Monday, November 12, 2018

The Polish Swansong.

A Headless Body Production

VenueFerrell Fire Company Hall, Monroeville, NJ 
Event:    Kozcon 
Players: Phil Gardocki running Medieval Polish
                  Kevin Swanson running  Florentine Condotta
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Open, no restrictions
Scale: 25mm

The Forces:
   Medieval Polish: Commanders  Larry (Ordinary and Unreliable), Darrel (Brilliant), and Darrel (Brilliant).
      4 Winged Hussars, Heavy Knight, Impetuous, elite
      2 Heavy Cavalry, Impact.
      4 Medium Cavalry, Crossbow
      2 Tartars, Light Cavalry, Bow elite.
      2 Lithuanians, Light Cavalry, Javelin
      2 War Wagons, Crossbow
      2 Heavy Spearmen, 1/2 Crossbow
      1 Light Infantry, Firearm, elite

The Florentines are proud and wish the world to admire their greatness and present their army to one and all!  They are led by Niccolo de Tolentino, the Competent, Micheletto Attendolo, the also Competent, and Rudolfo Raisuli, the Ordinary.

     10 Men-At-Arms  Heavy Knight, Impact
      2 Light Cavalry, Crossbow
      2 Hungarian Light Cavalry, bow 
      2 English Longbow, stakes, elite
      1 Light Infantry, Firearm, elite
      2 Militia Crossbowmen, Light Infantry
     2 Militia, Levy
Breakpoint 21
KozCon is held in memory of our good friend and avid gamer Dave Kozlow who passed away in 2012.  If you've ever had the opportunity to play in one of his many games at HMGS events you know that he was not only a great person but also a notable credit to our hobby.  In light of Dave's five year battle with cancer ALL proceeds from KozCon are donated to the American Cancer Society.

The Board:
The board is fairly unadorned.  A coastal zone adorns the Polish left flank.  On their far right, and largely out of play, is a plantation and a field.

Truth be told, I lost this game on deployment.  The Poles placed their Knight/Cavalry Commands on the left and center and the War Wagon command on the right.  The thought was to protect the right, and charge into the Florentine camp and win the game.  The problem is, the Florentine's have more knights, significantly more, and I knew that.  What I did was gave up any mobility advantage I had.
Niccolo de Tolentino deploys in front of the Florentine camp with 4 Knights, Longbow, Light Horse and Handgunners.

On the Florentine Left is Micheletto Attendolo, with his 4 Knights, Longbow, Militia Crossbow.  Squeezed in between them is Rudolfo Raisuli and his 2 Knights.

The Polish have fortifications, so the Florentine's dismount a couple of their Light Horse.

On the Polish left is Darrel, with 2 Knights, 2 Medium Cavalry Crossbow, Heavy Horse and Light Horse.

The Polish center has  Darrel, with 2 Knights, 2 Medium Cavalry Crossbow, Heavy Horse and Light Horse.

The Polish right is held by Larry, 2 War Wagons and 2 Heavy Spearmen, half Crossbow.
Turn 1:
Darrel urges his troops forward with a double advance.
While his brother Darrel advances at a trot.

And before a packed field consisting of two Florentine Light Foot units Larry orchestrates a drill team maneuver with his war wagons. 

Early shooting is in favor of the Florentines.

Early shooting in the center has no results.
Turn 2:
Darrel sees an opportunity for ta cheap shot, and sends his Medium Cavalry against the Light Medium Longbow.  But the dice favored the English.
The English mercenaries on the Florentine left also score a hit.
Turn 3:

Niccolo de Tolentino orders a general charge.  Darrel advances to the front.  The Knight on Knight fights are inconclusive, but the Polish Heavy Cavalry score 2 hits against their opposing Men at Arms.
In the center, things go pear shaped for the Poles. Two units lost.  Only the Winged Hussars hold.
Larry sets up his second wagon, but it is out of range of the English Longbow..
Turn 4:
I rapidly ran out of dead horse figures, substituting infantry in their stead.  Polish Heavy Cavalry finish off their opposing Men at Arms, while Darrel's Winged Hussars and destroys theirs as well.
His brother Darrel also leads his Hussars to total victory!
Larry's War Wagons take a shot and further disorder another Men at Arms.
So far, Polish luck is amazing.  3 Men at Arms are destroyed, another has two hits.
But that still means there are 6 Men at Arms left against 4 Winged Hussars.

