Squarebashing 1914 – Russians vs Germans

1914 Squarebashing on Thursday. I fought using the Russians vs Bobs’s new Germans. We used Rays new ‘stick method’ , replacing the countdown to battle, which worked well – and we we determined the attack defence in about 5 minutes. Despite trying to attack, I lose that, and the stoic Russians were on the defence. I had imagined another cinematic Cossack sweep down the empty flanks. But I got neither the event nor the first turn! Defending also means you have to take the full brunt on the depletions. Its not like the small professional BEF who can cram into the object squares and hope to get lucky with the reduced dice.

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Pre Depletions

With 7 depletion dice per square the losses were savage, with the Russians ending up with over 10 battalions off the table. Any plan for envelopment was put to the side, and it was a holding on game right from the start.

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Post Depletions

The game started slowly , both Bob and I did not get assets where we were committing 7-8 dice to the throw. This somewhat stymied Bob’s attack and the missing point effect barrage prior to his central assault meant that the attack was repulsed (just! a draw!) This had the usual bogging effect on the game and both sides sat back after initial loses, trying to blast somewhere with fire and artillery to gain advantage. The fact that the central areas of the table had villages lessened the casualties that were inflicted on the Russians. The Russian reserves dribbled on not in any spectacular way, but always a battalion or 2 arriving into the centre where the fighting was fiercest. The attack was very narrow , across only 3 or 4 squares and those columns became filled with troops. The game was quite unusual in that aspect, and has wide areas in the flanks that had very thin defences.

One German battalion has strayed out of the cover of buildings into the open and was the target of a glorious cossack charge. Isolated and unsupported the infantry were swept from the field and the cossacks wore their ‘winning the fight’ like a badge of honour – it doesn’t happen often!

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With the German attack blunted it reached a stalemate. Where the germans had broken into row 3, it was not an objective, and either side defences and machine guns kept the worrying threat of a flank charge honest. The game to a close with little ground gained. The Russian losses were quite bad – and maxed out on 20 bases lost. But strangely neither side had lost any whole battalions. With the Russians still ensconced in 3 out of 4 objectives meant a solid victory for the czarists.

Another enjoyable game with the Russians, they seem to play out really well. Having a largely reservist list looks weak on paper and you’ve got to expect a lot of losses. But playing with morale higher command and a few judicious ‘hold the line’ orders and really they are not going anywhere. I suppose I was lucky when the the dreaded suppression barrage came, in as that is the reservist nightmare. If they take a casualty from that (likely) then you have 5 squares which with typically have a 3 dice test. This has a real risk of getting a ‘retire’ result, stuck under suppression meaning you can’t move and take the extra 6 hits. Whole bases are coming off in that way for Reservists.

Squarebashing always seems to give a good game, even it what might seem to be uninspiring circumstances 🙂

Battle of Stamford Bridge – 1066 Mortem et Gloriam

The next installment of our 1066 anniversary battle is the Battle of Stamford bridge. This time round Harold Godwinson was to take the field against Harald Haldraada. The armies lists were –

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The Campaign game replaces the ‘5 days before battle’ section with its own map. The Saxons are always attacking , and the Pre Battle cards indicate whether the battle took place at its original spot (where the Vikings are surprised and the army split) or whether the Vikings are more ‘canny’ and force a more conventional pitched battle. Both sided had 9 cards, so it wasn’t a guarantee that it would take place as historically.

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The preamble began slowly with the Saxons winning or drawing the early hands and thus the battle being held in the spot advantageous for them. The penultimate hands saw the Vikings make a break out away from the river and to an open plain for battle. However, a last red Saxons card in the last round saw the Vikings pushed back to the river, and the battle would be fought as per the special rules.

The battlefield was split with a traverse river, which while fordable was difficult going. The Viking army was split in two , each half being deployed on each side of the river. In the first turn the Viking would be dealt cards ‘face up’ – using the allies rules – to represent their lack of preparedness for the battle.

The scouting phase was not particularily exciting , with 100% heavy infantry armies there is not much in the way of scouting cards. The Saxons did outscout , but only by 20% (which was 2 TuGs)

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The blasted north, looking a bit more like Mordor than Yorkshire. The coloured sticks a necessary evil to denote troop quality and command. As they are all my figures and are the same it could get a bit mixed up

So there were 5 Vikings battlegroups on each side of the river. The Saxons had 11. The victory conditions were that the Saxons must break the Vikings (destroy 5 TuGs) while if the Vikings held on (for 3 hours) then it would be a Dane victory. So if Harold could crush the 5 battle groups on the near side of the river, before the others ‘woke up’ then that would be the game.

The cards were dealt.

Luckily the Vikings did have a good hand of cards and not one of their commands was ‘asleep’ – the Saxons has obviously trod on a few too many twigs en route to the battlefield.

Harold and his Hearthguard had made the unusual decision to go right at the end of the line to try and act as a hammer while the anvil of the Select Fyrd held the surprised Vikings in place.

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Battle was joined. The Viking on the far bank of the river formed up and advanced (as quick as their cards would allow) , but the river was slow going.

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The Vikings facing the onslaught of the Saxon army fought valiantly. The first casualty of the game being one of Harold’s elite Hearthguard. The shieldwalls ground into each other, but they were evenly matched and the Vikings broken the deadlock when one of the Saxon Huscarl catastrophically units broke on the centre of the line. The Vikings started spewing though the gap and rolling up the line

Things were looking close. Harold broke his opposition on the end of the line and tried desperately to turn the line there and capitalise on that advantage. However disaster struck and the huscarls next to Harold were attritted away and broke. They was a sizeable hole in the Saxon line now. The was a slim chance now, as the Saxon training was marginally better and the ‘tribal’ Hird would find it difficult to redeploy in a different facing.

