Sunday, November 30, 2014

To The Strongest! by Simon Miller

Simon very graciously provided our gaming group with a play test set of rules for his new ancient and medieval rules, To The Strongest! We were able to play them this past Friday and Saturday to see how Simon's system works and if they would be replacing our old standby Tactica.

Well I have to say that the rules are very quickly picked up and with a bit of back and forth to the rules for each game, as is the case for all rules when you are learning them, we managed two enjoyable games with neither lasting more than 3 hours.
Each game played had a Persian and Carthaginian army. In the first game the Persian army was 33 points and Carthage had 27 points. Carthage (me) was completely destroyed by my sons Gregory and Eric, and their Persians.
In the second game, the Persians were again 33 points and Carthage now had 33 points also. In this game, Carthage (Jamie and I) Won out over the Persians (Bill and Wendel).
Unfortunately Mike could not make the game on Saturday and his input was sorely missed.

After reading through the rules three times and playing them twice, I must say the they are very good rules. They may not have every little detail and troop type but they are easily grasped and play quickly once you know the flow of play. Simon's system is clever and unique using playing cards instead of dice and a grid instead of rulers. Please see the attached photos of the first two turns of the Saturday game. This clearly shows a heavy grid traced out on my table with a dry erase marker. In the rules Simon suggests ways to mark your table that will not be permanent and will still make the essential boxes obvious. Simon will also be adding some free items on the web site in support of these rules like army lists and such. Please see his link below.

Now the part we missed. We did not use a very important part of the rules that involve Stratagems. We did this on purpose so we could concentrate on the movement and combat parts of the rules. Unfortunately, on reflection, we had left out a very major and important part of these rules.
These Stratagems allow players to place terrain and have a more strategic feel to the game over and above just moving about and bashing each other. We will be concentrating on these more after the holidays.

So to summarize:
Great rules - fast - easy to learn - clever - cover most if not all aspects of ancient and medieval armies - unique system that aids in speed of play - wonderful pictures of ancient armies and generals - excellent diagrams to aid in understanding and playing.
My only detraction is that I wish the rules had an index or page numbers in the table of contents. Simon has set up the rules so that you can use them on your lap top or tablet and can jump to the page with a topic you click on in the table of contents. This worked well during our Saturday game when we had a computer available but if I was playing where a computer was not available, it is a slightly cumbersome to use. Of course having said that, it would only be a few game plays before the system is mastered and reference to the rules would be minimal.
Here are our pictures From Saturday.

The game uses some markers to track missiles available for the bows slings and javelins, disruption/disorder ad coins to track the losses to each army.
Great fun Simon and Congratulations!!!!
The rules sell for 9.99 English Pounds and can be purchased here
Great gaming to all and please, purchase these fun and well thought out rules.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rome vs Rome!! Last battle of the campaign season.

 Howdy all. Well here is our last Tactica game for this campaign season at Mikes house. And what a doosy it was!
For this game we had two legions face off from the Roman civil war. Late Republican vs Late Republican. The forces were balanced and identical. So this would be the perfect chess match with the Tactica rules.

The gamers were, Mike, Wendell, Ken, Bill and myself. Mike, Wendell and Frank were on one side and Bill and I were on the other.

Each side secretly planned their initial setup. In Tactica this is one of the most critical parts of the game as nearly everything stems from this initial arrangement of the troops. To every one's surprise, each side mirrored the other for the most part with a few differences that would turn out to make all the difference in this game.

Here are some pictures of our initial set up.

 It is difficult to see here (or near impossible) but there is another cavalry unit in the left corner off screen. That unit plus the cavalry seen on the far left side are supported by light infantry.

This light infantry will play a crucial roll in the game.

This series of pictures show the initial two turns which involved a rapid and massive cavalry action on  our left flank. By the way Bill and I have the army on the right side of the picture while Mike, Wendell and Ken are on the left a
 Our infantry moved up to support the cavalry on our left while we held back our right flank hoping to force them to attack while being pelted by our balistas as seen below.
 And here you can see that the enemy had no other choice than to launch their cavalry at us.
 Below we see the massive cavalry battle between Ken and myself. Ken's troops are in the upper part of the battle. You can see that their infantry was able to support their cavalry before our could assist because our cavalry had raced too far ahead overconfident in a rapid decimation of Ken's forces.
 Here you can see the lines of each Legion advancing on each other to the right of the cavalry action.
 And another shot further to the right.
 And here is our far right flank with Wendell's cavalry advancing towards us under a constant rain of missiles.
 Please excuse the laps of time but the pictures now race ahead a couple of frantic and desperate turns where all of my cavalry was destroyed by the brilliant and brave Ken! Above and below you can see that this allows Ken to sweep around my flank.
 Further to the right the Legions clash together!
 And all the way to our far right flank where Bill's light cavalry has turned the enemies left flank while his infantry engages the last of Wendell's cavalry.
 More success for the enemy!!! They have decimated my entire left flank. Below you can see that three full cohorts, a unit of heavy cavalry and two units of light infantry are free to move about unopposed. Off camera they have a unit of light cavalry too!
 But meanwhile on our right, Bill has been able to remove their cavalry and sweep behind their lines with some light infantry and light cavalry while engaging the cohorts to his front.
Here we can see the Bill's cohort has turned the enemies left flank.
 While here they have done the same to our left flank. The tension is unbearable as both side frantically roll each combat down the line.
Alas the pictures of the fight have run out but not the action. The last two turns are nail biters as crucial moral saves are made by each side. But with a God like effort Mike saves the day  for his team!!! In a series of dice rolls the like of which has never been seen, Mike inflicts enough casualties to destroy our center and sends too many Romans to meet their ancestors. Game over, we loose but it was so close!

