I even got the 'quick and dirty' camp done. I am pretty pleased with it, given the rush to get this mad idea off the ground on such short notice, after WOTR fell through.
The first game of our demo. Jason and I both have our camps hidden amongst the forest clearing. This is practically a necessity, since we do like our terrain. Here the thin red Roman line faces off the Barbarian hordes of Germannia. I have three commands: 3x Sarmatian CP to the left; 1 x Legionarii, 3x Auxilia, 3x Raw Legionarii, 2x Lanciarii, 2x Slingers in the centre; 2 x Praetorian Legionarii, 1x Auxilia, 1x Lanciarii to the right.
My Sarmatian CP command (Armorum and Aquila) attracted a lot of interest. Few can resist the lure of ancient battle tanks. The figures may not look the best unpainted in their store but I think they paint up well, and I am no expert painter! Here they are on the wing. My plan with these guys was to let two of them go but move forward, then wheel later to hit the flank of the onrushing warband - while they are stalled on the Auxilia/Skirmisher front line. I think my opponent is probably laughing out loud as he reads this.
This is the Germanic camp - if you look close, you can see the remains of the last Romans unfortunate enough to have tackled this Germannic horde. I wonder if all this Pagan sacrifice stuff works? I have a trap laid for the Germans - they will approach my Centre, while my Praetorians threaten their flank - unless they divide their attack. Then the Sarmatian lancers can hook around and hit their attack from the flank and hopefully sweep through a few units and break the back of the horde.
However, the Roman centre folded quickly. The Auxilia were overrun without causing any return casualties, then the Legionary line also failed to stem the tide. The Sarmations hit the flank of the Germans, but the warband broke through so fast that they were already past the threat of the lancers and the cavalry found themselves amongst a cloud of javelin men, left behind by the sheer speed of the warband's advance. The Sarmatians managed to drive off some German horse but went down to missile fire. The pagan gods must have done something, because the Roman force was left either dead or fled in that snowy forest and I actually only managed to kill a few skirmishers.
Craig's army on the other hand, looks thin on the ground - to me. I'm sure he will be fine though, the First Crusade went well for the Syrians, right?
After lunch, it was round two for the Germans vs Romans. Here you see a more 'traditional' deployment. The Romans are refusing a flank, and deploying the Sarmatians last. Since it is two German commands vs the Roman three, the heavy cav can be anywhere. Jason decides that since Roman infantry are clearly rubbish in a fight, he'll not worry about cavalry and sweep over the hill to smash my centre once more. I did consider putting the Sarmatians out on the far flank to tie up the German advance but decided to make use of the road instead. Jason reckons this would have been the better course, and probably would have been as good, if not better , than how I ended up employing them.
And here they come, a veritable waterfall of Germans flows down the hill toward the Praetorians, intermixed Auxilia and skirmishers. My Lanciarii get early success, killing off the enemy skirmishers - so I am already doing as well as last game. Out of shot, my Sarmatians have raced up the road in column. Because of the bounce-back damage if I lose, this is incredibly risky (stupid). However I am itching for them to get stuck in properly. So Artorius Castus leads from the front and begins a heroic delaying action in the centre. So for the next few turns, skirmishers leapfrog melee units and I wear down and break the Germans coming over the hill.
Meanwhile, the flanking shooters in the forest are picking away at the second wave of the main German force. The presence of the Roman general in the frontline, as opposed to skulking in the second line, must be inspiring the raw legionarii and auxilia - since they stand firm and even inflict casualties this time. In fact, when the legionarii counter-charge hits, they actually knock a warband down to a small unit.
Between the Sarmatian 'forlorn hope', the loss of the entire other German command, and casualties inflicted by the legionarii to the centre, that is enough to break the back of the hairy horde. Roma Victor!
Phew, some Roman pride is restored. However, I think we'll take a breather before charging off to recover the lost eagle from those poor unfortunates lying somewhere further into the dark forests of Germannia. It seems a tad 'risky' out there.
Overall the demo day was a big success. NATCON is a three day affair but all of us were eager to get on to holidays with our families. I think we've got the ball properly rolling for more of the SI wargamers leading into Craig's planned TAGCON day in August. Thanks for reading.