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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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A Trip to the Borkenberg, AD 26

The Roman World, Infamy, Infamy!, 28mm

The last time I played Infamy, Infamy! I drank so much gin I barely remember what happened. This time though, I stayed firmly on the wagon. I missed the regular club game this week, but fortuitously my London-based wargaming pal Dave was up in Orkney, and I managed to talk him into playing a game. He’d actually played these rules a few times, so while this was billed as a “learning curve” game, at least one of us knew what was going on. The game was a small punitive expedition to the Borkenberg, a hilly area a little to the north-east of the  forward Roman  legionary base at Aliso (now Haltern in modern-day Westphalia).The game centred around a small Roman expedition, sent into the hills to grab an important hostage from a German village, in the lands of the Usipati. Leading the force was Centurion Spurius Maximus with a small force of 40 men – most of them from the I Germania legion. These were fielded in 8-figure units – three of legionaries, one of auxilia, and one of auxiliary archers.I had six units – four groups of 10 warriors, one of 10 elite Oathsworn warriors, and a small skirmish detachment of six slingers. They were led by Chief Wolfrick of the Usipati.  In this little game Dave commanded the Romans, while I played the Germans. The game was played on a slightly small 6 x 3 foot dining table. The picture above actually shows the table before I moved the village back a  little to the right ,and added more trees. As I was playing the Germans, I decided I needed more trees to hide in! In fact, Roman exploratores had scouted out the woods at the edge of the table, so Dave knew they were clear of hostile tribesmen. The Romans advanced cautiously, and all was quiet for the first couple of turns. Then, as they passed close to a small wood on their right, a warband of Germani erupted out of the trees, and fell on the leading legionary unit. The Romans were taken by surprise, but they held firm, and held the attackers. I hadn’t quite got the hang of “revving up” barbarians before charging, which gives you an edge in combat. So, my attack lacked “oomph”. Although both sides suffered losses, the Germani suffered the most, and the warriors were forced to pull back and lick their wounds. So, the advance continued. This time the attack came on the right flank. A unit of Germani slingers had appeared in a  marsh, and began peppering the Romans with stones. So, Dave brought up his archers, and began firing back. The Romans had the edge here, and it wasn’t long before the slingers were forced to pull back out of range. Then though, another group of Germani warriors burst out of the woods  – right onto the flank of the archers. I’d an “Ambush point” in the trees, which the Romans hadn’t spotted, and launched the attack from there. The archers were badly mauled, and were eventually forced to pull back, having lost half of the unit. The Germani though, were also out of steam, and so didn’t have the “oomph” to charge the Roman auxiliaries who came up to save the day. The Roman counter-attack succeeded in driving back the German warriors, although both sides took losses. This then, was the end of my grand strategy – two softening-up attacks to pick off Roman units before the main fight began. All I’d really done was waste two groups of warriors. By then though, the Romans were drawing close to the un-named village. So, I revealed the last of my hidden forces – three more groups of warriors – and both sides squared off for an all-out fight.By now though, I’d had a bit more experience in winding up the ferocity value of my warriors. My first group of warriors had also recovered its “shock markers”, and was loitering around, threatening the Roman right flank (as shown above). So, when the German charge went in, I had high hopes.  The romans though, were thorough-going professionals, and after throwing their pila they stood their ground and braced shields, ready for  impact.  On both sides the leaders were doing what they could to encourage their men. The clash was my first real test of multi-group combat in Infamy! I actually pushed back one of the Roman groups, and inflicted heavy casualties on it, and a lot of shock. it retired from the fight, with almost half its men gone. My other two units though, didn’t break the Roman line, and so the battle degenerated into a big old shoving match, only with everyone carrying swords , spears or axes. We both got in sweeping flank attacks – me with my lurking first group of warriors, and the Romans with a nifty side-swipe against my advancing oathsworn warriors. It was a hard, gruelling fight, but in the end it was my Germani who broke first. We’d been tracking it on a morale tracker, and eventually the loss of too many units and sub-leaders took its toll. My oathsworn warriors were pushed back and  forced to retreat, and Wolfrick was wounded, but made it to safety. A second German group broke completely, while another group – those first ones in action who’d been lurking on the wings – were wiped out to a man. So, the survivors of my German warband was forced to retire from the fight, and the Romans went on to capture the village – and presumably their patiently waiting hostage. It was a fun little game though, but my ploy of plying Dave with whisky while drinking apple juice didn’t really pay off. Still, at least I’ll remember more of the game, and in theory I should be better placed next time Wolfrick fights the Romans.


5 Responses “A Trip to the Borkenberg, AD 26”

  1. Peter O'Brien
    8th February 2022 at 7:05 pm

    Back on the Gin time Angus 🙂

    • 8th February 2022 at 8:09 pm

      I’m having a John Collins now…!

  2. Martin Terroni
    8th February 2022 at 8:25 pm

    Lovely report Angus, really need to look at Infamy Infamy

    • 8th February 2022 at 9:13 pm

      Thanks Martin. It’s fun, but there’s quite a lot to remember to the rules, especially when you don’t play them regularly ..or are half cut …

  3. Martin Terroni
    9th February 2022 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks Angus, I think that over regards the rules

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