Sunday, August 7, 2016

Historicon 2016 Open Tourney Round 1

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center
Event:    Historicon's L'Art de la Guerre's Open Tournament, Round 1,
Players: Phil Gardocki running Porus and Son
                  Marc Crotteag, running Warring States.

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

Historicon!  The Mecca of miniature wargamers in the USA.  3,000+ gamers descend upon historic Fredricksburg for 3 days of Martians, Mammoths and Mayhem.  Highlighted was the soon to be released Sergeants, Hell on Wheels by Lost Battalion, a massive walk-up game of raiders vs a Gallic migration.  The table was 32 feet long with thousands of figures.  All's Quiet on the Martian Front was represented by a huge field of 30 Tripods verses a hundred plus Steam Tanks.  The WWPD crew were in evidence with a live podcast.  And of course, Ancients.  Three Ancients systems were running strong, "Triumph! Fast Play Rules" seems to be a new comer with a good followingWarrior, which was having a resurgence, and L'Art de la Guerre.

The Forces:
   Classic Indians: Commanders  Porus, Porus (no joke!) and Patel
                                 Represented by elephants with howdah's and the white tiger
                                 skinned chariot.
      4 Elephants (elite)
      3 Heavy Chariots, Impetuous (elite)
      2 Medium Cavalry (mediocre)
      2 Medium Swordsmen (elite)
      6 Mixed Sword (mediocre)/Bowmen (ordinary)
      2 Light Foot Bow

Apologies for the lack of flocking on the Indian troops.  I decided to rebase that morning to more appropriate Medium Infantry basing.

Warring States
    No list provided.

I forgot to take pictures till turn 2 so this Battle Report starts in progress...

Turn 2:
The Indians start the turn with a revealing their ambushes.  From behind the hill, an Elephant with a supporting Mixed Sword unit, and in the gully, 3 Heavy Chariots.

Patel urges his troops forward.  The field cause no problems for the Elephants or the Mixed Sword units.
Porus the younger pushes his previously hidden troops out of the gully.
Porus, the King directs his troops from the right flank.

The Chinese advance between the two elephant commands.
The view from the hilltop is refreshing.
The Chinese are undaunted and charge into the left corner of the Indian line in an attempt to turn the flank of the hill.
Its spears on blades and a 6-1 die roll as the Indian Elite Guardsmen are destroyed to a man.
The Chariots are facing skirmishing Heavy Cavalry.  There is very little chance of catching them.
Elephants with an uphill advantage?  Who cares?  Send in the lights.
This looks like an even match-up.
My intention here is to run the Cavalry off the board, while threatening the flanks of the troops in the field.
Turn 3:

Taking advantage of the unexpected break, a Mixed Sword unit takes the Spear in the flank, causing a hit.

Patel joins the fight in the field and destroys another Spear.
Both sides are content here with the status quo.  The Chinese are waiting to turn the flank on the hill, and the Indians don't feel strong enough to engage.
The Chinese have held the line here as well, waiting for Porus the Elder's charge. 
Turn 4:
Patel rolls a 1 for command points and doesn't have enough to do anything.
Unexpected reinforcements.  I had forgotten to deploy my not-for-crap Mediocre Medium Cavalry, no specials.  I felt they should go in the never there category, giving my opponent 2 points.  My opponent insisted they show up. 
A dead even fight here.  The Chinese roll well and score two hits.

The Chinese pulled out their bowmen on the bottom of turn 3, surrendering the overlap to the Indians.  King Porus leads from the front and cause two hits on the spear unit, while the Indian Mixed Sword unit ties the die roll.
The Chinese won the fight in the field and has turned the right flank of the hill.  Off in the distance, the a mixed Sword/Bow is harassing a Chinese Heavy Cavalry, which doesn't dare charge the Elephant.  Looting the Chinese camp is a possibility.
The Chinese also turned the left flank of the hill, so the Patel ordered a charge with what he had.  The Mixed Sword won it's fight but the Elephants were held.
Turn 5:
With King Porus engaged in combat, there are not enough command points to take advantage of this situation.

The Indian Mixed Sword Bow was taken in the flank, but still wins its fight.  Their supporting Elephants, even with a leader bonus, takes a hit.
Now it is time for the Chinese to be taken in the flank. 

Porus's front turns out to be porous, as Chinese Crossbow breakthrough to the camp.

Both sides are having command point problems on this flank.
On the right, both sides take hits.  The Chinese take a missile hit and lose a spear unit.  An Indian Sword unit is on it's last legs as well.
Turn 6:
Both sides have many losses, finally in range, the Crossbow looked like an easy target. 
The Elephants stomp their target into the mud, while the Mixed Sword unit just holds it's own.
In the center, the whole situation is in doubt.

If anyone deserves the MVP for the day it is this Guardsmen, a Medium Infantry unit. Standing toe to toe for 3 rounds against Chariots with flank support.
One of Patel's Elephants are taken in the rear and destroyed.
Porus's right flank is also giving way.
Turn 8:
Patel's Light Infantry has been caught and destroyed, taking the Indian break point count to 21 to 12 for a Chinese win.

What went wrong here.  The obvious problem was the Indian commands were not working well together, each fighting their own separate battles.  The Chariots did nothing but entertain a couple of Heavy Horse.  That and they forgot their Medium Cavalry escorts. That's a quarter of my points to 20.  While I liked having them in the gully ambush, the field next to it should have been a red flag not to play there.

Where Porus did push, he was still outnumbered and flanked, only good die rolls by the Guardsmen kept the command from being flanked.  

The hole between the commands was wide enough to allow the camp to be looted.  If not for that the fight would have continued for another turn with a potential to pick up 5 more points.  Though 3 is more likely.

What went right?  Pairing the units seems to be a good tactic.  Elephants paired with mixed Sword/Bow seems to be a good combo.  The bow can shoot at skirmishers, while the elephants keep cavalry at bay.    I think I'll pair the Chariots and the Medium Cavalry next time, instead of running them in their own groups.  Ambushes with the maximum number of units also seems like a good idea.  Your opponent can assume what units are there, and guess what they are, but until they are on the board, there is a lack of certainty.

Also, units in ambush do not have to follow the normal deployment rules so something heavy can be in the 4 I.U.'s edge where only lights usually go, or even up to 7 I.U.'s deep on the board if you are the defender.  I think this is really good if you are squeezed into a corner, this will effectively grant more space.  Of course, flank marches must be considered here.