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."