Rules are funny things, the first game of Basic Impetus I felt was good and a possible challenge to Field of Glory. The second playing left me with a feeling of being cheated. The rules did not stack up and for me to play a third time I felt they needed some major surgery. Barry on the other hand felt better about the rules than the first sitting and decided to buy the full rules after all. I welcomed this as they would obviously fill in a few holes at least. I just was not interested given the high cost compared to FoG and by that point was happy with these rules. Once Barry had the rules he was full of how they did indeed fill gaps in the basic rules and how they brought in elements that was not even hinted at in the basic free rules. So I was looking forward to having a go at the full version and mentally committed to building an army of my own at some point. So finally we both are able to get a game in and we started off with a 300 point army which seems to be about the same as a 600 + point FoG army. What follows is a potted version of events.
Both armies line up. The Dacian army on the right is commanded by Barry whilst I get the Romans again, which is fine by me.
My army spread across the table, I had a few units tucked up as reserves and doubled up both legions to make large units. All my cavalry were positioned on my left, yep two light and one medium, just wow. I was using my casualty markers to represent my DVP, this was one less thing to look up so worked well. Barry used the down loadable casualty markers.
Barry placed all his horse on his right, he was playing hardball with a bunch of cataphracts. I was scarred, I mean two light horse and one medium. Reminds me of a Beatles song! I think Barry has a sponsorship deal going on as he slyly gets the rules into shot.
The table was a little small for the number of units on it which did lead to some straight in combat but it helped to speed up the game. Any larger and it's over to Maelstrom to use one of their tables. I only supplied the cloth and hills as Barry had not only supplied the two armies but also the down loadable terrain. Here I am about to test the rules for the first time as I try to get ahead by charging the skirmish bow troops Barry was annoying me with. I needed to do a double move, one to get round the brush and then charge home. To do more than a single move you need to pass a command test. I failed the test, this did not stop me charging but did disorder me.
Which led me to be the first player to loose a unit. My light horse needed a bit better than average dice but threw really badly, Barry rolled boxcars on his two dice causing two casualties. Now a Doors song is playing in my mind. Whilst I did not mind losing the unit too much it was the rolls that made me a little on edge. Not the poor rolling as such, no it was that you have to roll low on 1D6. Say you have a strength of 4 and loose 2 casualties then you need to roll 1-2 on a D6 not to loose a casualty. a 3 will loose you a single loss whilst a 5 would loose you three (6 would be 4). A 1 will always be a pass a 6 a fail. Th problem in my mind was that this one die roll could have drastic effect and did so during the game on more than one occasion.
Having lost one unit destroyed I now was facing a Super Heavy Cavalry armed with Lance whilst sitting on little more than donkeys with not so pointy sticks. Clearly I had issues. At least I could retire and not have to die but this was rather leaving my Medium Cavalry out to dry. My left was looking worry some. The middle was much better as Barry had kept all his troops in the centre away from my troops as he has to react to being within charge reach.
I started to move forwards in the centre and all the way over to my right flank moving the supporting Auxillia out wide. I drew the falkesmen as they failed a stand test and these charged forward. Barry at this point really needed to give his army it's head but held the rest in position. This was to prove a big mistake as whilst the Falkesmen are really nasty in the charge 5 DVP 5 Impetus and 2 extra for supporting rank for 12 dice, once I survived the contact he lost 5 dice! however I managed to throw Pilum to start reducing his rear rank and then with strong support on each flank was able to start to grind him down.
Meanwhile on my left I had to face the charge of the cataphracts into my medium cavalry. These stood up to it better than expected. Sure they were pushed back, sure I lost casualties but they did not break and with flank support ready to help out things looked fairly good.
After chasing off the skirmish troops in the centre the Auxillia were to far forward and exposed. Barry seized the opportunity and went after them. But in a series of bizarre roles I was able to repel the first attack even though I lost the original combat the casualty rolls were opposites. Bad for Barry and good for me. I failed the rally roll but was still forward and standing. Meanwhile the Falkesmen were being steadily reduced in strength as their number of dice continued to drop.
On my left I charged the Cataphacts in the flank causing first disorder then a retreat after winning the melee. Not enough to rid myself of them but enough to stall the attack in this area. Barry had sent all his Cataphracts through the area atop the hill and at the time I felt he should send some wide. This turned out to be true as he just did not have the space to attack freely and this was very much to my favour.
Close up of the moment the Dacians realised that yes that Legion had something to say. The coin's designed to be terrain markers pulled double duty as I used them to mark disorder.
A fresh charge from Barry finally brought the end to my Mediums game but in doing so had driven the Cataphracts further down my line and into the waiting arms of my Axillia. These would charge into the flank of these tanks on the hoof, something they would not enjoy.
The double regiment were forced to charge my double Legion (both his cavalry formations were forced to charge). I did fairly poor (OK I did total crap) with the pillum but made up for it in the melee removing the rear rank and leaving his horse fairly shattered.
Back in the centre, I was slowly losing the battle with my one axillia directly to the centre but at quite a cost to the Dacian Infantry. Just to the right of this though I was a little more speedy with the dispatch of the Dacians facing my Legions. I had support but also the flanking Axillia was now in position to move down the line and drive into the flank of any troops emerging from the reduction of the other Auxillia unit.
The Dacian Gods require a blood sacrifice, I went for a quick fix of a goat myself, seems in a sick version of Paper Scissors, goat wins. Failed to get a close up of the goat boys.
What was to be the end game. Barry was breaking through the middle on a single unit frontage (but would have 3 units to exploit) whilst the mauling of his Cavalry would have left him with two very weak units best running from contact as they were in real danger of being destroyed. My half of the centre and right was all mine. These would swing to face the three units coming through the line.
I still had plenty of units at full strength for the final fight, Barry was close to destruction and as such would have been wise to try and get away at this point. What he could have pulled out was questionable. For sure it was looking bad at table height.
From our point of view it was a blast. I am sure we did plenty wrong that will be picked up next time but really I don't much care as the overall day was about getting a feel for the rules and fun. Both were achieved. I still think that dice roll is really powerful but I believe you have a fate roll yo can use a few times which we did not this time. I can live with it though. These rules are not FoG and I am happy they are not. FoG have removed the written record of 6th Edition WRG but retain so much of the flavour and a game will always have an element of study. Impetus to me is far closer to DBM. It's a mark of how far DBM went away from 6th that two sets of rules can come out and feel so very different in their approach and yet fit between the two predecessors. I really have no issues playing the two newer rule sets, I have found my ancients grey matter replacement of 6th Ed whilst Impetus has kept all the fun that DBM promised but wrapped it up in a set of rules that seem to feel the period better. Of course this is first playing bliss, lets hope once the honeymoon has ended were still going at it!!!