This week's game was a catch up with my friend Andrew and a chance to let him try Strength and Honour with my 10mm paper Romans and Germans.
It's been a while since I'd played these but I remembered that I need to cut down the forces on the table... it's always tempting to get everything out but it slowed us down too much last time. For this game the Romans had 2 Legions and 2 Auxilia and a single unit of cavalry. The Germans had 6 warbands, some of which were upgraded to Elite or Stubborn which I hoped would help.
There wasn't a lot of subtlety to this game. The Germans charged forward with the right flank leading the way and pulling ahead of the other warbands. The Romans decided to sit tight and let the warbands come to them, especially as one of the legions had the advantage of a hill to sit on. The warbands have the advantage of gaining a bonus for charging and for rear support, which was largely cancelled by the Romans being uphill and there followed a tight tussle with legions and warbands being pushed back and forth... gradually the Setback cards were beginning to mount on the German side. The Romans were proving a bit too robust and able to hold off the charges.
Once enough cards have been acquired (without knowing the values on them) each player can call "Homunculus Est" and ask for the total to be counted. If it has reached the army breakpoint then the game is over or the army may become fatigued (calling it at the wrong time can be a bad thing for the challenging player though). Andrew was becoming very tempted to call, but decided to go for one more round of combat. A wise move as my Elite Bodyguard was charged in the flank by the Roman cavalry and then driven back by the stalwart legion on the hill, and more seriously, my Commander was badly injured and had to leave the field resulting in a Disaster card which added even more points to my tally. Sure enough the Germans decided that they'd had enough, leaving the Romans a little battered but very definitely in command of the field.
S&H is quite abstracted... units don't become weakened by combat but become disordered or rout and the effect of combat is felt at an army level rather than by individual units. For me this feels right when each unit is a massive warband or a Legion but I think Andrew found it a little too abstracted.
I have my recent order of cavalry to build my Parthian/Sassanid army in 2mm which should give quite a different experience I think.