Monday, May 18, 2009

First Field of Glory Game

Until now my experience in the world of ancients gaming has been fairly limited, consisting of mainly DBA and big-battle DBA/DBM games as that's what the ancients aficionados in our club prefer. Recently some of the ancients gamers in our club have been trying and enjoying the new Field of Glory rule set. One of my club mates, Charlie decided to start up an ancients campaign revolving around Hannibal's invasion into Italy during the second Punic wars. During our annual First man of Rome DBA tournament this past March I was the winning Roman player and current holder of our First Man of Rome trophy, so I felt obligated to represent Rome in the campaign with my fellow Roman commander, Mike Coppinger. Opposing us are Michael Bailey as Hannibal, and Randy (King Jubba) Fields as co-general of the Carthaginian forces. This was the first conflict of the game, with Hannibal's large army catching the defenders of Tarentum isolated. This created a game with Hannibal's army having a large advantage in numbers, almost 2:1.

Here we can see Hannibal's forces, marching onto the field of battle. They're an impressive force with a large cavalry arm, Galls, Psoli, and almost as many imitation legionaries as the Romans have true legionaries. Our only advantage at this battle was the terrain. There was one choke point on our side of the board, and just like a scene out of 300, we chose to defend that point and force the Carthaginians to attack us in waves, rather than allowing them to outflank us. At least that was the plan....

Here the much smaller Roman army marching onto the field of battle. We deployed the majority of our skirmishers out on our right flank, while the rest of the army marched on between two woods, hoping to beat the Carthaginians to the town directly ahead so we could anchor our flank on it.

This is a photo midway through the battle as our line has reached our goal and deployed to receive the Carthaginian attack. Guarding our flank in the woods are several units of skirmishers. In the town on our left a single unit of skirmishers with cavalry and Triarii in reserve behind the town. At this point it was time to wait for the assault to begin and try to survive the onslaught.

During the initial melees, we fared pretty well, giving as well, or sometimes a bit better, than we received. My co-general Mike Coppinger did a masterful job of defending the woods on our right flank from multiple assaults, but eventually the Carthaginian numbers weighed in there and our defenders in the woods started to get eliminitated, unit by unit. In the center we were able to repluse all of the Galls, but when the Carthaginian heavy infantry hit our line which was softened up by the Galls' attacks, our units began to fail. This photo was taken just before we called the game. Although our army broke, we felt good being able to inflict similar numbers of casualties on a numerically superior force. Hopefully in our upcoming battles we can campaign our way into fights where the numbers are slightly more equal. Hannibal won this battle, but the war is far from over!

I've posted several more photos from the game on the Northern Conspiracy's Past Events page. So what were my first impressions of Fields of Glory? I liked a lot of the mechanics and the combat resolution seemed straight forward and easy to understand. The disruption/disorder system still confuses me a bit, and I think that the casualty and morale mechanics are quite 'dicey', i.e. the rolls of the dice tend to impact the results more than the tactical situation does. All in all I think they're worth consideration for larger ancient battles. I'm going to get a copy of the rules of my own so I can better understand them. The rulebook is a wonderfully illustrated hard cover book which seems more than worth the cost. I'm looking forward to future games in the campaign.

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