Huns - fast as wind...
We rebooted the Limes campaign, as the first go ended in two rounds. We agreed on some balancing actions and scaled the campaign from 1 on 1 to 2 on 2. See these amendments at the campaign page.
So off we went and started the campaign new. Barbarians only reported a total of 14 time units for us Romans to use, so few! We expected, that some winter raids would be in order... as my first round opponent Kalle announced he is going to play with the Hun faction, I didn't expect any snow (except here in Finland)... read on to learn how my first encounter with the dreaded Huns and their hellish leader Khan Kattila went...
For the campaign phase I had already built a Granary and hired a Medicus. Kattila had only spent 6 Time Units! He didn't have any HG, but he had a upgraded levies to yield Saga dice.
My battle plan
I had studied the Hun battle board and of course I new the Raid scenario quite well... I had a hunch, that Kattila might just simply make a run for it - Huns are quite potentially a fully mounted army.
I knew I needed to control my fatigue and keep my Impetus high - and naturally use it. My best counter-hun abilities were Foedus, Scuta and potentially also Plumbatae (not to forget the mainstay, best selling abilities By this sign, Signal and Rally).
Huns are terribly fast, so I needed to deploy and stay back, use terrain or cover against Hun shooting and their cavalry, and of course shoot them like hell! The good thing is, that the Huns are very vulnerable for shooting, so my army needed to pack a lot of shooting and then enough punch to take out any Huns that made it to my deployment zone...
In this standard scenario for the campaign, barbarians get points for units (2 points each foot unit) and models (equal to slaughtering points, 50% for cavalry) exiting the battlefield from the Roman table edge. Romans get VP simply for slaughtering the barbarians.
So we both had 6 point warbands. Compositions were as follows:
- WL Temusius
- 9 HG with a standard (1 from the granary recruitment point)
- 10 warrriors with a standard
- 4 warriors
- 10 archers (warriors)
- 8 archers (warriors)
- WL Kattila
- 3 X 8 mounted warriors with composite bows
- 3 X levies with bows
Deployment & Round 1. - Flank moves
As two of our club's most prominent players (that's what both me and Kalle say at least) now faced each other and as the excitement had been brewing in the "campaign phase", tensions were running a bit high, as we were setting up the game. Everything was done in strict order and info on Barbarian stratagems were given only on need to know basis...
I had deployed my forces quite in the middle, archers in both flanks, 4 warriors guarding the extreme right and the hard hitters in the middle covered by the forest.
I had the first go, but Saga dice failed a bit, even if I got two rares (I used one for Foedus) four not-commons, but only 1 common dice. This practically meant, that I didn't have much of means or activating my warriors. So my archers moved to the cover of the forest and my Decurion commanded his elite legionaires in there as well. Several Saga dice were left on board when I was done, including Scuta and already mentioned Foedus.
Hun deployment and perspective
Tactical strong point secured!
Khan Kattila had brought vassals from far... (I didn't know Huns subjugated Persians and Saracens as well!). I donated Foedus for two cavalry warriors and one levy unit.
End of round one: Khan Kattila had moved his forces with Endless Horde (cav moved 12"+4") to his left flank (his standard is refused flank). Few arrows flew towards my archers, but non fell (thanks to the cover and Scuta).
Round 2. Break through
So I needed to redeploy to counter the Hun refused flank... luckily this time Saga dice gave me plenty of Common dice. I poured three rounds of shooting to the nearest levy unit, but good saving throws protected them and only 5 fell. My HG moved forward and my large warrior unit moved to position - ready to intercept / counter charge any breakthroughs.
Huns -fast like a wind: now the Huns were not hindered by Foedus and forward they rushed! Two units reached my table edge and stopped there (as per scenario).
Round 3. Fighting at the egde
With a combined arms tactics I moved to counter the break through: first my 10 warriors charged the first Hun mounted warriors, hitting them with 2's due to Huns having a fatigue. After a hard fight I won 4-3, but had to disengage as per scenario rules. Then I poured some arrows on them and finally charged again with my small warrior unit (only 3 men remaining). I was happy with the result - only 2 riders remained standing.
In the meanwhile my HG had moved to a position, where they were still protected by the forest cover and they were within 4" of the nearest enemy levy unit...
Hun turn: bad luck with Saga dice and a dramatic error...
