Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cuts You Up - Dacian vs. Roman AAR

I finally got my Dacians on the table against their mortal enemy, the Romans [insert "boo" and/or "hiss" here]. I painted them specifically to counter the many Roman armies I face in our Field of Glory group.  Now comes the test-will the Dacians beat the Romans and become my new favorites? Or will they suffer the fate of my other "barbarian" armies and get stomped?  No pressure boys, win or go to eBay!

My friend Mark brought his Romans down for the test. Setup saw a village (by Lurkio) split his deployment in two. The Roman army is mostly drilled superior troops in armor, small but tough as boots! Being average and unarmored for the most part, the Dacians were nearly twice as numerous as the Romans. This was a classic Roman quality versus Dacian quantity match-up.

Dacians have a couple of good plays in their army.  The first is their Sarmatian cavalry, some of the best in this era.  The second is their superior falxmen, wielding two-handed swords. In melee, the falx neutralizes the Roman armor bonus and their superior rating means falxmen can stand toe to toe in combat.

My left wing was made up of falxmen and Sarmatians.  My right wing was rubbish javelinmen supported by archers.  Sarmatians lurked on the right wing too, looking for an opportunity to bolster or get stuck in.  






Mark let my barbarians come to him as he looked for opportunities to get my army out of alignment. I sent both wings straight at the Romans.  Mark was concerned about my column of skirmishers heading for his camp so he moved to cut them off.  The skirmishers responded by veering into the village, where their movement was reduced.

A fierce charge by my falxmen locked up our lines and I threw both of my generals in front. With overlaps, superior falxmen and leaders, the Dacians bled out the Roman Lanciarii and auxillary. The Roman cavalry withdrew in the face of my Sarmatians, javelins and falxmen.  Soon, it was just the legionnaires staring down my bloodied falxmen. Roman cries of "Put on a shirt!" and "No shirts, no service!" could be heard up and down their line.  My falxmen yelled back "You're luck we're wearing pants!" and "You should see the Galatians behind us!"



On my right flank, I advanced at full speed.  The birds were singing, and my Dacians too. We had twice as many warriors as the Romans.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, everything! Fighting a legion straight up is tough.  Fighting a legion backed by archers turned out to be impossible for my lads. My Dacian javelinmen didn't just lose in impact, they lost in spectacular fashion.  In Field of Glory, combat is generally a grind with units slowly cycling down to broken.  I suffered a double drop in morale in impact. I lost the ensuing melee and both units routed in a single turn!  All was not lost.  By running, I managed to get a nice shot of the Dacian shieldwork as they ran back towards me. Well done, that!



Insult to injury, Mark skillfully used his skirmisher to drag my Sarmatian cavalry into rough terrain and out of the game.  Well played by Mark and poorly played by me.
Back to the left flank, a unit of falxmen charged and defeated the Roman cavalry in a straight up fight.  This time it was Mark who suffered a double drop in morale and the loss of his cavalry cleared out the only unit supporting his legion's right flank.  My falxmen charged into the legion, shedding bases in impact.  Both sides locked up in a multiturn melee that went on and on. And on.

Just as the legion got the upper hand by routing half my falxmen, the Sarmatians got in a flank charge that broke the legion.  I then sacked the Roman fortified camp with a roll of 6.  With that, the Romans hit their break point and retired from the field.  Victory Dacia!
It was a close run thing.  My right flank crumbled in one turn and my archers were going to get rolled by Mark's fresh legion.  My camp was completely undefended with the collapse of my right flank. Another turn and the Romans would've had the win.  The Sarmatian charge saved the day for the Dacians.  I must remember to hold my javelinmen back in future games as they're simply too brittle to go toe to toe. Maybe I'll put them on a hill, in a fort or hide them away for the game.  The falxmen are as tough as I'd hoped.  They're down to the Romans in the impact phase but fight even in melee. With numbers and a general up front, they look like a match for the legionnaires.

To celebrate my rare victory over Roma, here's Peter Murphy's paean to Dacian falxmen, "Cuts you Up."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Breton warband for SAGA

In the 4th century, Bretons serving in the Roman army were posted out of Britannia and into Amorica (Brittany). To escape Anglo-Saxon and Scoti invaders, a second wave of Breton settlers followed. Charlemagne subjugated the Bretons for a time. A combination of Breton revolts, military victories and devastating Viking raids forced the Franks to eventually concede the independence of Brittany. Somewhere in there, Breton King Morvan fought a personal combat with a Frankish chieftain that left both dead.  I'm not entirely sure how the opposing armies squared that unexpected result.

The 10th century saw a Breton campaign to drive out the Norse who settled on the Loire River. The Bretons and Normans were at war for a time but that didn't stop them from serving in William the Conqueror's left flank at the Battle of Hastings.  Breton history is enough to make your head spin!


In SAGA, Breton levies and mounted troops are javelin armed. Their battle board has 8 shooting abilities and I've been studying to see which stack well before my first game with them. Bretons suffer a -1 to their armor in melee, which means I'll stick to shoot and scoot tactics.

These figures can pull triple duty for me. First, I'll run them in SAGA as a Breton warband. I can also port them into Crescent and the Cross to buff out a Spanish army. Lastly, I can field them in a Hail Caesar Norman army. Portability for the win! 




All figures in the warband are by Gripping Beast, topped with LBMS shield transfers painted in.  I'm tempted to paint the hero King Morvan in a chariot. For now, I do like the look of this warlord hunting the battlefield with javelin in hand and no helmet! Those are the kind of risks that men respect.  They're also the kind of risks that get you killed in personal combat.   
These figures looked a bit dull at the finish line so I added a 2nd highlight to make them pop. You must look good to feel good and I do hope these javelinmen are feeling good right now.



I painted this warband while listening to Marc Morris' The Norman Conquest audiobook. It's fantastic overview of the conquest of England, and most of SAGA's "Heroes of the Viking Age" make an appearance in the book.  Its a perfect companion piece to SAGA gaming.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The winners...




A sip of coffee, a click into Random.org and their magical integer generator, and its time to announce the winners!  

1.  $25  via PayPal goes to Jason Meyer of the Der Feldmarschall blog.
2.  $25  via PayPal goes to Phil of the Association - Les Riflemen blog.
3.  Free painting of a warlord and his second goes to Robert Hingley of the Captain's Blog.  

Email me at m_luhmann@yahoo.com to claim your prize.  PayPal winners, give me the account you'd like your hobby gift sent to when you email me.  For the warlord painting winner, let's discuss what you'd like painted up!  

I had great fun with this and my only regret is that I don't have more to give way.  I'm also curious to see which SAGA warlord I'll be painting up.  I enjoyed all of the comments and the turnout as well. Thanks for playing!