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As an indicator of quality green = average, yellow = superior and red = exceptional

At this point the remainder of the Viking force crossed the river. This equalised the numbers and the Saxons would just have to be lucky. This was not the case. The Saxons ended up having to commit elements of the lesser Fyrd, and it was getting desparate. As we approached the end game (3 hour time limit for Viking victory) Tostig and his men destroyed another Saxon Huscarl unit. The only positive being that it cost the treacherous brother his life as he fought in the front rank! The Saxon army teetered on breaking, the coup de grace being when the flanked Saxons had a disastrous set of dice and a unit of Viking Huscarls – who had been 1 hit from breaking for most of the game – hit the end of the lined diced well and broke the unit they hit in the flank for no loses… Harold Godwinsons army broke.

Harold and his men by virtue of being at the end of the line could only be spectators as the Saxons army crumbled and fled. That did save him from being part of the destruction.

As our Battle of Stamford bridge concluded we rationalised that Harold with his army now defeated would not be in any position to stop Willliam in the south, and would flee to the continent. For our next instalment we decided to break from history try and see what would happen with the North still under Viking rule and the South now controlled by the unopposed Normans. Stay tuned for the next instalment …

Battle of Fulford 1066 – Mortem et Gloriam

As the 950th Anniversary of the battles for England in 1066, I set up a game of the first of the three battles – The battle of Fulford

The Battle of Fulford was fought on the outskirts of the village of Fulford near York in England, on 20 September 1066, when King Harald III of Norway, also known as Harald Hardrada, and Tostig Godwinson, his English ally, fought and defeated the Northern Earls Edwin and Morcar.

Tostig was Harold Godwinson’s banished brother. He had allied with King Harald of Norway and possibly Duke William of Normandy but there is no record of the reasoning behind his invasions. The battle was a decisive victory for the Viking army. The earls of York could have hidden behind the walls of their city but instead they met the Viking army across a river. All day the English desperately tried to break the Viking shield wall but to no avail.
Tostig was opposed by Earl Morcar who had displaced him as Earl of Northumbria.
The battle started with the English spreading their forces out to secure their flanks. On their right flank was the River Ouse, and on the left was the Fordland, a swampy area. The disadvantage to the position was that it gave Harald higher ground, which was perfect for seeing the battle from a distance. Another disadvantage was that if one flank were to give way, the other one would be in trouble. If the Anglo-Saxon army had to retreat, it would not be able to because of the marshlands. They would have to hold off the Norwegians as long as possible. Harald’s army approached from three routes to the south. Harald lined his army up to oppose the Anglo-Saxons, but he knew it would take hours for all of his troops to arrive. His least experienced troops were sent to the right and his best troops on the riverbank.
The English struck first, advancing on the Norwegian army before it could fully deploy. Morcar’s troops pushed Harald’s back into the marshlands, making progress against the weaker section of the Norwegian line. However, this initial success proved insufficient for victory to the English army, as the Norwegians brought their better troops to bear upon them, still fresh against the weakened Anglo-Saxons.

Harald brought more of his troops from the right flank to attack the centre, and sent more men to the river. The invaders were outnumbered, but they kept pushing and shoving the defenders back. The Anglo-Saxons were forced to give ground. Edwin’s soldiers who were defending the bank now were cut off from the rest of the army by the marsh, so they headed back to the city to make a final stand. Within another hour, the men on the beck were forced off by the Norwegians. Other invading Norwegians, who were still arriving, found a way to get around the thick fighting and opened a third front against the Anglo-Saxons. Outnumbered and outmanoeuvred, the defenders were defeated. Edwin and Morcar however, managed to survive the fight.

The game used the “1066 and all that” MeG Supplement

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You can read the supplement here

In the scenario game the Saxons were always the ‘attacker’.This gave the Viking choice of the ground on the pre battle map. It was the Saxons task to manoeuvre the Vikings on the map. Ideally to get the river to the Vikings rear. This failed spectacularly and the Viking hand of cards pushed them further and further away from the river.

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Being 100% close infantry neither side wanted much in the way of terrain and a couple of pieces of fought going were dotted around the edge, with a secure flank of steep hills.

The armies were

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The game was played by

Saxons
Pete
Bob

Vikings
Andy
Paul

All, bar Bob, were relative neophytes … and this game was a challenge.

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There was – as Barker intended – very little in the way of manoeuvre tactically with both sides lining up. The Saxons has a larger army, but were lead by lesser generals. The scenario rules were that the Saxons got an additional red card during scouting (which made little odds) , also for the first turn the Vikings were all treated as allies. As such their initial hand was played face up. If they got no coloured cards they would be unreliable, simulating the surprise that the Vikings suffered.

Here is the first Viking ‘hand’. You can just see at the bottom the last card of Harald was green to prevent him getting caught with his trousers down

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Again the cards dictated that none of the Vikings were unreliable. So, with all their advantage the Saxons gained nothing, and it would be decided by sword and spear.

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The army closed with an almighty clash.

I don’t like the coloured chits to denote unit – but as all the figures are mine identification of who is who was a real problem. So this was a necessary evil, to help those that hadn’t played much !

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The ensuing melee was challenging as the big dark age armies who were all subtly different calculated all their factors to try and understand where all the advantages were to be gained. We laid out all the dice for the whole line to illustrate this.

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The Viking has 3 bases of berserks and had integrated them in the Hird. So as exceptional devastating chargers they went in first , trying to get the shatter and force their way in the lines and give their lesser comrades more of an advantage. The Huscarls (on both sides) fought to try and push back their enemies The Huscarls were not facing one another as the Viking had placed theirs on the ends of the line to try and hold on to prevent the larger Saxons flanking them. Most troops had shieldwall – so ’S” results would not count. However, ‘Skulls’ would ‘shove’ so the where the troops were better advantaged gave more opportunities for than and therefore aid the supporting files.

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At the begining the battle seemed largely bloodless (just on the dice) , but the game progressed both armies ground into each other. The granularity of the troop types did give a choice of on determining the order of the combat, compared to ALDG which would have been a largely droll experience. That said it was tough, and the large number of combatants and different file types was tricky to manager. However, it did feel like a dark age battle decided with a scrum of fighting, with local advantage escalating into a larger one.

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The Vikings did win ultimately, while the Huscarls held on the weaker Fyrd collapsed on the wings and when the pub beckoned Saxons had lost 4 of their 5 TuGs before collapse to the Vikings 1 out of 4. That said a couple of Viking Tugs were teetering and their smaller army could have easily have had a reverse – should the dice gods desert.

