Had a most excellent day gaming with Simon Tonkiss, Iain Burt and Dave Hall at the Wargames Foundry venue just outside Newark. We have been discussing and planning this for a while as we all have suitable forces for 15mm Punic Wars – some more than others… and Simon and Dave have done a good job over the last couple of months pulling all the info together and organising the game. We wanted something that we could play in a day and that could handle the large numbers of figures we hoped to use. If we were going to all the trouble of getting together we wanted a BIG game! Consensus seemed to be that Simon Miller’s To The Strongest were ideal as a couple of us already owned them and although we had not tried them in anger they seemed to fit the bill.
Myself and Iain arrived on the Friday and stayed at what is becoming the B&B of choice in Newark – Compton House. Nice rooms, nice welcome and a good breakfast and walking distance of the pubs of which we tried a few on the Friday night. We met up with Dave and Simon at the venue on the Saturday morning. The original plan was to have a couple of short games to start so that we were all familiar with the rules and then set up the big game. However, as we sorted out the troop based on the lists Dave had drawn up it was clear time was at a premium so we just set the whole game up and went for it!
Myself and Simon had brought along our 6’x4′ Mat-o-Wars, Dave some nice buildings and trees, myself some roads and TSS hills. With the grid marked out (150mm) we laid out the table and prepared for battle!
Myself and Simon took the Roman side on the left. We each had two ‘legions’ supported by large Gallic contingents and assorted Spanish and Numidian hangers on. Dave and Iain had the traditional Punic enemy. Dave had the main Carthaginian force supported by Numidians and Spanish, and Iain (facing me) had mostly Spanish with some allied hoplites and lots of light troops. They both had a few elephants as well.
We were using the original Polybian list where the legions use small units. This did make them rather fragile as I lost a couple to skirmishers! And we forgot about the rear units being able to reinforce and attack.
Anyway, the great Roman Republic went first and we launched ahead on all fronts with great gusto. I was a little wary of the cavalry superiority on my flank but bolstered by Gallic cavalry I felt I could hold my own until the legions did their job.
My Gauls forged ahead to face Iain’s hoplites:
The cards were not good for either of us here and my chaps never seemed to get in and when Iain repeatedly counterattacked he never got the hits he needed. They were to stay in basically the same squares for the whole game!
My legions got a little uncoordinated and after our respective skirmishers had exhausted themselves I clashed with Iain’s scutarii.
Despite losing a couple of hastati I finally managed to punch a hole through and bring up the reserves. Iain was unlucky with the activations and unable to reinforce any successes and fully plug the potential gap.
Most of our action took place on the right where cavalry and elephants clashed.
The honours I think were fairly even with neither of us able to exploit any advantages.
The action on the left between Simon and Dave was a lot more bloody with Simon having some rather unfortunate turns of the cards. I’m sure they will both post something on their own blogs as I can’t really provide a narrative.
After about five hours playing time we needed to pack up (which took a while!) and we all felt it was too close to call. Another hour would have decided it…
So how did it go? The rules work. They provide a quick flowing game and I think if we were all more familiar we would have reached a conclusion. We did miss a few things but nothing game destroying. Elephants were fun when the died! We used cards but then placed tokens next to the units. We felt this looked better for us. As a first card/grid game we occasionally became confused and talked of hexes and ‘roll another card’!
It was good to get so many figures on the table and we all felt that no other rules would have enabled us to get so far with so many figures in such a short time, so thumbs up there to Mr Miller!
And it was inevitably played in great good spirit (despite Iain cheating… ;)) and was a great laugh. Iain valiantly contributed a few hoplites he had painted back in the 1980s(?) which he kindly donated at the end and they are now in the possession of Dave. Lucky chap.
Great day gaming in great company and rounded off by us all gathering in Newark for curry and beer as Simon and Dave chose to stop over at the Compton as well. Discussions were had re possible future games and 2017 looks to have a couple of possibilities.
And there are lots more pictures in the gallery here: Newark 2016 To The Strongest