Rome – Ambushed

I was late to the Roman slaughter on Friday night as the Reaver extraction operation from Insmother took longer than expected… which is pretty much how every op in EVE Online works.  What will happen if we deploy somewhere even further away?

Anyway, I showed up to find matches in progress, with Mattman and Loghound facing Potshot and an AI in a variation on the city assault scenario.

SGRome

They finished out that match and then changed things up so I could join in for the next round.  I landed on Potshot’s team and we were set to be the attackers.  I used the forces I had saved from last week’s city assault, which included an expensive oneger attachment.

Deployed for action

Deployed for action

However, they did not seem to be much help this time around, as we were facing an unfortified city.  My siege detachment launched round shot and diseased corpses onto Loghound’s forces, who were positioned against me, to seeming little effect.  Burning shot was grayed out on the menu and I was soon out of anything else, so I sent in the troops.  Since I had spent so much on siege, I did not hold any quantitative advantage.  Meanwhile, the route I had chosen into the city was constrained, so Loghound and I ended up in a face to face shoving match that slowly ground down both of our forces.

Engaged with Loghound

Engaged with Loghound

It was enough, however, to keep Loghound fully occupied, as Potshot managed to get through Mattman’s defenses and roll him up.  At that point Loghound had to pull troops away from grappling with me to try and shore up his rear area, leading to their whole defense cascading to defeat.

Then we swapped sides and Potshot and I were on the defense.  I chose to go with fewer, higher quality troops backed up by a few archers this time around.  I ended up facing Mattman, who had gone heavy on archers, and so was able to stand out of range and wear down my lead units.  I really needed some cavalry then, to send the archers on their was as they were somewhat distant from their infantry support.  So I tried using some of my own infantry in the cavalry role.  But infantry cannot run fast enough.  I ran a unit towards the flanks of the archers, only to have Mattman move two units to defend.  That clash went badly for me and my guys had to turn and run.

In the end I was whittled down to one unit I had held in reserve and my general.  I pulled them back to the capture point to link up with Potshot for a final defense.  However, Potshot seemed to be falling apart as well, and by the time I got there his last unit had melted away.  My guys stood alone.

Gold trimmed banners are mine

Gold trimmed banners are mine

I was hoping that my reserve troop, still fresh and at full strength, would be able to hold on against multiple worn down attackers, and things started off okay.  But when my general went down things started to look very grim.  I managed to pull that last unit of legionnaires away from the melee and set them with their backs to a wall with one flank covered by a building.  They were still nearly full strength, still fresh, and were positioned for their last stand.

And then they lost their nerve and ran away.

So the attackers seemed to be able to carry the day when it came to unfortified cities, the reverse of last weeks results.

We were getting deep into the evening, but there was a call for Loghound and I to do an ambush battle.  This is a two player only scenario which Potshot and Mattman had tried earlier.  We had to reconfigure the game settings, opening up observer positions for Mattman and Potshot so they could watch.  I went with the Iceni, the Britannic horde, as I figured masses of troops would be advantageous.

I was first up as the ambusher, and the setup seemed simple enough.  There was a clear route down which Loghound would be marching, so I just massed troops on either side of the path.  When the scenario started, I rushed in from both sides and pretty much swamped him.

Iceni attack!

Iceni attack!

Things were going well.  As you can see in the picture, all of Loghound’s units, save his general, have banners flashing to white, which means they are about to break and run.  I was about to clinch a major victory… when Loghound’s client crashed.  I saved the replay, which flagged it as a decisive victory, but at the time it was just a game that ended incomplete.

Once we all got back together in the staging room, Loghound and I swapped roles.  I kept my same set of troops, as their mass seemed like a good thing to have.  Loghound changed out his roster and then we started.

Which was a bit disorienting.

When you are the ambushee, your screen just goes black until the game starts.  There is no setup, you just sit and do nothing.  Then, when the game actually kicks off, you can just see your troops marching in formation.  You have no control over them until the enemy appears.

Marching through the woods

Marching through the woods

Then Loghound appeared, up a hill from me, and let lose the war dogs.

Incoming dogs!

Incoming dogs!

The most charitable thing I can say about the Roman war dogs is that they are a unit we clearly do not know how to use correctly.  They have come up in a couple of our battles and have almost always been slaughtered when sent on the attack.  So it was a bit disappointing that Loghound went with what is essentially the “joke” unit in the mix for his turn as the ambusher, as they once again went down hard.

I turned my units to charge straight into the enemy, who was on both sides of the road, but was mostly concentrated up the hill.  I ended up chasing Romans all over the map on the one flank, while driving them back to retreat up the hill on the other.

Ambushers running away

Ambushers running away

It was a costly defense.  I ended up earning a “close victory,” on points, as I lost a lot of blue painted spearmen.  But the Romans were sent on their way and I was left in possession of the field, the Roman general thrown down.

And that was it for the night.  The ambush scenario was fun.  It is just a pity that it, like the full campaign, is only a two player option.

Going forward, we still have other armies to explore and we have yet to try any of the scenarios requiring the use of boats.  Still some things to do.

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