sunnuntai 22. marraskuuta 2015

Mare Nostrum: Final Game

Ptolemy & Rome vs. Antagonids & Sparta

Sixth and final round of our Campaign was to be played in 4 player team games. I wanted to have a grande finale with bigger battles!

My ally was Risto's Rome and our adversaries were Marko's Antagonids and Mikko's Sparta. I had to use all of my cunning to get Marko, whom was leading the campaign with a very tight margin, to play against me. Even the pre-game was already furious so the game was loaded with high stakes: should either me, Marko or Mikko win with 4 campaign points, we could win the campaign (= have the largest empire).

My army arrayed for battle

Read on...

My Army

General Temesios had held many a counsil with his commanders and Roman allies. So far his loyal Agema Cavalry had won many battles in the war for ruling Mare Nostrum. This this choice was not so evident, based on information brought by his Tracian horse scouts it seemed, that the enemy would outnumber us. So a plan was laid out: hold back the main battle line, place machines of war and cavalry to flank, harass with skirmishers and wait for the enemy to come to us... and once battle lines would be engaged crush the enemy left flank with massed cavalry charge.

Scenario & our Battle plan

General Temesios was viewing the battlefield with the Captain of his Agema Royal Guard on their barded horses. He spoke, almost thinking out loud: "Our ally Ristosius has arrived, they're deploying to left of us, as agreed. I do hope they remember and honor other things we agreed and hold back and thin the Greek ranks with our superior firepower. Our enemy outnumbers us...". Soon the Antagonids, led by their notorius Commander and  Prince Marcos arrived on the opposite side of the battlefield. To Temesios' surprise Antagonids had reverted to traditional warfare: ranks after ranks of hoplites were littering the horizon - only a few pikemen could be seen and no cavalry or elephants at all. This made him feel even more confident on winning the day, and he pointed this out to commanders, whom had gathered for final pre-battle orders: "Our enemy doesn't have much of long range reach - neither firepower nor cavalry. We can either outshoot ot outmanouver them, depending on whether they decide to find to find their balls and come to us or hold back, as they usually do." His commanders laughed, even the always grim Roman officers allowed a smile to caress their features. Soon also the feared Spartans arrived facing Ristosius troops. The decisive battle of Mare Nostrum was about to start...


Greeks deploy with weight on the right flank.
Romans deploy in the middle, archers in columns.

Ptolemian (Seleucid army list) deployment, cavalry division on the extreme right, in columns. War machines on the hill, with rest of the army around the hill.

The battle commences

Horns were blowing across the battlefield. Temesios told his army to hold for a moment - let us see what our Greek are up to...

To his surprise and disappointment Marcos' Antagonids  started pulling back and turning to close their left flank. Disappointing, but never the less smart... Temesios thought. "They must have heard about the prowess of our cavalry from their Spartan allies". Temesios well remembered the battle of Tunis, where his cavalry had crushed the Spartan flank and almost driven them out of North Africa.

"Well, well, this could still be just a lure, to try get our troops advance too eagerly" Temesios concluded and gave the order for the main army to assemble on and in front of the hill, were the war machines were being positioned. Then he raised his hand commanded the cavalry to move forward in columns and on they went moving to the shadow of the white rock hills.

Roman allies seemed to have already slightly forgotten the agreed battle plan as some of their troops pushed forward , while others were getting on the way of each other. "Oh my, is this the famous Roman discipline?" Temesios grumbled.

"Well, at least my division commanders are not lured by this shadow dance" Temesios thought as he watched the other two divisions proceed cautiously and in a disciplined manner.

Way too few Romans facing the Spartan elites advancing rapidly

Marcos pulling his troops back and closing the Antigonid left flank

Change of plans

Temesios was not chosen as the high commander of Ptolemian Kingdom without a reason. He quickly made a decision based on the new situation created by the not so courageous behavior of the enemy; behind the white rocks he turned the cavalry to the left... maybe he also had a bad feeling about his Roman allies - they might need help later on...

The whole Ptolemian - Roman battle line

The whole field of battle. Battle lines are starting to turn...
Several Roman units still marching into position. "Dammit, I told them not to bring so many archers. There won't be enough space to deploy them effectively!".

Finally Temesios could hear the thwang of the war machines and see the swarms of arrrows in the sky. Enemy was within range. Still it was already clear: this battle would not be decided by missiles...

Romans and Ptolemians joining forces in the middle.

Let there be Spartan Blood!

First to show any significant balls was Spartan Strategos Miccos, his elite troops pressed forward, but thy had estimated the distance wrong, they couldn't quite get the momentum to reach the Roman lines, whom were now preparing for the counter attack...

Ptolemians seemed to be tired from the long campaign for Mare Nostrum, since now their steady advance started to look too sliggish in Temesios' eyes. "Forward you sons of Heroes" he ordered, but the pace of men hastened only a bit.

