31 Jan 2012

FoG:AM after a 1-year break! Thoughts and observations..

I played a game of FoG:AM last night, for the first time in probably over a year (Warfare 2010 was my last competitive game of Ancients). Having been deeply submerged in the world of FoG Renaissance for the past 12 months it was a very interesting experience to get back on the Ancients horse again, and try and compare the two sets from the perspective of FoG:R.

Firstly, it wasn't a "standard" game - instead it was in our club competition which involves 2-hour 650 point games played out on a 4x3 playing surface. My pick for the competition was Han Chinese, selected as I own the army but I don't remember ever using them in FoG Ancients at all (well, certainly not as Chinese... I think some of them have pretended to be Koreans or similar!).


My opponent was a Classical Indian army, with rather a lot more units than me (13 to my 8) and who had (also) selected the "Regular" (or is it called "Drilled"?) option for the 9 units of foot bows and warriors in the army. Another interesting angle to the competition is that it is a league, with the same choice of army throughout but the opportunity to change the list each game - so you can pick an army to match up against your opponents choice each game. Knowing I was facing Indians I had therefore elected to take 6 units of armoured foot, 1 skirmishing foot and the compulsory 4 Cavalry - and an IC, giving my army a shield of invulnerability to shooting. I had also picked some portable obstacles, but then found out they had no effect against Elephants (doh!) so that was 27 points wasted straight away!

The 4x3 board (with 8"/12" deployment zones and only a 4" "zone of fear" near each edge) certainly reduced the amount of messing around before we got stuck in, although both armies had brought only one unit of skirmishers along anyway. It certainly added weight in my mind to the argument that 800 AP and 6'x4' is not the optimum mix of troop numbers and table size for 15mm FoG:AM games. 

As a comparison to FoG:R the biggest thing that struck me right from the off, and again and again throughout the game was  was just how incredibly maneuverable both sides units of infantry were. With all that drilled medium foot on table, the 1-base sidestep, forming columns, turning and moving sideways and expanding out either side. At times it seemed like we were playing a mega-sized DBA game in which we could just pick up and move the individual bases as we wished, as there seemed to be nothing that these highly trained circus performers could not do!

The upshot of this was that in the (rather limited) pre-combat manoeuvring phase of the game I was able to almost totally reorganise my army so the mix of units when the two lines clashed was almost entirely different to that when I deployed - again reminiscent of that bit in a DBx game where a good set of pips allows you to do a huge element-by-element matchup reshuffle just prior to combat. My opponent also did a fair amount of this too, and was only constrained from doing more by the physical logjam of 13 units on a 4' frontage and of course the futility of swapping one 8-strong Bw/Sw infantry unit for another !



Overlaps - counting both ranks - were also a bit of a nasty surprise, as I found myself assuming wrongly that my better quality troops would win out against wider formations of enemy bases. 

With my own shooting being almost useless (1 rank of crossbows at best...) my game plan relied on doing everything I could to survive the enemy shooting (placing my IC in the right place, working hard to ensure rear support and especially to narrow my units frontage as they charged home) and crossing my fingers, as the opposition rolled lots of dice and hoped for me to fail the Cohesion Tests. The IC played a huge part in surviving the enemy shooting (which is still odd really when you come to think of it) but ultimately this phase of the game was a lot more one-sided than FoG:R as it was all about my opponent rolling lots of dice and hoping I would fail a test - my role was kinda passive.  

Then, once I had committed my forces to combat it was all about the dice, winning by small margins and hoping to force the enemy to take lots of cohesion tests. This is what decided almost all the combats, as in a mutual destruction (yes!!) I can only remember one (or maybe two?) units breaking from base losses, which is again a massive difference to FoG:R where I suspect most of the broken units in the games I have played in break through base losses rather than three consecutive Cohesion test failures. 

What was the biggest difference to FoG:R? Out of all the things I've listed, the biggest one I keep coming back to is the extreme, nay, ridiculous ability of (drilled) units to hop,skip, jump and shimmy their way around the table. In FoG:R infantry simply don't do that - formations stay as fixed-width formations (by and large), infantry don't move as far anyway, and they certainly cannot turn and move. That to me makes FoG:R a far, far better game for recreating the look and feel of a historical battle. 

Having the ability to redeploy pretty much at will (Drilled MF + an IC means you can turn and move on a roll of 5 or more) was kinda fun, but it also meant the rules would have worked almost as well if the bases were representing squadrons of X-wing and Tie-fighters clashing around the gravity well of a rogue planet somewhere in deep space, rather than Han Chinese Close Combat infantry charging home against Indian Longbowmen on the edge of a forest on a battlefield somewhere presumably in the Himalayan foothills!

Playing AM at 650 AP on a 4x3 is a lot more fun than chasing LH around a 6x4 - but I think I'll still be sticking with FoG:R for any full-weekend competitions the foreseeable future ! 


18 Jan 2012

Oh Wallenstein, what a big ...... you've got!

Big Boys Toys in action at a 25/8mm FoG:R Competition, Wallenstein 2011 - see Thirty Years War Germans actually do quite well indeed.

6 Jan 2012

Warfare 2011 Match Reports

See the theoretically unbeatable TYW Swedes disprove a theory in grand style in 4 reports featuring opponents such as Later Swedes, Imperial Spanish, TYW Swedish Civil War and Dutch.

Osprey Rules on Amazon

Broken Legions is a set of fantasy skirmish rules for a war unknown to history, fought in the shadows of the Roman Empire. Various factions recruit small warbands to fight in tight, scenario-driven battles that could secure the mystical power to defend or crush Rome. A points system allows factions to easily build a warband, and mercenaries and free agents may also be hired to bolster a force. Heroes and leaders may possess a range of skills, traits and magical abilities, but a henchman's blade can be just as sharp, and a campaign can see even the lowliest henchman become a hero of renown

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