The sixth game in our Fall of Hispania Campaign occurred in 454 AD, 6 game years after the last battle. In fact we played both games in one evening using the Dark Age variant of Neil Thomas’s One Hour Wargames. Chris Harrod rolled Roman and I got Suevi.
We played “Pitched Battle 2,” the second scenario from the book. Two equal sized armies (6 units) face each other. One sits on a Hill (Chris’s Romans) and the other on a crossroads (Steven’s Suevi). The Victor is the player that controls both hill and crossroads.
We rolled randomly for the army compositions:
- Romans: 4 x Infantry, 1 x Skirmishers, 1 x Cavalry
- Suevi: 4 x Infantry, 1 x Skirmishers, 1 x Cavalry
Chris deployed first, in a single line, with his cavalry on his open flank and his infantry resting on the hill. Deploy on a hill had served Chris well in the previous game and I guess he hoped for similar success here.
I got the side of the table with the crossroads and deployed to have my cavalry overlapping his open flank and my skirmishers facing the hill.
Chris got first turn and surprised me by moving his cavalry obliquely across the battlefield in front of his line. Presumably to get out of the way of my own cavalry and attack my skirmishers. Otherwise he sat on the hill.
Given Chris was probably going to stay sitting on his hill I figured I may as well attack. I advanced rapidly with my cavalry and the infantry followed. I left my skirmishers behind so it would be harder for the Roman cavalry to get at them.
On my right my cavalry charged the Roman skirmishers. On my left I managed to get infantry to attack the Roman cavalry frontally and have my skirmishers on their flank.
Chris decided he had to do something and moved one of his infantry units off the hill.
I countered the advancing Romans with a Suevi shield wall.
Being hit in the flank is pretty nasty in One Hour Wargames and Chris’s cavalry rapidly routed (or as rapidly as this game allows).
I rearranged my battle line to get my infantry facing Chris’s. This freed up my skirmishers and I sent them towards my right, behind the line.
As my infantry line formed on the left my right flank cavalry broke the Roman skirmishers. This exposed Chris’s flank.
So, of course, I charged. Infantry to Chris’s front and cavalry to his flank. My skirmishers continued to edge towards the Roman rear.
Rather than sit on his hill and get his line rolled up, Chris decided to charge down the hill. This left the front edge of his infantry on the flat and the rear edge on the hill. I argued that it was difficult to call this “on the hill” or “defending the hill” so we didn’t give Chris the benefit of the terrain.
Another kill on my right.
With Chris’s troops engaged frontally he couldn’t do anything to stop me swinging my right flank troops onto Chris’s flank and rear.
The Roman line continued to crumble to the flank attack.
In the last turn of the game I had Chris’s two remaining infantry stands surrounded.
Bang. Game over.
Another realistic outcome. Grindy, of course, because it takes a long time to kill things. Having said that flank attacks are relatively potent and only take a couple of turns to eliminate the target.
But, despite the fact I won and it was a quick game, it wasn’t much fun to play.
And the rules could do with elaboration so we didn’t have to make rules in an ad hoc manner. For example, the argument about what was on a hill was distracting from the game.