Friday, June 30, 2017

The Weekend, Round One.

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Continental Inn, Lancaster, Pa

Event:    "The Weekend IX" LADG team tourney.
                  Round 1 
Players: Phil Gardocki running Anglo Irish
                  Mark Crotteau running Yuan Chinese
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Medieval team

The Forces:
Anglo Irish circa 1400: Commanders  Larry, who art violently carried away from grace, Darryl thee loggerheaded motley-minded bladder, and the wither'd like an old apple-john, Darryl, all are barely competent.
      4 Galloglaich, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW (Elite) 
      2 Billmen, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW (Mediocre)
      1 Foot Knight, 2HW (Elite)       
      4 Longbowmen,stakes 
      2 Longbowmen (Elite)
      2 Irish Nobles, Heavy Cavalry
      2 Light Cavalry, Javelin 
      4 Kerns, Light Infantry, Javelin
       1 Javelinman

       The Corps will be called "Battles" as that was the naming convention for England in Medieval times.
Yuan Chinese
        The inscrutable orientals, students of Sun Tsu, have masked their forces.  What is known is that they brought allies from the island of Java, and they didn't bring coffee.


About a decade ago, Otto Schmidt and his wife started organizing "the Weekend".  Emphasizing game play at the expense of vendors and admission fees.  For the price of the hotel room, and delivering a couple of bags of snacks, you can play.  Games available run the gamut, from prehistoric dinosaur mayhem to Vietnam.  Possibly beyond, I have only attended two of them.  He also has a yahoo group, The Society of the Daisy, dedicated to polite discourse on gaming. 
Napoleonics on a grand scale.

Last year he asked me and Walt Leech about running a L'Art de la Guerre tournament, and while I thought about it, Walt jumped all over it.   And boy did he. 20 cut foam boards, about 12 plaques, and a shrine to LADG with columns and helmets.  

The Scenario:
"The Weekend" team tourney, Medieval period.

The Board:
The Anglo Irish have won the initiative roll and will attack in the plains.

With 3 elephants, Mark did his best to create an anti-knight army for the Medieval period.  As did almost everyone else this day, including yours truly. 
From center to right, the Chinese have a mix of swordsmen and cavalry.
A luminescent ambush marker and 20mm dice. I seem to have seen a number of articles about using casino dice, promoting their perfect balance.  I have even heard suggestions that they be required in tournaments. 
Knowing the Chinese will have a mobility advantage, Darryl's battle is hugging the coast line.  Larry's battle right next to him.
To his left, Darryl has another battle consisting of Longbow, Javelinmen, and horse. 
With a few quickly built fortifications to bolster the flank.
Turn 1:
Following the plan thought out before the sides were picked, Larry double moves his Galloglaich forward, while the Longbow lag behind.
The main battle is 5 wide with elites.  2 mediocre units are there to either expand if necessary, or cover a flank.
The other brother Darryl will take up shooting positions in the field.
I forgot the Javanese command was an ally.  He rolls a one to be unreliable!, but the Irish Lights are already within 4 of the Javanese lights, so his reliability is assured.
Most of the Chinese forces advance at the double as well. 
Accept where they are blocked by skirmishers.
Turn 2:

Units approach to missile range and arrows fly.
The Anglo-Irish are shooting well.  5 hits on 6 shots. 
Darryl decides to call up the Javelinmen into the field.  It seems like the Chinese cavalry are just stumbling along, but the Elephant is a more immediate threat.
Disaster!  The Javanese charge the Irish lights.  Who evade and escape, but the Javanese roll a 5 in pursuit, and collide with the Longbow shooting line.  Destroying 2 of them on contact.
Misfortune follows.  The main battle line loses one of it's skirmishers, the other is damaged.  The other longbow line also takes a hit.
The only part of the battle that is following the plan was the slow advance of the Chinese cavalry.
Turn 3:
Turn 2 was a total disaster.  Instead of getting 3 rounds to shoot and then have the Javanese approach in manner where they are also flanked by the main battle line, the Javanese race past the main battle line and collapse the flanking longbow.

