Sunday 23 March 2014

Romanes eunt domus!

On Saturday I had yet more proof that Postie - AKA Postidius Tacitus - is something of a megalomaniac in the wargaming world. I've been part of the Rejects for several years now and during that time I have had the pleasure to play a huge variety of periods and scales. So it was quite a surprise when we walked into the Shed-o-war and found ourselves presented with yet another period that I hadn't seen before; 28mm Picts verses Romans, complete with a section of the Antonine Wall and a fort defending a gateway. As the leader of the Picts my job was to teach these foreign invaders a lesson, but clearly it wasn't a lesson in Latin! As the Centurion in Monty Pythons Life of Brian observes, the phrase "Romanes eunt domus" actually means "People called Romanes they go the house". The correct phrase is "Romani ite domum" which means "Romans go home!". Either way I'm sure the legionaries got the message that they were not welcome. 

The local roman Tribune has plundered and destroyed a Pictish Warlords village, stolen all the gold and taken various women, including the warlords daughter, prisoner. The Small roman force responsible for this action are now heading back towards the relative safety of the wall, but the Warlord is in pursuit. The picts have three objectives; Destroy the Roman expeditionary force, rescue the warlords daughter and attack the wall at the gate. 

Order of Battle
1st Command Leader - Quality: Efficient + Standard Bearer (Clint)
   1 Legionary Cohort (Pilum,Gladius,Lt Shiled. Hvy Armour)
   1 Auxiliary Cohort (Spear,Gladius,Lt Shiled. Hvy Armour)
   1 Auxiliary Cohort Archers (Bow, Gladius, Heavy Armour)
   1 Auxiliary Heavy Cavalry (Lance, Gladius, Lt Shield, Hvy Armour)
   3 Scorpions (Artillery crew - Gladius, Heavy Armour)
   1 Onager (Artillery crew - Gladius, Heavy Armour)
   1 Auxiliary Heavy Cavalry (Reinforcements) (Lance, Gladius, Lt Shield, Hvy Armour)
2nd Command Leader - Quality: Plodding (Dave)
   1 Legionary Cohort (Pilum,Gladius,Lt Shiled, Hvy Armour)
   1 Auxiliary Cohort (Spear,Gladius,Lt Shiled, Hvy Armour)
   1 Auxiliary Cohort (Spear,Gladius,Lt Shiled, Hvy Armour)
   1 Cart + Driver
   1 Guard with 4 Slaves
   1 Guard with Warlords Daughter (The 'Princess' Sorcha)

1st Commander - The Warlord - Quality: Brilliant + Standard Bearer (Lee)
   1 Fanatic Warband (Javelin, Sword, Unarmoured)
   1 Warband (Javelin, Sword Unarmoured)
   1 Warband (Javelin, Sword Unarmoured)
   1 Warband (Javelin, Sword Unarmoured)
   1 Archer Unit (Bow, Unarmoured)
2nd Commander - Quality: Plodding (Sujit)
   1 Warband (Javelin, Sword Unarmoured)
   1 Warband (Javelin, Sword Unarmoured)
   1 Warband (Javelin, Sword Unarmoured)
   1 Warband (Javelin, Sword Unarmoured)
   1 Archers (Bow, Unarmoured)
   WarDogs & Handler (Reinforcements) (Teeth, Unarmoured)
3rd Commander - Quality: Plodding (Ian)
   1 Warband (Javelin, Sword Unarmoured)
   1 Warband (Javelin, Sword Unarmoured)
   1 Cavalry Light Cavalry (Javelin, Shield, Unarmoured)
   1 Archer Unit (Bow, Unarmoured)
   1 Javelins Unit (Javelin, Sword, Shield, Unarmoured)

