Monday, February 27, 2017

Pontus Under Attack by the Graeco-Indians

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Game Table Cafe
Event:   February Tourney
Players: Phil Gardocki running Mithridatic
                  Bill Campbell, Graeco-Indian
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Open, no restrictions

The Forces:
Mithridatic, 85 BC.  Commanders  Mithridates the Great (and Brilliant), Darryl (Unreliable, but Brilliant) and Tigranes, the Great, but obviously not as great as Mithridates (Allied and Ordinary)
The Mithridatic army has been described as "Noah's Army", I.E. two of everything;)
Mithridates  IV (Brilliant),
     2 Sarmations, Medium Cavalry Bow
     2 Scythians, Light Cavalry Bow
     2 Guard Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry
     2 Light Cavalry, Light Cavalry Javelin 

Darryl, the Mercurial
     2 Imitation Legionaries, Heavy Swordsmen Impact
     2 Scythed chariot, Scythed Chariot
     2 Thureophoroi, Heavy Spearmen
     2 Pikemen, Pikemen
     1 Light Infantry, Javelin
     1 Javelinmen

Tigranes, King of Armenia, Brother-In-Law to Mithridates  IV (Allied, Ordinary),
     2 Cataphracts
     4 Light Cavalry Bow

Lets see, Pike, Elephants, Bow (Mostly Mediocre), Mixed Bow Sword, Medium Cavalry (Mediocre)

In Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, is a little jewel of a game store, The Game Table CafeHundreds of titles are on the shelves, some available for minor daily rental fee.  In addition to having the capacity to accommodate 24 of us for our tournament, they also were handling a number of other gaming events.  A very nice perk is that they offer table service of all their menu items. 

The Board:
Mithridates the Great is on a plan of world domination.  Following the paths of Alexander, he plans on tearing out the a rich swath of Persia and India.  But the Graeco-Indian King got word of his plans and stole the march on Mithridates, catching his army as it transited the  Masius Mountains. 

After the adjustments, the impassible terrain was ejected from the board, and the game continued. 

King Tigranes of Armenia takes the point of honor on the right flank  He is faced by a multitude of Elephants and Infantry.

It looks like 4 Light Horse and 2 Cataphracts are facing off against 2/3rds of the Graeco-Indian army.
Darryl's Infantry Corps is well placed against 3 units of Pike.  2 Scythed Chariots are waiting in the back lines.

Here is time to bring up a question of deployment.  I have been thinking about this for a while, and am looking for thoughts one way or the other.  The Mithridatic Infantry line is lined up as Spear, Impact Sword, Pike, Pike, Impact Sword, Spear.  The thought is the Pike are the best troop type available with +2 to all.  So in a scrum, they are most likely to break their opponents, then proceed forward and start tearing their opponents line apart.  The reason for the Heavy Spearmen on the outside of the group, is flanking opponents are most likely to be cavalry. 

But, the other argument would be to place the Pike on the ends, as they are most likely to survive against supported opponents.

Any thoughts out there.

Mithridates and his Cavalry are totally unopposed.

The Indian allied command leap from their positions on the foothills in the shadows of Mount Masius.  Huge beasts escorted by men armed with sword and bow, lumber forward to run down King Tigranes and his Cataphracts.  To the left, vast formations of Pike face Darryl's Infantry Corps.  But to address a perceived problem with the Pontic Cavalry forces (off panel left) a large force of mixed bow/sword start to redeploy behind the Graeco-Indian lines.

Elephants also leave the foothills on the Indian right.  Their Pike wheeling left to avoid Pontic Cavalry from turning their flank.
Mithridates the Great, is unimpressed.
Turn 2:
Two Armenian Light Horse advance to shoot, and are shot in turn.

The Infantry Command also advances and is shot by Elephant Escorts.
"Bugger this for a lark" swears King Tigranes.  "He is my brother-in-law, not my brother, and I am not going to die for him."

In a perfect, parade ground, maneuver, Mithridates pivots his horse just off the flank of the advancing Pike.  Ignore the hit marker on the Mixed Sword Bow.  We both missed the fact that it was out of range of Horse Bow until turn two.
Turn 2:

