Thursday, 23 June 2016

Mithridates Revenge

This evening saw my return to the wargaming table for the second week in a row. A big event after this habitual wargamer has had about 14 weeks off after the birth of his firstborn.
To celebrate my return I played the Pontic army of Mithridates which I had been yearning to do for some time now. I played and won my first game against Rome last week but I have no images of that game.

This week I rectified that as you can clearly see below. Let the "Sword and Spear" commence!

The terrain roll was again high with 9 pieces to be placed. Just like last week the pieces were almost all huddled around my right flank, blocking any chance of a cavalry flanking attack. Instead Mithridates (me) decided to mass my cavalry in one block to crush the Romans that lay before my left flank. I assigned both sub generals, Ptolemy and Kraterus, for this task.

Two units of Pontic Heavy cavalry, my Sarmatians and my Scythian horse archers all amassed to crush the puny Roman cavalry before us. 

Forward ... we cannot lose! 

Mithridates commanded the centre. From near to far: slingers, peltasts, Imitation legionaries (2), a pike block, more Imitation legionaries and finally my beloved Thracians with rhomphaia. 

The Romans pinned the right of their line of legionaries on their fortified camp. On each side was a single unit of armoured auxilia to march through the rough terrain and deal with an pesky asiatic skirmishers. 

The cavalry duel did not begin well for Mithridates. The charge of the Sarmatians ended in complete disaster with the unit routing and Kraterus the commander being cut down in the first combat. Insult was added to injury as my mounted advantage melted away entirely when the Roman light cavalry shrugged off the ineffectual Scythian arrows then charged their opposites slaughtering them. The dice pictured are not combat dice but the bonus dice Proconsul Rob poured into the fray. 

The Pontic heavy cavalry had both taken hits losing their valuable fresh bonus and things looked bleak. The Cappadocian javelinmen in the rear of the picture, who were supposed to be flanking auxilia, were now called upon to join the cavalry fight. 

Almost surrounded Ptolemy was clinging on. His unit fought back and routed one Roman cavalry unit then he switched to the other beleaguered group. By now, using a bonus dice, the javelinmen crashed into the flank of the Romans. In another turn the Roman lights would do the same to us. 

One unit of Pontic heavy cavalry turned their attention to the Roman camp (at this time I didn't realise cavalry did not gain impetus bonuses when in combat with train.) The Thracians had made very short work of the auxilia opposing them and had launched an attack on the Roman fort. Their two handed weapons scythed through the fort inflicting two hits in the initial round. 

Mithridates ordered the phalanx forward at last. With two cohorts turning to face the threat to their armoured camp the ratio of heavy foot units was now favourable to the Pontic men. 

The Roman auxilia holding the hill now looked quite vulnerable but as yet the slingers were the only ones to take offensive action through repeated but ineffectual showers of stones. As can be see the Proconsul was being forced to divide his main battle line to cope with his crumbling right flank. This fight had soaked up huge quantities of activation dice and thus delayed the heavy infantry on both sides from coming to blows. This suited Mithridates much more than his opponent up till this point. 

Blows like hammers now fell on the Roman camp. The Thracians issued an ultimatum. "Bring out your comeliest goat and we will attack you no more." Stark silence was their only reply. 

The final result on the left Pontic flank. Ptolemy, with two bonus combat dice, routed the remaining Roman heavy cavalry unit. Their pursuit move then opened a passage for the Cappadocians also to charge through on the unsuspecting - and impetus dice-less - Roman light cavalry. The javelinmen slaughtered the Romans with the Legate only narrowly escaping death and a shower of pointy sticks. 

All for the want of a goat the Roman camp was raised to the ground by the Thracians. The Romans took a range of discipline tests for the loss of their camp quickly followed by another round as they had lost more than a third of their army. The final nail in their sandals was the poor auxilia who were being monstered by peltasts and slingers. The loss from repeated discipline tests routed them and the game was lost for Rome. 

The Pontic Kingdom is on the rise once more. Hail Mithridates - chief calamity of the Roman Empire! 

I am enjoying the strong cavalry arm the Pontic army can muster and the cheap cost of imitation legionaries to bolster your battle line. Add in some medium foot (my beloved Thracians) and lights to threaten in the rough and its a nice little army at 400 pts. Don't think I'll add my scythed chariots until we play some larger point games. 

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