Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Sunday, 14 April 2013

FoG Ancients Battle Report Photo Heavy ;-)

Matt and I got in another game a few weeks back but the blog giveaway kind of got in the way. But better late than sorry here we go.

The compact force in the distance is the ever ready Macedonian army commanded by Matt whilst the stretched force is mine. The dark green hills are steep whilst the one the colour of the table is gentle. Brush is in front of the gentle hill and broken ground is just beyond the two steep hills on the left. 

I wanted to try a Hoplite heavy force to see if smaller units of Hoplites could somehow run rings around the pike blocks rather than trying to overwhelm his cavalry with greater numbers. What follows is the result of such a plan, enjoy.

As you can see Matt goes for a solid mass of troops. Under this formation I have a good chance of swinging into both his flanks, I hope this will be the case.

Matt ends up splintering out from this formation and as such the first moves are one of move and counter move. I get a few infantry units moved to support my cavalry as they are really out classed by Matt's Lance armed Superior Companions. I have reduced the size of my cavalry units so I can have the same number of units but this leaves me vulnerable to his cavalry so I will need to use my infantry to throw Matt off when it looks like he will get the better of my boys.

I kept the scythed chariots and sent these against his bow armed cavalry just like last time. Unlike last time his bow armed cavalry did not drop my cohesion on my way in. Could I get a win against these this time? Notice the cavalry to the right of the chariots? They had the same target but were intercepted on route, bit of a bother.

My light javelin armed horse had kept chasing the Macedonian light infantry back towards the board edge. The infantry did a fairly good job of retreating but sooner or later I would catch up or they would run out of table. In the mean time as I had a General in contact I was moving the flank Hoplites and crescent shields up at a fair gait. The Macedonian camp was looking likely for a visit.

But back in the centre things had started to look a bit worry some. The scythed chariots did pick up a cohesion drop as did my supporting cavalry. The chariots going to die as they won't break through. I'm starting to wonder if they are worth sticking with. Well they will get another one or two runs out before I go so far as to stop using them.

I do rout the bow cavalry by attacking them with Persian Crescent Shields mostly down to the flank charge which also cost them a base. Now I need to extract the unit from the claws of the pike. Both of us were starting to have a very messy force with units pointing is all sorts of directions.

Slightly further down the line and I have a cavalry unit ready to rout but have foot getting in position to cause a headache for Matt's cavalry in turn. Matt is trying not to charge almost as much as he is charging. It's lots of fun but quite head scratching trying to work out the best moves. The game could be decided here so lots hanging on the choices we make.

My cavalry rout causing another cavalry regiment to loose a level of cohesion. Things starting to unravel, I need a few things to go right to correct the slide.

A down the table shot showing all units, Matt still has most of his forces in roughly the same area. I on the other hand have failed to make use of my numbers (made worse by the fact that at this point we realised Matt had failed to put one of his pike blocks on the table!!!)

Finally get so close that Matt will not risk another evade, there Matt has three units of light infantry, if I break them all and sack his camp I have the game, I just need to hold things together in the middle.

I charge home after suffering no casualties in Matt's turn and straight away make my mark sending the Cretan archers to fragmented and the slingers down one cohesion level. The javelin armed lights in the middle hold firm. The camp is so close now, just one more push and I can get through to it.

Auto break for another of my cavalry, at least these went down through troops loss but lesson learned, must use six base units for average quality.

By this point the centre was in real trouble. One block of Hoplites had to about face and stand ready for a charge from the cavalry whilst I was hoping the leader would rally one of my routing cavalry. Meanwhile the pike blocks would keep marching towards my hapless infantry.

I start to push past the lights, one of which has routed off. I continue to keep winning the rounds of combat but just can't force casualties of drop their cohesion. These lights are putting up a great scrap.

Finally the pike blocks start to split up into single blocks so they can hunt down more of my infantry. Not quite the roll I wanted them to be forced into!

The Hoplites manage to face the Companion cavalry but are already disrupted, I needed to win this one before the Phalanx's get in close, this looks unlikely. 

It's my turn to be caught in the middle. One unit of horse facing the rust rallied bow cavalry but supported by a phalanx whilst alongside them is another companion cavalry regiment attacking crescent shields whilst on the other side the Hoplites try and hold on. 

Matt continued to press on all sides and I had the last two required units break causing an army break. For the first time we had played a game to the end rather than a count up. Lots more learned and I know the better troop selection for my Later Achaemenid Persians, though my play was not up to scratch I know I need to play a better tactical game.

And those lights? Yep they were still fighting it out. It was reasonably close though. If I could have got something heavier into that melee than light horse I would have got the three units routed and nothing between me and the camp would have given me a great chance of the win. 

well played to Matt and we had a great battle. Next up will be Matt's recently rebased Parthian's who have a long history of doing me harm. I just hope I get a few early wins before Matt gets used to usig them under the new rules.


  1. Good read Ian, you were unlucky.

  2. Looks like you had a solid plan. My problem with chariots is that I seem to think of them as ancient tanks and therefore invincible. I always realize too late that they are more like armored cars and can't take up close slogging too well.

  3. a really cool batrep here. As a friendly note, Wargames factory is having a sale on its Persian infantry sprues, for ridiculously cheap, i got 96 guys for 20 USD.

    worth a look at perhaps?

