Thursday, April 13, 2017

Mongols vs Byzantines

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Walt's house
Event:    Weekend at Walts
ArmiesThematic Byzantine played by Phil Gardocki
                   Mongols played by Walt Leech

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

Scenario:  Random draw.

The Forces:
Thematic Byzantines: The commanders Philippicus, Thy lumpish fool-born foot-licker (Brilliant), Eiliphedas, who is wither'd like an old apple-john (Brilliant) , and Anon, "Take you me for a sponge" the Unknowable,  (Unreliable-Ordinary).
      4 Tagmata, Heavy cavalry impact bow (elite)    

      7 Kataphraktoi, 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

       Genghis (strategist) and two Competents.
      4 Heavy cavalry impact bow (elite)    

      4 Heavy cavalry bow ( 2 elite)     
      12 Light Cavalry, Bow (6 elite)

      2 Hostages, Levy (mediocre)
       Break point,  20
The Board:
The Mongols win the initiative roll and elect to attack in the plains.
The Byzantines selected a Gully, a Hill to go with the mandatory field.  The Mongols selected a road and a field.


The Byzantine First Corps, commanded by Philippicus is on the left. In the center is the 3rd Corps, commanded by Anon.  Philippicus is to be the left swing of the attack.  Anon's infantry is to maintain the joints for Philippicus to swing around.

On re right is Second Corps, commanded by Eiliphedas. This Corps is to refuse combat until required.  It has hill position and a fortified camp to assist in this.
The Mongol right is just 4 Light Horse and 2 Heavy Cavalry.
The Mongol center is the same, just 4 Light Horse and 2 Heavy Cavalry.

Genghis is on the Mongol left with 4 Elite Heavy Cavalry, 4 Light Horse, and 2 units of hostages.
The view from the center.
Turn 1:
The Mongol horde thunders forward.  Genghis's 1st command is bolstered by 4 Light Horse from his 3rd command.  While Genghis has 3 commands he shifted the units about so they functioned as 2 commands.  This made the horde appear much larger than it actually was. 
And truth be told, the Mongols historically operated with such organization and precision, it only seemed like they were a horde. 

The Mongol Second Command, bolstered by 2 Heavy Cavalry of the 3rd command approach Philippicus's line, but not at a full charge as you would expect.
On the left, Byzantine shooters draw first blood.

While Philippicus's other cavalry take a wary approach.

Shots on the right side come in about even.
The line looks crooked, but it is assumed straight because the figures keep falling over. 
Turn 2.
A rather predictable first round.  Both sides are preparing for the long shooting game.

The Byzantines make a half-hearted charge, shooing away a couple of skirmishers. Missile fire scores another hit.

Mongols close and loose.  Scoring a hit as well.

Anon's foot troops are doing the slow and steady routine.
FYI, I am working on upgrading my casualty counters here.  With falling debris or dead figures, with a tiny die to mark the actual value.  So that counter by the Alan Light Cavalry is a shield and a 1.
The shootout at the hill is running in the favor of the Mongols.
Generals also have a die on them, to mark their + modifier when rolling for command points.

Anon's center command advances and joins the line.
His arrival is fortuitous as Philippicus's command is losing the Missile fire exchange.
Philippicus's Heavy Cavalry charges, shooing away more Light Horse, while two Thematic Kataphracts score another missile hit, while threatening the flank of the Mongol Heavy Cavalry.
Turn 3:

The Mongols vie for position, while the Byzantines fail to rally.

Even though the Mongols were winning the shoot out, their position was untenable, with Heavy Spear off of their left, and Kataphracts on their right.  So they abandoned the position.
On the Mongol right, they pull back their lights, and rally one. 
Eiliphedas commands a Kataphract to charge away Mongol Skirmishers, and pulls up beyond the flank of the Mongol front line.

Anon's Infantry push forward as well, keeping the pressure up on the Mongol Center.
Another charge and chase.
Thematic Kataphracts rally, (the ones with the numbers 2 and 3), one succeeds.  The Tagmatic Kataphract (green grass and lances) advances and links up the other Thematic Kataphracts to also keep up the pressure on the Mongol Center. 
Turn 4:

First blood!  A Mongol Skirmisher is shot away.
The Mongol center is not going to retreat in half measures, and pulls back another 3 UD.s
Genghis charges a flanked and disordered Kataphract on the hill, which evades.  The Mongols are read shields near the Psiloi Light Infantry.  Byzantines on the left side of the line charge a Kataphract from behind the flank.  Either the Mongol Light Horse stands, or the whole line will have to evade.  The Great Khan orders the Light Horse to hold it's ground.  
The evading Kataphract turn and are ready to return to the fight.
Impact Heavy Cavalry vs Light Horse Bow, and the Heavy Cavalry lose.  Another Thematic Kataphract charges disordered Mongol Cavalry, and the Kataphracts lose that one as well.
Another shot out on the hill, no one scores.
One ambush revealed, a dummy.
The Thematic Kataphracts accept a charge, and are run down on contact.
The Mongols have successfully turned the Byzantine left flank.  But to keep that advantage they have to stand in the center.  Otherwise, the two Tagmata on the hill will just turn and pin the Mongols on the camp.

While the Mongols have a temporary advantage of 4-3 in Heavy Horse, the Byzantines are all Impact Bow, the Mongols, jus Bow.  They don't want another evade as the field will slow them down and they may be caught.
Both sides here are content to just shoot.  Mainly because both sides have commanders that are out of range, and short on Command points.
Byzantines run down both a Light and a Heavy Cavalry unit.  To try to hold the line, the Genghis orders all his Light Horse to stand.  And with a flurry of good dice, they do.  Anon the Unknowable is slain so the Heavy Spear takes 2!

Suddenly free of a ZOC, a Tagmata turns and charges the Mongols off of the hill.
Kataphractoi close in on the Mongol line, turning it on the far right.

More shots exchanged.
Turn 5:

Two Kataphracts charge.  Two Mongols flee, two stand.  One Mongol is ridden down.
Mongols charge the Tagmata on the hill.  In a moment of hubris, the Byzantines accept.  Only to be immediately hit in the rear and destroyed.   In the scrum in the center, the Mongols destroy the Alan Light Horse, and damage the Heavy Spear. 
All the while, to the steady beat of whips being cracked, the hostages move inexorably towards the Byzantine Camp.
On an interesting note, a Mongol General had to flee his previous position, and is not able to focus on the 3 Light Horse on the right.
The Mongol Center has all but collapsed, while the Byzantines push in fresh forces.  
The Score at this point is something like 12-10, Byzantines favor. 

The hill has fallen, the sack of the Byzantine Camp is only a matter of time.  It is time to reform the lines than try to force a quick win. A Thematic Kataphract is commanded to depart, to start forming the next line of defense. 
The camp is fortified, but has only a Psiloi to defend it.
Turn 6:

The Mongol Light Horse breaks off of the Infantry, and two fresh shooters rotate in.

Genghis Khan is enjoying the view.  He has the position, but his troops are too scattered for coordinated actions.
One Cavalry is chasing Psiloi, one is attacking the camp.
The points are piling up here.  The Byzantines successfully rally two Kataphracts.  While two Thematic Kataphracts continue to shoot at Mongol Heavy Horse.
Two command points are spared here.  Another successful rally, and the Alans turn the flank.
Turn 7:
The Mongols also try to rally their troops.
Another failed rally here as well.
That failed rally cost them.  Missile fire scores, dispersing one skirmisher, which routs through another.  2 more points towards demoralization.  With the Byzantine successes in rallying, they are back to 12, and so can survive the sacking of the camp.  The Mongols failed rallying across the board, and are at 19.
The Byzantines have a unified front, and a pair of shots cause 2 more hits.  The Mongol break point is at 20.

The heroic Skutatatoi survive another barrage of arrows.
The Mongols have run off the Psiloi.  This raises the Byzantine break point back to 13, and should the camp fall, they will be demoralized.  Next turn, the hostages will be thrown at the camp.  But, the Mongols have hit their break point and so they don't get that turn, the Byzantines win.

Lessons learned?  This was a fairly even game, with the advantage to the Mongols most of the way.  The Byzantine position on the hill was excellent, but they relied on it too much and the Mongols managed to infiltrate it and tear it to shreds.  Both sides need to maneuver to win.  By taking a position on the hill, the Byzantines nailed their foot to the floor, and in the end were out-maneuvered.

But elsewhere on the board, the Byzantines dominated the Mongols.   Having the advantage in quality (6 Heavy Cavalry Impact Bow vs 4 Heavy Cavalry) Foot support, and a parity of missile fire.  They constantly flanked and pushed the Mongols back.  The only problem was time.  The Mongols were taking apart the Byzantine right flank faster than the Byzantines were securing victory elsewhere.  The first kill didn't even occur until turn 4.

Both of these armies are a joy to play, but I do not recommend either for Tournament play.  They really need a lot more time to get their results.  That is difficult to achieve in a 2.5 hour time frame.


  1. Interesting to see so many light horse Mongols- I'm tempted to upgrade all my 15mm lights to cavalry???
    Always love your games btw!

  2. From what I have heard, people like to mix Cavalry with Light Cavalry for the Mongols. You shoot with the MC, which doesn't have the -1, and support with an LC, for another +1. MC has a combat advantage over LC that it may be matched with. But, MC also has a protection value of zero.