The British were commanded by Chris and Tim and the Romans by James and myself. Tony who set up and organised this scenario observed the game from the side-line. Unlike in the previous game the terrain was far more complicated with a large 8 hex escarpment on the left, a 7 hex escarpment on the extreme right and large areas of woodland and small hills in between. The road to London snaked its way through an open area between the woodland through the centre.
The opening move went to the Romans and James and I quickly sent all our units forward in column formation to gain the maximum amount of ground. James and I had worked out a battle plan which in simple terms was to pin the left and right wing of the Brits in position and attack straight down the middle using our missile units, auxiliary archers and ballista to whittle down the opposition first. In order to try and disguise our battle plan we had to commit a large proportion of our Roman army to either wing.
The British warrior hordes were spread out in a long line across the battlefield with the chariots facing the Roman left and the light cavalry and skirmishers located behind the centre and left. The British warriors advanced to below the steep slope of the 8 hex escarpment. This effectively stopped our Roman advance on the left. Having committed half our legionary units and spear armed auxiliaries to this side of the field, this stand-off locked units into a local ‘cold war’ whilst the rest of both armies engaged in combat.
The auxiliary archers took up position in the central woodland and were assisted by shooting from the Roman ballista’s engaged in a missile fight with the British slingers and light cavalry. With the help of some excellent shooting dice from James the British missile troops were forced back disrupted. This was all good but Tim’s Brits defending the 7 hex escarpment on the far right had defeated all our attempts to take this hill. He advanced a horde of warriors and a general plus a 6 stand unit of Gaisatai fanatics into the woodland adjacent to the escarpment. The right wing of the Romans was now in trouble! We had no choice but to commit our few legionary units from the centre into this fight which left few units left for our planned frontal assault along the road towards London.
Meanwhile, the Roman shield wall had now extended into the central woodland but we avoided advancing any further, again to simply pin the British warriors in position rather than engage them. Chris repeatedly used his javelin armed light chariots to try and break the centre of this legionary shield wall with little effect. James and I quietly hoped the chariots wouldn’t shift across to support the British centre.
Tim’s Brits defending the 7 hex escarpment and woodland below had stalled our plans for a central advance and used up half the units which were intended for use to break through the centre. We gave up on trying to take the escarpment altogether when his defending slingers sent the Roman heavy cavalry unit fleeing.
Time was passing and therefore we had no choice but to launch our attack forward in the centre despite the fact that Tim’s Brits were still holding the wood and 7 hex escarpment on the Roman right. Luck then played its part in what should have been a very even combat which resulted in the loss of Tim’s fanatics, warriors and a general that were defending the woodland. This opened up the centre for ready for the Roman central advance. With the British left wing now retreating there was now a clear path opening up and after a very tough struggle the Romans now had a significant advantage. The British losses in the centre and left were very severe and at this point the British army was breaking-up.
Finally we broke the stand-off on the Roman left and the legionary line advanced to engage the British warriors and chariots. The Roman pilum found their targets along the line and caused more problems for the British as units recoiled disrupted. In truth, we had waited too long into the game to finally push the whole of the Roman line forward in order to inflict a total defeat on the British despite the terrain which certainly favoured the Romans. And so, the game concluded in what could be described as a partial Roman victory and they could now continue the march on London.
The terrain layout certainly gave an advantage to the Romans because it would restrict the mobility of the British light cavalry, chariots, and skirmishers. James and I kept to our original battle plan but on reflection should have launched our major attack earlier in the game. In the end only good shooting from James and some very lucky hand-to-hand combat outcomes finally started to break the British line before the close of play.