Life in the Bowling Alley.
One of the new joys of tournament play is playing on fields impossible to create in the normal terrain placement system. One of those boards at Historicon 2011 was nicknamed, “The Bowling Alley.” Simply put, there were two woods, each 48 by 10 inches in size, and placed about 10 inches from each flank. This created a battle field about 55 inches wide in the middle.
Anglo Irish vs. Komen Byzantine.
2 units of HK L, Sh, both Generals.
2 units of HC L, Sh
1 unit of 8 LC, JLS, Sh
4 “Galloglaichs”, 24 HI, 2HCW JLS, D (Clans Ramsey, Jordan, McIntyre, and Erin)
1 Bonnacht of 36 LMI 2HCW, JLS, SH
1 Longbow, 48 MI LB
1 unit LI, 6 S, SH, 6 JLS, SH
5 detachments of LI 1/3 sling, 2/3 JLS
Komen Byzantine (this is from memory, so may have errors)
5 units of Irreg ‘A’ EHK (the Knights of Vlad the Impaler, Knights of Frankenstein, Sigismund’s Knights, and Gods own Knights)
2 units of 24 “Irregular” Skutatoi, MI LTS, B, Sh (name may be something else like Kontatoi)
5 units of 24 Psiloi LMI JLS B SH (name could be Peltastoi)
3 units of 4 LC B,
1 unit of 8 LC B
1 unit of 16 LI
Neither of us deployed openly on the flanks, aka, the “Gutter”. In the woods on my left flank I had an ambush of 36 Bonnachts. My front line in the “Lane”, from left to right was Clan Ramsey, Clan Jordan, the Longbow unit, with stakes already deployed. To its right, but deployed to the rear by another 120p was Clan McIntyre, and against the right wood edge, Clan Erin. Another ambush was in the right flank woods consisting of the Kern unit of 12 Slinger/JLS. In the rear, positioned on the gaps between the front line units were 2 HK, and one HC. On the table edge was an HC position to march left, and the LC position to march right.
My opponent’s front line from my left to right. LI in the woods, Psiloi, Skutatoi, Psiloi, Psiloi, Skutatoi, Psiloi , 8 figure LC, 4 figure LC. In his rear were the knights, a Psiloi. 2 units of LC were on flank marches.
Left Flank: Into the gutter marched up my Irish Lancers providing the support needed for my Bonnachts in the woods. Which revealed themselves immediately, and expanded into both the bowling lane and the gutter. In the alley their flank dangled seductively, but it was a trap, as Clan Ramsey was positioned to rake any incoming Knight with 12 darts, and would follow up with a charge of its own. It was a trap that was obviously laid, and equally obviously spotted and declined. Clan Jordan pushed forward it’s full move to just within charge range of a Skutatoi. The Skuts took 2 cpf from prep fire and had to hold. The Byzantines skirmished their own woods bound LI in front of the Bonnachts, with support on both sides from Psiloi units. The Knights of Vlad the Impaler approached but not quite entered charge reach of the dangling flank.
Charge declarations began the woodland dance of Charge-Evade-Repeat. This would continue most of the game with no profit for either side and will be ignored for the rest of this missive. Clan Jordan, charged the Skuts with neither side achieving a significant advantage.
My center was dominated by a mobile piece of terrain, a 48 man block of Longbow, behind stakes. There was a 24 man Skutatoi at maximum range that bore the brunt of the missile fire most of the game. The most decisive effect was to create a No-Mans-Land, in the dead center of the board, 360 paces wide and 240 paces deep. This seem to cause difficulties when the Byzantine player was trying to move some Knights from left to right, and also provided some additional prep fire support for Clan Jordan and Clan McIntyre.
The Byzantines clearly were refusing this flank as Clan’s McIntyre and Erin, supported by both a Knight and HC, were facing just 2 Light Cavalry units. Initially they did not move forward much, as the Kerns were hiding in ambush on the right side woods. But like the last trap, my opponent didn’t bite. Into the right gutter I marched my LC unit. Where it would march unopposed for the next 3 turns till it arrived in the enemy rear on bound 3.
Left Flank. This is where the action was. Clan Ramsey, using darts, impaled Vlad’s Knights, for 5 cpf. The Knights half-hearted charged, but the Ramsey boys seemed seem to have run out of rocks, and muffed the incoming missile roll with a down 3. Vlad still failed to do 1 cpf, and at 10 fatigue, was forced to recall.
Clan Jordan, with two elements engaged had its hanging element charged by Gods own Knights. Jordan was recoiled but still fighting.
A skirmishing Psiloi was brought in to partially neutralize the mammoth longbow unit. This was counted by bringing my CIC forward to just out of charge range, waiting for an opportunity to pounce without retaliation, but also threatened to attack Gods own Knights. Meanwhile Sigismund’s Knights, and the Knights of Frankenstein, were pulled out of supporting positions of the left flank to the center zone.
Close order troops vs. Light Cav. I won’t bore you with the details.
Late Middle Bounds:
Due to geometry, Clan Ramsey couldn’t quite exploit the departure of Vlad’s Knights, nor intervene with assist directly with Clan Jordan’s combats. Clan Jordan was recoiling slowly, but passing wavers.
More shots at long range.
Right Flank. Yikes! A combination of a good missile roll and bad wavering lead to Clan McIntyre failing a waver check. Even if Sigismund’s Knights, and the Knights of Frankenstein, don’t get there, A light Cav unit could take out the suddenly shieldless mediums! This could lead to a total collapse of the front. The knight on Clan McIntyre’s left charged the offending Psiloi at long range. The Psiloi passed waver and scampered away. I brought up and Heavy Cavalry to on Clan McIntyre’s right flank to run interference against the nearby Light Cav. Meanwhile, my LC finished its long trek and had to make a choice of targets. There were several knights I could interfere with. (Probably the right choice) There was no Camp to attack, which I didn’t make an issue of, because if there was a camp, then it would be the same thing as going against the knights. In the end I decided to run after and pin another LC that was tying up Clan Erin and my LI Slingers in the woods. Now how would the Byzantine respond?
End Game (Cheap Shots)
Both my knights were in position to charge Psiloi. There was a lot of risk as these are my generals as well. The decision for my Ally General was especially hard because he had a choice of charging the Psiloi, or rallying the shaken Clan McIntyre. My decision was made when my opponent expanded the Knights of Frankenstein, closing the gap that the Psiloi would have to use if routing. The Knights would be taken away as well. Both Generals charged, both Psiloi failed, both routed, shaking a nearby Skut, and whisking the Knights of Frankenstein with them. On the right, a double disorder LC failed, shook, and was charged by HC, routed. The 4 man LC, pinned between my LC, and Clan Erin was hit in the rear, but my LC rolled a down 3, and only did 2cpf. Subsequent bound had the Enemy LC turn, and they rolled to a tie in Hand to Hand, and the game ended with that 4 man LC still intact. This unit was my candidate for “Hero of the Empire” because he tied up no less than 4 of my units, over 300 points.
Clan Jordan finally shook, but held on. The knight however was being threatened by longbow that suddenly had no targets to shoot at. Clan Ramsey was finally in a position to finish off both Vlad and the hit the Skuts in the shieldless flank when the game was called.
Final score 400+ to 157 a 5-1