A hard fought game, which required quite a bit of concentration. Probably not best for beginners!

GODENDAG 2017

GODENDAG 2017

15MM ANCIENT/MEDIEVAL/RENAISSANCE DOUBLES COMPETITIONS

28TH & 29TH JANUARY 2017

 

NEW VENUE:
Firestorm Games (Cardiff) (Tel: 02920 227117)
Trade Street
Penarth Road
Cardiff
CF10 5DT
United Kingdom

Mortem et Gloriam

Any published army
The list submitted must not exceed 12000 points.
Umpire and list checker: Alasdair Harley

alasdairharley@hotmail.com

Field of Glory: Ancient/Medieval

THE MEDIEVAL WORLD

Any army from 600 AD.
The list submitted must not exceed 900 points.
Umpire and list checker: Richard Bodley Scott.

rbs@byzant.demon.co.uk
Rules: See below

Field of Glory: Renaissance

EUROPE’S TRAGEDY

Any European army 1618-1648 (including Russia and Turkey).
The following list modifications and additional restrictions will apply:

To represent usual historical proportions in European armies of this period, ignoring artillery, the army cannot include more than 1 battle foot unit more than it has battle mounted units. (e.g. If you have 5 BGs of mounted battle troops, you can have up to 6 BGs of foot battle troops).

No more than half of all mounted battle troops can be Superior or Elite. Armies with insufficient Superior mounted battle troops in their army list to achieve this limit can upgrade whichever type of Average mounted troops in their list is most expensive in points to Superior to achieve the above limit.

No more than half of all foot battle troops can be Superior or Elite.
The army must have at least 6 bases of foot battle troops per heavy or medium artillery base.

The list submitted must not exceed 900 points.
Umpire and list checker: Richard Bodley Scott. rbs@byzant.demon.co.uk
Rules: See below

DBM

Any army. List not to exceed 500 points.

Umpire and list checker: John Graham-Leigh

jandagraham-leigh@blueyonder.co.uk

L’Art de la Guerre

400 points doubles, made up of 2 x 200 point armies (each army must be no more than 210 points with a total combined army size of maximum 400 points). The armies chosen must be listed as potential allies in either army list.

Armies drawn from Ancient Period, Classical Period and Roman Period lists (1-124 inclusive)

4 Games, same games times as the other periods

Umpire and list checker: Mike Baldwin

———————————————————————-

Cost: £ 25.00 per team of 2.

(Food will be available on site, but is not included in the entry price).
Tickets are available from Firestorm’s web site: http://www.firestormgames.co.uk/events

CONTACT: RICHARD BODLEY SCOTT, 28 PRIORY GARDENS, USK, MONMOUTHSHIRE, NP5 1AJ (RBS@BYZANT.DEMON.CO.UK)

———————————————————————–

GODENDAG 2017
VENUE:
Firestorm Games (Cardiff)
Trade Street
Penarth Road
Cardiff
CF10 5DT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 2920 227117

 

TIME: 8.30 – 9.00 – Registration time on Saturday

Games will be:

Saturday: 9.30 – 1.00 and 2.00 – 5.30
Sunday: 9.00 – 12.30 and 1.30 – 5.00

ENTRANCE: £ 25.00 per team of 2. (Food will be available on site, but is not included in the entry price). Tickets are available from Firestorm’s web site:

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS:

If you are able to make a long weekend of it, there are numerous local historical attractions relevant to our period. These include the Roman Legionary Fortress and Museum at Caerleon and the Roman walled city of Caerwent. Among the many local castles, the best are Chepstow, Raglan, White Castle (at Llantilio Croesenny) and Caerphilly. Caerphilly castle has a permanent exhibition of full size working medieval siege engines including ballista, mangonel, trebuchet and perrier. The Welsh Folk Museum at St. Fagans is worth a visit. The Brecon Beacons National Park and the picturesque Wye Valley are also nearby.

QUERIES: Richard Bodley Scott, 28, Priory Gardens, Usk, Gwent, NP5 1AJ. (rbs@byzant.demon.co.uk)

————————–

FOGAM/FOGR TOURNAMENT RULES

1) Godendag is a Doubles competition. Each army is to be commanded by 2 players. Consideration will be given, however, to entries with only one player or three players if there are special circumstances.
2) The rules to be used are the current Field of Glory rules, together with the latest errata and FAQ posted on the official Field of Glory web site.
3) The competition will use the full rules including the terrain and set-up appendices. There will be no formal division of the battle groups comprising each army between the members of a team. It is usual, however, for each player to take control of the troops on about half of the battlefield.
4) The scoring system will be the standard FOG tournament scoring system, where 25 points are up for grabs each game.

5) Army lists must specify the number and size of battle groups and their order of march for deployment, and the number and type of commanders chosen. They should also include the total pre-battle initiative modifier and the territories list for the army. If the detached shot option is to be used, a second list differing only in this regard must be submitted. Once an army list has been submitted it may not be changed or altered other than to correct any errors. Players may only correct their errors by making reasonable changes to their list. It is not allowed to completely re-write the list, and the list checkers decision on this is final.
6) Please note that the Godendag 2017 Field of Glory event is a single list format. Any incorrect list discovered after a game has commenced (after set up dice have been rolled) must be corrected prior to deployment if spotted in time, and fully corrected in any case before the next match.
7) Army lists must be submitted for checking in advance and must be received by the Tournament Organiser by 14th JANUARY 2017.
8) The Tournament Organiser and List Checker is Richard Bodley Scott (rbs@byzant.demon.co.uk) 28 Priory Gardens, Usk, Monmouthshire, NP5 1AJ.
9) Players must fully define their troops as they are placed on table. Figures must provide a reasonably accurate representation of the troops they are trying to represent – they must not look deliberately misleading.
10) Table size is 6′ x 4′ and players must supply their own terrain pieces. These must be to an acceptable standard, and umpires will have the discretion to remove unsightly items. In addition all figures must be representative and painted and based to an acceptable standard.
11) Players must be present and ready to start the match at the appointed time. Where a player has a reasonable excuse for arriving late the match start will be delayed by up to 30 minutes. After which time the affected player will be awarded a bye. No player will be awarded more than one bye for any reason.
12) If a player resigns from a game at any stage after the first set up dice have been rolled their opponents will be awarded maximum points, and they will be awarded 0 points.
13) Time will be called after 3 hours 20 minutes plus up to 10 minutes. Play will stop at the end of the current phase. Players may always commence games earlier than the stated time by mutual consent, in which case their game continues until time is officially called as normal.
14) Admission to the tournament is at the sole discretion of the organisers and their decision on all matters is final. CONTACT: Richard Bodley Scott, 28 Priory Gardens, Usk, Monmouthshire, NP5 1AJ