The Action
The Pict Warlord looks angrily across open ground to towards the Antonine Wall and vows to make the Romans pay for burning his village and taking his daughter
A large Pictish force appears out of the woods to intercept the returning Roman patrol
The Antonine Wall and the Mile Fort that promises safety for the returning Romans
The wider picture showing the starting positions of most of the Picts (more off screen to the left). Fortunately the Romans rolled high an were given three free moves down the road before play commenced. This was the first of many Pro-Roman moves by the umpire, Postidius Tacitus.
One of three Scorpions mounted along the wall. For much of the game the Picts stayed out of range.
Roman archers also lined the wall, a whole cohort of them!
The Picts started with a Battering Ram which we had to allocate to a unit. I think the Umpire actually thought we would be daft enough to attack the wall! The Warlords only objective was recovering his daughter and slaughtering Romans.
The Roman position after their three free movements. This put them much closer to the safety of the also put the prisoners closer to captivity and would prove crucial at the end of the game. 
Postidius on the Roman side of the table....physically and metaphorically. Dave opens the game with a bold decision not to run or stand and defend. Despite being outnumbered 5 to 1 he goes on the attack!
Unleash the dogs of war! The Picts get a bonus unit and launch it into the attack immediately.
The Pict Warlord moves his forces off the hill and begins the long march towards the road and his daughter.
A rain of Javelins wipes out half the WarDogs and their handler in the first turn. Not a good start! 
Meanwhile Clint's Roman Auxiliary Cavalry emerges from the fort...these look menacing.
Meanwhile the Romans from the Patrol smash into the Picts inflicting heavy casualties
Having swept aside the skirmishers the Romans now prepare to charge the Picts on the hill.
Oblivious to the fact that they might end up surrounded the Romans press on.
They Battle their way to the top of the hill and force the Picts there to fall back, however more 'barbarians' are coming in from behind. The Picts sense victory...
Trapped between two Warbands the Romans prove they are as tough as bleedin nails...what does it take to destroy these buggers?! 
Another Cohort has forced it way to the hill and then formed a Testudo for all round defence.
Another Roman Auxiliary Cavalry Cohort emerges from the fort. 
The Warlords archers fire at extreme close range and destroy the onrushing Roman Cavalry! If they can destroy the second cavalry unit they may be able to rescue the prisoners.
The distance between them and their target is shrinking, but is it enough?
Meanwhile Clint's Onagar is hurling stones at the approaching Picts but only manages one hit in the whole game. 
The second cavalry unit also tries to slow down the Picts to allow the prisoners to be brought inside the fort..
Another hail of arrows from the Picts and....
...another Roman unit is destroyed! Next turn if the archers charge move the prison guards they can rescue the Warlords Daughter. Victory is within their grasp.
Right behind the archers are four almost fresh units of bloodthirsty picts bent on revenge!
Now Clint, who has spent most of the game fireing off rocks with his Onagar finally gets a chance to shoot at the picts. The Barbarian arches, bent on rescuing the prisoners are now within range... And in a hail of arrows cause 50% casualties disordering the Pict Archers. 
Disordered the Picts now cannot make the vital charge move they need and they watch helplessly as the prisoners, including the Warlords daughter, are taken inside the fort. 

With the Prisoners inside the fort the Picts decide that a frontal assault would be useless and end the game. The remaining Romans outside the wall will be hunted down and killed, but for those behind the wall there is safety and 'civilisation'. The Pict Warlord can only hope that his warriors have caused enough damage to the Romans to send them a clear message about whose land this really is!

This was a really tough fight and neither side could claim a decisive victory. As it was when the points were totalled up the Romans won a narrow victory, 18 points to 16. If the picts had managed to rescue the prisoners they would have won a stunning victory but as it was they just had too much ground to cover.

The Romans were incredibly hard to kill. But the Picts wore them down and one by one picked off the Auxiliaries until the units were on the verge of collapse. A few more turns of battle and the remaining Romans would have been destroyed. However it has to be said that Dave's bold move to attack was probably the best decision he could have made under the circumstances. Had more support been available from within the fort then the battle could have gone very differently. Also had the Romans not rolled high and won those three free moves at the beginning of the game then the Picts would have been able to save the prisoners. But this made the game all the more fun because it was so hard to call.

I think that although the Picts lost, the narrowness of the Roman victory, and their losses would certainly have sent a firm message to the local Governor. 


  1. What a beautiful report, excellent looking figures, castle and terrain! Love your Pict army, even if they did not win!

  2. Superb looking game and what a terrain piece! What rules were used?

  3. Lee
    Great looking game and report. I love the scene from Life of Brian that you referenced. My daughter went to a French Immersion school and when was struggling with verb conjugations I played her that clip. From that point on she would ask herself "How many Romans" and work out verb.
    Cheers, PD

  4. Nice AAR and great pics Lee. That Postie character was clearly wanting the dastardly Romans to win

  5. Fantastic looking game and great pics. Thanks for sharing mate.

  6. Where do you keep getting these wonderful toys??

  7. That's a great looking table and game.

  8. Great looking battle and always lovely to see some nice terrain pieces involved too.


  9. Of course it is a decisive victory by the Romans or at least it will be by the time the Report reaches Roman! We will claim your force was five times larger than it was and that you ambushed us and that you used heathen magic to confuse our gallant troops.

    Nice Report mate I will write a completely unbiased totally truthful AAR later today.

    1. Continuing in the spirit of the Life of Brian clip, that would be "Rome" - i.e., "the Report reaches Rome!" :-)


  10. Good report - just the thing for a Monday morning!

  11. I agree with Gary! Super models, scenery, write up. Loved it.

  12. T'was a great looking game, I'm sure if I was playing the Picts would have won! Loser!!!

  13. Fantastic looking game! Good times!

    I just showed that Monty Python skit to my son last week as he is doing yr 8 Latin at school. What a classic :-)


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