This past Tuesday I took Wuxing vs. Jaime's much-feared Romans.
In a boneheaded move I left my Kingdoms cards at home, so I let Jaime set up some terrain (The one caveat being that it had to be deployed symmetrically.) Jaime put some very rough ground next to a hill.Set Up and Strategy
Rome, left to right:
Italian Swordsmen, Triarii behind Principes, Principes, Triarii behind Principes, Veteran Hastadi behind Cretan Archers, Veteran Principes behind Italian Cavalry behind Principes. 2000 points.
Jaime's plan was to crush me hard on the right while sacrificing a few units on the left. He usually favors Veteran Principes over Principes, but with most of my army having a 1 defensive skill he shifted toward the regular guys.
Wuxing, left to right:
Fu Dogs behind Fu Dogs, Warriors, Warriors, Guardians, Fu Dogs, Wuxing Heavy Cavalry, Wuxing Heavy Cavalry. 1997 points (Point costs have subsequently been tweaked, so this would currently be 1989.)
My plan was to win the flanks with a fast-moving, wide line. My Cavalry should be able to beat any Cavalry Rome can field, while the Fu Dogs were a cheap, fast way to extend my line. I could also afford one unit of Guardians, which I was tickled pink to line up vs. Principes. (Cue ominous music...)
One advantage I got from the terrain: Very Rough Ground is impassable to Cavalry, so while I could potentially send Fu Dogs into there at a slow but respectable 2.5", any non-skirmisher Roman would be at a pathetic 1.75" -- to slow to support his lineHolding Back
While most of my army rushed forward to engage, I made a decision, which I think was the right one but am still not 100% sure, to hold back my right flank. His units in the very rough ground were limited to speed 1.75, so not in position to pinch. Between the rough ground and the hill, Jaime had almost 850 points of units to my 700 (though part of his total would be the useful archers). Engagement & Whiffing!
Both photos from the same turn; one is a close-up.
Left to right:
Fu dogs have final rushed the Italian Swordsmen. I figure they can survive 2 turns, then the Swordsmen will be pinched.
Terra Cotta Warriors go twos-company, but, despite me playing red cards, perform miserably, doing only 1 damage rather than the expected 4.
Terra Cotta Guardians whiff entirely vs. Principes!
Seriously, on the charge turn I think I needed 4s to hit & 5s to wound. I got 2 hits, then rolled boxcars. Reliable! I rerolled and got boxcars again!
Then the Principes hit back, do 4 damage, and my Guardians (which had no mark on its Manipulate Qi box(es) breaks down.
To their right was the fight I was worried about: Terracotta Warriors who were being pecked by Archers and having to fight backed-up Principes. (Principes are 202 to 217, but when they're backed up by Triarii it's at least an even fight.) On the first turn I played "Beyond Defeat, which prevented all damage from teh Principes on the first turn. (Remember, Beyond Defeat prevents damage, but your own unit doesn't damage the opponent at all.) I figured their job was to hang on until the Guardians had broken through.
Another annoying thing is that, out of the 12 cards I'd drawn, only 2 were blue. So a couple of times I burned Manipulate Qi for the improved defense.Guardians Break
Left to right...
Fu Dogs have pinched the Italian Swordsmen out of existence.
Principes continue to hold out vs. the Twos-Company...sheesh! I think Jaime had to play "Courage of Numbers" here, though.
With no command cards played, the Principes to 5 damage to my Guardians, sending them straight into the red.
They finish them off 1-2 turns later.
My "sacrificial" Warriors do well vs. Principes.
Jaime toyed with sending his Italian Cav into my Holding Heavy Cav, but I'd put a point on them with crossbow fire, and he was worried that the Italians would rout. Then on my turn I went Twos-Company vs. the Italian Cav, destroying them on damage. But my Heavy took 2 damage (on top of 1 from a pila-throw the previous turn) and blew a rout check. Since it was no longer engaged, it became Disrupted.Blood and Pottery Shards!
Left to right...
Fu dogs pinch the Triarii, though the Triarii quickly destroy the wounded ones in front (doing the 2 damage they needed on 3 dice at 4s & 3s). *sigh* My Dogs will win, but this fight will take a while.
My previously pristine TerraCotta Warriors, who were part of the Twos-Company get pinched and nearly destroyed. The Twos-Company finishes off the Principes, but one unit is very damaged while the other is also damaged and has Principes on its flank.
Warriors have finished off Principes, but they have a lot of damage and others are moving in.
Principes one-shot the Disrupted Wuxing Heavy Cav, but they in turn are pinched by the others Cav & the Fu Dogs. They run for it and disintegrate.Endgame Part 1
Left to right...
Fu Dogs have destroyed the Triarii, but the Principes has chewed through both of my units with fairly little damage.
My last Warriors have fallen.
Jaime is pulling his Veteran Principes back up the hill, feeling a pinch. This is where the Wuxing Heavy Cav. being MC 5" rather than MC 6" really started to bite--only going 3.5" uphill meant it would be a while before they could engage. Endgame Part 2
Fu Dogs get lucky--their attack knocks off the last green box of the Principes, who blow two rout checks!
(It helped that they weren't backed up.)
Arrows and multiple Pila Throws, including from the Veteran Hastadi who do something useful once in the entire game, finish off the Fu Dogs, as my Cavalry continues to very slowly plod forward.Endgame Part 3
My one hope, and it wasn't much of one, was that the Wuxing Heavy Cav would cause the Veteran Principes to fail 2 rout checks on the charge. Instead, they got a mediocre hit, while the Veteran Principes hit back frighteningly well and destroyed them on damage alone! I conceded the game.
Victory to Jaime's Romans!
In the Green: Triarii, Veteran Hastadi, Cretan Archers
In the Yellow: Veteran Principes
In the Afterlife: 3 Principes, Triarii, Italian Swordsmen, Italian Cavalry.
Total points: 613. A 6-3 VP split.
It was a mistake to send my 326-point Terracotta Guardians up against a T-Rex. They very predictably got chewed through in 4 turns, then the T-Rex began its rampage, resulting in two more dead...
What? It wasn't a T-Rex? It was some punk Principes?
Man, I don't know what to think. Jaime played well, but the dice went kind of higgledy-piggledy this game, making it very hard to gauge what was balanced and what wasn't.
I'm still not sure if I made the right move by holding back the right flank. I think so, but it's really hard to tell. If the plan were to hold them back, I certainly could've done it with better units! It's possible that, if nothing else, they could have sent those annoying archers scurrying behind their line, then turned and run from the Veteran Hastadi (though the Pila would've been painful). Still, Jaime had to commit more weight to that side of the map, and had I won on the left I could've finished him off pretty nicely. Jaime also had to spend a few more command actions over there than I did.
The Fu Dogs are a nice unit. +1/+0 vs. ranged works well. They're still vulnerable to ranged attacks, but aren't total arrow bait. The general unit price felt about as right as it could feel. The one thing which got my knickers in a twist is the 5" movement on the cavalry. Jaime persuaded me to keep them there for the time being, but if they continue to grate they may go up to 6".
That's all I got. Thanks for reading!