|(From Neidersachen-tourism, with than ks.)|
On Saturday, February 4, the Hamilton Road Games Group did another play test of the Battle of Teutoburgerwald scenario, something we plan to host in a few months at the premiere wargames convention in Southwestern Ontario. Some "tweaking" was done in set-up, play, and setting.
The game worked very well. One could even say "excellent" or "optimam" or even "ausgezeichnet" ...as you prefer. Both sides had to sweat it right to the end.
The table was set up in just about the same manner as the week before - a dirt road flanked from one end of the board to the other with dense forest. The Roman force was stretched out along the road and the German tribes attacked from the forest. The Germans received a "free move" to start the battle. Points were awarded for surviving legion units or German warbands, for units destroyed, for units making it off the board, and for the baggage train getting off the board.
What differed this time was the fact that the Romans were in march column at the beginning of the game. In the prior game they had been deployed in battle order. When the Germans attacked, the Romans received a disadvantage for being flanked. Here the Romans fought back from march column and received only one d6 to defend themselves. (Usually Roman legionaries use 6-7 dice to fight in the first turn of melee.) The Germans still received the "Wild Fighter" bonus on only the first turn of combat for that unit. The Roman command was still confused (rightfully so!), so when Varus assigned his subordinate generals to their commands, there were two command values - an "8" if the unit has originally been assigned to that general and a "7" if the unit had had to be reassigned to that general's command. Varus was assigned an "8" at the beginning of the game. The German commander, Arminius ("Hermann") was given a "9" by the scenario. Another difference was the deployment of the German warbands. If the table were divided into thirds, a German player was assigned a separate third for deployment: in the prior game, two players were deployed in the same third on either side of the road. The Roman vanguard was unapposed and was able to scoot off the board OR turn around and attack the attackers.
Steven, Matt, and I officered the Romans. Andy, Eric, and Ralph ran the Germans with Rich taking over for Ralph part way through the game. Ralph and Andy are preparing to be game-masters for this offering at the con, so Ralph stepped back to take that roll. Andy and I took the photos. I used my phone, but Andy used his real camera on a tripod. He took a long-ways photo at the beginning of every turn.
|Looking down the line of march. I think this was before I arrived.|
Somehow, the rumour mill had put me down as sick for the day.
|A closer view.|
|The "veteran" cohort using Praetorian Guard figures.|
My friend, Dr. Mike Pavkovic of the Naval War College, has taught me to have little
respect for the Praetorians, who were described as both parade ground soldiers and the
city of Rome's fire brigade.
|The vanguard of the legionary force -|
my command, Andy's figures
|The Germans get revved up for the battle.|
Can't you almost hear the Zulu chant from Gladiator?
|The baggage of inestimable value|
The centre one with the scorpion bolt thrower was Ralph's.
The two hay wagons are from my wife's collection. (Used with permission)
|Turn one... taken from orbit.|
|Turn two. Steven looks SOOOO bored.|
|Trouble for the Legion! One of Andy's warbands hits one of my cohorts.|
|More of the same.|
|Ralph's charge against Steven's marching troops.|
The playing cards were used to randomly deploy the Romans.
Since their commanders didn't appear until Turn #2, the confusion was multiplied.
|Matt and Eric's end of the thing.|
Eric's cavalry balked but Matt's cavalry alae took a beating from the infantry.
|Ralph needed one more warband to complete the army.|
These Germans were my contribution to the lead on the table.
The amazing standard for the Germans is "not safe for work" as it were.
You really can't see it here.
|Turn #3 Rich is now sitting in for Ralph while the carnage continues.|
|Turn #4 Some of my Romans are teetering on the edge of the woods. Andy was pushing hard.|
|One cohort. ready for battle, is about to flank a warband.|
|The sideways stand of figures indicates the unit is disordered and cannot receive a new order.|
They can fight, but at a slight disadvantage.
The single die in it's little throne shows the number of casualties taken by the unit.
|Ralph makes a point.|
In all honesty, the German archers - who were actually javelinmen, were more
annoying than effective.
|The wagons begin their race to the table's edge.|
That's Varus on his horse behind them, by the way.
|A warband mouse-trapped! If I recall, they were destroyed.|
|Eric and Steven check the rules for something, I don't know what.|
|The wagons leave the road to pass the warband.|
|Another charge. |
This unit of legionaries was tough as nails and kept fighting right to the end.
|Turn #5 the wagons set a scorching pace.|
|Turn #6 The wagons skid off the road only to face the warband.|
|Turn #8 No more wagons!|
|End of game Here's roughly how we left it.|
I found the game to be tremendously enjoyable and it was a nail-biter at times. There were a few small details I'd have done differently, but too few to mention. The road column beginning and the confused Roman command required the Romans to really scuffle to keep things intact for the early turns. Once they could turn to meet the warbands face-to-face, their quality and staying power showed. Historically, the barbarians were seen as tough to stop initially, but they had no staying power. There were a lot of supporting units in this game, more on the Roman side, but that made sense considering the Romans were drilled and more used to supporting other units.
I think we intend to play-test this scenario at least one more time before the con, so expect more dispatches from the Rhine.
|"You can smell 'em as they charge."|
These Romans are in trouble - disordered, close to their "shaken" point of 6 casualties, and no let-up from the barbarians.
|Two of my cohorts and one of Steven's , with Varus in tow, manfully ignore the German skirmishers.|