Sunday, July 21, 2019

Battle of the Hydaspes, 120 Points L' Art de la Guerre (reduex)

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:        Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players:    Phil Gardocki playing King Porus
                     Bruce Potter, playing Alexander the Great

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 120 points per side. 

120 point games take about 90 minutes to run, so there was a quick shuffle, from the previous game, and back into the fray go Porus and Alexander.

The Forces:
Classical Indian (list 79)
King Porus, Competent and Prince Porus, Competent
      2 Elephant, Elite
      4 1/2 Medium Swordsmen, 1/2 Bowmen
      4 Heavy Chariots, 2 Elite
      1 Medium Cavalry, Mediocre
   
Breakpoint of 11

Alexandrian the Great (list 40)
King Alexander the Great, Strategist, and Stavros, Brilliant
      2 Thracians, Medium Swordsmen 
      1 Spartan Hypaspist, Heavy Spearman, Elite
      1 Thracian Scout, Light Infantry Javelin
      2 Macedonian Pikemen
      1 Hoplite, Heavy Spearman
      1 Cretan Archer, Light Infantry Bow
      2 Hippakontistai, Light Cavalry Javelin
      2 Scythians, Light Cavalry, Bow
      2 Companians, Heavy Cavalry, Impact, Elite
Breakpoint of 15

The Board
After a beer, and a discussion on what went wrong, Bruce and I had a redo of the previous game.  You gotta love small battles.

Turn 1:
This time, the terrain fell dramatically better for the Indians.  Getting one piece is 100% better than getting none.  The road doesn't count as terrain.

 In this game Stavros's Cavalry is kept on a short leash.
The Indians were somewhat spread out.  Alexander has the advantage being the attacker, and King Porus didn't want to have a hanging flank.
 Turn 1:
The Pike block does a double march, and the light horse redeploys behind the lines.
Prince Porus swings his chariots wide, but holds his elephants back.  (having 2 command points will do that to you.)
King Porus advances and slides left, while sending his chariots on a wide flank as well.
 Turn 2:
Not to be outflanked, the Companions track Prince Porus's chariots.
While the Pike cant their lines to face the divided formations of King Porus.
Faced with near one on one fights, Prince Porus holds his chariots back.
But vectors his elephants in on the Pike block.
King Porus is content to let his archery do the work for now..
 Turn 3:
The Indians have checked the Companions, and are content to let the archers go at it.  It will be 2 full turns before the pike can engage, and that is a lot of shots.

Stavros is not happy with the status quo.  He recalls two of his lights, and charges with his companions.  It was an even fight, with even dice.   Both sides take a disorder.
The Pikemen halt.  They see the (rather obvious) trap if they advance, and they can wait till Stavros's wins, and roll up the Indian flank. 
However theirs hopes are misplaced, as one Companion is destroyed, and the other (with Stavros included) fails to destroy his opponent.
 Turn 4:
Stavros isn't going to give Prince Porus a chance, and disengages from the unfavorable fight, even if it means he must suffer bow fire from the field.
Once again, the corner Hoplite is forced to stand and receive volley after volley of arrows.  And once again, Greek light horse is redeployed in the rear, but this time they have a target, a probing Indian Medium Cavalry (mediocre).
Indian Chariots are impetuous, and so this charge cannot be avoided.  But this time they have support.
While bow fire hasn't proven to be all that effective, there is no reason not to continue with it though.
Mediums charge, Lights evade, until the Lights realize the Mediums are fighting at a zero with two hits left, and the Lights have a javelin.
Not that anyone asked, but the Greeks have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 15, while the Indians are 2 for 11.

Turn 5:
But fortune can change quickly in a small game.  Stavros gets a 6-1 die roll, destroying a chariot, conforms the other, with flank support.
The Greeks have 5 points towards their demoralization level of 15
The Indians have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 11
And a reverse 1-6 dice pairing on the other flank, destroying a Greek Light Horse, disordering another.

