Thursday, November 10, 2011

AAR How to Pitch a No Hitter

After Action Report, Alexander Imperial vs. Indian

Alexander Imperial: Dennis Shorthouse
Indian :   Phil Gardocki
Game System:  Warrior, 1600 points

Alexander the Great:  3 x 32 Pike, 1 x24 Hypaspist, 2 x 32 experimental (half pike, half bow) Pike, 2x16 Pike, 4, 5, maybe 6 Companions, 3 Light Cavalry units, 12, 8, and 4 in size, 1 x 12 Cretan Archers, and 1 x 8 slingers.

Porus, King of Kings.  4 Generals, with 8 elephants, 2x2 more elephants, 2x48 LB 2HCW, 1x24 2HCW JLS, 2x18 MC, 2x12 LI S, and 3x4 LI LB.

The Battlefield:  The battle field, couldn’t be more ideal for either side.  On Porus’s left, a jungle occupied the entire flank about 6 inches deep.  On the Porus’s right flank was some 8 small, brush covered hills.  A nice open area of about 42 inches dominated the rest of the field.

Deployment:  Alexander  deployed as follows, from Porus’s left to right.  LI, S, Pike, Pike, Pike, Pike (experimental) Hypaspist, Companion.  On the right flank, on the various hills were the Cretans, the 12 and the 8 man Light Cavalry units.

In the rear were the two small pikes, Pike (experimental) 3, 4, maybe 5 Companions, and the 4 man Light Cavalry unit.

Porus was out-scouted 2-1, and so couldn’t deploy closer than 240 to the centerline deployed as follows, from left to right.  LI S (in ambush in the Jungle) MC, Elephants, Elephants, Longbow, Javelin men, Longbow, Elephants, Elephants, MC, LI S.  In the rear was the CIC, and an Sub general both on Elephants. 

Alexander  deployed most of his units on the centerline, and Porus deployed his Medium Infantry some 480 from the centerline.  I have been doing this when being out scouted to give my foot some chance to compensate for bad deployments.

Early thoughts:  The deployment looked good for Porus .  My left flank command of 5 units, with two Elephants facing only 1 light infantry.  Sweep that unit away, and the Pike’s flank would be turned.  Porus’s right flank didn’t look good.  Two units of LC were going to pick off my right most LI unit, and do a similar rollup.  The medium infantry in the middle, though outnumbering the Phalanx 2-1, were going to have rough going on contact. 

Opening moves:  Issuing attack orders to Porus’s Ally General on the left flank.   With attack orders, the MC advanced full on the hapless LI.  Which adroitly countered out of reach.  On the right flank, the Allied General ignored the attack orders, and replaced them with probe.  Despite that, he approached the retrained Persian Experimental Phalanx thinking “Easy meat.”  He prompted the nearby elephant unit to charge, and himself as well.  If this unit cracks, then the Hypaspist will be next. 

But the Persian Phalanx was not so easily cowed.  They may only have rudimentary grasp on the pike “Manual of Arms”, but they knew what a bow was for, and of the elephants vulnerability to it.  With an +1 for missiles, and an +1 for melee, the pike did 24 missile and 16 in Hand to Hand, compared to the Elephants (also rolling a +1) to 8 hand to hand.  With 2-1 in melee, and 4 CPF, the first rout was on the board.

Meanwhile, the Cretens, not willing to be run down by Porus’s Medium Cavalry, held their position on a brushy hill, and that same Medium Cavalry, faced with multiple threats of Companions, Hypaspists, and Cretens, dare not approach.  And finally, Porus’s right most Light Infantry, faced with poor deployment, and compounding the error with indecision, attempted to retreat to the relative security of its own hill.  Sensing blood, a Scythian horde of Light Cavalry approached for the kill, its companion sweeping wide and marched for Porus’s Camp.

In the middle, Alexander  ordered his pike forward, while Porus’s foot began to pivot and expand for optimum effect.  What followed were two +3 bow shots at long range, doing 2 CPF to each pike, but with the special rules, did not cause a “Halt or Waver” condition.

Mid game:  You know you are trouble when “Mid Game” is on turn 2!  On the left Alexander marched up one of the short pike units, and one of the experimental pikes.  Throwing dice into to the wind, Porus ordered the Medium Cavalry to engage the pike, while charging the experimental with the horde of Longbow.  The Medium Cavalry routed, but the horde was only recoiled.  The Javelin men also engaged their pike and also recoiled.  The right most longbow shook in response to the earlier routing Longbow stood by, and was eventually rallied by the CIC, and began to engage several Companions at long range. 

