Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Friday, 22 December 2017

WAI: Mons Graupius

And the last battle in this series of Roman vs Celt refights!  Here is the Neil Thomas' Wargaming: An Introduction version of the Battle of Mons Graupius, previously played here and here using Polemos SPQR.

I have never played Mons Graupius with the Wargaming: An Introduction rules but I have played them with the similar Ancient & Medieval Wargaming rules - see that re-fight here.

The Forces:

The Romans:

General - Julius Agricola
3 units of Auxiliary Infantry (Average, Heavy Armour)
3 units of Legionaries (Average, Heavy Armour)
1 unit of Cavalry (Elite, Medium Armour)
1 unit of Cavalry (Average, Medium Armour)
1 unit of Artillery (Boltshooters)

The Caledonians:

Commander - Calgacus
1 unit of Bodyguards (Warband, Average, Light Armour)
5 units of Warriors (Warband, Levy, Light Armour)
2 units of Chariots (Light Chariots, Javelins, Light Armour, Elite*)
1 unit of Light Horse (Javelins, Levy, Light Armour)
1 unit of Skirmishers (Javelins, Levy, Light Armour)

*The Polemos SPQR scenario rates them as Raw/Elite, so "Average" could be used alternatively.

note that all this is quite different from the army list given for the Romans in the rulebook, so one could consider upgrading both sides' infantry morale, for instance.

The Battle:

No change here - Romans at the bottom of the hill - auxiliaries to the front, cavalry to the sides, legionaries to the rear - with the Caledonians on the mountain.

The view between the armies

And a closer view of the Romans

And so it begins - the Roman cavalry on each flank begins to take casualties from the Caledonian light troops

Caledonian chariots and light horse harass the Roman cavalry

And the Roman cavalry take more casualties (a red marker indicates a lost base)

It is very difficult for the heavier Roman cavalry to bring its lighter opponents to battle

On the other flank the Roman cavalry has managed to catch the Caledonian foot skirmishers but then the Caledonian chariots have charged them in the flank with some considerable effect

However, the Roman auxiliaries have at last got stuck in and started causing some damage to the main Caledonian force

The weakened Roman cavalry finally get stuck into the Caledonian light horse

The other Roman cavalry have gone under the combined attacks of charioteers and javelinmen - the javelinmen are down to their last remaining 'hit' however!

The main infantry combat continues with the Romans unsurprisingly getting the upper hand.  Agricola starts a shallow flanking movement with his infantry reserves

The front-line of Caledonian warriors collapses

The Roman cavalry has lost its edge and is struggling to defeat the light horse

And the light horse are victorious! (top-right)

The Roman central advance resumes - note that further casualties are being taken by the advancing infantry from the harassing fire of the Cealedonian skirmishers

Battle is joined with the second Caledonian line

A closer view

One of the leading Roman auxiliary units has been destroyed by the Caledonians, but Agricola's shallow flanking move has begun to take effect

The British charioteers intervene again and the Romans suffer accordingly

But those Romans hold on, and everywhere else the Caledonian warrior units have been destroyed
 Game Notes:
And do the series ends.  These rules are really good fun, because the simplicity allows almost total immersion in the game and the attritional mechanics, as I have noted before, make playing the Caledonian armies very interesting because they have to cause enough damage to the Romans on their advance to give their weaker warriors a fighting chance.  Judging the correct moment for these light troops to actually get stuck in to melee is a finely-balanced decision too, although the Caledonian charioteers on the Roman left in this game seemed to have the art perfected!  They caused a lot of damage to the Romans both ways...but it is hard to defeat that super-efficient Roman infantry in anything like a straight fight!

One thing that could be tweaked is that the Neil Thomas rules don't give much of an advantage to having the upper ground on slopes.  The rationale for this is that the slopes normally fought over were too gentle to matter too much.  Whilst I am sure the author is generally correct, it doesn't appear that suitable for this battle.  Perhaps the uphill troops should always "hit first", or perhaps add an extra combat die per base (although the latter seems a bit strong), or maybe count as one morale level higher,

Looking back over the rules comparisons I did using Mons Graupius last year, I don't think that I would wish to change anything major.  In similar fashion, I hope that other gamers using, or thinking of using, either of these rulesets will find these write-ups useful.

Figures by Baccus 6mm and Rapier.

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