Squarebashing – 1914 Russians vs Germans

Last night was the debut for the Russians. As part of a horse trade deal a long time ago I didn’t have many options of composition. The 620pt force being

  • 3 regular
  • 10 reservists
  • 1 professional cavalry
  • 2 regular cavalry, 
  • 2 reservist cavalry
  • 4 MG
  • 4 Artillery

So a veritable horde… with more cavalry than I’m used to.

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 The game was against Rays 1914s Germans, and his army was larger than normal with 3 units of his own cavalry and , no professionals at all. 

With our usual lackadaisical start neither of use invested much effort in the countdown to war, just using the normal default values. Through slightly better dice the Russians won and ended up attacking – reconnaissance in force.  Things to note

  • Ray rolled low twice on the events chart and ended up deducting 6 from his artillery assets
  • On the events I scored the opponent cannot deploy in the 2 end columns (on one side) & one turn of no scenery penalty movement. 

So, the game. As attacker I tried to move all the terrain to my side of the table and hopefully time it well with the movement event. This worked  reasonably successful.  The master stroke was that having 5 units of cavalry allowed me to utilise the vacant columns in the first turn – this was a real game winner. Moving first meant big columns of Cossacks racing down the flanks with relative impunity.

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The mob of Russian  infantry lurched out of all the bad going, and was looking frighteningly powerful as after the depletions of the German left flank left them looking fragile.  A well placed point effect on the German positions meant that they would have a rather painful morale phase.  It might all be over for Christmas!

However, the cruel mistress that SB is had other plans. The German turn saw a suppression barrage placed skilfully over the whole Russians advance. With 13 units of infantry it hard to disperse them to reduce effect. While the suppression barrage is not ‘a killer’ in as much as the casualties it inflicts are smaller. The Reservist saves usually mean that there is a casualty and therefore cause for a moral test. This is really exasperated by the factors of reservists, under barrage with casualties… the morale dice just rack up.  The Russian duly failed most of the tests  – AND  – then because they are suppressed cannot retire and take another 6 hits … again with terrible reservists saving throw.  It started brilliantly and turned to **** in one turn. It looked like the entire infantry assault had stalled due to one suppression barrage!

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The Cossacks were have more freedom running around the German rear. They had already destroyed one unit of German cavalry and were looking for  targets of opportunity.

The Germans were holding on and took some rather risky strategy with their reserves which did not pay off, they ended up with their artillery exposed in the line allowing the stoic Russians to press in those two places. However , the dice dictated against it ,even with a couple of guns they beat of a sizeable Russian infantry assault. The guns had good support and the dice were wacky.  So rather than breaking the German lines in two places, the Russians stalled and ended up standing right in front of the German lines.

The Russian cavalry in the rear delivered a textbook flank charge on the German reserves after a textbook point effect barrage preceded it  – damaging the MG – UUUrah! The Germans scattered off table , losing bases left, right and centre. Moving off table was probably best thing for them as while taking a savage beating they were still ‘at strength’ and now safely in reserve so victory points that could be gained would be limited.

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As the game concluded the game looked favourable to the Russians, and fate had seen big swings in fortune in this game. The Russians has achieved 2 breakthroughs , captured 2 out of 4 objectives and occupied the max allowed squares in rows 2 & 3.  However, this was countered but a frightful 27 bases of ‘killed’ troops and Ray having some re-roll events on the objective scored. SO, it ended up with a +7 to the Russians – Minor Victory. The Russians, while on paper look poor and their army rating of 27 reflecting that, have some good synergies. The cavalry and empty flank zones is a great combination. The sheer mass of reservists gives them great resilience … but not for the feint hearted as you cannot make an omelette without breaking some of those Russian eggs.

Great game. Squarebashing always delivers a fun evening with lots of twists and turns.

Kingdom of Lombardy vs the Huns

Tonights MeG game pitted the Huns versus the Lombards in Italy… Dino had not used the Huns before so was trial for him.  It didn’t start well with the Lombards outscouting the Huns with some rather fortuitous cards in the scouting phase. The Huns deployed rather neutrally in the centre – which rather played in the hands of the Lombards.  With a bold block moved the majority of the ‘devastating charger’ Lombard cavalry was across the table pinning the Huns to the back edge. The shooting was largely ineffectual , and the Huns were crushed – with no room to manoeuvre 🙂

Lombards on the left Huns on the right

The Huns were average flexible 4’s , unprotected  with no M/E. This was great news the the Lombards and there was a lot of up 2 or 3  dice offs.

50 bases of Dark Ages chargers lined up

The Lombard army  was large – with over 50 bases of cavalry, in chunky 6s, this rather left then in the precarious situation of only needing 4 TuGs to break, compared to the Hunnic 8…  However, today was on the side of the big battalions

 

 

Squarebashing Day – 10th Dec – Battlefield Hobbies.

squarebashing

With a drum roll….! The date for this is Sat 10th December 2016.

The venue is now Battlefield Hobbies in Daventry.

Hopefully the centrally located venue will help those on the periphery of the country. The entry fee is £10 per player. This includes lunch 🙂

The theme will be “up til the guns of August”. The period will from 1900 up to, and including 1914. It will be a team event (entries permitting). The armies are divided into 2 Pools, grouped by conflict. Each team must pick a pair of armies from a single conflict.

The allowed lists are –

There will be 2 games, Team against Team (As vs Bs). For each game he sum of each team score will be added to the team total. To encourage using under valued armies the sum total of army rating will be deducted from final score.