On the right, the remaining Elephant stood both assault of bow and pike and only recoiled.  The Medium Cavalry managed to evade a Companion attack.  The poor light infantry, failed to escape its fate and was run down by the Scythians.  Unimpeded, the remaining Light Cavalry closed into range of the Camp.

End Game: 
Left Flank.  Alexander’s short pike unit, coupled with the experimental pike began to push their opposing elephants back.  The horde of close order foot opposed by pike was still inconclusive.  The camp fell on the first assault, shaking a nearby LI detachment, bringing the CIC’s, an Allied, and a Sub command all into retreat.  The game was called then as an “Early Night.”  Final score was an obvious 5-0 shutout. 

In Warrior, there is no greater victory than a 5-0.  This is our version of a “No Hitter.”  Especially in a tournament setting as some people think the math of the scoring system benefits them when they win with a 5-2 or 5-1 vice a 5-0, and let their opponents score a small unit that needn’t have been lost. 

So how does someone manage this ultimate triumph of our sport?  First, pick an opponent that is a consistent national’s player.  Then pick the losing side of a pair of army’s that met historically.  Particularly an army that has no special rules for it.  Make too many commands, so they become susceptible to demoralization. Then be predictable with a totally standard deployment.  Ignore what benefits the terrain might give you. Then follow the preconceived battle-plan in your head.  Forgetting the fact that a battle-plan never survives contact with the enemy, and in this case, didn’t even survive deployment. 

After Action Report, Khmer vs. Anglo Irish

Khmer: Rich Kroupa
Anglo Irish :   Phil Gardocki
Game System:  Warrior, 1600 points
Venue:  Fall In Open Tourney.

CIC 2 elephants, 40 LHI, Jls, B, Sh
Sub 2 elephants, 40 LHI, Jls, B, Sh
Sub 2 elephants, 32 LHI, Jls, B, Sh
Burmese Sub, 2 elephants, crew of 6 with bow
2 Light Cavalry Reg ‘C’ B, Sh
2 Foot, 16 Reg ‘C’ LHI, Jls Bow Sh
1 Light Infantry 4 Reg ‘C’ LI B
1 Light Infantry 12 Reg ‘C’ LI B
1 Burmese foot, 24 Irrec ‘C’ LMI, B

Anglo Irish
CIC 6 Irreg'B' HK L Sh
Ally 6 Irreg'B' HK L Sh
4 Irish Heavy Cavalry 6 Irreg'B' HC L Sh
4 Detachments 4 LI S Sh
2 Galloglaich( Clans Ramsay and Jordan) 32 HI, 2HCW, JLS, D
2 Bonnachts 27 LMI, 2HCW, JLS, Sh
1 Longbow 48 MI LB Sh Stakes
1 Lights 8 LC JLS, Sh
2 Kerns 8 LI JLS, Sh

This took place at Fall In 2011.   In adaption to the new deployment schemes, with preset terrain and largest command deploying first, my army was organized in two 9 unit commands. So I could decide which command to lay first. My main goal was to see if I could catch some Cavalry unit at long range with the LB unit already deployed behind stakes. An interesting thought, but it didn't work.

I very much looked forward to this fight.  My Galloglaich are the best elephant killers on the board, and I haven’t had a matchup against one since I built my 25mm Anglo Irish army.  But also, I had fought Rich the day before with a 1200 point version of this army to a 5-0 win.  Admittedly, the magnitude of that win was due to luck, with his CIC rolling a catastrophe.  I was hoping Rich was dreading a repeat performance.  No such luck.  If anything it only galvanized him for revenge. 

The Terrain. From my left to right. Woods in my muster zone. About a foot from the left, a hill with steep/rough parts strewn about. Then a clear area about 520 paces, followed by another hill with steep bits. On the far right, was two more hills, both of which were gentle and not a factor in this game. I couldn’t have engineered a better terrain setup.

The Deployment. My left side had LI, Bonnachts, Bonnachts, this should totally dominate the hill with the Kerns providing flank coverage. In the center were the two Galloglaich units, Clans Ramsay and Jordan. Two Cavalry/Slinger units provided mobile reserve. On the right hill was a Kern unit, 2 more Cavalry/Slinger units. These hills may have been had nasty parts in them, but if you were careful, a small Cavalry unit could cross without hitting them. On the far right was the Longbow unit, The Light Cavalry, and another Cavalry/Slinger Combo.

Rich deployed several lights, and LMI against the left hill, The center had 3 units of 2 elephants backed by 40 LMI, and a unit of 4 Burmese elephants, supported by a unit of Burmese Bowman. On my right was arrayed another elephant backed by 40 LMI, 16 man LMI unit and several lights.
Looking at the board, I saw a double envelopment, as 1200 points of his army were dead center, arrayed against my Galloglaich.

The left flank did not go very well. Where I expected to dominate, Rich was able to out maneuver me. The LI Shook, a Bonnacht fell, and the game ended with the other Bonnacht surrounded but still holding.

In the center, things were even worse. Even though Rich accurately portrayed and described his units, the exact nature of the beasts was not comprehended by me. His elephant units were 40 LMI foot figures, with a two elephant attachment. They were organized in 6 ranks. So they attack like elephants, but have a casualty divisor of 34 instead of 10. If it wasn’t for the Galloglaich being the best elephant killers in the game, this game would have been over in under 30 minutes.  A pair of elephant units came in against Clan Jordan and then rolled +3 and +2, but Clan Jordan held on. The similar charge of the right hand elephants charge was bolloxed by his own LI, and so was delayed. When it came in, the elephants were recoiled. Clan Ramsey pushed forcing a single elephant to charge, recoiled, then the next one charged. Both of us were accruing damage, but the subsequent mounted charges of 3 fatigue were costing him more than my 2 fatigue /CPF.

On the right, I caught an LMI unit with a Heavy Cavalry Lancer and broke it, and was pushing back his skirmishers. But I had to exercise caution due to the presence of another of these large elephant units. On the far right, my sweep of the Longbow unit, with Cavalry and light support moved on. With each turn the Khmer Light Cavalry would counter away, but it was only distance that was the impediment, not enemy action. At the hinge of this sweep, was a Khmer man LI unit, which I dedicated another Heavy Cavalry to killing.

In the center, Clan Jordan was destroyed, but Clan Ramsey stood firm. My supporting Cavalry units were already vacating the hole. My CIC went left to stabilize my collapsing left flank, and the other Cavalry unit literally, “ran for the hills.”  The victorious elephant units, turned both left and right, one taking my Bonnacht in the flank, the other taking Clan Ramsey. But with only one element engaged each a CPF was not achieved, and neither were pushed.   To try to get that 1 CPF Rich was forced to engage the Bonnachts on the hill with a 16 man JLS foot.  But the Bonnachts with 2HCW, and JLS and  uphill advantage, sent the Khmer infantry back, and stood firm even with an elephant hanging on their flank. Clan Ramsey, while unharmed, was pinned, and gave time for the elephant units to his front to reorganize, and they would soon reengage to send the Ramsey boys to oblivion.

All the while, there was a weakness in the Khmer army that I didn’t realize. And it when I accidentally tripped upon it, everything changed.

My far right wing, had another victory. They caught the retiring Khmer Light Cavalry, and the subsequent rout shook the camp.  Shaking the nearby large LMI Bow unit.  Rich’s army had 4 commands, so no command had more than 5 units, the Burmese only 2. With the LC caught, the Khmer left most command went to retirement, its remaining unbroken unit, an elephant, sans infantry support, was now centerline to the Irish 48 man Longbow unit. The only thing keeping the shots off was a routing Khmer LMI with higher target priority. The Burmese command, with the camp acting as a shaken unit in the command, also went into retreat. On my left, with the Bonnacht on the hill surrounded, but otherwise in good shape, I removed the immediate threat of the Khmer Regular Light Cavalry by virtue of sending in my CIC and slinger unit. The Light Cavalry managed to charge to safety, by charging my shaken LI unit, which stood, but took 3-1 casualties, and thus allowed the Khmer LC to “burst through” into the middle of the woods. 

It was here that time was called, and the score was 470(Khmer) to 414(Irish) a 3-3 tie. Both Rich and I felt like we had to pull teeth for our scores. But all in all it was well earned points on both sides.