Sunday 16 March 2014

The Big Birthday Game

Here we go:
The battle begins.  Macedonians on the left as you look at it, Romans to the right.  Simon ran the far flank of the Macedonian army, Simon from Ayrshire the centre left, Willie the centre right, and I took the right flank, nearest the photo.  The Romans were William at the far end, then Billy, Gordon and finally Graham at the end nearest the camera.  The armies have started their advances; the Macedonians rumbling forward apart from my forces, and the Romans sweeping forward, with some movement towards my flank by the Italian legions in white.
Photo number two shows the situation as the armies close.
My wing at this point.  The skirmishers have cleared off and the cavalry are all about to go in.  The Latins have two units of heavy Equites; I have a large unit of elite Companion cavalry and some Peltasts.  Both sides also have some light horse. It could go either way.
Contact all along the line.
How it looks to me.
The central infantry struggle.  Unfortunately for Rome, the Hastati perform really badly, failing to degrade the phalanxes.
However, the Romans at the far end of the field from me are seriously threatening a breakthrough.  The weak point in the Macedonian array is the link between phalanx and cavalry, the Galatian foot, and Simon's Galatians are getting stomped.
A low level shot from my table edge.  I like this one.
A slight advantage develops for me as my light cavalry see off their Latin counterparts.
Things are not looking good for us at the far end of the field, though, as the Romans gain an overlap against the leftmost of our phalanx units.  Having said that, though, Simon's cavalry have broken through, and the Romans have had to divert their Triarii to face them.
My cavalry are also beginning to gain the upper hand.  This battle is getting well nasty.
The mass of the phalanx begins to tell in the centre as the Hastati are swept out of the way for relatively little loss.  The Romans will need to exploit their advantage against Simon and Simon before the phalanx crushes everything in sight.
Gordon, in command of the Latin legions, realises this as well and executes an especially risky manoeuvre: his endmost Principes do an about face to try to catch the end of the phalanx in the rear, while hoping that Graham can hold me off long enough for the blow to land.
The phalanx presses on relentlessly... the endmost Roman legion at the far side breaks through completely.  Will they be able to turn back again quickly enough, though?  At the top of the photo you can maybe just make out Simon's cavalry as it starts a wide sweep around the Roman right and into their rear.  The mass of troops just ahead of them is the dead pile!
I am not killing Graham's cavalry quickly enough, so I risk the King and send him into the front line of the cavalry combat.  This works (just!) and I am now able to threaten the rear of Gordon's Principes.  We will probably lose our end phalanx unit, but hopefully the rot will stop there as I hit the Romans from behind.
Which is indeed what happens.  I prudently remove King Demetrius (or whoever he is - we haven't decided yet) because my cavalry are exhausted.  Indeed they do destroy the Principes, but then are destroyed in turn by the waiting Velites of the Latin legions.  The king's intervention is the only proper decision I make all game, but I like to think it matters.
The final photo shows the phalanx as it is about to hit the Triarii - Macedon wins.

It was close, though.  The Romans just failed to capitalise on their rightmost Roman legion's breakthrough, mainly because Simon's wide cavalry sweep forced the Triarii to turn to face rather than help out against the phalanx.  When the dust settled, the Macedonians were one unit away from breaking, with 42% of army value lost.  However, when a Roman army is beaten, it goes down big time - 75% destroyed.  That will put a crimp in their plans for world domination.

Thanks are due to every who came and made it a memorable day.  It was good to see everybody together for a change.  Since it was my 50th, they clubbed together and made an order to Magister Militum: a whole load of Numidian cavalry for my growing collection of North Africans.  Thanks guys!  And thanks to Cathy for putting up with us all...


  1. Happy birthday and waht a gorgeous game!

  2. Very impressive, love the mass of troops!

  3. Brilliant looking game glad it was a good one to play

  4. Looks like a good time was had by all. I really like Essex Companion cavalry . Happy Birthday .

  5. A shame to spoil your birthday cake... Seriously though, faaaaantastic!!
    A massive game, well-recounted report (I was on the edge of my seat to read what happened next) and brilliant photos, especially by not only your favourite one.
    By the way, what happened to those about facing principes? They obviously did not do enough damage to the phalanx?
    [BTW: Billy Gordon Graham does sound like an evangelist, hey...?! (haha)]
    Great stuff, thanks and Happy Birthday!!

    1. Hi James, thanks for looking! Those Principes did manage to destroy one phalanx unit before being caught from behind themselves. Fortunately for Macedon, the rest of the phalanx managed to hold their nerve (there's a morale mechanism for seeing routed heavy units, and they passed for a change).

      I hadn't thought about the evangelist - maybe they should go into business together!


  6. Great looking battle. Always glad to see the Romans get beat. Nice casualty markers. Purchased some casualty figures some time ago to make some up but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  7. Cheers, everyone. Squishing Romans does tend to leave a warm glow in the heart!

  8. Paul - your games always look spectacular but this one even more so than most. I must really try and get over to Glasgow at some point and give the rules a try

  9. Thanks, David, it would be great to see you. Regular meetings are on Tuesday evenings, although I'm a bit irregular myself...