Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Thapsus goes to Partizan!

On Sunday I had a pre-dawn start up to Newark for Partizan.  I had a nice clear drive up the A1 in my new-ish war wagon. As my games get bigger, I find that the task of loading and unloading everything is getting more taxing... and this year it was quite a job!  

I eventually got the boards set up, ate a bacon butty, and John arrived and helped me to set up the troops. The above view (all photos are clickable) is from the salt-lake side, across the isthmus, towards the sea at the rear. The more numerous Pompeians and their Numidian allies are on the left, and Caesar's legions on the right. There is a light scattering of scrub and olive trees, but no terrain that will impact the battle.

Here's the view from the sea wing. I eventually decided to name the ship "Venus", after Caesar's patron goddess (and the scurrilous song!).  Hilariously, Dug kept forgetting to move it, but brought its ballista into use by the end of the game.

Above is Caesar, beautifully painted by Andres of Einar Olafson, and received just before the game. He's a conversion using Foundry, Aventine and Warlord parts, and I'm going to paint a standard bearer to accompany him.

Later Dug, Dr Phil and his son Tim arrived, and we were quorate to kick the game off. A brief run through the rules (the Lite version of my own "To the Strongest!" set), and we were off! The players looked a little slack-jawed when the first unit was destroyed, within 30 seconds of play commencing. Shortly after this, I demonstrated why it is important to remember to move one's elephants... in a blue-on-blue incident, mine rampaged back through two of my units and trampled my general to death.  The 3 Aces are my failed saving cards.

On the other wing, however, Tim's elephants performed prodigies and smashed deep into the enemy lines (below).

This enabled us to turn the flank of Caesar's legions, but unfortunately they had done much the same to us on my other wing.  Below, playing cards are used to activate units and resolve combat.  The first time I've not needed to take dice along to a game!

Below is a shot of the clash of legionaries in the centre. Several cohorts eventually managed to turn onto the flanks of other cohorts.

I estimate that  we managed to only get 2-3 hours or so of play in during the whole day, as we started late, chatted to lots of people, did some shopping, took pictures of other games and so forth, so we didn't quite finish the game.  Caesar was ahead at the end, though, but not by as much as on the day in 46 BC, so, in that sense, it was a moral victory for Scipio.   Below is a shot of the late-game carnage; I was running out of places to put my casualties!

We had a great day, so thanks to Dug, John, Dr. Phil, Tim and Craig, who played, and a big hello to everyone who called by to have a look!  Especial thanks to Dug for his photos, and John for helping me pack up at the end.  Dr Phil and John had some useful suggestions for rules tweaks.  Oh, and huge thanks to the Partizan crowd for being such great hosts!  
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