The Greeks have 8 points towards their demoralization level of 15
The Indians have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 11

Indian archers take another light horse in the rear, and destroy them.  They had their front edge in contact with the chariots, and so, could not evade.

The Greeks have 10 points towards their demoralization level of 15
The Indians have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 11

On the right flank, the chariots are given the "Weapons Free" order, and run over the Thracians.

The Greeks have 12 points towards their demoralization level of 15
The Indians have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 11
Prince Poro's elephants leave the safety of the field and threaten the right flank of the pike block.  The trap is set!

The Greeks have 12 points towards their demoralization level of 15
The Indians have 6 points towards their demoralization level of 11

And the clock runs out, or the sun sets, or the constables show up inexplicably between the combatants.  The result is a winning draw for the Indians.
 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Battle of the Hydaspes, 120 Points L' Art de la Guerre

A Headless Body Production
Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:       Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players:    Phil Gardocki, Mark McConnahay playing King Porus
                  Bruce Potter , playing Alexander the Great

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 120 points per side. 

The Forces:
Classical Indian (list 79)
King Porus, Competent and Prince Porus, Competent
      2 Elephant, Elite
      4 1/2 Medium Swordsmen, 1/2 Bowmen
      4 Heavy Chariots, 2 Elite
      1 Medium Cavalry, Mediocre
Breakpoint of 11

Alexandrian the Great (list 40)
King Alexander the Great, Strategist, and Stavros, Brilliant
      2 Thracians, Medium Swordsmen
      1 Spartan Hypaspist, Heavy Spearman, Elite
      1 Thracian Scout, Light Infantry Javelin
      2 Macedonian Pikemen
      1 Hoplite, Heavy Spearman
      1 Cretan Archer, Light Infantry Bow
      2 Hippakontistai, Light Cavalry Javelin
      2 Scythians, Light Cavalry, Bow
      2 Companions, Heavy Cavalry, Impact, Elite
Breakpoint of 15
     

The Board
The terrain fell exclusively on the Macedonian side of the board, only one last minute adjustment by the defending Indians pivoted a field their way.  Probably this was the most significant event of the game.

Turn 1:
Alexander has decided to lead his pikemen into battle.  Stavros is with the Cavalry and is off on a flank.
A flank march roll of 5 has determined that no Macedonian cavalry will be on the board till at least turn 3, this gives King Porus an opportunity to defeat Alexander in detail.
Two Chariots head for the wings.
While Prince Porus holds his elephants back.
His father leads his elephants into a field, contracting as he goes.
Turn 2:
No dust can be seen on the horizon.
The pike cant their line to avoid a flank attack by the elephants, but yield it to a flank attack by chariots.
Indian chariots close in on the flank of the pike block.
King Porus vectors in on the opposite flank.
Turn 3:
Dust on the horizon!  Stavros will arrive next turn!

Alexander orders the Thracians to face the chariots.  A bad matchup, but it protects the Hoplites from a flank charge.

But then orders the pike block to advance, threatening Prince Poro's elephant troops. 
And, since he was flush with command points, Alexander sends rally orders to both is lights, restoring both to normal condition!


The trap snaps shut.  On the left, chariots hit both Thracians and Hoplites, damaging both.  On the right King Porus runs down the other Thracian, then pursues into the fleeing Cretan archers.
The left hand attack by the White Tiger Chariots was not handled well.  I should have attacked with just the Chariots, 1 vs all, 1 impact, 1 flank vs 0 for a + 3 to 0 (plus elite, plus armor, plus furious charge)  Instead I went in both front and flank for Medium swords 1, General 1, flank support 1 for 3 vs 0 flanked, -1 disordered, +1 support for 3 to 0 (plus mediocre) 


The score is Indians 0 out of 11, Alexander 9 out of 15.

Turn 4:
Stavros arrives, but as measured, just 5mm to far for actually participating in the fight.
The Pike roll in, but the dice favored Prince Poro's elephants.  But luckily, the flanked Hoplites and Thracians hold on.

