I had a game of Sword & Spear at the club on Monday using my freshly painted and based 15mm ancient army… for this game they were going to be used as Germanic tribes.
I had painted these figures a while back, well actually there is not a lot of paint on them! I really wanted to paint these figures really really quickly, and so I decided to use inks and washes, so apart from the white primer and the flesh colour that’s what I used.
I use lots of soft tone from army painter for the shaded stuff on the clothes / horses / shields etc. etc. but all the colours were just inks or washes from Vallejo, GW and Army Painter, so the greens and blues and reds and yellows and browns were all just very quick washes of one or two coats until I got the colour I wanted.
And that was it… ok they will never win any awards and don’t look great really close up, but on the table, they look great.
I finished the bases this time using paints, a light tan colour with a brown wash, then dry-brushed with white, finished off with the odd small tuft, and that was it all ready for the table-top and Mondays game.
I was facing a strong army of Romans, the initial set up was pretty standard for the Romans, a long line of good solid heavy infantry supported on the ends by auxiliaries then a sprinkling of cavalry and light bowmen.
And facing them I put a large solid block of large units of tribesman, flanked by lots of light bowman and a unit of javelins, out on their right flank were three units of Germanic horseman, two light horse and one hard hitting cavalry, on the left flank another hard hitting cavalry unit.
So, the lines were drawn, and the dice were in the bag, 14 each, and we were ready for the first turn…
I knew the fiercest fighting was going to be on the right side of the table so I concentrated using most of my dice over on this section of the battlefield, this may have been my first mistake, as I was very slow in getting my massed scary tribesmen into combat with the Roman lines, it is easy to look back and say what I should have done but on the night I did not see my mistake until it was too late.
My right side of the table fell apart one unit at a time until I was left with the hardest light horse in history!!!! This unit dished out loads of damage and held out against superior cavalry, even after they had lost their commander, they lasted on their own almost until the last turn.
They were on the receiving end of a pursuit charge from a good roman cavalry unit, and not only did they stand their ground, but they managed to put two wounds onto the Roman unit!! Honest I never laughed…
We did see some good fighting from units in both armies and surprisingly it was the light skirmishers they did the most damage!
I am putting together a few more light bowmen stands to replace the few I had loaned from my opponent for this battle, I have always liked using lots of them and this battle convinced me even more that they are very useful units to have in my army.
There were a few pot-shots from bowmen from both armies on the left-hand side of the battlefield but nothing worth mentioning, my cavalry on that side could hold their heads up with pride for their part in the battle, although a line of solid Roman infantry finally cut them down.
So as the 7th turn ended the main attack of massed tribesmen had fizzled and stopped, the army as a whole had reached its first morale check point, and gave the well-earned victory to the Romans, and tribesmen decided they should go home and drink some beer, and fight another day…
It was a game of silly dice rolls on both sides, and silly decisions on the Germanic side, I really should have pushed harder with the main block of the tribesmen, they are hard and can take a lot of punishment and they didn’t get into combat until the last turn!!
That was a bad mistake on my part, but I can’t take away any glory from my opponent’s well-deserved victory
One of the good bits and also the bad bits of Sword & Spear is the order dice, deciding when and what to use them on, where I used my best dice and most of my dice was on my cavalry on the right, this meant I neglected to give orders, or as many as I probably should have, to my main massed blocks of hard infantry, but that’s the fun part of the rules, all of the decision making makes for a great game.
And it was a great game, and I am already planning my revenge…