From our correspondent, Simon Tacitus, somewhere in northern Caledonia……
Yesterday, as the mists cleared the might of Rome formed up to face the masses of Pictish barbarians somewhere in the this cursed land. Oh for a bath house and some good wine and garum!
Fredericus Lepus, the Batavian commander offered to be the 'anvil' upon which the Roman Legionary 'hammer' (Simon) would crush the bearded foe. The Romans advanced cautiously but two quick failed '1' activation chits brought their careful manoeuvring to a swift end. In close adherence to the pre-battle holding plan, the Picts charged forward with their right flank (Tony) of light cavalry and chariots making spectacular initial gains in territory. The Pictish left also advanced but quickly faltered with a “one” chit.
The Roman right flank “hammer” then began to deploy rapidly forward with legionaries cautiously advancing and their light cavalry and Auxilia trying to outflank the Pictish deep units. The Roman anvil held firm but a worrying gap began to develop between the anvil and hammer…..!
The Pictish right soon began to outflank the Roman left, but also threatening to punch through the centre. Things were looking grim for Rome but these Romans were used to such situations. The Pictish left flank advance faltered with poor chit drwaing, giving the forces of civilisation a chance to envelope the flanks of the deep Pictish warrior war bands and start to cause massive disruption.
Events in the Roman centre worsened as its cavalry and light infantry were wiped out and the Picts gleefully made off with many heads and a few victory medals. All that now stood between the Roman camp and a rampaging deep unit of Pictish fanatics, was the singularly ineffective ballista unit. Miraculously they held in desperate hand-to-hand combat, saving themselves and the camp. Commendation and a Grass Crown to that Centurion whose actions probably saved the day.
At this point Gregius 'Onechit', assuming the cause of Rome to be lost, departed and suddenly the Roman fortunes changed!
Back on the Roman right the judicious movement of the General plus the ability of the Romans to ignore difficult activations when manouevering Legionnaires allowed the Romans to start eating into the Pictish deep warrior unitsn ("Three Victory medals please Tony!"). On the Roman left equally deft Generalship managed to get an Auxiliary unit into the flank of the deep unit attacking the camp. Eventually it too broke.
This technique of allowing the cumbersome Pictish warrior deep units to lumber past the more nimble Roman Legionnaires and then falling on the exposed Pictish flanks, was really starting to work!
The Roman 'hammer' now really started to grind into the Pictish flank, destroying another Pictish deep unit after it failed to pull back to rally. Roman victory was finally in sight. Even the agile Pictish light units were finding themselves penned in and unable to evade and hence destroyed.
VICTORY FOR ROME!!
Although the Romans lost a total of only 3 Victory Medals, the game certainly felt a much closer-run-thing than that score would suggest. If the Roman artillery had been overrun and the camp lost, the Picts would have gained 4 victory medals and Fredericus Lepus’ force would have been perilously close to demoralisation and a Pictish victory. However, it was Roman discipline, mobility and staying power, that told over Pictish bravery and aggression.
On the adjacent table Chris and Rob played some weird game involving Wild West scenery and sone rather unsavoury looking figures, of which no more need be said! It looked odd and some of the verbal exchanges sounded decidedly bizarre….. Elsewhere, Brian had dragged out his old copy of Doom, Peter Pig's "Square Bashing" was making another apperance and a game of ACW Sharpe Practice II was looking rather nice.
Next week, the Black Wolf annual quiz!