Saturday, March 16, 2013

Miniatures Playtest Review: Hail Caesar Case Study

I had some experience with Black Powder.  Otherwise, I might have been totally caught off guard by these quirky rules.  They produce a lot of “WTF!” results.  People either love them or hate them.  They played fast, really fast.  Of my three playtests, this one was over in about half the time of the other two games.

The Germanic left lunged forward on turn one, and their center charged forward into the middle ground because of a blundered order.  The Roman-British commander was quick to take advantage of the isolated unit, and it was bloodied in a sudden co-ordinated attack.  The Saxon commander was unable to spur any of his troops to support the beleaguered warband, allowing the  powerful line of veteran infantry to all but obliterate it.

Meanwhile, the Saxon archers moved to where they could harass the Roman cavalry.  The Romans don’t play that penny-ante stuff, though, and they continue to press on the right, driving a warband off the table.  While tired and battered, the Roman-British commander is starting to believe that he is fighting with God’s favor, as luck is very much with him.  They Saxons are not finished, though, and the band of nobles rushes to fill the gap in the line.  British cavalry saves the day, and the attack fails, although the momentum of the Romano-British attack appears to be broken.  The British commander pulls his large infantry unit back, throwing his cavalry to protect them.  The horsemen die a valiant death, but they buy needed time for their comrades. 

The action moved so fast that I forgot to snap photos until the very end!
For a moment, it looks like the Saxons could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.  A surge in the center sends the large Roman infantry unit to the hills, but the exhausted warband then falls easy prey to the Roman archers.  The last good Saxon unit makes a valiant stand against yet another cavalry charge, but by this point, most of the Saxon army is routed.  The raiders return to their camps to discuss the rich lands of the Franks across the sea.

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