The Battle of Jawa
So here is it! My first attempt to test the WAB rules!!! This battle has been planned for months but unfortunately the Byzantines are not completed on time. I could have postponed the game further but I feel that it is better to make good use of the break from my reservist.
So the story is that a great rebellion has taken place in the south (in an Egypt-like setting) and the Imperials led by Dwarf Lord Rognar Fireforge was dispatched to stop them. One may ask why I incorporate some fantasy elements such as dwarves and magic when my main goal is to play test a historical ruleset. The reason is that I do not have sufficient models to form a proper historical army and so I have to resort to proxies. And since I got to use fantasy models anyway, I may as well let them be fantasy soldiers using historical rules. All rules used will be based on WAB and any special warhammer rules will be replaced by WAB equivalents. I also took the liberty to add special rules for the various units such as Shieldwall for the Dwarf Warriors and Light Infantry for the Duellists. What about magic? I originally plan to use 6th ed rules but decided in the end to use the 8th ed rules instead. The reason is that the 8th ed rules works better in a setting where only one side has magic users. In addition, the over the top magic effects only serve to illustrate the awesome power of the Great Evoker! I am using Fire Lore anyway and if many imperial troops die then so be it! We are here to playtest the rules and have a great story so who cares if some random guys die to pyrotechnics! Anyway so here are the army lists (special rules in italics).
The Imperials led by Prince Rognar Fireforge
After the dreaded Eastern Intervention Wars, the Emperor acknowledged the need to raise a standing army of human soldiers. However the army was not ready when the Great Evoker struck, therefore the cavalrymen were sent with Dwarven infantry for support. Prince Rognar was to lead the army to atone for his previous failings!!! Added to all this are the local loyalists forces in the area (I want to use the chance to playtest the chariot rules).
Prince Rognar Fireforge – Free
Imperial Bodyguards, 10 Cataphracts - Cataphracts, Superior Byzantine Cavalry, Wedge Formation
Greek Cavalry, 10 Kavallarioi, Superior Byzantine Cavalry
Skullpass Warriors, 20 Dwarf Warriors – shieldwall
Orphan Legion, 30 Dwarf Warriors – shieldwall
Dwarven Musketeers, 10 Thunderers – WAB handgun rules
Rangers Wannabes, 10 Quarrellers – Light Infantry (Open Order Infantry), WAB Crossbow rules
Sons of Ordu, 10 Longbeard Rangers – Light Infantry (Open Order Infantry)
1 Bolt Thrower – WAB Bolt Thrower rule
3 Ahmose’s Charioteers – WAB Chariots!!!
20 Aegyptus Militia – BTGG Arab City Militia
The Great Evoker’s Host
The army of the rebels consisted mainly of mercenaries, bandits, pirates and remnants of invaders from the recent wars (Someone has been busy gathering men from all places). Added to all these are the Bantu warriors from the south!
Great Evoker (Lvl 4 Wizard) – Free
Pewas the Heartbreaker (of women) - Mercenary Paymaster (BSB)
Mercenary Pikemen, 20 DOW Pikemen – Pikes, Medieval Phalanx
Swashbucklers of the Seas, 14 Duelist with Pistols – Light Infantry (used as skirmishers in this battle)
Rodeleros, 10 Duelist with sword and bucklers – Light Infantry (use as open order infantry)
Hidalgoes, 10 Duelist with sword and bucklers – Light Infantry (use as open order infantry)
Mercenary Crossbowmen, 10 - WAB Crossbow rules
Mercenary Knights, 10 DOW Heavy Cavalry
Bantu Knights (Supposed to be those knights of Ethopia) , 10 DOW Heavy Cavalry
Bantu Light Cavalry, 6 DOW Light Cavalry, Light Cavalry (use as Skirmishers)
Steppe Mercenary Light Cavalry, 6 DOW Light Cavalry, Light Cavalry (use as Skirmishers)
Halflings Archers, 14, Skirmishers
Pewas’ Bodyguards, 20 Paymaster bodyguards with Heavy Armor
Rebel Halberdiers, 20 Paymaster bodyguards
1 Cannon, WAB Cannon Rules
The table is arranged using the WAB ruleset and the battle played will be flank attack. I will use the Army Break Point System also. Now to the Battle Report!!!
The two armies before the battle commenced.
The battle began with a challenge! Stepping forward ahead of his army, Rognar roared and demanded that his foes nominate a champion to engage him in personal combat. Eager to raise the morale of his troops, paymaster Pevas leapt out of his unit’s formation to the cheers of all combatants! The fleet footed Bantu hero sprinted towards his foe. Using the momentum of his run, Pevas launched three might thrusts at the Dwarf Lord. Rognar bent down to avoid the first thrust and quickly sidestepped to his right to avoid the second. However he was too slow for the crafty Pevas who suddenly changed his angle of attack and aimed at the Dwarf Lord’s throat; only to be blocked at the very last minute by Rognar’s shield. Annoyed, Rognar launched a series of wide but mighty swipes at his nimble foe. Despite blocking with all his strength, the Dwarf’s blows were too much for Pevas who lost grip on his shield. This chance was all that the Rognar need and he slashed into Pevas’ chest. In vain, Pevas tried to retaliate but he was losing blood quickly. Weakened by exhaustion, the human hero was unable to avoid a downward swing from the Dwarf Lord and collapsed to the ground. But the killing blow never came. Rognar simply walked off, leaving his foe to be picked up by the latter’s soldiers. He wants to win this battle as a general and not as a fighter!