We all had a wonderful time at Mikes as always. Who can not enjoy playing with his wonderful collection which brings us to the part where I display some of his troops through my meager efforts to take pictures.
Please enjoy.
 Hey what do you know? I painted the table.

Please excuse the last couple of pictures as they were taken after I fell on my sword.
Thanks for looking and all comments are welcome.
Game well my friends!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rome vs Carthage - Tactica straight up!

Greetings all. We got together this afternoon at Mikes house for another ancients game in his summer hosting of games at his house. As always, Mike was the generous and courteous host providing both armies, of wonderful quality, for us to game with.
Gathered today were the following members of our informal group. Mike, our host, Wendel, Ken, Jamie, Bill and myself. Ken had asked Mike if one time we could play a game of Tactica straight from the book, using the armies listed and all of the appropriate rules for the same. Usually we use larger armies created by using a points system of our own creation allowing us to play with more troops and have longer battles. So Mike decided that today would be that time and chose Republican Romans against Carthage.
Ken, Mike and Wendel were the Carthaginians and Bill, Jamie and I were the Romans.
Below are the initial set ups for each side.
 Carthage -
The Roman strategy was to break the Carthaginian center while Carthage was determined to crush either of the Romans flanks allowing them to roll up the Roman line.
The Romans won the initiative and the fight was on.
Seeing the Carthaginian elephants ready to charge their left flank, the Romans sent their massed light infantry to remove this threat. Confidence is high that they will be more than able to eliminate the elephants. In addition to this, the Romans moved their Triarii to protect the left and right flanks while what little cavalry the Romans had went out to engage and slow down their Carthaginian counterparts. The Roman center advances to close with the Carthaginian center as soon as possible.

Carthage on the other hand, moves both of their flanks forward to engage each Roman flank while their light troops screen the Carthaginian heavy infantry and harass the Roman manipales.
As the next turn played out, the Carthaginian elephants and the Roman massed light infantry engage in a fight to the death! Unfortunately, the massed light infantry's death.

As this fight on the Roman left flank evolved, the two armies continued their advance toward each other. The elephants make quick work of the lights, eliminating the entire unit in one melee!
On the Roman right flank a battle royal was going on between Roman heavy cavalry supported by light infantry against the cream of the Carthaginian heavy cavalry. I should mention that the Roman right flank was commanded by Jamie, Bill ran  the center and I had the left. On the Carthaginian side, Mike was opposite the Roman right flank, Ken had the center and Wendel was opposite the Roman left flank.
Please let me digress for a moment. Jamie, while a wonderful person and painter of extraordinary talent, Jamie cannot roll dice to save his soul, except for today! Jamie's heavy cavalry and band of light infantry devastated all of Mike's cavalry on the Roman right flank.
At the same time the center collided and began to trade blows.

On the left flank the victorious elephant were confronted by stout Roman Triarii while more Carthaginian cavalry attempted to flank the main Roman line as the Roman light cavalry did their best to hold off superior Carthaginian forces but were defeated none the less.
The Triarii managed to eliminate the elephants and their retreat caused the heavy cavalry that was trying to flank the Roman maniples to become disrupted. This prevented the cavalry from doing anything for the rest of this turn and all of the next turn while if attacked, responding at half value. At the same time the fight in the center rages on!

The end is near though as the victorious Roman cavalry prepare to ride down the Carthaginian heavy infantry and the stout Roman infantry grind up the Carthaginian center. Bill and Jamie finish of the fourth Carthaginian heavy infantry unit and the game is over. Victory to Rome!!!
This was a very fast game even by our standards. We played to conclusion in under 1 and 1/2 hours including the taunts and great humor each of us supplied. Everyone had a wonderful time as always and we cannot wait for the next game.
And now for what everyone is waiting for - Eye  Candy - from Mikes fantastic collection.

Thanks again Mike and many thanks to all who played today.
Good gaming - Greg