OK, this is the second Neil Thomas battle report from "One - Hour Wargames". This is Scenario #7 Flank Attack (2). As a sequel to the previous battle, the North Welsh having succeeded in crossing the bridge they are now advancing down the main Roman road. At a gentle pass through which the road cuts, the Strathclyde Welsh have deployed a blocking force. Unfortunately, the invaders have sent a flanking force around the right and now dawn finds them in position...
This is the second play of the game. I tried once setting up the defenders farther away but wasn't happy with the play - it was too easy for the defense to hold the hill line and not a close game at all. The flank attack just resulted in a "divided attack" since the two sides are the same size. Basically, the attackers need an edge in numbers or position to take on the defense of the hills. The scenario shows the zones of setup and states the defenders are on the hill facing South, but one can still put them to the West away from the flanking force, or on the back of the hill, etc. In my deployment, I have tried to respect the idea of the scenario.
Down the center is a stone Roman Road [paper cut-out from Usborne], to the bottom right is an abandoned Roman building and a field growing wild [GW ruins from the LOTR game and cut-up door mat], to left are two styrafoam hills and top is a green felt woods with the same hemlock trees as the last game. Scattered around is Spanish moss that has no game effect but helps give the table some 3-D character! Hosts should always be mindful that miniature games should be as appealing to the eye as possible.
Army composition is both sides have six Units. The invaders five Warband and a Skirmisher [bow]. The defenders have a Cavalry, four Infantry [shieldwalls] and a Skirmish Unit [bow]. As I was playing solo, my job was to continue the narrative begun in the previous game. I deployed the defenders to block the pass in depth, with two Infantry on the right [pic bottom], one in the center reserve, and one on the left, with the Skirmish Unit on the far left flank covering the woods. In deeper reserve I put the Cavalry Unit. This 4-1-1 deployment gave me a strong defensive position that was "objective fullfilling" and blocked the road. A straight on assault would not work as the uphill advantage gives a defender no shooting advantage but halves melee hits. For an "Infantry Unit" [using shieldwall by definition] this means casualties against them are quartered.
The canny invaders are quite aware and start the scenario in an outflanking position. The setup puts them quite close to the defenders unless they "know the surprise" which of course I pretended not to and followed orders to block an attack down the road.
The invading North Welsh have their Skirmishers in the woods acting as the pivot point for the attack, then two Warband as a pinning force while three Warband attack the left flank of the defense.
The rule tweak I used was Dicing for Movement. Each Unit declares an intended action, then rolls below for the actual movement available, fulfilling the intent as best as it can.
Infantry = 2d6-1
Warband, Skirmishers = 2d6+2
Which average out to 6, 9 and 12" respectively, altho they give the possibility for a roll as low as 1" for Infantry and 14" for Warband, which seemed fine to me given NT's troop type descriptions.
Starting Positions, Below.
Turn 1 [no pic, sorry!]. The invaders move up quickly in the front to pin the defense while the flankers attack the left Skirmish Unit, hitting it on front and left flank. The far Unit advances against the Cavalry who reposition themselves while the reserve Infantry shift to the left.
End of Turn 2 Below: The three flanking Warband routed the Skirmishers on the far left flank but it took two turns due to the hill advantage. The NW Skirmishers in the woods inflicted three hits with shooting on the Left Infantry. This has repositioned itself facing the flankers and getting it's own flank covered by the other two Right Infantry who had to come off the hill to do so. The cavalry quickly extricated themselves and formed a new reserve as the reserve Infantry takes on one Unit of the flanking invaders.
My understanding of the weakness of Cavalry against Warband is seen here - I'm hoping to use them to finish off weakened Warband Units. Note that the goal of the outflanking force has been realized - the defenders have been forced out of their solid positions and are now receiving no terrain advantages. Feels right thus far!
End of Turn 3: Hard to tell from this angle, but the two left Warbands are fighting the Left Infantry shieldwall. I think I was experimenting with allowing two Units to fight on the front. Something I've now decided not to do. The battle in the center is going the way of the Infantry, as both of the pinning Warband have twice as many casualties. Warband dish out casualties in this game, but they also have a bit of a glass jaw compared to the Infantry Units which halve casualties against them.
End of Turn 4: The left Infantry are looking very shaky - but so is the middle Warband. The fight in the center continues to favor the defenders but it's not time to get overconfident with the left looking so weak. The cavalry are ready to jump in at a good opportunity...or perhaps flee and save themselves at the first opportunity!
End of Turn 5: One Warband and one Infantry each break on the left [top of pic]. The Right Infantry couldn't seal the deal on the pinning force and left them alive with 3 and 1 casualty points left respectively. The Cavalry have now been forced to act!
End of Turn 6: Well, the Right broke the attackers pinning them in place. However, they don't look good with 13/15 and 12/15 hits respectively! Also unfortunate is that the left Infantry was broken and it is now just the Cavalry holding the entire left of the battle. And occupying the center is a very strong Warband Unit with just a few Casualties.
End of Turn 7: Well, the cavalry turned in another weak performance. The entire left is gone while the right tries to stave off inevitable crushing defeat! However, the Warband are still pretty strong and the Skirmishers leave the safety of the woods to nip at the Infantry with 13/15 hits gone. The two flank attacking Warband in the pic left are too fresh to be stopped - they can sense victory!
End of Turn 8: One of the Infantry was broken by the Skirmishers who managed to roll up and compensate for their 1d6-2 combat ability [note this means that on a d6 roll of 1-2 zero hits are inflicted]. The last defender is virtually encircled! The Warband at the bottom did a long repositioning to attack the flanks / rears of the Infantry if needed - will it be?
End of Turn 9: No, but they did it anyway - bloodthirsty savages! The defense is routed...
I thought the game played clean enough. One thing I was trying to use from Kings of War was allowing a second Unit in a front attack. Unfortunately, this had a cheesey aspect since there's no ZoC rules and one can weasel in two Units on a frontal attack despite a continuous defense. I therefore returned to the RAW [more humbly, I might add] and now only permit one Unit per facing and requiring two Units to attack together to flank attack. One must engage the front facing the other the flank/rear facing desired.
The scenario was very reasonable. While I could've set up the defense farther away from the flank attack, that didn't seem reasonable. The action would've been closer without the "two Units attacking the front" experiment which is not the scenario's fault.
Overall, a good game and some new commitment to play RAW until the design is better understood. The geometry of attack, defense, etc, could've used better definition by NT.
For a play of this scenario in the 7YW, go here:
For a play of this scenario in the 7YW, go here: