Matt's Parthian's have been opponents to my Persians for as long as Matt has had his Pearthian's. First under 6th where they creamed me so many times. Just the once under Field of Glory where if I remember rightly I was defeated but not roundly and now once using Hail Caesar and what a fun game it was.
The small force in the distance is the Parthian host whilst my larger Persian army (by about 6-8 points) but bigger in numbers, I had 20 units and Matt had 21 units, though four of mine were skirmishers and 16 of Matt's were horse archers. Matt has yet to paint up his newly bought camel train that will allow his horse archers to become Marksmen, a worrying thought.
The Parthian force started nice and tight but quickly dashed off in all directions as only light horse can.
A view from the side of the table. My troops on the left got off to a quick start with the cavalry and infantry of two of my divisions surging over the table whilst my Hoplite command (I had three commands to Matt's five) was very slow in moving until near the end of the battle.
Horse archers with no support at hand start to pepper my cavalry. I went with all medium and heavy cavalry leaving out any archers in this formation though I also had three, yes three scythed chariots within the division. I think I should have kept one back to help deal with these guys.
My infantry in the centre then stalled allowing Matt to get a few digs into the javelin armed skirmishers. Just after this photo they took another two casualties and were lucky to get driven behind the line unmasking my bow armed levy's.
30 points of Scythed Chariots were holding up a full command of three times there number, a real win for me. Due to their high save they were still strong units and turn after turn forced the horse archers back.
I tried clearing the horse archers from the hill with a couple of charges both of which forced the horse far away from the front but the Parthian Shot ability forced a morale check on one of the units and it retreated disordered whilst the other was now easy pray for the cataphracts that had finally made it up into the front line.
Matt full of confidence and a head full of past glories decided to charge with one unit against my lone cavalry whilst I made the mistake of counter charging losing my uphill whilst not gaining the charge bonus against the Kontos. The result was a drawn melee and Matt had reason to worry as the next turn would see the hit number to be the same for both of us and would have seven against my six dice. An upset was certainly possible.
Meanwhile in the centre I am finally getting my bow armed troops in position to do damage in the middle. So far rolls have not supplied any hits.
Finally got a move out of my left flank, yes one move in the last three turns, always seems the left gets stuck with no movement. Something that is a bit of a pain with Hail Caesar is that my command are all 7 and to get one command to 8 I have to pay for it whilst so many armies have command of 8 and don't pay at all. I don't mind the pip advantage that is given to the other nations but getting it free is an unfair advantage that makes such as the Persians rather unappealing, it's a good job I like the army.
I could not add troops to the combat and managed zero hits (as in Matt did not have to try and make a save throw!) whilst Matt was not so kind supplying four more hits and unit gone. First blood to Matt.
I held one chariot in position behind the woods and the other two continued to push back the horse archers on my right flank. I would have been better to have taken that one chariot and brought it back to my main line where it would have made life difficult for the cataphracts.
My favourite scythed chariot, loved smashing this up so many years ago and the fate of many of his brothers.
Matt Blundered at least four times in the game with everyone being a move forward of one type or other. This was move three and charge if in range, well he got lucky by a couple of inches but on the other hand they did block other troops fire and offer a possible great opportunity to do some real damage to him.
Another blunder saw one of Matt's poor movers finally move where he had been trying to get them to go for most of the game. Exactly on the turn he had changed where he wanted them to go! So it's not just the hapless Persians that can freeze themselves in place.
After one full move forward my left went back to sleep. I really wanted to get them up to my centre force as I would be able to drive the horse back towards the board edge. I should have used the Disciplined rule but was not thinking, something to consider next time.
My two forward chariots had become shaken and now it was just a matter of time before they were removed from the game.
And as it was written shall it be done, the third chariot would fall to the next bow shot with a test result of three, I guess that serves me right for using wrecked models.
Matt really wanted a round or two more of softening me up but with me getting the better of the action in the centre and left rushed his attack a little. One big cavalry melee that the Parthian's had the edge but not a decisive one. However Matt was in position to support it further in the coming rounds whilst I had no troops to hand to add to the fight. I needed to win not draw.
The last blunder for Matt was one unit of horse archers throwing themselves into combat with my Guard Infantry. I almost felt guilty throwing in the Levy support, almost. The horse managed zero hits whilst the combined response was to shatter the small unit. Satisfaction guaranteed and the second unit of that formation to be removed, I started to smell blood.
Finally the left starts to move, these are heading towards the centre to escape the freeze curse. The two horse archer commands on my left and centre have both been driven back, one is close to breaking whilst the other has two shaken units and is out of table space. If I can seal them off from escaping round behind my right flank I would be able to trap and finish them off.
Disaster, all three combats went Matt's way by a convincing margin, all three combats caused five casualties on me against my about two and the resulting test were all failed. This would leave Matt free to turn his horse who for the most part was still fresh and start to harry my now isolated infantry.
I had the opportunity to close on the flank of the cataphracts but I would need three moves and Matt would then have to fail with his generals division who get a re-roll to be followed by my rolling two moves to crash into the flank. That would lend itself to Fantasy more than mere fiction.
We called it at that point, happy with the game played, far too much laughing was had, a sure sign of not taking things seriously enough!
I made a number of poor decisions such as allowing the cavalry to move ahead of the infantry, I should have moved these first so as to keep them close as my plan was to use their bow to fight fire with fire. Something that was working but not having the foot in position to strip the horse archers from the main attack caused me problems. One unit of infantry near the flank could have proven very unpleasant for Matt.
Worse still I continued to miss opportunities to use initiative moves that would have given me that flank force. But with a better set up and a little tinkering I think this army could work well against the Parthian army. We will hopefully get back for another game in two weeks when I will try one of my Macedonian based armies against them.
Better than that, we both are happy enough with the rules that Matt is going to start rebasing his other armies from WRG 6th to DBA/M FoG sized to match mine starting with his Han Chinese. So another win for Hail Caesar.