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Subject: Announcing - A Forum on TACTICS rss

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Alan Lipka
United States
Wilmington
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Our Strategy Forum seems to have led to a discussion about TACTICS, and since there is no Forum so dedicated, I suggest that we use this one to discuss such mundane things with a more focused approach.

You guys can start ...

... until I get antsy and stick my neck out about the futility of a 2 hex Roman Breach assault.

gulp

Alan
 
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Aaron Lipka
United States
Charleston
South Carolina
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A Double-Breach assault = futility? Not so futile, as I see it...

Now, let's specify the terms! A 2-hex breach in the New City wall without an opposing slope during AP1, presuming a bastion flanking either side of the breach and out of primary range of big Judean artillery. I won't go into the variants, just the basics, more or less.

Now, lets say you are operating with two legions, and two rams. Rams move adjacent to the wall, and knock the second wall hex out by Judean turn 3. I consider this reasonable (if you wonder why, I will explain in a different post. Go with me on this). During the same turn, the Judeans move to block the breach with three stacks of regulars directly behind the breach, with a leader stacked on one end (not in the middle defending hex). Each flanking bastion contains a zealot, a regular, and a cauldron. When the Judeans fire during Roman turn 4, nothing exceptional happens.

What next? first of all, before movement, Roman artillery should mass a shot against one of the two bastions. When it is time to move, the rams should move along, and towers move up against at least one bastion if they haven't already. Caveat aggressor: don't try to engage both bastions with two towers at once. This will limit the clear entry towards the breach to one hex.

The Roman doesn't like the look of Judean forces lining up behind the breach, so he moves expendable 2-10 units in stacks of 3 into the breaches (stack the 1-9 archers just behind the breaches to lend a hand) and takes 3 missile-shots next turn to weaken the defense. It is quite possible to get three 7-in-the-clear (-1) missle shots during the Judean round of turn 4. That should disperse the regulars behind the breach, but for the sake of argument let's say the Judean stubbornly moves more regulars, bolstered this time with a few zealots, into the same positions and proceeds to lay waste to the 2-10 units in the breach, including fire from the bastions. Open turn 5.

The remaining Roman missile units take one last shot (be sure to include the 1-9s from behind the breach) and move away from the breach. The FHI cohorts take their turn, preferably with Titus in command. Try to make two attacks, but give Titus your best odds. The Judean line should already be weakened by the missile fire of your 1-9 archers. Do your best to create continuous combat by striking the weakest spot with your strongest force: even still, you may only be looking at 1-1 (+2) odds.

Two things might happen at this point. The Judean line breaks, or it doesn't. If it does, great! Try to direct your continuous combat into the flank-bastions, and be sure the units in towers have already tried their melee- in this way you get a second chance to melee a weakened hex. Better yet, grab built-up hexes and try to create a "beachhead" within the New City for more Romans next turn. However, if the Judean line still holds, punish him with another round of missle fire from behind the breach. The cohorts will take a missile hit before they can move in turn 6, but after 12 good Judean units lost, the Judean will have to stretch to make a stand. But let's say things aren't going well for the Roman, and it happens one more time.

Turn 6. The Judean stubbornly holds both bastions and the three hexes behind the breach in strength. Roman, repeat the missile attack of turn 4, and during turn 7 the melee of turn 5. But by this point, something else has usually happened to make a fourth Judean line impossible: a third breach, a bastion falls, a breakthrough elsewhere, or simple attrition making a hard-line defense impossible. As the Judean, it pays to play a "Thermopylae" defense at the breach at least two turns if possible to prevent the Roman from bring all of his superior melee force to bear. But there is also something to be said for falling back, holding the perimeter of built-up hexes, and letting the Roman try to pile through the breach too quickly. This can result in a big massacre of missile fire if the Roman is careless, and a watchful Judean will know when to quit the breach defense and begin to fall back while he has the units to strike back.

