Saturday, November 29, 2008

Narona Battle Report

Well here it is at last, I've managed to steal a few moments to write a review of this epic battle. The battle was one of the best I have ever played and included everything that makes for a great day, although starting badly with me ruining my stairs carpet with my new 2 tonne gaming board, It all proved worth it in the end. The game also gave me chance to use a wealth of new scenery collected and made over the years which transformed the board into one from my childhood dreams.
Alanicus also turned up in fighting spirit with a ready made T-shirt especially made for the day, a very nice touch; If only it had bought him some luck.
Using the images from the Blog he tried to dazzle my troops with Alanican propaganda....It failed and Alanicus was forced to use the garment to make a makeshift sail to get himself back to Egypt.

The game was great and led to a really fun day, a few things really came to the fore in the action which added to the enjoyment. I think one of the greatest additions was brought about by giving the Centurions names and personal stats. I had done this months ago ( It's on the Blog somewhere). By going through a Roman book and giving Characters very simple first names and rolling them on a simple D10 table of modifiers, Characters like Turrentius and the mighty Pulex really came to life and stopped just being figures on a board of hundreds. +1 to weapon skill or +1 to Toughness really helped to flavour these old war dogs and led to some really nice moments within the game. It got to a point where I didn't want Pulex to fall and when he struggled through against all the odds I was amazed...a real hero. My heart was in my mouth for most of his dice rolls towards the end, really good fun.

Another nice touch was the use of the 'Heirs of Caesar' rules. These give Legionaries the choice of various fighting styles which really give a sense of realism to the game and allows you to tailor your tactics to fit the different situations. The first option is called 'Parry and Guard'; this gives the legionaries +1 to their armour save. This allows for a unit to hunker down and hold out better for assistance to arrive. Then you have 'Independent Swordsmen'; this gives your legionaries a +1 to their weapon skill for when they take the fight to the enemy and fight aggressively (only one rank can fight). The last is 'Relief'; for three rounds of combat two ranks can fight at once, after three they go back to one rank. This gives the unit a chance to rain down blows on an enemy for a short time to overwhelm them if time is growing short and a breakthrough is needed. These simple little touches really improved the feel of the combat and lead to holding actions and aggressive all out assaults during the day.
It wouldn't be a war game if I didn't mention the dice rolls during the day. Both of us were stunned and couldn't believe some of the rolls that day, they will be set down in history. The luck of the Slaves from the Narona quarries will live on in legend. Time and time again they held against the tough Legionaries of Alanicus. Their Leadership was five and so when they lost a round of combat two dice were rolled. If the score was higher they would of broken and ran. They found themselves in this position three times during the fighting but the Gods were with me and each time they just managed to hold their ground and fight on. It was an amazing game! Our games are few and far between these days but what a game. When the Legionaries finally broke and ran, It was the stubborn Slaves who caught them and butchered them to a man.

I hope you have enjoyed following the battle as much as we did playing it and maybe you have even been inspired by it a little.
Events in the real world have played havoc with those in the Campaign, but I'm sure the clash of sword on shield will be heard again soon. Secundus for Emperor!


Still (Almost) Anonymous said...

It certainly was inspiring! Sadly, the WABlist's EIR/MIR folder that was noted as having included the "Heirs to Caesar" lists is now empty.

Would you be able to send them along to pst dot jwy at sympatico dot ca ?


Secundus said...

I'm afraid mine are all printed out in a folder put together by Alanicus himself. However, I will have a word and see if he has them in his computer still. I'm sure If he has he will send them to you.

I hear on the grape vine that there's a third edition WHAB coming out soon. With it the writers are launching a huge Roman Campaign based around the year of the three Emperors (the same as mine). This all sounds very nice and I'd be interested to see if there are any new rules for the Romans like the ones in Heirs of Caesar. I think WHAB has come up against stiff opposition lately with the release of Fields of Glory and is fighting back at last. Good to see, I'm a WHAB man through and through and I can't wait to see what they've done with the new rule set.

Almost Anonymous said...

Thanks! Actually, Jacques Greber himself has just sent me a copy, further to my request through the WABlist.

In fact, the webpage for the WHW EIR campaign is already up.


Secundus said...

what do I type in to have a look?

Secundus said...

I found the site, very early days on the Campaign but looks good. Whats the new rule like?

Almost Anonymous said...

I'm not sure - my PC has not been working very well, so I've been using my wife's PC. Unfortunately, and unlike a proper e-mail client, Hotmail won't allow me to download or open the attached rules.

Regardless, I think that I probably have the older version that was uploaded to WABlist back in 2006.


Andrew said...

Nice summary, that is a very nice table you have there. I really like your scholarly gentleman illustrations!

Sire Godefroy said...

I enjoyed your battle report as well. Your characters added greatly to the show and it's an inspiring read. Together with tbe recent webbased WAB-campaign it almost drove me into adding some Romans to the lead mountain. Hum... being from Germany, but a Roman citizen at heart, maybe next year will see the rebirth of Varus' lost legions.