Darryl goes to the front lines of his remaining longbow unit.  Clan Ramsay and the main battle line advance and slide, covering Clan O'Lyre as it flanks the Javanese swordsmen, destroying them.
Irish lights posture in front of the Javanese.  But the Irish Nobles have no desire to face the elephants and head for the center.
Larry's 4 best units face off in what looks like a favorable matches.  The Billmen are dropped back to cover the flanks or support the Longbow.
The stakes come out.  They do nothing for the swordsmen, but do cancel impact and furious charge for the elephant.
A Javanese elephant, supported by a swordsmen threaten the Irish Nobles.  Their other swordsmen flank charge Darryl's elite long-bowmen.  The dice are rolled, and it is a tie.  The flank seems to be holding.
In the right, Darryl loses one of his longbow-men as well.  But the Javelinmen manage to pull a win scoring two hits on the Chinese swordsmen.  In the upper left, the Chinese Light Horse goes for maximum annoyance, as it races the gap past the English Billmen.
The Chinese Cavalry have finally arrived in field.
Turn 4:
I missed taking pictures.     We'll catch up on turn 5.
Turn 5:
In a moment of panic and bravery, and hoping to luck, the Irish Nobles charge the Javanese Swordsmen.  They come in at a 1.  (normally 2 verses Medium Infantry, but -1 for the elephant)  The Swordsmen are +2, having support.  The Swordsmen win by 2, which is enough to overcome better armor.    The thought here was to tie up the Javanese in time to bring the billmen in.  Not a good thought, but it was there.  Also, Larry's main battle line charges.  The Chinese cavalry opts to evade, leaving the disordered elephant to it's own devices. Luck favored the Javanese, and Clan Ramsay takes two hits.
The Chinese elephant continues to be held to the stake line, while it's supporting swordsmen are destroyed on both sides.  Now it is the Elephant's turn to receive a flank charge.

The Anglo-Irish suffer a total collapse in command dice rolls, or they would have been able to turn this around.
The Billmen have been unable to advance due to other priorities.   And the Irish Nobles pay the price.
I had been having problems with the camera all game.  I think the board was so homogeneous, that it couldn't get a lock on the range, or a face or something.  The flash kept refusing to fire.  At this time I thought I had worked it out, but now I have a date/time stamp embedded on all my pictures.  But at least the flash fires now.

The Anglo-Irish were not the only one with command problems.  The Chinese Light Horse, after making it's daring penetration, hasn't moved for 3 turns.  On the main line, I get to use one of my customized fallen elephant markers for the first time. 
Despite being flanked, the elephant still destroys its opposing Longbow unit.

The Irish Light Horse was a bit too daring, and was caught and destroyed.
Turn 7:

Another Javanese Swordsmen falls, but the way to the camp is open.

Clan Ramsay kills an elephant, which rampaged into the English Foot Knights (heh!)
Note to self, if you surround an elephant, he is going to rampage through you!
Final shots

The final score was 22-15, in favor of the Chinese.  This is one of the few times I can attribute luck to my defeat.  Everything was set up well.  My positioning was good.  I distracted for most of the game 4 Cavalry at the cost of 1 Light Horse.  My main battle line did OK, only killing an elephant but it did tie up  7 other units in the process.  And Clan O'Lyre and two Billmen got into the flank action, as designed.   But that long pursuit lead to eventually the camp falling.  Other wise we would have gone to turn 8 with a score of 18-15.  

One mistake was committing my Irish Nobles to soon.  They didn't need to be in the fight that turn, and they are allowed to evade if charge.  Another turn would have made a difference.  That would have had the last Longbow in a field and supported by Javelinmen to shoot at Heavy Cavalry.  Galloglaich engaging their opposing Chinese sword.     Billmen and Clan O'Lyre bearing down on the last Javanese sword.  A close game indeed.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

1066, The Battle For Britain

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:        Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players:  Bruce William Potter, Jenny Parker and Steve Turn are representing the defending Britain's, England, Scotland, and Wales.
                Philip Harry Gardocki and Garth Parker are representing the conquerors, the Normans, Vikings, and the Bretons.

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.   
(Yes, I know I used the same preamble in the Vikings vs. Picts AAR, but it sounded too good not to reuse.)

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 300 points per side.

Scenario:  In this scenario, Duke William of Normandy, allied with King Harald Hardrada of Norway and Duke Vetal of Brittany, unite in a plan to conquer Britain.  King Harold Godwinson has time to form an alliance with the King Rhys ap Gruffydd of Wales, and Clan MacDonald of Scotland to repel the invaders.
The Forces:

King Harald Hardrada of Norway
6    Huscarls                            Heavy swordsmen armour 2HW        elite
4    Irish mercenaries            Medium swordsmen 2HW       

Duke William of Normandy
3    Milites                                  Medium knight impetuous        elite
4    Norman Spearmen            Heavy spearmen       
2    Bow                                       Bowmen       
Duke Vetal of Brittany
3    Knights                              Medium knight impetuous        elite
4    Breton Spearmen            Heavy spearmen armour       
2    Bow                                    Bowmen       

Breakpoint 29

King Harold Godwinson of England
3    Huscarls                                    Heavy swordsmen armour 2HW   
9    Anglo Saxon Warriors            Heavy spearmen                  

King Rhys ap Gruffydd of Wales
9    Warriors                                   Medium spearmen missile support  
1    Medium Horse                         Medium cavalry  
2    Light                                          Light infantry javelin                   
Clan MacDonald (Scots)   
8    Warriors                                  Medium spearmen missile support  
1    Medium Horse                       Medium cavalry  
1    Light Horse                             Light cavalry javelin  
2    Light                                         Light infantry javelin  
Breakpoint 37  
All generals in this game are Competent.  Just to keep things simple.

King Harold Godwinson has home-field advantage, and elects to defend in the forest.  King Godwinson selects 2 woods and a 2 wooded hills and a village.
Duke William selects a field and a brush. 

