Wednesday 7 February 2024

Strength and Honour Redux

I've started to get back into my main Ancients project. Its nice to get back into it and fancied digging out my Newline Designs 20mm ancients and setting up a battle. Its been just shy of a year since I set a up my last game  of Strength & Honour, its difficult getting the time and energy to set these things up! I was hoping that the flow of the rules and the various gaming aids would help me pick up the game back up quickly. I feel like overall I did but the following report has missed out the defence dice roll! Not sure how I forgot that but it wasn't game breaking (I think). I was also getting mixed up with discipline tests and the result roll of failed discipline test, this favoured the Greeks, going forward I may make a step by step cheat/check sheet to make sure I haven't missed a step, or get more games under my belt so that I'm more familiar with the rules. I also ran out of time (I'm working on something to aid a quicker set up) but I muddled my way through to some kind of conclusion which I will recount best I can below. Overall I was trying to do too much at once, lessons were learnt.  

The Army list below, based on the Pontic and Roman Warlord lists, however the figures are  Seleucid and Polybian era Romans. They seemed to be equally matched on points I added fortified camps last minute but didn't update the Army break point, I did also add 1 cavalry unit per side and did update the break point to 16 each. The Romans already having an edge of command points, having gained more favourable auguries than the Greeks, who in turned favoured more defence options while the Romans had a more even spread.  

Rosters before amendments 
The battlefield; every other square was marked out
with bits of terrain and took a while to set up
I think a more permanent solution is required! 

In general I deployed the cavalry independently with at least 1 square from the main line without spending command points just to make the winner of any cavalry fights have a bit further to flank attack anyone. Also the skirmishers were given to 4 units 1 skirmish line each in the hope that the skirmishers would dissipate quicker.

The Greeks deployed their best cavalry with a ferocious charge and their general on their right flank. Then the Imitation Legion protected the flank of the Veteran Phalanx (Silver Shields) 2 units of Regular Phalanx followed whose flank was protected by thureophoroi and out on the left flank was more cavalry. Various light troops screened the troops except the thureophoroi. 

The Romans mirrored the Greek Cavalry although were at a disadvantage on their left flank, the Legions were deployed to counter the Greeks, so the Veteran Legion on the left to counter 2 units of Greeks then 2 Experienced Legions and the Raw Legion on the right. Each Legion had a skirmish screen.     

Greeks arrayed 
Roman Legions wait for battle
The Greeks made the first move and they stormed the field, both cavalry units moved 4 spaces while the infantry moved 3, only the Veteran Pikes lagged moving 2 spaces.

The Romans must have been confounded by this advance as only the Raw Legion advanced 1 square. At least the cavalry moved ahead 2 spaces beforehand. 
Greeks advancing enthusiastically 
Romans stubbornly remain in place
not wanting to rush into that pike hedge
Raw Legion advances while the more experienced troops hold

The Greeks continued a steady advance making sure not to get strung out and maintain a united front. Their cavalry advanced cautiously to hopefully get the first charge. The Roman Legions probably shamed by the enthusiasm of the Raw Legion began to advance. Roman allied Cavalry on the left flank failed to move probably intimidated by the Greek general's elite unit. However the Roman cavalry on their right did advance.
The Greeks continue to seize the field
the Romans begrudgingly advance 
The Greeks marshal their forces to form a continuous line knowing an unbroken front is their best chance against these seasoned legionaries! The Greek general lead his cavalry in a ferocious charge, advancing against the Roman allied cavalry, first blood to the Greeks and the first setback for the Romans. The allied cavalry fall back and the Greeks hold back to prepare another charge. The Greek left show no sign of movement!

Not wishing again to suffer a ferocious charge the Roman allied cavalry inflict their own charge inflicting a crunch and pushing the Greeks back 3 spaces. The Roman cavalry on their right have a similar success advancing on the Greeks pushing them back 2 spaces. 

The Greeks then advanced their line, steadily, but still there were lagging troops, only the Imitation Legion on the Greek right. The general lead his cavalry and through personal example (burning a Command Point) advanced against the Roman allied cavalry, the Roman allies' discipline failed them, even after some command effort! They ended up in disorder.

The Greek cavalry on their left flank inflicted a crunch on the Romans, the Romans failed their discipline, in an effort to save the situation the Roman command tried to rally the troops only to fumble and worsen the situation, snake eyes and a critical failure! The Roman right cavalry wing then routed from the field dealing a disaster to the Roman army.

