Sunday, August 6, 2017

Clash of the Clans

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Continental Inn, Lancaster, Pa 
Event:    "The Weekend" L'Art de la Guerre team tourney.  Round 4.
Players: Phil Gardocki running Anglo Irish
                  Ricky Jones running Anglo Irish
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Medieval team

The Forces:
Anglo Irish circa 1400: Commanders  Larry, his brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl, 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 L' Art de la Guerre term "Corps" will be called "Battles" as that was the naming convention for England in Medieval times.
Anglo Irish circa 1400: Commanders  Larry (2nd cousin on his wife's side to Larry above), 3rd cousin (on his wife's side but 4th cousin otherwise) Darryl and Uncle Darryl, who we are not sure how he relates, but he comes to all the family events.

Otherwise the historians were too drunk and hung over to tell which ones were which.  Even at the end both sides claimed to be on the winning side, and who was to tell?

      6 Galloglaich, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW (Elite)
      2 Heavy Knights (Elite)       
      4 Longbowmen,stakes 
      4 Irish Nobles, Heavy Cavalry, Impetuous 
      2 Light Cavalry, Javelins 
      4 Kerns, Light Infantry, Javelin

A note about our event organizer:
About a decade ago, Otto Schmidt (may he rest in peace) 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. 
Reading material for the down time.

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 what a wonderful job he did. 20 cut foam boards, about 12 plaques, and a shrine to L'Art de la Guerre with columns and helmets.  

The Scenario:
It all started with Farmer O'Brian's boundary stones.  Which seemed to have been moving about 6 paces a fortnight.  Well enough is enough with Bessie's pasture reduced to a tithe of its former size, and it was obvious who the villain was.  So a moot was called to settle the issue.  Of course you can't have a moot without an inter village rugby game.  So the teams were called, and at the first scrum McGooruough called "Skawmish!", those lying thieving bastards have 42 men on their side, to which Sheamus replied, "Tis true"! "But our team is by weight not volume, and some settling has occurred!"  And then Kenneth Brannach said something about our little Cindy, which 8 months later turned out to be true, and that got the blood up, and with the happenings with their pin boy Cork, getting so drunk at the 9 pin finals he couldn't stand himself up much less the pins.  Twice he fell over taking the pins with him and his team counting it as a strike.  And only 8 years old!  Well that was too much.  And the Anna Livia, when the old cheb went futt and did what you know. Yes, I know, it was they threed to make out he thried to two in the Fiendish park. He's an awful old reppe. Look at the shirt of him!  Look at the dirt of it! He has all my water black on me. And it steeping and stuping since this time last wik. Minxing marrage and making loof.  Reeve Gootch was right and Reeve Drughad was sinistrous! And the cut of him! And the strut of him! How he used to hold his head as high as a howeth, the famous eld duke alien, with a hump of grandeur on him like a walking wiesel rat.*

And with that, the battle lines were drawn.

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

Authors note:  Any ambiguity and lack of specificity can be considered deliberate and part of the fun.

One of the design differences.  Ricky chose impetuous Heavy Cavalry and more of them, I chose non-impetuous, and only two.  Ricky is also running a battle of cavalry, where my cavalry is distributed as support for 2 battles of Longbow.

His battle of Heavy Infantry is all Galloglaich, while I am experimenting with mixing Foot Knights and Mediocre Billmen.

And this is interesting.  A battle of four Longbow and 2 Heavy Knights.  Does this work like fire and water, or peanut butter and chocolate?

Darryl is trying to hide his Longbow behind the hill.  That didn't last long though.
And his derry's own drawl and his corksown blather and his doubling stutte and his gullaway swank. Ask Lictor Hackett or Lector Read of Garda Growley or the Boy with the Billyclub. How elster is he a called at all? Qu'appelle? Huges Caput Earlyfouler. Or where was he born or how was he found? Urgothland, Tvistown on the Kattekat? New Hunshire, Concord on the Merrimake?  Who blocksmitt her saft anvil or yelled lep to her pail? Was her banns never loosened in Adam and Eve's or were him and her but captain spliced? For mine ether duck I thee drake. And by my wildgaze I thee gander. Flowey and Mount on the brink of time makes wishes and fears for a happy isthmass. She can show all her lines, with love, license to play. And if they don't remarry that hook and eye may!*

Heavies lined up on Heavies.  No tactical imagination applied here.

