Saturday, 23 April 2016

Perseverare Autem Diabolicum

'Errare humanum est, perseverare autem diabolicum, et tertia non datur' - Seneca

There has been wargaming, and once again it was the Romans and the Celts facing off as the annexe saw another game of To the Strongest!. In our previous game the Celts lost very heavily, which led to a certain amount of thought as to how to even things up. I wanted to take into account a number of things: they never win in a stand-up fight, warbands can't interpenetrate so there's no point in having a reserve line behind the main one and, just as important, it's a bit boring playing the Romans if all they have to do is move forward and kill barbarians.

All of which led to the layout above. The Romans, that's them on the left, have to exit the chap in the white chariot through the valley top right. Which they didn't. In fact he did a sort of shuffle, moving forwards, sideways and backwards until he ended up more or less where he started, albeit minus most of his escort. Yes, the Celts won.

A rarely seen view of the wargaming annexe

Now they didn't do it in the way that I would have approached it, utilising hit and run tactics and hiding behind the terrain so thoughtfully provided for them. Instead they went for the very successful, though probably unrepeatable, approach of charging head on and then drawing precisely the tokens they needed from the bag at the exact time that they needed them (a). Irritating in the extreme for the Roman player, but then that was Peter, and if it wasn't for bad luck then he wouldn't have any luck at all, so he ought to be used to it.

The scenario worked after a fashion, but I would make a couple of changes before playing it again. Firstly the Celts were penalised by their chariots being placed in front of the stream; they should have been swapped with the light cavalry on the hill in the centre right. Secondly we should have used some sort of morale check for the Celts. The Romans are on an escort mission and so it has to be do or die, but the Celts should pack up and go home if things get tough. For some reason (b) we have never used the command demoralisation rules when playing TtS! either in the annexe or in the legendary wargames room, but in this case they would have been appropriate, especially if we took each command to be a separate tribe (or whatever the Celtic equivalent was).

A chap with a beard

I still rather like this ruleset, although we clearly still aren't yet playing it totally correctly. This isn't helped by the fact that I have version 1 and the others have version 2. As far as I'm aware the changes aren't significant, but I think I'd better get up to speed and buy a copy of the latest edition. But not yet, because it's time for a change. I mentioned the legendary wargames room of James 'Olicanalad' Roach, and we shall next week be back in Ilkley, epicentre of wargaming in the Lower Wharfe Valley, for some Seven Years War goodness. When we return to the annexe in due course it will be to belatedly try the new C&C Napoleonics expansion.

(a) I use Warbases MDF playing card tokens instead of playing cards. It makes shuffling easier and looks better on the table.
(b) That reason is clearly an aversion to bookkeeping.

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