    Anyway, i look forward to still more great content from you sir!

  4. @ Fran, no Matt played a solid game, I needed to be lucky to win

    @ Sean, I still play them like 6th Edition loonies

    @ Impcommander, Thanks, we were playing with my 15mm armies rather than the 28mm's the table would have to have been in a hanger to play 28's LOL though that's a good heads up for any 28's players thanks


  5. Nice AAR, I enjoyed it. I haven't played Ancients for several years; looking for a good set of rules. What is your honest opinion of these?

    1. I had to do my answer over two posts, so see below, seems I got into it LOL


  6. Like all rules they have their good points and bad, overall I like them but here is more detail.

    Shooting. 6th edition you had 20 casualties before you took a figure off, so such as the Parthians always wore you down. In these rules casualties are far less important, and with shooting almost a bonus. What is important is the cohesion tests that you may well pass one after another but you have pre modifiers about a 50/50 chance so you will start to loose cohesion at some point. You only have Fresh, disrupted and routing so you can go down hill rapidly. Recovery is slower as well as you need a general with the unit and it has got to have not been in combat or shot at that turn to be able to try and recover. But you get to try in both your turn and your opponents.

    Melee, this can be over real quick or last an age. here casualties are easier to inflict whilst cohesion is a fickle mistress. I really like how shock troops have to test not to charge if you don't want them to whilst most troops never test to charge (it's why they got all dressed up in the first place) and I see that as a major advantage over the old 6th. You also have two rounds of melee in the first turn of hand to hand. The Impact phase is as it suggests when you charge or are charged at. Here you only fight with bases directly in contact with each other, no overlap, no ranks (though pike for instance get a bonus for the depth of the unit) it's all aboot that first contact. Typically less dice are used in that first fight (both sides often have the same number of dice though such as being lights, disordered (formation and terrain dependant) disrupted or fragmented (a mix of morale and breaking down of order and command). Then a melee round happens later in the turn which tends to be more bloody and if you lost a level of cohesion in the impact phase this can really be bad news, thus impact though causing less damage can give you a big advantage for following turns.

    Dice, not quite bucket of dice levels but the game I started a couple of nights ago I got to use 10 dice, that's not as many as you can use but for us was higher than normal.

    Unlike some rules you have no saving throws (thank goodness) and the main aim of your dice throwing is to force cohesion tests which are the crux of the game. You get to throw dice a lot but in a way that makes sense and after awhile you start to throw the dice and tend to know if it's a pass or fail only checking the mods closely if its tight.

    You can see some of the parentage of both 6th and DBM and I like to think the rules are a nice mix of 6th edition depth and DBM's speed. I always thought DBM went to far away from 6th, was an over reaction to the interest in simpler quicker rules. These redress the balance somewhat.

    However it's not without a few wobbles. The books layout is terrible, too many of the points end with see later in the book for details or such. Even when you first come across a point in the rules that needs clarification. This is because a lot of the mechanics are the same for any part of combat (sounds bad but really it works very well). My big gripe with this is first, give more information that first time and second GIVE A PAGE REFERENCE! at least then you can find it. Some key rules are hidden in the glossary and sometimes the meaning is not as clear as they could have been but still a major upgrade on 6th which was hell to learn at the time.

  7. I have to say the only recent rules I can pit them against is Imputas and War and Conquest.

    Imputas is far closer to DBM and I find it hard to get past the cheap production but lets charge top price. Add to that that I don't like quite a few of the mechanics and really disagree with some of the principles of the rules meant it was a bit of a none starter for me. It does have a big following though, especially in the 28's I think.

    War & Conquest. Really it is a 28mm historical version of yet another GW rules. The designer also wrote Warhamer Ancients battles and you can tell it is it's twin. Unfortunately it's it's ugly twin. Typical beautiful production, and stunning but that's skin deep. I believe the rules suffer from the need to not rewrite WAB and it looks and feels like he was forced into using rejected principles and second best mechanics that he bolted on a power system for heroic traits. Yes the rules are more a reflection of a fantasy based system than straight historical. Nothing wrong with that if it's upfront. Should really have a flash on the cover with Suitable for those with pimples and those who's history is very weak. The clue I guess is the cover.

    One more niggle with FoG is the army lists. Oh they are very nice but where before two books covered all the periods the lists are now Legion and it's not unusual to want two or maybe three books to flesh out the period you are playing. On the bright side Amazon marketplace is a excellent place to pick these up for a song.

    I would say 2nd edition is possibly the better choice now but if you want to dip your toe in the water you can pick up the 1st edition for next to nothing from the guys moving on to 2nd or who jumped ship for Imputus. But both 1st and 2nd use the same lists and from what I have heard 2nd is a good upgrade and I guess we will move on to it at some point.

    One last point and kept to the end on purpose. FoG eats figures, I mean really eats them. My Persian army was big, I had bout every option maxed out for the greatest flexibility and just because I could. I played 2,000 point games most of the time and the box still had plenty of lead waiting in the wings. Under FoG I had enough for many a game but I am short of the totals and have started to fill in some of the gaps but I could add 20% to my force and still be a bit light. At least it's based to the same as DBA/M so you are ready to go if that was your bag before.