A WAB 2.0 game report
by Jeff Jonas
Satrap of Parthya, Lord of the Parni, creator of the kataphract.
Jeffarnes reigned in his horse, he could see the havoc his armored horsemen had wrought on the evil invader's Thessalian horse, the damage the scythed chariots had done to the enemy phalanx. Tired diminished squadrons of the enemy were all that was left between the right wing cavalry under Mazeaus and victory.. at the lead was Jeffarnes, riding into the dust with his armored Parni cavalry, the nobles of Parthya, through the Greek cavalry and off to ransack Alexander's baggage camp. But wait, as he returns, victorious, with booty and prisoners.. the news.. a rider covered in caked on dust gallops towards the column..."All is lost!! The Great King has fled!".... "Damn his royal arse!" cursed Jeffarnes. He grimaced at his loyal standard bearer, Babaloozees, and urged his horsemen back into the swirling dust clouds covering the plain littered with wrecked chariots, bodies, and injured horses.....
Thirteen years after...
Babaloozees return home from Babylon. After serving with Alexander, and then
Perdiccas, and then Antigonos the One-Eyed, in their never ending wars, the troop of
Parthyan horsemen finally see their tribal lands near Hecatompylos once again.
In the years that passed, Jeffarnes became ever more aware of the dangers of the corrupt invaders, the effete Greeks that held Bactria, the wild and crazy Successors naming themselves kings without merit. With great energy Jeffarnes recruited the refugee soldiers from the area, the former Persian foot guardsmen, the Mardian archers, his own troops of light and heavy Dahae, and Parni horsemen. He would give his elite horsemen lances, longer than the Macedonian' spears, and armor the horses all around, no force would withstand their charge! This force was kept up to strength and fought back the Bactrians, then defeated the Sagartians and others who sides with the invaders.... Jeffarnes would once again ride out against the invader!!
Jeffarnes steadies the troops, safely from the rear!
The first test for Jeffarnes new army was at Orccon at the LA Sheraton Gateway, February 2011. The event was hosted graciously by Harold Hildebrand. This was a 2000 point list using the Warhammer Ancient Battles 2.0. I played two games with my AtG supplement Persian in tow, led by Jeffarnes, the first game was against Adam Hammer and his Stormin' Normans. Later in the day I played Pat Lowinger's (in progress) Macedonians.
The lighting wasn't so great in our gaming corner, so my photos are sub par. It was difficult to get anything in focus. I hope these few shots will suffice.
Game 1: Normans vs. Persians
The first game was against Adam Hammer's Normans. We played on an unusual table... the "Aztec Time Portal" was what came to mind, as our a-historical match-up set up. The three rock walls channeled everything and diminished my missile troops effectiveness. Since my army needed to be able to shoot to be effective, I wasn't too keen on this layout. As it turned out the table set-up channeled everything in unpredictable ways.
The Normans took the first turn, and immediately I could see how bad my plan was. The new cavalry rules in WAB 2.0 meant that his cavalry could easily just jump onto my right flank. Before I had even moved, he had me on the ropes. The 'portal walls' of course screened all his horsemen from my firepower.. my infantry could not slow down his horsemen... but they rushed to cover the right flank, maybe i coudl make some moves that might at least slow down the juggernaut.
The Normans knights easily rode around the pillars and engaged the Persian heavy cavalry... the fight was not even close. The Persian horsemen were scattered and skewered by the enemy lances... luckily the morale held for the troops nearby! Still the Norman knights continued their rampage, overrunning the Mardian archers and then the Takabara in a daisy chain of mayhem. Luckily Jeffarnes had made sure the hoplites were just out of the Norman's pursuit arc.. just barely!
As the Norman knights were running over the Persian horse as if they were speed bumps... the fast Devroet cavalry of the Normans charged into the Kardakes infantry- who had rushed to the flank to keep the enemy cavalry from surrounding the army. The Devroet's had been diminished by the slingers, so that helped, but the Kardakes were steadfast and absorbed the enemy charge with great pluck. The enemy horsemen turned tail and ran off the battlefield! Their rout so unnerved the Dux and his trailing bodyguard of knights, that they turned and fled!! This was an unexpected turn of events and somewhat mitigated the loss of the Persian cavalry!
These were the major actions of the game, the rest of the time the armies tried to come to grips with each other across the walls... I mopped up his skirmishers, he rolled up some units that were stupidly in he way of his unstoppable force cavalry.... but my most expensive units were intact, and in the case of the Kardakes (loaned to me by Paul Rigby)... worthy of a unit citation.
