Saturday, March 4, 2017

Mithridatic vs Classical Indian

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Game Table Cafe
Event:   February Tourney, round 2.
Players: Phil Gardocki running Mithridatic       

                  Tom Hazlett, Classical 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

What, more Indians?  At least this group are "Classical" Indians and I don't have to append "Graeco-" in front of them all the time.
Classic Indian
     3 Elephants (elite)
     4 Mixed Sword Bowmen
     6 Bowmen (Mediocre)
     4 Medium Swordsmen (mediocre)
     2 Levy
     2 Light Infantry, bow
     2 Guardsmen Medium Swordsmen (elite)
     4 Medium Cavalry Mediocre
     1 Light Cavalry, Javelin
Breakpoint...28, yes you read that right, 28.

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:
The Classical Indians win the initiative, and elect to attack in the plains. The board is the familiar mix if fields, hill and gully.


The Indian right has a large block of foot.  Front row bow, rear rank sword.  With a Medium Cavalry in reserve.
The middle command is combination of mixed sword-bow foot, and 3 elephants. With elite guardsmen in reserve at the camp.
On the Indian left, a small command of 3 Medium and 1 Light Horse.  Total count, 28 units.
The wise and crafty Mithridates the Great takes the left flank of the Pontic Army.  He fears not the bow troops in front of his horse, as he has 4 more units in ambush in the gully.
The Pontic center command that 6 Heavy Foot, Spear, Impact Sword, Pike, Pike, Impact, Sword, and Spear.  A Scythed Chariot is in the back ready to advance when an advantage presents itself.
To the right of the Pontic infantry line, is another Scythed Chariot, and on the hill, Kurdish Javelinmen.

On the far right, King Tigranes deploys with 4 Light Horse, Bow and 2 Elite Cataphracts.
 Turn 1:

On the Indian left, a general advance.  Troops move at the double and get to the 4UD range.
Their center command advances with the protection of skirmishing foot bow.
The Indian right flank advances as well.  It  is two large blocks of Bow backed by Swordsmen.
Mithridates's command takes point and advances.  There seems to be an opportunity here to prosecute a flank here.   He is not going to reveal the ambush just yet.
Darryl pushes his infantry just a short march.  As the Indians have a strong left, he doesn't want the Elephants hanging off of his right flank.
Tigranes also sees an opportunity.  Though heavily out numbered, he can skirmish against half the Indian forces, while engaging Elite Cataphracts against Mediocre Medium Cavalry.
While the generals are all complementing themselves for foresight and brilliance with their strategy and tactics, here is what the dice at to say on command points:) 
Turn 2:

The Indian commander is not impressed by quality.  As flank support forgives a number of ill's and charges!  King Tigranes is taken aback by this behavior, expecting the traditional "I charge, you evade, roll dice to see if I catch you approach."  He decides to go all in and it is General on General.  The end result, The Cataphracts take a hit.

The Indians cautiously support the charge with foot bow, but vector their swordsmen towards the Pontic Infantry.

More advance of the main Indian forces.
On the Indian right, the advance continues, sending Pontic Light Horse fleeing.
An ambush is revealed!  Heavy Cavalry charge!  One Indian Swordsmen is destroyed on contact.  The other holds, but is flanked.  This looks very good for the overall timing.

The Chariots protective Light Infantry Screen is shot away.

The Pontic foot advances to charge reach.
The numbers continue to matter, as Tigranes's skirmishers are shot to death.  His quality over quantity theory is largely disproven.
Turn 3:

The Indian commander has a surplus of command points.  He turns a few bowman around to deal with flank attack.  While his second rank swordsmen interpenetrate their bowmen to meet the Pontic Infantry command.

The quiet, and fuzzy, before the storm.
Indian Medium Sword, possibly Elite, match up on the Kurdish Javelinmen near the hill.  Tigranes Skirmishing Light Horse is almost done, then the Cataphracts flanks will be turned.
Finally, Tigranes is able to bring up flank support as well.  A good die roll and an Indian Cavalry is destroyed, taking their General with them!

The Pontic Infantry split their forces as well to deal with the bends in the line.  The Kurdish Javelinmen are happy where they are, as they have missiles, while the Indian Sword do not.  But it also looks like we have a very unusual Scythed Chariot vs Elephant combat lining up.
General chaos at the bottom of the 3rd.  The Sarmations have turned the flank running down a foot bow.

