Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Golden Horde Invades Ireland

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Lancaster Host, Lancaster Pennsylvania.
Event:    HMGS's Cold Wars
Players: Phil Gardocki running Anglo Irish
                  Chris Schulitz, running Golden Horde.
Game System: Warrior Ancients 1200 point Tournament, Round 2

There is a perfect gem of a motel, two miles away, the Cherry Lane Motor Lodge, that exceeded expectations in almost every way.  It is reasonably close, quiet, inexpensive and takes AARP, and face it, that's most us.   It has none of that smell we have come to expect from ramshackle hotels on route 30.  My stay impressed me enough to take the time to post a write up about them one one of my other blogs.  If you are interested, it is here.

Back to the game.
The Forces:
The Anglo-Irish, Late Period
Commander with + 5 Reg 'B', SHK,
Monty Python's Knights of the Round Table, 6 Reg 'B', SHK
Irish Nobles, 6 Irreg 'B', 1/2 HK, 1/2 HC
Irish Horse, 4 Irreg 'C', JLS, SH

Galloglaich, 2 units of 16 Irreg 'B', 1/2 HI 1/2 MI, 2HCW, JLS, D
           List rule, always fights a rank and half.  Can counter charge if willing, can            
           counter charge impetuously if eager.
Longbow, 1 unit of 48 Reg'D', MI, 1/2 LB, Sh, 1/2 LB, unemplaced stakes.
Bonnachts, 1 unit of 36 Irreg'C' LMI, 1/3 2HCW, JLS, SH, 1/3 JLS, SH, 1/3 JLS
            Capable of skirmish, shield wall and barbarian rush rules.
Kerns, 2 units of Irreg 'C', 1/2 S, SH, 1/2 JLS
Bombards, 1 unit of 2, Reg'C', each with 4 crew.
1199 points, 13 scouting points

Golden Horde.
Mongol Light and Heavy Cavalry, supported by Allied Armenian SHK. 

My list had some major shuffling this year though.  Walter Leech convinced me to buy a set of figures based on Monty Python's Knights of the round table, viewable here:  Once I had them, I had to play them.  

But the Anglo Irish list is not easily adjustable.  To add a unit of Knights where there were none before is hard to do.  You see, the minimum requirements for the Anglo-Irish army is considerable, possibly higher than any other army.  12 elements each of Longbow, Irish Foot, and Kerns.  Then a minimum of 2 elements of Irish Cavalry and counting the CIC, that is 39 elements you must pay for before you can get to the goodies of the list.  To shoe horn 124 points of knights into a 1200 list, well something must go.

Then I also made a decision to break out the bombards.  I know they are useless, and they proved so yet again, but they look good in the pictures, so I added them.  While my main foot units, the Galloglaich, were pared away to make room  for the interlopers. 

The Board:
The board had 5 pieces of terrain, fairly evenly distributed.  2 fields and a rocky hill on one side, a "built over area" and a wood on the other.  The coast line is really just making the edge of the board, as this was only 1200 points, and the table is only 6 feet wide vice 8.

The board is fairly good for the Anglo-Irish.  The hill on the far flank has steep bits, in white, which the Mongol Cavalry will have difficulty traversing. 
The left side is fairly clear though.  The one field, brush, is too far forward for any use, and could easily be surrounded.
The Golden Horde decide to go for a strong left push.
With their Armenian Knights on their right.
Lacking terrain to anchor to on the left, the Anglo-Irish create an impromptu piece just left of center, 48 Longbow behind stakes.

On the Irish right, the brush is dominated by 36 Bonnachts, and flanked by the Galloglaich clans Ramsay and O'Lyre.
The Armenian Knights and supporting Light Foot have a problem. 
After all this is their end point. 
The Anglo-Irish General, Larry, watches developments from his camp.  An ancient pile of dominoes, just waiting for someone to give them a push.
I think the Great Khan thought he was going to shoot up and then run over the soft looking LMI in the middle, but as he approached to the center, he found they were not alone.  There is a thin layer of Slingers to their front.
And they brought their little dog too.
All the surprises revealed, the Armenian Knights shift to softer part of the Anglo-Irish line.
Turn 2:
The skirmish line expands, probably to catch as many bombard rounds as they can.
The Bonnachts expand their line an element.  The Kerns absorb a massive amount of archery fire and are disordered.  All the while I am hoping that the Golden Horde Light Cavalry make a mistake and advance beyond the steep hill.  If they do, I'll be able to run them down with the Heavy Infantry of Clan O'Lyre.