Longbow lined up on Longbow.  Once again, no imagination.
 Turn 1:
3rd cousin Darryl orders his troops forward.  It is a gentle hill, so the Heavy Cavalry are unimpeded by it.
And a general advance of foot troops.
And a bad day for Darryl's Light Horse is brewing.
Brother Darryl has his ambush revealed, and advances up the hill.  Larry's main line of battle expands the Billmen on the hill as well.
Whoever wins, this game is not going the take long.
The other brother Darryl holds his position.
Turn 2:
The lack of excitement has the observers heading for the privies for a last minute wee. 

3rd cousin Darryl's Light Horse approach and disorder brother Darryl's Light Horse.
The whistle blows, one of Larry's Light Infantry is guilty of running with scissors and sent to the penalty box!

Larry further expands his line.  It's not long enough for 4 cavalry and 6 Galloglaich.
The other brother Darryl stands pat as Uncle Darryl begins to advance with his new friends.  On the right starts what will be a continuous exchange of Longbow fire.
I'll not bore you with the details.  Most of the right flank action is missile exchanges between 2 Longbow behind the fortifications and 4 Longbow out in the field.  With rallying, this exchange went on all game with no resolution.
Darryl withdraws his Light Horse, and lines up the Longbow on the hill.
Larry is lined up as well as able.  The Cavalry will be coming in first.  Hopefully they will be dealt with before the Galloglaich arrive.
Nothing new here.
Turn 3:
The Irish are facing their mortal enemies, the Irish.  Darryl's Light Horse are determined to run down Darryl's Light Horse into the ground.
Darryl manages to rein in his impetuous cavalry for a turn.  So his and Larry's forces will be engaging at one next turn.
Nothing new here.
Darryl sends his Irish Nobles to take over for the Light Horse.  Sneaking along the ridge line is a unit of Kerns.
"Tweet!"  "Delay of game penalty!"  Darryl gets one flank deployment of his Longbow.  Darryl's Longbow have great position, but haven't managed a single missile hit.
I have a lot to debate here.  No matter what I do, his line is longer than mine.  Placing the Heavy Cavalry in the line is only preventing an overlap on the Billmen, who are mediocre anyway.  Or am I just giving Ricky 2 more points?
Little change here.  Darryl reveals his ambush, with the idea to take the pressure off the Longbow exchange, and another Kern from Larry's center arrives.  Because there is nothing it can do there anyway.
Turn 4:

Darryl's Light Horse is removed from the game.
Scrum!  Larry's main battle loses 4 of 7 contacts.  Two of them badly.  The Irish Nobles on the right however, evaded when charged.  The Billmen are English after all.
Nothing really changed here.
The sneaky bastards on the hill charge down.  Darryl (the 3rd cousin, not the brother) decided it was better to stand then evade off the board.  The Kerns win their fight and pursue.
Darryl's impetuous nobles have lost both on the hill, and are 1 to 1 on the flat.
The bloody British Billmen flee their posts, leaving Clan Ramsay unsupported.
Turn 5:
3rd Cousin Darryl's Light Horse will have none of this, and retaliate with a vengeance, seeing brother Darryl's Kerns off with a smack of their shillelaghs.  While a disappointment, and 2 points, that is what the Kerns are for.
Did you know impetuous cavalry can break off?  I didn't.  Too many rules sets in my head.  Clan Ramsay falls, along with the Boys from Stafford.  Its down to the English and their fancy armor.
As promised, nothing new here.
The Irish Nobles, brave in the knowledge they have armor, 3-2 advantage in numbers, and are not disordered, charge Darryl's (3rd cousin, not the brother or the other brother or the Uncle) Light Horse off the board.
The main battle line is not a total disaster.  Longbow are running down the impetuous cavalry, and the left flank is turned.
The path to the goal is open, the only goalie is a boy and his dog.
Turn 6:
Darryl's Heavy Horse makes a desperate charge, and succeeds!  Taking the English (elite) Longbow down.
The other Heavy Cavalry charges Clan Donaghue.  Which will keep that Galloglaich from destroying their Galloglaich.  A tie is rolled, so the plan is a success.
The path is open to the goal, but there are defenses along the path. 
The Darryls are all in here.  One rallies his Heavy Horse.  Which, even though hit from the rear, only suffers one hit.  Clan Donaghue destroys another Irish Heavy Horse.
But they did enough, the English Knights are next on the chopping block.  Larry is willing to fight to the last Englishman.
One minor change, the field is now surrounded on three sides instead of two.
Turn 7:
Another rally, and another tie roll.  These guys are tough.
Just a note here.  This exchange above was my fault.  I should have charged first with the Billmen, and then in the rear with the Longbow, and not the other way around.  That would have put the battle plus 2 in my favor, and this would have been over by now.
English Knights hold on.  More Galloglaich are being distracted by Welsh Longbow.
Larry (2nd cousin, not the Larry) is planning a hurt doing a hammer and anvil attack in the field.
Still no real change here.
The Foot Knights fall.  But the fight is not over as Clan Donaghue grabs a flank.
Even with one hit on them, the Galloglaich are still a match for the bowmen.