Ultimately, a two-hex breach assault depends upon keeping up the pressure. Even in a worse case scenario, by turn 7 the Roman has driven 24 Judean units, about half of his worthwhile operational force, out of the breach. It always benefits the Roman to bring good Judean units off the wall and leveling the paying field, so to speak. When exactly the Roman chooses to push a double breach can be debated, and many Roman players might prefer a 3 hex breach or better before they make an assault. The same prinicple described above still applies. But I consider 2-hexes of downed wall sufficient to begin the melee in earnest, and eventually enough in itself to gain the New City.

Comments?
Aaron
 
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Peter Veenstra
Netherlands
Delft
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Attaque! Toujours attaque!!
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Hi Aaron,
I should have read this post before I started my last game (see my tactics thread). I'm playing again on 16 september. We'll take your post into account!!I'll comment after that game.
Regards,
Peter
 
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Aaron Lipka
United States
Charleston
South Carolina
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Happy to share my experience. One word, which I promised I would mention in the above post: use two rams in conjuction on a single wall hex. odds are very good that it will only take two DRs to knock down a North wall hex. Leading to the following series of events:

1. Roman Offensive FP, turn 1= NA (rams haven't moved yet).
2. Roman Defensive FP, turn 1= first DR
3. Roman Offensive FP, turn 2= second DR, likely breach
4. Roman MP turn 2= rams reposition against new hex
5. Roman Defensive FP, turn 2= first new DR
6. Roman Offensive FP, turn 3= second DR, likely breach
7. Roman MP turn 3= double breach, begin attack!

If the dice are unkind, this may take longer, but we should be looking at a double hex breach by turn 4 at latest. An alternative ram strategy targets a bastion with two rams first, so that there aren't flanking bastions to concern yourself with when the second hex is breached. This should only take about an extra turn, and has the advantage of taking out a few stubborn Judeans when the bastion falls.

Don't beat yourself up about the first AP. And might I add, don't limit yourself to one day of play! Me and my father usually take at least two days to play, which is why we only get to play around holidays. And he hasn't actually won the 1st AP either, only the 2nd! I was a sneaky Judean and took back that 15th built-up hex on the last turn of AP 1. He was careless, and it was probably very early in the morning, so his mistake was overlooked. We played it on, rather than starting over; I wanted to reserve his real whuppin' for AP 3.

Good luck out there!
Aaron

 
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David Hull

Pennsylvania
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Pompey4 wrote:
A Double-Breach assault = futility? Not so futile, as I see it...

Now, let's specify the terms! A 2-hex breach in the New City wall without an opposing slope during AP1, presuming a bastion flanking either side of the breach and out of primary range of big Judean artillery. I won't go into the variants, just the basics, more or less.


Agree that this is reasonable way to enter the New City. I haven't seen it work against city areas with built-up hexes adjacent or within 2 hexes of the wall, which is pretty much everywhere else.

Pompey4 wrote:

The Roman doesn't like the look of Judean forces lining up behind the breach, so he moves expendable 2-10 units in stacks of 3 into the breaches (stack the 1-9 archers just behind the breaches to lend a hand) and takes 3 missile-shots next turn to weaken the defense. It is quite possible to get three 7-in-the-clear (-1) missle shots during the Judean round of turn 4.


Less costly Roman attack:
Moves testudos into the breach with full stacks of missile units in the 3 hexes behind them. You will get the same 3 7-1 (-1) attacks without risking serious damage to your missile units in response (assuming one 1-9 archer in each stack). You may need to move a Roman unit adjacent to the Bastions to draw missile fire (due to ZOC) so they don't dump rocks on your missile units. In general, I think it is safer to take the bastions first.

Less costly Judean defense:
You can delay the Romans in a similar fashion by moving a couple of stacks of militia in front of the breach. They must be near enough to exert ZOC on every hex in an arc surrounding the breach but far enough that they are unlikely to be hit by DD or worse during the Roman missile phase of his turn.

There are only two instances when I defend with Judean units in clear terrain:
-- delaying actions (as given above)
-- blocking Siege Engines (usually from entering the Temple)

Of course you will often want to attack with Judean units in the clear:
-- sorties from breaches or gates to attack tempting targets
-- when a city area is lost, suicide attacks to kill Roman units
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