Thursday, 27 February 2014

Ur-ing on the ambitious

Like when I was developing "Call it Qids" I am blessed with lots of opportunities for puns if I stick with "To Ur is Human" for a game name. Having said that "Sumer" isn't bad for pun based titles, either, looking back at past postings.

This Wednesday's game was the first try out for for the amended Sumerian square based rules rules with the added "Fear Factor". It's also the first go with a proper lowland scenario.

The last game we did, which went down okay, was set in a punitive expedition in the mountainous regions, where rebellious elements needed to be tamed. This evening's game was a "fertile crescent" game, set amongst palm groves and irrigation ditches, with the aim of destroying the opponent's army, kicking over his boundary markers and burning his crops. I had a number of concerns as I set this up about whether I had overdone the amount of terrain and the complexity of the layout and....well, you'll need to decide.

The attackers had battle carts, the defenders did not. The idea was that this was a strike force coming up against local militia with a stiffening of regulars.

This is the initial set up. Defenders to the left, attackers to the right. I took the defenders, Phil the attackers.

This is just a neat shot of my skirmish bowmen holding one of the palm groves, over on my right.

My General took position in the central village, guarding the bridge with some light heavy style infantry.

Phil had a large force astride the main road. At this point he was kind enough to say that he thought the game had a real feel of pre-Biblical Mesopotamia about it. Actually, I was very pleased with how the board looked, and the squares just seem to work.

The opening exchanges were around the aforementioned palm grove. My archery failed to deter the advancing heavy infantry.

On the other flank  my first "Fear Test" for some of my levy skirmishers didn't turn out too well, and they headed for the rear, pursued by their opponents.

In the middle Phil charged the palm grove. I passed the Fear Test, but chose to retire in good order, drawing him into my trap. Ha Ha.

As you can see in the middle Phil's troops have started to exact their revenge by setting fire to one of the fields of crops. On the right hand side of the picture Phil is starting to press my slingers who are holding the other palm grove.

In the middle I move some heavy infantry up to defend the bridge......

 ..... and before you know it I'm over the river and trying to give Phil's chariots the what-for, passing a Fear Test in the process.

Phil's chariots pulled back after one round of combat, which enabled my general to link up with the heavy infantry and attack the troops setting fire to the palm grove in font of the village.

In the centre, Phil's heavies pressed forwards.

The charge lead by my General failed spectacularly, and I lost on the subsequent Fear Test. My unit took Fright, then took Flight and headed to the rear, lead comfortably by my General. This pursuit took several turns.

Phil pressed on through the palm grove to attack my skirmish archers who had retreated into the village.

I succeeded in getting one of my heavy units into a threatening position, so Phil charged them with his battle carts. Under the Fear Test I lost out, and slipped to "Fright"-ened status, as signified by my slightly out of line bases.

Phil charged the village, lead by his general, and may have been surprised when my levy bowmen stood their ground in the Fear Test.

Over on the other side of the board the less said the better, as Phil's carts got the better of my infantry in a fight in a village.

The other chariots forced my heavy infantry back steadily, but they just held on.

 In another couple of moves my army was pretty much gone, and the crops and villages were in flames. Big victory for the aggressor, but no photographic evidence

All in all very pleased with how it went. As usual I took loads of notes and I have a bit of thinking to do but the Fear Test mechanism held up well and we didn't miss the old style morale test. The game has a good look and feel and may well end up going to CoW this year.


  1. A nice battle with a realistic outcome. It looks like the rules are working well for these head to head clashes.
    As for the amount of terrain, I'd expect it to be pretty closed in the fertile crescent, and it definitely added o the game. You're making me ponder getting some HaT 1/72 Sumerians now...

    1. I agree on the terrain. I think Mesopotamia would be green and packed in tight where the irrigation is. I've been to Egypt and other places in North Africa and that looks to be the case there.

      The combat gave me what I thought I wanted, but we need to do an open test, with no terrain to confirm that.

      If you want to get into 1/72 Sumerians Hannants have them on reduced at the moment, - £3.73 for a box of chariots and £5.44 for a double sized box of infantry:

      They paint up quickly and look really nice. Only criticism would be not enough shielded figures, but I added them myself to some figures.