Saturday, 23 November 2013

Nikhab Oasis - Romans vs Blemmye using BFE2

Rodge put on an excellent ancients game using our variant of the 19th Century colonial ruleset Battles For Empire 2. (BFE2). The game is set in Upper Egypt circa 400AD involving a reinforced Roman Cohort of 1000 men vs 1500 Blemmye raiders.

The figures are 15mm and based for Armati. The beauty of BFE 2 is that it works with any basing system. Each figure represents about 5 men so a Roman Legionary unit represents a Century.

The Scenario
The Blemmye raids into Upper Egypt have become a real problem. Thousands of slaves have been taken and the stability and reputation of Roman rule is under threat. The Blemmye are using a series of oasis as supply points.

The Terrain
The Oasis of  Nikhab lies at the southern end of the board. Sand dunes, which block LOS but do not impede movement, surround the table edges. A few areas of rough ground slow down non-skirmish troops. 

Roman Objective
Poison the oasis at Nikhab. To do this have a Legion infantry unit or an Egyptian Auxilia infantry unit, not skirmishers, with the Pack Mule attached to it in base contact with the Oasis for a whole turn and not in Melee.

Roman Forces
1 Commander+1 12" Command Radius, +2 if attached to unit
1 Leader+1 if attached to unit
1 Pack Mule
1 x Century LegionariesInfantry, Elite, Spears / Javelins - treat as Pila
3 x Centuries LegionariesInfantry, Spears / Javelins - treat as Pila
1 x Equites AlaeCavalry, Spears / Javelins
1 x Estate BucellariiCavalry, Spears / Horse Bows
2 x Egyptian AuxiliaInfantry, Javelins
1 x Egyptian AuxiliaInfantry, Foot Bows
2 x Egyptian AuxiliaSkirmish Foot, Javelins
1 x Egyptian AuxiliaSkirmish Foot, Foot Bows
1 x Auxilia SagitariiSkirmish Horse, Horse Bows
1 x Auxilia Light HorseSkirmish Horse, Javelins

Roman Deployment
The force marches onto the table from the centre of the northern edge

Blemmye Objective
Destroy the Roman force before they reach the oasis. Beating the Romans will enhance your reputation and further weaken their hold on Upper Egypt

Blemmye Forces
1 Commander+1 8" Command Radius, +2 if attached to unit
2 x Leaders+1 if attached to unit
1 x Armoured Noble CavalryArmoured Cavalry, Spears / Horse Bows
-1 to ranged weapons
3 x Retainer CavalryCavalry, Spears / Javelins
1 x Camel troopMelee weapons
On contact enemy cavalry become Shaken on roll of 1,2 or 3
4 x Light HorseSkirmish Horse, Javelins
1 x Guard WarbandMelee weapons
Can ignore 1 Shaken result once per game
1 x WarbandMelee weapons
1 x Archer troopFoot Bows
2 x Light footSkirmish Foot, Javelins
2 x Light footSkirmish Foot, Foot Bows

Blemmye Deployment
5 units can start on the table in the southern 1/3 of the table
1 of these units can deploy in terrain in ambush anywhere on the table
The remainder arrive randomly from the south, the east or the west

The Game
Paul and Graham took charge of the Romans and Shaun and myself played the Blemmye.
The Blemmye deployed the Guard Warband and the Archer troop in front of the oasis, a light Bow unit was deploy on dunes to the east and the west and the Camel troop was hidden in ambush in rough going on the Roman right flank
The game started with the Romans deployed en masse on the northern table table. The Blemmye had 3 Light Horse units arrive on the eastern edge which were sent forward to harass the Roman left flank
As the Romans advanced they dispatched units to take on the Blemmye light horse and to engage the Blemmye skirmishers
This advance triggered the Camel ambush against a Roman light foot unit which held owing to the rough terrain
On the Roman left flank the Blemmye horse charged in against skirmishers. Bad dice gave the advantage to the Roman skirmishers - no doubt bolstered by the arrival of the Bucellarii

I haven't painted any casualty markers yet so we use Smiley Faces - red is Shaken, Yellow is 1 kill and Green is 4 kills - it makes for a happy game
As the Cohort advanced to the oasis the Blemmye Heavy cavalry arrived on the southern edge and deployed to meet the threat. The pack mule bio-weapon is in the centre of the cohort
Having seen off the skirmishers the ambushing Camels were charged by the Equites Alae. The smell of the camels causing the Alae to become shaken

Although having being reinforced by the cavalry, the Blemmye line looked woefully inadequate to face the Roman juggernaut. Even skillful maneuvering  left huge holes in the line.
Left to their own devices the Equites Alae and the Camels fought out their own little war
As the Blemmye cavalry appeared before them the Romans formed their own battleline
Having seen off the Blemmye Light horse the Roman left flank raced forward to support the centre only to be attacked by skirmish foot and horse
In the centre the Blemmye Guard warband and Noble cavalry rolled fanatic charges and hurled themselves forward into the Roman cohort
To support the centre the Blemmye cavalry launched attacks along their left flank against auxilia and skirmishers
As the battle lines engaged the Pack Mule and escort hung back waiting for a gap to appear
Suddenly the centre Century advances past it's engaged comrades to take on the lone warband protecting the oasis. The Roman commander sensing that this is the moment pushes the century protecting the pack mule forward. A Roman Victory is at hand!
How cruel are the Fates - a Blemmye cavalry unit lurking out on the left flank dives into the rear of the Roman centre and rides  down the Roman second in command and the pack mule. Unable to poison the oasis the Romans concede the game.

A cracking game that once again came down to the wire.

The Blemmye commanders spent a lot of the game worriedly looking at the overwhelming number of Romans heading towards them and even when the cavalry arrived it barely evened the numbers.

The Noble cavalry and Guard warband  going fanatic stopped the Roman line in it's tracks. However the push forward by the Roman commander would have been a game winner if they hadn't ignored the lurking Blemmye cavalry.

BFE2 makes for a very refreshing alternative to the standard Ancients game of line them up and charge. We intend to do more of these scenario based ancients games

More photos are at my photobucket site

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