IWC Day 1: Ancients Competition (a plethora of Polybian Romans)

7 March, 2011

For the first day of the IWC I used my Later Carthaginians, generally with both elephants and all the warbands.

  • Luke’s Ptolemaic

The opening game saw me with a waterway to my rear and Luke attempting a littoral landing with a Kn and a Ax. I destroyed this with an elephant and some Wb, but I eventually lost 4-3 as I advanced my spear too far in the centre while this was happening. Before my victorious flank could do anything, the centre was defeated in detail by pike.

The tendency to be in too much of a hurry was a feature in this game and in most of my games; not surprisingly, they usually came to a result well within time!

  • Greg’s Polybians

Next up I faced my own Polybians, loaned to Greg, as his armies were trapped in a Christchurch hotel. I deployed my spear in a column on a road. These were able to road march up to his Triarii on his left flank. However, in the centre my elephant was not able to make things happen and I lost my general for a 3G-1 defeat.

  • Keiran’s Polybians

Then there were more Polybians. Keiran was new to the game and up from Christchurch for a break. I gave him a fair bit of advice. I had some early success when I destroyed his Triarii in the centre with double-ranked spear (who doubled the one opposite, setting up 4-3 odds with double-ranked Wb next to them. However, I was unable to exploit this success. My elephants on the right flank did little, and I moved my LH too far in a flanking move (I didn’t calculate where he’d be after his advance!). Meanwhile on my other flank his cavalry savaged my psiloi-supported auxilia, who could really only hope to buy time. This was a 4-2 defeat.

The Triarii in the centre may have been a distraction; they stretched my line further than I want it to. As I see it, against Polybians Carthaginians have to try to win on one flank and attempt to delay or avoid contact on the other.

  • Stephen’s Early Imperial Romans

After lunch I faced Stephen Malone’s Early Imperial Romans. Last year these armies had met and I had to confess at the time I had no plan. This time I was more confident. However, Stephen proved as wily as before, and I showed I’d not learned too much. He advanced his cavalry, encouraging me to go after them with my elephants, only to retire the cavalry to allow his artillery to have a shot at the exposed pachyderms. One was soon a casualty. Against the other he had a lot of fun attacking it with his cavalry general and seeking to get it to back over some warband that had advanced in its support. He soon had the two warband destroyed, one bouncing into the elephant, the other being trod on. However, my general,supported by the Numidians, advanced across the field and attacked some psiloi-supported auxilia, which they destroyed. The elephant attacked a cavalry and it was now 3-3. Unfortunately that brought it into range of the artillery, if I remember correctly, and it was all over with a well-deserved victory to Stephen.

I picked up the tip that retreating was often a valid tactic, and promised not to be suckered by it again!

  • Stephen’s Lydians

Next up was a battle with Stephen’s Lydians, described here. Just as Stephen was frustrated by my warband’s refusal to die when it pursued into double overlap, and my Numidians scorn of his light horse, I was delighted by their display. It allowed my spear to shine. I thought they’d got his general, only to remember they’d only fled him; despite this, the combination of cavalry and spear proved too much for his auxilia and I got my first win.

  • Connor’s Polybians

My last game of the day was Polybians again; this time I got their measure. I got Connor’s general and three others for a 4G-0 victory. I think Connor, the youngest competitor, was getting a little tired, and he missed a few opportunities to get back at me, but after losing to Polybians twice already that day, I wasn’t feeling inclined to point these out to him.

All in all, despite the poor results, I had an enjoyable day, and felt I was in with a chance in each battle, particularly if I hadn’t been in such a hurry!

8 Responses to “IWC Day 1: Ancients Competition (a plethora of Polybian Romans)”

  1. Nick Grant Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Nice series of reports. I’ve not had a lot of success with my Later Carthaginians myself.


    • Mark Davies Says:

      Thanks. I can’t claim any great success with the Carthaginians. I think they are fairly unforgiving of my incompetence!

  2. Young Stan Says:

    I think taking the Carts was a brave move.
    I have them in 20mm, and struggle to get wins 🙂
    ( and now, thanks to the IWF prize, have them as my 2nd 15mm army )

    Great write up.



    • Mark Davies Says:

      But they look so cool! I actually thought of using the Ancient Britons instead and had a solo face-off to decide it; the Carthos won. I did get better as the event went on!

      Look forward to seeing your Carthos some time! VVV have some nice transfers for them and the DBA 3.0 list promises to be an improvement.

  3. Twr Says:

    As always some excellent descriptions Mark. I feel that the weakness of the Carthaginians is all the options.

    Players are too frequently tempted to try a different troop mix. Further, some of these options also don’t work together that well. Still, I’ll be fielding my own Carthaginians again soon.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Thanks. I ended up going with the same options for the last four games: two elephants and three warband. I still need more practice learning how to use this army, but I did improve during this day!

      • Twr Says:

        Interesting option. I like the look of the elephants but the lure of more cavalry is also tempting. I did poorly at Tagcon with Carthaginians but was impressed with the warband in bad going as well as the potential to double move.

        I really need to paint up the Gauls soon…

      • Mark Davies Says:

        I think I need to learn how to use the elephants to distract the enemy while winning elsewhere. If I use them as my offensive arm, I usually do badly. Well, that said, I usually do badly with the Carthaginians, but the elephants are usually my PIP-drain and distraction, not the opponent’s.

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