Monday, November 23, 2015

Battle at the Mansio

Edited to introduce an annotated picture of the battlefield at the end of the action.

Our latest game of To The Strongest! this weekend was a fictional affair that pitched Roman against Roman with Goths, Franks and Huns along for the ride.

Phil and Andy commanded the Western Roman army with its Goth foederati whilst Arthur  commanded the Eastern Romans and Gus led their Frankish and Hun allies.

The field of glory was largely flat with the most obvious feature being a Roman road and a mansio; a roadside inn of the kind used by long distance travellers and Imperial couriers.

I try to always have a new terrain piece in every game and this time the mansio was it.

The building is a very slightly modified Leven Miniatures Mediterranean building (basically I just removed the drainpipes).   The walls and (not visible here) haystack and well in the rear yard are scratch built.

The Westerners advanced most aggressively.  In the photo below you can see that their line (on the right) has reached the Mansio.  The Roman infantry is this side of the mansio, beyond it is the Goth infantry, and beyond that the Goth horse.

On the eastern (left) side,  the Roman forces are again in the foreground, the Franks are just beyond the road, and the Huns are furthest from the camera.

Western Roman legionaries and auxilia

Impressive Eastern Roman cavalry

Both sides showed caution in the early stages, neither wanting to be caught off balance.

The hand of some Gothic god points the way to the Hun light cavalry.
Some of the Franks are in the foreground whilst far left are the Hun nobles.
The heavier Goth horse were able to drive the Hun light cavalry before them and soon threatened the Eastern Romans' left flank.

Meanwhile the Western Roman cavalry massed on the opposite flank.

And were faced by their Eastern opposite numbers.

At the northern end of the field a fierce melee developed between the two Roman armies' cavalry commands.  Below we see that one of the Western (heavy) cavalry units has become disordered...

Meanwhile on the southern side, one of the Hun light cavalry units was about to be driven from the field.

The Hun nobles charged in and disrupted the formation of one band of Goths.

Both sides fell foul of the luck gods. Gus tried to his deep unit of Frankish warriors out of the bad going to charge a Goth shield wall but drew a one and then another when his General tried to keep the attack moving.  A minute or two later another one stopped the Hun nobles in their tracks.

On both banks the Westerners threatened to swing in behind the flanks of their opponents but all the while the Easterners were inflicting a steady stream of casualties.

As more and more units became disordered (canted units in the pic below) it became easier to get kills.  Soon the Westerners were down to just three remaining victory medals whilst the easterners were on six or seven.

In the end we ran to of time to finish the battle.  When various commanders had to make their way back to their respective homes, we decided that night had fallen.  The Westerners had cavalry forces well advanced on both flanks (their forces are outlined in red below) and in a couple of turns could have made a dash for the easterners' camp.  On the other hand they had taken some serious casualties.  Losing a light unit and then having a General fail an unlucky save could have seen them beaten at any moment.


Richard Phillips said...

Great game so wish I lived closer to Storrs. Like the Mansio great job.
Richard P

Simon Miller said...

I love the Mansio, I shall nick that idea! Could be a really useful building. Looks like a fun battle.

Counterpane said...

Cheers, guys If I can find the picture I used as the inspiration for the mansio, I'll do so.

It's not easy to source, in 6mm scale,the sort of terrain details that make a viewer say, "Oh, that must be a Late Roman battle".