After warming up with Sumer, Mark and I went for a second battle in Chariots of Fire. Mark’s initial thought was to get straight into the chariots with Megiddo, but it’s a much larger scenario, and we switched to Sekmem, which turned out to be a good choice. It was more interesting than it looked, is only moderately bigger than Sumer, with two wings per side (melee and missile), and gave us good infantry tactics practice, and let us clear up more of the rules.

Mark had the Egyptians who have a much larger force of shock infantry, and start by entering the far edge of the map. The Canaanites all start in the walled city of Sekmem (any number of units can be in a city hex here, and it’s also where they go when routed). The map is basically a broad valley, with the north and south edges rising up through levels 1-4, all of which are considered rough terrain.

The Egyptians had the initiative for the first turn, and came in with their shock infantry filling the south side of the valley, with the missile troops (all bows) following behind. Then my light infantry poured out of the city, forming up four deep in places because of a lack of room to maneuver from a single hex in one activation. Mark moved the SI up with his momentum (we still hadn’t noted the cohesion hit this causes), and finally my SI filed out of the city in column, and piled up on the southern side of the valley.

I got the initiative for turn 2, and sent my shock wing forward, getting a little in front of the missile troops and starting to come out of column. The Egyptian line got to ~5+ hex range as they got their chit next, and then the Canaanite LI shook its line out with the bowmen right behind the slingers. My momentum came next, but Mark successfully trumped it to get his shock wing into contact (at this point we had noticed the cohesion hit on shock and heavy infantry that moves more than once a turn). Thankfully, I had two shots at most of his units, as they came adjacent to two different slingers, because I had a lot of high rolls, with two units going to low ammo, and one entirely out of ammo, but seven of his shock infantry were now at two cohesion hits (so a well-distributed one hit each after the penalty for moving twice).

As expected, the bulk of the slingers fled as the Egyptians bore down on them, five of six units fleeing the field entirely, with the last taking one hit, along with the one Canaanite SI in reach, who took two hits in the rush. However, as his units continued on in front of the line of bowmen, they did seven hits across four units, bringing them close to routing themselves. The last two units couldn’t take the shock combat, but merely routed to the city, with the SI and bowmen doing more cohesion hits as the combat finished.

The Egyptian missile wing went next, hurrying towards the sounds of swords. I took a chance and successfully trumped the Egyptian momentum chit, activating my missile wing to pour a volley into the victorious Egyptians before they could come after the bowmen. My rolls weren’t everything I had hoped, but still caused three units to rout, and one to flee the field entirely, causing rout levels at the end of the turn to be 10 to 5 (both armies have a relatively high rout level of 20).

Mark got the initiative for turn three and naturally lead off with the Egyptian shock wing, forming a more solid line with what was left. One unit routed under the weight of entry reaction (he had naturally already been shaken, and then I rolled a ‘0’ for two hits, plus another from the adjacent bowmen). Of the three SI already in contact but not engaged, two didn’t get involved this time, one of my bow units fled, one routed, and one took a hit in the pre-shock checks, while one of my SI took a hit and another took 2. The combat itself routed another bow and one of my SI, while entry reaction to the advance forced an Egyptian SI to flee.

My momentum chit failed after that, and Mark failed to trump my missile wing. With most units having targets already, there was little maneuver, and I forced one SI to flee. Sadly, one of the more vulnerable units was engaged, and you can’t fire into engaged units. Then came the Egyptian missile wing, which caught up to the sea of shock infantry trying to rally. My shock wing went next, and I adjusted the line a little bit, forcing his middle (previously successful) SI to flee. His other two units routed in the aftermath, wile one of mine routed, and the other fled.

My second momentum (from the failed trump) came up and succeeded, letting me activate the missile wing again. I quickly routed and forced to flee the last two forward shock infantry, and started moving up to get fire onto all the routed units. Sadly, I had a lot of poor rolls, and was only able to force two of them to flee.


We left it there. There was the Egyptian momentum to do, and then the Rout Points were at 38 (Egyptian army) to 21 (Canaanite). With a rout limit of 40, this would mean another full turn. Technically, the Egyptians could still win, as the loss would go to the army furthest over its rout limit at the end of turn 4. However, we figured things were about done, and Mark was unlikely to overcome a 17 point deficit.

My initial plan had been to march the shock infantry into a line in front of all the ranged troops, but I hadn’t appreciated that reaction fire only happens in adjacent hexes, even for missile troops with a two hex range. So the double-line of slingers and bows worked out really well. I lost the slingers, but since their troop quality is so low, it didn’t really hurt. On the other hand Mark’s line of shock infantry took a lot of hits coming to grips with them and charging through to the bowmen. With the higher troop quality, they weren’t likely to flee, but Mark needed to put his banner further back (we’re still working on figuring that out) so he could get a chance to re-form.

One of the big problems with Chariots of Fire is that the Vassal module is in horrible shape. There’s a lot of neat features in it (presumably from other series modules), but some of them were broken, and all the commands were bare key letter commands, which plays havoc with chat and commands. I’ve done an improved version, which helped a lot for this game, but it still needs work.