Middle Imperial Roman
The other night saw my Ostrogoths lose in their 'Impetus' gaming debut, 30 - 6 VD's, against the Roman forces of
Anas Clivus Mathmaticus...er Clivey, to you and me. We used 450 pts per side.
OK, we're all new to Impetus but I was completely outplayed (again) after adopting a high risk strategy (yet again).
Maybe I should not try to be too clever and just keep it simple, but one of my trademarks is always snatching a defeat
from the jaws of victory. Untypically for me I completely messed up my use of light cavalry. I must have been having
a bad day as usually I do quite well with lots of light cavalry.
I was the attacker having ten mounted (!!!!) units to Clive's three.
Clive went with two gentle hills deployed in the centre with two woods protecting each flank. I removed the woods on
my right flank creating a large open space.
Clive had but one (Fair) General and a good command structure. I chose three Generals (Expert, Fair and Poor) and
had a poor command structure (no choice).
I scribbled down where my commands would be, and then Clive deployed his entire army.
The centre and left. The Romans are beginning to deploy
I thought Clive would deploy his army to cover his left open flank and so decided to use the woods on my left flank to
hide two units of Alan horse archers in ambush…yes, cavalry in woods! (I told you it was high risk).
Another unit of Alans was concealed behind the wood with four units of skirmishing foot archers in the second wood,
with a further unit hidden behind one of the low hills.
The mass of my Ostrogoth cavalry (Three units CP) was on my right, open flank. With three units of skirmishing
archers in support. My centre consisted of two units of cavalry, four three warband units and two units of T archers.
My right consisted of the hidden Alans plus one further unit in the open with a unit of General led, Gothic cavalry, just
to keep his attention away from the woods.
The plan was to initially refuse the right flank and centre and whip around the Roman left with the Alans.
Clive went for six Legions with two units of skirmishing archers, a unit of T archers, three Auxilia, one Auxilia with
long spears and two cavalry.
Clive's cavalry were deployed on his left with a line of Legions stretching across the table with skirmishing, and T
archers, in support. His right consisted of his auxilia facing up against the woods with horse archers in support.
Straight away I went for my best commander who was commanding the Alans. I then realised I had made a stupid
critical error. I had to deploy inside the wood, away from the edge and with 50% movement reduction could only just
poke out of the woods. Being disordered I couldn't make a second move to exit the woods properly.
How dumb is this? Alan horse archers in the woods. You've got to be kidding?
...all part of a master plan?
Clive's initial panic at my duplicity was quelled when his Auxilia advanced under mounted bow fire to engage.
Surprisingly it was a close affair lasting for several turns, but the result was never in question. Alans were wiped out
with little loss. Luckily the Alans stationed behind the wood ensured that the Auxilia wisely stayed in the woods.
Unfortunately I decided to attack a unit of Auxilia which had long spear with my General led Gothic cavalry.
Again, surprisingly even with no impetus (Mtd fighting Long Spear) I won quite easily. However this then allowed
Clive's horse archers to cause some concern and some nasty archery on my isolated General. It was looking nasty as
their position was now in danger of being flanked by Clive's victorious Auxilia.
Fortunately, they were slowed up by the woods and I rallied successfully so I could retreat facing the enemy. Disaster
Er, this isn't exactly going to plan.
Disordered, General led, Gothic cavalry outflanked by Roman Auxilia in the woods, and horse archers to the fore.
The other wood saw Auxilia and archers advancing towards the wood, whilst the Legions advanced steadily and
menacingly. The skirmishing archers caused some casualties and concern but eventually were seen off rather
successfully by Clive's javelin armed skirmishing Lanciarii.
Roman Auxilia and Archers face off agianst Ostrogothic skirmishing archers....run away...run away.
By now it was looking pretty crap for me, and so it should have. I advanced my right flank Gothic cavalry, and also in
German warriors preceeded by Ostrogothic archers advance towards the high ground
I was saved going impetuous by the hills restricting my ability to see his Legions…still steadily advancing,
My T archers managed to get on the hill cause some casualties on the Lanciarii who started to recoil towards the
Legionary Lanciarii force back the Gothic archers
My centre Gothic cavalry also finally got onto the hills, depriving the position to the Romans. However some deft
moving and firing by Clive's skirmishing archers firing overhead managed to kill my C-in-C, luckily though having no
effect on the rest of the army. The next turn my cavalry then went impetuous and piled into the Roman Legionaries.
The high ground is ours...so what?
Over on the left my Alan/Goth command was finally routed by Clive's horse archers wiping out my Gothic cavalry unit
carrying me past its required 50% VD total.
The action shifted to my cavalry Vs the Legions. Again, I did surprisingly well, managing to avoid the Legionaries pila
on the way in and drawing initially with the Romans even though on less dice. However, the Romans could take the
casualties better and so it was just a matter of time.
The Ostrogoths are about to lose a General
The game ended with my centre command routing with the destruction of my centre Gothic cavalry. My Gothic cavalry
on the right didn't even get into combat in normal game time. We fought it out anyhow and both sides lost a unit,
though I had superiority in numbers and would've probably won in the end.
Notice the mass of unengaged Gothic cavalry on the right.
I was totally outplayed and outfought though I had several lucky results which stemmed the tide at times. It should've
been over long before it was.
Remarkably Clive's C-in-C became Poor due to a 'snake eyes' whereas my Expert ended up a Genius….yeah right!
One of the biggest differences was the command structure and troop quality, which was as it should be when facing
well organised Romans. With one General Clive controlled the vast majority of his troops with relative ease having a
50U command radius. However, even he had discipline problems as the battle stretched the full table. I with a poor
command structure of only 10U command radius, and lots of C class and impetuous troops didn't have a prayer.
Spoiling attacks and missile fire meant that restoring order was almost invariably a six to do so. Failure meant that I
kept picking up permanent losses which kept whittling me down.
The Roman's just kept coming on. The main Roman battle line approaches the high ground
Lessons learnt by Kev:
Don't deploy cavalry in woods. OK we all know that this is dumb but it was a high risk gamble that didn't pay off. It
could so have done though.
Hence, don't try and be clever, do the simple thing Kev. Had I tried to deploy all my mounted troops on the open flank
I would have overwhelmed the Roman's very quickly and could have rolled up their flank. However, this isn't always
My gamble with the Alans could have paid off spectacularly had Clive not chosen to put some Auxilia over there. I
tried to double bluff him and it almost worked.
Lesson learnt by Clive:
Deploy stuff in woods if only to deprive them from me.
A good job that I'm really not bothered about winning. The main thing is that we had a really enjoyable, weird game
fought to an end in two and a half hours.