The game turned on table quadrants, so the Normans won by a couple hundred points, 793 to 605. Well, I expected worse since my missile fire was totally tore up by the terrain and the speed of the Norman storm... so far so good.... it's alwasy interesting to try a weaker army in WAB... strong armies are boring!
Kudos to Adam for putting up with my "Chess match" mentality!
Some other views of the above game by Larry at HMGS:
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Game 2: Macedonians vs. Persians
The second game was a nice historical match. The set-up was "meeting engagement" and resulted in Pat's Macedonians being rather strung out in unsupporting positions.
Since many of my troops were of the "throw away" category, my plan was to channel his units piecemeal into my firepower, and try not to get embroiled with his phalanxes. It turned out that this table had hills that counted as difficult terrain, so that kept the heavies kind of boxed out.
As can be seen in the photo, my Persian horsemen and skirmishers engaged first. sniping and trying to hem them into shooting channels. This worked against his Companion cavalry. They eventually charged my center, routed the Mardian archers... but were whittled down to a nub in the process.. a definite charge into the valley of death on their part.. the Persian cavalry then counter charged, routed the few remaining Macedonian horsemen, and then rode hell bent for leather towards the enemy center. The armored horsemen wiped out the Agrianian slingers and then directed their anger at the enemy war machines.
On the left flank the light cavalry skirmished, the Takabara engaged the Agrianians, but were wiped out in the process. On the right flank the Dahae cavalry got too anxious and were caught by a phalanx, which forced them to flee... this was where I blew the game. I lost by a few points, 529 for the Macedonians, and 483 for me... so it really was a draw... but a draw is a win for Persians vs. Alexander's army!
I must say that the "Meeting engagement" set-up often leads to these skirmish results, one needs more than six turns to really get into action. I bet if we had done pitched battle then Pat's phalanxes would have crunched my infantry.
After two games I was fried. Nobody really wanted to hang for a third game, and this allowed me some 'getaway' time to drive back down to San Diego. Prizes were handed out, and I was fortunate to win the 'best painted' merits which landed me a bag of the nice Wargames Factory Numidian plastic figures. I'm not exactly sure what I will be doing with them yet, but I should find them useful for my Caesarean Romans.
As for WAB2, hardly anybody has re-based their figures for 3 deep formations. Phalanxes still like the 4 deep, which is good, because I think it looks better for the game. We scratched our heads about the "Cavalry Counter Charge" rules once we got into that.... that is one place in WAB2 where I feel the new rules simply are too convoluted. Not being able to Counter Charge if the enemy is within 8" is a dumb rule.... especially if both sides are moving less than 16".... I can understand why some may wish to have counter-charging cavalry move forward a few inches, but they don't even do that! Just one inch movement is silly. I'd prefer no Counter Charge movement to these new oddball complications.
Other than that, we did not have to refer to the rules much, which is always a good thing. Once we got into it, it's just like WAB, just remembering where it is different. I took a chunk of levy skirmishers, and light troops, they performed average. I'm fond of how skirmishers have to pass Ld to charge formed troops.. this means they are not longer as big a glue factor. The reform rules are a bit hard to get used to... in games of 6 turns, not being able to turn around for some units makes them practically useless. Not alowing levies to even reform is a mistake and nerfs the Persian list as some of their good cavalry are levies. I did not take the "Noble Cavalry" because I did not want to have to try to figure out what they could actually do, or not... no doubt the whole list needs a review vis a vis WAB2....
Some of the other errata changes also vexed me... why are Macedonian war machines "unreliable"??
Both these games had oddities which made it difficult to see if my lowly AtG "End of Persia" army really can stack up. The game against the Normans developed in a strange way because of the channeling terrain, the game against the Macedonians was odd because the "Meeting Engagement", (as it often does), led to a total 'stand-off' deployment. Neither side was all that aggressive, and the difficult terrain hills hampered both of us. This scenario needs to be linked with "Take and Hold" to make it more exciting, maybe two or three 100 point items that need to be "held", that way players will not just be content with 'parking' table quadrants and they will be forced to focus on a defined goal.