Turn 5:
The Florentines have 7 points towards their demoralization level of 21.
The Polish have 10 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

Florentine Knights turn the flank of a Winged Hussar, and destroy it.

Then pursue into the Heavy Cavalry's flank.

Micheletto Attendolo directs his knights like a maestro, creating a Winged Hussar sandwich.    The other knights, need no direction, and just slay their Hussar.
I don't even know why Larry is here.
These Hussars know they are going to receive a charge in the rear, but take out the Longbowmen anyway.
The Florentines have 11 points towards their demoralization level of 21.
The Polish have 16 points towards their demoralization level of 20.
Darrel hopes some missile shots will help with the score.

While Larry's command, manages to shoot down a knight.
There was hope the last Hussar would at least stand.
But it was a vain hope.
Between the destruction of the last Winged Hussar, and some final missile shots, the Florentine Condotta hit the Polish threshold of 20.

What went wrong?  The Poles gave up what maneuvering advantage they had by compressing on the left side of the board.  Placing the War Wagons there would have forced the Florentine Condotta to go else where.  

Even in an open field, the Florentine Condotta would have been tough.  10 Heavy Knights against 4.  The Condotta also had ample skirmishers to screen their Knights against the Polish Crossbow.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Triumvirate Roman vs Graeco-Indian.

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Dave's House
Event:        Bedlam, One Elephant Minimum.
Players:     Phil Gardocki, playing Triumvirate Roman.
                      Mark Cribbs, playing Graeco-Indian

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 200 points per side.

Scenario: The tournament had a requirement that the lists must have available at least one elephant, and that the player must field at least one elephant.  Using the Rock-Paper-Scissors strategy of list development, I decided I would design a list that would take the elephant hits of my opponents, and kill the infantry supports.  Most elephant armies have poor infantry, like the Indian half bow, half swordsmen.  So I picked Triumvirate Roman.  I named it's single, mediocre elephant, "Lumpy".  Not to be a total jerk, I decided also to run with mediocre legionnaires.  I dutifully wore my wife's Lumpy pin for the day.  Only one person got the pop-culture reference.

The Forces:
Triumvirate Roman commanded by Marius (brilliant), Darrylious (brilliant) and Darrylious, the not as bright as Darrylious.  (ordinary and unreliable)
      2 German Horsemen, Medium Cavalry, elite
      2 Roman Horsemen, Heavy Cavalry, included Generals
      10 Legionaries, Heavy Swordsmen, armor, impact, mediocre.
      2 Illyrians, Light Cavalry, Javelin
      2 Thracian Javelinmen
      4 Velites, Light Infantry, Javelin
      2 Bolt Shooters on Mule Carts (because I have the figures, that's why)
      1 An elephant named Lumpy, mediocre.
      Break point 26

One brilliant, but unnamed general, and two competent, but equally anonymous generals.
   2 Elephants, elite
   6 Indian Archers, 1/2 medium swordsmen, 1/2 bow
   2 Cretan Archers, Light Infantry bow, elite
   2 Colonists, Light Infantry Javelin
   4 Indian Medium Spearmen
   3 Greek Pikemen
   1 Indian Medium Horse, Mediocre
   2 Scythians, Light Horse, Bow
Breakpoint 23

The Romans win the initiative, and elect to receive in the mountains.
Marius picks 2 steep hills, a gully and a woods.  The Graeco-Indian commander picks a brush and a road.


Indians on the right flank.  2 Elephants and mixed bow/sword bowmen, supported by Cretans and Colonists.

A strong center, more mixed sword/bow, spearmen and pike.

On the Indian right, mixed sword/bow and spearmen supported by Scythians.
Marius takes the left with Legionaries, supported by Heavy Horse, Germans, and Illyrians.

Lumpy takes center center stage, framed by Thracians and Ballista on Mule carts.
On the right, are 5 more Legionaries, led by Darrylious, who cannot be seen.
Turn 1:
The Indians rush forward, entering the brush.
Their pike and spear command nearly keeps up with their right flank.

Their left command is aggressive with their cavalry, but their infantry is lagging.
Marius consults with the dice gods.  The oracle declares, "But sunset, a new empire will rise."
Marius orders his legions further left, with the Illyrians pushed forward, he should get another double move out of the Legionaries on turn 2.
Darrylious rolls a 1 and briefly goes unresponsive.
Hugging the steep hill, Darrylious's legions advance.  Unviewed here is Darrylious reveals his ambush, and exits the rear of the hill.
Turn 2:

The Indians cant their line of archers and rain arrow upon the Ilyrians.
The Indian center dominates the brush before Lumpy.
The Indian left foot performs some complex maneuvers.  Leaving no command points for their cavalry.

