Friday, 29 August 2014

Making new friends

Last week I got an e-mail out of the blue offering me free figures. Now I know you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, but after that incident with my Nigerian uncle you can't be too careful.

Anyway after exchanging some e-mails it transpired that the person concerned (we'll call him Jim, 'cos that's his name) and I had met a few years ago at the Derby World Championships when I was running the SoA participation game. I'd even put him in an article for Slingshot where I'd got his name wrong. He's a follower of the blog and aware of my love of soft plastic figures so as he clears out prior to moving he thought I'd provide a suitable home for some boxes of unpainted Hat "El Cid" figures. Well, they're on my "to do" list in about two or three year's time so why not? All these years of blogging finally pay off.

What better way to arrange the hand over that for Jim to pay a visit to Shedquarters for a game of AMW with loads of painted plastic toy soldiers?

So that's what we did this Thursday. 14 units a side Assyrians v Medes with a General each. Jim took the Assyrians. Smart move, although his motivation was because he likes the shields. Which is a shame as you can't see them from that side of the table until they start to run away.

For the deployment phase I had us roll a die off against each other then the loser deploys four units, each of us alternating until everything was out. Both fairly unimaginative with mostly horse on the wings and infantry in the middle.

 Jim started off aggressively as you'd expect from Assyrians. The Median strength, such as it is, lies in its archery. The Assyrians have a fair amount as well (half of all heavy units are bow armed) and can move and shoot. The Persians are pretty much all bow armed (correction, are all bow armed) but mostly can't move and shoot. That means I have to let him come at me and hope to shoot lumps off him to even things up before he thumps me into the ground.

It looked good on my left at first. I hit his cavalry coming in several times and he failed a morale test (in your face, Elite troops) so that evened things up. The chariots are a tougher proposition (high saving roll) and I put my General in there to help out.

On the other flank I had a couple of light cavalry units trying to tie up Jim's other heavy cavalry, but his chariots slipped past them on an internal flank, so I had to turn one of my heavy archer units towards them and hope for the best. This opened up a slight gap that I plugged with some light bow.

Those Assyrian heavy infantry do look ominous.

And with a General attached are truly scary. No worries because I'll get something out of the flanks. Perhaps.

Or perhaps not. I really wanted to inflict more than one hit on the chariots as they charged in, but the Heavy Chariot saving roll is 4-6, so they are very, very, tough to kill.

However, on my left I dealt with the Assyrian cavalry and was holding on against the chariots. Just.

Next turn and I was in on the chariots' flank. Surely I'd soon have this sorted.

Alas I was losing the shooting battle in the middle, despite outgunning Jim by 2 to 1. Not looking good for my infantry, and we haven't even started the hand to hand yet. And my foot archers out on the right are down to one base against the chariots.

Those chariots soon blast through that last base and turn the flank of my main line. Oh b*gg*r. I have hopes at the other end, however, and if only the centre can hold on, I'll be able to turn Jim's right with an overlapping heavy archer unit.

Alas, the left of my line caves, and Jim is able to swing the infantry commanded by his General to stop the flanking manoeuvre.

However, the chariots smash their way through one of my central infantry units with ease.

At last! I win the battle on my left, so I have a couple of free cavalry units to get involved in the middle.

Jim's being very careful with the positioning out on his left, but there's little point. The battle will be won elsewhere.

Those chariots crush another unit, and a spare heavy infantry unit heads for my base line to loot my "camp".

I just can't get my spare cavalry into the action. The infantry fight on the left hand end of my line is in the way, and Jim's got his chariots across to cover the flank of his infantry anyway. Stunning sweeping manoeuvre by the men in the carts.

Yup, those infantry are one move from the base line...

... and they step across to victory.

The Assyrians are a tough army to fight, even without the terror rule which we (rather I) forgot. I should probably have fought further across the table, especially as the archery was quite ineffective, to delay the inevitable march-off.

My other reflection is one I've had before; AMW works really well in the classical period, but the Biblical rules and army lists are a bit flaky. The Heavy Chariots are virtually unstoppable, and fast as well. If we persist with these, then changes are due.

Regardless of these issues it was a closer game than it may appear and a lot of fun. Hopefully Jim will be able to make it for future games.

Although I play solo from time to time it's mainly for play testing. Mostly I enjoy playing games with other people. Most of my friends have been met through wargaming, and it's always nice to make a new one.


  1. New figures, a new friend, and a defeat at the gaming table, sounds like a great day! Enjoy your Biblical actions.

    1. It was only an evening, but you make a good point!

  2. Nice one, Trebian. Always good to make the acquaintance of men mighty in battle, and even more so when they bring you figures as well!

    BTW, will be doing your Hannibal/Alexander challenge using Lost Battles soonish. I've held off because I don't have companions or prodromoi painted yet, but then I thought why let a little thing like that stop me...


    1. It's al about the people, really.

      It isn't my A v H challenge. I got it from TMP, where there've been a few games. Alex always wins and the Hannibal lobby find excuses.

      You'll see from my refights that lurking at the back of a few units bare often some not quite right figures and even some entire units being substitutes. It's all about playing games really, so why let a few missing figures stop you.

      Looking forward to seeing your AAR.


  3. What ruleset were you using for these battles? The figures look like they're based for Field of Glory.

    1. The rules are Neil Thomas' "Ancient & Medieval Wargaming", which I think is still available in Kindle format.It is a terrific introduction to the hobby, with simple, playable, rules and clear army lists. I love it.

      The rules essentially use the same basing conventions as FoG, DBA, DBMM, Armati and most common rules systems except Warhammer/Hail Caesar types.