Yesterday, I was hanging out with a couple buddies of mine who are Wargaming Enthusiasts. In some circles, particularly 40k and Fantasy, they have been called ‘beardy’. So I tend to approach their army lists with a little bit of skepticism and I should have known better when Dan purchased 3 boxes of Warlord Games Scorpion Batteries. So Dan and Steve start their game.
Steve was playing his EIR, with 2 heavy bolt-throwers and a stone thrower, which is a typical build for him. Dan on the other hand has been building a Later Achaemenid Persian army, I knew he had purchased the bolt-throwers but what I saw on the table was monstrous. In his 2500 point army list, he had included 7 bolt-throwers. My initial thoughts were that the list was unbalanced and pretty WAAC (win at all costs). It was as the game progressed that I realized that the 7 bolt-throwers (arranged into 3 batteries) were less effective than the stone thrower (by itself). It came down to the fact that Steve is a master of guess range weapons, while Dan had to rely on dice. Don’t get me wrong, the bolt-throwers did wipe out a unit of legionnaires by themselves, but in the end it was a solid win for the Romans, who prevailed against 7 bolt-throwers and over 125 bow armed models. I initially thought the Later Persian army list in Armies of Antiquity 2 had a large whole in it with the amount of bolt-throwers which could be included, those thoughts have been dispelled.
The important point was their game was average, with average dice rolls and expected combat results. The 2 units of legionnaires which reached the massed Kardakes, mopped them up without much effort, once the army began to break, it became a rapid disintegration. It was a great game and both guys are top notch players, I am glad I have seen the Persian Bolt-Thrower Madness in action and now know it is much more bark than bite.