Thursday, 10 April 2014

From Ass to Bab

First run in with the new army. Good turn out from the Monday Night boys, with Phil, Chris W & Richard all in attendance.

I split my collection into two, and arbitrarily declared half to be Assyrians and half to be Babylonians. Because under AMW Assyrians are seriously hard (all Elite & inspire terror) and Babylonians aren't (all a bit rubbish and don't inspire terror) I tried to even things up by giving the Babylonians more missile weapons. Again under AMW there's a provision for all Heavy Infantry units to be half archers. This rule isn't entirely thought out, however, as may become clearer later on.

Chris took the lead as the Assyrian commander, with Phil as his number two. Richard got the Babylonians with my support. I then let the two generals shift units around to vary my delivered set up.

The Assyrians started with a general advance all along the line, but wheeled slightly to shift the main axis of their attack onto our left wing, where Richard was in command.

Richard's natural inclination is to defend, so we hung back a bit, hoping they would walk into our massed archery. Such as it was. Our main offensive plan was to use our cavalry on the left to run down some light troops and then cause havoc in their rear. Genius.

On my flank I had one chariot facing off against a chariot and a cavalry unit. This held no fear for me as I was supported by some bow-wielding heavy infantry.

We edged closer to each other. I wanted to delay any charges as it would give my archery time to take effect. Fat chance. On the positive side the terror rule turned out generally to be a non-event.

Richard's cavalry headed towards the Assyrian slingers (NB these are not in the AMW army lists. Strange). He lost a base in the process to them and supporting light archers, but so what? He's still rolling 9 dice in combat against 4. What could possibly go wrong?

In the middle we lost some light archers to some Auxiliaries (you can see them not in the picture below as they've just died), but I caught them with my equivalents, and passed the terror test again.

Things then started to implode. In one round of combat the cavalry hit one slinger, took four casualties (ie 4 hits inflicted out of 4 dice rolls and no saves) and then failed the subsequent morale test. Three bases down to one in the blink of an eye.

It was going better for my chariots who seemed to be very good at saving rolls where Phil wasn't. I was soon a base up as we both wheeled our supporting units into contact.

Phil got there first and I lost a base.

In the left centre the Assyrians continued their steady advance. Richard decided to deal with this situation by entering into a controlled withdrawal (aka running away). In fairness, the cavalry unit didn't even survive the next turn, although they killed another slinger, and the unit was reduced to two by a morale check.

Everyone was now stuck in on my side, and the Assyrian chariots were rapidly being reduced to boxwood.

This picture just shows how scary the Assyrian Guard units are, and how nice their shields are.

No matter, we would shoot them to death with our superior missile power. Or not, if we roll like this.

On my flank both the chariot units finally expired, so my infantry turned towards the centre to help out, whilst the cavalry considered their options.

Here we are as the denouement was reached. Our line is breached, and those Guards are about to exit the board and sack our camp. Game over.

The game took us a couple of hours or so of not particularly intense playing, so there was enough time for post game beverages and biscuits and discussion. As always with AMW everyone enjoyed themselves whilst still being aware of issues with the rules. If a unit is half bows and half spears, what do you take off when you lose the first base? The armour level of heavy cavalry is the same as light infantry, and two levels down from heavy chariots, which are also better protected than those Guards with the big shields.

The terror test was a non-event, but that's just the dice. The game showed us that there are no racing certainties in any event, with the destruction of Richard's cavalry by skirmishers.

I was not intending to modify the rules for these figures but......some of the things the game needs to deal with are being dealt with by "To Ur..." so perhaps there's mileage in a later period update of those.

I love AMW. I really do. However I think the rules work best for the Classical period (which were the original rules in Neil Thomas' first book), and are also improved by increasing the number of units to even out the outrageous fortune that sometimes occurs.

Any how, it was good to get some new toys out and have a gathering of friends to chew the fat afterwards. That's why we're in the hobby, after all.


  1. Great report as usual. I too love these rules. Of course I've done what all godd wargamers do and mucked about with them. I've changed the morale system so unit now fall back/retreat instead of losing extra bases and added other stuff to suit my prefrences.
    That is one of the strengths of this set IMHO...they stand up extremely well to being fiddled around with. I agree with you about larger armies...I usually use 12 units a side.

    1. The morale system divides people. Losing bases does get the game over quickly.

      I tend to regard 8 as a minimum size for an army now, instead of a requirement.

  2. Another enjoyable report thanks Trebian. I was thinking of using the DBA army lists of 12 units after I get used to the game.

    1. You'll be used to the game after about 15 minutes, honest. The DBA lists are a good idea, although the troop types don't match exactly. You need to tweak the attributes of the AMW units to get it right.

  3. Great looking Assyrians :) I can´t wait to paint mine, or for that matter assemblling them.

    1. Glad you like them. Tip: Don't glue the shields to the figures until after you paint them. Also, the pins on the feet of the charioteers don't go in the holes, and you'll need to make another hole for the chariot yoke as well.