The Indian Allied Commander follows up his advantage.  His Bow troops will shoot up the Light Horse, and his Elephants will run down the Cataphracts.  Easy points.
But the Armenians are not to be taken lightly.  The remaining Light Horse archer's arrows prove extremely accurate.
Pontic troops, armed and equipped like Roman Legionaries, find out, it takes more than equipment to make a Legionnaire.  The more conventionally armed Spearmen have better luck holding back the Elephant charge.
To support the Elephants, the Graeco-Indian Pikemen split into two parts. 
Knowing the situation isn't going to improve with time, Mithridates orders a charge with his Heavy Cavalry.  Which puts a mixed Sword Bow unit to rout.
Javelinmen from the Kurdish highlands, ignoring the trampled remains of the fake Legionaries, charge the Elephants with spear and dart, causing many to disperse.  The rest of Darryl's Infantry Command hold steady, awaiting the resolution of this fight.
Armenian Light Horse charge, running down supporting Light Foot. 
Running out of world, Tigranes wheels left.  He thinks he has left the Elephants behind and will come back for the Bowmen.
Turn 3:
The Armenian Horse pays for their audacity with their lives.  They are flanked and destroyed.  The Pontic Infantry Command is celebrating the destruction of two Elephants, but is now also truly flanked.
The Indians pursue the Armenian Light Horse, slamming into the Pontic right flank.
To keep Mithridates from interfering by flanking the Graeco-Indian Pike, their Mixed Sword Bowmen advance until they can count the flies on the Pontic horses butts.
The Pontic foot realize there is only one answer to being flanked, attack!  Their spearmen are fighting steadily, but are supported by the Kurdish Javelinmen and Armenian Light Horse.  The other Elephant is continuing its maniacal pursuit of Tigranes Cataphracts.
With a vast raising of dust, the Scythed Chariots have entered the field.
Mithridates decides to go for position rather than impact, and stays at shooting range with the Mixed Sword Bow.  The Indian Infantry is well and truly flanked.
King Tigranes and his Cataphracts, are now truly friendless. 
It is only a matter of time before they are caught.  So the question is, when to turn around?
Turn 4:
Indian reserves are brought up, supporting their flanking elephant.  The Pontic Heavy Spearmen are destroyed, routers disordering the Pikemen.  But the Kurd Javelinmen fight well, disordering their attacking Cavalry.
Either because of a lack of command points or tactical decision, the Graeco-Indian Pike hold their position.
A lot is depending on the flank fight.  Mithridates counts not one, but two enemy generals near him.
Turn 5:
Heedless of the Elephant stomping their right flank, the Pontic Infantry, supported by Scythed Chariots attack!
Pontic Cavalry also attack.  The results are dramatic.  Casualties down the line of the Mixed Sword Bowmen.   A Graeco-Indian Pikemen is run over by Chariots.  the remaining Graeco-Indian Pikemen begin to crack, as one takes two hits, the other has supporting position against him.
Darryl joins the Pike to rally their position, but fails.
King Tigranes decides that later is better.
The Chariots pursue, flanking the Pike.  In the rear, two Pontic Cavalry are uncommitted.  The Light Horse is racing for the Camp, the Heavy Horse in a position to rear charge the Indian Infantry.
Turn 6:
Darryl's flank guard is holding, barely.  More Indian troops enter to support their combatants.  What we have here is on the Pontic side, a Pike with 3 hits and a Javelinmen that is undamaged.  On the Indian side there is an undamaged Swordsmen (elite), an Elephant (also elite) with 2 hits, a Cavalry (Mediocre) with one hit and a Light Infantry with one hit.  Not looking good for Pontus here.
Another Graeco-Indian Pikemen falls.  But the Imitation Legionaries have 3 hits as well.
King Tigranes sees that he just might survive this day.
Turn 7:
Chariots charge!  One burst's through a Light Horse unit to get to its target.  The other flank charges a Pike.
Off in the distance, a race for the camp.  Who will win, Pontus?  Graeco-Indians?  The Clock?
In the center, Pontic Pike continue to hold.  Darryl decides to reinforce success, leaving the Pike to their fate and joins the Imitation Legionaries.
Tigranes has two turns left in him before he needs to fight.  The game isn't going to last that long.
The last Graeco-Indian Pike fight well, destroying the Imitation Legionaries, and sending Darryl looking for cover.
A mixed Sword Bow unit falls, the others are badly disordered.
At this point, the Graeco-Indians hit their break-point of 23 and are demoralized. 
Final shot.  Final score, 18-23, and Mithridates wins.
The Mithridatic army is a fun army to play.  It lacks strength in any single category of troops, and so relies on a verity of troop types to play the Rock-Paper-Scissors game with.  Both sides here played strong left flanks as their strategy.  

The Graeco-Indians  pulled a command from their left to bolster their right.  Mithridates accepted the lineup as is.  Both had different reasons for doing this.  I think the Bill saw that the fast moving Pontic Cavalry would soon turn the flank of his Pike block if unopposed.  That Pike block was going to be heavily taxed as it was outnumbered by the Pontic Infantry Corps it was facing.

On the Mithridates weak flank it was Armenian Light Horse and Cataphracts against Elephants and Medium Infantry.  I thought the Light Horse would survive longer than it did to distract the Graeco-Indians, and that was a misstep. 

