A triplex of games

A couple of turns into the trial Impetus game. Many of the figures are temporarily stuck on bases and many more are not yet painted but more importantly The Son & heir’s crossbowmen are about to be taught a lesson by their betters. Oh yeah baby!

The last few weeks have seen von Peter himself and The son & heir participating in several games.

Hail Caesar

First up was a first game of Hail Caesar. Terry had come over all keen on the Hail Caesar rules and with the benefit of a high initiative die roll he organised a game. These rules are published by Warlord Games, are based upon Black Powder and are for gaming the Ancients period. From what little von Peter himself has seen of the game it is a development / improvement on Black Powder in several areas.

Five of us got together at Terry’s one Wednesday night after work for our inaugural game of Hail Caesar. The son & heir was on school holiday duty otherwise he would have been unavailable. von Peter himself dusted off his Sassanids for himself and The son & heir to direct and Terry dug out his Romans for Craig and John to control. Terry was official rule looker upperer.

Controversial Sassanid light horse archers sticking it to some of the roman sandal wearers

Much cruel taunting emanated from the Sassanid side as the Romans either refused to advance or were just plain unable to do so as their troops showed a complete disdain of their commanders polite requests to please advance. It is with much regret that von Peter himself must own up as the initiator of much of these verbal barrages. But hey, those roman sandal wearing effeminate western barbarians deserved all they got and besides  von Peter himself was feeling a little ‘edgy’ at the time!!  8O)

The Sassanid plan was to take advantage of the Romans reticence about moving by advancing into archery range and letting the roman sandal wearing cowards suck down a few rounds of the far superior Sassanid archery before charging in with assorted elephants, cataphracts, clibinarii, heavy cavalry etc etc. It was a perfectly brilliant plan … spoilt solely by the rolling of a double ‘6’.

For those who do not know orders in Hail Caesar are verbally issued to a unit or group of units. Two dice are then rolled to see if – and if so how efficiently – the order is  carried out by the troops so ordered. The roll of a double ‘6’ is termed a blunder and following the roll of another die a table is consulted to see what the effect of the blunder is to be. In this case the effect of the blunder was that von Peter’s main strike force of clibinari & cataphracts went charging across the table to stop an inch or so in front of some very startled roman sandal wearers. Yes, they had moved to within archery range – but please save me from overly enthusiastic aristocratic bombasts!

So that was the storm of righteous Sassanid archery theory out the window. A ‘Plan B’ was quickly drafted and initiated. It was crafty in the extreme. Charge in with the kitchen sink to try and right the wrongs of the dice lords. After all we were there to trial and learn the rules. What better way to make some learnings than to take a less sophisticated approach!  8O)

For the benefit of posterity the learnings were that …

  • elephants are not all conquering of themselves and would benefit from support … and a preparatory archery storm
  • clibinari & cataphracts are powerful units but it would really be best to win in the first round of combat when they can use their charge bonus (or whatever it’s called) … and a preparatory archery storm would be most beneficial
  • forgetting to play the Roman pilum rule is a damned fine idea if you’re dressed as a high ranking – and outstandingly good looking – Sassanid. This even works without a preparatory archery storm!

The other talking point were the Sassanid light horse archers who generated a discussion or two with their bag of sneaky tricks. Overall we all learned a thing or two about the rules and it is now up to the rule lawyers to reread the rules and sort out all the things we did wrong.

Black Powder

Next up was a Napoleonic game using Black Powder. Labour Weekend was nearly upon us meaning that Monday was a public holiday here in New Zealand. von Peter himself bestirred himself and organised an eight player Napoleonic game for the Sunday … having first gained the blessing of the Godess of War Fraulien von Peter herself of course! But by the day of the game numbers had halved to four as the result of sudden visits by in laws, remembered marriage ceremonies out of town and the siren calls of domestic home maintenance duties! As it turned out the game was another of those father – son affairs. The Fathers – Rhys and von Peter himself – took on the sons – Daniel and The son & heir.

The scenario was set in 1813. The Prussians under the command of Major General Daniel had swooped down on a town defended by six battalions and a battery of Bavarians lead by the renown von Peter himself. The town itself had some old Vauban style fortifications that were in an extremely poor state of repair. The Bavarian artillery could not be placed on the walls and attacking the walls was no more difficult than attacking a stout building. The town was situated at one end of the field of battle.

Racing from the other end of the field of battle to the aid of the beleaguered Bavarians were their French allies lead by that Marshall in waiting Rhys. Awaiting him and protecting the back of Major General Daniel’s attack on the town were the Prussians of the dastardly and infamous The son & heir. Got it?

The 1/7 Bavarian IR on the decrepit town walls. These heroes saw off the attentions of several attacking battalions for much longer than could be reasonably expected only relinquishing their hold on the walls in the last combat phase of the game. The battalion may be formed from the brush strokes of The son & heir and be part of his collection but they have never performed as heroically as on that day when lead by von Peter himself.  8O)

The usual happened with a Black Powder game in that the competing armies were shredded.

Marshall in waiting Rhys and The son & heir traded men’s lives with a truly callous indifference. The usual number of bizarre results were on display as they usually are when The son & heir is involved. Cuirassiers bouncing off the flank of landwehr infantry in line makes for an illustrative example. The scales of war slipped first one way and then the other.

von Peter himself was well served by his Bavarian troops who generally fought well despite von Peter’s leadership! Major General Daniel rushed one half of the town with a single supported battalion and to the horror of von Peter himself succeeded in wrestling it from the defending Bavarian light battalion … the one blot on the Bavarians record for the day. Fortunately the defending Prussian battalion proved just as listless in their defence a few turns later. This was just as well as the Prussians finally managed to prise the other half of the town from the determined grip of the 1/7 Bavarian Infantry Regiment. So half a town each when the game was called. A draw … though obviously a moral victory for the fathers!!  8O)

Impetus

When The family sent their possessions back from the UK to New Zealand at the end of their foreign adventure a copy of the Impetus rules was included. Despite an interest they were never played. Much later The son & heir started collecting – and on occasion even painting! – the Perry Miniatures late medieval figures. After some extended agitation he convinced von Peter himself to dig out his Greater Italian Wars Spanish-Imperialist army for a trial of the game. All The son & heir had to do was read the rules, learn the rules and run the game.

As with the first game of Hail Caesar several errors were made but we are encouraged to continue with the Impetus rules – at least for now. One nice feature of the rules is how units get worn down and become less effective as they are used.

As with all periods von Peter himself can see himself playing several rule sets for his ancients gaming. This will provide for a variety of differing gaming experiences and also cater to the various tastes of the local gamers.

Don’t forget to ‘click’ on the photos to see a larger image if they should tweak your interest.

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself