Category Archives: impetus

Gaining a little Impetus…

Today I finally managed my first games of Impetus. Stephen Davison was back in town for the weekend so I managed to secure a pass and we agree to play a couple of games of Impetus. I was going to bring down my Mid-Republican Romans, and Stephen his Carthaginians. The plan was to have a 300pt game to get me in to the swing of things, then a 500pt as the main event. In the end the first game took a little longer than planned (I’m a slow learner!) so the second ended up being 300pt as well – although I did tweak my list. So, on to the action:

Impetus Game 1
My 300pt (well, 308!) was:

Type Pts Notes Bases Points
CM – (Romans/Italians) 19
2 38
CL (Numidian/Tarantines) 21 Javelin 2 42
LEGIONS each comprising 94
FP (Hastati)(*) 28 Pilum 2 56
FP (Principes)(*) 28 Pilum 2 56
FP (Triarii)(*) 26 Long Spear 2 52
S (Velites) 12 Javelin 2 24
Command Structure Good 20
General Fair 20
Rolls of Destiny 0

At 300pts it doesn’t leave a lot of choice once you’ve paid for the two legions and the cavalry so I basically just added some Numidians to give me the possibility of covering both flanks.

We rolled for attacker/defender and as defender I planted assorted woods and hills on each flank so even with removing two there would still be cover. Stephen opted to clear his right flank of woods just leaving a large hill. I anchored my legions on the right flank woods but had spread them out a little too much. I also initially stuck to the traditional three ranks. Basic setup is shown here with my other CM and CL off to the left.

 The plan was to try and force the left flank with my cavalry and Numidians and hope that my legions survived contact with this lot!

 So the cavalry peeled off to the left to attack his Numidians and try and steer clear of the elephants.

In this game, and especially so in the next, I had appalling rolls for my Discipline Tests pretty well ending up disordered whenever I tried a double move!

I was lucky in that initially his elephants struggled to get going 

However, on my left I soon discovered how hard it is for cavalry(CM) to pin down light horse(CL)!

Having moved my cavalry to the left this opened a gap in my lines which I partially plugged with velites but also started moving triarii over to cover.

Meanwhile on the left my Numidians had fallen foul of his and died to a man and his Numidians started to sun circles around my cavalry who had had to keep moving left to avoid the elephants.

On my right, I had moved a unit of principes up to lengthen my line. My other velites had tried to engage his Numidian skirmishers and had failed miserably! And eventually the Gallic rollercoaster ploughed in to my lines! The right hand unit wiped out a unit of hastati but I was luckier with the other unit as it contacted my principes with the attached General and I was able to push them back and then pursue and kill them.

Another unit of hastati fell to the combined efforts of the Gauls and some Spaniards and depressingly, both my cavalry units fell to his Numidians. This pushed me over the 50% breakpoint and so my army crumbled.

Although I didn’t get any pics at the time, my triarii actually managed to fend off the elephants – which were rather nice figures anyway!

So there ended the first game. I’ll make my comments re rules etc. after the second game. 

Impetus Game 2
For this we decided to stick to 300pts but I dropped a unit of Numidians, upgraded my velites and added a unit of Balaeric Slingers. Again I got the defence so threw a load of woods and hills down to crowd the flanks. This time however he left most on. This time my mounted were to my right and I used the triarii to lengthen my line. This left my legions facing elephants backed up by Gauls…


I decided on a bold approach and launched everything forward on double moves. Again I had a lot of disorder resulting but not too bad. I figured if I could get stuck in quick I might stand a chance of holding the cavalry flank long enough to do damage before the Numidians flanked me.

Things didn’t go well for my Numidians who got disordered and flanked. 

I did manage to bring up the Roman cavalry to kill one unit of Numidians but it was not to be long before mine died.

Meanwhile, the legion had pushed forward with the velites trying to attack the elephants. Although they got pushed back through the legions they were able to disorder one units and it was this that faced the hastati with my General.

Which although I took heavy casualties managed to kill the elephants. This last melee went on for a good few turns as the Gauls started to advance. I did manage to swap out my damaged hastati with fresh principes before the Gauls hit though.

Back on my right the allied cavalry threw themselves repeatedly at the Numidians to their front. continually pushing them back, leaving the other two units to move behind my flank.

And the melee continued with the elephants as we were both on one dice!

Eventually my velites were dispersed by Spanish who in turn fell to the solidly advancing triarii who eventually clashed with the veteran Carthaginian spearmen and their General!

The next few turns were critical on the left as the hastati fell as the first units of Gauls came in, saving the elephants!

However, the fresh principes fell to the Gauls but did enough damage for the follow up unit and General to kill them!

On the left, despite being continually threatened by Numidians, even being charged in the rear, they fought them off and killed the Carthaginian General and his unit! And were eventually to kill the other unit. The Allied cavalry continued to push back a unit of Numidians, eventually killing them before being threatened by another unit who they eventually faced off.

As the last unit of Gauls approached it was all too late. The elephants were finally killed, and with the loss of the last unit of spearmen the Carthaginians had had enough and fled the field!

It was a sort of mini 2nd Punic War. The Romans, inexperienced in war (my first game!) fell to Punic perfidy! Their cavalry being particularly inept! Lessons learned, they returned to the field in aggressive mode and were triumphant! The legions have to get in fast before the flanks go. Stephan acknowledged that I had horrendous Discipline rolls in this game and that without those I would have contacted quicker and likely triumphed quicker! Both were fun games and it was, as usual, a pleasure to play Stephan.

Thoughts on the rules
The first game took a little getting used to, both for the mechanisms and how the game flows. At first it seems a little weird following one unit to conclusion before moving to the next. It does however give a good ebb and flow to the game and things can turn around quite quickly. 

I found my cavalry VERY vulnerable to the Numidians. I couldn’t catch them, they kept harassing me with fire and eventually will kill you. I did better in the second game but I still think that ‘mediums’ are a little too fragile to ‘lights’. 

I also found a few instances where I expected my skirmishers to be able to fire on incoming troops only to find they couldn’t. This was less problematic and I think is just a matter of figuring how to handle the troop types.

The other issue is the handling of the Roman three rank system. There is currently some discussion about this on the Impetus forums/mailing lists and I think something does need doing. The problem is that of balance and reflecting the real tactics. If you make the Romans too flexible then they become too powerful. Make it too easy to swap lines and they become to powerful. Currently you have to not be in contact, within 10MU and both pass Discipline tests. This can make it hard, especially as once in melee you have no chance to pull back and exchange. It’s been suggested that they be treated as Large Units with the principes the second rank. This allows the auto-support (possibly too much so) but then stops you deploying the second rank elsewhere. If you make it easier to exchange, especially when not in contact, or with penalty when in melee, then maybe you would get the Romans using proper tactics. At the moment there is no real incentive to do so as it’s likely your army will be dead by the time your third rank is required!

There also seems to be a little issue with pila. I was surprised to find that my lovely tough legions, having taken a single hit from skirmishers, were unable to use their pila on the incoming Gauls! This seemed wrong. I think they should get to use them in first melee, regardless.

Anyway, I can’t really comment more until I’ve played a few more games. I think with a larger force (and four legions) and more allied units, the Romans would work better. I’d quite like to try some solo games to see how things go. And I’m really looking forward to Extra Impetus 4!

Overall, I like the rules. Want to try them again. I don’t think I can face re-basing to suit but I will definitely make up some sabots to make the movement quicker. I did like the look of the big bases. It’s just that I’ve done a lot of re-basing recently for DBMM/FoG and can’t quite face re-doing any at the moment. If I was a regular tournament player then yes, I’d consider it, but given how many games I play, there’s a good chance my preferred rule choice could change before my next game!

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More 6mm Early Byzantines…

Well it’s taken a long time to get these two bases finished and two weeks to even get round to taking some pictures! But finally managed it today. These are two bases of Byzantine Cavalry Archers for my Impetus army. They are based on the Baccus Late Roman Armoured Horse Archer with small shield added with Green Stuff.

Here they are advancing over the river with Bucellarii leading the way.

And some more shots showing shields and basing:

The rivers are a new acquisition from Brian at Mutineer Miniatures. I’d seen their river sections at the Border Reiver Show back in September and he had agreed to do me 6-7 foot of river in colours matching those I use for my scenery and basing. The originals had a brown colour for the river itself which I know may be more realistic but as my rivers/streams will either be for the virgin North American colonies or the Italian lands as Hannibal passes I wanted nice clean water! I’m really pleased with them and can recommend Brian and Mutineer for their excellent service. They’ll feature in the next few photo shoots but at some point I’ll lay out the lot and do some overall shots!

I’m tempted to do a couple of bases of infantry next but I’m also itching to start on the Prussians so I’ll have to see how the Christmas break goes.

More soon as I return to the Colonies….

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First Impetus Unit Completed

Here is the first unit of my Early Byzantines for Impetus. This is a unit of Bucellarii of which I’ll have two in my ‘starting’ army of 300 points. The unit uses Baccus Late Heavy Cavalry from the Sassanid range and I’m happy to make do with the ‘Eastern’ influence at this scale.

The second unit will have cloaks added to some and the second rankers may not all be on armoured horses to reflect the more eclectic mix of what were essentially mercenary units acting as bodyguards.

But hopefully I’ll get the archers done first!

I’m up to 18 followers now which I’m rather pleased about and appreciate the show of interest from those concerned. I’ve also looked at the stats for the blog over the last year and the number of unique visits has grown significantly since June when I changed the layout/theme from exclusively AWI peaking at over a thousand in September.

I’ve had some good references to my AWI content over on TMP and having just got hold of the latest AWI themed Wargames Illustrated I shall be returning to the 18th Century in the not too distant!

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6mm Early Byzantines – a start

At Derby a few weeks ago I picked up a wide range of figures from Baccus with a view to putting together an Early Byzantine army for Impetus. As no one does a specific Early range for the Byzantines I was looking at a mix of Late Roman, Sassanid, Goth, Hun types to represent the army. Given the period of transition and the Eastern influences and the ‘mercenary’ nature of the Bucellarii I figured I could get away with this, especially in 6mm!

I’m still waiting for MDF bases to arrives (hopefully before next weeks postal strikes!) but thought I’d post some ‘in progress’ shots. So here are some views of the first Bucellarii based on a Sassanid Late Heavy Cavalry. They have bow, lance and part armoured horse. I would have preferred to have unarmoured horses in the second rank but Baccus are in a transition period with moving to a slightly larger horse and currently the proposed back rank would look like ponies!

The Impetus Justinian list has just been posted in draft and for that I need 4 units of Kavallarioi. These were a bit harder to source. So I’ve taken a Sassanid armoured archer and added a small shield with a bit of green stuff.

And as a lot of the images I’ve seen for Bucellarii have helmets with plumes and with cloaks I thought I ‘d see how easy it was to adapt the Sassanid Heavy Cavalry figure…

Overall I’m rather pleased with them. I think the archer shields may be a tad on the large side but at 6mm I don’t really care and once painted I’m sure they’ll look fine. I will need to do another Bucellarii unit so for that will do a mix with cloak and I’m hoping Peter at Baccus may be able to source me a suitable unarmoured horse type figure.

I’ll post better pictures once they’re all based.

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Recent Books, Impetus and update.

Just picked up the following as I delve yet again into the Punic Wars:

Cannae: The Experience of Battle in the Second Punic War, Gregory Daly
Lost Battles: Reconstructing the Great Clashes of the Ancient World, Philip A.G. Sabin
Hannibal’s Last Battle: Zama and the Fall of Carthage, Brian Todd Carey

The Cannae and Zama books are really just knowledge boosters as I read up on the subject again. Still just finishing Goldsworthy’s Fall of Carthage and just starting Durham’s novel, Hannibal – Pride of Carthage. Both good in their own way. The Daly book above looks to have some interesting chapters so that will no doubt be next on the list. The Sabin I bought on an impulse. Saw some interesting comments on it on TMP and although I’m unlikely to use the rules for my own games I wanted to read his analysis and justifications for them.

And finally, my copy of Impetus arrived today. Although a tad pricey it is a vey nicely produced set on good quality paper with excellent photos. I’ve had a quick look through and the tone and spirit of the rules really appeal. Looking forward to trying them.

I’ve been really taken with some of the diorama type bases for the game, especially in 6mm, and am tempted to do a couple of armies for them. I’d thought of maybe doing my Early Byzantines in 6mm but I’m pretty certain they will be 15mm Khurasan. Also considered doing Punic as well as I have some ideas for laying out the Roman bases. But I’m not sure I want to deviate from my 15mm Punic Wars armies as I’m slowly bringing them to completion. Medieval puts me off as I can’t face the shields! Only thing that does appeal is maybe Late Roman and Sassanid Persian, maybe inspired by the Harry Sidebottom books I’ve just read. The decider will probably be made at Derby as Baccus will be there and I’ll no doubt crack!

Been doing a little more on the terrain pieces and should have them done tomorrow. The Purbeck terrain blocks I have I’ve tried sprucing up a bit by sponging patches of brown and highlight to match the bases over them to break up the green. I had thought of PVA, ballast and then the painting but the sponging seems to look OK and is quicker. Also, only need to do one side so if it looks crap can still use them!

Bye for now…

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