The fates are cruel. Either that, or they've felt the need to point out that a fully painted army is a Bad Thing. Took the Antigonids out for a Impetus spin last night against Watts' wascally Wepublican Womans and was spanked. And it all started out so well . . . .
We played 300 points, and with my cavalry advantage, I ended up as the attacker. Watts placed terrain, including a river, and I moved it a bit to help anchor my flank. The river rules in Impetus are interesting. There's no provision for mandatory crossings (beyond you need one if a road crosses a river), and the depth of the river (i.e., whether it's passable) isn't determined until after deployment. As it worked out, this meant that both of us opted to concentrate on one side of the river, and neither of us was able to cross it - the table was thus a little more constrained than usual.
I concentrated my infantry on the right, and had my left covered by cavalry. Watts had a broader front, with the river flank held by his Triarii.
The first few turns were fairly straightforward. I pushed the FP forward, hugging terrain and covering with my FL and skirmishers, while the cavalry swung across. In a change of habit, Watts had deployed the bulk of his cavalry behind his lines as a reserve, so I had no problem shifting my own mobile units across his front.
The plan was to concentrate on his left, hit them with the cavalry, and then follow up with the FP to drive through what was left - essentially using my flank mobility to concentrate on one part of his line, and leave the rest hanging. My riders had their targets clearly in sight.
I had high hopes on my right as well. Watts had moved his CL (Numidians, curse them!) up behind the forest, and it meant he'd have trouble getting around my flank without a little to-ing in fro-wing. I figured I'd make the cover of the second forest safely.
Watts shuffled about a bit, but then placed the bulk of his army on opportunity. This was a smart move, as it meant my usual skirmish / CL shenanigans were harder to pull off - he'd be able to react and interrupt any attempts to get around his flanks.
This "wall of potentiality" bunched me up a little bit, until I figured out how to concentrate and punch through.
On the right, the FP slogged forward, with my cavalry beginning their sweep in front:
While on the left, I brought the elephants forward, and angled the rest of my cavalry wing across the table to smash into his left.
The field looked more or less like this. I was a little worried about the Triarii on the left. I know from past experience that discipline A units like them can put on the gas when they need to, and the prospect of a charge on my flank was a problem.
Although my elephants were there, the Triarii are pretty much the worst target for them in Watts' army, since FP with long spears eliminate the impetus bonus of units - something that accounts for about half of an E's fighting capability.
To counter the Triarii, I pushed my CL out to their far flank. The plan was to draw them off long enough to do some damage in the centre / left. Hopefully, that would keep them tied up long enough for my own FP to come up and finish the job. I sent the cavalry in, and that's when things went pear-shaped.
See the the two units of cavalry? That's my Agema and Greek cav (the latter in the foreground). Hardest-hitting units in my army. You might notice how they've taken damage, but the infantry they're charging hasn't. Couldn't roll more than a hit to save my life, and Watts made every cohesion roll. Meanwhile, all my sixes were showing up on the cohesion dice.
This had already happened to the Persian cavalry I threw at the Roman centre. The abject failure of my cav to do anything substantive kind of took the wind out of my sails. While I generally expect my cavalry to go down, and treat them as cruise missiles, they typically do some damage on the way. This means that when my infantry comes to grips, they do so against damaged units, and on terms favouring me. With my cavalry collapsing, however, it meant that not only was my flank about to be exposed, but I would have to fight several units of high VBU infantry on roughly equal terms - something to be avoided if at all possible.
On the left, things weren't much better. My CL had gotten around the flank of the Triarii, and sent in a hail of javelins, but to no more effect than disorder. He rallied, and then wheeled to take me on the flank, preventing evasion. Trarii vs. light cavalry does not end well for the CL, and my elephants were now facing his entire right alone.
I redeployed, pushing the Lykian foot forward, and caught a break when his Numidians tried to take out my Rhodian slingers. He only got one hit, and in the next turn my Rhodians sent his CL packing. My elephants pushed forward in a bit to stall his progress, and took out one of his infantry units before the Triarii finished them off. My Lykians charged, and caught his principes, chewing them up, but he used the line relief ability to counter charge with his Hastati. That broke my rear rank of Lykians, and that took me to the break point.
It was a fun game, and a learner. It's becoming clear that games in which I don't get my pike block into play are games I lose. While I don't think my overall plan was wrong, I was probably a little quick in execution. Threatening his flank would have served almost the same purpose as engaging - to whit, allowing my to concentrate force on one part of his line. On the other hand, the same level of aggression has served in the past, so it may just be one of those things.
Watts played an excellent game, especially in his use of opportunity status and his deployment of Triarii as a flank guard. Units with high discipline aren't necessarily fast, but they can reliably execute multiple movement phases, which means an ability to turn and redeploy, either to counter, or to pose threats. I'm told he's just sold off his Romans to Jack1080, and will be concentrating on his Lysimachid list. This is pretty exciting, as it means a) more opponents in 15mm, and b) the potential for some hot-hot successor on successor action.
There's no batrep next week, as the THMG are having a terrain sorting day next Wednesday, but I've got a backlog of 6mm French units to show off, so that should keep the post rates up for the next week or two.