It is a quiet morning near Nottingham.  It has a been a dry season and campfires are being carefully extinguished.  The mood music is shifting to a lower key, the plot is about to thicken.
Not since when the General Aulus Plautius of Roman, has such a massive invading army attacked the isle of Britain, and not since Arthur Pendragon has a united Britain faced such an invader.
Men from all over Europe have been called up, looking land, glory, and plunder.
Britain is not without it's defenders.  Fierce warriors from the north answered the call.  Standing alongside brave warriors form the west.
And holding the position left of the line, the English, with a full dozen units of men armed with spear and ax.
Turn 1:
The Irish plunge into the field, but one is sent to distract the Scot's horsemen from wrapping around the flank.
King Harold Hardrada's Huscarls move at the double, but are outpaced by Duke William's Knights.
The Norman spear and bow wave their goodbyes to the Knights as they depart.
Duke Vital's Knights are also eager to engage the enemy, leaving his spear behind as well.
What happened here was a flurry of small command rolls for the Normans and the Bretons.

Also, you may have noted a larger than normal board.  4 x 6 feet.  This was to accommodate the 300 point armies.  However, this made for a boring early game, as close order foot moves at a snails pace, even with double moves.

With their flanks secure, and with terrain advantage, and having Medium Infantry vs. Knights.  The Britain's stand pat.
The only movement on the left.  Scot's horsemen are running wild!
On the right, England pushes forward.
Turn 2:
FYI, this was a long approach, you might want to skip down to turn 7 or so....

William's Knights and Harold's Huscarl's seem to be in a foot race.
Duke Vital gets a couple of command points and summons his spearmen.
The Scots and the Welsh stand pat.
Harold Godwinson, is enjoying a good laugh at the Normans expense.
Turn 3:
Playing on a large board, the command radius really is felt.  The next few turns are are not so much about moving forward, but getting the troops back in command.

Hardrada's Huscarls and Williams Knights are neck and neck.
The intent of the Britain's is clear, so the invaders will spend time and command points organizing.
Turn 4:
Godwinson's troops have been reforming their lines, so Huscarls are facing spear, and Spearmen are facing Knights. 
The Scot's Light Horse gets 2 command points to slip behind the Irish lines.
Turn 5:
Turn 6:

Turn 7:
OK, back from the nap.  Duke Vetal's Bretons are closing to contact with Godwinson's British.  It looks like bad match-ups for the Bretons.
The Welsh are determined to stand in their woods. 

Hardrada's foot are now ready for their assault.  In response, the Scots of Clan McDonald, pull their lines back.
Harold Godwinson is not going to wait for the Breton assault, and orders a charge where the odds are in his favor.  The first die roll doesn't bode well as Breton Bowmen actually win their fight against Elite Armored Heavy Swordsmen.
Overall, the British did not do well here.  3 loses, 2 ties and a single win.
Irish Mercenaries pin the Scot's horsemen to the edge of the board.
Turn 8:
A lot of turns, but only an hour has passed at this point.
An ambush is revealed.  Light Infantry in the village.  The Irish eagerly approach to assault the village.   Harold's Huscarls spend a turn expanding their rear ranks before plunging in.
This all looks good, if it were not for the trees.
A decent picture down the line.
The back and forth down the line has both lines cracking.  King Godwinson goes to the front lines to bolster his men, and catches a spear to the eye.  Leaderless, his Saxons fight on 
Turn 9:
The Irish begin their assault.  And in true Irish fashion, one of the warbands is destroyed by defending Light Infantry.  Two Irish warbands invest the village, now defended by one Light Infantry and one Medium Cavalry.
On the bottom of turn 9, things go very wrong for the Bretons.
In the center, Normandies forces are at a stand off against the Welsh.
The Irish went into the village with all the advantages.  And are now losing.
Save for one bowmen, it is a clean sweep of Breton infantry.
It was hoped that the Bretons would keep the Britain'a engaged till they could be flanked by the Norman foot, but that is not to be.
Turn 10:
The shadows lengthen as the end of the day draws neigh.  As Nottingham forest grows dark, the Welsh begin to disappear.  Only the occasional jeer in that incomprehensible language keeps the Normans in their place.
Another Irish Warband falls.  The last is engaged with Medium Horse.  Despite the horse having a minus 3 modifier, they survive the Irish assault undamaged.  But Harold's Huscarls, winded by their long march, have now engaged the Scot's.  Winning only one battle, while losing 3. 
Scene from the center at sunset.
With the setting sun, the combatants disengage and return to their camps.  The Bretons had been massacred, the Irish decimated.  The defending Britain's are largely intact.  The invaders were defeated, but not broken, and begin the long retreat against a hostile countryside, hounded by the Godwinson alliance, facing the threat of winter, few would ever see their homes in Europe.

Neither side hit their break points, the final score was 14 of 37 losses for England, 19 of 29 for Europe.