The terrain will be pre set , other than its RAW. All painted figures please, we want it to look nice!

If you want the full experience there is a t-shirt accompany the event. Profits from which help to finance the RFCM forums (£2)

RFCM shop

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Thanks Simon

Age of Sigmar – Seraphon vs High Elf Alliance

Today we played round two our Age of Sigmar competition. As we found out we were 1 week later for the summer campaign , so the results would just be for our own fun. Today I gave a run out for my High Elves.

I took Althran Stormrider Host war scroll battalion . Which consisted of

  • Hero on Griffon
  • Elf Mage
  • 5 Swordmasters
  • 10 Lothern Sea Guard
  • 5 Ellyrian Reavers
Actually the contents of the Battle for Blood Island- which I have – and 600pts exactly. Looking like karma…
Logans Seraphon remained the same
  • Skink Starpriest
  • 20 Saurus warriors
  • 10 Skinks with javelin
  • 10 Skinks with blowpipe
  • 3 Ripperdactyls
The elves looked very outgunned. After reading the warscrolls then it seemed like the older models didn’t have such an oomph as the later releases. We played take and hold again, with slightly less terrain (doing away with the nonsense polystyrene tiles!). The game has a string narrative. Serpahon starting   – with Ripperdactyls off table, ready for their swooping attack. There was a general advance The Saurus drummers allowing them to march – but then not to charge. In the subsequent Elf turn Althran on his Griffon showed was a monster can do. With Hand of Glory cast (re-roll hits and wounds) with a massive 16” one – he is flying – then rolling a double 6 for the charge allowed him to charge whoever he wished. The target was the big block of 20 Saurus warriors.
He did great dispatch, inflicting 10 casualties on the unit.  The Saurus had already taken 2 casualties from an Arcane bolt earlier in the turn. in the Battleshock phase Logan threw a 6 , adding 12 … even with a bravery of 10 that meant another 8  lizardmen fled the field. The mistake was not to have given them inspiring presence that turn ( given to some Skinks who were skirmishing ahead of the lines). So it was looking good for the Elves from the get-go. However, in the next turn the Ripperdactyls cinematically swooped down to wreak revenge! this they did.
With their initial boosted attacks from the warscroll battalion they took Althran down to 2 wounds with their clawing attacks to start. The beak attacks are only 1 dice attack, but each time they are successful they get to roll another attack. These exploded attacked finished off the brave elf nobleman. The following turns saw the elves turing their attention to the Ripperdactyls and pepper with arrows and a few arcane bolts saw them off. With all the big beasts gone, it was down the infantry. The Ellyrian reavers had also been picked off by the Rilpperdactyls. The sword masters had some success , but with only a low model count they suffer from mortal wound spells (arcane bolt ect), as soon as they are less than 5 their usefulness to capture objectives is diminished. Finally the skinks ran out of room. As ‘wary fighters’ they can break off from combat , being safe to shoot next turn. However against the elves who shoot back …and with elf shields 4+ save (re-rolling 1s & 2s in shooting) they were getting the worse of the deal.
The final nail came with a the Elf mage longbombing a charge to attack the Skink Starpriest. With ‘Arcane bolt’ followed up with ‘hand of gloried’  sword and the tiny lizard was dispatched.
 
So victory for the elves, only minor as they didn’t have enough troops to hold both objectives!
Great game. I’m really enjoying these Age of Sigmar games. They have a real simplicity, but with some clever decision making. No monsters are too powerful as they can be ground down by infantry. Infantry are vulnerable to high losses due to battleshock, so nothing is massively survivable. Its hard to make anything approximating a deathstar! no 2++ re-rollables here

Age of Sigmar – Seraphon vs Nurgle

Today we played a game of the much maligned Age of Sigmar. Logan has been collecting Seraphon, and with the release of the Generals handbook if was a breeze to get a ‘pick up’ game organised.  He had just finished painting up his models, to get a game in for the Summer campaign , with a week to got before ‘back to school’. We used the first scenario – take and hold, which is a typical capture the flag game. We only used 600pts to try and get a game that we could setup, play and get to a conclusion, in the time we had available.

Logan’s Seraphon was a Shadowstrike Starhost warscroll battalion   (2 units of Skinks, Skink priest and Ripperdactyls), and a unit of 20 Saurus.

I dug out some some Nurgle, 5 Blightkings, 20 Plaguebearers, 2 units of 3 Nurglings and a Herald as leader. As I had the keyword Nurgle in my army selection Blightkings counted as battleline.
The terrain was rather crowed (too much so was the view afterwards), and we fought over a ruined village next to a river- in reality I found some old terrain tiles that hadn’t been used in 20 years, so needed a trot out
The Seraphon were rather devastating. They have rather a lot of anti Chaos buffs (as the Seraphon manifest from the blazing light of Azyr – new fluff)
 
The game started very quickly the Saurus marched (with drummer), and threw high on the charge fighting the Plaguebearers on the riverbank. This was to be the chunky combat of the game. The Saurus , being given inspiring presence were immune to battle shock. The Plaguebearers as now even more of a tarpit, they get a 5+ save , with a subsequent  5+ save – Disgustingly Resilient ( I will not call it Feel no Pain 😉 ) They during battle shock if they throw a 1 they get 1d6 plague bearers back. This fight ground out.
My Blightkings were lead a merry dance with by the Skinks, the Starpriest hitting them with 2 spells each turn – typically done d3 Mortal wounds each time. Not something that a 5 model unit wants.  The Skinks poor out a lot of shooting and when I did close to contact , as wary fighters the skinks can break off during their ‘activation’ in the combat phase. With the Plaguebearer/Saurus combat being the main focus, that meant that quite often they would activate first and break off with no loss.
 
