Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hail Caesar!

Matt and I decided to play test the new Hail Caesar rules this weekend.  We had a great time.  Before we throw down a Club game we felt we really need to know the rules before you try to run a club game.  We did this with Black Powder and Regimental Fire and Fury and followed it up with a game at our Club days.  We will announce when we put this one on and will invite all to participate. So this is a high level after action report.  If you enjoy Black Powder you will enjoy Hail Caesar!

Telamon 225BC
The Telamon scenario was taken from Peter Sides, Ancient Battles booklet. For this first Hail Caesar battle we chose not to use much of the excellent chrome available to the units.  This battle was when two Roman Armies were heading off the Gauls who were taking their taking their loot back to their lines.  Matt took the Romans and I took the Gaul Warbands with plenty of Cavalry and Chariots
Roman General Mattus Maximus

The Roman Divisions consisted of:
5 units of Legionnaires (Heavy Foot with Pila)
1 unit of Triari (Brave)
2 units of Italian Allies (Medium Infantry)
1 unit of Roman Cavalry (Heavy)
1 unit of Italian Cavalry (Light)
6 small units of Skirmishers
3 Generals (Leadership of 8)

The Gauls consisted of:
5 units of Warband (Medium Foot/Wild Fighters)
1 unit of Gastati (Medium Foot/Fanatic)
4 units of Cavalry (Heavy)
4 units of Chariots (British light chariots)
3 generals (Leadership of 8)

The Sequence is basically; Command, Ranged Combat and then Hand to Hand.  The Romans who were on the attack moved first.

Warband Charge!
Turn 1
It started with the Roman Left failing on their first attempt so no move.  The Roman right division rolls for one move to the Roman skirmishers moved forward.  In the Roman center, the Commander failed but a Commander in Chief may re-roll once per turn.  He rolls again and scores one move.  The Triari and Legions advance. No one was in ranged combat so the turn went over to the Gauls.

The Gaul Commander started his turn.  On the Gaul left he scored two moves do the Cavalry started their advance.  In the center the Gauls scored 4 moves and advances and the right scores one move. 

That ended turn 1 with no combat.

Roman Cavalry Right Flank

Turn 2
The Roman left attack scored three moves.  The Roman Skirmishers moved forward to flank support positions.  The Roman right also makes three moves.  Their cavalry are setting up a flanking attack on the Gauls left flank cavalry. Let’s see what happens.  The Romans right skirmishers are in range to shoot at the Chariots.  The fire with 3 dice and the Chariots save on 4+. 

 The chariots took a couple of hits 
but now it's Gauls turn.

It is the Gauls turn and they will start charging on all fronts.  When you are within charge range you get a free initiative move.  There are some interesting rules when in proximity of the enemy and the way you are facing.  It’s not quote a Barker zone but a little less restrictive way of maneuvering when in close. 
On the left flank the Gaul cavalry and chariots cleaned up the Roman Skirmishers.  The Gaul center engaged and pushed back the Roman center.  The Gaul right flank is now heavily engaged in combat.  At one point in the Roman center it was as Matt and I say, “Triari Time!” and they made a bold flank charge against the Gastati who were stuck disordered so couldn’t respond

Triari Time! Flanking the Gastati

Turn 3
The Romans start with their initiative moves as the Gauls did last turn.  The Romans advance into combat. You can see in the pictures the Gauls are getting pushed back.  We had a situation where the Gaul cavalry were forced to retreat through the Gastati and disordering them both. The cavalry had lost the melee and were to retreat in disorder.  As the passed through the friendly unit you roll to see if they are disordered and sure enough they were also disordered. 

The Gauls were getting worn down by the Roman lines.  In Hail Caesar it’s pretty cool because the warband come on hard the first turn but if they don’t break the Romans then those blade will start taking their toll in the ongoing turns of combat.  Romans always fight with 7 dice. The Warband initially hit with 9 dice but after they remain engaged they reduce to 6.  Pila come into play when the Warband roll their saves (-1).

Fate was with the Gauls this time.  After many push backs they were still holding.  The Gaul left pretty much cleared their flank of Romans and the Chariots were making the flanking moves on the Roman center.  The center ended up in a swirling melee.  The highlight was on the last turn when the Triari failed to rout the Gastati and were also hit on the flank by heavy Gaul Cavalry.  That was the end of them when they took so many casualties that the Break Test was pretty much a non issue and they broke. 

Warbands getting Shaken (red)
Matt's After Battle Interview
What did you like about playing Hail Caesar?
“It was the ease and flow of the rules.  The mechanics are very simple. The rules are also written to be very flexible.”

What didn't you like or thought something needed tweaking or just better explained in the book?
“It's the rule of charging with the center of the formation having line of sight.  I think we figured it out but as we play more it should be easier to work out”.

Would you suggest these rules to other players and why?
“Definitely, you have to give them a try.  It is available through 'On Military Matters.'  Dennis provides excellent service.”

Are these similar to Black Powder or are there some differences?
“I really like them both and there are some differences.  Units stand longer in combat, rolling for hits and saves keeps everyone involved, cnc gets a re-roll, the break test are computed a little differently, supports are critical and they actually have a function on the battlefield, i.e., flank support, the break test results take your unit status into the calculation, Roman legions are steady and the pila actually comes into play, etc.  I had a great time.”


Scott McKenzie said...

Excellent report look forward to playing and testing the rules


Colorado Gamer said...

Nice post. Makes me want to start playing ancients again.

Greg Cornell