Sunday, August 17, 2014

Impetvs: Swords and Sandals (and Cataphracts and Lanciarii)

I (finally, sorry Andy!) made my way out to Andy's base in the hinterlands of Christchurch. He supplied two Impetvs armies and a very cool desert table. I also got to see his expanded gaming shed. He could probably run his own club out there, with all that space. For our battle, he split his Palmyran collection in two so that I would have 300pts of Romans and he would have 300pts of the Palmyran elements (ie the Middle Eastern infantry, light horse and Cataphracts.) He also made up the two lists. When I saw the Romans, my initial reaction was 'needs tweaking', my second (better) reaction was No! It would do me good to play with the forces I was handed (no poor Legionaries for bulk, no T Archers to shoot down the enemy cavn, and way more Equites than I was used to) rather than playing the list-building game. In the even, I was glad I did, the list was still good, just different. Andy's Palmyrans were good too but second place is the first loser...

Since Andy emailed the list, I have it all ready to C+P, in the above pic they are taking a stroll past the scenic watchtower. One of Andy's large collection of home-made terrain:
Good command structure 20; Poor general 10
CM equites with general 23
CM Equites 23; CM Equites 23; CM Equites 23
FP legion 28; FP legion 28; FP legion 28
S Lancieri vbu3 14; S Lancieri vbu3 14
FL Aux 23; FL Aux 23; FL Aux 23
Camp, Baggage; 303 points

Average command structure 12; Expert general 30
CP vbu6 with general 30; CP vbu6 30
CL with javelins 21; CL with javelins 21; CL with javelins 21; CL with javelins 21
CL with comp bow B 25; CL with comp bow B 25
FL with javelins 14; FL with javelins 14; FL with javelins 14; FL with javelins 14
S slingers vbu2 12
Camp, baggage; 304 points

I weighted my deployment with the Cavalry to my left and then pushed that lot forward on turn one while holding the infantry (in front of my camp) back. Yes different army, same strategy as usual. On the extreme left the cavalry broke into a staggered flanking sort of thing to (hopefully) disguise the plan.

By the second turn, it was clear that I couldn't just sit in front of the camp and let him come. If I did, he could use his lighter and more mobile units to hook around his left and go for my camp. So up ran the Auxilia to try and get his CL to break off. I told them that they had my full support. I may have been economical with the truth.

Turn three and it was all on. Andy's Cataphracts had zeroed in on some Equites, which I elected to wright off as acceptable wear and tear. Meanwhile units of Auxila were sent careening forward to try and run through gaps in Andy's line. One made it, another found itself the target of about half of Andy's shooting...  My shooting was two bases with Javelins. On the plus side, VBU 3 Lanciarii are my favourite unit in the entire game and if I could just get beside thos heavy cavalry, I could pepper them with fire and wear them. Oh and for the hundredth game running, the General got worn right at the start of the game.

Then things 'clicked' on the right, I had got units in the centre to turn and flank the Palmyran light infantry line and, worn Legions or not, it was all on.

As anticipated, my Equites fled from the Cataphracts. They had held long enough for my Legionaries to charge in.
My Legionaries actually failed to inflict any real harm, but the Catapracts had lost and were thrown back, into the waiting arms of my Auxilia. I had nailed two units of his light horse and this had created some real space for my own faster units to zip about.

By turn four, things were not proceeding to plan. I had bloodied the Palmytrans and lost not a single unit in return.... On the other hand, my line was seriously worn. Not a fresh unit to be seen. Worse still, despite the rear charge, Andy's Cataphract general  handily beat off my Auxilia AND the other Cataphract unit had wheeled about and was coming back for another pass.

Then Andy got the prozed back-to-back turn, effectively going twice. Uh oh. I had to keep those heavy Cavalry maniacs occupied while I tried desperately to break Andy's forces on my right. No doubt my Legionaries were up to the job and I'm sure they could shield those Lanciarii long enough for them to throw more sticks at Andy's horses. Alas, two lost combats, collateral damage to the Lanciarii behind, twice; and then the Legionaries spectacularly lost, were run down, and the Lanciarii died along with them. That was unfortunate. So at the bottom of the last turn, with all Andy's units having moved, I was one point away from army break.

I half-heartedly threw some Javelins at the Cataphracts with my Lanciarii but neither of us expected that to achieve anything. So it was down to the frenetic 'kitchen sink' approach to my right. I just kept throwing things at Andy's lesser troops until sufficient died to break his army at the end of the turn. I should note that I killed exactly enough and didn't really have the capacity to kill more AND, had he one more  turn, Andy had only to overrun that unit of Lanciarii you see on the middle left to break my army.

So close. Awesome game, thanks Andy. I actually think the 300pts works as well as 400pts. The Equites were surprisingly useful, but I don't think Andy twigged that he should face them with missile troops as he is a bit rusty with Impetvs. They probably will be pin-cushions in future.

Anyway, enough reflecting: Roma Victor! Thanks for reading.


  1. Looks like a great game- Jamie. Impetvs somehow always goes down to the wire when we play- we must get back into it sometime soon.

    1. Yeah Andy always seems to give me a run for my money at this game. Despite playing so many different games (and next post will be about yet another) I still rate Impetus the best I have tried.

  2. Thanks jamie, nice write up :)
    Was a bit rusty but I had a blast, two turns of javelins missing on my left, left u with enough weight to roll me. I need more gametime with these guys to make it work tho, impetvs is still a solid system , the lack of complexity adds to my appeal.
    hilarious bubbles as usual, like your figures humour. Spot on mate