The Late Roman Legion

Normally, I don’t make too many comments regarding games I don’t win,  but I feel a need to do so today.  A few days ago I played a game with my Dark Age (early) Saxons vs. an Late Imperial Roman Field Army.  As far as historical match-ups we both felt pretty good about it.  We agreed on 2500 points and went at in on a standard battle.  My opponent brought 3 large blocks of legionaries and a couple of smaller blocks of Auxilia and a unit of supporting archers and 2 units of cavalry.  While I have played WAB for over 10 years, when I get a good ass-kicking, I really think it is time to talk about it.

The real strength of the Late Roman Army was the combined formations.  Each unit (depending on its size) had between 6-8 archers included.  Against my poorly armored Saxons, this really proved to be the pivotal issue.  Each turn (after turn One) I received no less than 50 bow shots at me.  I found myself, in order to attempt a win (which is always important…LOL) having to go to my enemy, due to attrition.  While I had some short bow armed skirmishers myself, I had no ability to go arrow shot for arrow shot against him.

The few units that he engaged with that were not infantry (namely Equites) were easily destroyed by my own cavalry unit and elite infantry.  The real test for my army was approaching the shieldwall of his legionaries.  While closing, the combined dart and bow fire proved devastating and caused a critical charge by my cavalry to fail.   In the end it was a solid victory for Rome.  While I played a Fall of the West Army prior to the release of AoA2, I hadn’t gone back and checked out how the army may fair now.  I think for the astute player, a Late Roman Army has a lot of great bells and whistles that should not be ignored.  This is definitely an army that has been resurrected from the dead for possible use in the tournament scene.

The Light Roman Cohort

For those of you who listen to the podcast, I just want to say thanks to both of you.  But if you haven’t on the last episode I commented on a game I recently played against an EIR (Early Imperial Roman) list from the new AoA.

Although I won the game, I made several mental notes regarding the efficiency to the Light Roman Cohort (LRC) in combination with the ‘traditional’ heavier legionnaires we as WAB’ers have come to know and love.  In the past few days, I received a few emails asking me why I thought LRCs to be so good.  Well it is for a combination of reasons I will discuss below:

1.  The stats between a LRC and Legionnaire are identical with one important exception, the base movement of a LRC is 5.  While that may not seem like a big deal it plays an ever important role in addition to enhanced movement across the battlefield.

2.  LRCs have the ability to take two additional upgrade skills/abilities, the first is Veteran which allows the unit to re-roll all of it’s to hit rolls once per battle.  For just one point, this is a huge advantage.  Secondly, for two additional points, you can make your LRCs drilled which when combined with M5 allows you automatically (no LD test) to disengage combat with every other type of infantry in the game and will almost entirely ensure that the unit can escape a M4 infantry unit.  I know that the use of the disengage rule is somewhat frowned upon and not widely used, but I have used it to some spectacular results.

3.  LRCs are a allowed light armor, shield & either throwing spear or thrusting spears (I normally go with thrusting spears).  This gives LRC a 5+ armor save and the ability to dish out some damage.   And LRC’s are light infantry which allows you to utilize their special turning and movement rules (which add to their maneuverability discussed above).

4.  A totally kitted out LRC trooper only costs 16 points.

A Light Cohort in open terrain will be hard pressed to win a decisive victory against hard infantry.  But if you use their maneuverability and ability to operate in terrain, combined with fact they are too tough to be ignored, makes them an import asset.  I don’t think LRC’s will replace all of your legionnaires, but should be a welcomed addition to your Early Imperial Roman army.

I know the equipment is from the Caesarian Roman period, but it is a damn cool picture.