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.


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