Indian Swordsmen charge,  Routing the Scythed Chariot and score successive victories on the Pontic Infantry. 
Turn 4:

The Indians redress their lines.  Their Swordsmen destroy a Pontic Heavy Spearmen.
Darryl has attempted to rally his troops, but to no avail as of yet.
You can say the Indians have thrown their heaviest weight, about 15 tons, on to the right of the Pontic Infantry.  The other Scythed Chariot succumbs to adroit archery.  The Indian Swordsmen charge, sending the Kurds fleeing.
One of Tigranes Cataphracts is flanked and destroyed.  All but one of the dead markers here are from his command.
The Kurds have fled.  But they are still not out of the fight.
Where there is life, there is hope.  Quality wins one!  Tigranes rallies his last Cataphract, runs down another Indian Cavalry, taking their General with them.
Darryl's command is split into many parts, but he is also "Brilliant", and manages to play his command like a virtuoso.  Though some would say this was all frantic hip shooting.  The Kurds do come back, and while denied flank support, they now have high ground.
Indian Elephants destroy a Heavy Spear.  Pike are thrown into the fray, and take two hits as well.
Pontic Imitation Legionnaires are destroyed.  But so to another Indian Swordsmen.

We can't keep trading these guys one for one, they're too many of them.  --Admiral Halsey after the battle of Coral Sea.

Turn Next:
What turn is it?  I don't really know.  My indicators for turn 3 and 4 were screwed up.  They now say it's turn 7, we'll just say "Next" from here on out.

Tigranes continues to fight.  The Indians have numbers still, but their commander is dead, and so are not reacting well.
Sarmation Medium Cavalry charges, destroying their Indian counterpart.  But the Indians already are prepared, as two more foot bow are almost ready to receive.
An Elephant destroys a Pikemen units, the other Pike is flanked.  But the last Imitation Legionaries destroy their Elephant.
Turn the Last
Counting the score, and it is 22 to 18.  The forces of Pontus are one away from their demoralization level of 23, the Indians very comfortably 10 away from theirs.  Consider this statement a badly written foreshadowing, and a total plagiarism.  

King Tigranes advances to the front of his Cataphracts and gives them all a steely eye.  Performing an intricate dressage before his troops, which mysteriously have acquired a pair of hobbits, he comes to to rest upon the body of his defeated foe.

Hold your ground! Hold your ground!
Sons of Armenia, of Pontus, my brothers,
I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.
A day may come when the courage of men fails,
when we forsake our friends
and break all bonds of fellowship,
but it is not this day.
An hour of elephants and shattered shields,
when the age of Armenia comes crashing down,
but it is not this day!
This day we fight!!
By all that you hold dear on this good Earth,
I bid you stand, Men of the Middle East!!!
Armenian Cataphracts respond to their leaders words and push their horses forward, disordering their foes, while their Light Horse run their foes down.  The score is now 22 - 20.
The Imitation Legionaries "Conform" to the left, routing the Elephants in contact.  The Elephants rampage through the skirmishers behind them, disordering both.  The score is now 22-23.
Well placed Javelins score a hit on the Swordsmen at the bottom of the hill.   The score is now 22-24.
Mithridates, rolls 5 command points, charges his Heavy Cavalry into a Swordsmen, causing disorder.  He also sends Javelin armed Light Horse, to take a swordsmen in the rear.  Giving their pike a needed respite, and they in turn, push their opponents back.  The score is 22-27
Sarmation Medium Horse are engaged with Bowmen, but roll a lack luster set of dice, and do not add to the score.
But their brother Sarmations charge as well.  Revealing the ambush in the fields for naught but two boys waving sticks.  Into the flanks of the Bowmen to be sent against them, throwing them back into disorder, and adding to the score, now sitting at 22-28.

I have to say my Tom was disgusted, and with good reason.  His well orchestrated attack, which held my flanking maneuver off for 7 or so turns, eviscerating my best command by 6 units, (and change if you count disorder) and accurately estimating his advantages of numbers over quality against two Cataphracts, fell apart in a series of die rolls, none of which were outstandingly against him, but all just missing the mark.  

If any one of those die-rolls, any of them, had been one pip higher, he would have avoided hitting his break point.  If just one was two pips higher, and Mithridates would have to have to remove that "The Great" moniker of which he is way too proud of.  

As it went, the forces of India, hit their break point of 28, and retired from the field.  While the exhausted forces of Pontus, could only stare in amazement.


  1. I didn't think the Armenian light horse could charge the Indian medium cavalry as it was not disordered? Great battle report BTW! Keep them coming.

  2. I think what you are referring to is at the bottom of turn 4. That was Light on Light action. The Indians had a single Light Horse Javelin supporting their Medium Cavalry.

  3. And thank you. Positive reinforcement is a great motivator. I currently have 7 in the queue, 4 completed. Stay tuned.

  4. What a tense and close fought battle. "Great" report.

  5. Thanks for reading and commenting.