It's quite a crowd in that field.
Clan Ramsay sidles up to the bombards.  If the Mongol Light Horse gets close its Artillery plus darts in return.

Interesting.  The Golden Horde is committing a Heavy Cavalry and a Light Cavalry to kill the Kerns.  Total value, 55 points.  And when they do, what next?  The Longbow?
Turn 3:
The Anglo-Irish Commander waves his banner.  Signalling to one and all that the Anglo-Irish will switch to attack on Turn 4.
The Armenian Knights have arrived. 
The Light Cavalry is bunched up, and not shooting effective yet.
The Irish Light Horse is shot for a lot and retires.  The Knights of the Round Table are standing ready to go forward.
There is a Mongol Heavy Horse advancing.  I think it sees a tiny corner of the Bonnachts sticking out of the field on the left side, and thus a waver check on charge.
No change here.  The bombards hold fire.
Turn 4:
Another Heavy Cavalry arrives.  That's over 200 points committed to killing 55.  Win, lose or draw, these Kerns have earned their pay.
Clan Ramsay advances to charge reach of the LC, and is within range of being charged by the HC.  But also, the skirmishing LC are now subject to 12 darts and 8 artillery shots.  Average number of hits is 36.  I think I rolled an up 1 for 4 CPF.
The Light Cavalry line up for a massive bow shot on the Bonnachts, who in turn, go to skirmish.  Clan O'Lyre, turns the corner, and readies their darts.
Turn 5:
Meanwhile on the adjacent table, a major scrum is going on.  And the Chariots look cool.

Yes, this looks a whole lot more interesting than my table.

Back to Mongols vs. Anglo Irish.

On the field on the left, the Kerns are finally caught.  They held the flank for 5 turns, I can't complain.
Routed, caught, and killed.  About 10 mm out of range of the Longbow.  <heavy sigh>
Turn 7:
I am sorry, I missed a lot of pictures.  
The Armenian Knights charged Clan Ramsay, which recoiled.  Then the Irish HK Lancers, peel off one of the Armenians, breaking them, but caused no ill effects as the routed through enemy lines.    The Irish SHK CIC caught a Heavy Cavalry unit, routing it as well.  Several Golden Horde units lost heart at that.
The Longbow have yet to loose more than ranging shots, but their mission can be regarded as a success.  The Bombards contracted to allow for the charge of the Irish Lancers.
Clan Ramsay is disordered, but not gone. Irish Lancers, left top are chasing Armenian Knights.  The Irish CIC, right, with the green banner, is in pursuit as well.  It's right flank covered by a massive unit of Bonnachts.
The Irish Foot cannot catch the Light Horse, but it can chase it with impunity. 

Given another hour, and I think I will have these lights in the bag.
Sir Robin, Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot, Sir Gawain, "astride" their horses Concord and Patsy are looking for a target.  Probably the Armenians on the left.
At this point in the game, time was called.  The score was low, something like 277 to 55, which is 2, plus 1 for doubled and plus another 1 for over 150 difference for a 4-1 win. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Italian Condottieri vs Byzantines

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Walt's house
Event:    Weekend at Walts
ArmiesThematic Byzantine played by Phil Gardocki
                  Italian Condottieri played by Kevin Swanson

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme:   Open
This is the first round of L'Art de la Guerre at Walt's house, Feb, 2017.

None, luck of the draw. 

The Forces:
Thematic Byzantines: Commanders Philippicus, Thou villainous bat-fowling popinjay (Brilliant), Eiliphedas, The droning unwash'd fustilarian (Brilliant) , the illiterate loiterer, brother Anon the Unknowable, whose virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese(Unreliable-Ordinary).
      4 Tagmata, Heavy cavalry impact bow (elite) 
      7 Kataphractoi, Heavy cavalry impact bow
      1 Varangians,    Heavy swordsmen 2HW
      2 Skutatatoi, Heavy spearmen missile support
      2 Alans, Light Cavalry, Bow (elite) 
      2 Psiloi, Light Infantry, Bow
       Break point,  19

Italian Condottieri:
       A strong contingent of Heavy Knights.  Support troops include Heavy Cavalry Crossbow.  Longbow Infantry, Handgunners and a bit of Light Horse
       Break point, 20 ( ish)
The Board:
The Italian Condottieri: win the initiative roll and elect to attack in the plains.  The defending Byzantines select a gully and a hill to go with the mandatory field.  The Italians select a road and a coastal area.

Winning the initiative, which side of the board does Kevin want to play on?  Wait a minute, That is a different different rules set.

