Monday, 21 February 2011

Sumerians for a change

I made it along to the club last Tuesday for the first time in ages. We took a break from the campaign as Simon brought in his own Sumerians plus some he has on temporary loan. He put together a reasonably sized combination. It was nice to play something a bit different for a change. I don't have any photos, but here's a report using Battle Chronicler:
Billy and William played the invading forces of Umma (or something like that); in blue, at the top. On their right (left as you look at the map): two units of 24 foot in two ranks, and then one unit of 24 foot behind another of 36 in columns facing inwards to the ford. On the other side of the river they had two units of two Battle Carts; a large 48-figure Warband in depth; a large unit of three Battle Carts; and a dozen light infantry.  Loads of skirmishers were out front.

As Lagash, we had some Light Infantry in the woods to our left, with two units of 24 Foot in three ranks to their right rear. The centre was composed of another unit of 24 Foot in three ranks; two Battle Carts; 36 Foot in three ranks; two Battle Carts; and another 24 Foot in three ranks. The right saw two large units of 18 Light Infantry in two ranks lurking in the village.  We also had loads of skirmishers out front.

Terrain is a river with a couple of fords running sort of at an angle across the centre of the field. As defenders, we have a wood and a low hill to our left. In our centre is another low hill, while our right flank rests on a town.
We start by advancing our left, moving an extra unit of infantry across a ford so as to add weight to this flank. Our centre advances to hold the space between the river and the village. The plan is to overwhelm the enemy right wing and hope that a decent defensive line in the centre would see off the opposition there.
The enemy advances pretty much all along the line, with their columns making for the ford on their side of the field.  Some of the units on their left spend a bit of time in manoeuvres as they start to get into position for an all-out attack on our centre.
You'll notice that almost all of the skirmishers have gone now. Above, our left advances as the opposition lines up against our centre. Their large infantry column comes across the ford and deploys into line, ready to attack our troops on the hill.

Above: both sides complete preliminary manoeuvres. Our left outnumbers the infantry facing them, while the tight squeeze in the centre has forced the attackers to drop some Battle Carts back into a second wave.
The attacks go in. The map doesn't quite show it properly, but there isn't enough space for our left centre Battle Carts to come into the side of the enemy infantry as they advance on our hill position.
Fighting is now general all across the field. On our left, the Light Infantry have vanished in a puff of smoke, but their presence has helped to damage the enemy line. Both of their units here are now in serious trouble due to our superiority in numbers. The struggle in the centre is desperate as both of the main infantry units dish out great amounts of damage. The two units of Battle Carts fight it out in heroic fashion. The enemy Warband does well, however, and if there is a going to be a breakthrough, this is where it will be. The lone unit of enemy Light Infantry turns out to be their guards, so even though they are outnumbered they give a good account of themselves at our right extremity.
Our left wins out. Our central infantry unit just wins the fight on the hill; the Battle Carts to their left retire after taking loads of grief from the surviving enemy skirmishers across the river. Their Warband breaks through in an uncontrolled advance, which is good for us because it takes them out of the fight. Our rightmost Light Infantry destroys the enemy Guards. The two battling units of Battle Carts are still hard at it. If we destroy theirs, we will win the battle by breaking the enemy army. We can just afford to lose ours.  Either way, this is going to be very close.

And then it's all over. Their Battle Carts just squeak a win, which disorders our infantry on the hill. The Battle Carts hit the infantry flank at the same time as the enemy reserve charges and finishes us off. If we had managed one more hit on their Battle Carts, even as our own routed, we would have won by breaking their army.  This period seems to be quite exciting, because apart from the elite chariot-type things, everyone else is vulnerable. None of the infantry has any real armour, and there are some very unusual troop types that you won't see so much in later forces (for example, the Guard Light Infantry). The game can swing backwards and forwards. It's definitely not for the faint-hearted. I don't see myself constructing such early armies, though, since it would be starting an entirely new period. Anyway, Simon has plenty to go around. I also have to say that one of my least favourite jobs is painting chariots!


  1. Very good battle report indeed and a jolly close run thing.

    I see Foundry released a few Sumerians from a range that was never completed since all the designers left them. Pity as it looked like it was going to be a good one.

  2. Hi Paul, thanks for looking. Apparently some of the newr ranges are really nice - I just can't bear painting chariots/Battle Carts!

  3. Like it even some photos would do nice as well !!


  4. Yes, I think you're right - I'll maybe see if I can get Simon who owns them to pass me some pictures.

  5. You're the second person I follow I've seen using Battle Chronicler. Looks really good Very tempted to persuade a copy tp work on my MacBook.

    Mike (Trouble At T'Mill)

  6. Hi Mike, good luck with Battle Chronicler on the Mac. The program is still a little bit buggy at points, but nothing too serious. One often overlooked feature is real gold for the arithmetically challenged: if you enter the points values for your units, the program adds them all up for you. So it can be a useful army list calculator as well.

    Cheers and thanks looking in.