Sunday, July 30, 2017

In Came the Byzantines.

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Continental Inn, Lancaster, Pa

Event:    "The Weekend" LADG team tourney, fourth round.
Players: Phil Gardocki running Anglo Irish
                  Aubrey Hopkins running Komnenan Byzantine
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Medieval team

The Forces:
Anglo Irish circa 1400: Commanders  Larry the puny spur-galled knave, Darryl, the dissembling rough-hewn miscreant and Darryl, a low and disreputable fishmonger., all 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 Javelinmen

       The Corps will be called "Battles" as that was the naming convention for England in Medieval times.
Komnenan Byzantine
        Following the instructions in Emperor Maurice's Strategikon, the Byzantine forces were well masked, and thus unknown.


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. 

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 lost the initiative roll and will defend in the mountains.  Steep hills and forests abound on the board.

The board is littered with bad terrain.  And both sides hid much of their forces in it.
I have to get used to the idea of Byzantines with Knights.

I am not sure if the camp placement is legal, but it was the 4th game today, and we all were a bit froggy.
Of Darryl's command, most is hidden except the Light Horse and his Nobles.
The clear area starts about the middle of the board going to the right.
And on the right, we have Long bow manning fortifications. 
According to Google Translate, "Saethyddion hir" means bowmen, while "Hefyd
Saethyddion hir" means more bowmen.

Turn 1:

The Byzantine ambush is revealed.  2 Psiloi.  Their advance is supported by Light Horse maneuvering through the woods.
The Byzantine commander is brilliant, but his command points are not without end.  So his heavier cavalry doesn't advance as far as they may.
Their left command makes adjustments and goes to the far left.
The Anglo Irish reveal their ambushes as well.  Longbow and Javelinmen and Kerns.
The Irish Main Line performs a standard forward march.
Darryl (the low and disreputable fishmonger), holds his forces behind the lines.
Turn 2:
The Byzantine lights clear the woods.  Darryl's lights are not thrilled at the odds.
This is not readily visible but in the upper left, a large force of Byzantine Cavalry break left from the woods and head left on the double.   
Another example of Byzantine mobility.  5 lights engage the Anglo-Irish main line, while the cavalry cuts left.
On the Byzantine left, the cavalry makes a right face.
Irish Javelinmen charge Byzantine Light Horse, sending them into the woods.  Irish Light Horse take advantage of this to run down some Psiloi.  But luck wasn't with him, as the roll was a tie.
Welsh and English Longbow veer right and shoot.
In the center, Longbow fire is making itself felt on the Byzantine Light Horse.
Since Byzantine Cavalry isn't committing to the field, the Longbow abandon their fortifications and assist the lights.
Turn 3:
With the Light Horse stalled, the Psiloi go for a flank.
Total confusion, as the Byzantines abandon the center.
The Irish center angles to face the Byzantine cavalry force.
Some Byzantine Lights run for the flank.
On the left, the Irish Light Horse pulls a break off move.
The center is slow and steady.
Darryl see an opportunity, and commands the Irish Nobles to charge the flank of the Byzantine Medium Cavalry.  It was expected for the Byzantines to evade, probably off board, but they stood their ground instead.  The dice roll, and the Byzantines stand with 2 hits!
Turn 4:
No matter how this ends up, these guys get a medal for just surviving.
Darryl's positioning looks good here, but he is having a lot of command control problems.  5 groups and only +1 on the die.

The main line is still slowly turning, forcing the Byzantines into a pocket.
One Byzantine Medium Cavalry falls, but their Knights have arrived to play.
These happy few are going to cash in their paychecks.

In the upper right, you can see the Byzantine center command has redeployed again.  Darryl's Longbow change their formation to adapt. 
Longbow stakes come out. 
You gotta love Brilliant Commanders.  Byzantines running 4 groups, mostly at long range.
Not much to report here.  Reforming the Longbow has given the Byzantine Lights an opportunity to recover.
Byzantine Knights Charge!  They run down a Longbow and the Irish Nobles.
The Irish Light Horse have friends to help keep these miscreants at bay!  Two Kerns in the woods.
Since half the Byzantine Cavalry managed to get out of the pocket, Larry's main battle line is going to have to re-orientate.

Turn 6:

It was a long run, but the Irish Camp is in sight.
Byzantine cavalry commit in the center, and immediately start taking arrow hits.
After 6 turns, part of the Irish main line of battle is in combat.  Clan Ramsay charges a solitary knight, with support by English Longbow.

The game was called on time, I think the score was 9-5 in favor of the Anglo-Irish.

After the game, Aubrey asked me what he could have done better.  I didn't think about it then, but most of the Byzantine Cavalry were Knights, and could have dismounted in the face of fortifications and stakes.  Heavily Armored 2HW Infantry would have made short work of the Longbow.


  1. Thanks Walt. Next week, the Irish Civil War. I had the most fun writing it. Enjoy.

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