The AtG Persian Army
As I stated this army list suffers because of the application of the levy rules, but it gains a funny edge because of the skirmisher rules.... The leadership dice roll to stand for skirmishers is enhanced by their relatively high leadership.. plus they suffer no ill effects of "levies" against other skirmishers, so this makes it quite a choice whether to have the Takabara and Mardians stay formed or as light infantry. Nobody tested my hoplites, but they are always hampered by no standards, and no oracles. If Pat had been more aggressive I think he would have found my infantry line to be rather easily knocked over, but as I said the difficult terrain hills and the deployment meant that it would be difficult to concentrate a decisive push.
Basically in WAB terms there is nothing really good in the Persian army, other than high save cavalry (which means nothing against bolt throwers- luckily Pat's three machines mostly missed (as they should at long range). The list I took was a "Satrapal General" list, I also had on my box the fixin's for a "Great King" list with my Darius figure and an elephant. In the end I decided the Satrapal list would be more competitive, but the Great King list would have been better against the opponents I faced... the Normans would not have like to face an elephant, and I think the Kinsmen might have done better than the WS3 Persians against his Strength 5 7 hits ... he rolled a number of "3"s so I reckon it might have been an even fight, and the Kinsmen are Stubborn so they have a 50/50 chance of surviving the Ferocious Charge of the Normans.
Other than that, I liked the balance. I had 30 cavalry models and about 140 foot, so it had some numbers. My heavy infantry kept them honest and the Kardakes surprised folks with their resilience-- at least they are not levies!!!
Click here for the army list
Well all armies are projects, and I have a ton of Persians in the closet. I decided that if I was going to play, that I needed to get my Persian infantry upgraded. I had hoped that my Satrapal Guards, and scythed chariot, and Kardakes would be done. I got the first unit finished, but the others languished for lack of time. I was fortunate to borrow Paul Rigby's Kardakes (by Crusader miniatures), painted as the Louisiana Military Institute in the John Wayne movie "The Horse Soldiers." But I did get this unit of Persians out of the bins and done to a mostly finished state-- at least a tabletop gaming state.
This unit of Persian footmen was 'speed painted'. The models are from Newline Designs, Wargames Foundry, and the bulk are Old Glory.
I blocked in the colors then applied Future Floor wax with some Burnt Umber acrylic paint mixed in. This kind of gave them a finished look without a lot of detailing. I sprayed them with Testors Dullcoat to knock down the sheen, then I painted in details. The plan was to get them on the table so there is little detail work on them for now. Cuffs and the characters got extra attention.
Here is a close up of the characters that spent a little extra effort on. These do not have their shields as yet. The standard was an old "BattleStandard" miniatures item. I filed down the relief a bit.
The shields are now added. I used these lousy Foundry shields (from the World of the Greeks range) because they matched the standard bearer's shield. Since these are Persians it seemed to be logical. Unfortunately I had to jump through hoops to get the shields to seat on the arms... in the end it was "Green Stuff" that did the trick. Sadly if one looks close, one can see the putty on the inside-- but it's dark and painted there :)
Another shot of the shields from hell... I am planning on a shield design, I just can't make up my mind whether to go with an Ahura Mazda eagle motif or a more rounded symbol. When I get there I will add pictures!
Here's the travel box for the Persians. I have cut a sheet of duct steel to fit on a piece of foam core cut to the shape of the bottom of this nice plastic bin box. (Sadly these bin boxes keep having their handles break- so they are not good for convention handling). I have mostly shifted to steel bases on my figures. This way I can have magnetic movement trays, and I can put magnetic material on the bottoms so they stick to the metal sheet here.
I use Litko bases primarily, but often cut my own. The good news is that nothing slipped on the drive and there was no breakage!! Also a joy when traveling a long freeway drive.
My old Dahae Skythians by Old Glory
28mm Kyrtian slingers by Foundry, Newline Designs, and some old 25mm RAFM's thrown in for variety!
Foundry Persian guardsman with BattleStandard standard.
Mardian archers. 1st Corps, and Foundry Persians.
Takabara. Newline, Essex, Foundry, and a couple of Battlestandard samples.
Levies. Minifigs old 25mm figures fill out the back of the army.
That's it for now... I intend to post a few more details on the units in my AtG Persian army soon!
(With apologies to the late great Angus McBride)
28mm Old Glory from their Ancient Command packs. Newline horse.
28mm Old Glory from their Ancient Command packs. Newline Draco standard.
More inspiration from the great Angus McBride. I think he did some of best work dealing with Steppe horsemen.
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Copyright 2010 Jeff Jonas
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