The Illyrian Light Cavalry is recalled, and while the Legionaries reform their line.
Missiles fly in the center.
Darrylious forms up his cavalry to challenge the Scythians.
Turn 3:

Armored the legions may be, but that does not make them immune to bow fire. 

Indians charge, and most of the Velites escape, but one is caught and dispersed.
The Indians have the matchups they wanted.  Spear and Pike face the Legionaries.  Scythian Light Horse, supported by 1/2 Swords 1/2 Bow face the Roman Cavalry.
Marius moves his Legions to charge reach of the Indian line.  His Illyrians are pushed forward to screen the archers. 

Velites redeploy to face the Greek Colonists.  The bolt shooter has scored hit after hit.  First on the Indian Spearmen facing the Thracians, then on archers in the brush.
First Contact.  Armored sword vice pike.  It looks good for the Romans as one pike has is disordered by the Ballista, and the Legionaries have support on two of the Indians.

But the dice say otherwise.  2 Legions are disordered, to none on the Graeco-Indians.
Turn 4:
"Bugger this for a lark." cries the Indian Prince.  He orders his bowmen into a full retreat.

Greek Colonist attack from the brush.  One gains an advantage against the Velites.  The mules prove to be ornery and kick the snot out of their opponents.

On the Roman right, the Legions continue to deteriorate.

Marius decides to split his forces.  Pursuing the Indian foot with both Legion and Horsemen.  His other two cohorts face the elephants, daring them to leave the brush.
Velites with support, on both the left and right flank, fail to defeat the Colonists.  In the center, Thracians charge with Lumpy.
On the right, Romans penetrate the line, while Thracians pull forward for a later flank charge.
The Graeco-Indians have 5 points towards their break point of 23.
The Romans have 8 points towards their break point of 26.
Turn 5:

The pictures were late for this.  It is the bottom of the 5th.  The elephants came out of the brush, and as a result, two Veilites are routed.  One elephant is then flanked but is unharmed.

Lumpy's Thracian supports are flanked and destroyed.
On the Roman right.  A pike is flanked and destroyed.  A Cohort is destroyed frontally, while another Cohort is flanked and destroyed.
The Graeco-Indians have 8 points towards their break point of 23.
The Romans have 14 points towards their break point of 26.
Turn 6:

At long range, the Indian bowman loose another arrow storm, and disorder the advancing cohorts.  The elephants in the center conform to their attackers on the flank.
Lumpy has had enough, and rampages left, disordering his tormentors.
Darrylious turns the corner of the hill in time to witness the destruction of his Legionaries. 
Marius arranges more support for his cohort facing the Bactrian elephant.  And just in time, for the die roll came up 2 short, so the cohort stands undamaged.
The Ballista scores again, destroying a spearmen.  The remaining Thracian unit is destroyed by Greek pike. 
The right most cohort, both flanked and surrounded, manages to stand.
Counting points in the dead pile.  That is 20 points in the dead pile, and 4 disordered on the board.  The fight continues!

The Graeco-Indians have 9 points towards their break point of 23.
The Romans have 24 points towards their break point of 26. 

We called it at the top of the 7 giving Mark the win.  The Graeco-Indians needed 2 more points to win, and they had points available everywhere.  Only a bad string of 1-6's would keep the fight going, and to what end?  The Romans could pick up 2 points and still have a crushing defeat.  

What went wrong?  This battle was mostly lost on deployment.  Marius's left wing was largely ineffective.  The minor reorientation Marius performed gained nothing.  On the right wing, which was largely lost on dice in the opening round, could not be totally blamed for the loss of the battle.  Their supporting cavalry first did ok, but then pulled out when facing cavalry and missile fire.  The center command just was not up to supporting either wing command except by ballista fire, which, performed admirably.  Disordering or destroying 3 key units before combat.  But the foot troops just couldn't "seal the deal."

And, Mark played the game very well.  On the right, his weaker troops engaged and pulled back, pinning Marius's troops down.  On the right, he managed to reorient his lines for maximum benefit.  And because of that, his center was able to crush my own center.  Kudos to him.

A better placement would have had the Lumpy's command on the left, defending the brush, and the Legion commands shoulder to shoulder.

Also, it didn't help I forgot the hills were steep when I placed an ambush of 3 cavalry units on it.