The Ripperdactyls start off table as part of the battalion rules, arriving when needed. They come with a Bloat toad model, who as a non-combatant moves around the table giving away their arrival point. When fighting within 2” of the toad the Ripperdactyls go into a frenzy. Combining the ‘Swooping Dive’ rule with the ‘Strike from the Skies’, they come down with a vengeance. In this case some unsuspecting Nurselings camped on the objective felt their wrath. Normally these little spuds just shrug off hits. 5 wounds per base, remove all excess hits at the end of the phase. But the toad has shuffled next to them and the reptilian Stukas obliterated them in 1 attack.
The jig was up for Nurgle, the plaguebearers stuck in a long running combat (killing 20 Sauruses takes a while!), Nurglings wiped out, and the Blightkings less that 5 models so could not control any objective.
I have to admit I really enjoyed this game. It was ‘lite’ for sure, but needed thought and gave some interesting decisions in the game. It was a bit like Warmachine, but without the terminally fiddly bits that that comes with.  The generals handbook was excellant for making the game quick to set up, and the force selection was a breeze with all the ‘upgrade’ minutiae  from WFB gone. The app was excellent too. Add your troops to ‘my battle’ and you can keep a track of all your units quickly without constantly having the ‘book lookup’ – Free too!
Recommended

MeG – 3rd Servile War game

spartacusfLast night we played a game that was a combination of introduction and campaign game. Dino, Paul and Peter played for the first time. I picked a game from the 3rd Servile war – Spartacus campaign. To make it a closer run thing , I picked the Romans to be led by Crassus – where the Slaves finally get beaten.

 

 

 

 

One way to play this campaign is a single game pickup. You can select lists from the campaign pack, select a date. Substitute the campaign maps for the one in the rules and away you go.

Just to talk about the lists for a moment (they are a bit fast and loose, close to 12K points).

The Spartacus list is

Spartacus

There are couple of campaign rules in play.

  • Spartacus gets a 40% bonus to scouting is he chooses to ‘invade’ (Night Attack)
  • The Slaves can also substitute the Apennine backdrop as their secure flank option ( Impassable mountain range)

The Roman list is

Crassus

There are couple of campaign rules in play for Crassus

  • Homeland Muster, not allies allowed
  • Garrison troops, at least 25% of TuGs must be poor
  • Seasons tactician, the C-in-C must be at least talented.

During the PBS stage, Spartacus and his slaves dominated. As a legendary leader they beat Crassus (red vs yellow – close thing though). They picked to defend selecting the most central location in Italy. Peter as the Roman had some decent cards, but it seemed that neither side was worried about moving from this location. The Slaves has 9 cards (3 scouting) to the Romans 7 (4 Scouting). The Slaves held on to their best 3 cards for scouting, and the Romans 2. The desultory movement was back and forth to the adjacent square, ending up with initial location

The terrain was dense with secure flank. The slaves picked the Apennine mountain, alongside some large compulsory rough hills. At this point they didn’t realise that the Romans were flexible so could switch between close and loose order. However, it was probably a good plan to at least avoid the potential ‘shove’ that close vs loose would get in the open.

A few more optional, smaller hills were placed and that concluded the battlefield. The hills were scattered evenly across the table, but it did give the slaves a good defensive position

Both sides had held onto their best scouting cards, from the prior stage – But they neutralised each other both sides having 1 red, 2 yellows. The Romans had an extra green, but not enough to give them a discernible advantage.

The armies deployed 4 groups at a time. The slaves just having a slab of ‘imitation’ legionaries, sandwiched between the ‘mob’. Crassus’s army seemed small by comparison, with just 8 TuG of Legionaries (2 of which were poor)

The plan was simple, as a test of the rule mechanisms and introduction to the game, both armies would butt each other, neither side demonstrating any tactical finesse.

The Roman army chose to float Crassus and let his subordinates take the strain. With hindsight Pete thought that this was not such a good idea, but I’m not so sure. Certainly it demonstrated the difference in the command structure.

In the fighting the Slaves held their own. The Roman equipped slaves being average impact weapon matching the Roman. The legionaries has a bit of bad luch by losing a couple of bases to skirmishing shephards ( 2 wounds on 3 black dice!) , but as the fight settled down the Roman quality started to show. Being melee expert, and average gave them a 2 dice colour advantage against the regular slaves. Combined with the ability to shove loose order (vs close) the poor slaves started to take a lot of damage. However, this was mitigated by the fact that the slaves had cunningly arranges that each legion was fighting at least 2 TuGs. So from an attrition perspective a legion could only take 3 losses, vs the Slave 4.5 per tug ( so actually against 2 TuG, the romans need to inflict 9 kills). As long as they kept throwing a white dice the Slaves can attrit their way to victory.

When we called time , the Romans looks shakey, most legions had taken a couple of casualties and were looking like they would be swamped by Spartacus and his followers.

 

Britcon game 6 – Batavians vs Later German – Sarmatized with Hun Allies.

Game 6  Brian with his Later German – Sarmatized with Hun Allies.
Last game of the tournament. Brian my opponent had used Barbarians a lot in the playtest was an expert in handling the hairy-ones. The Gothic element of the army was 1/2 charging lancer , 1/2 bowmen –  with a Hun ally of flexible horse archers. Being the last game and everyone being a bit tired and emotional we didn’t consider the terrain too much. It looked like it should suit me being in ‘dense’ terrain.
just when I hung onto goof cards thinking – this time I would outscout my opponent – no, Brian matches me card for card and has the temerity to trump me with the final green!
However Brian threw 3 6’s and removed half the terrain leaving a flat plain, on which his lancers stood,  between rough hill upon which his archers stood.Couldn’t have got any better. The Batavian loose foot were now getting used to standing in the open facing charging lancers and resigned themselves for a early bath.
line ’em up – as Barker intended
The armies lined up centrally and both sides moved forwards! The cashed was soon forthcoming. On the side with the Huns they fell back peppering the chasing barbarians in their wake for desultory effect.
Huns Skirmish while Sarmatians charge in
The Sarmatian style lancers charged in . The impact was not so bad. The lancers were up, but Brian  could not get his ’s’ shatter results where it could cascade down the line. The Batavians held, with a few base losses, but they had also inflicted losses on the cavalry lancers. Being in much smaller blocks, it looks like we might yet attrit our way to victory.  However, in the ensuing melee the dice turned from being less that average to red hot for Brian, and with largely even fights the cavalry broken through and destroyed 4 units of Batavian foot in short order.
This rocked the army and enemy cavalry was running amok being the lines. The camp was up for grabs.  There was one  desperate chance with the Chatti cavalry  to regain some pride, as the cavalry that had broke through was worse for wear, and the luckily they broke those units. However in a brilliant display of using charging cavalry, while the Chatti were finishing off the lancers, one TuG turned 90 and advanced to the rear. The following there was nothing that could be done. The lancers charged the rear. The factors were nasty +3 for rear, +2 for charging lancers.. The first round killed a base , got the shatter, so the next file was +7  so 2 red dice (the best) , vs 1 black dice (the worst) … the 1st Chatti units broke, the angle meant that the lancers broke through and hit the next Chatti in the rear and did exactly the same !! Good night vienna
15-4 to the the Later Germans
So that concludes my documentary on how to lose a competition. If not bottom, I suspect I was close ! Good fun , but my army design had some serious flaws that need examination

