|Late Romans and Sassanids deployed|
|Sassanid left flank|
|Late Roman left flank|
|Late Romans charge|
|Sassanids charge on their left flank|
|Mixed result on the Sassanid left flank|
|Elephants charge the Late Roman infantry|
|Back at it on the right flank|
|Casualties are mounting|
On Tuesday afternoon I played a solo Dux Bellorum game out in the shed with my Late Romans versus Sassanids. Each side had 45 points and six leadership points with the Sassanids as the aggressors. The game went on for quite a few turns, as Dux Bellorum games tend to do, and although the Sassanids won quite convincingly, it was a lot closer than the end result indicated. A big advantage for the Sassanids was their firepower and this really wore the Romans down.
The ability to fire at the start of the turn before any movement really worked in their favour as retreats from the previous turn's combat meant they could actually fire as units were separated. It was certainly good fun for my Sassanids' first outing and I will try another game but more play testing is required. Below I've cobbled together a brief overview from the MeG Sassanid lists and some ideas for a Sassanid army list and unit stats that I used to play the game.
Sassanids for Dux Bellorum
Early Sassanid Armies were similar to later Parthian armies and retained the use of cataphracts and horse archers. Ardashir I, founder of the Sassanid Persian dynasty, introduced elephants. Sassanid infantry were usually, unarmoured, with spears and wicker shields (Paighan), equipped with bows (Kamandaran) or skirmishers (bow, sling and javelins) and unable to match Roman infantry. The Savaran or Aswaran (mounted Iranian aristocrats) were always the core of Sassanid armies but over time they relied less on the fully armoured cataphract and more on the armoured horse archer. Later seventh century Sassanid armies had quality Dailami guard infantry and Armenian allies before they succumbed to the early Arab conquest armies.
Horse archers can shoot in any direction but have a 2 BW range. They will attempt to evade when charged and may shoot at full effect but will suffer -1 in combat if caught.
Mounted troops are reluctant to stand when charged by elephants and will usually attempt to evade if possible, they suffer -2 if caught in combat.
Elephants who suffer casualties from shooting or combat must make a bravery test, which if failed will result in a stampede. Roll 1 D6 = 1 forward, 2 90 degrees left, 3 90 degrees right, 4,5,6 to the rear. All troops contacted will suffer the loss of a cohesion point.
Elephant crew can shoot in any direction with bows or javelins but only have a 2 BW range. They are able to shoot over intervening friendly troops because of the elephant/howdah height advantage.
Sassanid Army List
A suggested army list taken from the unit stats table below. Take only one fully armoured Savaran unit, they’re very powerful, with more the game may be unbalanced.
1 Leader’s Savaran either fully armoured with kontos , or armoured with bow @ 6 points.
0-1 Savaran fully armoured with kontos @ 6 points.
0-4 Savaran armoured with bow @ 6 points each.
0-1 Elephants@ 6 points.
0-3 Foot spearmen @ 3 points each.
0-2 Foot archers @ 3 points each.
0-3 Horse archers @ 2 points each.
0-2 Foot skirmishers @ 1 point each.
Sassanid Unit Stats
|Ellies survive a bravery test and don't stampede|
|Sassanids are wearing the Romans down|
|Another round of combat on the right|
|Sassanid clibinarii shoot at the the start of the turn|
|Late Roman cataphracts rout|
|Late Romans still hang in there on the right|
|Roman right flank is disintegrating|
|Sassanid infantry charge in the centre|
|Late Romans finally rout|