and so get +POA themselves.

    I've done a couple of examples of the use of the checkerboard formation in FOG on my blog (philbancients@blogspot.com) which may prove useful to Jerry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It certainly looked like that was his intention, but I think the all-cavalry opposition spooked him into deploying across a wider frontage than was sensible, and he positioned his Triarii (who should have moved in to fill the gaps) too far back to get there in time to help out.

      I agree that he could have kept them as 4s/2s and deployed as a crenelated wall, which would have been more effective. However, that would have left his flanks potentially exposed to my cavalry.

      By the way, Skilled Swordsman doesn't count against mounted swordsmen, so he got no net POA against my lancers in melee, except against the idiotically-included BG of protected lancers as all his Legion were armoured.

      Delete
  3. Nice AAR, looks good for future games as you get used to your army and the rules. Reconising mistakes is a major part of getting better

    Ian

    ReplyDelete
  4. Now that's a good AAR, we learn the rules the more we play and we play to learn the rules?????, FOG seems to be really popular at the club by the way...

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Ian - spotting mistakes and learning from them is always a good idea ;)

    @Lead Legion - glad to have been of service :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Fran - it certainly seems to be popular, and we have a lot of competition players who are quite highly ranked in the UK.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're right about SSw against mounted - I was thinking about Gauls! However they would get a + at impact against any mounted (unless charging shock mounted). They also get a + against most mounted (except mounted Sw and pesky Elephants).

    In fighting the Carthaginians (where I was usually outnumbered in mounted troops) I often used the Triarii for flank defence (Offensive Spear, Elite, Armoured) as their narrow frontage made them more manouverable and the combination of armour, spears and re-rolling 1's and 2's made them a formidable anti-cavalry unit.

    However, against a horse-only army I can see Jerry's problem. The Roman cavalry get swamped unless they stay very close to the infantry - but the horse archers can ping away unharried, start causing cohesion tests and - when sufficient numbers of BG's are Fragmented - charge in with anything to get a Broken result.

    I must finish my Parthians and try them out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In this battle, the impact foot + and the lancers' + cancelled out (the lancers were charging in the open), so the impact was at evens.

      I can't remember the Parthians list offhand. Cats and LH?

      Delete
  8. Very interesting bit of intel my spies have found. Thanks, Lady Tamsin

    :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome Seb :)

      (not sure how reliable that intel will be when my Sarmatians push through to the far East though........)

      Delete
  9. Nice AAR, thanks for posting it. I wish FoG was more popular in my area.

    ReplyDelete

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