|Ramses II exhorts his troops|
|Egyptian divisional commander signals the advance|
Last night Craig and I played our first ancients game with the new Hail Caesar rules. It was a small game of two divisions a side, Hittites against New Kingdom Egyptians. Fortunately Craig has played a fair bit of Black Powder and I've played a couple of games as well so this helped, although the rules are well set out and it is easy to find the relevant sections for most things.
The game played well as this was our first attempt we had to check the rules quite a bit but it didn't slow things down unduly. Ramses and Muwatallis took opposing divisions and most of the stats for the game were straight from the Kadesh scenario (pp.112 - 119). The game started with the chariot squadrons on both flanks quickly engaging and some of the infantry advancing in support. On the Egyptian right the elite Hittite three crew chariots pushed back and then broke the Egyptian chariots advancing to repeat the treatment on the hapless Egyptian archers and Nubian skirmishers.
The Egyptian mace-axemen on this flank charged the Hittite spearmen and forced them and their supports to give ground repeatedly until they were driven off the table edge. Judicious use of supports in combat seems to be critical for success as they can tip the balance but has attendant risks as supports also have to take break test if the unit they are supporting breaks. Supports can be on either flank of the unit and to the rear as well and this seems to work like overlaps and rear support in DBA. At this point in the game both these divisions had lost more than half their units and retired marching from the field.
|Egyptian mace-axemen screened by Nubian skirmishers|
|Egyptian spearmen and more Nubian skirmishers|
Meanwhile on the Egyptian left flank the allied Hittite chariots, the Maryannu were broken by the Egyptian chariots and these made a sweeping advance into a unit of Hittite spearmen. A protracted struggle ensued which left the Hittites disordered and the Egyptian chariots victorious but shaken. At this point the Egyptian chariots were ordered to retreat as they were too badly mauled to remain in combat. We were unsure if this was allowed in the rules but agreed it seemed reasonable given the chariots had won the combat and had greater mobility.
|Hittite allied Maryannu chariots|
A unit of Egyptian archers, sniffing the scent of victory, then charged the almost shaken Hittite spearmen but the combat resulted in a draw with Hittites shaken and disordered and the Egyptian archers also shaken. At this point in the game both of these divisions were on the verge of breaking but it had ended in a bloody draw. All in all it was a fun and fast game and while we probably got a few things wrong it didn't detract from our enjoyment. Thanks to Craig for a fun game and we're already eyeing off the Battle of Brunanburgh scenario!
|Egyptian chariots fight Hittite chariots with the support of archers to no avail|
|Hittite spearmen advance screened by Aramaean slingers|
|Egyptian mace-axemen and Hittite spearmen fight it out|