Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Impetvs: What have the "Romans" ever done for us?

Adam has been slowly brewing his fearsome Bulgarian Horde, composed of Old Glory 25s, for some time now. They make a very cool Impetvs army - combining fearsome cavalry (as tough as my Kataphracts!) with light horse and even the dreaded Javelin armed light foot. We got to class - somewhere to the north of the Empire - last Friday night. Theoretically, I was the Byzantines, who referred to themselves as Romans, and in this case looked oddly 'Early Imperial'. I used the Impetvs Middle Imperial list as this seemed the best compromise between the actual figures and the capabilities of a Byzantine army. 


Adam essentially had a lot of Cavalry, with a little light foot. He put his guys into two intermixed commands. I took along two legions each of: General in proper Legionary unit, two poor legionary units, unit of Slingers, Psiloi with Javelins and Psiloi with Bows. To back them up I had my Sarmatians to be the Kataphracts, a Ballista, and a unit of Archers. I need to get myself more Archers!I did not intermix commands - keep it simple, stupid! Speaking of stupid, I followed my standard army list design pattern: build a list with Good generals in there, then need 15 odd points, so downgrade both to poor. 

 I was suitably rewarded by the immediate fall of the dice. While Adam's Bulgarians suffered massive traffic planning issues while they sorted out who reported to who, General "Maximus" rolled double 1s for first activation. Do'h.

Then of course he proceeded to roll doubles for his activations. Yes, he became incompetent and set out to work hard on proving it at every opportunity. So my right command, having as it did my two best ranged units and the key roles of both protecting my camp and possibly sneakily hitting Adam's, sat still and did nothing.

As Adam's Bulgars, and shifty Slavs sneaking through woods, swept forward - I had to sit tight an watch them.

this forced me to commit what was supposed to be my reserve - the central Sarmatian unit and his light Cav support - to try and head off some Bulgarians before Maximus got totally smashed while he stuffed around. Thank god Adam was having some issues of his own remembering how the units are supposed to work together in Impetvs and sort out  the right order of inter-penetrations , and so on. 

I never thought I'd be putting this in a batrep, but thankfully Quintus could do his job properly.  A unit of Sarmatians out left got thrown right at the Bulgar right flank and the Legionaries got marching to line up with all my light troops making use of the handily placed wood. 

Speaking of light troops making excellent use of woods. Maximus' day suddenly got a lot worse as not only did his fast cavalry not get the message to frikkin get going and hit the unprotected enemy camp but a whole lot of Balkan Mafia rushed out of the woods and took the Legionaries on toe to toe. I have heard a rumour that my guys have these things called Pilium. I am sure this is a falsehood put about to scare our enemies, because I have yet to see one actually hit anything...

It was not a good time to have ongoing command and control issues. At least Adam's lead Cavalry came up short on a pursuit of fleeing skirmishers and became a prime target for a charge by my Sarmatian reserve.

In typical Impetvs fashion, we then had a chain of 'I get you', 'I get you back', 'that unit fluffed a roll', no wait here is a unit out of left-field' interactions. That is a long-winded way of stating the vaunted Sarmatians got their lunch money stolen, while fouling up the avenues to get more of my guys in the fight. At least some sneaky Auxilia managed to mug the successful Bulgars.

All round, this was not a good day to be a Cataphract as out on the left more of my pet heavy cav got smashed up by Bulgars. It does kind of explain how they so quickly managed to carve out an empire!

Meanwhile, on the right, things were looking grim. Maximus was fallen and the way looked clear to smash through his command and sack the Roman camp.  At that point, his cavalry decided to finally follow orders and head toward their target - two turns late. As they watched their retreating back of the Cavalry - the remaining poor Legion and skirmishes weighed up the probability of them holding off the Slavic light foot, who seemed to be feeling their oats. The muddled up center was looking no better. Sure some Bulgar Cavalry was dead, and others withdrawing out of the firing line, but the Bulgar great Khan had arrived. He and his entourage were likely to prove problematic for the already thin defense.

 As I did my usual Impetus calculus, wondering if I had enough left in my other command to hold on once I lost Maximus' half of the army and the camp in approx 1-2 turns, I caught a break. Some of the Bulgars had pursued the broken Sarmatians too far AND my legionaries managed to double up and charge in. Sure they were disordered, but every Bulgar CM unit is 3 points toward breaking a command...

While the Bulgars were readjusting to this reality where heavy foot catches cavalry, some of the withdrawing cavalry got caught by the remaining unit of fresh Sarmatians. Fresh Sarmatians throw a lot of dice.

That was enough to put it in the bag. More through good luck than design, I had managed to gut the Cavalry core of one of Adam's commands. so it broke. Then I had done enough to the other to break the whole army. Phew. Close one. I mean, I TOTALLY had things under control there...

Cheers for the great game, Adam. You've got me all enthusiastic to get some actual Byzantines or perhaps a Latin Empire mix of those plus Knights? I have much research to do. I wonder how well Crusader Miniatures mix with Gripping Beast and for that matter how well either mix with Conquest Norman knight and if the cool Fireforge ones are too late to be included in a Latin Empire army. Or are all these options far too late for the Bulgars I am facing and I need a more 'Thematic' force...


  1. Wow, that is a great write up mate! LOL
    We must play again over the break eh?
    This list is for 8th to 11th century.

  2. Definitely keen for another game- 8th-11th rules out the Latin Empire as an opponent. Will have to consider proper Byzantines... Perhaps withVarangians in there.