Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Hiero the Hero? A Clash of Spears Learning Game.

 A Small Clash of Spears in the Heart of Sicily!

A couple of weeks after my last learning game, I set up another dry run at a small scale encounter using Clash of Spears. This time, the forces of Syracuse were arrayed against the might of Carthage, after my last inconclusive engagement, where the Carthaginians faced a raiding warband of Celts. In that game, the Balearic slingers proved to be much too influential, because I forgot to apply the +1 Save Modifier for slings firing at ranges over 4 inches... this time, the Syracusans will benefit from a better knowledge of the rules!

The Syracusans, commanded by Hiero, weighed in at 505 points, including a Level 4 Leader, 6 Veteran Hoplites, 6 Citizen Hoplites, 8 Peltasts and 6 Archers.

The Carthaginians fielded 503 points, including a Level 4 Leader, 6 Javelinmen with shield, 8 Iberian Scutarii, 6 Punic Citizen Levy and a first run out for a unit of 6 Numidian Cavalry.

I ought to have increased the rating of the leaders, but decided it would force me into making more of those tricky decisions about where and when to expend the Command Points!

The archers line up on the right, the peltasts in the middle, citizen hoplites on the left, with the veteran hoplites in reserve.

The Carthaginians lined up with javelinmen on the left, citizen levy in the middle and Iberians on the right. The Numidians were sort of hanging about at the back because I hadn't really decided how to use them at this point. I should point out that I didn't start the game with the Engagement Phase, as I wanted to get straight into the action.

The Carthaginians began by pushing the Punic Citizen Levy quickly forward. The javelinmen, on their left, also advanced, drawing fire from the Syracusan archers. The archers fire was pretty abysmal, causing no casualties, although they did eventually force the javelinmen to move back and increase the range.

The archers, safe behind the swamp, but having little effect on the battle!

With the rest of the Carthaginians moving forward, the Numidians finally come up with a cunning plan and start an advance to get around the Syracusan left flank.

The archers finally manage to roll a 6...

The Citizen spearmen approach the Syracusan centre, 

but, the Peltasts let fly with javelins and cut down 3 of the invaders!

With the Carthaginian levy reduced to half strength and stalled, the peltasts seize the moment and charge into the enemy, wiping them out. Things are looking good for the Hiero and his Syracusans.

Meanwhile, the Numidian horse employ hit and run tactics against the unarmoured Citizen hoplites. They move towards the enemy, shoot and then withdraw. The Hoplites have to break ranks to fight back or retain their formation and take what the Numidians have to throw at them. Things might not have been too bad for the Hoplites if I'd remembered that the Numidians should have been gaining fatigue from all this whirling around hurling javelins!

Back in the centre, the Iberian Scutarii had arrived to face the previously victorious Peltasts and unleashed a devastating volley of throwing spears. 
This time, it was the Peltasts who stalled and the Iberians threw caution to the winds and charged in to wipe out the lighter troops.

With their centre broken by the Iberians and their hoplites being slowly ground down by the Numidians, Hiero, the Syracusan commander prudently withdrew the remnants of his forces, giving the victory to the dreaded invader... for the time being!

All in all, this was a really useful learning game; I'd been reluctant to field cavalry, not really knowing how best to use them, but I think I have stumbled on a strategy that will make them a useful addition to a Clash force, notwithstanding the fact that my mistake in not giving them fatigue for shooting gave them a bit too much influence on the game. The two key points in the game, were both decided by troops hurling missiles and stalling their opponents before charging into melee to finish the job. Clearly, there is a lesson to learn there!

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