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Rome on the Road

Posted July 27th, 2016 at 10:44 AM by Sylvano the Wasabus
There’s a big river that runs down the center of our Big Game square grid map. You could say it divides that small world in two. On the right hand side at the top are the Romans and all of their roads. Roads cost points but they speed movement by 3. Usually an army can move 1 square per turn, but on the road, they travel 3. It helps Rome to move is armies and points around quickly.

Underneath Rome on the right are the gnolls. Defeated by Rome but not annihilated, they now serve Rome and send it tribute. A large gnoll army has gathered and set off to cross the river to threaten the Kingdom of Arc.

At the top of the map on the left is York. We keep our points secret until two armies meet, so Rome has no clue how many points York has. They had a slower start, but they haven’t fought any big battles. I know that Rome is in for a nasty surprise up there.

Below York on the left is the struggling kingdom of Arc. Their expensive cavalry, selected for small battles because my son likes the cavalry, unfortunately lost over and over against more numerous foes. Even though the points were equal or near equal, superior numbers won no matter what the few Arken units tried. As a result they are a weak faction and have already made a non-aggression pact with York.

Roman armies moved forward to threaten the Yorkist lands, making roads as they progressed. My son as Rome was confident. He’d not lost a major battle and his road system ensured that his front line was constantly being refilled with points.

As York I had five armies out. One, the most forward, was the big one. There was a medium sized moving to threaten the Roman outposts on the river and the other armies were small, mostly carrying re-enforcements but also spreading the threat around. My son doesn’t know what’s in each army so he has to play carefully. My big army moved forward one square at a time while the Romans massed in front of us. But it was Rome that made the first move. Over confident? Perhaps. The two pushpins we use to represent armies on the big game map came together in the same square and it was time for point truth.

“I have seven hundred and fifty points.” My son said, smiling.
He was either confident, or hiding his nervousness. Did he really think Rome could sweep through every land?
“This York army has thirteen hundred points.”
Son’s smile gone. “Really?’
“We chose to retreat.” He said.
It’s a ten percent charge to retreat without taking the field. He cut seventy five points off his army and retreated one square. I guess it was better than losing the whole army.

Then we did the Big Game dance. I pushed forward at him and all of my armies raced to my main army to reinforce it. His army danced around mine and his roads filled with coming reinforcements. As long as the initiative (we shake before each round) was in his favour, he could avoid me- which was okay because I wanted that medium army to join up with my bigger one.

Finally he could dance no more and our pushpins met in the same square again.
“How many?” he asked, again smiling. “Rome has fifteen hundred points.”
“York has Eighteen hundred and fifty.”
We began choosing armies.

He went with his usual Roman strategy- lots of Legionaries, some with pilums and a whole lot of archers. He also added in the Roman light cavalry.

York is a small faction and doesn’t have that many figures yet, so I used every figure they had and borrowed archers from Kukumerlant as well. I had lots of archers, a few pikes, a couple ballistas, a mortar and a few mounted heroes. My strategy was simple- very similar to his. Get my few pikes out front of the archers who would hopefully have height. I’d use the mounted heroes to ride around the side and attack his weak Roman archers before they could do too much volley damage.

It went very well for me. We quickly destroyed the Roman archers while the pikes and York archers snipped at the Legonaires. The losses on both sides were very heavy. It became clear that he was going to win the battle, but just by a little bit. In the Big Game you can lose battles and still win the game. I wanted to destroy his main force because I still had a six hundred point army coming up.

When it got down to just a few figures I withdrew. There’s no penalty from withdrawing from the field. I still had 200 points and he had about 350. I withdrew because the ballistas are capturable and I didn’t want him to get that 80 points. I had taken heavy losses, but his main- and I guessed – only- large force was destroyed.

Rome won the battle but they were panicked and on the run.

(to be continued)
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