So the Pyrrhic army, how well does it perform?
Leading into the tournament it had face and conquered EIR, Pontic and Later Hoplite (Spartan) armies, so I knew it had the tools to do the job.
The list was:
Two Phalangite units (D5, Pike one leadership 6 and one 7, trained phalanx) - 6 bases each
Thessalian Cavalry (D3,C7, Superior fighters and shooters, spear and javelins) - 5 bases
Mercenary skirmishers (D6, C6 shield and javelins) - 2 bases
Cretan archers (superior shooters) - 6 bases
Two Indian Elephants
Southern Italian allies
Two Hoplite units (D4, C5, Phalanx) - 6 bases each
Warriors (D4, C7, open order, throwing spear)
Warriors (D6, C7, skirmishers, throwing spear)
Game 1 - against EIR
This was an interesting build of some very large (9 bases) of legionary units (3 of them) and some archers, horse archers and cavalry.
The board was terrain heavy. It was difficult to get to grips with the Romans as they used their drilled ability to good effect. My elephants scared off his horse archers, and my open order unit kept one of his legionary units entertained. Eventually I managed to get a hoplite and phalangite unit along with two elephants into contact. He managed to survive the initial onslaught and then the game ended as we had run out of time. It was a narrow victory, but a victory. If there had been another turn it is likely that his legion unit would suffer badly as it was no longer in line of battle having fallen back (following a break test). Pyrrhus was beaten by the clock.
Game 2 - Selucid
Up against another pike army with elephants. The early wins go to Pyrrhus as I drive off some skirmish units. The two elephants end up fighting each other in the middle of the table. Eventually one of my units flanks an elephant, but meanwhile my Thessalians have been driven off and, one of my units is hit in the turn as it is pursuing the elephant. This with the loss of the commanders with these two units and a couple of skirmish units took me down to break point. My opponent was on 2 break points so pretty tight. It could have gone either way, especially if my Thessalians learnt how to use their weapons or their armour!
Game 3 - Persian Xerxes
Lots of small skirmish bow, and a unit of 15 superior shooters, and superior shooter cavalry meant that my elephants both made an early exit, when my Thessalian's came on (playing flank march scenario) they suffered before being beaten up by some less able Persian Cavalry. In the meantime one of my Hoplite units was being decimated by the superior shooters ceasing to be a phalanx and then running away. My army was now broken.
Game 4 - Selucid
Again Pyrrhus had his moments, but the Cretans were unable to cause a wound and then ran away. The Thessalian's again fluffed their lines. Both elephants died or fled and then in the combat my units seemed only to be equipped with handbags. Again one of the hoplite units were shot to pieces. Pyrrhus had his moments, but it just did not go for him.
Game 5 - EIR
Two solid battle lines clash, whilst on one flank the Thessalians do finally manage to get a flank charge on a legionary unit. It does not break but gets pushed back, before disengaging and charging again. In the meantime the battle goes my way. My open order unit defeats a 'Hillmen' unit and gradually I start to push back the Roman line, the cunning use of skirmishers means a couple of units evaporate (the room was pretty hot!) and the Roman army broke. At last a Pyrrich victory that was not Pyrrich!
Apart from not feeling well some of the time, I enjoyed the games and given a little change in luck (and maybe it is time the dice were retired - just saying) it could easily have been more victories. Not sure what I would change if I used this again, but I might well use it again. Although I can still hear the siren lure of the early hoplite (D3) list...