Saturday, 7 November 2009

Long Winter Nights warmed by Ancient Armies: Phyrus v Rome

Well those of us in the northern hemisphere are drifting into the autumnal mists and long winter nights (but not so cold as I remember in my childhood, or perhaps I now merely zip up my coat like mother told me to do). How to spend those long winter nights? After all there are only so many trashy books to read and TV gets boring. The wargamer of course has an answer to that, an Ancients campaign running at my local club/friends house, so winter will now be spent plotting and scheming along with the Captains of Antiquity and an army list or two.

The campaign is (planned to be) a weekly meeting thing driven from a board game, minimising (in theory) the need for umpirical decisions, although inevitably there will be legalistic debates over an ambiguous rule wordings, particularly at critical junctures which is/are inevitably settled by a democratic show of hands and/or fractious argumentation - but at least keeps us off the streets. The main bone of contention being at present how to devise a valid (playable) army list when we go "off history", by winning or losing battles our historical counterparts did or didn't. For example, a victorious Seleucid in Africa may well be able to fight Carthage or Rome with Numidian Allies rather than be barred by virtue of their non-appearance in the historical DBMM army list.   

It will probably last three months or so, perhaps just in time spent debating the ownership of the Italian Samnites . From board game campaign play (see above) action moves to tabletop when large battles are fought using DBMM and a 'point list' roughly reflecting the campaign board situation (advantage to disadvantage). On the tabletop side DBMM is a new thing for me too, my preference in things in ancients previously being the far simpler DBA, or Strategos II (Lost Battles) for the simulation feel.

At least it is not DBM whose clarifiations between editions and competition feel/angst stupefy me. Sorry I know it has its fans, but one man's meat is another man's poison, so each to their own.

The scene is set for the first clash of arms set circa 330 BCE. After most of the first real campaign night was spent sorting out the many colourful counters (Note: We had a short preamble taster session to flush a few rabbits from the undergrowth, then reset everything back to the start, so opening gambits could be hatched) the Greek team [another and myself] have rather blundered than planned into conflict with the early Romans (pre-mass of blade which is some consolation), while ignoring growing dark-threats from the Seleucid Empire (the remnants of Alexanders fallen realm). Granted the use, drawn from a random event pack, of  a "use hm or lose him" random Greek adventurer general [with army] (Phyrus) we find ourselves at the gates of Rome, outnumbered (by 10%) but hell bent on destruction. After all how many times in a wargaming career does one have the opportunity to sack Rome (or die in the attempt to).

To be continued ...


Monty said...

Blimey. Respect, Geordie, respect.
Still love 'Rome - Total War' on the PC though.

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Thanks but respect will only be due if this Albatross takes to flight ;)

My own fear is that something this size really needs a dedicated umpire, no player-umpires please.

The lads with the toys have a very impressive array of 25mm figures and I was hoping to display some action shots via this blog. The Romans in particular are recent Foundry stuff painted to an excellant standard.

PS I am a Rome Total War fan too. Except that I somehow don't seem to have the time and spec of PC to appreciate it to its fullest (yet). A mute point is that a learned chap (Philip Sabine) has raised points against its simulation value, but as a fun game - yes ;)