Spartan's lesser allies pouring through the gap, causing quite a bottleneck. Marcos had to send some of his troops to make sure these allies wouldn't come back the same way...

But luckily for us, these hoplites never made it out this bottleneck - clearly their commands were never received... or understood.

Roman troops engaging Spartans in a heroic manner - their goal to hinder the Spartans, while our main force would destroy the enemy in the middle...

Where our positions were strong:
Finally our alliance worked in a beautiful synergy: unit of hoplites were decimated by concentrated missile fire.

"Follow me!" bellowed Temesios and turned the cavalry once again... he had just seen an opening in the Antigonos left flank...

Antigonos battle line kept on stepping back and strafing to the right, few of their units had actually moved around the building to support the Spartans... which helped the Spartans to break through the thin Roman vanguard, but also effectively moved them out of the main fight...

This is Sparta!

Spartans proved to be worth their reputation as toughest warriors of  Mare Nostrum and some of them had almost superhuman endurance (morale save 3+ due to veteran ability gained during the campaign, boosted to 2+ with closing ranks).  They managed to beat the Roman vanguard...  Messenger arrived to Temesios: "Lord, The Spartans have broken through and are now threatening the Roman flank! We should send reinforcements to help them, my Lord!" "Damn it!" cursed Temesios. "We still have the Antagonids to handle, we can't spare any reinforcements yet, tell Ristosius to hold on as long as they can! We will come, but not just yet."

Spartans attacking Roman vanguard 2 to 1...

Spartans breaking through the Roman vanguard.

Ptolemian army maneuvering into position to finally engage Antagonids and the lesser hoplites being jammed between the forest and the building.

Battelines about to clash...

View from the Spartan right flank. Shaken units are left behind and are effectively blocking the few Antagonid reinforcement's advance.

Stranded Antagonids in the right flank. Well out of the action.

Opening in the Antagonid left flank, protected only by some slingers...

Follow the Galatians!

A great war cry rose from hundreds of Ptolemian throats as the whole battle line charged forward, encouraged by the example of Galatian Naked Fanatics, whom were the first to crush into Antagonid Hoplites. Temesios spurred his horse to gallop, but the Agemas were already tired of the long trot, that had finally taken them into position to charge. Temesios new they'd be a bit late and hoped that the infantry - supported by elephants could hold their own for few moments, even if they were clearly outnumbered by the enemy. From the hill he called out for his faster light cavalry: "Take out the slingers and support the Galatians!" His orders were duly noted and horse archers moved to support the Galatians as the Thracians pushed through flying stones and crashed into the slingers - making short work them in just few, brutal moments...

Antagonids are finally engaged. See the Ptolemian left flank to aid the beleaguered Romans and protecting at the same time the main force. 

Spartan breakthrough is finally brought to a halt by the remains of the Romans aided by some Ptolemians. One Spartan and Roman division is broken and their remains quit the battle field.

Crush them!

Temesios and his adjutant cheered as they saw the Ptolemian line performing well against hoplites! Only the hapless elephant gave ground, wounded by the Greek long spears. Thracians crushed the slingers and  turned to threaten the lone hoplite unit. Galatian mercenaries proved their worth by cutting their opponents to pieces and surging forward to meet the only pikemen unit.

Then the heavy cavalry slammed into the lone hoplite unit with their long xystons countering those long spears, Thracians pulled their ranks close and charged the hoplites to the flank to disturb them, Temesios charged headlong into the combat as well - the dominion of Mare Nostrum would be decided here and now!

The poor hoplites didn't stand a chance against the might of the almost entire Ptolemian cavalry division and were simply ran over. Cavalry then sweeped forward and slammed to the flank of the Antagonid pikemen, already fighting the Galatians. This combined force was way too much for them and the Antagonid battle line was smashed apart! On the other front Prolemian troops fought the Spartans to a stand still and held them in check -as needed.

Two Antagonid divisions were broken in just moments and the rest of the Greek army would soon be enveloped... and destroyed, BUT...

Hold it!

Temesios took of his blooded helm and viewed the battle field. Hundreds of dead hoplites lay scattered at his feets. He gave the command; "Sound the stand still -command!". His signaller looked at his commander in dismay for few seconds and then, reading the expression on the Lord's face, sounded the signal.

Temesios had seen the Antagonid Prince Marcos and Spartan King Miccos approaching with a flag of truce...

Three Lords sat in cool shade of the villa. Marcos and Miccos had subjugated to Temesios will and he was recognized as the overall ruler of the Hellenic Mediterranean... this agreement had been easy to made; Ptolemians had taken a clear victory today and they all also knew, that the ancient archenemy,  Persian Empire,  was rapidly growing it's strenght in the east and the Roman upstart were becoming more and more self confident in Italy. Three heroes leaned over the map and continued their discussion...

Another war or two would certainly soon follow, but now the Hellenes were finally united! 

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