Saturday saw the TWATS meeting at the local hostelry for a miniature Tactica Tournament. (BTW, anyone think a sci-fi version should be released: Battlestar Tactica? No??? Just me then…). There were five brave souls, Andy, Floating Jeff, Theatrical Steve, Mechanical Shaun and myself. The plan, two tables, using half armies, so we could get a couple of games in, as well as the usual beef butties, good beer and questionable conversations.
Andy was umpiring, and the usual rule applied, the umpire is always right, especially when they are wrong. It’s the only way. There were four armies, Roman Republican, Gauls, Hoplite Greek and Later Carthaginian. After choosing the sides, it was Shaun (Greek) versus Steve (Gauls), and myself (Carthaginian) versus Jeff (Roman).
Setting up was pretty simple, infantry units in the middle, cavalry and elephants to either flank. My plan was simple, try and break his infantry before he smashed mine. So, in with the elephants. This was the first of the bad moves. Jeff had his laser guided javelin throwers destroy the advancing heavies in two turns. Really, his dice throwing was unearthly. Whatever Ancient Ones he worships, they loved him that afternoon. A similar cavalry charge also ended up with lots of dead dudes. Mine, of course. At that point, Jeff advanced. Now Tactica is a “buckets of dice” game. Once you make contact and melee, it’s a case of roll ‘em and hope for the best. The Romans had an added advantage in that they had pila. So that was an extra bashing before the melee actually started. It took just one turn and it was over. Crushed isn’t the word.
On the other table, Steve was demonstrating how evil the Gauls are, and quickly sorted out Shaun’s Greeks. At this point, half time beckoned, as did the excellent beef butties.
Suitable refreshed, and glasses charged, we had at it again. It was the two winners to fight out who would be New Zealand, and the two losers to avoid being Argentina. We also kept the same armies.
Now, this time, I put the elephants in the centre, and quickly had at Shaun’s cavalry with my light horse, using them to screen my heavy cavalry as it flanked his left-most Hoplite block. On the other flank, I had light troops against his second cavalry unit. It would be close.
As it turned out, I had played a blinder. The elephants pinned down his centre Hoplites, my troops managed to knock his horse out of play, so began turning the right flank, and the horse fight on the left meant they all died, but left my heavies alone to cause untold damage to the poor Hoplites. At this point, I was confident, confident enough to even attempt an Afrikaans accent to mimic Adendorff from the film Rorke’s Drift, the horns, loins and the like. I had victory in my grasp, and I would drink the sweet ambrosia of success. Huzzah!!!
But no. It was not to be. My heavies took too long dealing with the first Hoplite block. Well, it was my atrocious dice rolling what done it. A theme of the afternoon, it allowed Shaun time to kill the elephants and unpin his centre. He charged forward. Let it be said, Tactica is a fun ruleset, fast paced and once you get stuck in, it can be extraordinarily bloody. It also has lovely melee rules when the first round is front rank only, but then all your mates can join in. This meant that whilst I almost had him surrounded, he could count on lots of dice per Hoplite block, killing on 4’s, 5’s and 6’s. I had far less dice per unit, killing on 5’s and 6’s. The results were predictable. I was slaughtered. If I had been one turn ahead on the flanks, I would have had him, but hey ho, such is the nature of the game. It was fun and a very good laugh though, and that is the point (isn’t it?). Meanwhile, on the victor’s table, Steve and Jeff annihilated each other in the same turn, giving them a draw.
Despite my dice rolling horror, and Jeff’s supernatural ability to get crazy dice (at one point, 6 sixes from 7 dice!), I thought the games went well and I am sure we’ll come back to Tactica again in the future. Hopefully with maximum twattage, we can have three, maybe four tables.
And I promise, no more Elton song titles will be harmed in future post titles...