Khan Kattila rolled his Saga dice and the risk I had anticipated happened: no dice to activate the levies (even after Activation pool rolls)! This left one of his levy archers within the charge reach of my HG - carnage was to be expected...
So Khan Kattila started activating his remaining horse archer unit (other two had left the field). Their first move brought them (too) close to the forest, where my HG and archers were - Kattila was pondering on which of my units they would shoot with their composite bows (shooting sequence before or after the movement) - not all Huns were in the range (6") of my Archers, but HG in cover are a hard nut to crack! I think few arrows flew towards my Archers and one of them dropped.
BUT THEN! Khan Kattila activated his horse archers for another movement activation! I told him to STOP as he was about to move away from my troops: second movement activation taking place within 4" of enemy troops must be a charge to the nearest unit. A VERY ESSENTIAL rule considering this scenario - it gives Romans the chance to steer attackers away from the goal (by placing Romans "in the way" and hence generating a bubble of "charge me"). I think this might have happened earlier on this game as well, but I had not been alert enough, now I was...
Khan Kattila realized his terrible error and pleaded for mercy. No mercy could be given to these ruthless barbarians (as this was key issue / opportunity I had been waiting for). Kattila decided to charge... soon the riders were no more.
Round 4. Carnage!
So, as the fourth round started there were no more Hun warriors on the table. Two Vassal (Levy) units were standing in front of my HG, shocked from the slaughter of the horse archers they had just witnessed. One more Vassal unit and the Warlord were already retreating...
Wasting no time, my HG proceeded to decimate the next enemy unit, Khan Kattila was mainly occupied in picking up all the casualties.
So far my HG hadn't lost a single men, while butchering two enemy units. Scuta-ability had really proven it's worth! In the meanwhile my Decurion (WL) had moved up with the archers, whom loosed a volley towards the enemy Vassals. Now my HG lost one man in to the enemy shooting. Brave Khan Kattila had moved behind his vassals...
Round 5. Roma Victrix!
As a final insult to my Decurion moved up to his elite HG and together they proceeded to mercilessly cut down the one Vassal unit within reach, surprisingly they lost two of their number in the process. Last of the enemies were now fleeing away from the battle field in Panic! Last Vassals were trying to keep up with their Warlord leading this reverse advance.
14 Hun mounted warriors and some 20 vassals were taken out as casualties.
This yielded 14 slaughter points for Rome
10 Hun mounted warriors had exited the battle field, yielding only
3 slaughter / victory points for Huns
Adding insult to injury: Roman casualties were 7 warriors and 3 HG.
After rolling for survival final losses for Rome were 1 HG and 3 warriors.
14-3 victory for Rome. Barbarian determination drops by 4 points.
So why this brutal result?
- I think the Hun Battle Board is potentially very powerful, Kalle played with it for the first time...
- His tactics were pretty sound, making a run for it, but it had following flaws I think:
- 3 Vassal (levy) units with bows - risk of not getting enough appropriate Saga dice to activate them AND being an easy prey for my fighting units. Not getting these infantry units anywhere near my table egge meant losing 6 victory points simply in the unit points (2 per unit + miniature value is slaughter points)
- No HG to either bring victory points or to beat the shit out of Romans and hence protect other units leaving the table AND weaken Roman forces in the campaign
- He had a pretty good focus in moving towards the target (my table edge), but this again meant, that not much damage was done on my forces
- Eventually Kalle's refused flank tactics led most of his units to be within my reach = I was able to gain slaughter points throughout the game and especially after all Hun warriors were gone (one way or another), the Vassal (levy) units were a very easy pray
- What did I do good?
- I studied my enemy and made a plan
- I stuck to it: used Foedus & Scuta etc. and the terrain to keep my casualties to the minimum. I had a tight control on my fatigue (Signa) and Impetus scores and used my counter attack troops to dwindle enemy units, that had broken through
- I had a good discipline in focusing on one enemy unit at the time
- Somewhat dramatic mistake by Kalle
- Obviously the mistake in moving within 4" of my HG with his Mounted Warriors swinged the game to my favor. Without that mistake he would have gotten at least half of them out, but that would have been just 1 point. Total swing of 5 points (me not getting 4 slaughter points + him getting 1 VP). With this swing the score would have been 10-4 in my benefit.