Thursday, 5 January 2017

Starting the year right - ADG Seleukid - Roman game

On the first day of 2017, the army of the Macedonians in Asia, led by Antiochos, the Great King, and supported by sundry indigenous national contingents, confronted an invasion force of western barbarians led by the arch-tyrant Scipio himself.

The rules were L'Art de la Guerre, with 200 point 6mm armies, based on 40mm bases. I forgot to bring my camera, so all images have gracefully been supplied by Imperator Brett who was fielding the western barbarians, otherwise know as the Romans.

The Romans deployed with a command of Gallic cavalry supported by Gallic warbands on the left, an elite legion in the centre (led by Scipio himself!), and a regular legion on the right. Facing them, by Seleukids had a mixed command of elite heavy cavalry, horse archers, Galatian warbands and Cretan archers on the right led by Antiochos, a pike block supported by elite elephants in the centre, and a weaker command of archers, scythed chariots and heavy cavalry on the left facing the Roman legion.

On the Roman right/Seleukid left, the Roman legion was slow to advance, sending it's two velite units forward to probe the Seleukid line and promting an uncontrolled charge of scythed chariots. The chariots actually held up quite well considering the circumstances and stalled the entire advance of the Roman left. The Arab archers and Anatolian slingers on the Seleukid left rained fire on the opposing velites from both Roman legions, driving them from the field.

On the Roman left, the Gallic cavalry performed what was, for Brett, an amazing feat of cavarlyness, swinging off to the left and outflanking the Seleukid line. However, by accompanying his cavalry, the Roman left wing commander abandoned his warbands who sat at the back waiting to have their uncontrolled charges activated.

In the centre, the two infantry lines advanced towards each other with the Romans moving faster and maneuvering around a patch of brush, trying to match their triarii with the Seleukid elephants. Meanwhile, Antiochos advanced his heavy cavalry, Galatian warbands and Cretans to outflank the Roman centre, leaving just the Skythian horse archers to mess with the outflanking Gauls.

The lines clashed in the centre. The melee went initially in favour of the elite Romans who managed to get a velite unit around the flank of the left-most pike phalanx. However, the arival of the Galatian warband on the Roman left flank suggested that the Romans had to press their advantage swifly, or fail.

Over on the far left of the Roman line, the two Skythian horse archer units in the pay Antiochos were causing a minor havoc. One unit caused the Gallic warband to charge uncontrollably away from the big central melee, while the other had forced one of the Gallic cavalry units to turn back from their outflanking ride.

However... the remaining Gallic cavalry had made good on their ride to victory, closing on the Seleukid camp, far ahead of the Seleukid heavy cavalry who had turn back from the front line to pursue them.

Too late, the Seleukid cavalry caught up with the Gauls, destroying one unit, but not before the camp was pillaged and the wealth of Asia dispersed among the barbarians.

However, despite their initial mauling in the centre, the Seleukid elephants and Galatian support burst through the opposing triarii and turned the flank of the Roman line. On the right of the Roman line, their own velites had been driven off and Seleukid slingers were also conducting a flank attack. All the pike blocks were badly bruised, but none had broken.

And that was enough to end the game as a glorious victory for the House of Seleukos - starting the year as they mean to continue. Despite the very daring Gallic raid on the Seleukid camp, the Roman's failed to destroy a single Seleukid unit. However, Seleukid shooting paid huge dividends, particularly on the Seleukid left, destroying most of the Roman light infantry before the lines closed.

Despite having a huge numerical superiority on the Roman right/Seleukid left, the Romans did not or could not press their advantage and stalled their advance in the face of the arrow shower and scythed chariots. At the end of the day, the Seleukid pikement held as an anvil, and the elephants cracked the Roman resolve like a glorious hammer!