To represent the increase morale, the imperial army is able to gain 1 CR for (2-0)*2 combats in the game.
Will you duel with me?
Haha, an opening!
Pewas is knocked out.
Rebel skirmishers move forward using their pregame movement.
Turn 1 Imperial
The imperial army’s right remain still while the left advance. The palm forest had slowed the cavalry’s advance to a crawl! In the shooting phase, the crossbows fell one mercenary knight. First blood to the Imperials!!!
Turn 1 Rebels
The rebels quickly march out of the Jawa Crossing onto the flats. The knights especially hope to eliminate the imperial gunline before getting blown into bits! The Evoker then proved his worth by killing seven dwarves with fiery magic. In the shooting phase, two Dwarven musketeers were killed.
The rebels rushing out of the river.
Imperial Turn 2
The Imperial cavalry pondered about charging the Evoker and his pikemen bodyguards but wisely chose not to. Other than a single knight killed by the bolt thrower, all the shooting achieved nothing.
Rebel Turn 2
The mercenary knights charged the musketeers who fire and flee (this is a charge reaction unique to WAB) and one knight is killed in the process! Bantu knights and Pevas’s bodyguards charge Rognar and his retinue. The two units of horse archers rode up the hill and peppered the Longbeard Rangers with arrows but no casualties are caused. The Evoker killed two cataphracts with magic who panicked and fled. In the close combat phase, Rognar challenged the Bantu knight leader who accepted. He realise his mistake too late when the Dwarf Lord shrugged off all his blows and rammed him out of his horse! The combat eventually ended in a draw as casualties were light on both sides.
The rebels charged!!! Seems like Rognar's plan is working, the narrow battlefield had forced the rebels to come to grips with him.
Imperial Turn 3
The cataphracts regained their senses and rallied. The musketeers also rallied and then reform to form a firing line. The Greek Kavallarioi then aided Rognar and his peers by charging Pevas’s bodyguards. In the shooting phase, the Longbeard Rangers flung their throwing axes at the Bantu light cavalry and killed four! The latter passed their panic test though. The quarrellers killed one mercenary knight and the bolt thrower did nothing.
Rognar called for another challenge and the paymaster bodyguard champion accepted. The human was slain. The Kavallarioi tried to hit Pevas but fluff all their attacks and lost two men in return. Combat is a draw again.
Rebel Turn 3
The Rodeleros bucklermen flank charged the Kavallarioi. The mercenary knights charged the skullpass warriors while the steppe light cavalry charged the bolt thrower. One quarreller was killed in the shooting phase. During the combat phase, the mercenary knights fluff all their attacks and suffered three casualties in return. Having only four models left, they autobreak. Seems like the earlier shooting had paid off!!! The skullpass warriors pursued and ran the knights down. In the main fight in the center, the Rodeleros attack paid off and the Imperials broke and fled. Fortunately the Bantu knights were panicked by the fleeing mercenary knights and end up fleeing instead of pursing Rognar and company. (in WAB, panic checks are done simultaneously in the end of close combat phase. At first I thought units in cc have to take panic checks normally also but after the battle I realise that they are allowed to re-roll failed panic test if they won their own combats. In fact the imperials will lose another unit due to this rule later on so I guess it is fair to both sides?) The battlefield was too cramp for the Kavallarioi who cannot escape in time and were cut down. Rognar and his dwarven warriors narrowly escaped. In the warmachine fight, the bolt thrower held.
Imperial Turn 4
Rognar and his retinue rallied. The cataphracts charged into the Rodeleros who fled but were ran down. The Dwarven quarrellers heaved their great weapons and charge the steppe cavalry to free the bolt thrower. The skullpass warriors charge the Bantu knights who fled back into the Nile. The longbeard rangers then did an about turn and finished off the Bantu light cavalry with their throwing axes!!! In the close combat phase, the quarrellers manage to kill enough riders to make them autobreak and flee (less than five men again, they can no longer rally).
Rebel Turn 4
The rebels manoeuvred and perform a duck shoot. Three dwarven warriors and two cataphracts were killed by the magic and shooting. The presence of the Bantu knights caused the rebel rear to panic, both the cannon crews and the Hidalgos fled! The irony was that the Bantu knights rallied!