Britcon game 5 – Batavians vs Greco Bactrian

Game 5 Leslie with his  Greco Bactrian

This was an interesting game, against an army type that I had not faced before. The army was professional with a floating commander in chief issuing orders from the rear. The army was a mash-up of hellenistic pikemen and Xystophoroi and Iranian lancers and light horse archers. The pre game make it really difficult for the germans. they lost the initial roll-off for choice of attack/defence on the same dice. Forcing the Germans to attack into the plains. Having better generals (more cards) stopped the Germans trying to sneak towards any type of terrain. To make matters worse the Bactrians outscouted the Germans which  made them start deployment (normally the attacker deploys second), so with a billiard table to play on with two gentle hills in the far corners, it couldn’t get much worse.

The Germans deployed centrally – there was not much else they could do. I would hope to be wide and collapse in on the ended. The Greco-Bactrians obliging deployed pikes, elephants, cataphracts and charging lancers opposite. So, at least it would be stand up game and not one of wheeling. On the left there was 2 Batavian cavalry facing one charging companion type cavalry with elephants in close support. The right had warband screened off by skythians , being formed could shoot with reasonable impunity while the sluggish warband trundled forward.

The game was straightforward with no mincing. The germans has no other plan and the Greeks had the upper hand anyway! the lines crunched and the impact proved fruitless for the barbarians as pike supported by lancers had the advantage. There were quite a few casualties on both side but Leslie wisely stored his better cards to rally of hits off at the end of each turn, leaving the line looking intact.

The German lines are thinning while the Greeks shove on

Small recompense, but the Elephants did suffer some loses and the Batavian ‘poor’ skirmishers who were cowering at the rear had an opportunity to gain some glory and javelin’d the beasts to death (well inflicted the final wound the that finished them off)

One units of germans broke though the line, and flanked charged some Iranian lancers and destroyed the unit in one go. However it was all too little to late.

The Batavian centre broke, and with a few dribs and drabs the Germans capitulated.

15-7 to the Greco Bactrians

Britcon game 4 – Batavians vs Ancient British

Game 4 – Batavians vs Ancient British (played by Simon Hall) 

So here we are gain propping up the table. The two leviathans of wargaming heritage – Early Germans vs Ancient British – commanded not less that by the author himself!
Simon’s army was voluminous. Only a couple of fanatic TuGs, relying mainly on big blocks of Warrior (loose average types) and some larger chariots(6s) and Slingers(9s). Terrain was advantageous for neither side. The fact that there was a secure flank meant the both armies could reply right up to the table edge (of the secure side). As the securing terrain was woods, then the warriors of both armies would not be particularly impeded.
You can see the starting deal. Note that the Chatti Allies are played face up for the first turn. No coloured cards means unreliabilty.  So its unlikely that you will see many mediocre graded ally generals ! … or at you peril 🙂
The game was a demonstration of attrition. The big Brit blocks lined up and while the Batavians www generally ‘up’ in most fights, any sort of loses would be telling. Yet gain the superior 4s of noble cavalry were a weak link. One TuG of nobles did a sterling jobs while teetering on the edge of break (with 1.5 loses)
It was all pretty straight up with not much manoeuvring, and the smaller Batavian army was eroded away until it finally broke
15-3 to the Ancient Britons

Britcon game 3 – Batavians vs Republican Romans

Britcon game 3 – Mark with Republican Romans

Hang on! haven’t we just had this?  No, its another Romans army using the Xth lead by Caesar. This time it was Mark at the helm… and it was his birthday – so happy Birthday Mark!

This time the terrain was massively dense. There was secure flank with a river, and dense woodland – of both a difficult and rough variety – leaving only a narrow gap between the water and the trees. Just enough for the Romans to reply in, neat eh?
The sneaky barbarians would have none of it, and the Batavians being of the loose variety skulked en masse in the wood, lead by the talented Civilis , executing a swinging envelopment while the close order Chatti and Batavian cavalry stood in the open. Mark (Caesar) ’s plan was simple. March forward and fight what was our in front of him.
The enveloping nature of the game meant that the Romans were being teased apart. This army was different to the last in that while the core was all the crack legions. The other filler was in larger and therefore of less value to destroy. To win I would have to defeat the legions. The big swinging flank did come round, and the superiors Batavian nobles did face the weakest element of the line – that being average legion. However, their mad charge was not quiet so effective this time and the protracted melee would always favour the professional Romans.
Caesar was on the corner with the tenth, and they were charged frontally by Chatti warlord, flanked by Chatti warband and fighting Batavian noble horsemen. Every single base was fighting – in 2 directions. However, the quality difference was such that the Germans could not quite attrit them in time – or actually – not at all!
 
The Romans re-deployed some ambushing cavalry and they rode down some Batavian nobles, who were not having a good day. Some numidians light horse were routed as were another average legion on the left flank. But that was mutual destruction. The Germans cavalry while being good quality, I have being finding are the weakest link. Its not that they cannot fight. They can dish it out OK, but they cannot suffer any major casualties.
The Batavian broke. It has looked reasonable promising at the beginning. But resolutely the Romans had just stood firm, letting the barbarian troops dash themselves upon the ranks until the fight in them was gone. When they al just routed back in the dark wood to fight another day
The result was 15 – 3 to the Romans

Britcon game 2 – Batavian Revolt vs Republican Romans

Game 2 – Bren with Republican Roman

I’d played Bren’s Romans at the Challenge so I knew what to expect. There is also a precedence for sharing lists before the game start in these rules, so you get to see exactly what you are facing.