The score is Indians 0 out of 11, Alexander 10 out of 15.

King Porus redirects his elephant to the Hoplites, while his lucky shooters take a pike from the rear. 

The score is Indians 2 out of 11, Alexander 13 out of 15. 
Turn 5:
The late arriving flank march finally has an effect, though not as decisive as it could be.  One chariot and a bowmen disordered.  The pikemen actually pull a couple of wins out, but the last Hoplite falls.
The score is Indians 4 out of 11, Alexander 14 out of 15.
Then, at the bottom of the turn, a double failure both pike fall, and worse, the flank defenders manage to organize themselves back to a cohesive line against the Companions.
And with that, Alexander's moniker of "the Great" was put back on the shelf

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Medievals Irish vs Germans

A Headless Body Production

Location:97 Sunfield Ave, Edison NJ, 08837 
Event:     NJ Con's Fire in the East  
Players: Phil Gardocki, playing the Medieval Irish 
               Al Kaplan, playing Medieval German
 

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 120 points per side. 
It's the first round of the 120 point L'Art de la Guerre tournament at the 2019 NJ Con's Fire in the East convention.

Special rules:  The board is 20 by 20 UD's.  Costs for Generals and Camps are reduced.  All armies are subject to 1/2 min/max sizes.  Terrain size is reduced to 5 UD maximum.  Battlegroup size is limited to 4 elements wide.  Time limit is 75 minutes.

The Forces Medieval Irish Commanders is Larry, who art mark'd for hot vengeance and the rod of heaven. and Darryl, a flesh monger, a fool, and a coward.
       1 Irish Noble, Heavy Cavalry
       4 Galloglaich, Elite, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW
       4 Bonnachts, Javelinmen
       4 Kerns, Light Infantry,  Javelin
       2 Light Horse, Javelin
       1 Levy
Breakpoint 16

For the Medieval Germans, 2 Commanders of uncertain quality.
4 Heavy Knights
3 Pikemen
1 Heavy Swordsmen, 2 handed swords
1 Medium Cavalry with Handguns
1 Light Cavalry with bows
1 Light Infantry

Breakpoint 12

The Board:
The Germans win the initiative and elect to attack in the forest.  Larry anchors his army against a convenient lake, and selected two forested hills. The Germans selected a road and something else, which wound up getting removed in the adjustment phase. Unfortunately for the Irish, both their hills were on the German side of the board.

Deployment:

The German right is a unit of Halberdiers and 3 units of Pikemen

The center are 4 units of Heavy Knights
Their left is two units of missile armed cavalry, I think Medium Cavalry, Firearm and Hungarian Light Horse Bow
 
Darryl hugs the coastline with his Javelinmen.  Larry hugs Darryl with his Galloglaich.



His flank hanging protected by skirmishing heavies and lights.
While the road is covered by a single unit of levy.
The cotton on the levy unit represents dust from late arrivals and early departures.
 
 Turn 1:
Forward! March!  Right oblique, march!
Forward! March!

The Levy don't have any cover, so they brought their own.

Seeing that the match-ups are perfect for the Germans, Larry decides to confuse both friend and foe with his next set of orders. 
I have seen these switcheroos work, and I have seen them fail badly.  So why do it?  Because the worst that can happen at this point is I lose, but that is going to happen anyway when the pike hit the Javelinmen, and the Knights hit the Galloglaich.

Turn 2:

The Germans respond by canting their infantry line, and continuing to advance their knights.

And in an unexpected move, the Hungarian Light Cavalry manage to get behind the line of Irish cavalry.
Question here.  What are the options for the circled Light Cavalry?  I think it can only respond to the knight in front of it, and that is to exit the ZOC, but it cannot because it is ZOC'd by the Light Horse to it's rear.  Possibly, it could turn 180 and charge the Light Horse, but then it would be crossing the ZOC of the Knights which is not allowed.

