Monday, May 26, 2014

Brink of Battle: Romans and Celts

Today I played my first scenario using Brink of Battle in the period of the Roman invasion of Britain; more specifically, somewhere around 50-60 A.D.

For the figures, I used the LVMENES Romans vs. Celts set, taking some liberties regarding the exact representation of the units.

The romans were a standard-type force with eight figures:
COMMANDER (95 points) CBT 5 / CMD 7 / CON 5
Traits: Commander, Inspiring / Gear: Light armor, Sword, Pila (Javelins), Shield

VETERAN (73 points) CBT 5 / CMD 5 / CON 5
Traits: Shield bash / Gear: Light armor, Sword, Pila (Javelins), Shield

6x TROOPER (56 points) CBT 4 / CMD 4 / CON 4
Traits: Stubborn / Gear: Light armor, Sword, Pila (Javelins), Shield, Helmet

The celts were a horde-type force with twelve figures:
COMMANDER (101 points) CBT 6 / CMD 6 / CON 5
Traits: Commander, Myrmidon, Shield bash / Gear: Light armor, Sword, Shield, Helmet

6x TROOPER (40 points) CBT 4 / CMD 3 / CON 4
Traits: Gung Ho! / Gear: Spear, Club, Shield

5x TROOPER (32 points) CBT 4 / CMD 3 / CON 4
Traits: Gung Ho! / Gear: Short bow, Club

I used the Raid scenario from the book: the romans must defend a position (represented by the brown objective marker) from the raiding celts. The celts win if they end a turn with only their units inside the marked area. Each side may also win if the opponent routs.

As I am still understanding the rules before trying to make any adaptations for solo play, I just played both sides. Here is how it went:
The celt archers started rushing for the opening between the two wooded areas. The celt commander and fellow warriors advanced in the center, while the other three held back. The romans advanced cautiously to defend the objective.

As the celts kept advancing, the legionaries started throwing their pila and at the same time the celt bowmen started shooting their arrows. Halfway through the game, a legionary's javelin seriously wounded one of the celt warriors. Surprisingly, the celt commander panicked, running away for a moment before steadying himself back to the fight.

Even though they had lost three warriors, the legionaries continued to fight. The center of the map was a mess of clashing swords and spears. In the left flank, a single legionary kept fighting (and eventually defeating) some of the archers. On the right, the celt warriors who had held back now started to run towards the roman commander, who was left alone to defend the objective.

The legionary commander managed to stop the celt warriors for a little while with a well-thrown pilum. However, they eventually overwhelmed him and took the objective.
The game took a while to play, with me stopping to check the rules, take pictures and write some notes. Still, it was very fun. The opposed rolls used throughout the game keep the tension high. One thing I miss in this system is the ability to perform group moves.

Regarding solo play, I am now thinking about how to better handle the "Break," which is the ability to interrupt the opponent once per turn. I could house-rule that the "automated" opponent always has the Break but then I would have to come up with a method to determine when it will use it. Another point to address is how to choose which models of the "automated" opponent will be active in a given turn. Maybe it can be done with a simple list of priorities (e.g. ones that need to use a steady action to recover from panic, ones that are in most risk of getting wounded, ones that have the best opportunity to cause damage to the enemy and so on) but I will need to make some tests.

4 comments:

Aleksandar Šaranac said...

Keep us informed, please. I would be interested in your solution to solo this one :)

-c.norman said...

Just so you know, I love the site so I nominated you for a Liebster Award: http://mini-ventures.blogspot.com/2014/05/liebster-award-nomination.html

Cheers!

-c

Ricardo said...

Hi c.norman, thank you!

Jay said...

Really interested in hearing more about this one, I've been close to buying it for a while.

I don't know the rules, but as for the "break" action. Could you possibly have a number which you increment by 1 at each opportunity for a break. You could then roll a die, add this break number and if it hits or exceeds an amount you set for the scenario then a break occurs. This way there is some tension as to when the break occurs, and more and more likely as the turn goes on. You could also tweak that break limit, and possibly increment the number more when performing actions which are particularly harmful to the enemy so a break is more likely to occur.