These were Caesars boys. 10th Legion, lead by the legendary Caesar. There were a full ‘hangers on’, but they were just ballast for the Roma mincing machine. To my mind the game was largely decided at the beginning. The Romans won the choice to attack to defend, choosing to attack (deploy 2nd, go first). The defenders get to pick the ground upon which we fight. The Batavian chose the densest flank secure location on the map. During the pre battle phase Caesar had all the cards, but chose to draw the Germans away from the wood into the plans , and away from any flank securing sector. We ended up on a largely empty table – with just 2 pieces of rough terrain. Neither side had the edge in the outscouting phase so it was a normal alternating deployment.

This was probably a mistake by the Romans who with such a small force might have been better trying to end up moving closer the coast to get its own secure flank (just my view)

The Roman army was very small, and covered only 1m of the central sector of the table. The German filled that with stodgy warriors and overlapped the army by 30cm in each end with Cavalry and loose formation Batavian infantry

The Chatti in the centre was reliable (phew!) and stayed central. The plan was simple – envelope the flanks while the centre delayed. This all went swimmingly well.


On the left flank the average Roman cavalry capitulated in short order to the more numerous superior Batavian nobles.


On the right Batavian warrior flooded the end of the line agains ‘lesser’ quality romans .. this held and turned into a grinding match. The Romans were just better, but the war band more numerous and it would take a while to carve through

The killer blow was with the Xth. It had been plugging away in the centre and its flank supports had been dwindling. A gap opened in the centre just wide enough for the Chatti iron collars (superior types) to advance into, surrendering the flank of the Xth. The charge was momentous. The Chatti charging the flank, Batavian nobles to the front. The Romans lost a base but held. However fighting to front and side against more opponents the number started to tell. In the ensuing melee the Romans were better (technically killing more), but the Germans had twice as many to lose. Combined with this the Romans dice were appalling, they inflicted less than average, while the Germans seemed always to fine the wounds on the black and white dice.

Here you can see the Chatti hitting the flank of the Xth. The Yellow card you can see is played to prevent the average warriors from impetuously changing the centre

The Batavian noble cavalry had broken through on the left flank, into the soft underbelly of auxiliary archers, and ran amok. The camp was fortified , so prevented that being sacked. Fortified camps can only be attacked by infantry in these rules. But the jig was up. A couple of German units had been destroyed , but Caesar holding on, committed to fight in the front rank. He was wounded , the Xth broke and the Romans collapsed.

15-7 to the Batavian revolt.

The game lasts 2 hours from start to finish. Fast as there was little skirmishing or shooting

The German don’t win very often but when they do it is glorious !

Britcon Game 1 – Batavian Revolt vs Skythians

So Britcon 2016 starts and this year with a new system – Mortem et Gloriam. I have selected Civilis revolt, so the Batavians (Early Germans) and Chatti Allies (more early Germans). I’ve played this in DBM, FoG and now MeG, so it seemed appropriate. The army is a core or warband types, with some Roman deserters. So, in this they are Auxiliary types, who are flexible so can either be loose or close formation. The Batavians are ‘loose’ also, while the Chatti are also flexible. The only problem with tribal flexible is that once they are set at the start of the game there is no change between loose and close formation (a luxury afforded only to drilled troops)

My list is

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 00.12.39

Game 1 – Bob using Skythians
I have played Bob earlier this week as a practice for Britcon, and on that occasion he was using Huns. So the Germans had a hard time corralling those light horsemen off the table. This time it was even worse. The Skythians, while their quality is not quite what the Huns is, they make up for in numeracy, and shooting prowess. The Scythian list is pretty simple, all average, flexible cavalry meaning they can either skirmish or form up. A trade off between tactical mobility and fire power. The game did not start well. I did win the roll off and chose to defend. However, the initiative cards lured my army away from its secure flanks, dense terrain location further and further into the open. Finally ending up on the plains – but with a secure flank. The terrain was simply the secure flanks and one piece of terrain that did fall centrally but had not bearing on the game at all.

The scouting phase was unkind to me also. 6 scouting cards vs 3, and an unlucky draw meant that I was 100% out scouted, meaning I had to reply my whole army before seeing any of the enemy

You can see here the brave germans have nothing facing them after they deploy

The game was one of pushing forward, to try and flee the light horsemen off the table. After seeing my deployment the Skythians weighted both wings, and also had a flank march, there was precious little directly in front of me.

The nomads turn up. This pictures is notable for the Chatti allies cards (1st turn allied cards are face up. If you get no colour cards they are unreliable

It didn’t look good. However, I endeavoured to make a game of it and pushed forward and tried to squeeze the edges of the table so that at least the German noble cavalry would have some bearing on the game. The Germans pushed forward , as did the Skyths. The game played out as I charges , the cavalry skirmished and shot. This shooting did not kill many bases, but the ’S’ (slow) results slowed my charges so that the advance across the table was slowed. Shooting did start taking effect and I lost bases here and there but by which time Civilis was a good 3’ across the table. The cracks, however, were starting to show.

The Noble cavalry did get into good charging opportunities, but being Superior Melee experts the units were small ( 4 bases) The more numerous Skythians has some good shooting and took a base off as the Germans charged, This meant they were always a base from breaking completely. As the ongoing melee continued – while being at a significant advantage it was never enough to break though while the attritional casualties that the Skythians inflicted were enough to break the Germans cavalry.

The table is devoid of troops in the centre as they retire to the entremities

The Batavians did make it to the Skythian camp, and generally the whole army – or what remained of it – was less than 30cm from the enemy table edge, when the Germans collapsed. In the end after a hard fought battle the Germans had destroyed a single base of the loss of their whole army – so a maximum loss 25-0

While it was disaster, the game was fun and it felt that the Batavians had a chance – even when all the cards were stacked against them