Friday, May 19, 2017

Picts Under Siege

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:        Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players:     Phil Gardocki and Garth Parker, playing the Picts
                      Bruce Potter playing Vikings

Official Warning:   This battle report is Rated NC17 (dePicts nudity), and contains nuts, lead and sharp pointy things. (do not eat!)

Preamble:   In a world before Brexit, England was known for its multiculturalism and fierce independence.  Where strange men bounced around the countryside to blood thumping background music, their servants banging coconuts in their wake.   But there were those in Europe,  who looked upon England with envious eyes, and made their plans.  

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 200 points per side.
Scenario:  European bureaucrats, armed with axes and Irish,  propose a merger with the natives of pre-Brexit Scotland.

The Forces:
Picts, led by the puny milk-livered mammet and barely competent, Larry, his brother, the frothy fat-kidneyed flax-wench, Darryl, and his other brother, the warped tickle-brained varlot Darryl.
      12 Warriors, Medium Spearmen, Missile Support
      4 Atecotti, Medium Swordsmen, Impetuous (elite) 
      4 Heroes, Light Chariots (elite)
      4 Light Cavalry, Javelin
       Break point 25

Vikings, led by the Hagar the Horrible, Eric the Eliminator and Sven the Savage, all Competent.

      6 Huscarls, Heavy Swordsmen, Armor, 2HW ( 8 elite)
      4 Irish Mercenaries, Medium swordsmen, 2HW
      8 Warriors, Heavy Swordsmen, impetuous
      2 Bowmen
       Break point 21

Deployment:
The Picts won the initiative roll and elected to receive the Vikings in the forest.

The terrain fell entirely on the left side of the board.  This greatly affected the deployments.
The Vikings picked the all Heavy Infantry option, ans deployed solidly on their left.  The Picts had half their army on the right, the other half just left of the center.
Only some of the Picts on the left can be seen.
Odin is watching, providing all kinds of incentive for the Norse to fight well.

Mixed metaphors here.  Viking troops, an Asterix "action figure", and a shirt espousing Scottish philosophy.
Experimenting with the flash.
The Vikings double move across the board.  Some swordsmen angling to receive the expected Pict flank charges.
The Picts run out to meet the invader.
The left flank Picts with only 2 command points, and advance as well as they can.
Leaving their hidden cavalry and chariots without orders.
Turn 2:
The Vikings got one shot off with their bowmen on turn 1, and then interpenetrated them with the Huscarls on turn 2.  The Picts would have been more than happy to selectively charge the bowmen.  The Huscarls though, are another story. They seem to have all the advantages.  They take 4 hits vice 3, they have a +1 if they win (2HW), +1 if they lose (Armor), win ties (2HW vs Spear) and a +1 if they roll poorly (Elite).  

And on the right, we have Light Chariots and Light Cavalry vs Heavy Swordsmen.
The left command of Picts double time some of their troops, the rest are within 4 U.D.'s of the Vikings.
The War leader on the right, rolls 4 command points, and is in full control of is impetuous troops.  He holds them back waiting for the rest of the army to get into place.
Turn 3:
On the far right, there is a charge and an evade.  Odin approves this charge.  Huscarl Swordsmen advance to charge range of the Picts.
The Viking forces on the left are slowly advancing as well.
With spare command points, the right side chariots are loose!

The woods really slow things down.  Especially if you are wheeling.
First blood to the Vikings.
Turn 4:
You wouldn't think it would take so long for two barbarian hordes to close to contact.

The Huscarls charge. Two Pict Warbands are destroyed.  Two more are damaged.  The Atecotti however, both win, causing extra damage with their Furious charges.
The other Pict command is in reach.
The original intention of this 4 horse command was to sweep the flanks.  Now its choices seem to be die or flee the board.
The original thought was for the left side horse to race around the flanks and possibly the camp.  That idea went out the window due to the reality check of the terrain, the shortage of command points for the command (7 total in 3 turns), and the fact that Light Chariots do NOT have the double command range like Light Horse.  Now I just hope to get a Light Chariot charge on Medium Foot.
Darryl is living up to his reputation as a frothy fat-kidneyed flax-wench.  But even he can only accept so many taunts before charging in.  His troops do well, winning 3 out of 4.
In the center, the Picts win 1 and lose 1.  Not bad considering all the Huscarl's advantages.
On the right flank, the Chariots are trying to squeeze their way out.  The Light Horse is teasing the far right with their Javelins.
The overall view of the corner.  The Vikings are doing well at not being overwhelmed by Pict numbers.
Turn 5:
On the far right, the Vikings have charged, not quite reaching the Hero's chariots, and not quite running the Light Horse off of the board.  But they have turned the Atecotti's flank, destroying it.
Quality over Quantity, another warband falls in the center.
On the Pict left, a series of wins for the Viking Warriors.  Another warband falls.
The final Pict Warbands charge in, the stalworth Irish Mercenaries stand their ground winning each fight.  But it the battle is not totally one sided as two Viking Warriors also fall, taking their War-Chief Sven the Savage with them!
The Hero's on the right finally get into a fight.  Bolstering the Pict flank at an important time.
The Viking right is now looking for somewhere to go. 
Most of the Vikings on the right are heavy swordsmen, impetuous, and so are also unmaneuverable.  In L' Art de la Gurerre, that is represented by an extra command cost to turn, 2 vice 1.  And with Heavy Infantry, a unit can only move 1UD after making that turn.   It will take a while for this force to turn and support the center.

Turn 6:
A pair of victories for the Vikings here.  Destroying a unit on the hill, and on the left flank.  The Hero's on their chariots arrive in theater just in time to have skies darken with arrows.
The last Atacotti falls to a flank charge.  Their war leader, the puny milk-livered mammet, Larry, flees to a nearby warband.


The entire Viking left is looking for a target.
Is this what it's all about?  A few pigs and a couple of dead cows rotting in the sun?
What is left of the Pict center rages on.
Darryl's heroes are hoping for a 6-1 to win this fight.  And a 6-1 it is!  Wait a minute....
The Picts are not out of this yet.  Through a combination of flank attacks, and just plain old British Pre-Brexit gumption, 4 Viking and Mercenary warbands are routed, another damaged, while two other Viking warbands are surrounded! 
I think the term "Bloody Hell" is appropriate here.
Final shot.
With the destruction of the chariot borne Heroes, the Picts hit their demoralization score of 25.  The Vikings were at 17 of 21.  So this was a very narrow game indeed.

A couple of games ago I hit the realization that loose order troops, "Medium Infantry" in L'Art de la Guerre parlance really to not play well in the woods.  This was reinforced here.  Yes they can run through the wooded hill, but at reduced speeds.  The Pict center realized that the flanking left Picts were not going to keep their schedule and attack at the same time and was lucky enough to roll enough command points to keep the impetuous troops in check.  

But they could only hold on so long, as the Vikings were also impetuous and forced the line almost two turns before the Pict left was ready.  The left flank did very well, just not soon enough to help the center much.  

Another thought was with the deployment, the way the terrain fell.  The left side was cluttered, the right was bare.  This forced the Vikings Heavies to be deployed almost entirely on the right.  The Picts should have realized there would be no room to maneuver for their lights and chariots over there and placed them elsewhere.  Not taking that into account was almost a disaster.  














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