 The center line of the Pontic Infantry, my intention was to send the Scythed Chariots against the greatest flanking threat of the Infantry line, but that threat was Elephants, so I sent them to reinforce the joint between the foot and the horse.  It would have been better to split them up, as a Chariot would have made the last shot above very interesting.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Anglo-Irish v Alexander the Great

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   On Military Matters Bookstore.  Owner Operator Dennis Shorthouse
Event:    Team practice for the upcoming Cold Wars team tourney.
Players: Phil Gardocki running Anglo Irish
                   Allen Kaplan, Alexandrian Macedonian
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 300 points per side.
Theme: Open, team no restrictions

The Forces:
   Anglo Irish circa 1400: Commanders  Larry, Darryl and Darryl, all barely competent, and their youngest brother Darryl, who is only ordinary.
      8 Galloglaich, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW (elite)

      4 Billmen, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW
      2 Heavy Knights, Impact (elite)       
      6 Longbowmen,stakes
      3 Irish Nobles, Heavy Cavalry
      2 Light Cavalry, Javelin

      2 Kerns, Light Infantry, Javelin

      3 Irish Foot, Javelinmen, Javelin

       The Corps or Command will be called "Battles" as that was the naming convention for England, and assuming Ireland as well, in Medieval times.
Alexandrian Macedonian, 
Lets see, Pike, Impact Cavalry, Thracians, and more Pike.

Dennis has a wonderful bookstore in Hopewell New Jersey, that he has been running for many decades.  Imagine going through a library that is nothing but military history.  If you don't think you knew him, he is a long time supporter of Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, and held the coveted #1 spot in the dealers area for over 20 years.  So if you have been to any of HMGS's events at the Lancaster Host, you probably have met Dennis at some time.

The Scenario:
Practice session for the upcoming team event at Cold Wars.

The Board:
The Anglo Irish have lost the roll and will defend in the plains.

On the Anglo Irish right flank are deployed two battles.  One of foot with 6 Heavy 2 Handed Swordsmen, 2 Longbow and one battle with Cavalry, most of which are hiding behind the hill.  This looks like a good match up for the Irish, with Longbow, and 2 hidden Heavy Knights.
The view from ground level.  In the clouds, the great god Kaplan readies his cubed shaped meteors.
On the Anglo-Irish left, the weakest battle consisting of 2 Javelinmen and 2 Longbow with 3 fortifications to bolster their position.  To their right is another battle of 6 Heavy 2 Handed Swordsmen, 2 Longbow.  They are facing a Pike block, which has a long march in front of it and Thracians, which is going to give the Irish a lot of grief in the field.
6 Heavy Cavalry, 4 are elite.
With 300 points, the max allowed is increased by 50%, which explains all the extra Pike.

That is a lot of Pike.
Turn 1:
I am gluing dice to my Generals set to their pluses for command points.  This is Darryl, and he is a competent general.
The Macedonian Phalanx on the their right double-times out of the gully with a full 6 Taxis of pike.
Their fearless Thracians head for the rough.

Another Phalanx slides and advances.
And on the left, Companion Cavalry to protect the flank.

Alexanders troops fearlessly advance.  Pretty much in sync.  Table edge to table edge.  No imagination here, but it is deserved.  Pike is +2 to all, and cancels mounted impact.

Darryl's command of LMI advances to just within bow range. 
Larry's Galloglaich advance just far enough to cover the Darryl's flanks.  They are willing to see what happens as Longbow rake the Thracians for what should be 3 turns.  Pike vs Galloglaich is basically +2 against +1, but the Galloglaich are also elite, and +1 when they win with 2HW.  So the fight is fairly even, but still in the Pikes favor, so lets see what happens on the left.
To the right of Larry's battle is another just like it.  Longbow are positioned to shoot at the Heavy Cavalry, Billmen placed to replace the Longbow if needed.  But the Line of Companions stopped just out of range of the Longbow.  The Longbow dare not advance for fear of being ridden down, and it is too early to deploy stakes as that just pins the Longbow into position. 

The ability of Swordsmen to interpenetrate Bowmen is one of those things where just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do something.  Longbow stakes are just fine to run against cavalry.  So the Billmen are not needed in that position.  Worse still, should the Longbow rout, the Billmen take a cohesion hit.  This is not a good deployment.

On the far right, Light Cavalry chuck their spears for an even up exchange.
Turn 2:

The Phalanx advances, but not the Companions.
This is going to be an impressive impact.
The Thracians also halt just out of bow range.  Letting the Skirmishers take the shots.

This makes sense, as the Thracians can wait till the other Phalanx arrives and turns the flank of the Irish in the rough.
Both sides have commands waiting for events.  What looked like a scrum is now turning into a chess match.
A bit of adjustment to Darryl's lines.

