Sunday, January 8, 2012

Impetus Test Drive

I'd planned to play my first game of Impetus over the holiday but then my wife learned she needed surgery to remove and replace the plate and screws that were put in her jaw in early December.  Ouch!  December was a very rough month for my wife but I'm pleased to report she's up and getting stronger every day.  We even got in a walk tonight just like old times.  Life is much brighter now that she's on the mend.

Saturday, I had to drive my son to a 3 hour practice with the Minneapolis Youth Orchestra in Highland Park.  I remembered my friend Brent and his offer to teach me Impetus.  Looking at a map, I saw that he was somewhat near where I'd be waiting for my son.  A couple of emails later, I was at his house for my first game.  On the table waiting for me was a beautiful Anglo-Saxon shieldwall versus impetuous Norman Knights!
In Impetus, players dice for initiative by command each turn, adding the leadership bonus of their commanders. This adds an element of unpredictability as it is possible for a player to have back to back moves.  Brent won initiative and quickly went to work.  I'm pleased to report that he did not seem to go to easy on me.  He formed his Saxons into "large units" and then went into a shield wall on top of series of hills.  I could plainly see that this would be a tough nut to crack!

His javelinmen came out and got a hit on a Knight unit which happened to be where my commander was attached.  In Impetus, a commander is either attached to a unit for the entire game or he is unattached and off the board.  Having the commander attached to a unit means that his command range is measured from the unit whereas command range for an unattached commander is measured from the back of the playing field.  The commander also adds bonuses to the attached unit but you must take care because if the unit is lost, the commander bonuses are lost as well for the rest of the army.  The hit on my command unit caused a chain reaction.  It put my knights into disordered status which meant that being impetuous, they'd have to take checks to keep from charging across the field at the nearest enemy every turn. I knew that if my command unit went careening across the battlefield into a shield wall by itself, this would be a quick game.  I decided to advance across-the-board with the rest of my troops, hoping that I could bring the unit out of disorder and back into Opportunity (kind of like stand-by) before it was too late.  The downside to this strategy is that I had six units of impetuous knights eager to tear across the field and crash into the shield wall instead of just one!
I managed to bring the command unit back under control but on my far right, two units of knights plunged forward.  Brent's far left and far right flanks were anchored by his weaker troops.  Since things were unraveling from the go, I decided to double move my knights to get a charge in.  A double move was risky because at the end of the first move, I had to pass a discipline test to see if the units went disordered.  If the knights went disordered, they'd lose their "impetus" dice in addition to the disorder penalty during the charge.  I passed the discipline test and crashed into the Saxons in good order.  Fistful of dice were thrown and the Saxons were beaten!  The Saxons retreated and the knights pursued and hit them again!  This time, the Saxons routed and in pursuing their foe, my knights got a flank charge on a second block of Saxons!  Talk about beginners luck!

Against the odds, the Saxons held and turned to face us in a subsequent turn.  Having 2 units of enemy knights roaming on a now hanging flank caused the Saxons to leave shield wall and each large unit turned to face its nearest threat.  I sent my archers and crossbow to harry the Saxon command unit and not surprisingly, they charged off the hill and crushed both of my units. On the upside, the Saxon line was in disarray.

At this point, Real Life intruded.  The game was called short of the finish line because I had to leave to pick up my son.  My last action was to swarm the unit that had been anchoring Brent's left flank.  They'd already been hit once in the flank and survived.  I sent in a second flank charge and amazingly, they survived again.  I hit them from the front and they survived that as well!  These fellows were the heroes of the game because if I'd have broken them, it would have been a path to a Norman victory with my knights pursuing and hitting other units.  As it was, they stood fast and the game was a draw...the most lively draw I've ever fought! All this action in only 3 1/2 turns!

There were many things I loved about Impetus but if I had to sum it up, I'd say I most loved its unpredictability.  From the opening gun, events occur which force you to react in real time. I didn't have perfect control over my troops and that felt just right commanding an impetuous knight army.

Thank you Brent for hosting and teaching me! It was great to combine gaming with one of my many family taxi trips!  The hook has been set.  Impetus has impetuously pushed its way to a front burner on my list of projects.  I ordered the rules over the weekend from Italy and here is a sneak peak at my next project!
These Xyston figures represent two units of Hastati in my new Mid Republican Roman army for Impetus.  Each unit is a single base of 80mm by 40mm.  Instead of the 16 figures I'd have to paint up under Field of Glory, I'm going to do 5 in the front and 4 in the rear.  Plus little bits of color like discarded shields, swords casualties and all.  Back to the painting table!


  1. Nice report. After reading it, I'm planning to paint up some shields and javelins to add to my basing project!

  2. Nice report, Impetus is indeed a good game, and the whole unit on one base just looks great.


    My impetus armies are here....

  3. Thanks Brent! I'm looking forward to seeing the Irish on the tabletop. I have a love for nearly all things Irish so that army will be extra fun to run!

    Yorkie : Your Crusader and Saladin projects are part of what got me looking at Impetus. Beautiful armies. They are just fantastic to look at. I may have to follow you into the period one day. First, I have to work my way through and eventually out of the Mid Republican era!

  4. Looks like a great game! I've not played Impetus before, looks like fun!

  5. wow what an awesome game report and lovely figures,now that's the way to learn a game. I hope that your wife is feeling much better as i know they can effect much more that a game or two.

  6. Thanks for a very nice AAR !

    Glad that Impetus hooked you:)

    Was a lokg time sins I played Impetus, most been playing Hails Caesar, but AAR ar this makes me pick up the rukes again and even might get me to continue my Blatic crusade project...

    Best regards Dalauppror

  7. I have to try Hail Caesar some time. Right now, FoG and Impetus keep me pretty busy. Baltic Crusade project...oh, I'd love to get a look at that!

  8. Hi Monty

    If you haven´t found my start of the 15mm Impetus Baltic Crusade at my blog you have a link here:

    Best regards Dalauppror