The Veteran Legion after some coaxing from their accompanying general, charged the Veteran Phalanx, the pikemen had their discipline tested, but only held it together with the help of the Greek command. Both formations' skirmishers were dispersed in the clash. The rest of the legions steadily advanced to close the lines. The remaining Roman cavalry had to redress their ranks or face the full brunt of the Greek cavalry charge unprepared, they were successful!

The Greeks then prioritised reforming their battle line, the general and his cavalry charged the now reformed allies managing a crunch, but this time after some command effort the allied cavalry remained cohesive. On the Greek left the cavalry stormed ahead hoping to turn turn the enemy's flank and hopefully the battle. At this point the Greeks called Homunculus Est! in the hope that the Romans would become fatigued, which they were with 12, the Romans in turn discarded the 5 point disaster card.

Despite being fatigued the Veteran Legion didn't show signs of slowing pushing back the Imitation Legion. The rest of the legions closed with the Greeks, one of the experienced Legions launched an attack but became a grind the Greek pikemen retreated quite far and after expending command effort remained formed up. The attacking Romans however (after getting confused on where to apply fatigue modifiers) ended up breaking causing another disaster, and leaving a gaping hole in the Roman line with the Raw Legion exposed, about to be overwhelmed by pikes, thureophoroi and cavalry.

The Greek cavalry again charged the allied cavalry which firmly stood their ground. The second Phalanx unit supported by thureophoroi charged the Raw Legion which was then pushed back and ended  up disordered, the thureophoroi followed up and charged the disordered Romans whom managed to stand their ground against the lighter armed troops. The Veteran Phalanx supported by the Imitation Legion advanced on the Romans the Roman general used his last command to re roll and pass the discipline test. The final Phalanx in the centre also found success scoring a crunch on the Romans who went on to pass their discipline test. 

The last of the Roman cavalry pushed back the Greek cavalry showing they were still in the fight, the Veteran Legion got back into position ready to fight. The Remaining experienced Legion launched a desperate attack hoping to cause damage to the Greeks, the Romans were repulsed but they managed to disperse the Greek skirmishers and remained in the fight after a discipline test. 

The Greeks finally got their left cavalry wing into the flank of the Raw Legion who were defeated but after passing their discipline check survived this time! With the evening closing and the Romans slowly being ground down the Roman commander called an orderly retreat. The Romans had continued to receive quite a few setbacks and despite discarding their first disaster card were still closer to breaking than the Greeks, who from the setbacks they had received, quite a few were zeroes. The auguries had looked more positive on the morning but the hesitation initially shown by the Roman Legions quickly lost them the blessings of the gods!     
Greek Cavalry with their general ferociously charge the 
Roman allied cavalry
After failing a discipline test the defence point reroll faired far
worse ultimately sending the Roman cavalry off the field. 
Greeks form a solid phalanx while their cavalry eye up
the Roman flank.

After some to and fro the Greeks begin to get the edge

Isolated and disordered the Raw
legion struggles

The Raw Legion's situation becomes more
precarious as the Veteran Legion struggles
 against the Veteran Phalanx and Imitation Legion

The Raw Legion continued to hold its own 
redressing their ranks ready to take on 
Thureophoroi, pikemen and flanking 
The Raw Legion holds on but the Roman general 
signals an  ordered retreat before any more routs 

Again I have enjoyed playing Strength & Honour solo, despite my poor implementation of some key rules. Calling an early Homunculus Est! seems like it is a risky strategy, it also slowed me down a bit and meant having to inflict more setbacks on the Romans to regain the lost disaster card. In future solo games I will probably avoid such an early call, at least until I'm more fluent with the rules. To save on setting up time I've since marked a grid using black dots on my gaming cloth, I exclusively play gridded wargames, on those rare occasions, or convert games to use a grid as they are far more convenient anyway! 


  1. Great AAR, Tony. You've got me thinking of getting Strength and Honour myself.

    1. Cheers Aaron! I think you would like it, provides and interesting narrative and you can't go wrong with grid based games!

  2. Excellent looking game, Tony, and well-told. Funny that in solo play, bits of the rules and processes can be overlooked. I am in agreement with you that gridded games are the way to go for ease of play. This is especially true when playing remote games over Zoom.

    Good stuff!

    1. Thanks Jonathan! Yes I usually need someone to keep me right in general 😂