The Italians fort up around their camp.
As do the Byzantines.
Both sides picked the same deployment strategy.  Both deployed an infantry force just right of their camp, and two cavalry commands center and left.  A minor difference is the Byzantines have in forward ambush, 4 more Kataphracts.  While the Italians have a Light Infantry Handgunner in their ambush behind the hill.
Four Kataphracts, trying desperately not to be seen.
Anon, the Unremembered, looks at the main force of Knights that his men are expected to take the brunt of.
Turn 1:
The Italians look at the situation and decide to redress their lines.  The center command double times forward, and behind it, the left command turns and marches right.
The Byzantines decide to ignore that and are following their original battle plan.
Ambush revealed, the Byzantines go for a strong left flank attack.
Turn 2:
Banners waving, the Italian Knights approach the Byzantine firing line without fear.
While their left, now right command continues to march without hindrance.
The Byzantines assume the normal shoot and scoot positions.  But down the line, the arrows bounce off of Italian armor like a gentle rain.
Anon realizes the Byzantine battle plan is a bust, and advances to threaten the Italian left flank.
Not a good sign.  The entire Byzantine army has a bow, yet only they are taking hits from arrow fire.
But still confidence is high.  It is just one round.  Most of the Byzantine shooters are on line, while half the knights are really two turns from deploying. 
Turn 3:
The first of the Knight charges. 

The Italians have 4 shooters, two foot Longbow, and two mounted Crossbow.  But they all seem to be effective.
Anon's foot command is largely out of position here as the battle is moving away from him.
The Knights rolled long, and the Kataphracts rolled short, and are nearly caught.

Throwing caution into the winds, two Kataphracts charge.  One is destroyed by a Heavy Cavalry Crossbow, the other does 2 points of cohesion to the Longbowmen.

The main Byzantine lines once again line up for a shoot and scoot.  And again, they might as well used spitballs.

Anon splits his command in three, so to assist without being flanked by lights.
Turn 4:

The Italians have their battle line established.  The time for the the Byzantines to leave was last turn.

Kataphracts are flanked but the Longbowmen only beat their score by 1.
Charge and flee.  The Knights are avoiding anything that resembles terrain.
This time it is the Kataphracts that roll long, to the Knights rolling short.

Miscellaneous chicanery on the right.
But an opportunity occurs.  Kataphracts charge the flanks of the Heavy Knights, while others form a firing line again.  But like the previous two turns, no Knights were harmed in the making of this turn.
Another Kataphract falls.
Turn 5:

The flanked knight has plenty of support, and so his brother knights just move along.
More scooting.  But more flank opportunities as well.
Did you ever have one of those days?

The Byzantine position is actually looking good here.  It is just the main battle line is moving away faster than the infantry can per sue it.
Knights charge.  One actually has a hit by arrow fire.  This is not going to get any better, it is time for a hail Mary.  Two Kataphracts charge, between a disordered Knight and Light Horse support, the fights are even.

And that is how the dice fell.  Dead even.
The Byzantines manage to use their speed and maneuver to their advantage.  They score two hits on the hanging knight.  The Kataphract in the Gully has ZOC'ed a Knight.  While the remaining two Knights do not want to go in the field where their speed will be reduced to 2.

Anon's Infantry cause an Italian Light Horse to flee, and catch the Longbowmen.  But fail to damage it.
Turn 6:

Anon's other Heavy Spear unit, is just hanging out, catching arrows.
The Byzantine Generals are all in, trying to make something happen.  The Italian Knights pull in their other units to save their damaged Knight.  If it fails, the Byzantines will be able to charge and flank all the other Knights. 
The Italians efforts are effective, as the Byzantines take a hit.

The Byzantines have one more chance here.
But not here.  the Hail Mary pass has failed.
Another Kataphract has a flank shot on a Knight.  And scores, but too late to save his brother Kat, taking a general with him. On the right, Anon manages to destroy the Longbow. 
The Byzantine left command has been wiped out.

With that, is the end game.  The score is 19 - 7,  An interesting, but not even close game.  It is a great lesson on adapting your battle plan after deployment, as Kevin did.

What went wrong?  The Byzantines basically lost on deployment.  Knowing the knights would focus on the Byzantine right, and going for a left punch of their own.  The Byzantines put their two cavalry commands together and gave the Italians a gift, of a smaller frontage to push their knights.  The Byzantines would have done better with a cavalry command on each wing, spreading the knights out.  When they did spread out in the end, there were opportunities for flank shots, they were not totally ineffective either.  

Just looking at the last shot.  The there is a Kataphract flank shot available, followed up by another.  The Skutatatoi can turn 180 unimpeded and trap a Light Horse.  The potential was here for another 7 points or so.