The English longbow weasel out of the hammer and anvil attack.
Turn 8:
The score is 20-12 in favor of the Anglo-Irish.
Larry only needs two points for the win, and commits all over the place.
Wait, Heavy Foot only moves 1 in the fields.  Check card.  They move 2?  Oh that sucks.  How long have I been playing this game?  Well, there is his two points he needs for the win. 
Final shot.  Still no progress here.
O, passmore that and oxus another! Don Dom Dombdomb and his wee follyo! Was his help inshored in the Stork and Pelican against bungelars, flu and third risk parties? I heard he dug good tin with his doll, delvan first and duvlin after, when he raped her home, Sabrine asthore, in a parakeet's cage, by dredgerous lands and devious delts, playing catched and mythed with the gleam of her shadda, (if a flic had been there top op up and pepper him!) past auld min's manse and Maisons Allfou and the rest of incurables and the last of immurables, the quaggy waag for stumbling. Who sold you that jackalantern's tale? Pemmican's pasty pie! Not a grasshoop to ring her, not an antsgrain of ore. In a gabbard he barqued it, the boat of life, from the harbourless Ivernikan Okean, till he spied the loom of his landfall and he loosed two croakers from under his tilt, the gran Phenician rover. By the smell of her kelp they made the pigeonhouse. Like fun they did! But where was Himself, the timoneer? That marchantman he suivied their scutties right over the wash, his cameleer's burnous breezing up on him, till with his runagate bowmpriss he roade and borst her bar.*

So what went wrong?  Maybe fatigue had something to do with it, but my opponent was under the same load here.  So that is just an excuse.  My troops had such an advantage on deployment, with 2 Heavy Knights and 4 Longbow squaring off against 2 Longbow and two lights.  That's 32 points against 70, leaving 38 point advantage on the rest of the field!

On the left, the battle for the hill wasn't totally one sided, but in the end it was a defeat for the cousins.  Losing 3 of 4 Heavy Horse, and 1 and a half Light Horse at a cost of a Light Horse, a Kern and a Longbow.

In the center was where the points were lost.  Mostly equal troops, but cousin Larry had the overlap as his Heavy Horse occupied 3 units of the line.  Then he won or tied every point of contact in the center.  It was something I didn't recover from.  Even though I was chewing up his right flank.  I just couldn't chew fast enough.

I made two blunders that I can see.  One was when he was down to the last Heavy Cavalry.  I picked the wrong command to go first.  Picking the center command first would have the Cavalry hit in the flank with Heavy Swordsmen for a + 2 to a -1, then a second flank charge with the Longbow for a + 3 to a -1.  This also meant the Cavalry had the advantage of armor, which did come into play, and I didn't get the 2HW,  Instead I went the other way.  So the Bowmen was initially +1 for flank, +1 for support, against the Heavy Cavalry which was still -1 on contact, but had armor advantage and not 2HW.  This would have caused another hit on contact, so rallying it off would not have mattered much.  And all the followup fights would have continued at +2 to -1 +2hw, where as they were played it was +1 to 0 with armor.

But that would have only changed the score to  22-14, and the second blunder with the bow in the field took me to 22 and the game.  But even with that, I was still 6 points behind, so while they were blunders, that isn't the root cause of the loss.

 *Some, OK, a lot of content stolen from Finnegans Wake


  1. Phil. One of your best reports. Your courage is admirable. "Fighting to the last Englishman ". 😜

  2. This was the first one I wrote up when I got home. Having mused over it for the entire drive. It was the most fun I have had in many a year.