In the end, we decided the Irish Light Horse was royally screwed and moved on.
And off to the right, a bloody little battle that didn't mean nuthin, 'cept to the few that remained.*
Larry continues with his cunning (defined as: doomed) plan
Leaving Darryl with his skirmishing Javelinmen to deal with the knights.
Turn 3:
The initial moves are over, and the German infantry decide to not advance.
The knights score a cheap kill
And the Levy find they cannot all hide behind the rock.
The Irish are 3 points towards their demoralization level of 16
The Germans are 1 point towards their demoralization level of 12

The line of Galloglaich complete their lineup on the German Pike.
And Darryl's Javelinmen are just close enough to cover Larry's flanks.  And a bit of luck as the unit of Kerns manage to actually disorder a knight with Javelins.

The Levy's won't last very long, so the Light horse will be sent to hold far right.
The Irish are 3 points towards their demoralization level of 16
The Germans are 2 points towards their demoralization level of 12

Turn 4:
You sat though badly translated verbiage.  You witnessed a chess like match what would be described as unexciting by a golf commentator.  Time to start this fight.

OK, not quite yet.
Knights charge, but come up short hitting Darryl's line of Javelinmen.
The Levy are summarily dismissed. 
The Galloglaich charge!  It was a glorious charge, the kind we dream of that our troops would make.  They manage decisive wins on 3 out of 4 fights.  Ironically only losing the exchange against the damaged pikemen.
This is not a flank charge.  But missile harassment on the knights flank.
More harassment fire, but ineffective.
I am beginning to like javelinmen.  I think their cost is a bit high at 7, but against knights, the ability to skirmish is just the thing.  I have 32 points distracting 62 points at this time, and the Germans are broken up into 6 groups, requiring a lot of command points to give orders to.

Turn 5:
The luck of the Irish turns as Clan O'Lyre and the Boys from Stafford both are disordered by the German Pikemen.
Even further bad luck, as the Knights turn on their harassers, and catch them.
And again, the Irish Javelinmen trip over themselves and are caught in the evade.
The Irish are 11 points towards their demoralization level of 16
The Germans are 5 points towards their demoralization level of 12
But the axes swing both ways, as two pike units are destroyed.
And a knight is trampled by Irish Nobles.  This may be their first victory ever against knights.
The Irish are 12 points towards their demoralization level of 16
The Germans are 8 points towards their demoralization level of 12

Turn 6:
The game has a 75 minute time limit and so this will be the last turn.  Both sides are 4 points away from demoralization.

The infantry battle trade off kills in their lines.  Fresh Knights futilely charge.
The Irish are 13 points towards their demoralization level of 16
The Germans are 9 points towards their demoralization level of 12
The rest of the German Cavalry are trying to pull themselves together.  German Light Horse charge a disordered unit of Kerns, but roll way down, dispersing the Light Horse.



The Irish are 13 points towards their demoralization level of 16
The Germans are 11 points towards their demoralization level of 12

At the bottom of the turn, The German Halberdiers are caught both front and rear and are destroyed, sealing the win for the Medieval-Irish

Final overhead shot.

So what went right?  A bad deployment was corrected by decisive first turn action.  This was assisted by my opponents slower troop types.  Knights only move 3, while pike just are slow.  But even then this was a very near thing.  One concept is sacrificing a unit to hold a flank for a while is a much bigger cost, percentage wise, with 120 points vs 200.  The levy is not combat worthy at all and losing it to buy a couple of turns is still nearly 15% of the way to demoralization.  

The Galloglaich did well, chopping up pikemen, but so much relies on luck on turn of impact.  Elite and winning ties only goes so far against a base of +2.  

In a straight up fight of Javelinmen evading knights, eventually the knights win.  So given more time, this is a bad tactic that just happen to work out this time.  If the German Medium Cavalry had not been distracted by the Levy, it would have turned the flank of the Javelinmen, and then they would have been destroyed.

I guess the Levy sacrifice was worth while then.

*Stolen from Harry Chapin's "Bummer"