Travis (Goths) 16 banners, 61 blocks lost
Gonzo (Roman) 13 banners, 73 blocks lost
First of all, couple of quick thanks to Mark for organizing, and to Gonzo for walking me through Epics. He probably didn't realize he was playing such a novice at Epics who would ask for clarification about 1000 times about basic game mechanics. As you might suspect, we spent some serious time fighting this one out over the course of four different times, and Gonzo was the epitome of patience.
EPIC Adrianople is a fantastic scenario, and one I would definitely recommend moving forward. These two games represented my 3rd and 4th times playing Epics, and I now understand the attraction. Especially in this scenario, which Gonzo and I both agreed has many things to vector simultaneously, many decisions to be made....a very complex battle to fight but evenly constructed and immensely entertaining.
A quick overview of the scenario, after playing both sides, would seem to indicate that the Roman player is playing against time; if the Gothic player can mobilize his wings, the Romans will be hard-pressed to hold on as the game progresses. Both sides have options on how to maneuver, with units of all types throughout, and the fixed objective of the laagers/camps in the middle.
As the Gothic player, my plan was to do what I could to blunt the Roman advance in the middle, long enough for the wings to make the difference. The middle was held by the Goths by a razor-thin margin, and I was fortunate enough to punch a hole in the Roman infantry early, so that my infantry could man the laagers. Gonzo brought up his cavalry from the Roman left for a mounted charge, but (as would become a theme throughout both games...) my dice were there when I needed them for sure, even securing ranged hits on the damaged Roman center infantry.
Although we forgot to restart the logfile after taking a break, log 1.2 shows Gonzo has regrouped his center for another assault on the weakened Goth laager lines, and that the Goth cavalry have reached the enemy flanks with mixed success. Gonzo was able to gain a foothold in the laagers and establish a 11-8 lead while pushing back the Gothic right, and at this point things looked dim for the barbarians.
The tide began to turn with a solid Sparty roll which allowed me to engage heavy hitters in all three sections, regaining the laager, reducing the offensive capability of the Roman left, and menacing the Roman right flank while gaining a 13-11 lead....with the aforementioned fortunate dice. This put the Goths in position to win, namely because there was little danger of the laagers being threatened, and it would take time and space to mount another assault anywhere by the Roman right.
As expected, Gonzo expertly eliminated the exposed Gothic cavalry on the right, but Gothic cards remained solid, and despite a few misses the necessary banners were gained the next turn by fortunate rolls for the 16-13 win.
A very close and thrilling game. Gave me many ideas for how to fight as the Romans in game 2 by watching how well Gonzo had been able to react to situations as they arose.
Every bit as close as the numbers appear to indicate. Another great game where my opponent had to deal with me having outstanding options with cards and fantastic rolls, and he still almost pulled it out regardless.After last game, my plan with the Romans was to go all-out toward the center objectives. (Knowing that most late-era Roman soldiers had Germanic roots, I consistently encouraged them to fight their hardest in the center so they could capture the “lagers”) My hope was that their cultural affinity for beer would allow them to outrun the Gothic wings which begin the game packed together at the map’s edge, and are difficult and costly in terms of orders to mobilize.
As Fritigonzo noted early, I was consistently blessed with cards that could order units in the center and keep maximum pressure on the laagers. After some initial moves and ranged skirmishing, I was able to press an advantage on the right edge of the laagers, which would be a desperate back and forth struggle for the remainder of the game, and the focal point of the battle in my opinion. For every move one of us made, the other was able to respond, and my lone Warrior earned his post battle lagers with his ability to scatter light units on evades, menace the laager line, and chase down units at maps edge whilst dodging slings and arrows of the Gothic ranged attacks.
A pivotal moment was when a well-planned assault by Gonzigern was punished by a lack of any hits in consecutive rolls, which was the opening the Romans to play a Clash card, eliminate units, and take two laagers out for a 7-0 lead. That foothold was crucial to my plan, but in my excitement I had lacked strategic vision as my right wasn’t moving fast enough towards the center, and Gonzatheus had steadily brought up units to make an assault on my densely packed right flank, which had little space to maneuver. Fortunately, even though I would in my opinion lose the fights on both flanks, I was able to continually either threaten action on the flanks and/or respond to his concentrations on my wings.
This narration doesn’t do this battle justice, because the next few turns involved several excellent moves by my opponent, who made me pay for my sluggish inability to concentrate units to the center. Although I was able to move the rest of my center infantry to the laager line, Gonztheus and Gonzphrax were able to gradually whittle away my strength on the flanks, and hold their own in the center despite another Clash card played by the Romans. The center remained a savage struggle over the laagers, but some desperate 3-card plays by Gonzo scattered the Roman right and threatened the Roman cavalry on the left at the perfect time, and amazingly allowed the Goths to claw their way back from 0-7 to 8-9, but ultimately, the Roman dice were able to exact a high price in some well-planned Gothic moves and push back the Goth right, blunt the Goth left, and continue to pound the center with what units remained in the fight.
Though I was within a whisker of gaining a camp hex, Gonzigern was too tenacious, and instead, the game was decided by attrition rather than audacious maneuvering. A sure sign of the desperation of both sides is that I believe we ended the game with hands of 3 and 5, after starting with 7 apiece! A great risk-reward dynamic in EPICs that I have come to appreciate, though I was a little slow to pick up on initially.