Imperial Turn 5
Ahmose’s flanking forces had arrived! Deploying themselves at the left, they intend to encircle the Evoker’s pikemen. In coordination, the entire imperial army manoeuvre to ensure that the rebel head honcho is surrounded. Rognar’s unit charge Pevas’ unit who quickly fled. But their woes were not over as six fell to the bolts of the quarrellers. Meanwhile the Aegyptus city militia flung their javelins and eliminate the cannon crew. Not bad for militiamen.
Rebels Turn 5.
Pevas and his guards were so disoriented that they continue fleeing. The Hidalgos rallied. Meanwhile the swashbucklers charged the chariots, hoping to deny the latter the opportunity to hit the Evoker’s unit. The rebel’s reinforcements also arrived, appearing at the imperial right flank behind the bolt thrower. Meanwhile the Bantu knights realigned themselves to face the charge of the Aegyptus militia. In the magic phase, the Great Evoker killed another three cataphracts before miscasting. The magical vortex that resulted wounded him and killed countless pikemen. As a consolation, another cataphract was killed. In the close combat, the swashbuckler, lost combat but held.
Turn 6 (Imperial then Rebels)
The skullpass troops charge the pikemen in the flank while the cataphracts assisted by charging into the medieval phalanx. In the shooting phase, all of Pevas’ bodyguards were killed and he was left with only one wound. The longbeard rangers turned and killed four rebel halberdiers with their throwing axes. In the close combat phase, the swash bucklers broke the chariots while the militia broke the Bantu knights. However the sight of the fleeing chariots led to the militia fleeing also. In the pikemen fight, the skullpass warriors managed to break the pikemen and ran them down! The Great Evoker is taken. In the rebel’s turn, the halberdiers charge the bolt thrower and destroy it. The swashbucklers managed to revenge the rebels by killing the last cataphract with a pistol shot.
A quick count revealed a victory to the Imperials. The Evoker was taken and his field army was defeated. However all was not rosy and all the Byzantine soldiers were killed. The cowardly governor Ahmose had also fled with his troops (including the young boy Basti who was destined for great things to come).
And so it is over. The man of the match is no other than the Great Evoker who had a field day killing countless dwarves and cataphracts only to miscast and have his unit ran down by vengeful dwarves. Rognar did well too and kill off every character, champion that he lay his hands off (technically he killed Pewas in the duel but I have to keep the paymaster alive to make the pitch battle less one sided). I must say that the battle was very close and a clear winner was only revealed after the pikemen were destroyed. I had made a few mistakes for the Imperials though, I forgot all about the bonus combat resolutions! That will have kept the chariots from breaking and thus preventing the militia from panicking. Imagine Basti the Kushite fleeing in his first true pitch battle! I was also greedy with the Kavallarioi, and focus all my attacks on Pewas in the turn they charge. In the end, the Kavallarioi lacked the punch to inflict damage in the subsequent combat rounds.
What are my views of WAB? The most obvious observation is that it is harder to kill an enemy now due to everyone being S3 (it is very obvious from the performance of my Byzantines). Combats with the Dwarves are generally one sided as they are the only true "fantasy" units in the game and could generally shrug off opposing attacks. The weakening of pikes, handguns and crossbows also make a big distinction. I must say the Imperials won mainly because of the dwarves who deviate from the S3 T3 statline. As for other rules such as charging, movement etc I will say it is largely equivalent to fantasy. I hardly get the opportunity to use the unique WAB rules such as the fast march, shieldwall and wedge formation (due to the cataphracts dying in large numbers). That said, I did use the Byzantine Superior Cavalry rules and the Medieval Phalanx rules (the phalanx is awesome!!!). I also made the mistake in playing the Rodeleros and Hidalgoes as skirmishers despite recording them as open order infantry in the list!!! However I did play the LB Rangers as open order infantry and i find it cool to have a ranked unit that is able to travel through terrain without difficulty.
I am getting more historical models soon and I look forward to the next WAB session to try out even more rules. That said, it was very tiring. From setting up to the game and finally keeping took me six hours!!! But it is great!
Once I am more familiar with the rules, I will have some trial games with those who are interested in historicals. Yay!
Rognar eyed at the bounded prisoner before him and fury rose from his insides. For two hundred years, the human wizard had humiliated the Dwarf Prince. To Rognar, this is not business but extremely personal. Now finally came the time to settle old scores.
"Finally Oathbreaker, you are in my hands. Now let me show you how we deal with traitors." With that, Rogar swung the executioner's hammer and cracked the skull of the warlock.
Traitors will be judged.
However the death of the rebellion's leader was not sufficient to quash it. It merely changed the nature of the conflict from a revolt based on a one man cult into one based on ethnicity. Already leadership of the rebellion has been transferred into the hands of the Bantu leaders such as Pewas the Heartbreaker who are trying to woo even more tribes into rebellion. All eyes now focus on King Shaka of Isandhwana, the greatest of all the Bantu leaders. Will he hold back his blade or will he assist his fellow tribesmen and unfold the flags of rebellion. The second phase of Bantu Rebellion has begun.
BLOOD AND FIRE