Friday, 27 April 2012

Warmaster Ancients battle report. Imperial Romans vs Britons, 1000p

This was a first Warmaster battle for me and Lester, my opponent. We would (or I would) from time to time stumble over rules or misinterpret them. Still the game progressed very smoothly, much more so than I've ever experienced with any other system. Warmaster is a joy to learn, I'm really impressed by this game.

Warmaster is all about control. Much less about having insanely tough units, much more about being able to move them around and use them when you need them. Entire flank stalling or a unit failing to move for the entire battle is something quite likely. Providing proper leadership is key. In my first army list draft I had a good selection of troops with one Legatus leading them. I later changed that to include a Tribune as well. I'm glad I did, without that I'd get really kicked.

The forces:


Cohort II of the Legio Ineptica with attached Cohors Militaria of regular auxilia, all under the command of Legatus Incestus (counts as General) and his underling Tribunus Intemperatus (counts as Leader)
  • General
  • Leader
  • 6 centuriae of Roman Legionaries
  • 5 centuriae of Roman Auxilia
  • 2 units of archers

Barbarian Filth

Some mob from somewhere under the command of Warlord Something
  • General
  • 2x Subordinate (young chieftains recently graduated from Sandhurstium)
  • 16 mobs of Warriors
  • 4 mobs of Skirmishers
  • 1 unit of Chariots
  • 1 unit of Cavalry
  • 1 unit of Fanatics


There were some impassable woods on the east flank. In the middle there was a large Celtic village (dense terrain), to the west a hill (mostly open terrain, but partially blocking LOS). Some clumps of impassable woods in or next to the deployment zones.


The Romans deployed with strong eastern flank (4 centuriae of legionaries, 3 centuriae of auxilia, 1 bow under the command of Incestus himself) and weaker western one (2 centuriae of legionaries, 3 centuriae of auxilia, 1 bow under the command of Intemperatus).

The Britons deployed in three main bodies. Strong centre, strong west flank, weaker eastern flank, but supported with chariots and cavalry. The warlord took command of the centre, with his two Chieftains commanding the wings.

The battle

On the west flank the Britons moved forward fairly competently, matched by Intemperatus who despite his noble upbringing could get the troops to move while the bowmen managed to knock some Warriors out of formations and confuse them. They also created a good area denial effect preventing the British centre from supporting the west flank . The Legatus failed to control his troops exactly when it mattered though and when the forces met in the middle he accepted a charge instead of charging. This caused the legionaries and auxilia to take heavy losses. They repulsed the warriors and killed a lot of them (mainly due to insane fits of valour and resilience on the part of a single centuria of legionaries) but for a while it was touch and go. Next two turns of fighting saw some good charges by the Romans. Although their strength shrunk by then to some 1/3 they efficiently killed the warriors with their Chieftain, broken up the enemy units and with Intemperatus still in comand were left in pretty much unchallenged control of the flank.

The Romans ignored the middle, the Britons blundered right into the village (no doubt to greet and beat their loved ones). Since this is a dense area with -1 to Command rolls, the Warlord promptly lost control of his forces. They were barely moving for some three turns. This forced him to come close, pretty much abandoning the cavalry and Fanatics who were left in the deployment zone and wouldn't be active for the rest of the battle. The Romans detached an auxilia and a bow unit to keep the Brit east flank interested and swung around the village to hit the Brit centre. They charged in hard, won the combat easily inflicting some heavy losses and were ready to continue, two fresh centuriae advancing to support them.

On the east flank the British skirmishers and warriors tried to advance frequently stalling. The Sandhurstium graduate was too concerned with remembering how to drink mead with his little finger raised and couldn't remember the proper way of shouting "oi! MOVE!" at his troops. The Roman bowmen caused some confusion and held the ineptly manoeuvring Brits for two turns, but got swamped by skirmishers' javelins taking some losses. The auxilia kept falling back, dodging javelins, trying to keep the Brits interested but outside of charge range. Finally a clash took place on the flank with Brits breaking through the Romans and - unexpectedly - hitting the middle just after the legionaries were about to finish with it.

And that's when the curry arrived and we had to finish :)
The final state of play:
West flank won by the Romans, East flank won by the Brits, middle undecided. The Romans could still lose to the massed Brits, the two spare and fresh legionary centuriae could still cause carnage in the next two turns. Thus we decided on a draw. And some curry.

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