ROMANES EUNT DOMUS: A game of Basic Impetus

Stephen gets impetuous…

I downloaded Basic Impetus yonks ago, when it was available as a free download.

Unfortunately it’s no longer available as a freebie because the publishers subsequently brought out a separate edition because it proved so popular as a game in its own right and not just as a stepping stone on to the full Impetus rules. After my recent game I think I may buy the bells-and-whistles published version because Basic Impetus is a great game.

I went with Romans, invading the Germans. The battlefield was set up with a river going across the middle, some woods either side of the river on one flank and an area of rocky ground on the other. The Romans lined up with their auxiliaries facing the wood, the cavalry and legionaries in the middle, and the artillery and archers on the left. Similarly, the Germans also lined up with their warbands in the middle. On their left they put their cavalry and some of their skirmisher archers, and on their right they had the rest of their skirmishers. The Roman tactic was to use their archers and artillery to engage the Germans.

The risk was the Germans would take up position along the river, meaning it would cause disruption to the Romans as they crossed. So the Romans chose to use the archers and artillery to draw the Germans across the river rather than just sit there taking all the hits. The Germans put most of their skirmishers on their left flank, to make their way through the woods and outflank the Romans. Both sides initially held their cavalry back to act as a reserve unit to exploit gaps.

The Germans did indeed move up to the river and take position along it. This was an understandable and obvious tactic. The Roman auxiliaries moved up using the woods as cover, trying to shield themselves from the German skirmishers. This was fine, but as soon as they cleared the woods and moved up to the river they would be exposed, and the German archers opened fire. The Romans were trying a similar tactic on the other flank – their archers moved up and engaged the German archers that had taken up position in some rocks, and the artillery fired at long range in an attempt to disrupt the German battle line. Neither had any effect (something that would continue throughout the game).

The Germans did indeed move up to the river and take position along it. This was an understandable and obvious tactic. The Roman auxiliaries moved up using the woods as cover, trying to shield themselves from the German skirmishers. This was fine, but as soon as they cleared the woods and moved up to the river they would be exposed, and the German archers opened fire.

The Romans were trying a similar tactic on the other flank – their archers moved up and engaged the German archers that had taken up position in some rocks, and the artillery fired at long range in an attempt to disrupt the German battle line. Neither had any effect (something that would continue throughout the game). The Roman artillery and archers continued their firing but were having little effect. Fortunately, neither were the German archers.

The auxiliaries had made good progress against the Germans – having advanced across the river and pushed their opposition back. It had come at a price, though, and the auxiliaries had taken damage in securing this bridgehead. Now it was up to the legionaries. With initiative finally going the Roman way, the legions splashed across the river and charged against the Germans! A shoving match ensued, with the Germans counter-attacking. But the Romans were winning and steadily pushing the Germans back.

There now came the chance for the auxiliaries to show their worth once more. Although they had taken damage and were no longer fresh, all that stood in front of them were the German cavalry, commanded by their general. If the auxiliaires could eliminate the cavalry and general then victory would go to the Romans. Fortunately, the cavalry had also taken some damage, but it had rallied and was no longer disrupted. Nevertheless, the auxiliaries formed up and they charged against them.

This would prove to be the decisive melee. In went the auxiliaries and they managed to destroy the German cavalry and with it the German general. Final victory went to the Romans who, though many of their units had taken damage, had not lost a single unit.

Author: Brigadier Tony

Club Webmaster

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *