Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Battle of the Hydaspes

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:    Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players: Phil Gardocki and Garth Parker representing Porus and Son
                  Jenny Parker and Bruce Potter representing King Alexander and Company
                  Steve Turn as Zeus the Thunderer, Lord of the Sky, Ruler of Olympus.

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 230 points per side.

After weeks of maneuvering, King Alexander of Macedon manages to cross the Hydaspes river in secret, and assembles his army for a flank attack.  King Porus becomes aware of the threat and manages to turn his army to face the invader.

The Forces:
   Classic Indians: Commanders  Porus, Porus (no joke!) and Patel
      6 Elephants (elite)
      3 Heavy Chariots, Impetuous.
      2 Medium Cavalry (mediocre)
      2 Medium Swordsmen (elite)
      6 Mixed Sword (mediocre)/Bowmen (ordinary)
      2 Light Foot Javelins
      2 Light Infantry Bow

Macedonians: Commanders  Alexander, Selucus, and Coenus.
       3 Companions, Heavy Cavalry Impact (elite)
       3 Scythians, Light Cavalry Bow
       2 Hippakontistai, Light Cavalry, Javelin
       2 Hypaspist, Medium Spearmen (elite)
       6 Taxis, Pikemen
       1 Cretan Archers, Light Infantry, Bow
       2 Peltast, Javelinmen

       2 Agrianians, Light Infantry, Javelin (elite)
       1 Thessalian, Heavy Cavalry Impact

The Board:

So I have assembled the Indians, the terrain, the weird 40mm measuring sticks, I even found a Greek Temple to use as a camp that has never been used before.  Steve brought the Macedonians.  And what was forgotten?  The dice.  The dice box is resting comfortably with my Anglo-Irish box waiting to be used in the upcoming day at Walt's house.

We raided a Yahtzee game while Bruce ran home for more dice.

Alexander won the initiative, not a surprise with his rating of 4 and selected to attack in the plains.  A collection of fields, plantations were selected with the single road, hill and gully.  No terrain piece dominated the center of the board.

Alexander with his Companions and supporting Light Cavalry was on the Macedonian right, their pikes in the center.  On the left is a collection of Mercenary Skythian Light Cavalry, Thracians and Peltasts.
King Porus selected the center of the board with 3 Elephants, 3 Bowmen, and an elite 2 Handed Swordsmen.  To his right is an identical force commanded by Patel.  On his right, his son, Prince Porus commanded the Chariots and  Cavalry.
Zeus the Thunderer, Lord of the Sky, Ruler of Olympus sits in judgement of this battle.
Prince Porus in his white tiger chariot is on the Indian left, his father, the King, atop his blue silken elephant is in the center, while Patel, atop his pink silken elephant, holds the right off in the distance.
King Alexander rides on the Macedonian right flank, supported by his Hypaspist in the field.
Macedonian Pike dominate the center, and to their left, is a collection of Peltasts, Thracians and light troops.

Turn 1: 
 Alexander sees he has a numerical advantage and races across the board.  Running to within charge reach of Prince Porus's Chariotry.
Mighty Zeus the Thunderer, Lord of the Sky, Ruler of Olympus, is dozing through the boring part.

The Macedonian right follows suit, running their Peltasts as quickly as possible to engage the Indian right flank.

Not to be out done, the Pike double time as well. 
Prince Porus, cautiously advances, he is outnumbered, and frankly his supporting cavalry is crap.  But the Hypaspists, normally the Companions flank protection, has lagged in the advance, presenting an opportunity for some possible flanking attacks.
A poor picture here.  King Porus's center pivots some units to the left.  Arrows shoot at both Companion and Pike.  One Taxis of Pike takes a hit.
Turn 2:
The Charioteers await Alexanders decision.  Will he charge, or wait?
The Thracians and Peltasts are waiting for no one. They have 2 Handed Weapons and Javelinmen which are somewhat resistant to Elephants, and know they are facing sucky swordsmen.
Alexander also waits for no one.
The Pike, however stops for a rally of their damaged Taxis.
The Macedonian charge did not go well.  Trading an Indian Medium Cavalry for a Scythian Light Cavalry.  None of the Chariots were damaged, but Alexanders Companions was.
King Porus's personal Guardsmen join the fray.  Only their armor saved the flanked Companions from destruction.
Center and right, the Indians are content to shoot at range.
Turn 3:
It is Rhomphaia verses Khadga*, Javelins verses Elephants as the lines clash.

The red dice represent casualties.  Cohesion hits of all levels, 1, 2, even an outright kill.
The Hypaspist arrive in field, flank attacking the Guardsmen that had flanked the Companions.  They too late to save that Companion from being routed.  The Chariots now are on Alexanders flank.

The Elite Guardsmen, despite being flanked themselves, roll very well and avoid further damage.
This is one of those things that makes the game fun.
The right most elephant charges a Scythian Light Cavalry.  Which rolled a 6 for an evade.  This increased its evade move to 280mm, about 11 inches, taking it off the board.  The second Scythian Light Cavalry was then exposed to the same charge, and also evaded off the board!  Mercenaries!  You get what you pay for. The Elephant then sidled up into a support position next to the Macedonian Heavy Cavalry, giving support to the Light Infantry, and panic to the cavalry.  The dice were thrown, and the Heavy Cavalry loses by 2 and takes a hit.
Well this was totally mishandled.  I am to blame.  I forced the Scythians to face the Elephants before evading, and that was wrong.  They should have evaded to their rear and stayed on board.  But, both Light Horse units rolled up in their evades, and so would not have been able to get to a useful position till turn 5, assuming the Macedonian General decided to spend the command points to get them there.

Second, the LI should have just disappeared when contacted.  There should have been no fight here.

Third, the elephant could not have sidled up to support position, as it was there as a result of a charge on another unit after contact was made with the LI, but that didn't matter here as the LI should be dead on contact.

Alexanders Companions are flanked and damaged, but armor saves them from a hit.  One Hypaspist destroys their opponents, but the other lost to the Guardsmen.
The Pikemen realize their error in waiting for a rally, and march forward.  The Indian Skirmishers evade, and the 5th Taxis takes another missile hit.

The battle for the flank is not going well for the Macedonians.  Elephants are trampling their foes, elite Guardsmen have been brought forward. 

Another error on my part.  The Guardsmen interpenetrated the Bowman that were in combat.  This is not allowed.  What should have happened here was the Bowman should have been destroyed, causing a cohesion hit on the Guardsmen, which would then have taken a hit by the Thracians.

Turn 4:
Another Companion is down, King Alexander escapes with only a pulsing arterial wound to the next Companion.

The Pike have impacted the Indian line.  2nd and 3rd Taxis are damaged, as are 2 Mixed Sword/Bow units.  The 5th Taxis is destroyed.

The Macedonian left is in complete disarray.

This is something for the books Elephants making 3 separate flank charges!

Light Infantry Bow breaks Heavy Cavalry!

The Indians have a hat trick, 3 for 3 breaks.

The Pike start to turn things around.  They have broken a Sword Bow, and damaged two elephants.  The only real loss by the Macedonians was a Hypaspist that was taken down by a Guardsmen (far left).

But it too late.  The point count for the Macedonian left flank alone was 14.  6 from the center, 6 on the right, and a general we didn't mention.  The Indians lost 14 points.  With this loss, Alexander never earns the title, "the Great".  He retreats to Persepolis.  There to enjoy a decadent lifestyle.  His loyal Pikemen and Companions are pensioned off, and return home.  He reportedly introduces Persia to the philosophies of Socrates and  Aristotle.  But eventually succumbs to a decadent lifestyle, adopting Persian ways, and the name Xerxes II.  Regarding as unimportant when both Macedonia and Greece rebel from his control.

With the mistakes I mentioned, the game was closer than thought.  The Macedonians would have lost three less points on their left, and picked up two more points there as well.  Making the score 22-16.

*Rhomphaia, is a Thracian 2 handed sword.
Khadga,, is an Indian 2 handed sword

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