No change to Larry's lines
Recognizing that Alexander has drawn a line in the dirt, Darryl challenges the Companions to come and play.  He also shuffles off the Billmen to take a position on the flanks of his battle.
Irish Noblemen charge, running off the Macedonian left flank.  Darryl advances with his Knights, and rallies his damaged Light Horse.
Turn 3:
Both sides are trying to manipulate the timing of the contact.  Alexander has a major on board flank march with 6 Pike units that will unhinge the Anglo-Irish line, when it gets there.  The Anglo-Irish are trying to force earlier contact with the Companions.  Which will be flanked if they charge, and shot if they don't.

The Phalanx marched on, with but a unit of Javelinmen to resist them. 
The Thracians can be held no more and advance.  Their lines now being raked by missile fire.
The other Phalanx calls a halt.
The Companion Cavalry redresses their lines to deal with the Irish Nobles on their flank.

The Companions had an opportunity in turn 2 to charge the Longbow, sans stakes, but that opportunity has passed.  Darryl charges the Companions and they counter charge.  The Companions have the advantage of elite and impact, the Irish nobles have flank support, and should the fight go on, numbers and Knights.
Alexanders battle lines have been turned.  Even if the Companions totally blow out the Irish Nobles, they then will have to face Heavy Knights.

The Thracians take more hits from the Longbow.  A total of 3 units have cohesion hits, But is it enough.  Longbow only fight at a +0.
Taking a beer break, a boy and his dog.  This is my second delay line against the Phalanx, should it ever arrive.
Turn 4:
The Thracians charge.  The Irish hold.  Darryl leading the defense of the Longbow, trips, falls, and and takes a flax to the noggin.
Patiently, the Phalanx waits.  It is only a matter of time before the Thracians clear the rough and turn the flank of Larry's battle.
The Cavalry commands fights are now in full swing.  The Companions have the tactical advantage, having taken 2 hits and delivered 3, but their position is also endangered by flank shots and the English Knights have not been committed to combat yet.
duunnn dunnn... duuuunnnn duun... duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn

Billmen with no where to go.

The Thracians are beginning to clean up the rough.

The real fight for the center has been launched.  The Pike lose round 1 by 1.

There is a lot going on here.  On the left, two units of Galloglaich contact the Pike line and score a minor win. However they are also taunting a Companion Cavalry unit to join in.  That Cavalry unit has been on the receiving end of Longbow shooting for a couple of turns.  But Alexander, despite being a Strategist, hasn't had enough command points to either rally or get it out of the way.  On the right, one companion has fallen, and another engaged by Heavy Knights.
The neighing of horses, the clash of lances, and the die roll is in the Companions favor by 1, which is absorbed by Heavy Armor.
Turn 5:

Pike in the rough!  The Thracians hardly needed the help though as they pick off another Longbow and engage another.

The Phalanx in the center is holding according to plan.

2 Irish Nobles fall, but so do 2 Companions.
On the far left, the rough is taken, but there are still skirmishing Javelinmen in the way.

Victorious they may be, but the Thracians have been bloodied as well.
Larry orders his battle into combat, and it does not go well.
I have no idea why Darryl's disk is like that.  But he orders Clan McTaggert to charge the damaged companions, with himself in the front, and flank support.  And the Companions pull a tie out of the dice.
In the upper right, both English Knights have ridden down their opponents, leaving just two Companions on the board.
Clan O'Lyre and Clan McFee, look on at the carnage.

Both surviving Companions have 2 hits on them. 
For those keeping score out there.  The score is tied, each at 16.  

Turn 6:

On the left, the Phalanx reaches the barricades.  The Javelinmen decide to stand.  Much to their grief.

The Thracians have turned the flank of the last Longbow, but it holds!

Unexpectedly, two of the Irish Heavy foot are destroyed.  So to, the fifth Companion Cavalry.  The Macedonian Demoralization level is now 17, while the Irish are now at 19.

The Cavalry fight continues, with neither side gaining more advantage.
Final shot. 

At this point the game was called on time.  Both sides had a command blown out.  F

or the Anglo-Irish this was their weakest Battle, consisting of 2 Javelinmen, 2 Longbow and a Kern LI.  Three units were still alive at the end game and if command points allowed, could break off.  But that battle also lost it's commander, so command points were a premium.

Alexander's Cavalry Command was creamed.  All that remained was one heavily damaged Companion and 3 Light Horse.  The Irish had lost 2 Nobles in the fray.

In both cases, the flank was now turned on the center commands.  With Thracians coming in on the Irish left, and English Knights coming in on the Phalanx's left.

It is a race for the center.  The Macedonians can pick up 8 points, while the Irish could pick up 10 points.

In neither case is there enough points to force a win, as the breakpoints are about 30 for both sides.

Lessons learned:
       Don't rely on a flank sweep attack with Heavy Infantry.
       Any defensive position despite it's advantages, can be taken by a mobile force. 
      On any game where there is a timer, you cannot rely on finesse or missile fire.  It just takes to long to get a win.